50 Shades of Grey has become a household name. It was the first e-book to sell over a million copies on Kindle. A book that includes elements of bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism (which combines together as the acronym BDSM) in an erotic fiction.
Reviews speculated over the book’s popularity: did it reflect women’s deep secret desire to be dominated in the bedroom? The story follows a young virginal college graduate, drawn to a troubled relationship with an older man, Christian Grey, who is unable to form intimate relationships. The whole gendered premise of the story is riddled with feminist bombs.
The the book insinuates a) women can cure men from their detachment issues, b) women may be naturally drawn to being dominated in the bedroom and c) boundaries of consent do not exist. Many of these myths are harmful and do not represent reality.
However, Bound to You works to break these stereotypes while still using the same story. Woman meets man who is unable to form intimate relationships. What the story does bring a big dose of reality, as it is a memoir of F-Word contributor Nichi Hodgson’s real-life experiences and it takes us on a journey exploring her sexuality. It depicts more realistic relationships of BDSM which includes healthy explorations of boundaries, and a deep understanding of dominance and submissive politics (balanced with gendered politics).
While a healthier version of 50 Shades of Grey, the book is not going to educate you about all the finer details of BDSM or about how to explore your sex life within safe boundaries. Hodgson does not presume to use this book as an educational tool, but rather an entertaining story. It also aims to grab some of the market share of erotic fiction with a more honest portrayal of women’s sexuality and the BDSM sex industry.