The practices of Sadism, Masochism is nothing new. It has been around since the days of Caligula Caesar and the hey day of the Roman Empire. But for many years after its fall the practice was seen as immoral and dark. It became associated with satanic worship and black magic. It vanished from society all together for many many years following.

Then it surfaced once again in the early Seventies. It was practiced in underground clubs in the less than desirable parts of town. In basements along the red light districts, In the V.I.P. suite at the Limelight. And occasionally in the bathroom at CBGB’s. (Yuck)


It wasn’t until the Eighties that it hit main stream. Private member only clubs opened up in even the most prominent areas. People turned their garages and cellars into red rooms. They threw parties that lasted from weekend to weekend. The metal music movement embraced and praised it. Bands like Judas Priest sang songs about it with titles like “Eat me alive” and “Love bits”. The band Bitch dedicated an entire album to it called “Live for the whip”. From Missing Persons, Berlin and Oingo Boingo to the likes of Motorhead, W.A.S.P. and Great White. The practice became a staple in the lifestyle and in pop culture. I mean who didn’t carry a pair of handcuffs on them at all times just in case opportunity presented itself.


Anne Rice wrote her masterpiece trilogy “Sleeping Beauty” around the same time. Which by the way was extremely well written and makes “Fifty shades of Grey” look like an article from Penthouse forum.


And of course there was “9 1/2 Weeks”. The director had to cut 30 minutes from the original film in order to get it released. And then it was held to just midnight showings. But to anyone who sat in on one of those showing in 1986, the strawberry scene will forever be embedded in your thoughts.


Although Clive Barker took it to a whole different level with his “Hell bound Heart” series.


Yet still as main stream as it was, it was still viewed as a dark practice. Taboo if you will. Evil. So once again it hid in the shadows of society. With the rise of “shoot me now” music, flannel shirts and anti government anthems. The decade of excess had come to an end. “Ain’t looking for nothing but a good time” was replaced by “I’m so ugly, that’s okay, ’cause so are you”.

Then it began to show its weary head one again in this past decade. Movies like Twilight, even though the trilogy was not about S&M, it was about fear and control within a sexual relationship. That paved the way for Rihanna to speak openly about her love of the practice and inspired her to sing about it as well. Although I think at some point she forgot the safe word.


Which of course brings us to “Fifty Shades of Grey”. A poorly written series of novels targeted at 40 something housewives who feel as if they are stuck in a rut need of something completely different. Not to say those are the only one who enjoyed tesding the books. And it has sold millions. It became the most talked about book since “Satanic Verses”. It took the practice and added a romantic twist to it. But let’s be honest, this is not something you experience with the one you love. It’s about power and shifting control. The author says she was inspired by the Twilight series to write these novels. (Which may be some insight to her intellect). It’s about letting go of your freedom of choice through restraint. Sure it’s fun, but it’s similar to auto erotic fixation. It’s not about love. It’s not about the other person. Only in fantasy novels it is.


Now the movie opens this weekend and I am sure it will be huge. Again it was sliced and diced in order to get that “R” rating. But this won’t be shown strictly at midnight. No no, there will be morning matinees and Sunday viewings. Although those who have read the book may feel a little cheated when it comes to the movie. The imagination always runs more wild than a directors eye.

Yet this should be viewed for what it is. Fantasy. Just as Edward and his vampire buddies do not exists in real life, neither do body building werewolves, or brooding depressed 27-year-old millionaires with red rooms. Kate Upton doesn’t really play World of Warcraft either. (Although I bet she does have a red room).

You have to wonder if the 45-year-old guy at Home Depot brought you back to his house after a date and opened a door to a play room just how long it would take you to beat feet and high tale it out of there. Not long I am sure. Billions of dollars changes everything however. So when women who read the book and wonder where is their Christian Grey. Just remember, you have to be Anastasia to find him. I think in this day and age the roles are reversed anyway. Women are more like the Christian Grey’s of the world. Risk takers and adventure seekers. Guys for the most part are content just being in the room.


Either way, it’s all fun and games until someone cracks the whip too hard and you forget your safe word.

About paulsdahlman

Born in Southern California, raised on the road and now growing roots in New England. I am on the journey of my lifetime. May the footprints I leave behind form the words to my story.
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