Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Grey, Saturday, May 21, 2011, or “THE BIGGEST CHAPTER EVER: PART FOUR”

Now, everybody who’s been around these parts knows that Christian Grey is a creepy rapist. That’s not in dispute. But I’m still going to give you guys the heads up here with a CW: Rape, not because this is a rape scene, but because so many things he says/thinks in this chapter sound exactly like something a rapist would say/think. So there’s your heads up.

EDIT: I just woke up and read this amazing post on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. It is so super relevant to this recap, I had to edit to include it.

Yes, we’re still on the same, massive chapter. If you want to read this recap in tandem with the original recap, you’re going to want chapter eight.

This day in history: Anabella Steeleswan lost her virginity and turned into a pirate.

Chedward has just realized that the woman he’s mistaken for a potential fucktoy is actually a worthless virgin, and he’s super angry:

“Why the fuck didn’t you tell me?” I growl, and start pacing my study. What do I want with a virgin? She shrugs apologetically, at a loss for words.

“I don’t understand why you didn’t tell me.” The exasperation is clear in my voice.

Okay, so, a few things. One, underlines indicate italics. Two, exasperation is a pretty big back step from where we were just a paragraph above (in the last recap), where you “glare at her as fury surges through” your body. Now it’s exasperation, and there hasn’t even been a section break?

Ana points out that it’s not like he ever asked, and she doesn’t generally blurt out that she’s a virgin to people she just met. You know, unlike some people, who decide they can meet a person and then days later ask them to sign a sex contract and barf out all of the details of their sex lives whether another person wants to hear them or not.

Which, by the way, is what Chedward is so angry about: he showed her his sex room, talked about hard limits, and revealed all this stuff about himself, and she has the nerve to not be exactly what he expected. He responds with ludicrously dramatic dialogue:

“May God forgive me,” I mutter under my breath.

He’s worried that she’s never been kissed, either. She answers:

“Of course I have.” She looks offended. Yeah, she’s been kissed, but not often. And for some reason the thought is…pleasing.

Ana is doomed here. She can either be a chaste virgin whose chasteness and virginity disgust Chedward, or she can be sexually experienced and disappoint him. And this is going to be the theme of their entire relationship from here out.

Why hasn’t some guy taken her to bed?

Because some guys understand the word “no”? I mean, not many, but some.

Shit, maybe she’s religious.

Hypothesizes the guy who just begged God’s forgiveness for talking about sex to another adult.

She gazes down at her fingers, and I think she’s smiling. She thinks this is funny? I could kick myself. “And you’re seriously discussing what I want to do, when you have no experience.”

I’m loving this scene from his point of view, because it’s explicitly laying out the thing that makes me stop reading a romance the second it comes up, and it still comes up with disturbing frequency even now. Here we have a romance novel hero internally boggling at the idea that a heroine’s sexual agency needs to be unlocked by a man, like a video game achievement. It’s amazing to him that she’s making decisions about her own sexuality without having the prior permission that only sexual penetration can grant. From this perspective, Ana appears to be a far more empowered character than she came off in her own head.

“How have you avoided sex? Tell me, please.” Because I don’t get it. She’s in college–and from what I remember of college all the kids were fucking like rabbits.

All of them. Except Me.

Wait, hasn’t your mom’s best friend been boning you since you were fifteen? I suppose the distance between Boston and Seattle probably put a crimp in that.

How has she avoided sex. I love it. It’s an inevitability that she’s going to have sex with someone. As a beautiful young woman, she owes it to the world to have sex, to the point that she’s apparently dodging dick like a runner jumping hurdles.

Ana tells him that nobody has ever taken an interest in her.

No one has what? Seen how attractive you are? No one’s lived up to your expectations–and I do?

Me?

There seems to be a real push in the narrative for the reader to see Christian has having the same low self-esteem Ana has in her point of view. But it’s totally incongruous with any of the characterization that’s going on inside of Christian’s actual head. We see no evidence that he actually has this much self doubt in his actions, or even in most of his thoughts. It’s basically just, “Everybody wants to fuck me all the time, I’m the greatest” with a side of “wait, what? Why would ANYONE be interested in ME?” which completely contradict each other. And there’s no acknowledgement of how contradictory this is. He’s not going, “Wow, I’m so mercurial” (to borrow the word-of-the-day from the original series) or examining these reactions at all. We’re meant to take them as written and not question the sharp contrast.

Chedward wonders how she’s going to be a submissive if she’s never had sex before.

This is not going to fly…and all the groundwork I’ve done has been for nothing. I can’t close this deal.

In case you forgot that our romantic hero literally views women as property.

“Why are you so angry with me?” she whispers.

Of course she would think that. Make this right, Grey.

Yes. Of course she would think that. Because you’ve glared and yelled and acted demonstrably, you know, angry.

Why the hell would I be angry with you?

But…you just…you sounded like you kind of understood why she…. Never mind.

So, how does he figure he’s going to “make this right”? By giving her the gift of his wang, of course!

And I want to fuck her, and spank her, and watch her alabaster skin pink beneath my hands. That’s out of the question now–isn’t it? Perhaps not the fucking…perhaps I could. The thought is a revelation. I could take her to bed. Break her in.

Tear the mattress tag off her. Void her warranty. Charge through the tape at her finish line. Drive your car into a canyon and take her with you. Shatter her into a thousand theoretical shards. Take it to the limit, one more time.

Would she want to?

Does it matter?

You know who Christian Grey reminds me of?

Christopher Walken's "The Continental" character from Saturday Night Live.

 

Anyway, Ana bites her lip again, and she apologizes:

“Don’t apologize. It’s just that I want to bite it, too, hard.”

Her breath hitches.

Oh. Maybe she’s interested. Yes. Let’s do this. My decision is made.

“Come,” I offer, holding out my hand.

“What?”

“We’re going to rectify this situation right now.”

I love how this reads like he’s going to rectify the fact that he wants to bite her lip. It’s like he’s saying, “Come on, I’m going to go bite your lip.” Also, “‘Come,’ I offer”? He offers? When I tell my dog, “come!” I’m not offering that they come inside. I’m telling them to. If it’s an offer, there needs to be a question mark. But that’s just my opinion.

“What do you mean? What situation?”

“Your situation, Ana, I’m going to make love to you, now.”

Again, not really an offer. But it’s okay, because then he backs off a little:

“That’s if you want to. I mean, I don’t want to push my luck.”

Let’s talk about something infuriating to me, dear reader. After Ana reminds Christian that he doesn’t make love, he fucks hard, he says:

“I can make an exception, or maybe combine the two, we’ll see. I really want to make love to you. Please, come to bed with me. I want our arrangement to work, but you really need to have some idea what you’re getting yourself into. We can start your training tonight–with the basics. This doesn’t mean I’ve come over all hearts and flowers–it’s a means to an end, but one that I want, and hopefully you do, too.”

In my recap of Fifty Shades of Grey, I pointed out how offensive it was for Chedward to tell Ana that having sex with her is a “means to an end.” What he’s actually stating is that he’s only going to have sex with her in an effort to make her acceptable for his use. But since that first recap, and since a boom of BDSM Billionaire erotic romance spawned from this book (my series included), I’ve noticed something that really frustrates me. I have seen countless reviews from Fifty Shades of Grey fans on other books wherein the reader will state that they found the hero wasn’t as “alpha” as Christian Grey, and therefore not believable or sexy as a Dom. I’ve seen this on my own series, but I’ll be the first to admit that my hero is not an alpha hero and therefore deserves that criticism. But I’ve also seen it on other books, several in particular featuring heroes that turned me off because they were such giant assholes (or “alpholes” to borrow a popular romance reader phrase). “Not alpha enough” is a fair reader criticism; if someone is reading a book for an alpha male hero and they don’t think they’re getting it, that makes sense to include it in a review. But it’s the comparison to Christian Grey that I don’t understand.

Christian Grey doesn’t come across as particularly alpha. He tries, bless him. He tells Ana “come” (like a dog, and they’re doing a scene) and “I’m going to make love to you, now.” Which, to me, as a reader, are huge, boundary pushing turn-offs; like I said, I’m not a fan of those heroes. But some people are reading for that trope. So, here’s Christian, saying these things that could be interpreted as alpha, but it’s followed up with please, and only if you want to, and I hope you want to. This is not the behavior of a trope-true alpha, whose actions are sometimes borderline rape: “I’m going to to fuck you, now. And you’re going to like it.” While I maintain that Christian Grey is a rapist, he’s not an alpha hero, so I’m not sure what definition of “alpha hero” these readers are going by. It’s one thing to see books where a non-alpha hero is being fairly labeled “not alpha enough for me”, but it’s perplexing when books with actual alpha heroes are labeled as “not as as alpha as Christian Grey.”

Ana reminds Chedward that she hasn’t agreed to all of his rules, and he tells her that’s okay, he knows she wants this as much as he does. He’s amazed that she hasn’t run away from him, now that she knows his deepest, darkest secret. Which he’s still convinced is super dark and unusual, despite it being super common.

If you’ve made it through my other recaps, then brace yourself, dear reader, for a wave of nostalgia that’s about to crash over you like a glowing, brown, Lake Eerie tidal wave:

“You are one brave young woman,” I breathe. “I am in awe of you.”

This is not the first time the reader will be told directly that Ana is brave/awe-inspiring, in total contradiction to her actions or characterization.

Chedward wonders if he can actually have “vanilla” sex. Since I first read these books, I’ve come to the conclusion that I hate the term “vanilla” sex. I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to refer to it as “sex without kink.” I’m trying to train myself into differentiating with the terms sex with kink, sex without kink, and kink without sex (which is absolutely possible, and if you want to discuss it in the comments, let’s all do that). It just seems to me that “vanilla” is kind of a snarky term that suggests sex without paddles and nipple clamps is somehow lacking, and, by extension, people who don’t involve kinky elements in their sex lives are also somehow lacking. It’s pretty insulting.

They go to Chedward’s bedroom, where we cruise by some conveniently placed slut-shaming:

Shit. Contraception. I’m sure she’s not on the pill…Fortunately, I have condoms for backup. At least I don’t have to worry about every dick she’s slept with.

No, you’re right. There’s only one dick she’s going to sleep with. Unfortunately, she’s going to fall in love with him and marry him, too.

Christian thinks about how his first time was embarrassing, lending further credence to my “Elena Lincoln is a child molester” position. Then it’s time to describe Ana like she’s some kind of untamed woodland creature:

I stalk toward her like she’s my prey. Oh, baby, I want to bury myself in you. Her breathing is shallow and quick. Her cheeks are rosy…she’s wary, but excited.

It’s also time for him to sound like a serial killer:

She’s at my mercy, and knowing that makes me feel powerful. She has no idea what I’m going to do to her.

That’s nothing at all like something that could come directly out of a Thomas Harris book.

Then he says:

“Let’s get this jacket off, shall we?”

And I realize that at this point, she has seen his sex room, talked about what he wants to do to her sexually, is about to have sex with him, and she hasn’t even taken her coat off yet. If this is the pace we’re moving at, how the goddamn Christ is this chapter so assing long?

There’s kissing, and he takes her shirt off:

“Oh, Ana. You have the most beautiful skin, pale and flawless.

“A perfect addition to the suit of human skin I’m constructing in my basement workshop.”

I want to kiss every single inch of it.” There’s not a mark on her. The thought is unsettling. I want to see her marked…pink…with tiny, thin welts from a crop, maybe.

You know, the emphasis on the unblemished whiteness of her skin is a lot more aggressive in this book than in the last one.

If I do nothing else, I will teach her not to be shy of her body.

Okay, but you leave your shirt on when you’re banging, so…

Also, he teaches her to not be shy of her body, then he handcuffs her and leaves unwanted marks all over her body when she dares to sunbathe topless on a mediterranean beach on their honeymoon. But if I point out all the double standards he holds for Ana, we’ll never get off of this conference call.

She tastes luscious. Wine, grapes, and innocence–a potent, heady mix of flavors.

WTF does innocence taste like? And aren’t wine and grapes basically the same thing? I’m no sommelier, but I’m pretty sure they’re related. And don’t get me started on “luscious” because that word was already ridiculous and now I’m going to laugh whenever I see it in print. Actually, I’ll never get to reread the Harry Potter series again, because I’ll see Lucius Malfoy and all I’ll think about is how he must taste like wine, grapes, and innocence.

Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies.

Also, 40 volume conditioner and the tears of many house elves.

There’s some more kissing and she touches him, but he likes it, and Edward–I’m sorry, Christian–thinks about how she smells like an orchard in springtime. Since Bella Swan smelled like lavender and freesia, E.L. James has created a safe distance. But we, the haters, remain constantly vigilant.

Christian asks Ana to show him how she “pleasures” herself, and of course, we already know that this is a thing Ana has never done. Because, like any good and virtuous heroine worthy of love, her body has never been awakened to arousal before the first touch of the hero’s hand. The idea that she’s never had an orgasm blows Chedward’s mind, and he thinks:

I’m going to make you come like a freight train, baby.

Thomas the Tank Engine making an absolutely horrified face, with the words "OH FUCK" printed at the bottom.

He tells her to keep still. You know. Like how freight trains are known for not moving. Not moving is their primary function. So Ana can’t move. Because trains.

How, exactly, does a train come?

I’m done thinking about this, and to be perfectly frank, I wish I never had. I’m not going to be able to come back from this a whole person.

Anyway, he li-li-li-licks her from her toes to her head, to paraphrase Ludacris, and marvels the whole time about the fact she actually wants to fuck him.

She doesn’t stop me…she trusts me. Can I extend her trust to letting me have complete dominion over her body…over her?

“She doesn’t mind me licking her and cupping her breasts, so she probably wants me to have complete control over everything she does in life.” Sounds legit.

Dipping my finger into her bra cup, I jerk it down, freeing her breast. The nipple is small, rose pink, and it’s already hard. I drag the cup down so that the fabric and underwire rest under her breast, forcing it upward. I repeat the process with the other cup and watch, fascinated, as her nipples grow under my steady gaze.

I…I don’t think nipples work like that.

But it’s still fun to imagine Ana’s nipples getting bigger and bigger, filling the room, destroying Seattle.

There’s more nipple play, while Chedward keeps thinking she should just hold still while she orgasms. I remember people making necrophilia jokes about this during the last recaps. I was like, “Yeah, ha ha,” but now I’m kind of like, “Damn. They were right.” I’m surprised he didn’t ask her lay in a bathtub full of ice first.

Next up, we learn why nobody should ever want to get finger blasted by Christian Grey:

I thrust my finger inside her, and she cries out. She’s hot and tight and wet, and I want her. I thrust into her again, taking her cries into my mouth. I press my palm to her clitoris…pushing down…pushing around. She cries out and writhes beneath me.

No shit! It’s because you’re grinding her clit into her pubic bone. Do you even know what you’re doing down there? I mean, at least you used the word “clitoris” and earlier, “vulva,” instead of just “down there,” but goddamn, Grey. You’re just jabbing and smashing around like you’re trying to reach something that slipped down the back of the sofa.

He takes his boxers off and thinks about how she’s probably never seen an erect penis before. Ana’s never masturbated or even thought about sex or anything sexual before, apparently, so it’s unlikely that she’s ever been curious enough to hop on the internet and look for one. But holy shit, isn’t that a bummer of a thought? That this heroine is actually appealing to readers because of her entire lack of sexuality or sexual desire prior to getting wet panties over Chedward Grullen?

Now it’s time for the penetration:

I position myself so I can take her at my whim. Her eyes are open wide, imploring me. She really wants this…as much as I do. Should I be gentle and prolong the agony, or do I go for it?

I’m not sure what he means by prolong the agony. The agony of anticipation, or the agony of her hymen breaking? Because why, if she’s one of the people who do experience pain the first time, would you want to prolong that?

I go for it. I need to possess her.

“I’m going to fuck you now, Miss Steele. Hard.”

One thrust and I’m inside her.

F.U.C.K.

What kind of fanfic bullshittery is this?! “F.U.C.K.”? This isn’t even a grammar issue. It just looks unpleasant and silly. Well, I mean, it is a grammar issue, and usually I don’t think bending the rules for stylistic reasons is really so bad, but this… this is an assault on my eyeballs and I would like to press charges in What Kind Of Drunken Editor Allowed This To Happen district court.

Note, though, that immediately after worrying he might hurt her (if that’s indeed what the ambiguous “prolong the agony” was about), he’s like, ah, never mind, it doesn’t matter, because this is about what I need.

She’s so fucking tight. She cries out.

No, no, no, no, no. No. She does not “cry out”. That is not what happens in this scene. We all know what actually happens. She says “Aargh!” like a fucking pirate. You can’t hide from us, E.L. We all read it with our own eyes in the first book.

Okay, so remember how fans of the series said that throughout the whole thing, Ana is really in control of Christian instead of the other way around? And literally nothing in the books ever proved that? Well, we have definitive proof now:

I want to smuch from her: her trust, her obedience, her submission. I want her to be mine, but right now…I’m hers.

Well, don’t I have egg on my face for not believing everyone when they said that. And this was such an efficient way to get that point across, too. Why does it need to be explicitly stated in the actual events of the story, when a main character can just think it and make it so? We have to see the brilliance in this theme, now.

I push into her again and claim her, knowing no one has before.

It’s really important to remember, guys: Ana is a good girl, and that makes her special. The rest of us are all useless sluts.

Her trust in me–it’s suddenly overwhelming, and I start to move, really move.

Look who knows how to use the copy/paste function in Microsoft Word. It’s almost like that description is word-for-word from Ana’s POV in every single sex scene in the entire series.

I want her to come. I will not stop until she comes. I want to own this woman, body and soul.

If a dude makes you come, he owns you. It’s in the Constitution, look it up.

“Come for me, Ana,” I demand, and she cries out as she’s consumed, tipping her head back, her mouth open, her eyes closed…and just the sight of her ecstasy is enough. I explode in her, losing all sense and reason, as I call out her name and come violently inside her.

This book is making me lose all sense and reason.

Fuck. I’m undone.

Why? Did she take a break from writing the Declaration of Independence to play the fiddle for you? Are your strings unstrung?

That’s for my musical theatre crowd.

But seriously, half the things Chedward thinks in his head sound like an 18th century aristocrat is saying them. “I’m undone” is some Sir Percy Blakeney dialogue.

“Did I hurt you?” I ask, and I tuck her hair behind her ear, because I don’t want to stop touching her.

Ana beams with incredulity. “you are asking me if you hurt me?”

Does not compute, apparently.

While I’m waiting for her reply I remove the condom. Lord, I hate these things. I discard it discreetly on the floor.

No, you throw your nasty used jizz bag on the floor like a pleb, is what you do.

Ana says she wants to have sex again.

My cock stirs with approval.

My cock dances the meringue with some salsa moves.

Chedward decides he’s going to fuck her from behind with literally no refractory period coming into play at all. Seriously it’s been seconds. Most guys would still be cringing up into a little ball and pleading, “Don’t touch it! Don’t touch it!”, but not our virile stud of young CEO.

Her breath catches and I hope it’s with anticipation. She stills beneath me.

He doesn’t check if it’s anticipation or if she’s just not into it, though. See, he’s already fucked her once, so she’s basically just an object now. She’s not a virgin anymore, so he can treat her like the rest of the women he’s slept with.

Her sweet fragrance lingers over the scent of our coupling.

Anthony Andrews as Sir Percy Blakeney in the 1982 version of The Scarlet Pimpernel

So remember the other recaps, and how I made so much fun of “down there” and kept saying they should use real words? The word vagina is used  over and over. He strokes “the front wall of her vagina” and he withdraws his thumb “from her vagina” and at no other point in this entire sex scene does he refer to her genitals in anything other than clinical terms. Now, I don’t have a problem with clinical terms. I use them myself. But like, literally nothing but clinical terms? Come on, mix it up a little, otherwise this feels like health class.

He puts his thumb in Ana’s mouth and tells her to taste him, and she responds by biting him. He thinks about how he could punish her if she were his sub.

 My cock expands to bursting at the thought.

The only thing that makes any of this readable is that last line, and the image it conjures of Chedward’s penis blowing out at the tip like the end of an overcooked hot dog.

He starts fucking her again, and thinking about how she should stay still, and suddenly I realize exactly what’s going on here: E.L. James has confused submission with a coma. In nearly every scene of submission, Ana just lays there like a dead fish. And that might be part of the appeal to some people: a fantasy of near total non-participation, in which they just lay there while someone does stuff to them. I guess I personally don’t understand why that kind of submission would be fun.

“You feel so good,” I tell her, and repeat the move again, circling my hips as I go. Slowly. In. Out. In. Out.

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the mechanics of thrusting in human coupling.

“I want you sore, baby,” I pull out and sink into her again. “Every time you move tomorrow, I want you to be reminded that I’ve been here. Only me. You are mine.”

Look, I don’t want a relationship, okay? This is totally casual. But I own you now, and don’t forget it.

Ah, young love.

So, Ana has another orgasm and falls alseep, and that’s where the chapter that would never end finally meets its merciful demise.

117 thoughts on “Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Grey, Saturday, May 21, 2011, or “THE BIGGEST CHAPTER EVER: PART FOUR”

  1. This whole bit:

    “I can make an exception, or maybe combine the two, we’ll see. I really want to make love to you. Please, come to bed with me. I want our arrangement to work, but you really need to have some idea what you’re getting yourself into. We can start your training tonight–with the basics. This doesn’t mean I’ve come over all hearts and flowers–it’s a means to an end, but one that I want, and hopefully you do, too.”

    So fucking disturbing. “Yeah baby, I’ll take your virginity nice and gentle…maybe…actually I’m going to incorporate some BDSM into it because fuck your comfort and this about me. And don’t be thinking this means I actually care what you want. I don’t.”

    What a fucking psycho,

    1. Also the fact that he sounds like he’s ordering some a la carte extras on the menu that is her first sexual experience. “I dunno — prix fixe menus aren’t my bag, darling. Maybe we can work in some nipple clamp appys.”

  2. Why the hell would he be sure she’s not on the pill? Come on, James is a woman, does she really not know we use oral contraceptives for more than just pregnancy prevention? I was on the pill for years before I had sex. So was my own daughter. Or, you know, maybe she has an IUD or something.

    And maybe she hasn’t caught any dick before, but he’s apparently been barebacking all these women and he’s totally unconcerned that HE might give HER something.

    1. “Come on, James is a woman, does she really not know we use oral contraceptives for more than just pregnancy prevention?”

      You’re giving this cardboard box too much credit.

    2. You know, I remember there being weirdness about the birth control in the first book, like there was some riskiness where they didn’t really wait long enough for it to actually be reliable?

      I don’t think E. L. James knows a lot about hormonal birth control, honest to god.

      1. TBH, she doesn’t know much about anything. That she is 52 years of age is frankly baffling. Has she been living under a rock her whole life?

        Jenny – this post has been enlivened by Jason Isaacs. If you can find it on the web I heartily endorse Case Histories. Much Isaacs action, some of it brefly shirtless, and with his own gorgeous Yorkshire accent. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1748888/

    3. I feel like 90% of Christian’s inner dialog is just EL James doing damage control and therefore making it worse.

      So Christian not asking if she’s on the pill is “explained” by him psychically knowing the answer.

      She answers all kinds of questions that fans had in the original series — like Jenny pointed out, the repeated use of “vagina” to prove that she’s not afraid of terms for the special lady garden, etc.

      1. Once, I wrote a sex scene with an ex and was so annoyed with her at the time that I started using a makeup name generator to come up with euphemisms for genitals. My personal favorite was “strawberry russet royal zone” for “vagina”, and I am thinking of changing the settings on this browser so that the latter is now rendered as the former.

  3. “I stalk toward her like she’s my prey.”

    The visual on that … is not sexy. I mean, I’ve seen what predators stalking prey look like and it wouldn’t make me want sex to see a man behaving that way.

  4. I lost it in the bit about Ana’s nipples growing and destroying Seattle. But Christian is so damn creepy and an asshole. James did not succeed in making him likable though I am not surprised.

  5. I hope his maid gets hazard pay for having to clean up all the used condoms and jizz and whateverthefuck this trash pile leaves on the floor. And having to clean the butt plugs, of course.

  6. That Thomas the Tank Engine picture. I swear I couldn’t breathe for like two minutes. Same thing with the giant nipples.

  7. I laughed out loud at the “F.U.C.K.” It looks like an acronym. In fact, let`s make a game out of how many meanings everyone can come up with. I`ll start with the one I`m most proud of: Friendly Underworld Cock Kickers.

    1. I swear to god I typed in ‘Acronym for F.U.C.K’ in google and found this:

      ‘One explanation is that in ancient England a person could not have sex unless you had consent of the king to conceive a child (unless you were in the Royal family, of course). When someone wished to have a baby, they got consent of the king to fornicate, the king gave them a plaquard to hang on their door that read: F.U.C.K. (Fornication Under Consent of the King).’

      lmao strangely this fits in with the story!

      1. I’m pretty sure it’s been confirmed that such acronyms are apocryphal, though — “fuck” is one of those blunt old Anglo-Saxon words.

      2. Another totally fake story is that it was from a sign that was hung over the stocks when you were caught being naughty: For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. I don’t know why people have an urge to back engineer imaginary acronyms, but I guess it’s a good creativity exercise?

        1. On the British panel show Mock the Week (some of it is on Netflix here), this is a regular feature. The panelists are shown a picture from the news, with the headline as an acronym, and they have to come up with ideas for what it could stand for. One of the earliest and funniest examples was a picture of now ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown holding a tea mug with a pattern of rectangles on it; the acronym is G.B.T.C. The contestants manage to come up with, amongst other things, “Give Back Tony’s Cup” (Tony as in Tony Blair, the former PM); “God Bless Tessellated Crockery”, “Gordon Brown Touching Cloth” (British euphemism for being desperate to take a shit) and “Gordon Battles Tourette’s – CUNT!”

          You’re welcome. :)

    2. Frantic Understudy Chugs Keg?

      Like if this was ever adapted as a musical or stage play and Ana’s main actress got sick so her understudy had to step in and she was only doing the show to pay her bill and was like “dammit, this is so problematic, why did I even audition, CTHULHU help me”

  8. Between “Attack of the Endlessly Expanding Nipples” and “The Full to Bursting Cock: Exploding Lurve” I’m beginning to think this may read better if we imagine it as something akin to those 60′s horror movies “The Blob” and “The Thing” with Chedward as the crazed scientist using body parts for mass slaughter and Ana/Bella as one of those women they used to place directly in front of the camera; standing there, with her palms on her face, screaming uselessly and NOT RUNNING AWAY. Did I mention she’s usually wearing skyscraper heels and a pencil skirt so just in case she has any idea about running, actually saving herself, she’ll basically have to waddle like a penguin.

    On a more serious note one of the many (many many) things that I find worrying about this scene when I read it first time round, and that EL has done nothing to address here, is the fallacies she employees to describe the way Ana loses her virginity. It’s one thing for those of us who are mature women, who’ve been around the block (and/or cock) a few times, to mock this “one touch multi orgasm” but in the same way that, as a young teen, I was reading Shirley Conrad and Jilly Cooper for the sex, I’m sure kids are reading this. Of course there’s huge differences between teens today and my (as a woman in her 40′s) experience (I would argue it’s not necessarily better given what the Internet allows access to). That EL feeds directly into so much patriarchal, physically ridiculous, harmful, bullshit perpetuating nonsense irritates the living shit out of me. On a practical level there’s huge swathes of this scene that reinforce negative myths about viriginity. On every other level it’s just as bad. Jen highlights them way better than I could; from zero sexual experimentation to multi-orgasmic in one rub-n-thrust, to ‘virgins are just better because they don’t have ‘other dude cooties”, to the ‘lie there like a corpse and take it’ nonsense, there is literally nothing in this that seems sex positive; aside (and this is stretching it) from the fact that Ana gets some. Instead of using Christian’s internal monologue to correct some of these inaccuracies, she reinforces all of them. Even if the only thing EL did was to have Christian comment on how this isn’t the norm (for example how other people like their partners to…you know…actually move), it would have been something, but no; what we get is a massive doubling down on the shit she shoveled in the original book. I hate, hate, hate, this lousy book.

  9. … *goes to write masturbation into her YA out of spite*

    Oh God I was just cringing through that whole sex bit with my legs crossed. I dunno, maybe I’m have an extra-asexual day (I am wearing my stealth asexuality shirt) but that was so not sexy in the slightest and sounded actually painful jeez.

    1. I know. I wanted to send Ana’s vagina a get well card. That poor, poor thing. It must have been ground into paste.

      Hey, there was a “Name Chedward’s penis” contest a while back. Shouldn’t there be one for Ana’s vag?

  10. I kind of like the term vanilla? Because, too me, I think of it in terms of vanilla ice cream (my favourite, I know people think it’s boring).

    See, vanilla is a flavour that kind of goes with everything, right? You can start with the base, and add on little bits of kink. If bondage is chocolate ice cream, and chocolate ice cream is too much for you but you still want some chocolate, you can pour some hot fudge sauce on top of it.

    I don’t know, the metaphor works for me, and I like all things vanilla (but occasionally spiced up with other flavours).

    1. Another thing is that quality vanilla ice cream, with rich cream and maybe little flecks of roasted vanilla bean in it, is really good stuff. If the maker is just being lazy and treating it like “generic whitish ice cream”, then of course it’ll be boring.

      Obvious analogy is obvious.

      1. Oh, yes, where it has a smooth, creamy taste like vanilla smells? I haven’t cheapened out on vanilla ice cream in years, but God knows that “vanilla frozen dessert” stuff is bullshit. If someone compared my sex life to frozen dessert I would 100% be offended because how dare you?!

      2. My Mom learned the trick of using vanilla powder years ago when she took some lessons from the Cordon Bleu school. It’s ground vanilla bean that has finally worked its way to the consumer level and adds a HUGE vanilla impact to just about anything you put it into. I use it all the time in my cheesecake, whipped cream, and ice cream. (wait a day for the flavor to come out for maximum impact and you’ll never go back to vanilla extract again.) Great stuff.

    2. Vanilla is the BEST milkshake flavour.

      I’ve always found Vanilla a pretty fun base point for kink for that reason. I used to call myself French Vanilla, because I was open to trying some kinky things, for example.

    3. *jumps on the “get defensive about liking vanilla ice-cream and explain how it’s a real flavor and also literally the best” train*

      (Vanilla sex is when there’s only white people involved, right? Or do you call that crackers in bed? I get so confused.)

  11. “This doesn’t mean I’ve come over all hearts and flowers”

    PEOPLE DON’T SPEAK LIKE THIS IN THE UNITED STATES, E.L. JAMES. We don’t “come over,” we “get,” okay? As in, “I’m not going to get all choked up” or “I’m not going to get all lovey-dovey just because you’re a virgin, Ana.”

    1. Why didn’t she just set this in London? It would’ve made no difference at all to the narrative. I know, I know — Twilight fanfic. But she clearly has no ability to represent American characters, so why bother?

  12. I’ve always felt that way about the term “vanilla” but never quite articulated it. Thanks, Jenny! You’re a superhero!

  13. Can we please talk more about a cock doing the meringue with salsa moves? I’m seeing a dong dressed in dance garb and just going all out to a spicy song in 3/4 time.

      1. I seriously first read that as “LEGO did just release a penis tuxedo today” and pictured yellow… plastic… penis… in a tuxedo…. with a top hat.

  14. The Thomas the Train picture has made me lose my sh**.

    I don’t understand why people like this book and these characters . I honestly nominate you, Jenny for sainthood, for having to read this drivel. Do you think they won’t release the next one?

  15. How is it that these “books” just keep getting worse? And how is it that there are still so many people who think this is the picture of an amazing, perfect, orgasm-dipped-in-chocolate-and-caramel relationship? It’s freaking wet-dog-in-a-manure-pile disgusting!
    What terrifies me most about it is the fact women are now actively seeking out men like Christain, just so they can have their 50 Shades “romance”. Sad thing is I’m actually hoping they find what they’re looking for…

    And on a side note, I just finished a scene in my book where the heroine wearing orchid perfume is mentioned. I feel like I should change that now because Chedick uses it to describe how Anafail smells.

  16. Oh god! I don’t remember this scene in details from the first book, but I got sick from reading it here. It’s terrible! Especially having the picture of my first times in my head, it’s just terrible! First of all, the pain. I’m pretty sure that even if Ana had practiced some sport because of which her hymen would break easily, she still would be quite tight. For me it’s hard to imagine that the way Christian thrusts in her, even with foreplay, would suffice to make her experience so much pleasure that she doesn’t feel so much or any pain. Second of all – the orgasms. This is something totally unbelievable for me. If you haven’t had sex before AND you haven’t masturbated it’s quite impossible to get an orgasm at your first time. Let alone multiple ones. The nerve endings “down there” actually have to “learn” to connect the feelings from stimulation with pleasure. And this doesn’t happen after 2 or 3 thrusts…
    Altogether I had to stop reading the recap a couple of times. It’s not because of Jenny’s writing, but because of the EEL’s. Her text is not only a turn-off, but also a disgust-on. I really really really hope that young(er) girls won’t get very wrong ideas from it.

  17. The casually tossing the condom on the floor is so gross. Leaving it for Mrs. Jones to clean up, I hope she dumps the spunk from it into his morning eggs.

    1. I’m thinking of those old hand clapping or jump rope games we played as kids. Especially because some of them were really dirty, and in Miss Mary for example, there’s a lot of secret swearing. And in Susie Was a Baby, there’s weird sex noises and missing underwear.

      So there you go. 50 Shades is basically at the maturity level of the lot of us 10 year old girls in the 90′s.

  18. It really annoys me how similar Ana’s and Christian’s thoughts are. Not so much in terms of content but the choice of phrases. Things like “the thought is a revelation” and “start to move, really move” both seem like pretty character-unique thoughts to me, and Ana used both ALL THE TIME.

    I’m not exactly expecting EL to be able to write different characters’ thoughts with more nuance than that but it still bugs the hell out of me. They were annoying enough from one perspective.

  19. I love Alpha Heroes. I do. They hit all my buttons. Why can’t I find more of them in kink that aren’t awful? D:

    Chedward makes me want to smack him on the nose like a frisky puppy. He’s no Alpha. He’s the babysitter, the wolf that is too wimpy to do anything except look after the pups while the rest of the pack do the hunting.

  20. This scene always felt really rapey to me. I know technically she gives him permission, but it feels like it was done… wrong I guess. She hasn’t even taken off her coat yet and he’s shoved an NDA in her face, shown her his sex room, showed her a sex contract, said things that could EASILY make her feel bad/defective/deceptive/other negative feelings regarding her virginity, then grabs her and says he’s going to fuck her BEFORE actually asking her permission. And while, yes, he does backtrack and ask, I know a few people (myself included sadly) with serious guilt issues who would have a really hard time saying no to someone after they’ve gotten all excited about it.

    It would be one thing if he asked first, then you’re nipping it in the bud right away, but he gets really into it, already up and dragging her along behind him, before finally asking, putting serious pressure on her to say yes because it’s not just saying no now, it’s actively letting him down. She’s no longer just choosing not to engage in an activity, she’s now actively stopping HIM from doing something that would make him happy, which may not seem like a huge difference to some people, but to people with guilt issues it really can be. And he even reinforces this by saying how much he wants it before getting her consent. She asks for clarity because she’s justifiably confused, and he tells her what he’s planning and how bad he wants it and then is like ‘oh yeah, and I hope you want it to’ basically. Putting a lot of pressure on her to say yes.

    She’s COMPLETELY overwhelmed and wants a relationship with him and he’s not giving her ANY time at all to think it over or talk to someone else who has more experience and could give her some advice and help her think it through and consider if this is really something she can actually handle. He just dumps it all on her, shames her, guilts her, and then fucks her with minimal concern for what she’s comfortable with. It feels rape-adjacent, if nothing else.

    I know there are other scenes that are much worse, and I’m horrified to see how they translate into Grey’s perspective, but since you put the TW at the top clarifying that it wasn’t because the scene was rape, I thought I’d mention how I viewed it.

    1. Yeah, I completely agree with what you’ve said here. I’m 100% on the Christian Grey is a rapist train, because this is textbook rape by coercion. Their whole relationship is, really. I just don’t have the spoons this weekend to deal with Grey fans who might want to argue that it *wasn’t* rape, hence the way I worded the trigger warning.

      1. Ah, yeah, I understand that. I was a bit worried I was just being extra harsh on this scene because of how much I hate this character/book, so I’m glad you actually do feel the same so it’s not just me.

        Most of the sex scenes make my skin crawl because most of them have aspects like this. It’s even worse from his perspective though because you don’t even get her inner monologue about how much she enjoys sex and his internal monologue only cares about what she feels in terms of how it affects him and what he wants. It feels just so gross.

        1. Not to mention, just shoving right in there is going to hurt no matter what. I have been sexually active for almost 20 years now, and I still have times when things are too tight to just go ramming on in.

        2. My first time was the same way– guilt trips and all, so I’m glad there are others who see this as rape by coercion and not like “oh she didn’t say no”.

  21. The “this day in history,” between the “Steeleswan” and the part about turning into a pirate, had me really confused for a second. I forgot about Ana making pirate noises during sex and thought things were somehow going in a Pirates of the Caribbean direction.

  22. So pleased to see another chapter recap from you, Jenny! :D This one had me going back to re-read and make notes, because so much of this recap resonated with me and made me gag or giggle. His words and the attitudes they expressed made me gag, and your comments made me giggle.

    “I could break her in”. Translation: I could break through that pesky hymen that’s standing between me and what I want, and get that vagina of hers run in so she’s primed and knows what to expect, and ready for some serious action. *gag*

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for what you said about vanilla sex. As someone who has never had the slightest inclination to be tied up or gagged or dominated in any way during sex, I have felt insulted by the many comments I have read since these books were published which implied that sex without kink is lesser sex, and that “vanilla” people are lesser people.

    The stalking towards her like a predator, and her reacting like prey. I envisage (I am Australian and I envisage, not envision) him as a stalking panther, and her as Bambi or a rabbit. Not a sexy image, there. Or, alternatively, not unlike Paul Spector stalking his victims in “The Fall”and, once again, not sexy.

    He wants her to lie still when he’s pounding into her. Seems he lied when he said he wasn’t into necrophilia!

    Her extending nipples floor me every time. *giggle*

    “I position myself so I can take her at my whim”. When did sex get to be about men “taking” women when they penetrate them. Is this new? Is it something from romance novels? I have never been a reader of romance novels so I might have missed it. I see it a lot in fanfic, and not only used in connection with Dom/sub scenes. I grew up thinking of sex as something people did with each other, not one to the other, or one taking something from the other. Yes, one bit goes in, and the other bit accommodates that bit, but that’s just the reality of the anatomy involved and I’ve always thought of it more as the man giving that part of himself to his partner, not using it as a weapon to “take” her; to assault her. This “taking” has connotations of sex being about the man exerting superior physical power over the woman and using his “manhood” to deprive her of something, and by force. Is this BDSM-story-specific usage or is it indicative of rape-culture attitudes in society generally?

    Dropping the condom on the floor. The pig didn’t even seem to tie it off.

    The image of his cock as a bursting frankfurt. Gold! :D

    1. “Is this BDSM-story-specific usage or is it indicative of rape-culture attitudes in society generally?”

      Trick question; it’s both, and also not limited to BDSM-themed romance or even just the romance genre! Lolsob.

      I am so glad you grew up with the ideas about sex you did, because they are healthy ones. :)

    2. The way you grew up viewing sex is really pure and beautiful. It’s the way my husband seems to view it too and he’s a bit younger than me. Unfortunately, I grew up firmly entrenched in rape culture, and I thought the “taking a woman” thing was normal right up until I read your comment :/
      Not sure if that’s because I’m American and that’s just how it is here or more because my specific
      upbringing was problematic.

  23. The “body and soul” comment made me think of Chris Claremont writing Uncanny X-Men – specifically the beginning of the Dark Phoenix Saga, where Mastermind is messing with Jean/Phoenix’s head, making her think she’s reliving the past of an ancestor who had married one of his ancestors, and slowly turning her from X-Man to Black Queen of the Hellfire club. Chedward reminds me a lot of Mastermind, actually, and I am damned glad he doesn’t have mutant powers. Mastermind is one of the first (of many) characters to use the “I will possess her/him, body and soul” line, but his always reads to me as the creepiest.

    And now I’m really hoping the association doesn’t sour my rereading of Claremont’s X-Men.

  24. “This is not going to fly…and all the groundwork I’ve done has been for nothing. I can’t close this deal.”
    It’s soooo hot when a guy sees women only as objects.

    “I could take her to bed. Break her in.”
    SHE’S NOT A PAIR OF FUCKING SHOES!

    “She’s at my mercy, and knowing that makes me feel powerful. She has no idea what I’m going to do to her.”
    Can’t fap to this.

    I think I might have cracked a rib from laughing too hard at the Thomas the Tank Engine picture.

    “F.U.C.K.”
    Insert an “I CAME” image here.

    “I start to move, really move.”
    OMG STOP. Stop saying this!

    “I explode in her.”
    I wish they would both explode and spare us from the rest of this shitty-ass series. I’ve never seen such goddamned lazy writing in a published novel.

  25. Arrgh. F.U.C.K. The author really seems to think that by writing a simple sentence she can ‘make it so’. Just because in a very round-about way he asks for her consent, doesn’t negate all the fuckery that preceded the ‘asking’. As Maril wrote by the time he asks for her consent, he’s already insinuated so much that she dare not say anything besides ‘yes’. Although I think even if she’d said ‘no’, Chedward would just soldier on with a few more thinly veiled threats and insults and intimidate her until he got his own way.

    Another ‘make it so’ is that Chedward is a successful businessman when he’s barely a successful man. Chedward has no clue about so many things and only next to someone more clueless such as Ana is he able to convince himself that he actually knows stuff. So far, the stuff he knows is what sex is and it’s only an advantage because she’s a virgin. And he doesn’t seem to know all that much. Even if Ana had been with one hapless guy, or even with her clumsy self, she would cotton on to how little Cheward knows about sex. The only reason I can see him loving her is because he thinks he’s bright because she is so very, very dim. Just because he’s a Dom, and a very bad one at that, and I basically know nothing about BDSM, doesn’t translate to the business world. Or does it? I have no idea. Maybe it does. Using my own self as an example, (TMI) sometimes I just lay back and say ‘do whatever you want but don’t do that thing I’m not into or maybe try it and let’s see what happens’. Other times I’m all ‘shut the fuck up and just take it’. Then at work, I plod on and do my job and when I need to take charge, I step up. Hmmm, maybe EL is onto something.

    On further thought, I take it all back. EL is a genius.

    Jenny, thank you for these recaps. They always make me smile and then I start to laugh, really laugh.

  26. I don’t really understand how he goes from being repulsed by her virginity to loving/basically being obsessed with it in like 0.3 seconds.

      1. Ah, yes. I’ll have to remember to include that word if I ever write anything so I don’t have to worry about character consistency at all.

  27. I knew as soon as I saw The Continental that reading this with a pulled muscle in my ribcage was a Poor Life Decision, but I couldn’t stop myself.

  28. I have to say that I find a LOT similarities between Grey and Killgrave. I still have the last episode of JJ to watch and I can’t wait to see it. Probably tonight. Killgrave is such a terrifying villian and yet there are millions of these assholes out there in REAL LIFE!

    1. It also disturbs me that he has fangirls, but then, Christian Grey has fangirls

      I try to assure myself they’re David Tennant fangirls, but I’m a DT fangirl and I hate Kilgrave, so so much for that

  29. OMG!!! Thank you for that about the term vanilla! I am not into kink at all and do not think there is anything boring or tame about my sex life. I find the term so insulting, so thank you for defending those of us not into kink!!

  30. You know, as a demisexual, it is endlessly peculiar to me how demisexuality can be portrayed as the ideal in romance novels and love stories the world over, and yet people still don’t believe it exists.

    Then again, none of these writers seem to go into any effort actually explaining that their heroine is actually demisexual, and that’s the reason she’s never had sexual urges before. It’s believable – since many of us just assume we’re asexual until we actually fall for someone. Except unlike the romance heroine who is just immediately swept off her feet and wants all the sex ever, an asexual realizing that they’re demisexual usually has some sort of crisis of identity. Many of us don’t have interest in masturbating (though plenty do), and may or may not after finding a partner. It’s highly dependent. It doesn’t make us more good or more pure than allosexuals, it’s just different. We have no sexuality until we meet a person who can stir it, and then it’s only that person (or persons for a poly demisexual). If the relationship ends, we go back to being asexual.

    It would be kind of fun to see a romance novel explore the “untouched virgin” trope with an openly demisexual hero or heroine, right down to the confusion over having some sexual feelings, but only towards one person, not being able to fully define them, enjoying sex with their partner but still not seeing what the big deal is, having orgasms but thinking a good book and a hot bath is really just as nice, and wondering whether this compromises their identity as asexual.

    1. While it’s obviously not true of everyone, many demisexual people like me consider themselves asexual regardless as asexuality is a spectrum, not due to partnership. I’m somewhat fluid* – I’m more grey some days than demi, more demi some days – but those days I’m still that thing. If I’m in a relationship, I’m still asexual (or grey or demi). Asexuality is not defined by relationship status.

      And I think you mean we have no sexual attraction, not sexuality. Big difference :)

      You may feel this way, but most demisexual people do not believe they’re asexual when they’re not in a relationship, at least in my experience. And, regardless, as a fellow demisexual person some days – please don’t speak for us as a monolith :)

      *I also have varying romantic attraction, and tend to be more grey in that area. Because indentities are FUN.

      1. Sorry, wasn’t trying to speak as a monolith. Just very tired because a little grey cat wanted to crawl all over me all night and cry her eyes out while I was trying to sleep.

        Most of the demisexuals I’ve talked to are more like me, in that they assumed they were asexual for most of their life, and were often between uninterested and actively repulsed by sex. But then I mostly converse with other asexuals and demisexuals on message boards, and there does seem to be some low-level competition to be “more ace” than everyone else, so maybe they were misrepresenting themselves. I never had a sexual urge until I was 19, and I was horrendously confused by it. Very unfortunately, it was to a truly horrible man, who didn’t help me explore or understand my identity at all – he just credited his magic penis for “fixing” me and suggested that maybe I was a deeply closeted bisexual, even though I’m exclusively heteroromantic.

        When I’m not in a relationship, I’m asexual. Any and all sexual thoughts just disappear, and I don’t miss them. I actually usually become fairly sex-repulsed when I’m not thinking of one specific person. I only know one other asexual in regular life, and am vaguely acquainted with a few more (though I earned the ire of an entire munch for trying to excuse myself from a play party by explaining my weird sex-repulsed demisexuality to one who was trying to pick me up).

        But I still think it’s weird that demisexuality is our most lionized love story arc, and people still think it’s made up.

        1. This is a really good point that more people should consider. when I’m in a relationship, I’ve found that I am actually not capable of sexual attraction to anyone other than my partner. But when single, my body has cravings and either disgust at every actual guy it crosses my mind to sleep with or a very “meh, do what you want” attitude.

          Sorry, not trying to derail. It’s just, I’m trying to say that more sexual identities and types of attraction should be outright discussed by characters and authors rather than just setting a default and then making an entire social conflict revolve around something that deviates from that. By social conflict I mean “zOMG THIS CHARACTER IS GAY (for instance)! This is now their ONLY TRAIT AND THE PLOT MUST OVERCOME THE SOCIAL FALLOUT OF THIS!” Your suggestion was excellent, and I also thought of maybe a character who is acknowledged as demisexual, very confident in this identity, and rather than that being a central conflict, people just accept that about them and don’t really question it. Allowing the character to become, like, I don’t know, a real person who enjoys pita wraps and Spice Girls and swimming at the beach, rather than their sexuality becoming their entire chatacterisation.

    2. The first time I felt sexual attraction came with a major identity crisis. But it’s because before that I never considered I was on the asexual spectrum at all. I just assumed I was normal and I’d have to have sex eventually if I wanted to be in a relationship. And I didn’t see why I wouldn’t enjoy it because I do like masturbating from time to time. But that feeling was so like “oh, wow” for me because before that I seriously shamed anyone who had one night stands and causal hook ups because I didn’t get it AT ALL.

      I’m getting pretty used to people not understanding demisexuality. Even if I explain it properly.

  31. “How have you avoided sex? Tell me, please.” Because I don’t get it. She’s in college–and from what I remember of college all the kids were fucking like rabbits.

    All of them. Except Me.

    LOL, this is more like what a sixteen-year-old thinks happens in college, not a twenty-seven-year-old.

    Saying that, my college came very low in a survey of the number of students in long-term relationships/marrying in college, so maybe we were all just lonely hearts.

  32. I’m not going to link because ugh (also CW), but there is Thomas the Tank Engine erotic fan fiction out there. I had a hunch and I googled. I wish I had not.

  33. That Smart Bitches post is ON POINT. The paragraph about how the OP used to buy into that “not like those other girls” nonsense and eventually grew out of it was really affecting, because I was the same way. It makes me wonder if women who write or like books like this are stuck in some kind of prolonged adolescence and perpetually see themselves as the smart, bookish YA heroine who is going to show those popular girls someday.

    “it’s a means to an end”

    I don’t know about you, but I’m swooning.

    “‘You are one brave young woman,’ I breathe.”

    What is it with shitty books and the excessive use of informed attributes? This is a running theme in these books, Apolonia, and other bad books I’ve read. It’s like the writer thinks if other characters constantly tell us how great the leads are, then they’re off the hook of having to actually SHOW us how great they are. If anything the textual evidence is usually to the contrary.

    I totally get your point about vanilla sex, but I still really like vanilla ice cream.

    “‘At least I don’t have to worry about every dick she’s slept with.’”

    Ahh, what a charmer. My panties are just melting right now.

    “You know, the emphasis on the unblemished whiteness of her skin is a lot more aggressive in this book than in the last one.”

    I might be overly sensitive, but I’m picking up a bit of shadeism here (from Christian, not you). Given the strange attitudes toward poc characters in the other 50sog books, this excessive emphasis on Ana’s white skin is making me feel all icky. It wouldn’t surprise me if Christian is a shadeist asshole.

    The fingering description honestly made me slam my legs shut. Why do women want this guy again?

    OK, the train photo and Seattle-destroying nipples were funny, but i legit lost my shit at F.U.C.K. Like what is that??? It sounds like some kind of ridiculous pop song, like something Weird Al would do.

    I guess the vagina thing must be karmic revenge for all the “down there” mockery.

    Jenny, with the amount of terrible fiction you read for our amusement, you definitely deserve some kind of award.

    1. “Given the strange attitudes toward poc characters in the other 50sog books, this excessive emphasis on Ana’s white skin is making me feel all icky. It wouldn’t surprise me if Christian is a shadeist asshole.”

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees some subtly racist subtext in this series, like how Christian thinks of Jose and specifically singles out his name, or the fact that EL James made Jacob Latino instead of Native American. Don’t you know, all those brown guys look the same anyway (/sarcasm).

    2. There’s a Bloodhound Gang called Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo and it is entirely euphemisms for sex. At the end, the singer just gives up and goes, “put the you know what in the you know where”. Hilarious, and appropriate.

  34. You forgot popping her cherry!

    That sex scene reads really awful. Like, does she even do something while he’s thrusting into her or does she just lay there and thinks of England… I mean, America?

  35. The “fantasy of near total non-participation” actually nailed down a few things for me. I *do* get this, and moreover, now that you’ve put such an accurate label on the appeal, I can see why this hit buttons for so many people. I mean, people will pay to be put in isolation tanks–there are enough overwhelmed/depressed/anxious/stressed people out there that “lie down and do nothing while something supposedly pleasant happens” can have tremendous appeal.

    That this is a central theme of the books has nothing at all to do with James’s fundamental and blatant laziness, I’m sure.

    P.S. Based on the general quality of James’s writing, I’m going to assume that the following was a totally accurate transcription on your part and not a result of autocorrect:

    “I want to smuch from her.”

  36. Thank you for the Scarlet Pimpernel reference, that made me laugh out loud, but at the same time NOOO!! Now I’m going to start hearing Christian’s lines in Sir Percy’s voice, and Sir Percy is FAR too much of a gentleman to do or say such things. :-)

    Also–as someone who, like Ana, had never had sex or masturbated before, my first time was EXTREMELY painful. This scene just sounds awful to me. No lube, just shoving it in there like, well, a freight train…ouch!! No thank you. Not sexy. Certainly not orgasmic. I am so glad my husband is nothing like Christian.

    1. The logistics of this scene make NO sense. Supposedly Christian is “GINORMOUS”. My first was also really, really big (the biggest I’ve had, actually) and even though I *had* masturbated plenty before, and even though we had done a lot of foreplay, when he *slowly*, *gently* entered sans lube, I still wound up screaming at him to stop before the head was all the way in and we had to try again another day. I will not believe someone with absolutely no sexual experience can have someone as supposedly well endowed as Christian Fuckboy Grey PLUNGE quickly into them after such shoddy foreplay, with no lube, and then go on to have multiple orgasms. No. No way. Not happening.

  37. “Because some guys understand the word “no”? I mean, not many, but some”

    Ehh I pretty sure most guys AREN’T rapists though.

    And yeah you are absolutely right about “vanill sex”. Many times the term is used despectively, sometimes even trying to shame people for enjoying it, which is wildly hypocritical.

    1. Ehh maybe not outright rapists, but a lot of men seem to think social cues for “I’m not interested” actually translate to “try harder to convince me”.

  38. I’ll never get to reread the Harry Potter series again, because I’ll see Lucius Malfoy and all I’ll think about is how he must taste like wine, grapes, and innocence.

    ^ HEADCANON ACCEPTED! Also, Narcissa is a Domme.

    It’s really important to remember, guys: Ana is a good girl, and that makes her special. The rest of us are all useless sluts.

    ^ oh, okay.
    But at least I knew what I liked in bed and how to pleasure a male partner and am therefore the best Loki has ever had.

    (…he’s the bombest dick I’ve ever had, but the best *sex* I ever had was actually with a woman.)

    I want to own this woman, body and soul.
    ^ There’s a Tori Amos song called Body and Soul. I always interpreted it sexually, and it coming to mind made this recap doubly hilarious.

  39. Although I love the line about Ana’s rogue nipples, the absolute best part of the recap was the exploding hot dog bit.

  40. How do trains come in Eastern Europe (my home)? Usually late. So now I imagine Ana having an orgasm 20 minutes after they’ve finished having sex. Also he did say he needed to TRAIN her, didn’t he? I’m so sorry for that pun.
    Also how can her skin be so perfect if she constantly trips over her own feet? The way she is described, she should be covered in bruises and have a cut or two on her hands from handling a knife poorly.

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