Ever since 50 Shades of Grey hit the underground mommy world there has been a renewed interest in erotica. Folks might disagree and claim that erotica has always been popular. Sure, they’re right, if you consider paper bags and whispers popular. What EL James did, with her poorly written yet somehow mesmerizing, trilogy of sex, love, dominance and submission was bring what women were reading, thinking about, and maybe even doing, to the forefront.
I remember when I was a teenager one of my guy friends asked me what girls talked about when we were alone.
Boys, makeup, sex, fashion, other girls, our weight, school, sex and sex.
He was surprised. I told him that we were just as dirty as the boys, but we did our dishing privately. But, no more. Now, girl talk has undergone a sexual revolution; one with vibrators, six packs, and maybe a few spankings. For many women, the ability to be as open about men about erotica (and sex toys and pornography) has been live altering.
There are those who critiqued the books on a number of levels that I don’t particularly agree with . Comments were made about feminism, the emotional role of the dominant, the emotional effects on the abused, and more. I read one article (from someone who seemed to be in the know) who said that 50 Shades of Grey did not portray the roles of dominance and submission in a realistic way. That was the objection that got me thinking (to me, the rest were psychobabble who felt the need to say something.) I really WAS curious if James (or Indigo Bloome in her new novel Destined to Play) was accurate in her book.
With Diary of a Submissive, a real-life account of a woman living ‘the life’, I got some answers, and maybe even more questions. I didn’t think I could be shocked anymore, but then I was. Because this time it was real. A true story.
In Diary of a Submissive, we meet Sophie Morgan, a a seemingly ordinary young woman from an upper-middle-class background. Sophie gets up, goes to work, exercises, eats, and at night kneels on a bed, naked, to be spanked, whipped and for want of a better word, had sex with. Sophie is a submissive. She gets off on being dominated, both physically and emotionally.
Nothing about Sophie says sexual ‘deviant’-she’s a journalist, attractive, from a typical family. We learn though, that her interest in bondage and submission began at an early age when she became fascinated with Maid Marion’s plight in the stores of Robin Hood. Always interested in sex, maybe more than one would expect a pre-teen or teen to be, Sophie keeps her interests to herself, not sure what to do about them. It was not until she arrived at university that she was initiated into a world she always seemed to be waiting for. One of BDSM (bondage/sadomasochism). Through her experiences we watch her take a journey of self awareness, personal development, and self-actualization as she develops her understanding of her sexuality and becomes comfortable in her skin.
Sophie’s conflicting emotions are the star of the book. The author (using a pseudonym), sucks the reader into her mind, sharing with great depth and clarity. She tells us that as a submissive she is aroused by being humiliated, by being physically hurt or forced to do things she doesn’t want to do. She tells us that she feels moments of hatred, and often is embarrassed about her feelings but unable to stop. We come to understand that it is the being submissive, of pleasing her dominant ,that is as much a sexual turn-on as the spanking is. The fact that voluntarily a person would be verbally abused, bruised, hurt, and demeaned is the most shocking, and brings what was romanticized in 50 Shades into stark reality.
It amazed me how easily Sophie met her dominants. Whether she was giving off a vibe to like-minded thinkers, or life truly is full of serendipity, she met men to ‘play’ with on the street and at business meetings. The ordinariness of her life was surprising.
The only thing I really don’t like about this book is the cover. While it is elegant, restrained and refined, this story is anything but. It’s raw, emotional, and explosive. There are no pretty pearl traditionally romantic moments in Diary of a Submissive.
Diary of a Submissive is well written and extremely brave. I didn’t feel like a voyeur, which might have made me feel uncomfortable. Instead, I felt like Sophie Morgan was sharing her secrets with me over coffee. She spares no detail, is extraordinarily and generously frank, and uses real words (no inner goddess or references to her core) to describe her sexual encounters. The book is not for the shy or faint at heart. It is, however, both mesmerizing and disturbing. It’s a memoir that reads like very erotic fiction, and is almost too crazy to be true. This real-life story was an emotional ride like no made-up story could ever be. Trust that you’ll be gobsmacked, stunned, and completely spent. And, ready to hear about the next chapter in Sophie Morgan’s life.
Recommend Factor: 10/10 (If you read 50 Shades this one is required for you)
Unputdownable Factor: 10/10 (How could one put this down?)
If you have thoughts or questions you can tweet with Sophie Morgan. I have the opportunity to do a Q & A with her, so if you have questions, please put them in the comments below.
Note: I was provided a copy of Diary of Submissive for review by Penguin Books. The thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.