The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty

anne-rice-sleeping-beauty-trilogy-tv-series

There are a lot of fantasy/role-play books with BDSM themes, and people often ask me what is something really fun to read and really kinky?

One book I always suggest is The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, which is the first in a trilogy.

I should admit first that I don’t actually like the beauty series (myself). I am not very good at getting lost in fantasy, and so the whole time I was reading these books I was completely horrified by the lack of consent.

The plot (very briefly): A princess is given to a prince (unwillingly) by her parents so she can learn discipline and humility by becoming a slave in his castle, used for sex as well as random punishment with paddles and whips and the like.

Even though I find the lack of consent unnerving, obviously it is a fictional story with fictional characters and no one at all as harmed except in Anne Rice‘s imagination. So it is very silly of me to find it hard to read.

My only explanation is that I have spent too long in the kink scene, and I have said “safe, sane, and consensual” too many times. It is part of who I am and there is no changing it now. Even in fantasy I want the characters to submit of their own free will if they do submit.

But I digress. If you are looking for a fantasy series about kink, then these are really good books for you. It doesn’t matter if you imagine yourself as the prince (if you are a Dom) or if you imagine yourself as the princess (if you are a Submissive). From either point of view the series explores a wide variety of interesting taboos and situations that your imagination will probably have fun playing with.

45f7b48494b55bece3f6c92cf641c68d

50 Shades of Grey

fiftyshades14f-1-web

For the longest time I saw no point in reviewing this book. I saw no point in writing a blog about it, or even bringing it up. I didn’t even know what to say, and in any case, it has been written about over and over by so many people that one more voice didn’t seem like it would add much to the collective dialogue.

I mean, even Dave Barry wrote about 50 Shades of Grey! I definitely didn’t see that one coming. (But it was really funny and you should read it.)

My point is: everything that could be said had been said, and I didn’t know what I could possible add.

But a recent Google search for something kinky again pulled up more 50 Shades of Grey links and pictures, and I found myself miserable that a community I have been in for so long is associated with something so bad. I suddenly felt that this was an “if you see something, say something” situation like stopping men from harassing women or anyone from beating a child. I didn’t care if it had all been said. I was going to say it again!

So first, I have a reading list of good books related to kink that you can read. So you should know right away that there are excellent source materials out there that are not very bad erotic fiction written by someone clueless about kink.

Second, let’s talk about the BDSM slogan: “Safe, Sane, and Consensual.”

It is not safe to date someone who stalks you. It is not safe to date someone who forces you away from your friends and insists on you keeping things a secret. Those are the behaviors of abusers, and you need to stay away from abusive men and women. No one should ever try to isolate you from loved ones like your friends and family, and no one should ever come to your home after you tell them to leave you alone. It’s not healthy to break boundaries that are set by your partner, and is not sane behavior to stalk someone.

And remember that consent is a really big deal. I totally make people fill out consent forms. I have them fill out checklists over tea. I do intense scene negotiations to make sure I am clear on what someone is okay with. And that is how BDSM is supposed to be.

The relationship in 50 Shades of Grey is super unhealthy, as plenty of people before me have said.

I read the book because of a friend of mine named Doctor Xtreme who makes interesting sex toys. He lives in Denver Colorado, and he reported to me that the book store near his house had a pallet of the first 50 Shades book brought in each day and sold out by nightfall. Of course, he was in no way implying that it was a good book. Only that it was a popular book.

Why does that matter? Well, as many have said, it reflects upon the community.

And the truth is, this unhealthy relationship between Ana and Christian reflects very poorly on our community. It will bring new people to our munches and fetish proms who are looking for abusive relationships; coming to us with horrible standards for what they think BDSM is.

It was also pretty awful writing. As an avid reader my entire life, I think I can say that. It was very hard to get through already for ideological reasons, but then I also had to force myself to keep reading (the way I do with a dull textbook for a college course that I’m not into.)

And now they are going to make a movie of the first book, and when that goes well, I bet they make the whole set. I am dreading it. It’ll bring it all out into the public eye again where we all have to discuss it some more, and that won’t be any fun at all.

Anyway, I just wanted to add my voice to those arguing for safe and consensual sex. I hope in the future, more people will come to realize that the BDSM community is a wonderful place, and that 50 Shades of Grey is not representative of us.