Thursday, October 18, 2012
Diary of a Submissive - BlogHer Book Club Review
So, this book pissed me off on a lot of levels. It was irritating, contrived (in spite of being a "memoir") and overly- British in its writing and full of stupid decisions, through which the main character learned nothing.
I seriously hated every second of it.
Let me preface this by saying a few things.
First of all, I am a stay at home mom of two small kids. My house is always a wreck. I'm always in a rush. I never see my husband, except when we're passing out on the couch in front of the tv at night. I'm not exactly in a sexy period of my life, so maybe I just had trouble like... getting all worked up over this material because I have trouble getting worked up in general, at the moment.
Secondly, I dated someone who was into the "BDSM scene" or whatever, in my twenties. He was an insecure, dangerous dork who liked acting out his life's emotional injuries in a sexual way. It was totally obvious to me. (And if you want to know the truth, I feel like the whole BDSM thing is just that. A bunch of damaged people who, instead of figuring out and working through their damage, they make it okay by participating in sexual behavior that nobody is allowed to say shit to, because if you have a problem with it, you're just a prude, or a "vanilla" sex nerd who doesn't know what from orgasm. It is why, although I haven't read any of them yet, most of the other reviews of this book will start out by saying, "Hey, I don't care what you do in the privacy of your own bedroom. I'm no prude. This just isn't for me."
I don't feel like I need to qualify my opinions that way. I don't really care what your guesses are about my level of prudishness.
So, yes. I came into this book with preconceived issues... about the BDSM scene and about British sex. Diary of a Submissive did nothing to help me overcome my prejudice. It validated everything I've ever believed about these things.
There is nothing sexy about moist knickers during tea time. I spent most of this book picturing like... a guy with an overbite in an argyle sweater doing an Austin Powers impression, saying things like, "Oh, ho ho. Aren't we a naughty little school girl? Does somebody need a spanking, you cheeky thing?"
Maybe I have issues, but probably the characterization of all the people in this book was also terribly hokey and formulaic.
But what about the sex scenes? Right?
Well, they didn't exactly inspire any lunch break sexting, if you know what I mean. Mostly, the "sex" scenes were prefaced with a declaration by the author that she is an independent woman, a feminist, if you will... she has a job and an apartment that she pays for all by herself. And then they tumbled into, well one does get lonely, and eventually degenerated into abuse and humiliation. There were tears and there was foot licking. There was spanking (of course) and name calling and pain.
Since Sophie Morgan was independent, she hated being humiliated and abused... but, like her partner pointed out several times, she must have liked it, because her knickers were moist.
I have a huge objection to wet underwear proving anything. It was degrading and it hurt and I cried and I wanted him to stop, but if I asked him to stop that would have ruined everything and made it no fun. And plus, my knickers were as wet as a horse ridden hard through the morning dew, SO I MUST BE LIKING THIS. It's a little too close to the assertion by many abusers that what they're doing doesn't constitute abuse, as long as the victim has a physical response. It's bullshit. It's irritating to me that I'm not allowed to have an objection to this because, I mean, obviously I'm just a virginal goody two shoes who is just too straight laced to get it.
Sophie Morgan talked a lot about how sex, for her, is about being pushed to her limits. About being pushed beyond her limits. It occurred to me half way through how weirdly perfect it was to be reading Diary of a Submissive right after Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. It seemed to me that Sophie Morgan needed a way to be vulnerable. That she was living in an unhappy, inauthentic way. She felt locked up tight and empty inside. Instead of becoming vulnerable by living a "Whole Hearted Life"... one where she might take risks, tell the truth and try to connect with her purpose and with the people around her, she chose to get spanked until she cried. These abusive sex roles created, for her, a kind of intense vulnerability, and vulnerability was something she was really, terribly afraid of, disconnected from, and also needed very badly We all need it.
I don't know. Maybe I'm just too vanilla to get it.
Do you want to learn more about Ms Morgan and her memoir and find out what the other BlogHer Bloggers thought of the book? Click here for the low down on Diary of a Submissive.
I was compensated for this review. I think you can tell that the opinions contained herein were my own.