Confessions of a Smut Peddler #1: Sit Down, Christian Grey

Oh, boy. Welcome to what I am affectionately starting as COASP: Confessions of a Smut Peddler. Be warned that, like the general contents of my site that COASP will be mostly NSFW. It will also be long winded, ranty and somewhat essay-like. To sweeten the pot, there’s a treat in here about my newest upcoming release, The Lady in the Velvet Collar.

Cheers!

Sit Down, Christian Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey is an international best-selling franchise. There is no denying this fact. I admire EL James for becoming a household name, and primarily, for bringing BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism) to mainstream suburban America – and I hope that some day, my unknown name will be able to reach that level of success. Yet, the book trilogy, the feature film, the associated board games and sex toys spawned by this franchise leave a slightly awkward taste in my mouth. That originates from the main problem I have in this franchise.

I just really cannot stand Christian Grey.

Oh, boo hoo. I’m joining the rest of the voices of the internet that don’t like him. It’s not an uncommon argument. To save time, this site says it best, detailing why the book is really about an abusive relationship – written by a domestic abuse survivor, who peppers her own experiences into her reasoning. Do a quick Google search and there are dozens of articles that rip the prose apart and compare the actions of the two lovers to a dysfunctional, abusive relationship.

To those ready to counter with what I’ve seen as the most common counter argument (it’s a work of fiction! He changed because he loves her!), that’s not really why I dislike the franchise so much. Fifty Shades ticked off a good portion of the fetish community, when they saw his portrayal of domination and submission passed off into the mainstream. Christian Grey is a poor Dominant at best, one who does nothing to educate his submissive (Anasasia) into what the world of BDSM means.

Oh yes, I’m going into that kind of territory.

BDSM is a dark, fun lifestyle and it can be played out safely. There is a key phrase to kinksters: safe, sane, consensual. Christian Grey violates this tenet over and over again, disrespecting Ana’s wishes right after she says it (she placed anal play on her list of limits she will not do and he treated it like she was meant to reconsider because he wanted her to, for instance). He introduces her to concepts like sensory deprivation and intense spanking/pain way too early in her education. Wait, no. He didn’t educate her at all, which is just careless of any Dominant. His idea of education was telling her to Google what submission meant. That cannot prepare any submissive for the physical and emotional intensity that comes with being a submissive.

There are countless faults I’ve found with Christian’s role as a Dominant, and I could probably go on and on about it. Skipping past that, the fetish community was also upset with the reasoning behind his actions. Christian could pretty much get away with anything because he was, by his own admission, “Fifty shades of fucked up.” He shoves his reasoning for being a Dominant under this as well, from his affectionately referenced “crackwhore mother,” to the woman who coerced him into an adult BDSM relationship at the young age of fifteen. By the reasoning of the franchise, the main reason why he engages in BDSM is because he is “fifty shades of fucked up” — that is, because his childhood was full of neglect and abuse, rather than a healthy reason. Because of the lack of other BDSM players in this book series (aside from his adoring “sub club,” the women who had been his submissives in the past), it plays Christian off as the end all/be all of Dominant relationships. For long time Dominants, Masters and others who play into the more Dominant role, it was a smack in the face to see a Dominant portrayed this way. For submissives, it was also a smack in the face to see a submissive portrayed as Ana was, defiant and eager to learn, yes, but for the most part, just a doormat.

Out of this frustration with a mainstream success, The Lady in the Velvet Collar was born.

 The Lady in the Velvet Collar

Allow me to get uncomfortably personal here. Velvet Collar is a fetish-themed erotic romance novel that circulates around my protagonist Madison Stone – and deals with her education and introduction to the world of BDSM. It is a deeply personal portrayal based partially off my own personal experiences in this field.

Oh, I just heard screeching tires go off for some of my readers.

For those that know I’m an erotica author, that might already be a shock enough. I am a player in the fetish world as well. Despite the fact that my man and I have been active in this since 2009 (vaguely off and on since 2009, with a dedicated revival in 2014), I consider myself a beginner in this world. Rather than try to assert myself as someone who knows everything, I let the reader journey with Madison, to see her formal education and rise as a submissive. And yes, I said rise as a submissive. Although she takes a submissive part, she is far from a doormat. There’s kind of a stereotype that floats around: the Dominant says jump and the submissive jumps without thinking. A curious submissive might want to know why, or want to know what jumping on command does to reinforce the Dominant/submissive dynamic. Madison wants to learn everything she can, and she enters new experiences with the same sort of caution.

It took under a year to draft a 97k word draft, which is a huge surprise, considering the weight of other writing projects I’m involved in. I was compelled to pen down Madison’s story, and with the support I had from my man and a very good friend, the story practically wrote itself.

Velvet Collar is being edited now, and I want to be very honest with my readers. Its origin was a blatant response to the Fifty Shades franchise. I will not talk shit about another author –  that’s just trashy. But I had problems with the prose, the characters and the image depicted of the fetish community. That said, Velvet Collar can be considered somewhat of a response, as well as a love letter I’ve written to the fetish community, about how dear I hold the values within a Dominant/submissive relationship. Any sort of D/s relationship needs a heavy hand in open, honest communication, self introspection, and reflection. Since I’ve dipped myself into this world, I’ve gotten to know myself on levels I didn’t think were possible.

I’m hoping that message of self-discovery is more blatant than a franchise about an unexperienced woman getting in over her head. The last thing I would want to do is tick off the community I have so much respect for, because I’ve replicated the same faults that got Fifty Shades panned. Careful revisions and plenty of thought are going into the edits for Velvet Collar, so we’ll see how strong Madison fares in comparison to Anastasia.

So yes, sit down, Christian Grey. A new power couple is coming, and the power they wield goes beyond that of a wealthy businessman.

Just wait and see 😉

 xo, 
Jayda

Oh, and blog image credits go to Marie Claire.