Dictionary

Here’s a list of names and words that readers might find helpful as they read.

Definitions are not an endorsement.

Please note that all definitions here are my own; they are not intended to be perfect and are here SOLELY for the purpose of helping readers put what they read into a little more context.

They’re categorised into:

BDSM related stuff

BDSM
Bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism.
In the context of 50 Shades: Christian’s sexual tastes and treatment of Ana is widely labelled as BDSM, and the terminology of the contract he writes (and she never signs) uses terms like “submissive” which are characteristic of BDSM. I don’t consider Christian’s behaviour to be safe and consensual BDSM. Labelling abusive behaviour as BDSM does not make it OK. Non-consensual BDSM, along with non-consensual sex in general, is abusive. And you can read more about consent here.

Bottom
The passive or receiving person in erotic interplay (or a scene), but without power exchange.
In the context of 50 Shades: Christian wants Ana as his submissive, not a bottom. So, he decides what will be done when he plays with Ana. If instead, she had directed what would happen and been on the receiving end of it, she would have been a bottom, rather than a submissive.

D-types
In the context of BDSM, people who identify as dominants, or other roles where power is received from another.
In the context of 50 Shades: Christian sees himself as a D-type.

Dominance / Domination
The exercise of control in erotic power-exchange, typically over some who is submitting (see: Submission)
In the context of 50 Shades: Christian understands himself to be a dominant. (I disagree, I think he’s an abuser.)

Kink
Another term for BDSM.

RACK
Risk-aware consensual kink.

S-types
In the context of BDSM, people who identify as submissives, or other roles where power is given to another.
In the context of 50 Shades: Christian wants Ana to be an S-type who submits to him.

Safewords
Words used by the bottom or S-type during a scene to communicate to the top / D-type when their limits are being approached or have been reached. “No” and “Stop” are fine safewords in and of themselves, but less useful when an S-type/bottom wants to play the part of someone trying to resist whatever is being done to them. In such circumstances, other words (stereotypes being “Yellow” and “Red”) are used as the safewords. For the record, Safewords do not keep you safe; they are simply a way of communicating with another person and that person may ignore it. This is a point made in an excellent piece of writing “A message to S-Types – What you REALLY need to know” that you can find here. Anyone serious about the concept behind Safewords should also think about non-verbal means of communication.
In the context of 50 Shades: Christian chooses “Red” as a Safeword for Ana, instead of letting her choose one for herself. He also blames Ana for not using her safeword at the end of FSOG. You can read what I think about this here.

SSC
Safe, sane and consensual.

Submission
The giving of control in erotic power exchange, typically to someone who is exercising Dominance. People who identify as submissive understand the practical meaning of submission in different ways; there is no one-size-fits-all.
In the context of 50 Shades: Christian wants Ana to submit to him.

Top
The active person in erotic interplay (or a scene), but without power exchange.
In the context of 50 ShadesChristian sees himself as a dominant, but as the active party in the “Red room of pain”, he’s also a top.

 

50 Shades related stuff

Ana / Anastasia Steele
The lead female character in the 50 Shades trilogy.

Bella Swan
The lead female character in the Twilight saga.
In the context of 50 Shades: 50 Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction, so Ana’s character is based on Bella. Didn’t know that? I recommend a read of the Bare Basics page.

Christian Grey
The lead male character in the 50 Shades trilogy.

Dakota Johnson
The actress who plays Ana in the film of 50 Shades of Grey.

E.L. James
The author of the 50 Shades trilogy.

Edward Cullen
The lead male character in the Twilight saga.
In the context of 50 Shades: 50 Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction, so Christian’s character is based on Edward. Didn’t know that? I recommend a read of the Bare Basics page.

Jacob Black
Edward’s rival love interest for Bella in the Twilight saga.
In the context of 50 Shades: 50 Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction, so José’s character is based on Jacob. Didn’t know that? I recommend a read of the Bare Basics page.

Jamie Dornan
The actor who plays Christian in the films of 50 Shades of Grey.

Jenny Trout
An author, blogger, and funny person in the US. Her blog is here.
In the context of 50 Shades: She’s one of the authors that contributed to 50 Authors on 50 Shades. I’m indebted to her for her chapter-by-chapter commentary of the books, and for her three essays: “Let’s talk about 50 Shades in a calm and rational way“, “50 Shades and abusive relationships” and “Dear 50 Shades fan: BDSM doesn’t need or want your defense“. Content note: Jenny tends to use some colourful language, and I recommend readers heed the content note she puts at the top of the BDSM essay. Plus she does American spelling.

José Rodriguez
Christian’s rival love interest for Ana in 50 Shades.

Kate / Katherine Kavanagh
Ana’s flatmate.

Kristen Stewart
The actress who played Bella in the Twilight films.
In the context of 50 Shades: 50 Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction, so Ana’s character is based on Bella. Didn’t know that? I recommend a read of the Bare Basics page.

Missing Stair
A way of describing people who are known to be social hazards (e.g. abusers or harassers) by a community, but who is collectively avoided instead of being taken to task. The term came from Cliff Pervocracy, and if you haven’t read the essay, I would recommend it. Content note: it discusses rape and rape culture. You can find it here.
In the context of 50 Shades: I think this is an important piece of writing that should be read by everyone who wants to prevent abusive behaviour.

Robert Pattinson
The actor who played Edward in the Twilight films.
In the context of 50 Shades: 50 Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction, so Christian’s character is based on Edward. Didn’t know that? I recommend a read of the Bare Basics page.

Stephenie Meyer
The author of the Twilight Saga.
In the context of 50 Shades50 Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction. Didn’t know that? I recommend a read of the Bare Basics page.

Twilight / The Twilight Saga
A series of books about a 17-year old girl, Bella, who falls irrevocably in love with a vampire, Edward, who (being a vampire) thirsts for her blood. The books were made into films.
In the context of 50 Shades50 Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction. Didn’t know that? I recommend a read of the Bare Basics page.

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