A Lincoln graduate has started a campaign for safe, sane, and consensual BDSM.

Ruth Wilkinson, who now works as an illustrator in Edinburgh, is one of the people behind a new campaign aiming to correct the wrong impressions given by 50 Shades of Grey about BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism).

She has read the books and believes complaining about a book you have not read is unacceptable. Reacting to what she sees as a wrong portrayal of BDSM, she started the campaign three days before the film was released. She said:

“It started out because some friends and I were commiserating about some articles about fears that fans of 50 Shades were expected to cause a rush on rope and cable ties at popular hardware stores – there’s a scene in the book where Christian goes to a hardware store to buy filament rope and cable ties for bondage, which is…a horrific idea. It really is.

“We’re talking about major abrasions, lost circulation and nerve damage here. And whether or not this specific story turns out to be true, it brought to our attention the fact that a bunch of people are introduced to BDSM by the books, which really aren’t a balanced portrayal of safe BDSM.”


She continued: “The idea is to keep people safe. That’s the whole of it. It’s really important that people have access to the information they need to have fun safely. BDSM has a lot of risks attached, and it can be really hard to find good entry-level advice if you don’t know where to look, or even that you need to look. Kink is a fun and interesting thing for people to explore, but it needs to be done right to avoid injury or mental harm.

“It’s also really, really important, especially in light of the controversy surrounding 50 Shades of Grey, to tell the difference between healthy BDSM and an abusive relationship. A lot of people struggle with that, since power play is so intrinsic to BDSM. While it’s a tiny minority of the community, there are people who use BDSM to find, groom and abuse victims, or to excuse their actions.”

Together with some friends she has set up the website 50shadessafer, with the aim to provide information and tips to people interested in exploring BDSM. If you want to change your lifestyle or just add some kinky fun to your bedroom workouts, the pro tip is to research the topics properly first.

“There are so many great things out there, but you need to check them out first, decide if they’re something you’re interested in, and find out what the risks are and how to do it safely. Whether you do that online, from books, or by getting to know people in the kink community, it’s vital to make sure what everyone’s getting into, and what you and your partner(s) need to do it safely. Shop around for information, see what the general consensus is, see what you need to have available and what you need to do…just go into it with some care.

“Plus, of course, there’s the mantra of 50 Shades Safer and of the kink community as a whole: safe, sane, consensual. Make sure there’s a minimal chance of injury, that you all know what you’re getting into, that both you and your partner are of sound mind and not pressured into it when you discuss it, that everyone involved wants to do it, and that you both know how to stop the scene if one of you is in distress.”