Friday, September 7, 2012

Fifty Shades clearer

I read it! Yes me; research purely of course (those of you have read it wipe those cheeky grins off your face) seriously, stop it, the male purchasers out there will know exactly what I am referring to &; of course it’s possible to buy a highly publicised book described as ‘mommy porn’ just to see what all the fuss is about; not like the virgin pubescent stalking mega stores, who grabs a copy between their ‘Wheels’ magazine like a packet of condoms in the supermarket. Personally I think the intrigue &; curiosity eventually took over the assumptions by mentioning the word ‘grey’ (which is a dirty word in itself at the perfect age of 21...forever) in a title hailed as an erotic romantic, I toyed with the idea it had something to do with being outdated, outdone, bored with ‘The Grey Nomads’ &; fantasy, yet the figures didn’t add up. I initially thought I’d rather spend $20 on treating my body to some pampering than on a poorly written & highly criticised book turning feminists purple!

Then something poked me in the eye...the writers eye I mean....the 5.3 million purchases in the UK, outselling, out marketing & out demanding all books in history, including Harry Potter fans (which really goes to tell us children do not have all the buying power!), Dan Brown and self help, self talk, self inspired motivational guru’s, with the chant of their own ‘Secret’, the reality is there is no secret anymore to the chorus of the apparent majority of female buyers worldwide.

EL James has brought S&M into the mainstream as the majority of purchasers captivated by the erotic love story, display a new found acceptance of the reality everyone has issues, is or has the potential to be a little fifty shades f***ed up, some of us 20, some of us 30, some of us even 50+! We can still be sexy, hold down a successful career at the same time, despite a loss of appetite & sleep deprivation.

The book sold around the world and published in languages including Albanian, Chinese, Russian, Serbian and Vietnamese so obviously some topics speak the same language!

This isn’t as the hot, under nothing more than their collar, feminists would have you believe about abuse, torture and domestic violence. It’s as one writer hit ‘the arse with a slap’ to the purple faced critics,  a consensual heterosexual monogamous relationship with a love story! OMgosh people let’s get accurate about this it’s Disney does hand-cuffs, riding crops & fetish!

Some have described the best seller as a manual of abuse & torture, many beg to differ & I would be one of them.  If the individual needs to turn to a poorly written & sexually explicit he meets her, falls for her, crap happens, they sort it story.... to learn about torture, to find a ‘how to’ abuse, then let’s throw out the new to be released DSMV manual on well researched mental health diagnoses & re-write the Crimes Act, after all the critics want you to believe that a book, a movie, an idea takes away your intelligence & responsibility as an adult to make your own choices! Let’s just take a step back here...’poor Anastasia’...such comments do more damage than 100 shades of grey for women today. 

The UK Guardian quotes book burning promoter Clare Phillipson, holding the position of Director for charities involving domestic violence and women in need as claiming she had been waiting for "a feminist icon to savage this misogynistic crap, but nobody did", & could no longer hold herself back, so felt compelled to grab her soap box & climb aboard.  How many women actually chose to take the tube ride in or dare the traffic to central London to throw their worn out copy of FSOG to be burned in honour of the disgusted Phillipson’s misguided beliefs around domestic violence & it’s origins, has not been published; I’d say lucky for Phillipson it is summer in London, otherwise I believe we may have witnessed ‘like hell will freeze over’.

Is it the sex that sold the book? The bondage, the sexual & erotic exploitation experienced by the characters of the book or is it purely the experience and lack of experience which tickled Ms Phillipson & feminist fundamentalists off? (oops ticked I meant to say....hehe) What message do these women send to the Anastasias of the world, educated, opinionated, forthright women who clearly can speak & do for themselves....Ms Phillipson would have us believe if you are a woman & you enjoy any of the tales of FSOG then you have been misled, overpowered and let’s just slap a domestic violence label on the guy who participated. Then there are those who gave ‘poor’ ‘vulnerable’ Anastasia way too much credit, assuming the mere publishing assistant had swapped her literary qualifications for a psych degree & had the capacity to plan, manipulate & “fix” Mr Grey. Oooooh please give us intelligent women a break. No one can force a person to change for starters. True change occurs from the inside out & only through being creative with our own behaviour can we have any power over our journey. “Be the change you want to see”....  

I read one comment last week where a woman stated “what kind of intelligent, educated, well presented woman wants a guy like Mr Grey”...well let’s read on shall we!

Subliminal messages take from them what you will; isn’t that the driving force of entertainment, movies, music and books? I didn’t know the ELO track played backwards let alone existed until someone else played it for me at an opportune time. Now it could have been the alcohol, the euphoria of the moment (I was after all born in the 60’s) or the slightly weird chants in reverse on a piece of plastic, yet did I start devil worshipping? Well maybe I could blame the lack of focus & partying through high school (bugger hope my parents aren't reading this!)on ELO music &  that would lighten the responsibility load somewhat.

Get off your soap box Ms Phillipson & get onto something with more substance. When as a society are we going to stop treating adults as victims, this ‘I didn’t have a choice’ attitude is utterly boring.  Poor Adam, persuaded by that horrible vixon Eve to bite into the Apple...what does that say about men? Easily led? Easily distracted? Self centred? Self motivated? Lack of judgement? What does it say about women? Capable? Clever? Self motivated? Definitely in control! Now we all know this not to be true (hehehe).

If we are looking for common sense & a woman speaking on behalf of the trillions enjoying the trilogy behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings has obviously swallowed the right pills. "In my view, the appalling nature of domestic violence – and I wholly support the amazing work that refuges do for women at traumatic and vulnerable periods of their lives – has absolutely nothing to do with the pain/pleasure sexual axis within a fictional love story which has brought a lot of entertainment to millions of women. It does them a disservice," she said.

Most adults, said Hemmings, "have a pretty good handle on what and what isn't morally acceptable. Does reading a thriller involving murder makes us more likely to commit one? Or even consider it? Of course not."

Even self appointed sexual submissive Sophie Morgan claims “but as I dated I began to realise I thrived on the challenge of submitting to someone else. It might seem strange if you're not that way inclined, but I enjoy the catharsis of the pain – which, trust me, feels very different in an erotic situation as otherwise I'm the sort of woman who can't cope with a leg wax because it hurts too much. I find being challenged and humiliated hot. Without being big headed, in my day-to-day life I can pretty much handle whatever the universe throws at me, so being on the back foot (although not passive, another misconception of what being submissive means) and reacting often brings about an adrenaline high in its own right; like sky diving but with more nakedness and no plummeting to the ground.” Yet she too goes on to slam the book as being disproportionate to what a ‘real’ submissive is all about. “It comes back to the nature of consent”, oh & so it does Ms Morgan, so it does.

Domestic abuse is and will always remain indefensible; to suggest personal relationships between consenting adults centred on erotic fantasies endorses or encourages sexual violence is not only wrong, it’s a disgusting misuse of context. Violence is about power and control, it’s not about sex and erotica. Such suggestions do more harm to the causes in need of deconstructing myths and stereotypes rather than reinforcing them.

There isn’t a behavioural or developmental theorist out there who doesn’t argue the basis of humanity is driven by our fundamental belong, to need someone, to feel connected, to feel a sense of self, sense of others, to feel love. It's who we are, what makes us tick, even when we can't hear it ourselves & no matter how hard you attempt to bury it, it's voice is louder than anything you've heard before.

It’s alright for some human beings to become addicted to the adrenalin pumping, body slamming contact sports, to come off the field or hot & sweaty, smiling from ear to ear, yet when it is more about the consensual intimacy between two adults it is labelled as abuse, violence and torture! Oh please feminists, go back & re read your history books or wait another 20 or 30 years & make your money out of taking back what you said in the first place.

Is it that the maybe 1 or 2 times a week below average romp between couples with & without kids is now termed ‘vanilla’ and average has a whole new meaning? When making time for a shower meant getting hot water before the kids used it all & having someone tell you what to eat for dinner was more a luxury than considered abuse by the feminist! Stop telling us what we need and want, we damn well know what it is, we like it that way & by the way I don’t want to change my own light bulbs I can’t even reach them for starters.

Is the problem that Mr Fifty Shades of f**ed up  (Anastasia coins the term not me!) highlights the underlying desires which give birth around adolescence in males with a deep desire for domination, fancy dress, anything but vanilla and now the word is out women want it & men are at a loss to keep up? Well tough bickies! EL James has shoved it out there with a nice leather handled heave ho; putting women’s needs on top, the sexual needs; enjoyment of women are on the agenda & the whingers out there need to get some balls before she buys her own!

Adult superstore owners are seeing more partners with shopping lists than Aldi, with a speed of a man sent to the chemist on a flying carpet! The word is out, it’s the voice of sex therapists having to consider a different career, being out counselled by an immature young recently graduated Anastasia & seriously screwed up, excess childhood trauma baggage, needs a good woman to sort him out, Christian Grey. Music sales of classical music are soaring like no other concert pianist has been able to manifest, ‘Spem in Alium’ has been at the top of iTunes charts since EL James launched her fantasies online, let alone in paperback; a 2nd track song 'Try', yes.....2nd track people by Nelly Furtado released 8 years ago is out selling latest releases (I one of those downloading!). You name it, helicopter rides, the Heathmans in Portland where the couple stayed is booming with its romance packages, the expensive wines they drink, the Audi (I have to agree with Anastasia who in their right mind would want to swap the Audi for a Saab?) demand is on the up & rising, people want a piece of Christian Grey & the curious Anastasia and willing to pay to get as close as they can in their own reality. It’s permission to bring passion and adventure back into relationships.

Fifty Shades of screwed up has done for the university qualified sexology field what CSI did for forensics! People are talking, aroused and interested.  Couples are speaking about more than when to take the garbage out and “not tonight darling I’m tired” has taken on a whole new meaning. The light has gone on in the bedroom and it isn’t the kids wanting another glass of milk! I mean if someone had of suggested a ‘red room of pain’ to me previously, I would imagine it to involve paint, mess and cleaning up; definitely not a place to unleash the inner goddess, more likely the mummy cranky pants.

In a society bent on boxing people into groups, bent on suggesting those who choose an alternative lifestyle as needing to be fixed or exorcised, even as one church leader claimed earlier this month in Australia by manipulating his position & health statistics, claimed to choose an alternative lifestyle is bad for your health. This writer has taken the exploration of her coffee shop blogging, to smashing champagne like blows to christen a few minds ready to be opened with the energy of a creative genius, with the basic of all our human drives & needs to the top of her bank account with a large clang of ‘cha-ching’.

Women are now not only listening to their inner goddess they are talking back to her, holding conversations & dressing up for the occasion! Who needs Tupperware when you can have a ‘Shades of Summer’ party with your besties. Yet come on feminist anti-shaders; we are no more caught up in the luxury presents which start as a sincere gesture with the purchase of a vintage book (come on as a book lover, writer, hoarder of books..... a new guy remembering your favourite read, scouring the universe to locate, purchase & send it to you....cha-ching again!). Though if the do-gooders get down off their mmm what do they get up on? for one minute & look at what is real, what is creative exploration, for most ‘mommies’ out there apparently the excitement is more in the fantasy of having a live-in, clean your red room of pain & prepare three awesome meals a day for you, housekeeper scenario than it is giving up the minivan for the Saab! Someone else to mop the floors, wow my endorphins are surging already!

I mean ladies, ladies, men, men, Mel Gibson misdirected as he was about the follow through, yet clearly tried to point us in the right direction years ago with ‘What women want’ and despite the panic button push of the porn industry claiming FSOG has produced nothing more than a cheap written version of their own smutty, illicit, distasteful, illegal (in most cases) videos, IT’S A BOOK! If you don’t like it, don’t buy it (borrow a friend’s and no one will ever know).  Though what is tickling the pockets of Random House is EL James has raised the bar, creative sexual desire is out there, what women want is being discussed at restaurants in the open, it’s on the menu (who decided on our behalf to take it off in the first place?). I mean here is a guy, rich guy, smart guy, got his crap together guy (despite the well drawn out attachment disorders), the body of a Greek god and he doesn’t want a supermodel, he isn’t lusting over a perfectly manicured and experienced women he knows has it all, he wants a woman the way she is, vanilla if it’s the way it has to be! Just because she happens to know more about 19th Century literature than her own body does it make it any less consensual? OM double gosh...a woman with a brain that takes pleasure in her own body, what could be more alarming?

So in true soap box form & the intrinsic ‘worked up’ nature of a blogger I raise these questions to you about the nature of human desire, the honesty, passion lacking in relationships & highlighted by the craze of FSOG sweeping book stores, online chat groups, retail stores & more.

Who wouldn’t get worked up? Frustrated by the ridiculous outrageous book burning suggestions made by critics? Well known sex therapist, author; respected woman Bettina Arndt knows too well how discussing sex can make one famous; it’s knowledge & the support provided to people who in isolation are losing the spark in their relationships, a crave & drive for the insatiable need for more; detailing in her book ‘The sex diaries’ research involving 98 couples negotiating their ‘sex supply’ & in her next best seller ‘What men want – in bed’ based on 150 men writing about why sex matters.  I’m still coming to terms with the admissions by several men who live in ‘loveless’ relationships...why the hell would any person stay in a place that made them utterly & completely lifeless & miserable?  Ms Phillipson you want to talk about power & misuse the word to make generalised assumptions about S&M through lack of knowledge, then come clean about the women out there who regularly use sex as a weapon of control over their male partners, who learn how & when to withhold sex in order to meet their own needs, like getting the dishes done!

To be truly honest, despite my new found appreciation & respect for a book which seems to not only to be totally out of character for me, yet enlightening; has provided more boost to relationships than Pfzier did with Viagra & surprised me despite not finishing the trilogy at this stage, as I love nothing more than to be surprised (which is a rare occurence these days).  To be honest I initially found EL James writing boring, difficult to get my teeth into (I did say “boring” didn’t I?). Then luck would have it, whilst the half finished Fifty Shades Darker collected dust on the shelf & whilst I tried to get my head around a whity response to release some creative angst, it took my hip giving out from apparent “punishing my body” to put me in the hammock under the sun for a few days to pick up where Mr Grey & I left off. If it were just about the erotic sexual desires & detailed accounts of the couples exploits, it’s would have been much cheaper, less invasive than being seen at the checkout with a price check on “Fifty Shades of Grey the third one” to download on the Kindle. OK it pushes a few buttons, yet none a little double dose of yoga inversion therapy could not fix. Most of the inner goddess’ I know could do the red room of pain standing on their heads balancing all the balls in our hands! It’s more than that; it has always been about more than that.

Human beings will always be driven by the need to be to be wanted.  Up until EL James a few had dabbled, none had the audacity or marketing skills of an ex executive producer to push it as far as she has, to put it out there to the universe, targeting the voice of men, the voice of women and the ending we all crave in one series. We want to be wanted, whole heartedly, from the tips of our toes, to our decreasing hairlines, every muscle, sinew, piece of grey, inked part of our amazing beating bodies, small bodies, large bodies, scarred, hurt bodies; complicated, confused bodies, cuddly & warm bodies, cold bodies needing of a little lipstick map of 'do not go' areas, by someone who needs us more than we need the pleasure of ourselves. We want to be loved with the softness of a giving heart, to trust ourselves to be fully vulnerable, to walk naked as we are, tall & confident, knowing we too have eyes of appreciation on us with the firmness of passion & desire; we want permission to let the inner goddess shake her booty on the table tops if she so needs & in the comfort & intimacy of her own home; someone tell me what is wrong or non consenual about that!

People are caught up in the honesty of EL James to capture the sexual desires and complicated relationship of two people wanting what obviously too many have dreamt about and failed to trust themselves, their friends & more importantly their partners to talk about openly.

So I agree with many a blogger out there and dowse a little cold water on the hot hopes of partners thinking there has been a tsunami like shift in their partner’s appetite and it’s all in relation to the biting lips and butt slapping.  As a writer it has to be somewhat ‘insulting’ to have the successful beyond comprehension trilogy referred to as ‘Mommy porn’, to the marketing executives they would be dancing starkers on the boardroom tables by now to the screams of “laters baby”; when the majority of readers are just as attracted to the vulnerability; suffering of a now grown up previously traumatised male child with significant attachment issues; the young ‘I can think for myself’, slightly clumsy, gutsy, turned prurient woman who becomes ‘the difference’ in his change, than they are with thoughts of having to maintain grace under pressure at a masked ball! It’s a love story people, readers are still unknowingly switched on by the innate desire of all of us to want to connect to someone, to belong, to feel needed, wanted, desired, it’s romance naked!

For goodness sake all you grownups out there, human intimacy is the most natural part of our development, it has less calories than alcohol and chocolate and increases more endorphins, it’s good for your health. How can you think you know what your partner likes to eat, what movies, books they enjoy, how to dress them (for the control freaks out there) and not care or even know what turns them on? If it’s not happening people than for goodness sake verbalise it! FSOG is not new.  By predictions it’s just the tip of the iceberg, it’s poured curiosity into a melting pot with desire & yes....wait for it ....LOVE!.  It’s shown you can be f***ed up, present as Adonis to the universe, to truly be yourself; yet underneath, that whilst there is a beat, it will carry you through, that longing, it will take you where you need to be; it's possible, wounds heal & you can still have a fulfilling & amazing relationship, fuelled with passion, founded in honesty & it starts with the acceptance of who you are & what you bring to a relationship.

It’s a love story; it’s not your average chick flick, probably needs a rating on the cover, yet why is love too often limited to a four letter word with no actions.  Why is all the passion in the first few years of a relationship when clearly if we even take the heart, the symbol of love, the organ which is responsible for keeping our bodies firing, the machine which keeps the flow of oxygen; happy juice flowing through our veins, if we take this as symbolic of love then why do we not allow love all this and more? The heart is everything to the body, without it there is no life.  When it fails to work, we hope, pray & we do at times fix it, keep it going, it brings life to every axis of our being. When we love why ares so many afraid to be all, to be vulnerable, to allow each other, to give their body & therefore their soul, does love have no boundaries? Don’t hide behind the ignorance of Phillipson, the fear; fear of the unknown, fear of the ignorant, life is a journey of lessons, let your heart guide you, trust your instinct, trust yourself, be trusting of others and each other.

Make a call, 1-800-inner-goddess, tell her you are sorry it’s been a while & you should have called sooner yet kids, routine and boredom set in, you lost contact.  Tell her you know someone you’d like her to meet, introduce them.

So about the self torture stuff I mentioned, pounding myself into the pavement kilometre after another, clearing my head, only feeling satisfied after soaking to the bone & exhausted. Clearly there are much more enjoyable ways to feel pain. I take back my early assumptions, $20 well spent, definitely much more pampering for the body; inversion therapy will definitely come in handy! I'm going to take my Bosweillia & stay off my hip, spend an awful lot of time enjoying the view from the hammock & finish the trilogy! (email me if you need to borrow them when I'm done!)

So if you haven’t read it & you are putting of being caught up in the demeaning hype, take a word of advice from Christian Grey “We are consenting adults and what we do behind closed doors is between ourselves.  You need to free your mind and listen to your body”.

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