So the movie 50 Shades of Grey has been banned in Kenya. In case you haven’t heard about it, and the book that sparked the raunchy conversation and the subsequent movie, 50 Shades of Grey is the first in a three-book series that explores bondage, dominance and sadomasochism in the sexual relationship between its two lead characters, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.
It came out in 2011, and it has taken all this time to make the movie. Hilariously, the movie producers had a hard time finding a leading man who was willing and able to mete out the requisite violence and remain attractive to female movie goers.
Anyone involved in sexual conversations arrives quickly at the paradox between being civilised sexual beings, and being human.
Speaking in very broad and general terms, women want to be admired, desired and possessed by their lovers – in fact if they can ‘take us’ with a measure of violence, all the better. Conversely, the masculine craves conquest, possession and submission from a lover. Is it any wonder that in 2015 – as we have tended more and more toward political correctness and civilisation in the bedroom – some of us, and especially young men have been left confused?
The film addresses these questions via the smoke-screen of titillating sex scenes that involve violence, frequent condom use and the kind of open sexual discussions that most of us would be too shy to have with our therapists, let alone our lovers. What is safe sex once spanking and beating are introduced into your lovemaking? Does submission in the bedroom necessitate submission in all other areas? Can you be a feminist and a submissive? Why should I submit to you? Will you take care of me? Why does causing your lover pain turn you on? Are you an animal?
So here we are 2015, and the movie has been banned in Kenya. A country that claims to be 80 per cent Christian, but HIV-Aids statistics scream that we are more promiscuous than we are chaste. A country where teens start having sex by 15, where one in three women has endured some kind of sexual assault, and many wives are battered as a matter of course. A casual glance says we claim Christianity with fervour, but we are loath to practise it.
It is sad that this movie has been banned. I was actually looking forward to it blowing some much needed air up our collective skirt and provoking a conversation about sexual violence and desire. One of my beefs with relationship manuals is the perennial recommendation to ‘communicate’… If we knew how, we would but sex is embarrassing to talk about and our desires sometimes fill us with shame. I believe public access to 50 Shades of Grey would have shown us one way to initiate and have these difficult conversations.
But no, some pretentious authority has decided that the population of the cradle of mankind shall not and cannot in fact process a movie that looks at the very activity that