In reality, relationships like the one depicted in 50 Shades of Grey often end in unsought violence, and sometimes even death.
Amid the revelation that another installment of 50 Shades of Grey will soon be upon us—this time from Christian Grey’s perspective—a shocking collection of anecdotal evidence re-enforces that trauma often results from sadistic sexual encounters. Robert Peters, in his research titled Sadomasochism: Descent into Darkness, illustrates the harms of violent sex by collecting over 120 pages of real-life news reports documenting the harms that regularly follow torture-based sex.
Peters’ purpose for gathering such a large volume of non-fictional examples is to open eyes “to the destructive nature of sadomasochism [S&M] and pornography.” While top media outlets and talk show hosts have encouraged couples to engage in sexual activities such as detailed in 50 Shades, Peters warns couples to “be careful what you open the door of your life to, because you don’t know what S&M will lead you or a partner into sooner of later.” His research lists numerous stories of adults who have either died accidently while engaging in S&M, or who have killed others. The striking quantity of these stories makes the pattern of sexual violence morphing into violent deaths morbidly clear.
What is perhaps the most shocking is the number of news stories also related to young girls and boys engaging, or being coerced, into these acts. A recent article from news.com.au, included in Peters’ collection, cites Susan Mclean, a cyber-safety advisor, as noting that teenage girls are being pressured to copy hardcore and violent pornography. Mclean stated that “They’re not watching anything within a circle of normality — they’re looking at rape, bondage, torture and bestiality. The girls in the videos all appear to like it, so girls think that’s just how sex is.’’ The mainstreaming of these same themes of bondage and torture, as seen in 50 Shades, only further normalizes sexual violence.
Peters’ research is also ripe with anecdotal evidence depicting the harmful impact of S&M on marriages. One example of this would be the wife of a New York City police officer, who was horrified to discover that her husband had been visiting fetish websites centered around torturing and killing women. There are also many examples of husbands and wives who agreed to sadomasochist pacts within their marriage, which later boiled over into blatant abuse of one partner.
Because many of these torture sex acts are ones that partners in relationships refuse to commit, there are numerous accounts of prostitutes and human trafficking victims who are then subjected to the dark fantasies. Peters gathered several harrowing news articles reinforcing this fact; such as one story from 2015 concerning a woman who was sex trafficked across the country, and subjected to burns and injuries with nails before being rescued. Peters’ research only further confirms the position of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE), that the 50 Shades franchise glamorizes torture sex and domestic violence without regard for its harms in the real world.
To learn more about NCSE’s actions concerning 50 Shades, and how to get involved, visit the project Fifty Shades is Abuse.