“Fifty Shades of Grey”, by E L James, is seemingly on everyone’s lips. Views vary. There have been criticisms of both the author’s style of writing and her depiction of BDSM as the result of some psychological disorder, and some brilliant parodies have emerged across the internet.
However, the book has acted as something of a gateway drug for those who have never dared think too deeply about – or experiment with – kink and seems to have given millions of people a new lease of sex-life. The reaction from an otherwise ‘nilla mainstream has been surprisingly positive. Pamela Stephenson Connolly wrote a brilliant article for the Guardian that clears up a few of the novel’s misconceptions about BDSM and psychology, and here’s a chunk of it:
“…Ten years ago, I carried out an extensive psychological study of people in the BDSM community – the largest empirical study ever done at the time – to examine their psychological attributes and determine if there was any justification for the notion, commonly held, even within my field, that they were all psychologically disturbed. After giving each of the 132 participants four hours of psychological tests, as well as a face-to-face interview, I found that, in fact, the group was generally not mentally unhealthy, and the instances of early abuse that had long been associated with the adult practice of BDSM were present in just a few.
When I presented my findings in 2003 at the annual conference of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counsellors and Therapists (the full study was published in the Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality in 2006), the jury was still out as to whether BDSM and psychopathology went hand in hand. But since then, it has been firmly established – through the work of Peggy Kleinplatz, Charles Moser and others – that BDSM, played in a safe and consensual manner, is not proof of mental or physical illness, essential badness or emotional damage from trauma or abusive parenting, and that people cannot – and should not – be treated to cure it…”
Full article here.