Sunday, July 29, 2012

careful what you wish for . . .

From Publisher's Weekly . . .
The 50 Shades trilogy is entrenched in the top three spots on Amazon's Kindle chart, but a number of e-books with BDSM elements have also crept into the top 100. As of July 17, excluding the 50 Shades books, there were seven titles with BDSM themes in the top 100, which means that, including E.L. James's books, more than one out of 10 bestselling Kindle books fell into this category.
The seven non-50 Shades e-books included Sylvia Day's Bared to You, which was #8, and that book's upcoming sequel, Reflected in You (#65). Day's books are published by Penguin and are the only two that have print versions. The other five BDSM titles in the top 100 are e-book only and are $2.99 and under. The seven titles, all of which were published after Vintage rereleased the 50 Shades books in April 2012, are as follows:
Bared to You by Sylvia Day (#8)
Anything He Wants by Sara Fawkes (#25)
Training Tessa by Lyla Sinclair (#28)
By His Desire by Kate Grey (#62)
Anything He Wants 2 by Sara Fawkes (#63)
Reflected in You by Sylvia Day (#65)
Anything He Wants 3 by Sara Fawkes (#68)
On Amazon's print chart, the only similarly themed title (outside of Day's books) is Marisa Bennett's Fifty Shades of Pleasure: A Bedside Companion, landing at #66.
So it seems that a full 10% of the current top 100 top selling titles for Kindle have some BDSM as a part of their content, the 7 books listed along with the full 50 Shades series.  I'm not exactly sure what to make of this trend, on it's surface it would seem rather promising, if nothing else than to indicate a higher level of acceptance for BDSM than we've ever before experienced as a community.

I guess acceptance is good, if you're into that sort of thing.  I've always enjoyed being a rebel and doing things that were considered risky or dangerous.  Oh please don't get me wrong, my risks are always calculated and tempered with competency in technique, but I liked to travel the edge.

When I started combining bondage and sex at age 17 in 1980 I was heading down an pretty indistinct path, a road less traveled  The path I trekked down was like a foot path, I wasn't breaking ground, but there were not masses beating the bush to follow in my footsteps either.

Some folks would call it "progress" but that foot path slowly became wider and more distinct, as I've aged it's grown in various stages to the point where the popularity of BDSM is starting to approach superhighway status.  As a community we have more choices and options than ever before . . . But as the BDSM community becomes more and more mainstream, I also lose the sense that I'm playing on the edge, and that leaves me feeling a bit ambivalent.  

I feel somewhat similar emotions when a band I've enjoyed for years turns the corner from semi-popularity to stardom.  It's great to have my tastes and predilections validated with popularity, but it seems that along with mass appeal and acceptance there often comes a certain sort of blandness and loss of direction that can accompany commercialism.  

I guess that's my fear, that we're about to become a commodity rather than a community.  I see signs of it happening with individuals attempting to ride the coattails of the 50 Shades phenomena with not only a bedside companion, but now even an alternative lifestyles personal life coach running "50 Shades of Curious" seminars.  

This isn't exactly what I'd envisioned when I said to my friend Cherub, some 20 odd years ago, that the BDSM community needed to get organized, that we were a generation behind the GLBT community in fighting for acceptance.  

Bringing to mind the the title of this piece . . . 


  1. "...liked to travel the edge." Think this describes the direction much of the mainstream population is now moving. Look around at how much of the media and literature has changed due to commercialism. The public is entertained by that which is shocking, vivid and above all different from their daily lives.

    As an avid reader of all genre, I can see the changes that have taken place over the years. More and more mainline fiction writers try to scintillate the reader with graphic descriptions of murder, mayhem and sex, not always necessary to the plot or character development.

    Take a look at the changes in television shows...Lucy & Ricky had twin you see nude bodies doing the mattress mambo. Cuss words were not used, now all the four letter words as well as bastard, bitch, whore etc are common place utterances. Murder was shown but no blood, you see the heads explode and blood flying. And then there are the reality shows and Jerry Springer type of shows.

    Don't get me started on video and computer games. I love to play them. However many games, popular with teens, use rape, robbery, maiming, murder and warefare as the mainstay to advance levels and earn points. (couldn't believe my daughter let my teenage grandson play one such game...ugh!)

    Movies once set the stage for seduction and let your imagination take it is soft porn. Nothing is left to the imagination.

    I could go on and on with examples of how our society is becoming desensitized and needs more and more stimulation to the senses. What was once private and/or taboo is now common place entertainment. So what will be next to engender the public's excitement...public execution, real murder, Hunger Games type reality shows?

    I don't want censorship. I want to read books of my choice, play how I see fit, and be entertained as I choose. I too like walking a bit on the 'edge'. However, I'm mature enough to make good choices in my personal life and make sure those decisions don't harm anyone else.

    But my worry/concern is for our youths being exposed to so much "stuff" before their brains are fully developed and good judgement kicks in.(check brain research on teens) How can they make good meaningful choices for life experiences when the examples around them make everything so blandly common place?

    Whew! Guess I'm darting off in too many directions. I don't think "50 Shades..." means BDSM is becoming more accepted by the masses. People like things that are different and excite their senses. It doesn't mean they necessarily want to try it, live it or even accept it. They just want to be excited by it.

    Thanks for allowing me to vent.


    1. Thank you for airing your thoughts and weighing in. There certainly have been a lot of changes of what is acceptable. I agree that there are many people who follow trends and want something to spice up their lives.

  2. I feel this way - I see references to kink everywhere, and I don't think that's just my dirty mind - and I think "It wasn't like this when I started..." (albeit that was a mere 14 years ago, but still).

    But then, today on the Enquirer, I saw the line "Kinky sex and drug binges" in reference to the Aurora shooter... and I think perhaps it's not as mainstream as it maybe feels right now.


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