Judgemental Kinksters...

Chastity Darling Chastity Darling
I am beyond irritated with my co-worker at the moment and I am wondering if I am over-reacting or if I have a legit reason to be irritated. You tell me...

I work at a local brick and mortar sex toy shop. The other day I had a lovely couple come in looking to explore some BDSM activities and were looking for some lighter equipment (restraints, blindfolds, spanking tools, candles, etc). One of the things that the woman asked about was metal anal plugs and wanted some information on them. I, of course, showed her what we had and talked to her a little bit about what she was looking for and why she was looking for metal as a beginner. She tells me that both she and her husband read the 50 Shades series and it opened their eyes to exploring their kinkier sides. I made a few product suggestions and helped them find some products that would be more suited to their beginner status and suggested that they do a little research into the BDSM community and safety before embarking on their kink exploration.

As soon as this couple walked out of the store my co-worker began her judgemental tirade. The door of the store was not even closed before she started in on "All these fucking vanillas think they know everything because they read those stupid books." I have heard similar sentiments from several people in the BDSM community. **I am not hardcore BDSM, I am definitely on the lighter side of any activities, just for clarification** It really irritated me that she wanted to focus on the negativities of the 50 Shades series and its impact on couples everywhere.

I have read, but am not a fan, of the 50 Shades books, but I am a fan of the fact that it has opened the minds of people who would have never before explored these types of activities. My co-worker has never even cracked open any of the books that she is condemning.

So here is my question, I guess. Am I being too judgemental of my coworker and getting irritated for nothing or am I legit for feeling this way? Am I the only person that can see the positive influence this poorly written series has had on relationships everywhere? Or do I have a legitimate reason for wanting to tell her to shut up and let people explore their kinks?
05/01/2013
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Ciao. Ciao.
I have no real interest in reading 50 Shades of Gray, and I will confess that the prevalence of the books in discussions around kink can be a bit obnoxious (only when they are used to supposedly represent kinky lifestyles as some sort of definitive or authoritative document0.

But to judge someone's personal motivations for exploring their own sexuality, that's just being snotty and judgmental. If 50 Shades helps some people to find something good/exciting/kinky in themselves, fabulous! If it can normalize kink a little more, great! It's an imperfect series sure, but I think it's ridiculous for anyone to put their own sexual tastes and preferences up on some sort of pedestal.
05/01/2013
Chastity Darling Chastity Darling
Quote:
Originally posted by Ciao.
I have no real interest in reading 50 Shades of Gray, and I will confess that the prevalence of the books in discussions around kink can be a bit obnoxious (only when they are used to supposedly represent kinky lifestyles as some sort of definitive ... More
I read them only when they were passed on to me free of charge, but read them because of the business I am in and the constant referenced to the books.

I completely agree with the judgy part of your post. I don't care how people gain some information or get ideas, I just want everyone I come into contact with to explore themselves and their relationships and have a happy, healthy sex life! I do love the fact that the series pushed kink into the mainstream. I just keep coming back to the golden rule of kink: YKINMY. I don't understand judging anyone else on their bedroom activities.
05/01/2013
charletnarouh charletnarouh
i read all 3 books and hated them. i read them so that i could, unlike your coworker, critique them fairly. i hated the ideas they portrayed and the way BDSM in general was handled. i'm CONCERNED that they will give people the wrong idea, lead them to unsafe behavior, or encourage them to think they "know all about" BDSM just because they've read it. i think it's great that it's opening people up to their sexuality! i think it's wonderful that it's increasing an acceptance of BDSM. Our society definitely needs more of that. What i don't like are things like when someone learns that i'm into BDSM and says "Oh! i know all about that! Just like 50 Shades of Grey!" *facepalm* So i'm kind of right in the middle. i see the upsides, but i have personally encountered some of the downsides and can definitely see more hypothetical ramifications.
People like the couple that came into your store, though, are at least seeking information. It doesn't seem like, from your post, that they came in acting as if they knew everything. It seems like they were receptive to the information you were able to provide and open to learning which is the reaction to the book that could be beneficial. i definitely think your coworker seems to be coming from the wrong place to be working in a place like that where she's in the unique position of being able to take those starry-eyed 50 Shades fans and actually educate them and hopefully help them and prevent them from getting into trouble. Certainly, i can sympathize with her getting frustrated, but it seems like she should be more grateful that it's A. helping the industry she's part of and B. giving her an opportunity to better that industry and the community by educating.
05/01/2013
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
While I, too, cannot stomach the series I applaud the couple for taking the time and initiative to ask your opinion and recognise your knowledge. That takes courage!
I am a Wiccan...I could claim I am a "true Wiccan" because my knowledge comes not from books but from a lovely community with a long lineage...but I don't condemn people for becoming interested in the religion from reading a book on the subject. I simply smile and gently correct their misconceptions (yes I use magic for personal gain, no I don't believe the "burning times" ever happened to neo-pagans...etc.) and wish them well. Living a magical life can be exciting and fulfilling so I am always pleased when someone opens his or her mind to the possibilities. The same is true about the 50 shades series.

You are right to be miffed at the co-worker and would have been right to gently correct HER behavior. We were all newbies once and learning what we like best regardless of where we got the idea.
05/01/2013
treehugger treehugger
I think the books are extremely problematic and do a terrible job of portraying a BDSM relationship, but if people are willing to learn how to be in a safe/sane/consensual kinky relationship because of them I think that's fine.
05/01/2013
talon4196 talon4196
My girlfriend started the first book yesterday. She randomly laughed throughout the day saying "this is sooooo bad." She said she wanted to read it since she received a few 50 Shades toys.

I only read a few paragraphs and think it's poor literature. People shouldn't need a crappy book to open their minds. If THAT does it, I'm worried about other things.
05/02/2013
gsfanatic gsfanatic
It's kind of silly to be judgmental, especially about people who started with 50 Shades, but went out and are doing independent research. Not the best start, but at least they're being smart about learning more
05/02/2013
Gdom Gdom
While I tend to think that 50 Shades of Grey has probably done more harm than good for the kink community (through misrepresentation, misinformation, and weird classist overtones), I think you were definitely in the right here. If someone finishes reading 50 Shades of Grey and wants to expand their sexual horizons, that's awesome. And if they meet a sex toy shop worker like you who encourages them to explore and continue to research, that's even better. Now, some people come away from 50 Shades of Grey with a warped (and potentially dangerous) understanding of what BDSM is supposed to be. Or they never realize that they need to do some research beyond the poorly-written erotica in order to play safely and enjoyably. But that doesn't seem to have been the case here. Your co-worker totally overreacted based on a generalization of 50 Shades of Grey readers (and I say this as a practitioner of some harder BDSM and as someone who dislikes that book intensely).
05/02/2013
Woman China Woman China
A little off topic... this might e a good incentive to come out with the "Complete Dummies guide to BDSM" or are they called, "The Idiots Guide to.." in either case, can you imagine how much a person would make writing and selling that book?

And nope. I do not think you are being judgey at all. To each their own.
05/02/2013
JDear JDear
I don't have a problem with couples exploring BDSM for the first time. (I work at a sex shop as well.) But I hate it that 50 Shades is what's bringing it about. I wish that something other than a misrepresentation of a kink relationship was making women want to explore their sexuality. One of my coworkers and I down talk 50 Shades all the time when no one else is around. I really hate it actually. And that woman is making millions off of all this hype. Millions.
05/03/2013
FieryRed FieryRed
Quote:
Originally posted by Chastity Darling
I am beyond irritated with my co-worker at the moment and I am wondering if I am over-reacting or if I have a legit reason to be irritated. You tell me...

I work at a local brick and mortar sex toy shop. The other day I had a lovely couple ... More
Your coworker's statement about "All these fucking vanillas..." is essentially the same as making a racist or sexist comment: she's judging all people with "vanilla" sexual preferences as sharing the same attributes of ignorance. That, in itself, would be reason for me to be quite irritated.

Now, if she'd made a comment about "those stupid books" and the misconceptions they're spreading, rather than the "fucking vanillas," it might have been justified. Granted, I have not read the books, but I have read a number of detailed reviews on Amazon, and it sounds like I would agree with what most people have said here about its problems.
05/07/2013
Gary Gary
Retail in general requires thick skin, some people definitely handle it better than others.
05/07/2013
Trysexual Trysexual
Quote:
Originally posted by Chastity Darling
I read them only when they were passed on to me free of charge, but read them because of the business I am in and the constant referenced to the books.

I completely agree with the judgy part of your post. I don't care how people gain some ... More
I agree with you both. Your co-worker is being a dick. Everyone has to start somewhere and not everything is into things to the same extremes.
05/07/2013
Trysexual Trysexual
Quote:
Originally posted by gsfanatic
It's kind of silly to be judgmental, especially about people who started with 50 Shades, but went out and are doing independent research. Not the best start, but at least they're being smart about learning more
I agree. This is a fictional book after all. People are getting way to upset about it. I've read enough reviews to realize it is poorly written, joke of a plot, bad characters, etc. and all the other critiques, but it's not like it was sold as a "how to" book.

It's kinda like getting upset over a Dan Brown or Harry Potter novel. I don't think a large majority of people who pick it up are suddenly going to enter the BDSM world any more than someone watching a gang bang video is going to re-enact the scene. Some maybe, not far from a majority.
05/07/2013
Total posts: 15
Unique posters: 13