5 Things You Could Be Doing This V-Day (Other Than Seeing Fifty Shades)

Portrait of Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, French poet and woman of letters.
(Very possibly, the portrait of Marceline Desbordes-Valmore reacting to the Fifty Shades phenomenon).

A disclaimer before we continue: this author does not have a problem with BDSM, erotic fiction, or the marketing of said erotica to the ‘mommy’ crowd.

Spoiler alert: ‘mommies’ have sex.  And, God willing, they enjoy it.

There is nothing wrong with experimentation in the confines of a long-term, monogamous relationship (just because you’re not hooking up with a different partner every night doesn’t mean you’re not capable of having passionate and creative sex).

There is nothing wrong with discovering BDSM for the first time through a work of fiction like Fifty Shades — or with exploring BDSM (or other ‘kink’) for the first time as an older adult.

That being said, as introductions to sex go, Fifty Shades is akin to driving a real car after you’ve only played racing video games as practice — two tons worth of dangerous ignorance.  Because, make no mistake, while BDSM can be exciting and enjoyable, practicing it improperly can cause serious mental and physical damage.

More horrifyingly, Fifty Shades does not — I repeat, does NOT — depict a consensual dom/sub relationship.  The undercurrent of abuse is strong in these books, which have even been used as justification for domestic abuse crimes.

Image courtesy of tumblr user, “the sixth siren.”

As Forbes contributor Kathryn Casey writes,

” . . . I do find it disturbing. And I wonder what it says about our society that these books (the Fifty Shades series) are so incredibly successful.”

So let’s combat the Fifty Shades influence together and select another sexy activity to enjoy this Valentine’s Day.

  1. Rent (or stream) some feminist porn (solo or with a partner)

    • PRO TIP: If you are at a loss as to which sexy movie to select, try narrowing the field by heading to feminist sex shops (or their websites) — think Adam and Eve, Smitten Kitten, Early to Bed.
  2. Take a BDSM 101 class (solo or with a partner)

  3. Read some well-written erotica (solo or with a partner)

    • PRO TIP:  If you want to make sure your choice of erotica is both sexy and feminist, do a little research using lady-centric websites like Bitch Magazine’s (especially its ‘Biblio Bitch’ column).  Personally, I find that Rachel Kramer Bussel has some excellent collections — including The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales.
  4. Make a donation to your local domestic violence non-profit (solo and with a partner — everybody should be chipping in!).

  5. Literally any other activity other than going to see Fifty Shades.

    • PRO TIP:  Seriously.  Don’t go see this movie.  If you must see what all the hype’s about, at least stream it illegally so that none of your money is spent supporting it.


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