From dubious consent to unclean. 

For anyone who hasn’t heard the terms dubcon or noncon before, they come to us from the world of fan fiction. The terms are used by writers and others to refer to sexual activities which show or appear to show either non-consent or dubious consent.

Noncon is of course non consensual sex and is rape by any definition. Dub con, however, describes situations in which the character hesitates or may have questions but they do eventually agree to the activity. Of course, on later reflection they may again wish that they’d not given in but that just highlights the dubious nature of the consent.

During the run up to That Film opening this weekend, the whole question of dubious consent has surfaced just as it did when the book was first released. Many people are objecting to the film on the grounds that the main character is a misogynistic, abusive sociopath. They may be right. On the other hand we must temper such comments with the knowledge that many of the loudest protesters are objecting purely on the grounds that BDSM sex is perverted and ultimately wrong.

There is a case to answer when young, less experienced film goers see stalking, threats and physical violence being normalised and even glamourised on the screen.

Protests have been planned to take place at cinemas around the world to mark the release of the film, but as always there is more than one side to the story. We can be sure that the vast majority of those viewing the film and wanting to view it will be women.

As to why this is so, I refer you to my comments on day one of this series. Films like this allow us to experience our wildest fantasies vicariously and without fear of consequence. We are voyeurs of kinky sex and yet we can distance ourselves from it. We just need to remember that for some people the boundaries are blurred and the fantasy can fuel reality.

Another media news item about the film recently caught my attention. I like to think that actors take on film roles because they can invest in the character and add some value to it. It seems that as part of his research for the role of Mr Grey, actor Jamie Dornan visited at least one S&M club. He later chose to talk about this as part of an interview which appears in this month’s Elle UK fashion magazine. This is what he had to say:

I went there, they offered me a beer, and they did…whatever they were into. I saw a dominant with one of his two submissives,” he told ELLEabout the experience. “I was like: ‘Come on guys I know I’m not paying for this but I am expecting a show.’ It was an interesting evening. Then going back to my wife and newborn baby afterwards… I had a long shower before touching either of them.

If that really was his reaction, we have to wonder why he chose to play a role involving something so ‘dirty’?

Tomorrow we reach day 4 on this count down. I will be taking a quick look at why the staff of B&Q have been told to read the Fifty Shades book, then it’s on to another BDSM film releasing later this month.