Jenny Reads Fifty Shades of Midnight Sun: Thursday, May 26, 2011, part three or “I don’t understand why you’re interpreting the things I’m doing as the things I’m literally doing.”

Professor Farnsworth from Futurama, saying, "Good news everyone. I've got some very bad news."

E.L. James announced via Instagram that she’s hard at work on a sequel to Greyentitled Fifty Shades Darker From Christian’s Point Of View. One hopes that is a working title and not catchy marketing that’s already been set in stone. If you read the excerpt, it’s clear that James didn’t care for the reviews of Grey which almost universally denounced the man of her dreams as a psychopath. It looks like she’s decided to give his characterization a complete 180 that we never saw evidence of in the original series. It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out, in terms of all of his internal “remorse” and “panic” not doing a goddamn thing to change the abusive behavior he’ll continue to exhibit throughout the series.

In other Fifty Shades Darker news, the trailer for the next movie premiered, and quickly passed Star Wars: The Force Awakens as most watched trailer on the internet. Or something. I don’t quite remember. I do want to point out, however, that the trailer for The Force Awakens was way easier to masturbate to.

Let’s time travel back to Thursday, May 26th, 2011, or the day that will apparently never fucking end.

Christian has just asked Ana how she feels about receiving pain.

She remains mute.

I suppress a sigh. “You’re biting your lip.” Fortunately, she stops, but now she’s pensive and staring down at her hands.

So, that should be the answer right there. She doesn’t like pain.

“Were you physically punished as a child?” I prompt her gently.

“No.”

“So you have no sphere of reference at all.”

This makes me ill. Being spanked as a child isn’t the same thing as being spanked in a sexual context. Even if she had been spanked as a child, she wouldn’t have a sphere of reference for BDSM. He’s just trying to pull his bullshit “I know more than you, so you should listen to me and do stuff you don’t want to try” act on her, and in the process sexualizing childhood experiences that some adults view as past abuse they’ve endured.

“Do you have to do it?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

You really don’t want to know.

“Goes with the territory, Anastasia. It’s what I do. I can see you’re nervous. Let’s go through methods.”

Underlines = italics, as always.

You know, for a guy who’s so desperate with this all-consuming need to fuck this one exact chick, he’s being awfully picky. She’s willing to do all this other stuff, but she doesn’t want to do the pain stuff? Then maybe you don’t do the pain stuff? Or, if you absolutely have to have that, then you do it with someone else? I feel like this is common sense. If you really like potato chips, and you really, really want potato chips, but all you can get is barbecue flavor and you don’t like barbecue flavor, what do you do? You either eat them anyway, knowing they’ll be barbecue flavor, or you don’t eat them because it turns out you didn’t want potato chips that much.

That’s what makes Christian Grey the biggest dick in the universe. He spends so much time telling us that he could have literally any woman. Instead of going out and getting one of those who’ll be into getting paddled, he picks the barbecue chips and spends all of his time trying to manipulate the situation so they won’t taste like barbecue.

“Well, you said no to genital clamps. That’s fine. It’s caning that hurts the most.”

Ana pales.

“We can work up to that,” I state quickly.

“Or not do it at all,” she counters.

“This is part of the deal, baby, but we’ll work up to all of this. Anastasia, I won’t push you too far.”

You’re already pushing her too far. Look, this isn’t something like, I don’t know, oral sex, where if you’ve never had it performed on you, you don’t know what it feels like. People know what pain feels like, more or less. Christian tells Ana that they’ll keep caning “off the list for now,” but that they will do it when she’s more comfortable. But…what if she never gets comfortable? That’s not even an option to Christian. He will make her comfortable.

“Look, I want to talk about one more thing, then I’m taking you to bed.”

“Bed?” she exclaims and color flushes her cheeks.

“Come on, Anastasia, talking through all this, I want to fuck you into next week, right now. It must be having some effect on you, too.”

She squirms beside me and takes a husky breath, her thighs pressing together.

In Ana’s POV, we know she wants to have sex with Christian because her “inner goddess is panting.” But in Christian’s POV, he’s just telling her that he’s going to have sex with her. There’s no asking here. It’s just, this is going to happen, because I want it. There’s also that charming body-language-equals-consent theme that runs through the entire book.

“See? Besides, there’s something I want to try.”

“Something painful?”

“No–stop seeing pain everywhere. It’s mainly pleasure. Have I hurt you yet?”

Yet. Have I hurt you yet. I’m definitely going to hurt you in the future, you know it’s coming, but don’t be anticipate it, even though you know it’s coming. WHAT PART OF ANY OF THAT MAKES ANY SENSE.

Christian knows at this point that Ana is not going to be a good sub for him, but he’s forging ahead for no apparent reason I can see, beyond, “She’s there and she looks like my mom, whom I want to fuck.” The things he allegedly finds charming about her are things he complains about; he wants her because she’s so delightfully willful, but he hates that she’s willful. He loves the way she bites her lip, but he hates that she bites her lip. He likes that she’s not a gold-digger, but he’s mad that she won’t accept lavish gifts. There’s nothing about Ana that Christian seems to genuinely like. There’s nothing between them at all. Why is he so intent on being with her?

Oh, right, because this is poorly written, wildly out-of-character fanfic.

This is what I don’t get: why did this become such a popular fanfic in the first place? This is the most OOC thing ever. Bella wanted to be a vampire. Edward didn’t want her to be. So how did this somehow translate into Bella being afraid to be into BDSM and Edward desperately pushing her into it? I know my Twilight, okay? And I cannot recognize Bella or Edward in either of these characters. That doesn’t make it okay for James to have massively infringed on Stephenie Meyer’s intellectual property, but it does make me question how much other Twilight fans really enjoy Twilight if they though this was a great fanfic. [A commenter on the last recap actually asked a nearly identical question, which I unconsciously copied here.]

“Well, then. Look, earlier today you were talking about wanting more.” I stop.

Fuck. I’m on a precipice.

Okay, Grey, are you sure about this?

I have to try. I don’t want to lose her before we start.

Jump.

Why don’t you want to lose her? We have seen no reason whatsoever that you are interested in her, aside from the author telling us that you are. None of your “obsession” with her is show outside of your head.

But for whatever reason, he tells her that outside of Ana’s scheduled sub hours, he can try to do the “more” thing she’s been talking about. In other words, he’s reluctantly willing to try dating her, as long as she agrees to be his sub. Or whatever. And, she has to accept the car he bought her. She’s not happy that he bought the car, or that he mentioned it to her stepdad.

Come on, Ana. You want more. This is the price.

This is the price, Ana. If you want to date me, you have to do every single thing I tell you to, in perpetuity.

Why is she so difficult? I’ve never had this reaction to a car from any of my submissives. They’re usually delighted.

He’s already expressed relief once before that she’s not after his money. But now that she doesn’t want his money, then by damn, she’s going to take his money or else he’s going to emotionally withhold!

I grab her and press her body to mine, her hair pooling in my fingers.

Pooling hair. Great, deep pools of human hair. Diving into a pool of hair. Hair getting in your mouth. You try to swim to the surface, but every movement drags you down, down, deeper into the hair.

“You are one challenging woman, Ana Steele.” I kiss her forcefully, coaxing her lips apart with my tongue, and a moment later she’s responding, matching my ardor, her tongue caressing mine.

First of all, how do you coax something forcefully? Coaxing is the opposite of forcing. Second, he’s like, all hot and horny because she’s “challenging,” but again, it’s something he doesn’t like about her. All of the qualities we’re supposed to believe he finds attractive are ones that he complains about constantly, to the point of anger.

My body reacts–I want her. Here. Now. In the open. “It’s taking all my self-control not to fuck you on the hood of this car right now, just to show you that you are mine, and if I want to buy you a fucking car, I’ll buy you a fucking car. Now let’s get you inside and naked,” I growl.

I honestly can’t tell at this point if Christian Grey just thinks he’s so hot and magnetic that a woman would fuck him right on the street in front of God and everybody, or if he’s really that cavalier about raping women. I’m guessing it’s some kind of hellish combination of the two. He’s basically saying that he’ll rape her in public to put her in her place.

He drags her into the house and takes her to her bedroom, without asking if she’s into it anymore or not.

“Please don’t be angry with me,” she whispers.

Her words douse the fire of my anger.

“I’m sorry about the car and the books–” She halts and licks her lips. “You scare me when you’re angry.”

Shit. No one has ever said that to me before. I close my eyes. The last thing I want to do is frighten her.

Calm down, Grey.

She’s here. She’s safe. She’s willing. Don’t blow it, just because she doesn’t understand how to behave.

Wait, it’s Ana who doesn’t know how to behave? Really? It’s Ana?

Here’s another place where Grey monumentally fails to counter the criticism of Christian Grey as an unrepentant misogynist, abuser, and rapist. In Ana’s POV, this scene isn’t much better:

My blood heats immediately, and I’m returning his kiss with my own passion. I want him badly–in spite of the car, the books, the soft limits…the caning…I want him.

“It’s taking all my self-control not to fuck you on the hood of this car right now, just to show you that you are mine, and if I want to buy you a fucking car, I’ll buy you a fucking car,” he growls. “Now let’s get you inside and naked.” He plants a swift rough kiss on me.

Boy, he’s angry. He grabs my hand and leads me back into the apartment and straight into my bedroom…no passing go. My subconscious is behind the sofa again, head hidden under her hands. He switches on the sidelight and halts, staring at me.

“Please don’t be angry with me,” I whisper.

His gaze is impassive; his eyes cold shards of smoky glass.

“I’m sorry about the car and the books…” I trail off. He remains silent and brooding. “You scare me when you’re angry,” I breathe, staring at him.

So, the only thing we really have to show that Ana is at all into any of this is that at the top of this passage, she’s saying she wants him. But in Christian’s POV, we don’t get that at all. And it just makes him look like a rapist.

Every once in a while, I’ll be talking to other readers or looking at reviews or something, and someone will complain that asking for consent makes the book less romantic or sexy or something ridiculous like that. It’s not happening as frequently, so I hope it’s dying out, the way the “condoms aren’t sexy” complaints seem to have become more infrequent. But this is the argument I’m going to use the next time I start seeing excuses like, “it’s not ALPHA enough if he asks,” etc. Because without Ana’s internal monologue or an expression of consent, Christian Grey is literally just dragging a woman into her bedroom, where she tells him she’s afraid of him and begs him not to be angry, before ordering her to strip down:

Opening my eyes, I find Ana watching me, not in fear, but with anticipation.

“Turn around,” I demand, my voice soft. “I want to get you out of that dress.”

She obeys immediately.

Again, no verbal confirmation. He just decides that he can tell by her expression that, despite the fact she just told him that she’s afraid of him, she’s not afraid. Then he tells her to do something and she “obeys immediately”…which could also be out of fear. We only know that it isn’t out of fear if we’re reading Ana’s POV.

“You smell so good, Anastasia. So sweet.”

Like fall.

Her fragrance is comforting, reminding me of a time of plenty and happiness.

Um…you’re like, a billionaire. Do you really need to long for a time of plenty? Do you not have enough?

Lift your arms and put them around my head,” I order, my lips brushing her neck.

Put your arms around my head? That’s such a strange way to word that. The mental image is…odd. Maybe it’s just me.

He feels up her boobs. The words “teasing and tugging,” as well as “pinch and twist” and “twisting and tugging,” are used to describe his nipple technique, as is a phrase we’ll recognize from the original trilogy:

“Tell me,” I insist, continuing my sensual assault on her nipples.

Isn’t it amazing how in sync with each other these characters are, that they describe the same actions exactly the same way in both their heads? That’s totally on purpose, I’ll bet.

Sensual assault. that would have been a great title for these books. They could have just left off the “sensual” part, actually.

So, I want to address the “tugging” thing. I’ve become a lot looser re: my standards for word repetition these days. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t seem to be as big a deal anymore, stylistically. A lot of books I’ve been reading lately have had a fair amount of word rep. So I’ve more or less mellowed out about it, both in my reading and my writing. But the verb “tug” is used in various tenses fifty four times in this book. Seven of them are in this scene alone. That? Is excessive, especially from an author who’s as in love with her thesaurus as E.L. James appears to be.

So, he rips off Ana’s panties and sticks his fingers in her and it’s all very erotic, I assure you. Then:

“Undress me.” I keep my eyes on hers. She tilts her head, processing my command, but hesitates. “You can do it,” I encourage her. She lifts her hands and all of a sudden I think she’s going to touch me, and I’m not ready.

Okay, but…you told her before that you don’t like to be touched. Then you’re like, no don’t worry, this time it’s okay. Did it not somehow occur to you that she would have to touch you to take your clothes off? Either way, he grabs her hands and tells her not to take off his t-shirt. He wants her to be on top, and there’s a chance she might accidentally touch him if she does.

So, remember how that whole, “I don’t like to be touched” thing was a big mystery in the original trilogy? Why is it a big mystery in Christian’s head? He knows why he doesn’t like to be touched, but I don’t remember it ever being even hinted at so far in this book. That said, I generally visit a government facility to get my mind erased after every recap I write, so who the fuck knows.

“I want to be inside you. Take my jeans off. You’re in charge.”

Good call, Christian, this is totally going to help her figure out how to be a sub. Command her to be in charge of you. That’s not at all confusing to a beginner. BONUS: when she actually tries to be in charge, you can get angry and make her feel bad. Maybe this is why people suggest that Ana is “topping from the bottom” throughout these novels. She never is, because she has no sexual agency whatsoever, but maybe that misconception is coming from the few times that he tells her to be in charge?

Anyway, she tries to get his jeans unbuttoned and unzipped and it’s a struggle. Probably because of his mighty, mighty wang.

Her naïveté is captivating. It’s obvious that she’s never done this before. Another first…and it’s fucking arousing.

What made it obvious? The part where she already told you a long time ago that she hasn’t ever fooled around with anyone or felt any sexual urges whatsoever prior to meeting you? I have this feeling that somewhere in his house he has a lovingly kept scrapbook of all these firsts. “Ana’s First Orgasm” written in bounce lettering on a page decorated with stickers of exploding dynamite or something.

Ana unzips him and gets his cock out.

Her eyes flick to my face and she reaches up and grasps me firmly, squeezing hard, her thumb brushing over the tip.

Jesus.

She leans down.

And I’m in her mouth.

Fuck.

She sucks hard.

I asked Mr.Jen to read this scene and evaluate Ana’s oral technique. The word he used to describe it was “ill-conceived.” He also went on to state that “I don’t know. Maybe? Some guys like it weird.” But I’m in agreement with him; a lot of Ana’s handling of Christian’s penis sounds really rough and unpleasant. Then again, maybe it’s payback for all the pinching and tugging he was doing on her nipples.

But she shows no mercy as she fellates me again and again. Fuck. Her enthusiasm is disarming. Her tongue is up and down, I’m in and out of her mouth to the back of her throat, her lips tight around me. It’s an overwhelming erotic vision. I could come just watching her.

Well, I’m sure the blowjob would help, at least.

He stops her and tells her to put the condom on him.

She examines it with consternation, then rips the packet open with her teeth.

Don’t do that. It’s kind of a romance novel cliché, you see it everywhere (I may have even written it in the past), but in real life, don’t open condoms with your teeth. You could rip the condom, and then bad things could happen. This is your condom PSA for the day.

He tells her how to put the condom on him, and while she’s doing it, he’s like:

“Christ, you’re killing me here,” I exclaim through clenched teeth.

HEY BUDDY. Putting on condoms is difficult for the people who have the penis. Why should it be super easy for someone who doesn’t have a penis and who’s never done it before?

Anyway, they have sex with Ana on top, and even in Christian’s super dirty, most-sexual-man-alive brain, the intercourse is as vague as ever:

I hold her, letting her get used to the feel of me. Like this. Inside her.

With my thingy. My thingy. In her privates. Like this. The feel of it. The feel of my thingy. Down there.

She’s almost there, so I tighten my grip on her hands, and she ignites around me.

Doesn’t she usually detonate?

Then I tighten my hold on her hips and silently lose myself as I explode inside her.

Wait, now he’s detonating? I can’t follow these whiplash changes to the plot. My whole world view has been shaken. He’s going to have to redo that scrapbook page. Anarchy will reign.

So basically, the super kinky thing they do in this super kinky scene is that she gives him a blowy and rides him. Why on earth hasn’t this book been banned world-wide for the high-intensity heat of all this scorching perversion?

She lays her whole body on his chest, but when she puts her hand there:

The darkness slithers, quick and strong, into my chest, into my throat, threatening to suffocate and choke me.

Wait, am I reading Hentai?

Okay, guys. Are you ready?

Get ready.

Because here it comes.

 “Why don’t you like to be touched?”

“Because I’m fifty shades of fucked up, Anastasia.”

I need a cigarette, because that was WAY more satisfying than the sex scene.

Now let’s look at some dialogue that reads like total fucking gibberish:

“I think that’s all the very basics covered. How was that?”

For a moment she seems distracted, then she tilts her head to one side and smiles. “If you imagine for one minute that I think you ceded control to me, well, you haven’t taken into account my GPA. But thank you for the illusion.”

“Miss Steele, you are not just a pretty face. You’ve had six orgasms so far and all of them belong to me.” Why does that mere fact make me glad?

Because you’re gross.

Anyway, how does that conversation even go? First he’s like, well, we’ve covered the basics. Which, you know, they really haven’t, they just had sex with her on top. But whatever. Then she answers by saying that she doesn’t believe he gave her control. Okay, I guess that fits. Then he’s like, you’re not just a pretty face, which would echo back to her GPA comment, but it doesn’t because he follows it up with the orgasms thing. Is he saying that she’s not a pretty face because he’s the only person who’s given her orgasms? As in, yeah, turns out you’re smart, Ana, because you’ve only ever had orgasms with me? I don’t understand this progression of dialogue.

Ana confesses that he hasn’t caused all of her orgasms, though:

“I came in my sleep.” She flings an arm over her face, iding from me, embarrassed. I’m stunned by her confession, but aroused and delighted, too.

Sensual creature.

She peeks over her arm. Does she expect me to be angry?

Why wouldn’t she? You spend all of your time finding reasons to get angry with her, and she’s terrified of you.

She tells him that she dreamed about him using a riding crop on her, and he’s like, there’s hope for you yet, har har.

Collecting the condom off the floor, I knot it quickly.

I don’t care how quickly you knotted it, you already got nut all over her carpet.

Now that she’s agreed to be mine, she needs contraception. Fully dressed, she sits cross-legged ont he bed watching me as I grab my pants. “When is your period due?” I ask. “I hate wearing these things.” I hold up the knotted condom and pull on my jeans.

She’s taken aback.

Because you’re waving a used jimmy in the air all over her bedroom, you unhygienic weirdo.

So, he’s decided that he now gets to make all sorts of demands over Ana’s body. Swell. I know she agreed to the contract, but I bristle so, so hard when heroes tell heroines what they’re going to do for birth control. It drives me up the wall. She’ll do what’s best for her and her body and it’s up to her, not you. There you go. Solved your problem.

Anyway, Christian asks Ana if she’s got a doctor, and she doesn’t. He says he’ll have one make a house call, and she chooses to do it at Christian’s apartment. Then he gets ready to leave, and she offers to drive him home in her new car:

That’s better. She’s accepted the car as she should, but after all that champagne she shouldn’t be driving. “I think you’ve had too much to drink.”

“Did you get me tipsy on purpose?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because you overthink everything, and you’re reticent, like your stepdad. A drop of wine in you and you start talking, and I need you to communicate honestly with me. Otherwise you clam up, and I have no idea what you’re thinking. In vino veritas, Anastasia.”

Is that not the most pretentious way of explaining why you got a woman drunk so she would fuck you?

Seriously, I’m sitting here, baffled once again that someone sat down, wrote this in a book, and thought, “Yes. Yes, it’s fine that he got her drunk, because of these reasons.” They didn’t have to drink wine at all. This was all one big, made up fantasy. These aren’t real people doing these things and needing to defend their actions. And that’s what continues to just blow my mind. The author makes the characters do shitty things, then explains why it was perfectly okay for them to do the shitty things because of reasons that are still shitty. It would be way easier to just not have the characters do the shitty thing in the first place, especially if it’s not particularly important to the plot. If he didn’t get Ana drunk in this scene, it would only have improved the story.

“I’d like you to stay and use this.” She grabs the other condom and waves it at me.

Manage her expectations, Grey.

“I have crossed so many lines here tonight. I have to go. I’ll see you on Sunday.”

He definitely has crossed lines, but not the ones he’s worried about. Buying her a car without asking first? Cross that line. Getting her drunk so she’ll sign a contract saying you can do whatever you want to her, whenever you want? Cross that line. Have sex twice in one night? WHOA THERE I AM NOT READY FOR THAT KIND OF COMMITMENT.

“I’ll have the revised contract ready for you, and then we can really start to play.”

“Play?” she squeaks.

“I’d like to do a scene with you. But I won’t until you’ve signed, so I know you’re ready.”

“Oh. So I could stretch this out if I don’t sign?”

Shit. I hadn’t thought of that.

Her chin tilts up in defiance.

Ah…topping from the bottom, again. She always finds a way.

“Well, I suppose you could, but I may crack under the strain.”

Hey, guess what? She’s not “topping from the bottom.” She’s saying she doesn’t want to be your sub, and she’s looking for ways to get around being your sub. This is as clear as she’s ever going to state that she doesn’t want to sub for you, she wants to date you. This is the point where a person who was smart would go, “You know what, this is clearly not going to work out, because we want two different things.”

She asks what will happen if he “cracks”:

“Oh, you know, explosions, car chases, kidnapping, incarceration.”

“You’d kidnap me?”

“Oh yes.”

“Hold me against my will?”

“Oh yes.” Now, that’s an interesting idea. “And then we’re talking TPE twenty-four-seven.”

“You’ve lost me,” she says, perplexed and a little breathless.

“Total Power Exchange–around the clock.” My mind whirls as I think of the possibilities. She’s curious. “So you have no choice,” I add with a playful tone.

I don’t know about anyone else, but if a dude came into my workplace, bought supplies that could be used for a kidnapping, then later joked about kidnapping me and forcing me to be his full-time sex slave after asking me to sign a contract to be his full-time sex slave, then I guess I would be like…maybe not amused? Maybe even a little nervous? Especially if the guy was so super rich he could just disappear anybody he wanted to?

“Clearly.” Her tone is sarcastic and she rolls her eyes to the heavens, perhaps looking for divine inspiration to understand my sense of humor.

I just wanted to point out that this same section from Ana’s POV is:

“Clearly.” I can’t keep the sarcasm out of my voice as my eyes reach for the heavens.

Take me to church. Hozier wrote this fucking book.

So, because Ana rolled her eyes at him, Christian is going to spank her.

For a moment she stares at me, blanching. “I haven’t signed,” she whispers.

She. Does. Not. Want. To. Sub.

Will she? Won’t she? This is it. Proof of whether she can do this or not. I watch her, impassive, waiting for her to decide. If she says no, it means she’s paying lip service to the idea of being my submissive.

And that will be it.

Make the right choice, Ana.

The right choice being, obviously, to sub for Christian even when she doesn’t want to. At the top of this damn page she basically said she’s paying lip service to the idea, but never mind that, because she might let him spank her now, and people never do things sexually that they aren’t into out of fear of losing their partner.

She lays the condom on my palm, and I grasp her hand and abruptly pull her over my left knee, so that her head, shoulders, and chest are resting on the bed. I drape my right leg over her legs, holding her in place. I’ve wanted to do this since she asked me if I was gay.

Just when you thought these books couldn’t get more homophobic, SURPRISE! Seriously, he’s wanted to cause her physical pain since she asked him if he was gay? That is a totally normal and not at all homophobic response. And a little panicky. “What? Me? Gay? How dare you! I shall thrash you soundly!” Jesus, it’s 2011, Christian. “Are you gay” isn’t an insult, it’s a fucking question.

The lengths to which James goes to assure us that Christian Grey is definitely, certainly, positively not gay would be comical, if the whole thing wasn’t so offensive.

Christian tells Ana he’s going to spank her every time she rolls her eyes.

She has a fine, fine ass. And I’m going to make it pink…like the champagne.

Finally, the mystery that has plagued us throughout this chapter has been solved.

He spanks her, and it’s all like, oh yeah, she’s into it, she’s anticipating it, fine, fine ass, etc.

I rub her sweet flesh and start again, taking turns: left cheek, right cheek, middle.

And it’s as repetitive a spanking as ever you’ll see.

I spank her over and over–the same pattern, left cheek, right cheek, middle–and she yelps each time.

Like, thank you for clearing up what pattern you’re using when we’re something like two paragraphs and a couple lines of dialogue away from the first time you described it.

I insert two fingers into her vagina.

“Feel this. See how much your body likes this. You’re soaking, just for me.”

Now, whether or not your brain was into it, that’s not important, Ana.

Just for funsies, let’s look at how Ana describes this in Fifty Shades of Grey:

And he hits me again and again. From somewhere deep inside, I want to beg him to stop. But I don’t. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction. He continues the unrelenting rhythm. I cry out six more times. Eighteen slaps in total. My body is singing, singing from his merciless assault.

There are so many times in Fifty Shades of Grey (and the rest of the series) that Ana describes a spanking as an assault, as hitting. That has bothered me so much over the years of seeing women say, “Oh, well, she consented.” She consented before she knew what spanking was like. She agreed to sub for him before this trial run. And now he’s given her a car, a laptop, priceless books, he’s stalked her at her graduation, she’s afraid of him when he’s angry…and she describes spankings almost exclusively as hitting, beatings, and assault.

What her body likes? That’s not as important as what her mind and her soul want.

Anyway, he fucks her, and afterward he’s like:

I stroke her hair. It’s a soft, rich mahogany, shining in the glow of her bedside light.

Ron Burgundy from Anchorman saying, "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany."

You know what? I can’t just leave it there.

Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games, with the text "THAT IS MAHOGANY!" over the bottom of the picture.

I had to. Elizabeth Banks has single-handedly turned an entire type of wood into a joke.

Ready for a weird scent description?

She smells of Ana and apples and sex.

Apples and Sex is the least popular of the classic Bath and Bodyworks fragrances. Seriously, though, all I can think about is someone jizzing across a plate of apple slices.

“You should be in silks and satins, you beautiful girl. I’ll take you shopping.”

“I like my sweats,” she argues.

Of course she does.

Ha ha, poverty. How very droll.

Christian tells Ana that he has to leave, then he goes to her bathroom and just happens to see a bottle of baby oil there. He takes it into the bedroom:

She’s dressed when I return, evading my gaze. Why so shy suddenly?

“I found some baby oil. Let me rub it into your behind.”

“No. I’ll be fine,” she says, examining her fingers, still avoiding eye contact.

For a big fancy pro-am Dom, he sure can’t pick up body language cues from subs. She’s. Not. Into. This.

He puts the oil on her butt and:

“There.” I pull her sweatpants up. “I’m leaving now.”

They go to the door, and she still won’t make eye contact with him. He tells her to look at him.

Large blue eyes peek up at me through long, dark lashes.

“You didn’t cry.” My voice is low.

And you let me spank you. You’re amazing.

He doesn’t ask her if she’s okay, even though she’s clearly acting like she’s not. He’s just focused on his experience, and how great it was for him. If it was great for him, obviously it was also great for her.

Once I’m in the car I look back, but she’s gone. She’s probably tired…like me.

Or, she’s emotionally fucked up because she just had her very first experience with BDSM ever, and even though it wasn’t as super hard and sadistic as Christian Grey allegedly is, she got no real aftercare. Rubbing baby oil on her butt and saying, “Okay, bye now,” isn’t enough.

Closing my eyes, I see her riding me, her head tipped back in ecstasy. Ana does not do things halfheartedly. She commits. And to think she had sex for the first time only a week ago.

With me. And no one else.

Yes, we get it. We get it, Christian. Ana has never had sex with anyone else. Would you like to brand her, so everyone knows for the rest of forever? Do you want it engraved on her tombstone? I’m seriously thinking that when Ana dies, her obituary will read, “Anastasia Rose Steele Grey, who has only had sex with one man her whole life, sexual god among unworthy mortals, Christian Grey…”

When they get to the hotel, Christian asks Taylor:

“Good. That reminds me. Can you collect her old Beetle tomorrow and dispose of it? I don’t want her driving it.”

“Of course. I have a friend who restores vintage cars. He might be interested. I’ll deal with it. Will there be anything else?”

Anger, from Disney's Inside Out, his head igniting into flame.

You can’t just take someone’s car! THAT IS GRAND THEFT AUTO AND IT IS A FELONY. Christian is asking his employee to commit a felony. And that employee is like, “Yeah, sure, we can do that. I’ll totally steal her car and give it to my friend. Can I get you a glass of water, while I’m at it?”

Fuck you, Taylor. I trusted you.

Christian goes to his hotel room and writes Ana an email:

You are quite simply exquisite. The most beautiful, intelligent, witty, and brave woman I have ever met.

I forgot about Ana’s bravery. That drove me nuts reading the original series. She doesn’t do anything brave until like, the last book, and she never does anything smart, but all of the characters around her are like, “You’re so smart, you’re so brave.” Her entire life is like one big fucking participation trophy.

He warns her not to drive her Beetle again, and she emails back that she’s going to drive it to the dealership to sell it. She also tells him that caning is a hard limit now. He emails her back to tell her she should go to bed, and that Taylor is going to take care of her car. She emails him back:

I am intrigued that you are happy to risk letting your right-hand man drive my car but not some woman you fuck occasionally.

She goes on to ask why she should trust Taylor to get her a good deal.

What the hell? Some woman I fuck occasionally?

I have to take a deep breath. Her response irks me…no, infuriates me. How dare she talk about herself like that?

Yeah, only Christian is allowed to talk about you like that. You know, with all of his, “we’re not dating, I don’t make love, I fuck hard, etc.” I mean, honestly. How did she get the impression that she was only a sex partner and not someone he valued? Because he came over, had sex with her twice, spanked her, then left immediately after without a single thought given to her needs?

As my submissive she’ll be so much more than that. I’ll be devoted to her. Does she not realize this?

Clearly not, and that’s Christian’s fault, not Ana’s.

And she has driven a hard bargain with me. Good God! Look at all the concessions I’ve made with regards to the contract.

How dare she so ungratefully view this sexual relationship as an impersonal arrangement solely about sex?! Especially when I’ve treated it like an impersonal arrangement all along!

Even though he’s looking at this and going, wow, this makes me super mad that she thinks this about herself, it’s not the fact that she feels that way that really bothers him. It’s how he feels about her feeling it that matters. He’s not thinking, “I really wish she wouldn’t feel this way, because I value her more than this.” He’s thinking, “I really wish she wouldn’t feel this way, because it makes me feel bad, and that’s not fair for her to do that to me.”

He emails her back and tells her that he forgives her for the way she’s treating him, but he could just drive over and spank her some more if he wanted to. He says Taylor used to be in the army, so he can drive anything, and then goes on to say:

Now please do not refer to yourself as “some woman I fuck occasionally” because, quite frankly, it makes me MAD, and you really wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

Okay, Bruce Banner. We already know that Ana doesn’t like him when he’s angry. She’s terrified of him when he’s angry. So here he is, abusing her remotely via email.

She doesn’t write back immediately. Perhaps she’s intimidated by my response.

Gosh, I don’t know why she would feel that way.

Ana does write back and tells him that she’s not sure she likes him, anyway.

I stare at her reply, and all my anger withers and dies, to be replaced by a surge of anxiety.

Shit.

Is she saying that’s it?

No. We’re not that lucky. But at least next time we’ll be onto a different fucking chapter.

104 thoughts on “Jenny Reads Fifty Shades of Midnight Sun: Thursday, May 26, 2011, part three or “I don’t understand why you’re interpreting the things I’m doing as the things I’m literally doing.”

  1. You know, if Eel wanted a model for psychopathic-guy-surprising-himself-by-actually-falling-in-love, there’s always “Dangerous Liaisons.” And Laclos is clever enough to make readers wonder whether Valmont really means it this time, or it’s just one last psychological manipulation before he croaks.

    1. Ah, but that model requires his love interest to have a personality and a set of principles to betray. It also requires that there be multiple rounded secondary characters who have an actual effect on the plot besides giving the Main Couple something to talk about between the beginning of the book and the end.

      I don’t think either of those things is James’s idea of fun at all.

    2. Read the book. It’s clearly the manipulation that finally did him in because he managed to piss off too many people.

    3. Wait, are you talking about the Marquise or Cecile? Because even though this is a book full of horrible people who should never be shipped because they’re all quite possibly sociopaths, I have a serious thing for the former.

      1. He may or may not have fallen in love with Mme de Tourvel. The Marquise thought it might be sufficiently real to feel threatened by it.

  2. ” … Fifty Shades Darker From Christian’s Point Of View. One hopes that is a working title and not catchy marketing that’s already been set in stone.”

    Jenny, Jenny, Jenny, don’t you know all things Eel are golden? Of course that is the title and it’s magical because SHE SAID SO!

    “Being spanked as a child isn’t the same thing as being spanked in a sexual context.”

    I was spanked. Open hand, over clothing, never with a belt or switch, whatever. I wasn’t beaten by any stretch of the imagination. I know it happened. It wasn’t often. I barely remember it. I only remember one specific incident and mostly only because I also got grounded for a week after and that was far more upsetting. It probably hurt, but I have no actual memory of any pain. That question would be of no use to me. What I do know is that it definitely did not turn me on, nor was that the intent. (For the record, and while I know everyone views this differently, I don’t feel I was abused at all. I had a pretty great childhood. I’m not looking to debate. Just responding to the context of the book in the context of my personal experience.)

    “Every once in a while, I’ll be talking to other readers or looking at reviews or something, and someone will complain that asking for consent makes the book less romantic or sexy or something ridiculous like that.”

    It seems this can be conveyed without a cold, dull, “Are you OK with this?” “Yes. Go ahead.” conversation. It can be sexy and still clear. If you’re a writer, you should be creative, no?

    1. Same here with spanking. I remember that I was spanked on a few occasions when I was little, but I can’t recall a specific memory of being spanked or what it was like. Even if I did, the two things are so vastly different, so the question would be meaningless. However, it would gross me out.

      1. In contrast, my parents often hit me, hard, in anger, usually with their hands but not always. I remember all too well the pain, the humiliation, the feeling of utter powerlessness.

        And as a direct result, I now can’t deal with sexual spanking.

        1. Yeah, same. I kinda like BDSM but spanking, even seeing it in fiction makes me feel horrible. (and considering I’m into some forms of pain it’s clearly from that assosiation)

        2. I was pretty badly abused as a child, with both of my parents and my older siblings beating me with terrifying frequency. Maybe it’s because I was rarely spanked on my butt, but I am kind of into sexual spanking. I’m about as vanilla as they come, as well, and mild choking and spanking is as crazy as I ever get, so who knows?
          I’m not sure that there’s any general correlations between childhood punishment/abuse and interest in spanking, but it’s interesting to hear people’s personal correlations.

    2. Joss Whedon’s shows have not always been amazing on the consent front, but I think the sex scene in the Firefly episode “Heart of Gold”, with Mal and Nandi, is a really great example of consent. He says, “Let me know if I’m overstepping”, like, *before * they kiss, and she’s like, “[awkward Chinese swearing] I’ve been waiting for you to kiss me since I showed you my guns,” and THEN they make out, and viola! Explicit consent that’s sexy and character-appropriate and doesn’t sound like it came from robots. It is possible! Just not for E.L. James, I guess.

  3. Maybe Taylor thought she consented to the car thing! I’m holding out hope for him, until this book ruins his character.

    Also, “I insert two fingers into her vagina” is the most clinical insert tab A into slot B sex I’ve ever heard. Is sex with Chedward a visit to my gyno?

    1. I like to think Taylor just tells Chedward whatever he wants to hear, then behind his back Taylor just does the appropriate and/or legal thing.

      1. Yeah, same. Taylor knows Christian is an utter asshole who thinks he can do anything because he’s rich. When Christian says, “go take her car,” Taylor says yessir but thinks, “great, now I have to go get signatures on the title and clean out all of Ana’s stupid books from the backseat and arrange a car to pick me up from the dealership and DAMN IT GREY there goes my whole fuckin afternoon. *sigh*”

      2. Also, idt Jenny covered this but Chedward explictly stated few chapters beforehand “I pay for his daughter’s schooling as another incentive for him to stay in my employment” so he’s basically admitting that he pays for Taylor’s daughter’s school not because he’s philanthropic but to have a upper hand against her father and btw the way he says it ‘as another incentive’ makes it sound like he knows or suspects Taylor wouldn’t work for him otherwise so he holds his daughter’s whole future hostage. THIS GUY THIS FUCKING GUY

        1. Yeah I loved that scene! Nandi’s in full control and Mal loves it. Then she’s on top. There should be more sex scenes on TV like this. I felt bad for Inara though – when she spots Mal coming out of her friend’s bedroom it’s pretty obvious she’s jealous, and then later on she’s shown crying, heartbroken. Which really annoys me because then she goes and plays hard to get, again!

  4. >>He switches on the sidelight and halts, staring at me.

    Does sidelight mean something different in the UK? Because here in the US, sidelights are narrow, decorative windows that flank one or both sides of the main entrance door to a house (the word akin to skylight for a narrow window in a ceiling/roof). Here, we would just say “flick on the wall switch” or “turn on the overhead light” or some such. The use of sidelight in this context threw me.

    Also, why in all that’s holy are these books riddled with italics to, presumably, indicate internal thoughts? It’s written in first-person POV , for fuck’s sake, so ALL the narrative represents Christian’s internal thoughts.

    1. Maybe ‘thoughts’ is too strong a work for what passes through his head much of the time and therefore they need special emphasis? I mean I can believe that he tends to animalistic instinct – if the animal was extremely selfish and cruel.

    2. In the UK you’d say bedside light if the lamp was on the bedside table, or wall light if it was wall mounted. Sidelight is only used for the little headlights on your car, the ones alongside the main headlights. But if you were a terrible writer, say, with a complete tin ear for language, well, then you might call it that.

  5. “This makes me ill.”

    Yeah. So I’m done for the day. I usually devour your recaps. I do not remember this exchange in the original, but I hate read it and originally read your recaps for validation of the hate because I was so mind-blown that people fantasised this shit.

    It also makes me ill. Maybe I bypassed it on reading the original, but I don’t remember this exchange. And it makes me physically ill.

    I have a light relationship with BDSM in that it is not something I *need* to be sexually satisfied, but my most satisfying sexual relationships have included aspects of it. And I have only ever even wanted to dabble in it with the partners I’ve had that I trusted the most, and felt the most respected by (and respected myself). So I don’t really see the BDSM parts of our sexual experiences as the part that made them more gratifying, but the trust and mutual respect.

    I also was physically and emotionally abused as a kid, and his fictional line of thinking/reasoning is just 50 shades of go fuck yourself.

    I have reached my breaking point. I’m done with even hate reading about this asshole. What the fuck is wrong with ELJ?

    1. By done, I mean I stopped reading right then and there. I didn’t read the rest of the recap. I can’t. I’m sure it’s as hilarious and glorious as ever, I just can’t with this guy. I quoted Jenny’s response cause I glimpsed it after (didn’t even finish reading the paragraph) and it was accurate to my own response. My reaction is to what was in the book, not Jenny’s excellent and entertaining recaps.

  6. “This is what I don’t get: why did this become such a popular fanfic in the first place? This is the most OOC thing ever. Bella wanted to be a vampire. Edward didn’t want her to be. So how did this somehow translate into Bella being afraid to be into BDSM and Edward desperately pushing her into it?”

    1. Since Edward and Bella’s relationship was so chaste, complete with fade to blacks on the wedding night and after, everyone pretty much ate up any smut that these fanfic writers turned “authors” wrote.

    2. James flat out admitted this is all her fantasy but she clearly used Edward and Bella, obviously, for fame and money.

    3. Besides, I’ve seen other E/B published fanfic that are extremely OOC, Check out Gabriel’s Inferno, Oy.

    “I don’t want her driving it.”

    I don’t like it, I don’t want it, I, I, I. Me, me, me. I despise that attitude so much. I don’t want it because I don’t like it and that’s all that matters. *Internally Screams*

  7. I hate this chapter so much, and I hate it even more from Christian’s POV. It’s like every triggered horror-memory of my emotionally and sexually manipulative ex.

    I AM SO FUCKING SICK OF MEN, EVEN FICTIONAL MEN, DEFINING FOR WOMEN WHAT THEIR EMOTIONAL RESPONSES AND SEXUAL DESIRES AND EXPERIENCES ARE. BECAUSE SILLY WOMEN CAN’T POSSIBLY KNOW ANYTHING WITHOUT A BIG, STRONG ALPHA MAN TO TELL THEM.

    *lights match, sets fire, watches the motherfucking place burn*

    EL James is internalized misogyny personified.

  8. I get that the dynamic is contrary to Twilight in terms of motivations and plot but I must say that reading Twilight after reading Jenny’s FSoG recaps gave me new respect for FSoG as fan-fic. The creepy, assimilating, character destroying tendencies of Edward Cullen were captured very well.

    1. I’ve done pretty much the same thing, and this is standing out for me too. (The infantilising; oh god, the infantilising).

      The Ana’s First Orgasm scrapbook made me hoot with laughter because it reminded me of that bit in Growing Up Cullen with Wardo’s giant wallcharts tracking Bella’s period and the number of breaths she takes per. night. Excellent.

      1. Additional thought: I wonder if the parallel to vampirism is traditional romance, rather than fake-BDSM? Ana wants a romantic, permanent relationship with Fistian, who holds her at arm’s length with his shitty made-up rules; he can only be with her in the context of his choosing. She can’t have the life she wants with him; she has to settle for what he’ll allow her. But then she cures him with love that is better than everyone else’s, and gets her sparkly forever ending.

        1. Goddarnit, you’ve gone and made these books seem vaguely interesting by your insightful alternative theory. Now my inner literature analyst is dancing the Macarena again, and I hate it when she does that, because then I have the song stuck in my head all night.

          1. When I dance, they call me Anastasia
            And the boys they say que estoy buena
            They all want me, they can’t have me
            ‘Cuz there’s an asshole I’m about to marry
            He’s not shifty; he’s my Fifty
            – Holy jeez, I think he’s gonna hit me

            What are you doing with that asshole, Anastasia?
            When he gets bored of this, you’ll be screaming as he flays ya
            He’ll rename you, rebrand you; we’ll see how he displays ya,
            Greyyyy, Anastasia!

      2. I would like to say thank you for mentioning Growing Up Cullen. I had never heard of this before, and now I’m dying with laughter, and it’s the best day ever!

        1. Yay! It’s my favourite thing in all of sparkledom. If you haven’t seen it so far, I also recommend best reality show Keeping Up with the Cullens, which is still going on tumblr.

          I’m trying to think how Growing Up Grey would go, but it’s too depressing.

          1. Ivory, your version of the Macarena suddenly makes the song bearable, because from now on, I can hear it in your lyrics. <3!

          2. I don’t think you can do it, because Meyer (god, this is the second time I’ve complimented her in this comment thread and it hurts) was actually capable of writing supporting characters. They’re not necessarily fantastic — though much more interesting than the mains — but we at least learn enough about them to get a flavor of their personalities and interests, enough to mimic and/or completely mock them in GUC. With FSoG, Mia is . . . um, happy? The brother whose name I’ve forgotten has a bit more going on (I actually kinda liked him, I think), but hardly enough to make him a major supporting character.

            Basically, to do a Growing Up Grey you’d have to start basically from scratch. And get rid of some of the angst, because Twilight was shockingly cheerful, at least in comparison to this (which is NOT a compliment; I refuse to consider it a compliment because 3 times would just be too much).

    2. Actually, I had the opposite reaction. Reading FSoG + pals gave me a new appreciation for Meyer. Like, Twilight is abusive and poorly written with a hateful narrator, but at least she could kinda string words together in a way that didn’t sound bad. And at least Edward didn’t come across as a literal rapist.

      It makes me nostalgic for 2008 or so, when Meyer was the worst we had and Twilight felt like the worst thing ever written.

  9. ” “Were you physically punished as a child?” I prompt her gently.
    “No.”
    “So you have no sphere of reference at all.””

    This makes me. SEE. FUCKING. RED. It reminds me of an argument I had with a douche boyfriend about anal sex – “how do you like you won’t like it, women are SUPPOSED to like it,” blah blah. We’d been dating for all of 3 months, and we weren’t even close to having PIV sex – I hadn’t seen his penis! Still, he thought he knew my body and my mind better than I did. I refused, so he made threats that he would fuck someone else if I wouldn’t give in. Prick. I hate guys like that, so I hate Christian.

    1. “Women are supposed to –”

      Aaaaaand dumped. I know it’s much easier said than done, but that’s gotta be one of the biggest red flags I can think of.

  10. I lost count of how many times I shivered or was genuinely creeped out and enraged by the excerpts from this chapter. This is really fucking gross. Did any fans actually stay fans after reading this? Is there really still a demand for her to continue? She made it blatantly obvious that Christian is every bit the evil manipulator that critics thought he was. Why continue.

    I honestly don’t think I’m prepared to see the hickey scene play out from his point of view. I may become physically ill.

  11. Wow, Jen, I can’t believe you’re managing to read this crap. Chedward is downright scary when we can see his thought processes, and I’m finding this recap to be really disturbing. The only thing keeping me going is the almost-funny crappy writing — hair pooling in one’s hands, indeed.

    I’m sorry you’re having to experience the full brunt of this garbage. Ugh.

  12. I just realized how similar Christian Grey is to a certain Presidential candidate and I’m going to go stick my head in the rotors of Charlie Tango.

    I’m so sorry, everyone.

    1. Make America Greyt again!

      But seriously, yeah, they’re both psychopaths. Please do what you can to keep us from electing Chedward…

      1. Bad pun! Bad pun! No biscuit!
        (You made me get snot all over my keyboard, Anon123.)
        I thought the Gilbert Gottfried’s youtube reading of FSoG was the ultimate, but now I’m imagining all that “sexy dom” dialogue read in that inimitable Queensborough accent….

    2. I’ve been saying for years that the Billionaire Alpha Asshole Dom that the Industry seems to love so much is not some young, sexy heartthrob who will love the FMC 4-evah, but rather = Donald Trump. Sooooo hot, amirite? He’s just so COMMANDING and POWERFUL .

  13. The other day, I read the excerpt to “Darker: Dickhead’s POV” that was on ELJ’s Facebook page, and it was a little scary seeing how similar it was to a hatefic I wrote a few months ago. Christian’s sitting in his car with Taylor staring at Ana’s work building, impatiently waiting for her, second-guessing himself and their relationship, remembering troubling things that Ana said to him, etc. The only difference is that, in my version, she never shows up. :D

    The scary part is that I wrote my chapter in less than an hour, I’m not a professional writer, and I didn’t ask for any money. But ELJ wants 10 bucks a pop for this?

    “She’s willing to do all this other stuff, but she doesn’t want to do the pain stuff? Then maybe you don’t do the pain stuff? Or, if you absolutely have to have that, then you do it with someone else?”

    I think he’s into the fact that she’s not into it. It’s the only thing that really makes sense (other than it just being poorly written, which is probably the case). He likes that she’s willful so that he can use it against her and “put her in her place.” And he likes that she’s actually afraid of him so that he can use her fear to control her. In actual BDSM, the fear isn’t real. It’s just a part of the scene, and he wouldn’t have any real control. He says a few times that he doesn’t want her to be afraid of him, but then he constantly tries to frighten her and coerce her into doing things she doesn’t like.

      1. I agree. I’d even go so far as to say he reminds me of some of the psychopaths I’ve read about who became serial killers – they chose their victims because they showed fear when they were approached. He’s into her because she’s not into pain, and he wants to inflict pain on her, specifically. Wondering whether there might be a bit of a sociopath in E.L James, to be able to write that way. Because if the books are completely unbelievable in every other aspect, she has the controlling, irredeemable asshole down pat.

  14. I was spanked as a kid, as in, maybe 2-3 swats when my parents were super frustrated, maybe 8 times during my whole childhood. It wasn’t optimum, I suppose (I wouldn’t spank my hypothetical kids) but I don’t feel especially traumatized by it either.

    Chedward equating childhood spanking to BDSM is just… weird. I haven’t experienced it myself, so somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but… isn’t it more physically analogous to martial arts sparring, or getting a tattoo? I mean, the sexual component makes it not totally equivalent to those examples, but in the sense of a) a safe, controlled environment to explore something that can be dangerous in the wild and b) a really intense endorphin rush, those seem a lot closer.

    1. Yeah, Chedward’s comments that basically equates childhood spanking to adult sexytime spanking never made sense to me either. I remember maybe 2 spankings from when I was a kid, and I’ve done some adult sexytime spanking, and the contexts, at least for me, are SO different. Though I’m sure there are people into BDSM that like to play out that similar childhood dynamic as part of a scene, but that seems like a different variety of spanking than the one Chedward wants to explore with/impose on Anastasia. He just wants to give her pain, not play Daddy to her “bad little girl,” right?

      If a guy’s super into hair-pulling and wants to do it to/with his partner, does he ask them if their hair was pulled as a child? Like, what does that have to do with ANYTHING?

      1. Comparing childhood spanking to spanking in a sexual context is like comparing a pelvic exam at the doctor’s to being fingered. It involves the same body parts and motions, but it doesn’t feel the same at all.

  15. “Feel this. See how much your body likes this. You’re soaking, just for me.”

    This really, really fucking bothers me. Just because someone has a physical response, doesn’t mean that they consent or that they like something. A physical response is like a reflex – just because you kicked when someone tapped you on the knee doesn’t mean you wanted them to wack you. In fact, there is some evidence that a response like Anna had has nothing to do with actual arousal and is just the body’s way of trying to mitigate injury during a sexual assault. The fact that she’s lubricating might just be a fear response.

    But crap like this can be really damaging to sexual assault victims who end up thinking, “Well I orgasmed, maybe I did want it on some level….”

    1. And they just finished fucking, so a lot of the lubrication is probably left over from that anyway.

      Also, what’s all this “middle” stuff? Does Ana have three butt cheeks? Is Cheddy smacking her crack? Or is ELJ trying to say that he’s spanking her “down there” and is just too squeamish to come right out and say it?

    2. There was an SVU episode in Season 15 or 16 that dealt with physical reactions to sexual assault specifically. The poor girl was gang raped in front of her boyfriend but kept having orgasms she couldn’t control. Benson and Rollins made sure she knew it wasn’t because she wanted it; that it was a totally autonomous physiological reaction but I’m just wondering whether this type of information should be made more widely available, perhaps as part of the info on consent videos or something. Law and Order SVU is doing a great job of educating women about these issues but not everyone watches it. Just on Grey though: Ugh… this whole passage made me cringe. Quite apart from the consent aspect, his talking about it in that way is a complete turn-off. Women find this sexy?!

    3. Physiological arousal (erection if you have a dick, lubrication if you have a vagina) isn’t consent. Neither is orgasm. If it’s not consent play-type stuff that everybody involved is down with, I sincerely hate pretty much anything where a character is telling another character that having a boner/being wet means they actually WANT sex. (There’s a m/m fic I read recently that I seriously want to comment “BONERS DO NOT EQUAL CONSENT, author. Please *at least* put a dub-con tag up, k”?)

      (I’m a DV survivor and the sex was *physically* good/enjoyable for a long time past when I wanted out of the relationship. Unsurprisingly, I had a whole bunch of shame issues about that after I *did* walk, and the counselor I was seeing afterwards did his very best to tell those issues to fuck off and die because most of them fell under the “physical reactions aren’t CONSENT” umbrella.)

  16. Does anyone know if ELJ was a Big Name Fan back when she posted the Twilight version of this dumpster fire? Almost every fandom I’ve been in has had one of those who put out fics that are just terrible and totally OOC that their followers eat up and reblog (or, in earlier fandoms, post links to). I’m guessing that she was one since, as the story goes, it became popular via the Twilight fandom which then led to some kind of badfic chain reaction.

      1. Sooo I have gone deep down this rabbit hole.. I’m now reading a livejournal that was linked from the reddit thread, and in one of the saved chat logs eel is complaining about an outtake that she “had” to write for charity. The chat says that she never wanted to write the EPOV, which I assume is Edward’s pov, and now my head explodes.

  17. The vampirism = BDSM doesn’t work, because ELJ clearly thinks that “kinky” sex is a dark, dangerous, shameful thing only damaged people do. So, our heroine (barf) can’t be into it, because then she would be a dirty, disfunctional whore. And Christian is only allowed to be into it because his childhood was traumatic.

    These. Fucking. Books.

  18. So she’s saying he should take her grades into account when deciding whether she’s interpreted his thoughts about a sexual encounter correctly.

    I’m pretty sure they don’t teach that shit at school.

  19. I have a feeling the reason that you can’t recognise Bella or Edward in either of these characters is because James didn’t just rip off of Twilight but also ripped off another Twilight fanfic called the Submissive (and sequels) by Tara Sue Me. The plots are strikingly similar and Tara’s Edward has some of the dick elements of Chedward but he is also, by and large, a good, responsible Dom. James just took the story and stuck her own warped version of BDSM in there.

    1. I often wonder why 50 Shades is a best seller (gag) and The Submissive isn’t. ELJ very obviously ripped off The Submissive. They’re so similar that there’s even a part in Submissive where Edward surprises Bella by showing her a beautiful library in his house.

      The Submissive, unlike 50 Shades, is well written, and the Bella character is self-aware and completely into BDSM. If the public was waiting for fanfic BDSM erotica, The Submissive should have topped the best seller list, and 50 Shades should have gotten 15 reads on ff.net.

    2. Ahhhh this clears up a lot. I kept seeing Tara Sue Me on endcaps at the local Barnes & Noble, and the covers made me think it was some kind of 50 Shades clone (which would be like a whole new level of derivative…). Now that I know, I’m wondering if she’s super pissed off that ELJ got to strike it rich for a stupid fanfic that was based on *her* less-stupid fanfic. Any reasonable fanfic author never expects to make money from it…this would really be a double slap in the face. (Or a doublecrap! in the face, if you prefer. I’m weirdly nostalgic for Ana’s odd swearing, now that we’re into Grey.)

  20. I don’t get that whole “consent isn’t sexy” thing at all. Good writers make it SO sexy and so in-the-moment. There’s a fantastic bit in (one of Jenny’s earlier books) Bound in Brass (steampunk BDSM, yesssssss) where he’s fitting a device on her and gains her consent to proceed in such a charming, sexy and in-scene way, that I often return to it as a model of how sexy consent can be, when it’s well-written.

  21. I happen to find consent — both the asking and the giving — sexy as hell. And when I mentioned this online, I got called a sad, pathetic dweeb (probably because I was also criticizing a game trailer that made use of tentacle rape, which was also framed as sexy when in the source material it was actually disturbing). Which… I don’t get. Like, there’s something to be said about someone who both cares about what you want and who makes it clear that they want to be with you. How can anyone NOT find those things arousing?

    I’m still sticking to my headcanon that Grey is blackmailing Taylor via his daughter and that Taylor is biding his time until he can end him. No one will take it from me.

    1. Oh, totally with you on the sexy consent thing. I find stuff like “I want to [do sexy thing]. Do you want it?” sexy. as. hell. Maybe because it just adds to the anticipation.

    2. I SO want a fanfic from Taylor’s POV. I bet underneath the calm, unfazed exterior, he’s fuming. Especially when Chedward expects him to just pick up Ana’s car and trade it in. The nerve!

      1. There’ve been short passages posted or linked to somewhere on this blog, also some written from the POV of one of Chedward’s blonde assistants or irate hotel maids, waitresses, etc–usually commenting on how hard it is to stay polite and bland when everyone wants to tell Cheddy what a dickwad he is.

  22. Every once in a while […] someone will complain that asking for consent makes the book less romantic or sexy or something ridiculous like that.

    Yeah, if the characters were always asking for consent, it would totally sound like they were negotiating a contract, and who the hell wants to read something like that? *cough*

  23. To be fair, perhaps Taylor had no idea that he was being asked to commit a felony. Let’s make him the good guy again by assuming he believes Ana already consented to selling her car. ;)

  24. One of my favorite lines from my favorite character in The Last Days of Disco was when the character of Josh asked out the character of Alice, “A lot of people won’t take no for an answer. I wanted you to know that I’m not one of them. I can be easily discouraged.” It always seemed incredibly sweet/sexy to me that he made his feelings known and still made it easy for her to gracefully bow out if she wasn’t actively interested.

  25. We have actually banned someone from the sex shop where I work for asking people inappropriate questions about childhood experiences with spanking. So this supports my headcanon that Christian has been banned from all BDSM-related events, classes, parties, etc. in the city of Seattle for being a huge creeper.

    1. Christian would TOTALLY be banned from all but maybe one club that everybody in the scene knows is full of creepers claiming to be Doms. (He has to bribe the management regularly even there.)

      1. Does Christian even really interact with the BDSM community? I maybe remember wrong but I was under the impression he was introduced to BDSM through that rapist lady who kept him isolated and that has continued to the present day where she deals with things like getting subs for him?

        1. Isolating: hallmark of abusers. No, the last thing Christian would want to do as have his “Sub” (i.e. victim) compete in a pony show, and see how real subs and doms interact.

          1. Agreed. I’d imagine that if he did want to get involved and meet others ‘like him’ he’d be ostracized for his views and attitude and no one would want to play with the poor little rich boy. No matter how blindingly good looking he apparently is.

    2. I live in the Seattle-satellite-cities-and-suburbias area, and have been a member of the main BDSM group there. I also know a lot of the people involved in the running of the group, especially the ones who go to other events and do teaser/educational things to introduce and educate people about BDSM.

      And Grey would totally be banned! He would be banned so hard. The only reason I even read 50 Shades in the first place was so I could know what everyone ws talking about during the rants about Grey’s behavior. More even than the dangerous misportrayal of kink stuff. I know one of the educators has incorporated ‘Grey’s behavior is abuse not kink’ and ‘this is dangerous people can be injured or die doing this’ lectures in her panels at conventions.

      “This **** is why we have a blacklist,” is the quote I heard most when 50 first came out. Back when I was still healthy and able to drive to Seattle and such.

      1. Just realized “banned so hard” sounds like a new scene. Instead of the naughty shcoolgirl and the professor, we’ve got the bad kinkster and the club bouncer.

        “You’re banned for innapropriate behavior.”

        “No! Don’t ban me, I was only doing what 50 Shades said!”

        “I’m going to ban you. Ban you so hard.”

        I’ll just go lurk in my shame corner now……

  26. Going by his general personality (and that book about poor people he was reading in one of the previous chapters) I’m officially calling this as Christian Grey’s personal anthem

  27. An example of sexy consent inspired by this recap:
    Grey: “I’d really, really like to put my ..thingy.. inside you..”
    Anna (biting lip): “Oh! I’d love to put another thingy on you.. and feel you.. down there..”
    Grey: “Come and thingy!
    Anna “Oh yes! Your thingy is in my thingy, and we’re having THINGY!”
    Grey: “Thingy!”
    Anna: “Thingy!”
    Grey: “Come on!”
    Anna explodes, Grey explodes, red curtain falls and the author of this gets a spanking.
    Sorry

    1. Now that you mention it, I’ve known 14-year-old boys who had better technique (including conversation) than Eel’s “hero.” (I was 13 at the time, so no legal consent laws were violated.)

  28. Has anyone noticed how he has to pin her down and prevent her from escaping when he spanks her for the first time? He doesn’t have her lay down on his knees, HE HAS TO HOLD HER DOWN. Clearly, he knows she doesn’t want this but DOESN’T CARE. Does anyone see what is wrong with this?

  29. “This is what I don’t get: why did this become such a popular fanfic in the first place? This is the most OOC thing ever. Bella wanted to be a vampire. Edward didn’t want her to be. So how did this somehow translate into Bella being afraid to be into BDSM and Edward desperately pushing her into it?”
    ***AS A COMMENTER POINTED OUT IN THE LAST RECAP***

    There. Fixed that for you.

    1. I just went and checked the last recap and yeah, I see the similarity there. (i trust Jenny, and I don’t know what it means, but I do see it.)

    2. Oh shit, you’re right. Unintentional, but it definitely must have come from there. Probably I read it, went on a few weeks, forgot about it, and my brain went, “HEY WRITE THIS DOWN.”

  30. “Isn’t it amazing how in sync with each other these characters are, that they describe the same actions exactly the same way in both their heads? That’s totally on purpose, I’ll bet.”

    My theory is it is because E.L. James can’t write for jack fucking shit.

  31. If Christian Grey had an ounce of self-awareness, he’d stop, wonder where this disconnect between how Ana perceives the relationship and how he perceives the relationship comes from, then take steps to correct it. But he can’t, because James already wrote that disconnect in and can’t change what she’s already published, so he looks, at best, like an oblivious moron who shouldn’t be having sex with anybody and, at worst, a manipulative, abusive sociopath.

    Oh, well done. *golf clap*

  32. “Ana does write back and tells him that she’s not sure she likes him, anyway.”

    Well done, Ana, if that is the case. (Don’t know, because I only read the original book once and my only knowledge of the others is through Jenny’s recaps). Although I would have used far stronger language than just ‘I’m not sure if I like you anyway’, I applaud her for the first really brave thing she does in these books. She’s telling a man she is clearly infatuated with that apart from his looks (and money) he really doesn’t have that much going for him. You can tell by his next sentence that her email totally deflates his ego. Not something he has a lot of experience with, apparently.

  33. “I rub her sweet flesh and start again, taking turns: left cheek, right cheek, middle.”

    I now can’t stop imagining Ana with three ass cheeks.

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