Jamie Dornan, star of the upcoming film adaptation of "Fifty Shades of Grey," angered some in the BDSM community when he told Elle that he wasn't as entertained as he should have been at a sex dungeon he visited while researching his role -- and that he had to take a shower afterward before he'd touch his wife or baby. Although few self-identifying dominatrixes, dominants or submissives see E.L. James' best-selling erotic novel as a respectful or accurate depiction of a true BDSM relationship, some were surprised that Dornan couldn't hide his disgust for the very kink James' story depicts.

International Business Times spoke with two professional dominatrixes, Mistress Matisse and Mistress Morgana Maye, and author and self-described submissive Stephen Elliott, who considers his primary orientation to be BDSM rather than normative or "vanilla" sexuality, about sex and role-playing that involve bondage/domination, sadism/masochism. And although "Fifty Shades of Grey" is looked upon as worthy of ridicule and contempt -- at least a few in the community are glad it's opening up a dialogue about a kink that more people partake in than might be imagined.

The email interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

International Business Times: Please tell me a little about yourself. How long have you been a part of the BDSM community? What attracted you? 

Stephen Elliott: I'm an author. I've written seven books including a collection of BDSM erotica called "My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up." I've always been attracted to BDSM. My earliest sexual fantasies involved being tied up. I've never fantasized about what we think of as straight sex or vanilla sex -- that is penetrative sex between a man and a woman absent of power exchange. I would identify as a submissive.

Mistress Matisse: I'm a professional dominatrix and writer. I live in Seattle (coincidentally, where "Fifty Shades of Grey" is set). I've been a dominatrix for over 10 years, and I've been a sex worker since I was 19. I'm also a member of the BDSM community, and so I enjoy my work and it’s always seemed like a natural fit. 

Mistress Morgana Maye: I've been playing for 25 years. I've worked in professional SM for 20 years. I describe myself as a professional dominant and relationship consultant for kinky people, and go by either Dr. Morgana Maye or just Mistress Morgana Maye. I've got a Psy.D. in clinical psychology with a postdoctoral specialty in forensics, with a focus on compulsive sexual behavior problems. 

I came out as queer in the late '80s, but it wasn't until I got to college in 1990 that I was able to find queer community, and almost immediately became an AIDS activist. I think power and intense sensation are a part of all intimate exchanges. In BDSM we just turn the volume up on these elements, and we have clear conversations about what we're doing. I was drawn to the sensations, drawn to power exchange, and drawn to the language of consent and the tremendous care and connection required to play so deeply. And of course the clothes were hot. I loved the aesthetics and the craftsmanship of the gear and all the little details. 

Also, the community that I came out into had just gone through the sex wars in the '80s, in which second-wave feminists debated whether prostitution was paid rape, and decried all porn as violence against women, and lumped kinky desire into women's oppression. So in the women's community, to be bisexual, or kinky, or a sex worker, these were all being explored as deeply feminist identities that pushed back against second-wave feminist ideals of what women should or should not do. 

IBTimes: What can you tell us about subs -- what motivates them, what sparks their desires?

Elliott: I don't want to make generalizations, but one distinction I would make is that for some people, many people, they enjoy power play, power exchange, bondage or fetishes as an addition to their "normal" sex lives. For other people, like myself, it's not an addition; it's the entire thing.

Matisse: You can't really talk about “all submissives” in the BDSM community. People in the BDSM community are just that: individual people. Some feel that BDSM is a sexual orientation that strongly defines them, and other people who also enjoy BDSM and engage in it regularly, don’t. No one can say what makes any kinky person feel as they do -- we all come to it from our different lives and experiences. 

Maye: I often think of dominance and submission as being orientations, much like my own queerness. And there's so much we tuck under the umbrella of BDSM, the bondage and leather and floggers that I think are most commonly associated with kink, but also domestic role play, traditional corporal discipline, cross-dressing and gender manipulation. So the motivation behind dominant and submissive desire is highly varied. What motivates any of our desire? 

I often get asked, "Why am I kinky? What happened in my childhood to make me this way?" And I like to reject this question. Until vanilla people and heterosexual people and cisgender people are as frequently asked, "When did you know you were vanilla? When did you know you identified with the gender you were assigned at birth?," the question invites us to marginalize our sexuality by requiring us to have an origin story, when in fact we all have a story about what makes us feel desire. For me, a much more useful question is, "What do my desires tell me about myself? What do they invite me to explore? How do they serve me, or if they're causing me distress how might I find resources or support to lessen this distress?"

IBTimes: What is the mainstream's biggest misconception about BDSM relationships or arrangements?

Elliott: Probably the biggest misconception is that there is a standard. BDSM relationships are as varied as vanilla relationships. Every relationship has its own set of rules. Two other big misconceptions: People assume if you're a masochist you like all pain, but in fact nobody enjoys stubbing their toe. For many masochists -- not all -- pain is only pleasurable in very specific contexts or as part of submission. People sometimes think that because I'm sexually submissive that I want to be submissive to them, which is no different from thinking if someone of your sex is homosexual then they want to have sex with you. Unless it's said by someone who knows what they're talking about, "You'd probably enjoy that," is usually an obnoxious thing to say.

Matisse: Mainstream society's biggest misconception about BDSM is that they don't know anyone who does BDSM, because statistically, they probably do. Something that would surprise people who have vanilla sex is that BDSM people can and regularly do have sex that appears very vanilla. Nobody gets out the latex catsuits and floggers every time they want to have an orgasm. Also, kinky people are no more inclined to sexual monogamy or non-monogamy than anyone else. A lot of BDSM does not include genital contact or orgasm for anyone involved. 

Maye: I think these mainstream ideas that BDSM is about violence, or coercion, or a sort of perversion that is disgusting and intolerable to witness, these still persist in our culture. I think there's often a stereotype that only wounded, messed up people seek out BDSM. So when an actor like Mr. Dornan, who has a media megaphone and is starring in the single largest kink/vanilla crossover phenomenon in media history, steps up and says, yes, this stuff is so disgusting I had to shower before I could touch my wife and child, well he's perfectly enunciating the sort of shame-filled sex negativity that's driven people into closets for ages. I'm angered by his comments, because they impact me as a kinkster. But I'm also concerned for his sexual well-being, as someone who has chosen to enact a sort of sexual expression that he clearly finds disgusting and intolerable.  

IBTimes: What are some things that would surprise people who have more normative sex about people who have BDSM sex?

Elliott: BDSM is like jazz. There are so many different kinds. Dominance and submission occur along a very long spectrum. Probably the majority of people have incorporated BDSM into their sex lives at one point or another, knowingly or not. 

Maye: We're all having the same sex, the accessories are just different. I like to say that kink is the Palmolive of sex, we're all soaking in it. And most people who enjoy activities we'd describe as kinky don't necessarily identify with the BDSM community or participate in BDSM events. There are more people calling their partner Daddy in bed and tying each other up than there are people flying leather pride flags and marching in parades. It's artificial to suggest a divide between vanilla and BDSM sex.

Normal is a problematic word, one that's at the root of a lot of sexual shame. Sexual behavior can be more or less common: heterosexual, vanilla intercourse-based sex might be the most common sexual activity (or at least the most commonly portrayed activity), but that makes my love of bondage and spanking and dressing boys up in garters and stockings perhaps less frequent, not less normal.

IBTimes: Do you know anything about “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the book or movie? If so, what are your thoughts about how it represents a BDSM relationship? And do you know of anyone in the BDSM scene who is anticipating the film?

Elliott: I don't know a ton about "Fifty Shades of Grey." I do think one of the reasons it's popular is because it depicts a fairly common fantasy.

Maye: I think the "Fifty Shades" phenomenon is striking because it created this cultural space for people, and specifically women, to talk about kinky desire. And I'm glad for that. I see it in my own consultation practice, the number of people who lead very mainstream lives and are feeling safer and safer about expressing their kink.

But I think this is less because of the content of the book than the incredible body of criticism that came up around it. There was a moment there where everyone who ever wrote about sex was referencing "Fifty Shades," because the book got it so wrong, and suddenly you're seeing journalism about proper BDSM etiquette on Huffington Post and in Time magazine.

BDSM relationships are negotiated. They're consensual, they're mutually beneficial, they have articulated boundaries and these boundaries can be flexible and shift. So no, the relationship portrayed in "Fifty Shades" doesn't get this right. I think what it captures is a common fantasy of a nonconsensual power exchange that works fine in erotic fiction but in the real world is abuse. When kinky people want to engage in fantasies of non-consent, these are usually painstakingly negotiated and articulated. The submissive partner has a tremendous amount of power and control in terms of determining the "play boundaries," which can be violated, and the "hard boundaries," which need to be respected. We have a bit of a creed in BDSM communities that play must be safe, sane, consensual and risk aware. If more common vanilla folks used the sort of communication tools and had the deep concern about consent and boundaries that we do in BDSM, there'd be a lot more rewarding and healthy sex out there.

In my kink community, the book is a bit of a laughingstock, and as it's the source material for the film, I have no reason to think the film will be good at all. It's great if "Fifty Shades" was a gateway into kink for some readers and led them to search out better erotica and more resources about kinky relationships, but the story is riddled with stereotypes and negative tropes and terrible SM. I saw the preview for the film with some kinky friends, and we weren't the only ones laughing out loud in the theater. And I think that recent press interviews given by the lead actor are incredibly alienating and damaging to people with kinky desires. It's my hope that people stay away and spend their money on great online kink erotica instead. For me personally, a team of oxen couldn't drag me into a theater to watch this trash.

Matisse: "Fifty Shades of Grey" is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force, and I did so many times when I made myself read it. I wish the author no ill will -- writers rarely make any money, so I’m glad she hit the jackpot. But even completely aside from the BDSM element, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is just abysmally horrid writing. The structure of the plot, the characterization, the dialogue -- everything about it is an exercise in masochism for a reader. And the relationship between Christian and Anastasia -- two thoroughly irritating and unsexy people -- is dysfunctional, immature and ultimately abusive.

My personal observation of how the BDSM community is anticipating the "Fifty Shades" movie can be summed up as resigned contempt. There is a silver lining: We accept that stories like "Fifty Shades" can be a pathway to greater self-understanding for a novice. Some people who didn’t have a frame of reference for who they were and what they wanted will read/see it, and the light bulb will click on. Once they find their way to other members of the BDSM community, hopefully they will learn how real people engage in safe, sane and consensual kink, because it’s nothing like what Christian and Anastasia do.

Even with such low expectations, I was extremely disappointed by Jamie Dornan’s remarks in Elle magazine. Presumably he accepted the role knowing what the movie was about. Then he went to a BDSM party and was disappointed that the people there did not entertain him? News flash to Jamie: They were not there for you. And then you had to take a shower before you touched your wife and child? Guess what? There were happily married people at that party doing BDSM. Some of them have children, too, just like you. How dare you take a role as someone who does BDSM and then blatantly insult the very people who allowed you into their party and let you observe them in their intimate moments? And you want those people to come see your movie? For him to belittle the BDSM community in such a way is insulting and highly unprofessional. I think it’s a shame the makers of 50SOG didn’t cast someone more emotionally mature and more secure in his own sexuality than this. Perhaps Mr. Dornan is more like the character of Christian Gray than he’d like to think.

IBTimes: Is there a book or movie that gets it right, in your opinion?

Elliott: That's tricky. I think [Luis Buñuel's] "Belle de Jour"is amazing. And "Notice" by Heather Lewis definitely gets it right, at least one version of it. And of course "Venus in Furs," by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, which is where the term masochism comes from. For an outsider, nonfiction perspective on BDSM, I loved "The Other Side of Desire" by Daniel Bergner, but a lot of people I've spoken with in the community didn't. 

Maye: I personally loved the movie "Secretary," not because it got it "right" per se, but because it showed some of the more complex and taboo reasons people can crave pain and power exchange in an intimate relationship, but with caring and ultimately positive results.

Matisse: There are well-written erotic novels about people who do BDSM -- Laura Antoniou has written a lot of great kinky fiction, and Anne Rice wrote an enjoyable series of BDSM fantasy erotica in the '80s called "The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy." Movies are a little tougher, because they convey less subtlety and nuance, and they have to cater to the lowest common denominator in terms of people’s preconceived notions about sex and kink. “Secretary” has some flaws, but overall it's not too bad in terms of the characters and the messages about BDSM. But Hollywood rarely makes a movie about people having a sane, healthy sexual relationship of any kind, so it's not just an issue with BDSM.

IBTimes: Any others that get it wrong?

Maye: I feel like the tropes I see over and over about BDSM is that it's a nihilistic act, the sort of behavior that people are driven to to exorcise some sort of demon, and that the successful resolution of this is to end up in a happy, "normal," monogamous vanilla relationship. I think about the movie "Cruising" as possibly the most overtly SM-negative film, with the classic conflation of BDSM with drugs, violence, self-destruction and danger.

Elliott: Lucy Liu in "Payback" (she plays a dominatrix) got it about as wrong as you can get. I don't know anyone who enjoys being repeatedly punched in the face.