#2: Ana’s Heroines vs. Sexual Liberation
While we’re on the subject of literary allusions, let’s take a look at a couple of the ones our dearest Ana herself makes, and how they impact her sex life. After all, there’s a reason Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover was finally allowed to see unexpurgated print in the 60s—
Sexual Revolution, anyone?
Our dear friend Anastasia Steele (will that name ever stop sounding both ridiculous and ridiculously-fun to say?) is an English major in the book, and insists on reminding the reader of that fact by constantly dropping literary references…in much the same way a newly-potty trained infant keeps dropping references to what they just ‘accomplished,’ but still, let’s take a look at the figures she references.
Lizzie Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Tess from Tess of the D’Urbervilles—
Noticing a trend?
All three women faced with dealing with difficult men…Jane and Tess both have to deal with men who treat her absolutely horribly…and, oh yes—all these books are pre-sexual revolution, as Jenny Trout states in her absolutely wonderful chapter by chapter blog-style recap and critique of the book. If you’re curious, by all means head on over, and listen to the fantastic audio recaps with Kate Davidson at Beneath the Hat.
It was already problematic enough for a writer like Stephenie Meyer to deal in the sort of Gothic Romance, Jane Eyre/Wuthering Heights-style romance popular in the time of the Bronte sisters, but doing so in a way that champions these pre-equality, utterly-creepy romances in a way the Brontes arguably never did. But, at the very least, Jane and Mr. Rochester and Kathy and Heathcliff were legitimate literary romances.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles, on the other hand? Not so much. That story has Tess—possibly one of the most ill-treated female characters in all of English literature—be verbally and emotionally abused by one suitor, the ironically-named Angel Clare, and outright assaulted and raped by the slimy Alec D’Urberville (no relation, as Tess finds out.)
Tess the heroine and the book overall are used as the romantic template for Fifty Shades of Grey…and that’s pretty much akin to taking sensitivity lessons from Mel Gibson. Add to that the fact that arguably the most famous adaptation of the novel was made by—wait for it—Roman Polanski of all people, and it should quickly become clear that, for as much of a masterpiece as Thomas Hardy’s novel is, it isn’t and never was meant to be read or used as erotica to fuel your sexual persona.
If you really want to spice up your bedroom ballet…well, first, respect your partner more than Mr. Rochester, Heathcliff, or Alec D’Urberville do (though that shouldn’t be hard.) Besides that, however, when introducing Fifty Shades of Grey sex acts or any erotic play into the routine which you and your partner find to be hot, remember to keep a post-sexual revolution attitude in mind.
Pick activities, positions, instances of role-playing, bondage, etc. keep all of that equal power-wise, equally-pleasurable and most importantly of all, equally sensual and consensual. Not only is that going to make the acts we’re going to mention below a lot steamier, but it avoids you coming off as having the mindset of an abusive 1800s misogynistic or rapist…
Which we’re sure your partner will appreciate, and which you should want to avoid as well.