This BDSM community is furious about ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

Trump uses Canadian company to sell ‘Made in America’ merchandise
A key component of Trump's 'Made in America' merchandise is literally un-American.

See all Editor's Picks

bondage

dadevoti

Thanks to ‘Fifty Shades,’ the longest-running fetish community on the Web is overrun with tourists.

The Internet has a lot of different opinions about Fifty Shades Of Grey, but we can all agree that the movie has had one positive effect: It’s made BDSM more acceptable to the mainstream. By taking a niche culture and putting it on display, Fifty Shades has given millions of middle-class Americans a taste for restraints, riding crops, and blindfolds. But experienced members of the BDSM community aren’t so happy with its success. 

The Guardian reports that while the online BDSM community FetLife has grown from 1.2 million members in 2012 to 3.6 million today, thanks in large part to the success of Fifty Shades, longer-term members are leaving FetLife en masse, griping that the BDSM culture now suffers from a lack of cohesion.

Launched in 2008, FetLife has traditionally been one of the most popular online communities for those interested in the BDSM lifestyle. Yet the Guardian reports that longtime FetLife members are becoming frustrated by the influx of Fifty Shades fans intrigued by BDSM. So they’re migrating to WhatsApp and private Twitter accounts to stay in touch with the people they already know from the community. “We use it to discuss outfits, meeting up, and have discussions which we wouldn’t want to share with hundreds of others,” one former FetLife member explained. 

For longtime members of the BDSM community, there’s a huge benefit to keeping such groups private. Not only does it make it easier to connect with friends they’ve made in the community, it also reduces the risk of them accidentally running into someone they know in real life. 

As Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, a sociologist whose work focuses on gender and human sexuality, explained to the Daily Dot: “Isolation doesn’t bode well for people.” For those interested in BDSM who have felt anxious or ashamed about exploring their own kinks, communities like FetLife, which are full of like-minded individuals, are “legitimizing.”

For the sake of comparison, consider furries, who derive sexual pleasure from dressing up in furry animal costumes. This kink is hardly considered socially acceptable, but the Internet can help these people feel less alone and less marginalized. Dogpatch Press, for instance, is a popular hub for discussion of furry issues. But unlike FetLife, Dogpath Press is hardly overrun by neophytes curious about the furry lifestyle, because there’s no furry equivalent to Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Internet’s various BDSM communities have certainly been changed by the release of Fifty Shades Of Grey. But as those more committed to the lifestyle are pushed to the edges in order to maintain their privacy, it makes it that much more difficult for newbies with genuine interest to find their own truly supportive community.

H/T The Guardian | Photo via dadevoti/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Via
7 things ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ won’t teach you about BDSM
It's time to paddle some sense into people who think the BDSM of Fifty Shades of Grey is real.
From Our VICE Partners

Pure, uncut internet. Straight to your inbox.