With the movie Fifty Shades of Grey becoming a global phenomenon (earning over 400 million globally in ticket sales in the first two weeks), it is very likely that many couples will be heading home to create their own “Red Room” of pain or pleasure (if they don’t end up in handcuffs before ever leaving the theater itself, that is). So, while you may be tempted to masturbate at the movies during some of the hot, sexy scenes, or worse!, I encourage you to create your own fifty shades of grey experience in a safe, sane and consensual fashion.
In the film, Christian and Anastasia negotiate the terms of their contract, which will not include any activities than are non-consensual, and she defines her list of limits (activities she will not do). Before you create your own “Red Room,” you and your lover (or play partner) should have a talk about what activities you will try out and which ones are off limits (don’t go there). This is super important before taking part in any type of kinky play (or sex for that matter), so partners can stay within the boundaries of that agreement and construct a safe space to play within, both physically and emotionally. This safe environment allows both parties to better immerse themselves more deeply into the play, knowing their limits are already defined and that they have a secure space to explore their fantasies together. Please note: exploring fantasies in a safe, negotiated, consensual environment is much different than a real life. Many people have fantasies about being bound, whipped, raped and dominated, but in real life No means NO!
While it is not necessary to have a written contract, a BDSM Checklist can inspire you to add different elements to your play you may not have thought about, as well as learn about activities you may want to avoid. Here is the actual contract from 50 Shades that you can print out and share. Here is a BDSM checklist similar to one that I have used in the past.
Also noted in the books and used in BDSM play is the use of a safe word or words. The word “Yellow” is used during a play scene to bring attention to the dominant/top that the submissive/bottom is close to their limit of endurance, or that the dominant needs to slow down, stop or change the activity. “Yellow” could also indicate the need for a break, or water, or that the submissive is getting dizzy, overwhelmed, etc…, so this is when the dominant checks in the with sub to see what’s going on. Of course, the dominant (or giver) should be constantly checking in with the submissive (receiver) during an entire scene by paying attention to their body language and making sure they are okay verbally. “Red” means stop activity immediately and completely, and usually indicates that the submissive has met their limits. A smart and empathetic dominant will hopefully never make their partner use the “Red” word, as they are constantly paying attention to their partner’s needs. It is not cool to push limits, unless this is previously negotiated. The reason safe words are used in BDSM play is because a submissive may say “No!” during a scene, or “stop!” when in actuality they want their partner to continue, as they are playing a role. They know that this is a fantasy and that their partner will not really hurt them. This is how a BDSM fantasy differs than real life when No does mean No!
The atmosphere you create for a scene can be very important, allowing both partners to get into the roles better. There are lots of ways to create a seductive (or intimidating) Red Room scene by using music, lighting, fabric, props, tools and attire. In 50 Shades they used a lot of red, black and brown: red walls, dark furniture, dark colored play toys and lots of leather. You can easily create a sense of this by draping the walls with red fabric, hanging toys from chains, and spreading red “pleather” over the bed. Using candles can go a long way to create atmosphere as well, but just be careful not to turn your play space into a red fiery blaze. I personally like the metal sconces you can get from dollar stores that have flickering lights that look like candle light. Much safer when your mind is elsewhere.
For bondage furniture you can DIY your own make-shift pervertables like a spanking bench made out of a padded chair or an old saw horse wrapped in leather. There are designs online for creating a Saint Andrew’s Cross or other dungeon furniture if you are handy with tools. Then again, you can purchase sex toy furniture rather cheaply that can be used in a pinch like over-the-door restraints, or bedroom bondage kits.
There are several types of play toys that Christian uses on Anastasia during the movie. Remember it takes time learning how to use new tools, so be careful and try to learn various techniques before you start playing on an actual living body. There are lots of sources for learning including DVDs, books and local play groups which hold Kink Aware demos and workshops.
Bondage Toys—In the movie, Christian uses various types of bondage equipment to tie Ana up with. There is the infamous grey tie he uses to wrap around her wrists, along with bondage rope and leather hand cuffs.
Safety Bondage Tips
- Always have safety scissors on hand in case of an emergency.
- Learn as much as you can about a bondage technique before trying it. Read, watch, practice and if possible get an experienced mentor to show you the ropes. If you can’t go to a workshop, buy some good bondage books or DVDs to learn the ropes.
- Learn where the basic pulse points are located on the wrists, upper-inner thigh and throat and avoid crossing these with direct pressure from the ropes.
- Ropes should fit snugly, but not too tight so as to avoid serious injury from loss of blood supply to the bound part. You should be able to slip one to two fingers under the ropes.
- Avoid metal hand cuffs if you are a novice as they can chafe, and don’t secure too snugly which will cut of circulation. Plus, you wouldn’t want to be one of the enthusiasts who lost their key and had to call the paramedics to un-cuff them.
- Never bind rope around the front of someone’s throat.
- Never leave someone bound alone. Skin should be constantly observed for numbness, coldness, and discoloration, as circulation decreases.
- Test new bondage techniques for 10 to 15 minutes before trying longer time limits.
- Avoid placing pressure on the Brachial Plexus nerve which runs along the back near the scapula (shoulder blade).
Blindfolds are awesome sensory tools that can be used to limit your partner’s vision which in turn fires up their other senses. Suddenly, every noise, touch, or whispered breathe becomes charged with eroticism when your other senses are enhanced and aroused.
Sensation play toys include anything that can create a different, often sensual, sensation on your play partner. There is a sexy scene in the movie where Christian uses ice between his lips to run down Ana’s body. Other sensation play toys include feathers < >, silk or satin (for a soft touch), or vampire gloves and pin wheels (for a prickly touch).
Crops and Floggers
Crops and floggers are otherwise called percussion toys. Crops are very firm, thin and can deliver quite a nasty sting, so should be used with caution. They are excellent when used for positioning your sub and correcting posture, or quick light smacks. Floggers are usually made of leather or suede and have several fronds hanging from a handle. They can be used as a deep massaging type of percussion play tool on the back, the butt, between the thighs, stomach and chest. They can be wielded a bit harder than a crop with less pain, as they provide a thuddy, broader impact.
Those are only a few of the types of BDSM toys you can use for sexy kinky consensual play. There are also kits available such as Dr. Ava’s How to Couples BDSM Kit which has an instructional DVD by Dr. Ava Cadell, so perfect for beginners with lots of juicy tips. For experienced players who like a kit that can do everything and is travel friendly, there is Ms. Ming’s awesome Pocket Dungeon Kit. And, of course, there are all the Official Fifty Shades of Grey products endorsed by E.L. James herself.
So, now that you have the tools to create your own Red Room of pain and pleasure, don’t forget to play consensually. I don’t want to read anymore about idiots blaming Fifty Shades of Grey for their own ignorance or using it as an excuse to assault someone else. Ending up in hand cuffs is much more enjoyable as a fantasy place scene, than it is in real life.