Fifty Shades of Sexual Health and BDSM Identity Messaging: A Thematic Analysis of the Fifty Shades Series

Christine E. Leistner, Kristen P. Mark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Fifty Shades book series is immensely popular, highly sexually explicit, and may offer an opportunity for sexual health education among readers. Past research has examined some of the messaging in the series from a variety of frameworks, but has not examined messages specific to sexual and reproductive health. Utilizing thematic analysis, the current paper aimed to examine the sexual health and BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Sadism/Submission, Masochism) identity messaging presented within the Fifty Shades series in relation to optimal sexual well-being in the context of partnered sexual relationships. Sexual scenes (n = 44) revealed the following sexual health messages: sexual desire, orgasm, approach and avoidance goals, sexual and intimate communication, consent, contraception, and sexual/physical exploration. Trauma induced stigma and psychopathology were two additional themes identified specific to BDSM identities and practices. The findings are discussed within the context of the current sexuality literature, and opportunities for using the series as sexual health education are explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-485
Number of pages22
JournalSexuality and Culture
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • BDSM
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Popular media
  • Sexual health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Fifty Shades of Sexual Health and BDSM Identity Messaging: A Thematic Analysis of the Fifty Shades Series'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this