Business Lessons Learned From 50 Shades of Grey

How I stopped being a SLAVE in life and empowered my relationships.     

A friend asked me if I wanted to go see 50 Shades of Grey. On my only free night recovering from a long work week, the LAST thing I want to see is seeing a woman dominated by someone. After all, as an entrepreneur, every day feels as if I’m tied to my computer, whipped by chores, pained by computer glitches, and brought to my knees by the volume of emails—each one screaming me into submission. Why would I pay to see that?
CC BY 2.0
Source: CC BY 2.0
What I long for is to be the one on top of someTHING, which is sometimes better than being on top of someONE. I would like to dominate my inbox, get control of my escalating waistline, or maybe humiliate my dogs to stop peeing on my carpet. My wish is to be the alpha female, which I haven’t accomplished despite several rounds of obedience training. I can’t get my dog to heel or the people who work for me to do what I want, and I’m their boss. I can’t whip anyone into shape.
But, as I ranted to my friend of why I’m not interested in seeing a movie about S&M, I remembered a time, long ago in my 30s, when I was propositioned to enter into an S&M relationship and become a slave. No joke!
Because you don’t know me—picture Jewish girl, president of the 7th grade tropical fish club and 8th grade safety monitor.
Me a slave? This seemed a huge safety violation. I was a nerd. But, I was curious as I asked, “So… how does this work… this slavery thing?”
“Well… we all agree on what is going to be done, and then there is a word we decide on if someone wants to stop.”
And I thought, “OMG! You mean you actually listen and respect someone’s boundaries?”
After all, at that time in my life, I had let both men and women do things to me that I didn’t like, and I didn’t say anything to stop it. Even when my primary care physician inappropriately fondled me—I didn’t say anything. I just sat there frozen wondering, why he had to examine my breasts so thoroughly when I only had a cold?
“What kind of word,” I asked.
“Like ‘Blueberry.’ And this will be in the contract we would write together.”
“Contract? Write together?” I said, “You mean that we would actually communicate what we both want and write it down… with no attorney fees?”
“Yes! These contracts would include what we both expected of each other; what annoys you, such as hair in sink, how often we would have sessions, and a final list of offenses and the agreed upon punishment for each offense. Each offense will have a minimum and maximum number of strokes and a force level associated with it.”
I thought, “Wow! How conscious is this?” I mean, aside from the bruising of ropes, whips, and chains, I usually have been unable to tell someone what I want, yet, just like most women, I’m disappointed if I don’t get what I want. Don’t most women expect our partners to be working psychics?
And… I actually liked the idea of a defined punishment—just six slashes, and it’s over. This seems much better than someone dwelling on something I had done and punishing me for years and bringing it up in front of my business clients at a fancy party.   
I never did enter into that S&M contract. Black is not my color, and pain is not my pleasure. But, it did change me and help me to have better relationships. In future relationships, I got more in tune with my partners as well as asking directly for what I wanted and didn’t want.
“Judy—I need you to pick me up at the airport.” 
I'd like to know—would you ever enter into a relationship like this?

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Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.