Saturday, February 14, 2015

50 Right Ways to Approach BDSM/TTWD: Making a Decision

Welcome to Part 2 of my series!

To read the first portion, Getting to Know You, click here. I started this series as a way to differentiate between healthy BDSM/TTWD and the version of BDSM that is portrayed in the popular book series, and now movie, 50 Shades of Grey.

I'm going to call Part 2 the "Making a Decision" phase. This phase happens after partners have gotten to know each other, and are now considering trying BDSM with each other. This is a period where both partners must take the time to consider each other's wants and desires, and make an informed decision about whether they want to pursue the relationship or not.

Once again, this series is meant to differentiate between the wrong way and the right way. Since the wrong way seems to have made its way into mainstream entertainment, I feel compelled to clarify that there is a healthy way to approach decision-making in BDSM, and FSOG is not the manual for how to do it. Here is the next list of points on 50 Right Ways to Approach BDSM/TTWD:

Making a Decision

11. Christian Grey is annoyed by Ana's virginity, and sees taking it as an aggressive means to an end, rather than a special occasion--a healthy dominant who is highly more experienced than his partner starts slowly, and allows his inexperienced partner the time and care to fully feel, savor, and process each new experience.

12. After "ripping through" Ana's virginity with no respect for the occasion, Christian Grey has sex with her again, admitting that he wants her to be sore every time she moves the next day--a healthy dominant, again, takes new experiences SLOWLY, and does not attempt to give his inexperienced partner lasting damage during their first encounter, especially if it's her first encounter ever.

13. Christian Grey tells Ana he doesn't like to share her, referring to a phone conversation she has with a male friend--a healthy dominant realizes that he is not the center of his partner's universe, and that she has a right to time and conversation with other friends and family.

14. Christian Grey attempts to hurry Ana into signing his BDSM contract before she is ready--a healthy dominant does not need to hurry his partner into anything, because he has taken the time to establish a trusting relationship that does not put pressure on his partner to do anything she doesn't want to do.

15. Christian Grey's contract states that Ana must ask his permission to leave the relationship--a healthy dominant makes it clear that his partner can end the dominant/submissive relationship at any time, no questions asked.

16. When Ana needs time to think about what she wants, Christian Grey sends her a series of friendly, flirtatious emails to show her his "nice" side--a healthy dominant gives his partner time and space to figure out what she wants, and doesn't try to manipulate her decision in any way.

17. Ana tells Christian Grey ("jokingly," via email) that she's not interested, and he shows up at her house so angry, that she actually looks around her room for an escape route--a healthy dominant accepts it when a partner is no longer interested, and, if he wants to talk further, asks his partner to talk in person, instead of showing up, once again, uninvited.

18. Instead of talking about the problem, Christian Grey forces himself sexually on Ana, despite her protests and attempts to kick him off of her--a healthy dominant and a decent human being does not force himself sexually on his partner when she doesn't want it. THIS IS RAPE--THIS IS NOT OK.

19. Christian Grey insists on meeting privately, when Ana would much rather meet publicly--a healthy dominant does everything he can to make his partner feel safe and secure, including meeting in a public place to talk about the relationship.

20. Christian Grey uses Ana's sexual attraction to him as a means to getting what he wants--a healthy dominant does not use sexual attraction as a technique for manipulating his partner's wants and desires; he respects her wishes and doesn't try to "change her mind."

21. Christian Grey does not honor Ana's wish for space to think things through--for the love of God, a healthy dominant, again, gives his partner the time and space she needs to decide what she wants.

22. Christian Grey grabs and locks Ana in a locker room to inquire why she hasn't been responding to his texts and emails--a healthy dominant waits patiently for his partner's consent to a relationship, and doesn't forcibly confront her about it.

There we are--the "Making a Decision" phase--that period of indecision or hesitancy that may accompany the beginning of a BDSM/TTWD relationship. How you go about this phase affects everything that happens down the road. In fact, the health of the entire relationship depends on whether this phase has been done right or not. I think we can agree that Christian Grey and Ana have done it the wrong way.

To sum up what a healthy dominant does during the decision-making process:
  • gives his partner time and space to think clearly
  • does nothing to manipulate or influence her decision
  • does everything possible to make her feel safe
  • does not force anything on her
  • takes new experiences with her slowly, and not without her consent
OK, we're almost to the actual relationship phase--stay tuned!


  1. OMGOSH Autumn!! I LOVE this!! You should send this to the media!

    Good for you for talking about what BDSM is really all about! You have put a lot of effort into it all too. It is wonderful!! Hats off to you!

    Many hugs,

    <3 Katie

    1. Thanks, Katie! I'm not sure how the readers of mainstream media would react to this at the moment, since the general sentiment seems to be "BDSM is abuse, because 50 Shades of Grey..." Maybe they'll be ready someday :)

  2. Hi Autumn, I love these points about decision making, because they are all very clear about deciding responsibly and informed. This is definitely the only way, because consent makes the difference.
    Ana’s virginity just like the end of it is something that should have been treated in a far more special way, I’d have loved that in the book too, for sure.
    I think that it is clear that Christian Grey is a control freak at his best, and Ana is easily impressed and overwhelmed by that. But they are both working on the issues he has, much later. So, there is hope for him, but in real life, a partner who would scare me like Christian Grey does, is out of the question.
    Imagine the beginning of a relationship and all these things happened. That could never work, I think. I don’t mind hubby being pushy at times, though. :)

    Your sum it up-section is great. They are all true, though my absolute favourite is “does everything possible to make her feel safe” because I simply cannot function (silly word here, but fits) without that.
    You have created great food for thought and a lot of valuable advice of how to create a healthy bdsm-relationship. I love this, thank you!



    1. You and me both, Nina. Feeling safe is an absolute must. I can say that I have never EVER been afraid or intimidated by my husband, because he has always made me feel safe, even if he's punishing me (or threatening to!).

      I think this book series is kind of like rape fantasies--some women fantasize about the idea of it, but if they ever encountered something like it in real life, they would be horrified and undoubtedly violated.

      I guess a lot of times we have to suspend our disbelief to enjoy something erotic, but, unlike rape fantasies, FSOG has become incredibly mainstream, and it has a lot of pressure on it to be a realistic portrayal of a taboo lifestyle, which it is not.

  3. Hi Autumn, I agree with Katie, you should send this to the media, it's a great series you are writing!
    love Jan,xx

    1. Thanks for reading Jan--I can just imagine sending this to the New York Times, hahaha.