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Thursday
Dec272012

Sexual Politics & Fashion, 50 Shades of Grey Meets YVY’s Nude Edition 

YVY’s Nude Edition accessories play around with the dominatrix and submissive side of a woman in their latest collection. The Nude leather and studs enhances the erotic view of a woman’s body and compliments their desire to be naughty, nice and held in check.

Harnessing Sexual Desire

This look for women has become very popular since the The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy stormed into bookstores, asking women to explore their sexuality more fully. In America alone, more than 20 million copies have been sold. The trilogy represents one in five adult print books sold this past spring.

The Daily Beast’s Katie Roiphe writes that the book “has a semipornographic glamour, a dangerous frisson of boundary crossing, but at the same time is delivering reassuringly safe, old-fashioned romantic roles. Reading Fifty Shades of Grey is no more risqué or rebellious or disturbing than, say, shopping for a pair of black boots or an arty asymmetrical dress at Barneys.”

The Grey movement has created a group of people obsessed with labeling as traitors to feminism the women who enjoy such a novel, while a married British woman referred to this book as a reason for divorce. Citing her husband’s vanilla bedroom etiquette as “unreasonable behavior”, she required more from her man.

The Grey book has been labeled with chosen words like “Mommy Porn” which we find to be quite offensive to all women. Why must we call it mommy porn? When in fact women of all ages — with and without children — are buying Fifty Shades.

When men are caught watching porn it is not referred to as being salacious, but rather a societal norm. So why must people put labels on everything remotely erogenous involving women? In recent years acronyms such as MILF (which refers to mothers who enjoy sex) remind me that women are constantly being spoke of as objectives — as in Mothers I’d Like to …

MILF is a man’s word even though plenty of women wear it proudly. 

Women and Sexual Desire

Why has it taken this long for some women to realize that they do enjoy a bit of BDSM when they aren’t being forced with sexual assault to partake? More importantly, hasn’t Fifty Shades of Gray given women license to admit in buying the book and reading it openly, that a bit of submission in bed can be inspiring on occasion?

Or is reading Fifty Shades a message to one’s partner that he just isn’t cutting it in bed? 

Women should feel the right to be sexy — not because media, magazines and television make us believe that’s all we have to offer. Women should want to enjoy sexual play because we are sexual beings, just as men are sexual creatures.

Admittedly, the topic becomes convoluted when being empowered and sexy doesn’t typically prompt a woman to explore her own masculinity and powerful side as the dominant party in sex play. Why not you in charge today and him tomorrow?

The Ups and Downs of Sex in Captivity

Esther Perel, in her excellent book Mating in Captivity, argues that vanilla sex is often a fast track to divorce court — like it or not. When two people are too close, too known and too predictable, there is no distance to transverse, no gaps to cross and sensual boredom invariably sets in, writes Perel.

Many pro-BDSMers argue that power exchange and what might be called the eroticization of power more accurately describes BDSM, rather than an identity that focuses on pain or aggression. Let us remember, though, that in real-deal BDSM relationships, pain in key to the state of elevated consciousness.

Reading that the pope’s habit of self-flagellation is a saintly expression of humility might be inspiring. Drawing blood is another matter entirely.

Role-playing BDSM and fantasies of submission in erotic novels are a far cry from the daily lifestyles of American women. We seriously doubt that 20 million American women want to be tied to the bedpost indefinitely. I can absolutely relate to a woman who desires to be “taken”. A dear friend of mine told me that when her husband wanted to have sex with her, his seduction technique was to tap her shoulder in bed. Same shoulder, same spot, same soft touch every time. Sort of like Avon calling. Hmmm.

Perel argues that people who nourish sustained, long-lasting erotic partnerships approach each other as if their partner is an undiscovered country, even after years of living together. This avenue of thinking makes perfect sense to us, which is why playing around with BDSM fantasies seems not only healthy, but wise for sustained relationships.

Roiphe writes that recent studies about women who enjoy submissive sexual fantasies conclude they are less prone to have feelings of guilt, shame and unworthiness, contradicting long-held beliefs of many sex researchers, psychologists and feminists.

Sexologist Dr. Yvonne Fulbright argues that “For some people, a good hard smack is going to bring nerve endings to life.”

BDSM and Sexual Politics

Admittedly, the success of Fifty Shades of Grey is complicated for us at Anne of Carversville, given our deeply entrenched work against the flogging of 40,000 women a year in Sudan and the Republican War on Women here in America.

Yours truly was confident that those 20 million American women who bought Fifty Shades of Grey wouldn’t turn the rest of us over to the Romney camp — and they didn’t. This reality underscores the proverbial truth that what women say and what we do are two different actions —and especially in America.

Before the election I staked my reputation on the reality that many social conservative women — God-fearing females whose husbands dictate their every move — would rant and rave about the damn Democrats and socialist president Obama at the dinner table, and then vote for the defenders of women’s rights, rather than the party determined to get us women back in the kitchen where we belong.

My ladies delivered.

Am I the only person who thinks that trans-vaginal probing and having the government dictate exactly how one’s head must be held to watch a sonnogram smack of BDSM techniques?

America’s obsession with Fifty Shades of Grey is perhaps related to this behavior. What we say isn’t what we actually do. What we desire in novels isn’t actually how we wish to live. In moving beyond our own comfort zones, our erotic imaginations soar out of our own boredom but most of us seek some kind of soft landing.

Personally, I recommend tantric sex, but if a red-bottom burns you on, I say go for it. PS: I admit to liking Maggie Gyllenhaal’s movie The Secretary. ~ Anne

 

via fsng

Reader Comments (2)

Dear Anne...

*chuckle* Seems like this is where I came in on the show when I first read your blog back in December of 2010. Then as now this subject is supercharged in so many ways, from the sexual to the sensual to the political of several varieties.

I'd like to offer a few thoughts and observations on the subject if I may, things that perhaps other folks might like to offer a supporting or competing or contradictory thought to in response. But before I do, in the interest of full disclosure and honesty, I will say the lady in the pictures just might induce me to go as far into the realms of dom and sub as my personal ethics will tolerate: if those eyes are the result of some genuine transgression, something she carries a genuine guilt-of-conscience for then yes, as a kindness I would bend her over my left arm and with my right deliver exactly one solid swat to her bottom by way of saying "there, someone else has acknowledged your guilt… now, if you want my absolution on the matter what do you propose to do by way of setting right what you did wrong?" Which brings me to the first of several points I'd like to toss out there.

My first, and easiest to grapple with question goes like this. A great deal of the serious thought here on your blog is involved with contesting the irrational and damaging conventions of the religious patriarchal tradition (read women's liberation). For the most part those irrationalities were imposed on both genders, the women and the men, using dogma inspired guilt usurping (and IMO corrupting) the word of God to promote a social convention of dubious parentage.

Are the women who suddenly desire to be submissive in their sexual relations actually attempting a maneuver from the realms of sexual politics? To wit: a competing social convention creating a loophole in the conventional rules? So long as I'm submissive it doesn't matter how much proscribed sexual pleasure I allow myself to indulge in, I wasn't in charge… it wasn't my call. God, you'll have to talk to my personal Adam on this one, he was the one calling the shots. A sidestep if you will, dodging the responsibility of actually rejecting the conventional social limitations on a woman's sexual response by shifting the responsibility to the man rather than stand forth on her own convictions (of course the genders could be reversed, probably are reversed more often than is commonly seen, but this is primarily a feminist forum).

A second, and probably much harder question is this: is the current upswing, the current fad involving BDSM relationships actually a backlash, a resistance movement against another and equally irrational social convention I'll name The Cult of the Female Orgasm . If that is the case then the surrender of personal freedom, the humiliations and outright pain the women endure become an act of contrition in advance of conviction for knowing they can't meet an utterly impossible social demand.

The cult of the female orgasm is actually another male imposed irrationality created in response to the success of the feminist movements. Look at the media, it is simply saturated with the idea that so long as the woman is getting hers, so long as four nights a week she is foaming and writhing and sleeping endorphin stoned from a dozen grand mall orgasms the rest of the man's world will be just peachy keen. The boss won't be an a-hole, the bank will always loan money, his team will always win etc etc ad nauseum. Of course this is just as irrational as assuming if the woman suffers her life away in sexual frustration the same results will be seen. She knows neither of those two extremes will produce such results, and is apologizing in advance of his disappointed understanding. I've not seen this thought anywhere else, I'd love some feedback.

A third and final question and I'll get off your comment block. Anne, I can make another argument linking feminism and the fad of fifty shades, and that has to do with the momentum of expectations. For what, four generations now? feminism has been working to free women from the irrational, empower them to see themselves as human beings of equal dignity, equal potential and equal responsibility as the male half of the species. It has become almost a catechism of the modern female that to achieve her full womanhood she must be liberated… from something. Is the fifty shades fad of BDSM possibly the women who were never repressed in the first place creating an artificial suppression so they can break free of it and satisfy their mother's and grandmother's tradition of declaring their womanhood based on that victory?

Your long time reader and devil's advocate I remain,

Cyranos DeMet

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCyranos DeMet

Hi Cyranos. Indeed, this is where you entered the conversation in 2010. Goodness, what a month that was!!! I think it scared me off this entire subject for a long time. And I've been so incredibly busy on multiple fronts. But as you will read in my new post today, I will return to the topic of female sexuality and human sexuality in a major way in 2013.

As for your long comment, it has many excellent points and intersections of agreement. As a thinker, I hate spinning my wheels. As a second-wave feminist, it drives me crazy that we are still stuck in the mud in so many ways. But as you suggest -- the answer is inside ourselves and not only in forces that work against us as women.

To be continued . . .

December 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterAnne

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