Why 'Fifty Shades' is Pathetic (According to a Real Dom)

At first glance, BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism) may seem like an abusive practice carried out only between heartless, psychologically disturbed sadists and victims with low self-worth. Appearances, however, are often misleading, and with BDSM, this misunderstanding is especially profound, as is obvious in the new movie release, “Fifty Shades Darker,” an erotic romance film.

In a typical romance novel or movie, the formula goes something like this:

  1. Man and woman meet.
  2. Man or woman has an internal and external conflict that needs fixing.
  3. The other partner helps to fix the problem.
  4. Man and woman live happily ever after.

“Fifty Shades Darker” follows this formula to the letter, and here’s the problem with that (other than the fact that it’s just bad movie writing) is that BDSM is a healthy practice for safe, consenting, and sane adults. No one needs fixing. As a professional dominatrix, I am constantly working to be more loving, compassionate, and respectful toward my subs, not manipulative or abusive.

A study conducted by the “The Journal of Sexual Medicine” found favorable results in the psychological characteristics of BDSM practitioners. Most people who practice BDSM are not neurotic, sadistic adults who have been profoundly abused and neglected as children, like Christian Grey, nor are they submissive Anastasia Steele, barely more than walking zombies when it comes to their dominant partners.

In fact, the study found that “BDSM practitioners were less neurotic, more extraverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, less rejection sensitive, had higher subjective well-being, yet were less agreeable.”

For these reasons (and for its boring, vanilla BDSM sex scenes), I found “Fifty Shades Darker” to be a pathetic and disturbing portrayal of what, in a real-life BDSM relationship, would have been a caring, intimate relationship between Dominant and submissive partners.  

(This article previously appeared on huffingtonpost.com and was written by Sandra LaMorgese)