Kink and Consent: Christian Grey is An Abuser, Not A Dom

Kink and Consent: Christian Grey is an Abuser, Not a Dom or A Romantic Hero

When 50 Shades of Grey came out, everyone around me was swooning over it. Family members purchased it, friends were talking about, yet I was slightly put off on how mainstream and beloved it became. BDSM has always been looked down upon, questioned, misunderstood, and shamed in society. As someone into BDSM, as someone who had friends into BDSM, as someone who perused Fetlife, as someone who listened to other people share their stories, as someone who dabbled in different kinks, and as someone who was open about it - I knew how others viewed it. So hearing a supposed BDSM book was popular among communities? I had to check out the hype because something seemed -- off

And I was right.

The central relationship is not a consensual BDSM one: it is abuse and manipulation. Hands down. In abusive relationships, consent, respect, limits, and trust is nonexistent.  In true BDSM relationships (and relationships in general), there is consent, trust, limits, respect, and understanding being given from the beginning. In true BDSM relationships, pain is voluntary and pain is desired. Both the dominant and the submissive know what they are getting into. In Ana's relationship, she was emotionally and mentally manipulated into pain she didn't actually want and wasn't even remotely prepared for.

What is BDSM?

To put it simply, it is the erotic practice or roleplaying involving Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism. BDSM strongly encourages consent, trust, communication, education, and safety. Bullying, blackmail, and emotional manipulation is not an occurrence in BDSM. There are no contracts. Consent is given but can 100% be revoked at ANY time. Communication is present at every turn. There is an illusion that subs are not in charge - when in fact they are. Tops will obey immediately when a bottom requests the stop. It is very important for the top (or Dominant) to be very aware of their bottom (or Submissive). It is important both top and bottom are in tune with one another. The top holds a strong responsibility of making sure their bottom is safe and enjoying themselves.

Education is key in BDSM due to safety hazards - both mental and physical. It is strongly stressed in the BDSM community and it is something that is lost within this book giving people the idea that it's okay just to go out, buy some products, and begin paddling their partners or tying them up improperly potentially causing nerve damage. There is an art and a technical aspect to many things in the BDSM community that this book fails to reiterate and understand. 

The Problems

Anastasia Steele

The main character. She has no sexual identity, has low self-esteem, is introverted and seemingly shy, has abandonment issues (aka the typical "daddy issues" portrayal), is bullied by her only friend, and pretty much holds no personality or unique traits, and feels no self worth until Christian Grey comes along and tells her how and when to do things. She is vulnerable and co-dependent and an abusive man uses that to his liking and treats her like prey to manipulate the way he sees fit. It is not okay to portray quiet, vulnerable, introverted, and nonsexual women as potential submissive victims that can be molded, manipulated, and treated like shit and name it "romance" or "true love". It is harmful. 


He has everything tracked. He has told her "Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I would find you. I can track your cell phone - remember?" He constantly shows up unannounced wherever Ana is - her work, her home, the bar, her mom's house, he repeatedly calls her no matter how many times she doesn't pick up. Unwanted attention is not affection and it is not flattering. It is harassment. 


He bought out all the photos Ana's friend took of her at an exhibit because he didn't want anyone else to see them. Red flag. She's hired as a publishing assistant and he buys out the entire company claiming he wants to make sure she's safe when in reality, he wants to keep tabs on her every move. Red flag. Literally says, "I exercise control in all things, Miss Steele." Red flag. She goes out with a friend to a bar and gets drunk after Christian told her not to so he flies from New York to Washington. That night. Red. Flag. 


Christian Grey gets close to rage anytime anyone touches or talks to Ana. Jealousy is a natural reaction in relationships but Christian's consumes him. He acts as if it is an emotion that can't be controlled and that's not noble -- that's horrifying and often the beginning sign of abuse. Possessiveness is not attractive and this is not what it would look like in a true BDSM relationship and it is not what it should look like in a regular relationship. 

Ignoring Safe WordS & a Partner's Limits

"No, I protest, trying to kick him off. He stops. 'If you struggle, I'll take your feet too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you." Anastasia was uncomfortable and unsure for the entirety of the book. And although, no is not often used a safe word in BDSM, Ana has never been apart of the BDSM community to truly grasp the concept of safe words. He also manipulates her into thinking she shouldn't be using safe words anyway by basically saying any sort of no is a "convince me" i.e. “If you say no, you’ll say no. I’ll have to find a way to persuade you.” And let's not forget this horrifying gem from Ana's perspective, 

"I blanch. What can I tell him? That he frightened me. That I didn’t know if
he’d stop. That I begged him—and he didn’t stop. That I didn’t want things to escalate
. . . like—like that one time in here. I shudder as I recall him whipping me
with his belt.
I swallow. 'Because . . . because you were so angry and distant and . . . cold.
I didn’t know how far you’d go.'"

He was never concerned with how Ana felt but merely how it affected him. 


I won't beat this horse anymore than I have but obviously, the portrayal of BDSM is completely out of touch with what it actually is. Not to mention, portraying Christian Grey as a man with deep seated emotional trauma stemming from childhood abuse who is unable to initiate intimacy outside of sadomasochism because of it is a continued mockery to the community. It states that people participating in BDSM do so because of some sort of psychological damage and that is not always the case.

Self-Awareness & Removing Accountability 

Christian Grey is not an idiot. He knows he's dark and twisted, he knows he has issues, he has stated it. This is why he's been in therapy for years (with seemingly no progress). He admitted his actions and motives were often selfish yet he continued to repeat old behaviors and the same path. Self-awareness is great but useless if one continues to manipulate someone for selfish reasons. 

Love Can Make Someone Change

So many women (and men) in abusive relationships strongly hold onto the idea that their love and their sympathy can help the abuser change their ways. No matter how many times the opposite occurs. This novel perpetrates that idea and allows women in this same position to keep on trucking on. To keep on taking abuse in hopes that something will change. We need to be teaching our women that it is okay to leave. That we are not emotional saviors of men. That it is not our job to fix someone. That we are important and that we have self worth. 

The Author

My other issue I hold is with the author herself. I remember watching this interview and being mortified that this was the woman who was attempting to normalize abuse and calling it BDSM. She did research via the internet and seemed as though BDSM was something to be ashamed of while being questioned by the interviewer. She had a huge platform to help normalize the misunderstood BDSM community. She had a huge platform to promote sexual positivity. She did none of it. But I don't blame her, I would be ashamed with this mess of a book as well. 

This series is an insult and mockery to the BDSM community. Christian Grey is portrayed as a romantic, edgy hero when he is, in reality, a master manipulator. Horror movies are labeled as horror movies. There is no question about the purpose of a horror movie. There will be gore and murder and brain matter. Rape culture and abuse masquerading as a romance movie gives the wrong idea to countless viewers. And in a world where rape culture exists, normalizing and fetishizing this type of relationship is dangerous. 

By all means, watch the movies and read the books. Enjoy it. Go out and buy yourself a blindfold, some rope, a whip, and pick a safe word. Feel sexy. Feel inspired. Feel seduced. Feel horny. Feel aroused. But do research. Talk to your partner. Understand each other's limits. Understand safety concerns. Be open. But please do not use this book or this movie as a manual or a relationship to achieve. It's important to realize the problematic undertones within this series and have an open, honest discussion about it. 

What we truly need is more erotic books that fetishize making women squirt and partners that equally communicate needs and desires. Romanticize consent.

How to Eat for Better Sex

How To Eat For Better Sex

Looking for some happy and healthy humping? Cooking up a better sex life begins in the kitchen. It's no surprise that eating well allows us to feel confident in our skin. Our bodies feel lighter, our skin glows, and all-in-all we genuinely feel better. And confidence in the bedroom goes a long way. It doesn't just help our physical appearance but other key factors as well: personality, performance, and pleasure.

Thankfully, many of us are already eating these necessary vitamins and nutrients just not in large enough quantities. Here's the rundown of a diet to help you get down and dirty the best you can. 

Cuisine for Cumming 

Strawberries: Aside from being sweet, they're also sexy. These fruits are rich in antioxidants which helps blood circulation and experts suggest a healthy circulatory system is a necessity for a high-functioning sex life. However, the vitamin C in strawberries are known for an increase in sperm count so make sure you're not allowing them to swim without protection.

Avocados: Reportedly in Aztec societies, avocados were a huge aphrodisiac and in their language, ahuácatl is their word for avocado which directly translates to testicle. It makes sense due to its shape but it also has a lot of sexual benefits. The avocado is rich in vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium, and monounsaturated fats. These keep the blood flowing and the heart beating strong. Heart disease can actually cause erectile dysfunction so there's no question here: pay extra for the guac. 

Sweet Potatoes: One culprit for erectile dysfunction is high blood pressure and the potassium in sweet potatoes can help lower it. 

Almonds & Pine Nuts: Both are rich with zinc, a libido-enhancing mineral. Studies have shown people with higher levels have a better sex drive. Toss them on a salad paired with avocado for extra yummy benefits. 

Oysters: This slimy seafood has a known history of being an aphrodisiac stemming from Casanova, the 18th century lover, who ate 50 everyday for breakfast. There's no scientific evidence to back his claim except it's full of zinc for your libido. 

Water: Don't throw off your game with dehydration. Water is essential to a healthy diet but it's important so you don't lose steam in the bedroom. Infuse some strawberries for double the benefit. 

What to Avoid

So we've talked about food to aid the mood, but what about foods that will potentially annihilate your sex drive? 

Soy: A high soy diet can lower testosterone, sex drive, sperm count, and fertility levels so try to lay off the soy protein shakes. However, a occasional amount is helpful as it is known to lower cholesterol. 

Corn Flakes: It has been said corn flakes were invented to stop masturbation. The creator, John Harvey Kellogg, was anti-rubbing-it-out who believed a spicy diet of meat and seasonings were the reason for high sex drives. To contrast that, he created the plain cereal we know as corn flakes in hopes to curb everyone's desire. 

Steak: Sorry meat-eaters, but this one puts your sex life at stake (pun intended). While it contains zinc, it is also high in saturated fat and cholesterol. This can dampen your sex life by affected your heart health and overall blood circulation.  

Overconsumption (especially of high-sugar, high-carb foods): You'll wind up feeling tired and sluggish and will NOT want to move. So not only will there not be better sex, there won't be any sex. Eat your meals slower. It gives your food time to digest and a chance to feel full. 

Treat Your Body Like A Temple

If you want to be worshipped as a sex god(dess), start packing your body with nutrient-dense foods that will keep your stamina up, your blood flowing, your libido high, and your heart beating strong. Body odor is also affected by what we eat. Would you rather taste and smell someone who wakes up early and starts blending fruits together or someone who eats pizza bites everyday for lunch? Studies have shown one will have a much better odor than the other and I'm sure we can all guess which on that'll be.

When it comes to diet talk, we always discuss how it'll help us lose weight or get us in overall better shape. But we leave out discussion on how food affects our sexual and reproduction health. And it all connects. A healthy sex life can lead to a happier body and a happier mind and a healthy body and mind can lead to a happy sex life. 

So put down your phones, deviants. It's time to go produce shopping and do some intense meal planning. 


Shayna Shattelroe

25 years old. Mama to Maddox. Word weaver. Lover of love. Coffee addict. Psychological science student. 

A woman of curious nature, my name is Shayna. I am wild & reserved. Humbled & proud. Quiet & clamorous. Strange & familiar. I live in the trees of New England typing away as lifestyle blogger. You can always find me with a coffee cup in one hand and a book in the other.

Blogging since 2005, I’ve had an innumerable amount of blogs on a vast number of platforms. Finally, I’ve found one to call home: The Lovely Cicada. This blog is a piece of myself I extend to you.

15 Beautiful Quotes to Inspire

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Words are, unsurprisingly, my passion and collecting quotes that resonate with me is a favorite pastime of mine. Having a list of quotes around as positive affirmation or inspiration when you're having a rough day will help lift you up or at the very least, allow you to work through the problem, feeling, or emotion on hand. 

Here's a very small list from my personal collection that I absolutely adore.

1. "Everybody isn’t going to love you. Most people don’t even love themselves." - Unkown

2. "I want a blaze of light to flame in me forever in a timeless, dear love of everything. And why should I pretend to want anything else?" - Jack Kerouac, Windblown World

3. "Know this: you can start over, each morning." - Tyler Joseph

4. "Cause you never think that the last time is the last time. You think there will be more. You think you have forever, but you don’t." - Meredith Grey

5. "There are people who dislike you because you do not dislike yourself." - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

6. "You can never laugh too much or have too many orgasms." - Michael Faudet

7. "I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me." - Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

8. "Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment." - Lao Tzu

9. "How do you move on? You move on when your heart finally understands that there is no turning back." - J.R.R. Tolkien

10. "When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits - anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving." - Kim McMillen

11. "I’m with you. No matter what else you have in your head I’m with you and I love you." - Ernest Hemingway

12. "So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More Compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out and decide." - Meredith Grey

13. "There can be no rebirth without a dark night of the soul, a total annihilation of all that you believed in and thought that you were." - Hazrat Inayat Khan

14. "It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self love deficit." - Eartha Kitt

15. "Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’re ever been. The one constant in our lives is change." - Daniel Gilbert

What quotes speak to you?