50 Shades of Red
by Madeline Iva
“Just finished Fifty Shades of Grey and am now Fifty Shades of Red.” That’s what my sister posted on fb.
Are you all going to watch the movie? I just don’t know. I’ll read and watch anything I want in the privacy of my own home–but watch the movie in a theatre with people all around me? Eeeesh!
I’ve already sat through many an awkward moment watching unexpectedly graphic sex scenes at the movies, thank you very much. That time on my first date in high school when neither of us knew where to look. That time with my then-friend-now-husband during an excruciatingly long sex scene where the actor’s face went red and stayed that way for five minutes while he writhed, grunted and groaned. Oh, it was bad. I mean, it had to be longest orgasm in oscar history.
The worst part was when I tried to laugh it off afterwards at dinner, but apparently my own face went as red as a beet, totally foiling my attempt at sangfroid. Neither of us were laughing though, sitting on either side of my prim mother-in-law while watching the lesbian sex scene in Black Swan. I still slap my hand to my face remembering it. Of course it was my bright idea to go see it on Christmas day. I’d heard a review describing the film as Hitchcock-ian. Right. It was only as we got close to the movie theatre that I saw a giant poster for the movie proclaiming in bold letters PSYCHO-SEXUAL THRILLER. Ugh. (hitting myself) ugh. ugh.
If you’ve been living on Jupiter and haven’t read the book, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. Aside from the hype, at its core the plot has an icy/hot hero who’s been deeply emotionally and physically hurt. He needs healing (and the love of a good woman to bring that about.) Yum!
It’s total catnip to a lot of readers. Meanwhile, it’s also (surprise!) an anti-BDSM book. This drives my erotic romance writer friends up the wall. Yet the heroine is constantly negotiating for what she wants out of her relationship with Christian. Good for her, right? Okay, well, she ends up compromising a whole lot, but in the end she sticks to her guns–and she wins.
But riddle me this Batman — How the hell did E.L. James get away with depicting a sexual encounter while the heroine is on her period?
People–Aunt Flo never ever comes to visit in romances. The hero never massages bad cramps. The heroine never sends him out for Advil, tampons, and Ben & Jerry’s. No period-related migraines ever drove a heroine to lie upon her couch with a pillow over her eyes. It just doesn’t happen.
Yeah–if you were around in the early 80’s I think Erica Jong had some young guy pull a tampon out of her protagonist’s body and chomp on it a bit. But I mean, common — first of all that’s not romance, and second of all, we know she did it purely for the shock value. If there’s ever been a romance published that was this popular that treated the crimson tide this casually–I haven’t heard about it.
“I want you,” he breathes.
I moan and reach up and grasp his arms.
“Are you bleeding?” He continues to kiss me.
Holy f***. Does nothing slip by him?
“Yes,” I whisper, embarrassed.
“Do you have cramps?”
“No,” I flush. Jeez…
blah, blah, blah…
“Let’s go have a bath.”
I mean, then we really go beyond the beyond when a bit later on he turns her around against the sink, bends her over, pulls out her tampon, (!!!) and has sex with her.
They collapse on the floor afterwards and…
“I’m bleeding,” I murmur.
“Doesn’t bother me,” he breathes.
“I noticed.” I can’t keep the dryness out of my voice.
He tenses. “Does it bother you?” he asks softly.
blah blah blah
“No, not at all.”
“Good. Let’s have a bath.”
I don’t want to make a big deal of this. I’m not saying that we romance writers should ALL include this kind of a scene in our romances, etc. I’m just saying that OUR BODIES OURSELVES would give a thumbs up to how they treat a natural bodily function. That is all.
But it’s interesting to note that no reader-lovers or reader-haters have pointed out this scene in shock and horror.
Which just goes to show that we’re living in the wild west here. Along comes an indie author with her spurs a-jangling and rules were made to be broken, sacred cows put on the bbq. Who knows what the romance gods have to say about all this. One thing you can count on–if something shocking happens out there we’ll keep you posted here at LadySmut.com. Follow us for 7 days of delectable romance dish.