I remember hearing all the hype about the latest craze, “mommy porn” when 50 Shades of Grey hit the stands. I was anxious to get a hold of the first book in the trilogy, unfortunately my student budget couldn’t afford with the expenditure allocated to drinking and good times. However when I returned home for the holidays, I saw that my father had purchased my mother the trilogy and it sat gloriously on top of her night stand. My first thought was being completely grossed out- I don’t think anyone wants to imagine their parents as sexual creatures, and now having my (too my eyes) conservative mother reading about BDSM was too much for my brain to process.
I quickly shoved those thoughts to the back of my mind for my own sanity; however I did relieve her of the collection of books. My first impression about this was that it was NOT mommy porn. Anastasia Steele was someone who was my age, fresh out of varsity and ready to enter a world of curiosities. This was not some middle aged house wife who was bored with life, and I didn’t understand why they had to escape into something which was my life and not something more realistic. I guess escapism isn’t meant to be realistic.
Anyway, I’m getting side tracked. I’m someone who has always been intrigued by the world of BDSM- not to the point of Edward pretty much destroying Bella and breaking ribs, but kinky foreplay with spanking and handcuffs? Why not? Sex like the rest of social interactions is about power, which is dynamic and constantly shifting. There is always a Submissive and a Dominator and it tells a lot about a person on which end of the scale that they are in. The automatic assumption, which was repeated in 50 shades, was that the Dominator was the one in the position of power; however the opposite is actually true. A submissive is the one with all the choice, who holds all the cards in the game. She at any moment can cry out the safe word and the game comes to an end. She sets the rules and the limitations and with that limits how far the Dominator can go. Essentially the submissive is the one who gives permission for the Dominator to act out his fantasies.
What I loved about the character of Anastasia was that she held the power in the relationship, although she did not abuse it. She walked in to the relationship with the notion that she would be dominated and owned by Christian Grey, when in fact she reclaimed her position of power and he was lost without her. Everything that was done was on her terms and there is a lot of empowerment that comes from that. She was surprisingly strong and definitely someone who I would aspire to be like- independent, open minded and ready to take risks.
So I devoured the entire trilogy and while I waited anxiously for the next set of EL James wonders, I decided to test out the waters and see what else I could get my hands on. I’m currently working at a local bookstore and while unpacking the shelves, I came upon Gabriel’s Inferno and became just as excited. I mean a student and a lecturer, makes me think of the good old days at Rhodes where my politics lecturer could get it, any day he wanted. Many a fantasy happened while I was reading about second-class citizens and evictions of illegal settlements.
However, the book turned out to be such a disappointment. First off, it was quite lengthy but [SPOILER ALERT] actual intercourse only occurred in the final chapters. So I had to sift through plenty of low-self disorder conversations and anguish until my lust filled head could be sated. Prof Gabriel Emerson also turned out to be too feminine for me with his long soliloquys about his sin and damnation, I sort of wished for Julia Mitchell to shake him and jump his bones, just to get it over an done with, however she put up with him and I had to read one too many mushy conversations about their illicit love. I mean, if I wanted all that mushy stuff I’d hit Mills and Boons right? I wanted erotica to be hard and fast, and whatever emotions where attached to that was secondary.
I’ve yet to give Sylvia Day a try, but she’s definitely on the list once I (with my OCD tendencies) finish the rest of the Gabriel series. Maybe Gideon Cross will rock my world like Mr Sebastian Grey. Meanwhile I’m still hoping that Prof Emerson’s spice will go from Sweet and Sour to Chicken Masala.
It made me think as I’m writing that, about why this was the case. Did Mr. Grey’s sexual prowess seem better because love-like emotions didn’t factor in the foreplay unlike Emerson’s devotion to his love? Maybe it was the fact that eventually love stops being exciting and thrilling, which is why so many housewives picked up 50 shades in the first place.