The other day, I watched Sex Story: Fifty Shades of Grey, the Channel 4 documentary concerning the ridiculous book that I refuse to read mainly due to the dismal writing (“Two orgasms […] coming apart at the seams like the spin cycle on the washing machine, wow”). At one point, we’re introduced to a suburban married couple from Hertfordshire cooking meatballs, and the general gist of their own commentary is, “We’re not like normal married couples because we’re into BDSM.”
GOSH, HOW NAUGHTY.
See, this is my main problem with the hype surrounding book: people are acting like BDSM is some crazy novelty, both in literature and actual practice. In the case of the former, Story of O by Pauline Réage was published, oh, nearly 60 years ago in 1954; crucially, moreover, the writing of the book is actually good, thereby rendering it actually sexy. As for the latter, can we all please just accept that BDSM is enjoyed to varying degrees by really quite a significant proportion of people and that this has been the case pretty much since sex was invented? Thanks.
Still, the documentary also featured various scathing soundbites, such as Kathy Lette’s opinion of the novel’s heroine, Anastasia: “Ana is perfect. She’s a 22-year-old virgin […] She has no gag reflex and never gets cystitis now matter how much fornication and friction. So yeah, a real woman – not.” Meanwhile, Rachel Johnson declared delightfully: “Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t know any women who want anal fisting of a Friday night.” Even more pertinently, she condemns how the book “just panders to a woman’s desire to be looked after by a rich man, which I think is regrettable on every level”. Hallelujah.
PS: Does anybody else find it really offensive that the media keep speculating that, thanks to this book, women are suddenly having lots of sex? As if we had little or no desire beforehand but then E. L. James came along with her exquisite writing and now, magically, marriages globally have been saved? It’s just like, “Fuck you very much, one and all”.