The Impact of Fifty Shades of Misinformation


On Friday, February 13th, the movie Fifty Shades of Grey opened in theaters throughout the country.   I went to see it and felt horribly uncomfortable.  Many others left the movie well before it ended.  As an expert in alternative sexualities I’ve felt comfortable hearing some of the most atypical sexual fantasies and desires in clinical sessions.  The cheesy script in this movie aside, my uncomfortable feeling was born from the lack of accurate information portrayed throughout the movie.  Such misinformation about sexual minorities as has been been linked with increased persecution and alienation through “othering” which, in turn, leads to a marked increase in suicide attempt, drug and alcohol use and psychological distress.

During a recent presentation to a clinical group I cited a number of statistics regarding the incidence of BDSM practitioners which was similarly cited in an article entitled Why Doctors Need to Pay More Attention to their Kinky Patients.  Another article by Dan Savage provides additional information that dispels mythes and fears about BDSM practitioners.

Essentially, the Fifty Shades of Grey movie:

  1. did not even address one of the most compelling BDSM principles of surrender as a spiritual process.  This has been the case in many religious practices throughout history.  This process and practice applies to psychotherapeutics.  The transformative healing will be explained further in future posts.  Until then read through Raven Kaldera’s writings.
  2. Overtly stated the main character, Grey, was sexually and physically abused at the age 15 by an older female friend of his mother.  His character subtly reflects, however, the common response of many grown men who were sexually abused as a boy.  That is, many men view their initial experiences of this type as socially acceptable and in the context of coming of age.  In fact, female pedophiles have statistically lower jail terms as compared to male perpetrators which strongly implies a collective unconscious agreement that if you do not have a penis you can not seriously harm a child.
  3. failed to reflect the fact that no reliable research statistically correlates the pre-existence of sexual, physical or mental abuse as a child with future BDSM practices.
  4. Grey’s character appeared coercive and manipulative when attempting to entice Anastasia into signing his contract.  Healthy BDSM relationships are free of manipulation and coercion.
  5.  implied BDSM involves no intimacy.  BSDM involves deep embodied experiences involving trust, surrender and control, among other things.  Various types of intimacy play a huge role in BDSM relationships.

It is imperative teachers, parents and professionals obtain a robust and comprehensive understanding of BDSM, kink and other alternative sexual expressions.  Without this knowledge it is very likely they will further demonize and perpetuate misinformation leading to self harm and unintentional harm to others.  E mail  or call me now to get additional information on how best to guide and support adolescents and adults into a healthy sexual identity and expression.

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