Fifty Shades of Grey and Abuse

Fifty Shades of Grey and Abuse



I’ve been sitting on my hands for a week, and now they’re all warm and smelly. Mostly, I haven’t spoken about FSoG and abuse because I wanted to see what people were thinking. I wanted to listen rather than proclaim, and I’m glad I did. I have the distance for a more nuanced position.


In the smut-loving groups I’m in, abuse victims speak loudly and clearly, and for me, they kind of get supervotes on the issue. I’m going to take their word for it over some less experienced but more strident voice on either side.

There seem to be with one of three possible opinions among them:

  • Fifty Shades depicts and abusive relationship
  • Fifty Shades does not depict an abusive relationship
  • Fifty Shades may or may not depict an abusive relationship depending on how you look at it.

I sat with that for awhile, because it pleased me. Why?

Because we are having a national conversation about domestic abuse.


Think about that. We're talking about this so publicly. A problem that used to be in the shadows. It's on everyone's lips. How often is the definition of domestic abuse front page news? How often is a discussion about it on your Facebook newsfeed? I mean sure, I can put a picture of a battered woman on my feed and expect a certain reaction, but what is sparking this debate are the subtleties, which are rarely addressed. We don’t need to talk about worst case scenarios. We need to talk about cases that aren’t so black and white (grey, if you will). And we are. So let me just repeat this because I enjoy it so much.

We are having a national conversation about domestic abuse.

What I’m taking away from this conversation is that the victim defines abuse. I know this gets tricky in overt cases where the victims are brainwashed and frightened, claiming that they aren’t abused. Talk about a hundred shades of grey. But in general, the victim knows or discovers their limits, and the abuser ignores them. They are the victim’s limits and they will be different for everyone.


In the BDSM community, limits are discussed endlessly and even acts that look non consensual to an outsider, are actually not just consensual, but craved. You might say one cannot consent to slavery, but you judge the sexual proclivities of other adults at your peril. They are deeply embedded, and if no one is harmed, and everyone knows the limits and consents to them, anything goes.

Ana defined her limits, consented to what Christian did, and realized maybe she’d gone too far. I feel like he should have known she wasn’t ready, but that’s in the narrative structure. That’s the crux of the story and the characters. That’s why he loses her.

Because it's fiction, people.


This week coincidentally, I put all my paperback stock in a locked closet.


I have an eleven year old son, and he’s a curious little fucker. In addition to all his wonderful tics and habits, he likes to open books in the middle.

I’m not really interested in him using my books as an instruction manual on how to make it with girls. Not for my son. Not for anyone's son.

Now, I’ve said repeatedly that I trust adult women and men to discern the difference between reality and fantasy. I stand by that shit. But I do not think children can make that distinction. So there’s a closet, and a lock, and the key stays with me at all times.

Also, I told him that if he read my books his face would burn off.

That may or may not be better than the lock.


Jonathan and Monica's journey through dominance, submission and pain is available on all venues. The first book, Beg is free.


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1 Comment

  1. Charisse says:

    I really appreciate your expression and insightful thoughts on the “abuse” aspect of real life and Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ve always said the people that scream abuse have at least one of four things in common: 1) they didn’t read the book to understand it. 2) they stopped reading at Fifty Shades of Grey and didn’t move through all three books. (My husband read the series and he agrees with me on this, he told me his first reaction was the Christian was a sick fuck, but after reading them all he understood better). 3) They are vastly inexperienced and naive to the whole BDSM lifestyle or 4) they have experienced abuse and have not dealt with the emotional and/or physical ramifications of themselves. Usually those statements in my experience are personal and have nothing to do with the material they are calling abusive. Thank you again. I appreciate your candor and honesty.