50 Shades of WTF: On Consent, Kink, and Choosing Your Porn

Fifty Shades of Grey, the hit Twilight-based fanfic-turned-successful-novel by E.L. James, was recently brought to the movies. With it, a lot of controversy has been brought to the forefront as well. BDSM and kink in general are great ways to express sexuality, but is this book (and now movie) a positive representation of alternative sexual exploration and a good source of erotic literature?

The answer is more complicated than you might think, as explored in a strip from the webcomic Oh Joy Sex Toy by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan.

From a sex-positive and consent-focused point of view, the book could certainly make some improvements. There are troubling sections of the book that range from creepy to stalkerish to downright nonconsensual, which Tab Kimpton expertly illustrates in a strip from the webcomic Discord Comics. Succinctly, Tatsuya Ishida takes down the issue of consent that is sorely lacking in Fifty Shades in a strip from the webcomic Sinfest. No does mean no, after all.

However from the scope of someone just looking to get off, Fifty Shades might be the ticket. While it's hardly a consent-filled love story or an instruction manual for the ins and outs of kink, (for that, Oh Joy Sex Toy and others suggest 50 Shades of Kink), porn comes in all different and equally acceptable shapes and sizes. If Fifty Shades of Grey is the thing that best helps you jack/jill off, more power to you! Outside of the making of porn that actually harms those involved, (e.g. involving those who do not or cannot consent in real life), the policing of porn is unnecessary and potentially harmful.

All of that said, if you do find yourself in a relationship in real life that looks like that of the main characters in Fifty Shades, do seek help. See a therapist or call a hotline as soon as you can. It's never okay to be coerced into sex, stalked, or abused in any way, no matter who the perpetrator is.

Unsure about how to go about making your relationship(s) more sexually fulfilling? You can schedule with one of our therapists within the next week to start on your way to the bliss you're looking for.

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