50 SHADES OF PERMISSION & POP PORN

It’s official. The planet’s column inches are now drenched with words like, “hotly anticipated”, “erotically-charged”, “kinky bestseller”, “BDSM has me tongue-tied.” (okay, maybe not that last one).

The Fifty Shades of Grey silver-screen tsunami is here. And finally, women everywhere are hearing that post-modern, Shakespearean utterance, “Laters, baby…” in Dolby surround sound.
Sure. All very arousing. Question is, why?

One word: permission.

For 125 minutes, with feet firmly planted on a sticky floor, women are “given” free rein to express their sexuality…albeit in a dark room with strangers watching two actors have well-lit, choreographed orgasms. But darn it, we’re going to love every manufactured moment. ‘Cause it’s good, old fashioned, pre-packaged, accessible erotica. Who cares if there’s a little non-consensual BDSM? A leather flogger or three? Unknown-2An emotionally-castrated dude taking control? All fine. The book’s bestseller status assures us this is an acceptable sexual outlet for the modern woman’s weary, time-ravaged libido.

Don’t get me wrong. My friends and I happily sat in the front row on opening night, revved up for arousal. But I squirmed in my seat the whole time and not because of a script that inspired more titters than turn-ons. Or the sullen Mr Grey whose emotional range is matched only by Emmett from the Lego Movie.

No, here’s my issue with this shady phenomenon… 

Unless we’re watching stylised pop-porn like Fifty, or getting tipsy and predatory on Studs Afloat, or testing a vibrator’s strength on our noses (recommended), what else is a socially, morally acceptable expression of a woman’s sexuality in the 21st Century?

Sex therapists seem to agree, E.L James’ bonkbuster has “given” us chicks permission to explore our sexualities. What fun, or WTF?

Is our view of our sexuality and what we are free to feel, think or do, so messed up that we’ve handed over our desires/kinks to some pulp clit-lit author?! The fact that a squillion women have bought into Christian’s kinked-up version of true lerve, points to one thing: women are (still) sexual, libidinous creatures. But if we need to watch a virgin’s scripted sexuality unfurl so we can somehow connect with our own, well, that, to me, is more twisted than Grey’s tie.

Flocking to “mummy porn” for the permission we can, should and must give ourselves, astounds and annoys me. When did our sexuality become “inaccessible” or “unacceptable”?

Thanks to the movie Hysteria, some of you may already know that in 19th century England, female sexuality was largely pathologised. Women didn’t have orgasms – just “hysterical paroxysms”; theirs for the price of a doctor’s visit.

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And therein lies the rub.

For the last few centuries, we’ve been fed a fairytale that’s less about the shiny knight and more about a libido that just doesn’t scrub up. What’s a poor girl do? Supress. Repress. Devour clit-lit. Pore over porn. Anything but give yourself permission to come of (real, sexual) age not dictated by writers or the media.

Have we become so squeamish about our sexuality, we need highly-publicised triggers to wake up our natural urges? I hope not.

Thing is, there’s nothing wrong with gushing over Fifty.

We just need to see it for what it is – a fantastical depiction of a virgin’s deflowering – at the hands of a sociopath in designer suits. So, as you revel in the flick’s diaphanous plot and fashion, the sexified soundtrack, the shots of Seattle, please keep this in mind…

Exploring your sexuality isn’t predicated on the price of a movie ticket. Just like the humble orgasm, organic or vibrated, it’s utterly, deliciously free.

Now, pass me the pop-porn.

 

 

PhylisFoundis-photo-s#F1319Phyllis Foundis is a writer, mother, producer, story hoarder and award-winning TV host of Foundis, a talk show for men, by men and those who love ‘em. A vibrator veteran and champion of intimacy beyond the bedroom, Phyllis is has recently been nominated Most Outstanding New TV Talent in the 2015 ASTRA Awards. Her book, The Joy of Sags: Sexual adventures from the pre-menopausal frontline is out in 2015. Twitter @phyllisfoundis

*cover image from Hysteria

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