In 2011, “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James came out. It wasn’t until a year later that the book became a best-seller all around the world.

It only took a few months of rumors and reviews circling to get the book signed off into production for a movie. For over two years, “Fifty Shade of Grey” has become one of the most anticipated films of the year.

Expeditionary studies and photography major Sarah Wood said that “Fifty Shades of Grey” appeals to every women.

“This book is full of passion, love and lets us forget about our day to day lives for a bit,” Wood said.

She said she didn’t know what to expect when she started reading the book, she just knew that everyone was talking about it.

“The whole BDSM thing caught me off guard. I didn’t know what that type of relationship entailed, but it was interesting because I’ve never read anything like it before, and it’s pretty common,” said Wood.

Wood said she doesn’t know if the movie will live up to her expectations, but that won’t keep her from seeing it.

So what makes this book so popular? Is it the love story between Ana and Christian, the main characters in the story? No. It is the introduction of BDSM into the book world. BDSM has been around for over 45 years, dating back to 1969. But what is BDSM exactly?

BDSM breaks down into three sections: Bondage and Discipline, Domination and Submission, and Sadism and Masochism. This type of sexual activity has two main roles: dominant and submissive. BDSM includes a variety of erotic practices involving roleplaying, restraint, and dominance and submission.

People who participate in this usually gain pleasure from inflicting pain on him or her, humiliation, or being restrained. Under other circumstances this would be rather uncomfortable.

Just like the “Red Room” in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the parties of BDSM take place in a special room of their own, often calling this time as “play,” “a scene” or “a session.”

In 2002, Kristin Ellrodt stepped into the adult industry. She has directed pornography and has been working in an Albany sex shop, “Déjà Vu”, for many years.

“BDSM has always been popular among the fetish community,” Ellrodt said.

“I think now people are more accepting of it and are more open into trying it,” she said. “It’s definitely more popular now because of that movie coming out.”

Ellrodt has participated in BDSM, and said it’s a fun thing to try if you have a good consenting partner.

“Consent is very important,” Jada Secone, a global gender issues professor, said. Everything in this sexual community should happen in safe activities.

“Ultimately, it is about respect, communication and honesty,” she said. “When both parties consent, it empowers each individual and the sexual activity becomes more enjoyable.”

Secone said consent is an active process where individuals get to explore through the process.

Health Educator and Outreach Coordinator Rhema Lewis said consent is a human right.

“It’s a sober, verbal, ongoing, enthusiastic yes,” Lewis said. “I think it’s more essential in BDSM because that type of thing is very explicit and you have to be totally comfortable with what you are doing.”

Lewis said people need to be careful with safe words. Both parties need to understand what safe words are and each other’s limitations. If not, this can be abusive.

Throughout the book Ana and Christian have safe words and both have limitations for themselves. A safe word is a word or phrase that is called out when things are not going as planned or when someone has reached their point and needs to stop.

In this community, the parties are expected to understand the safety aspects. It is necessary that safety and consent are a part of this time because if not, the activity will not be enjoyable.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” comes out this weekend just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Email Samantha Stahl at samantha.stahl@cardinalpointsonline.com.

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