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‘Fifty Shades of Grey’: A Dominatrix Reviews the Sex Scenes

When E.L. James published her mega-selling 2011 erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” she introduced bondage to the mainstream with her love story about kinky businessman Christian Grey who seduces a college virgin named Anastasia Steele.

On Friday, Universal Pictures will finally unveil the much-hyped movie adaptation, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. The tentpole Valentine’s release has for months generated buzz about the steamy love scenes between its two leads, played by Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.

But how realistic is the sex in “Fifty Shades?” To help answer that question, I took along an expert to an early screening in New York this week. Lena Marquise, who goes by the stage name “Mistress Lady Wednesday,” has worked as a dominatrix for a decade (she charges up to $500 an hour). Here’s what the 29-year-old had to say about the movie.

I noticed you kept laughing during the spanking scenes.
He didn’t really flog her. There’s flogging, and there’s letting leather bits drop on someone’s body. I think he spanked her correctly once the whole time, which is with the hand up, complete impact with a thud. It’s all in the hand. And you don’t hit someone’s stomach.

Christian makes Anastasia sign an S&M contract. Is that something you’ve encountered?
No, and there’s an inaccuracy. In the contract, the word submissive was capitalized. It’s always supposed to be lowercase. That was an oversight.

What about the harnesses?
That was basic. The way he tied her with his tie, that’s close to “Shibari,” which is Japanese rope bondage. But he didn’t tie her to anything. He didn’t fully commit! And when he finally committed with the ropes to the rings, that was the quick slip-knot method. To me, that’s dangerous. She doesn’t know what she’s doing, so she’s going to be pulling against them, which can damage your nerves. When you know someone is pulling, you want to make sure it’s not tight, so you don’t cut off circulation.

He kept his jeans on during most of the love scenes.
That’s so Cinemax. I liked it, because it was a leather-daddy fantasy — like, “I’m not even going to bother taking my pants off, because this is so quick and dirty.” The one time he did fully commit is when he was taking her virginity, which is the best sex scene.

Should there have been more nudity?
We do see his butt twice. That was a lot. There were a lot of boobs in the movie too. Both actors were fairly unattractive. The guy reminded me of my controlling ex.

You didn’t think the movie was sexy? 
I think portions were, like, “softcore sexy.” It was pretty, but it wasn’t kinky or hot.

How could they have improved it?
According to me, I think he could have dribbled a little more wine down her face or into her mouth. He could have pried her mouth open with more fingers—that’s not explicit. There were no gags. People are really averse to gags for some reason.

Christian refuses to sleep in bed with Anastasia. Is that normal?
It’s personal. I wouldn’t want to sleep in the same bed as someone I just spent 36 hours playing with.

Is the movie better than the book?
I think because of the comedic relief, it was better. They focused on comedy, because I think the writers knew a lot of people would have a negative reaction to the film. If you have any experience in the world of BDSM or kink or fetishism, generally you’re a more balanced person and you don’t have all the hangups the characters have.

How would you rate Jamie Dornan’s performance?
I’d give him a four or five out of 10. I thought he was blank. All he did was check email and play the piano.

What about Dakota Johnson?
I think she was more of a 6. She was definitely curious. She was willing to explore. She was also more confident and quirky.

Do you think they had good chemistry?
No, they had tension, but they didn’t have chemistry. The chemistry was created by camera angles. They didn’t hold the shots long enough, and it seemed like there was last-minute editing.

A Professional Dominatrix’s Grade for “Fifty Shades”: B-/C+
“I was engaged because it was funny. Aesthetically, it was pleasing. I’m a huge sucker for production design.”

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