Our expert was surprised to find she loved the film, though it could have used "a little more heavy flogging"

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February 13, 2015 07:00 PM

No one buys a Fifty Shades of Grey ticket for the dialogue, but how do the sex scenes stack up? To answer that question (and many more), we turned to Stephanie Hunter Jones, a Los Angeles-based sex therapist with 15 years experience as a professional BDSM (Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism) player.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!

What did you think of the film overall?
I was pleasantly surprised! I thought it was a great film. It portrayed a very small relationship in the whole vast array of different types of relationships in BDSM. The media and the film industry always like to portray a dominant/sub type of thing, but there are many different types of relationships in the community. As far as this particular type, I thought it did an excellent job.

What would you have changed?
Something I really wish the film had done was shown a little bit more of the play. To me, it was such a tease! And then it got really hardcore at the end. But there’s so much more rich, exciting BDSM play that I wish could have been put in the film so that people can see that part of it. I wanted more scenes where he tied her up! Maybe a little more heavy flogging.

What did you like most?
My favorite part was when he first took her into the Red Room of Pain. I loved when he had her on her knees and he had her hold her hand out and he hit her hand. What a beautiful scene! He was taking her out of her head and into her body. That’s why BDSM is so awesome.

What did you think of Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan?
I wasn’t overly impressed. I was more into the story than their performance. I mean, I think they did fine. I felt that their chemistry could’ve been better.

Was he physically intimidating enough to be a dom?
You know, most of my experience has been with female doms. Most doms don’t know what they’re doing, but on the rare occasions you get a dom who does know what they’re doing – I had that wonderful experience a couple times – they were these little bitty guys! You forget about the look. It’s about the power. And I think that was the case here.

Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey
Chuck Zlotnick/Focus Features

Did it bother you that Christian had a ”dark past”?
I’m so tired of hearing how damaged the person is, just because they’re into BDSM. Or any kind of kinky sex for that matter! That’s a falsity. That’s not to say that there aren’t damaged people out there doing BDSM, but there’s damaged people out there doing everything! I was like, why, why do you have to do that? That bothered me the most.

Most people seem to be curious about whether BDSM players actually negotiate a contract. Is that something that happens?
In my experience, it’s more of a verbal contract. I’ve never known anyone to document it on paper. But to me that’s part of the consensual aspect of it. He wanted to make it clear to her so that she wasn’t shocked, so that she was aware. I was surprised by that! I’ve heard a lot of pushback to the consensual aspect of this film. But I thought the entire thing was consensual.

How so?
It started in the beginning when he went to the hardware store and he was buying rope and tape. He was introducing her to his lifestyle and she was slowly saying yes. It’s his way of testing the waters. She sort of knew where it was going. She wasn’t completely sure, but she kind of knew.

And that one scene when he said he doesn’t make love, he f—s? She said, show me what you do. All of that is her form of consent. She was giving her consent throughout the entire film. He was totally respecting her.

What about when he whipped her and she ended up in tears?
The thing I think people are missing about that scene is that the submissive did not respect her own boundaries. She pushed herself when she wasn’t ready. Everyone wants to blame Christian, the dom, but he did an excellent job of respecting her and leading her gently through the process the entire time.

Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades of Grey
Chuck Zlotnick/Focus Features

Should he have maybe recognized that she wasn’t really ready to see that side of him?
He gave her the safe words! Yellow and red. The submissive is actually in control in any BDSM relationship. And that’s always the case. Before he whipped her, he said “do you remember the safe words?” And she never said them.

I would put the blame on both of them. I wouldn’t place it directly on him. Our fears regarding BDSM are all in our head. If we just let go That scene where they’re riding in the glider really shows it. If we just let go, we can just experience so much more.

But you have to respect your own personal boundaries. We can’t give away all our power to someone else. She, at the end, gave it all to him. She was topping from the bottom, as they say. She was trying to get what she wanted out of him.

And you know, now some people are going to leave going, “ew.” The problem is that very few people are that heavy when it comes to their playing. A lot of people are medium players or light players. I think the movie gave the wrong impression that it may be too dangerous to experiment with.

What are you looking for in a sequel?
More playing! Let them see that it’s exciting and passionate. Show it! Show the clear link between the BDSM and the sexuality and how much it enriches your sex life.

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