Fifty Shades of Grey has been sparking a lot of conversations lately. Writers all over the Internet have discussed the story’s relationship dynamics, the clear signs of domestic abuse present in the relationship, the story’s fixation on luxury branding, and of course, the kinky sexual practices that Christian “singularly” enjoys. 

Those kinky sexual practices? It’s some form of BDSM, though I wouldn’t say it accurately portrays the practice. Sure, the tools may be right (and yes, I did have some BDSM wet dreams from that Red Room in the film), but I wouldn’t argue that either of them were in it for mutual pleasure.

Another thing the movie brought up – is BDSM only for weird people?

In the case of this particular story, the only characters that practice BDSM at all are Christian (and we already know he’s “fifty shades of fucked up”) and that cougar woman who “helped Christian deal with his issues” by making him a submissive. Anyone who’s read the book or seen the movie will attest that actually he still has issues, but that’s a completely different story.

But what about BDSM? Is it really weird? And if you enjoy it are you weird? 

Turns out, not so much. The United States takes the cake on the amount of people who claim they like various aspects of BDSM. Thirty-six percent of people interviewed in a sex survey by our fave condom company Durex, say they like being blindfolded, tied up and spanked during sexy time. In the world, that number drops to 20%. 

This Pipedream blindfold is affordable and comfortable.

Okay, but we definitely know that America’s weird about sex though, right? So maybe these people that engage in BDSM really just have sexual issues they can’t address…

Wrong.

Turns out that people who indulge in some form of BDSM are actually psychologically healthier than those who are just doing plain ol’ missionary all the time. According to science (yay, science!), people that engage in BDSM tend to be more extraverted, open to new experiences, more conscientious and less neurotic. These facts were pulled out of a couple different studies… One in Australia and one in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, which should essentially clear us of any guilt or shame in practicing it… safely, of course.

Unfortunately, we still have a long road ahead of us. 

Those of us living in the United States know first hand how hard of a time we have talking about anything remotely sexual, which makes talking about how normal BDSM is even harder. Until just recently, the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V had pathologized kink, listing it as examples of “paraphilia (i.e. sexual perversion) and sexual fixation.”

Just as recently, Susan Wright, founder of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has written at length about the “risks of disclosing one’s affiliation with BDSM, including discrimination, violence, job loss, and legal obstacles surrounding child custody.”

Sadly, book series like Fifty Shades of Grey are also not doing their part to normalize BDSM. Rather, the message given about BDSM in those books is one in which with enough love and someone to save him, Christian doesn’t need to practice BDSM (which is more like abuse than actual BDSM) anymore. 

But never fear! There are plenty of kinky erotica novels that more or less accurately showcase a healthy BDSM relationship. If you saw the movie and thought the Red Room was hot (because let’s face it- Christian’s house was the sexiest part of that film), check out my post on your top BDSM questions answered. If you’re ready to start playing, check out this awesome list on how to start your own BDSM tool collection. 

Start your collection with these luxurious handcuffs.

Last but not least, science has proven that we are not weird for liking kinky shit! As if you were really worried about that already?!