Dateline, BDSM & Dungeons… Right…

SHAME ON YOU DATELINE. Yep, I said it. Did anyone catch what I consider to be the blasphemous show on last night regarding a murder investigation in anytown USA? Okay. Murder, mayhem and sex are nothing new and boy do they sell books and television shows, right? It’s funny because Fifty Shades of Gray certainly got their plug at the beginning of the show like well, BDSM has gone mainstream and therefore anything that might have a flavor of it probably has something to do with the why’s. Yeah, give me a break. But they need ratings and what’s hot is this upcoming movie probably more than anything. Sure, I’m glad for the author and hope that her books shows and depicts certain aspects of passion and BDSM in a positive light, but I’m beginning to wonder given last night’s show.

   Fifty Shades of Gray has also sparked a hell of a lot of controversy with writers on forums and on Facebook and the chatter from twitter. Why? I haven’t read the piece but I’ve heard everything from it’s poorly written to it depicts what some say is the normal D/s situation. The older man and the young pretty thang (notice I use slang here) and that’s the way it is. Sorry, that’s not the way it is. It’s the writer’s version of a story – plain and simple. Now perhaps I should read this piece because dear God, Dateline seems to think it holds some validity with regard to being completely accurate.

In the story last night this upper scale couple with two kids in college and the dream house in the richest section of upper middle scale USA loved life and each other BUT of course he had a terrible secret and because of it she ended up dead. Um…by the end of the program you don’t know who dunnit but the basic allegations remained around the guy. Thank GOD there was a local reporter who tried to debunk the entire situation throughout and they did allow him his air time.

Fact, the man was having an affair. Fact, she ended up killed – likely from a murder for hire in a poor section of town. Fact, he was considered “Master” Bob. This is where the story gets really icky for me. They alluded to the fact because he was this self proclaimed Master was the reason she ended up dead. Granted, it could be because of jealousy or could be because of her hatred for his lifestyle. But of course he swears that while they didn’t have a truly open relationship, she was aware of his certain needs and tolerated them. Okay. Point made. Now, I know many Dom’s who have trained with real Masters on how to be a good Dom. It’s not easy and there are aspects of being one that we won’t go into here but we’ll just say this isn’t about chaining your sub or slave to a cross and beating the shit out of them. There is so much more here.

Sadly, what was depicted from here is troubling. I have spent a lot of time researching the BDSM lifestyle from talking with Dom’s to reading, to asking questions of societies that live the life to reading more. I am – hear me here – I am NOT an expert and continue to learn but I do take pride in the fact I try and put a piece together with reality. BDSM or D/s couples aren’t in leather and chains, their “dungeons” in some dingy section of town and all they do is carry whips and floggers. Some are but most aren’t.

D/s couples aren’t bad people who live in darkened houses and the Dom enjoys inflicting pain and nothing else. A D/s couple who enjoy or practice the lifestyle are generally everyday folks who simply engage in an alternate lifestyle. They go to work and pay their bills and taxes, they have children and friends, they eat out at MacDonald’s and do housework and they simply enjoy something perhaps most of us either won’t or don’t understand. That’s okay. Some of their friends and family know what they practice but a lot don’t. Why? Well, if you’d seen the show you’d know why. The poor guy was depicted pretty close to being a monster. We’re not talking about the murder here either.

What I don’t like is that the reporter from Dateline, a long time and very knowledgeable man, actually gulped on television when he was asking questions about collars and whips. I guess I would do if that’s all I thought BDSM was about. Not only was Master Bob’s playroom a literal dungeon looking location in a horrendous and very dirty part of town where there was trash littering every part of the darkened street (rats too) and eerier looking stairway leading down to this locked steel door but there were literally chains hanging from wooden beams swinging in the breeze for God’s sake. Oh and don’t forget the torch like lights on the walls and the apparatuses that made being castrated back in the 1500’s look pretty good. Oh yeah, I can see myself going there to be flogged by this Master.

On top of the look of the dungeon, and yes they called it a dungeon, was the woman who spoke to having gone on a site – much like Fet Life but another – and looking for a Master for…well in truth I don’t think the woman knew what she was looking for. What did she get? She got a session with a Dom and his assistant/slave who tied the woman up and used a flogger. Um, excuse me and you don’t know these people? Are you blatantly out of your mind?

My God, now the entire world thinks of BDSM as this dark and ugly place where you get chained and flogged and… There is so much more. There is so much love and so much trust and so much education. Entering into the lifestyle, whether it’s for playing or for living 24/7, you have to know what you’re getting into. You have to do your research and you have to trust your partner. Are there playrooms and role playing and leather and whips and chains and…no doubt there is in certain situations, but I can tell you that almost every single person I’ve talked to who is serious about the lifestyle or playtime is very well educated. They take what they do and how they handle their actions more than seriously.

     Dateline, you should have done your homework and brought out another side. You led the viewing world to a certain conclusion about the lifestyle without giving another point of view. Erotic writers have enough trouble right now helping readers and other writers understand that BDSM isn’t sick and engaging in something shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Now you push this back to a level of sickness. I don’t know. I am hoping for a follow up piece perhaps. Heck, Fifty Shades of Gray has given us all something to talk about. I just don’t like a lot of what I’m hearing.

I hope this gives you something to think about…

Cassandre

About Cassandre Dayne

Cassandre Dayne is the pseudo for the best selling author of romantic suspense and thrillers
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26 Responses to Dateline, BDSM & Dungeons… Right…

  1. Glad I didn’t have to suffer this program as the way you describe it it all sounds very negative, and uninformed.

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  2. vampiriquedezire says:

    Sorry hon but fucking morons. Did they not research it at all?

    I’m glad you are standing up for the BDSM community.

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  3. Great post. I missed the program. All I gotta say is OMG. Do these people not research before they go on to report a bunch of crap they think will bring in ratings. They should be ashamed for doing that.

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  4. I missed Dateline, but I’m not surprised the topic wasn’t delved into deeper. It’s so much easier to gloss over the finer, richer points and to simply focus on shock value. As discussed before, there is sooo much more to BDSM than floggers and chains…at least there should be.

    It’s sad how this lifestyle is depicted in mainstream media. It would be great if they did a show with real Doms and subs who’d be willing to share and talk openly about the amazing facets of these types of relationships!

    Great post, Cassandre! 😉

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  5. Sherry Palmer/Michelle Chatton says:

    Well the only “good” thing that can be said about this is that it is bringing BDSM out of the closet…..Maybe now there will be a show willing to have people on who “really” live the lifestyle and can give an “honest” and reall discussion about it. Instead of just what people “think” it is about, it is a shame this program was just looking for “viewers” and not concerned about a true representation. Wonder if they were just jumping on the 50 shades band-wagon and have never even read it? I have and it isn’t that great, sorry just my opinion as a reader. It amazes me how whenever something goes wrong or there is violence, they immediately head for a person’s sex life? Because of course, if there is violence involved it must be because of “deviant” sexual lifestyle, right? What a bunch of Buffalo shit. No wonder people grow up with a warped sense about sex and how it is viewed. Sounds like this was more of an “Enquirer” story and not a Dateline one. **shakes head sadly**

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  6. Krissys Bookshelf says:

    I have to say I completely agree the ignorance people have over BDSM and the conservative type person makes it such a shameful and degrating experience and they make it out to be this horrible thing but they have no idea what its really about, i agree, they didnt do their homework on it. im disappointed and to point their finger at others shame on them.

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  7. Good post. This program hasn’t hit NZ yet.

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  8. I haven’t seen this episode of Dateline, but I’m not surprised at all. This is nothing new at all. The BDSM community has been a steroetype for dozens of bad news stories and poorly written horror films forever, and always one used to portray kinky perverts and deviant killers. We’re supposed to be oh so grateful that an informative tome like 50 Shade Of Gray, written by someone who knows oh so much about BDSM, and how to extract a BDSM tale from a crappy assed tale about a skank torn between loving a stinky and flea riddled werewolf and a Justin Bieber pre-pubescent looking sparlky vampire, has FINALLY (as the Rock always says) helped bring the communinty into the light and show the vanilla world what BDSM is really all about. Yep, it’s right up there with The People Under The Stairs and Hellraiser as being this is what the real BDSM lifestyle is all about., As if! I had actually promised not to comment on this piece of crap until I read it, just to ensure it was crap, however I’m so sick of it, and so sick of the e-mails I keep getting from her barely post teenie bopper fans accusing me of copy catting this fan-fic writer causing more damage than good to the BDSM community with her “mainstream little mommy porn” books when I beat her to “press” by a year I’m going to at least say something here. As far as the “in the news” and “in the movies” perception of the communtiy goes… Well, when your Datelines are going to omit or distort the facts to make a story more sensational and more selatious, and when you have your Dr. Phils (I’m not really a psycologist but I play one on TV) telling everyone it’s a bad and deviant thing, you’re looking at a long and hard road toward any perception change. A guy getting his ass whipped by his boyfriend in a sex scene has to be looked at seriously and if such a scene were to be filmed much would have to go into explaining the motivation of the act (on both ends). I’m talking weeks of dialogue to build up to a five or ten second scene. Not a five second scene thrown in out of the blue that the vanillas are going to laugh at. I know that might seem random, but I think in a quick nutshell you kind of get my point. The only way for the BDSM community to be seen as it truly is in the mainstream will be for members of the community to write serious works about life in the lifestyle as well as producing televison shows and movies about life in the lifestyle without compromising with “the powers that be” over content they consider too strong, or “snazzing” it up to make it more racy on the other end of the spectrum. Uphill battle? For sure. But hey, people write fan-fiction for the same reason singers cover past #1 Hits, because it usually ensures them “airplay”.

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    • behalle says:

      Wow Michael – that’s my initial reaction. My second is thank you very much for taking the time to respond. I more than appreciate and again, as I clearly stated – not an expert nor do I live the life, although exploring, but the crap they put on there pissed me off to the point I had to call it out. I think people who also write most of the BDSM aren’t as cautious as they should be (and I’ve fallen into this before) with real portrayals. I am to have been taught some with much more to learn and hearing your thoughts reminds me more of how much more I do need to learn. Thank you very much.

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      • In general it’s best to bear in mind that experience is the best teacher, and I think at first everyone is prone to fall into the same traps in general because not only do they want to write, but they also want to write a great story that is going to catch the reader’s interest. However, it’s best to remember that in the beginning no writer is going to produce an epic story, and it all comes down to a single factor: lack of life experience. In all writing there is only one rule that is the #1 rule and that will always be the most important rule, and that is write what you know. I doesn’t matter if you’re writing about life on a street the next state over, or a war on Planet Zarbob, if you haven’t experienced it, or you haven’t done enough reasearch on the area or field you’re writing about the best thing to do is stay way from it. I’ve shot down many writers over inaccurate facts and details who have, or in one case had one’s publisher, Gina Kincade, come after me and say, “Well, that doesn’t matter because I’m writing in my own fictional Universe.” To which my response is, when you put an actual location in a story and couple it with a date, then you’ve grounded it in reality and have become bound to actual facts, and I never let a good story get in the way of the facts. (Incidently I have yet to have found any such stories to be good stories, facts aside). I have had several friends say, well I’m going to write a BDSM story, just because it’s a genre I haven’t touched yet and I think it will be fun. I kind of grit my teeth and shake my head, but instead of stopping them I go ahead and let them go and try, because I think in the end it would be easier for me to explain to them why a story failed after it was written then to try and explain to them why it would fail before they wrote a single word (and you know most writers and their egos, it would only make them more determined to write the hottest, kinkiest BDSM story they could think of, which in the end would probably be an even more dismal failure). Anyhow, I’m just going on again, LOL. I’m not sure if you’ve ever read or heard of it but an excellent book to read if you are ever wanting to do research on the BDSM lifestyle is Different Loving by Dr. Gloria Brame. It’s probably the best book on the subject I’ve ever read and it’s presented in a way that anyone can pick it up and read it without a dictionary of BDSM terms beside it to help them translate what they’re readling. LOL.

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      • behalle says:

        Again, I don’t disagree with you and have heard such comments as I’m writing a story so I can write it any way I want. Well in truth if you are creating a fictional world you CAN get away with certain things, as long as you are consistent, but I think as writers you have a responsibility to provide certain details – whether you’re writing about a caliber of bullet or a smokejumper – research helps. I’ve had a heavy BDSM piece go out and with NNP. Fortunately the research I think allowed me to be factual and I have had comments from members of the BDSM community that they thought it was handled well. However, I realized as I was exploring my I would like to perhaps engage in and learn about, it’s the emotional side of the why I would consider a D/s relationship instead of anything having to do with playrooms or floggers. It’s the internal communication you have with yourself and your partner that will only garner trust and the possibility of moving into something. Understanding is also a key – at least for me. I personally have pulled back from the actualities of rooms or 24/7 lifestyles because I haven’t lived it. I will though continue to respect and do more research. This time for me.

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  9. authorrainedelight says:

    Thank you for this…I saw that initial episode and my jaw dropped. I have researched the BDSM lifestyle for a trilogy of stories and that is NOT what it is at all. Dateline should be ashamed of themselves for shoddy reporting just to get ratings. And please don’t get me started on 50 shades of Gray (growls). I applaud you in standing up for the BDSM community and for us writers who take the time to research what we write in this world.

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    • behalle says:

      You’re very welcome. I honestly try and get it right when I portray and to see the extreme on the flip side just amazed me. WE are writers are responsible for research. They could have spent a little bit of time and achieved so much more. Growl.

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  10. DC Juris says:

    The way BDSM and D/s relationships are portrayed – all too often – is ridiculous. We’re all supposed to be dark, brooding, bossy people or simpering, spineless people, and we do all sorts of kinky things all the damn time, and we dress differently and act differently. Right? ::shakes head:: As a person who *does* live a BDSM D/s lifestyle, I can attest to a few things. 1. I do not have a dungeon. I have a mini-bar-turned-toy-chest, and a spanking bench. Why? Well, for one, where the hell would I put all that stuff? I have a 900 square foot house. I could use the basement, but it’s cold, unfinished, and full of all our crap from when we downsized houses. Two, that stuff is *expensive.* Seriously – have you looked up dungeon furniture? Holy crap. I don’t have that kind of money. 2. I don’t participate in kinky BDSM acts every night. I think the last time I was spanked was last year, and the last time my sub even picked up a flogger was when I made one for a “BDSM on a Budget” blog post. Why? We have real lives. Jobs. Illnesses. Pets. Stuff. 3. I’m a Dom, not an asshole. I don’t order my sub around. I don’t chain him up and beat him for burning the pot roast. 4. He’s not a simpering weakling. He doesn’t ask permission to use the bathroom, he doesn’t wring his hands in fear over if I’ll like something or not, and he doesn’t wait for permission to speak. We don’t dress up in leather and he doesn’t wear a collar. Why? Frankly I’m fat and no one wants to see me in leather, and I don’t see the need to collar him. He knows where he belongs. In reality, our life is boring and banal. We get up, he takes me to work, he does stuff around the house, I bust my ass 40+ hours a week at a job I’m not all that thrilled with. On the weekends we watch movies, I write, he naps, we play with the dogs, etc. Blah. There’s nothing seedy or dangerous about either of us. In fact, aside from the fact that he’s 6’3″ and I’m 4’9″, you probably wouldn’t even notice us if you passed us on the street.

    Is our situation the same as every BDSM situation? Of course not. But that’s my point. The lifestyle is so often portrayed as this larger than life thing, and for some of us, it’s really not. Being a Dom for me (well, I’m really a switch, but not with my sub) is like having brown eyes. It’s just a part of me. I don’t introduce myself as “Daniel the Dom.” Why bother? Anyone who is around me for five minutes can tell I’m in charge.

    As for writing, I’ve done some BDSM stories. I’ve been told they were realistic, and I’ve been told they weren’t. Funny thing is, the stories that were chastised as being “unrealistic” were based on actual events that I either participated in or witnessed. So – yeah. I think anyone who is writing a BDSM work should do some research. There are things the human body can handle, and things it can’t. Unless you establish that your character is beyond the norm, in which case, write whatever you want. But if you’re dealing with run of the mill humans, in a run of the mill town on this planet, you’ve got to bring some truth into the mix.

    And as for 50 Shades of Grey…yeah, I couldn’t get past the poor writing in the Amazon sample to even *care* what the book was about.

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    • behalle says:

      This is another WOW for me with someone taking the time. I am honored you would do so and your candidness about your lifestyle. I think that’s so much why the damn thing made me so furious – everyone has something in their life that’s private or special or intimate or passionate or all of the above. We are different as humans and to portray in such a manner is flat out rude. I am glad I at least penned this. I will continue to do research and try and learn more. I have had mostly good comments about my BDSM – oddly enough the bad has been about something I’ve gotten from a couple so… Thank you again. Fifty Shades of Grey – I’ll probably read so I know what is happening but…

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  11. Kathy Kulig says:

    I saw the Dateline show. Pitiful sensationalism, not respectable unbiased reporting. When i saw the stairs leading to the dungeon, i wondered if Dateline littered it on purpose for effect. And they kept showing the dungeon, making it look like an evil torture chamber. There’s a good chance the guy had his wife murdered bec. she found out about his secret lifestyle(mistress) and a divorce would’ve cost him plenty. But that has happened before (wealthy husband murders wife to avoid paying out big in divorce) money is the issue, not BDSM. Dateline chose to swing it toward the BDSM theme for the ratings. Putting the lifestyle and not the man in a bad light. Sad.

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  12. Tina says:

    I have read fifty shades of gray and loved it, it is not as vulgar as everyone is making it out to be, this book is about a lifestyle that is not my cup of tea but it is about more than S&M, it is the story of why he became this way and how the woman he fell in love with helps him through this, it is a well written story and really touched my heart, good job to the author! I would also like to say that I have checked out books from many libraries that have been WAY more racier then this wonderful book, people really need to stop being so prudish and let everyone read what they want. When I hear about all the bannings, all I can see is a bunch of old prudish men and women standing around with signs saying down with SEX, Lol. These prudish people probably have never enjoyed sex! I don ‘t know about the rest of you but I want to be able to read what ever I want to read! THANKS FOR LISTENING

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    • behalle says:

      Awe Tina – I thoroughly agree with you on the reading whatever. As an author who had a book banned initially during the entire Paypal crises, you can IMAGINE how important it is for me to be able to write and read what I want. That’s why I wasn’t saying a word about the story, BUT using a book to gain sensationalism and not backing up the information isn’t the best way to go. BDSM is a lifestyle and playtime and all things in between. For those who live and practice, placing BDSM in an uninformed light is not only cruel but dangerous in some manners. That’s why I really wrote the blog. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  13. ER Pierce says:

    I don’t watch the news. I don’t. it’s not like they report anything positive. It’s all negative, death, killing, murders, robberies, etc. Fuck that shit. It doesn’t surprise me Dateline presented this in a bad light. What it does is make me sad, and pissed, but not surprised. Can you imagine a world where the news actually sent a positive message to the people? :shakes head: I couldn’t get into 50 shades. I’m not a first person present tense fan, and I found Ana to be annoying and unrealistic. I am happy for the author — but it’s not a book I want to read.

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  14. Bonnie Bliss says:

    Ok, I am a little late to this post. And I’m actually upset I missed this Dateline, I have been following this story since it first broke, and they outed this guy for being in the BDSM lifestyle. You can imagine, as a masochist, me rolling my eyes and going “Oh, here we go!” And then right on that coat tails here comes 50 Shades. I have written a few posts about 50 Shades, and although I don’t actively promote the book, I don’t tell people to read it either. They are or they aren’t. Their cup of tea not mine. Now I read 50 Shades book one. I have to say, for me, in all honesty it rubbed me wrong. For me the ‘relationship’ in general was just not healthy, he was a Sadists for all the wrong reasons, she was vanilla, it was a mess. Aside from that, but after you noting how Dateline mentioned 50 Shades and how they name that book as a go to BDSM book, I am not freakishly disturbed by the News reporters as a whole that I used to respect. Elizabeth Vargas was the first to interview James on 20/20, and she called 50 Shades of Gray a ‘How to guide to BDSM’. I was disturbed, to say the least. That showed me, that Elizabeth Vargas did NO actual research into the lifestyle. Oh, wait, she went to a local sex shop in the New England area where they do ’50 Shades’ Bondage classes for wives. REALLY!? Are these women really trained just because they work in a sex shops to show proper bondage techniques?

    I have written a very heated email to 20/20 after it aired and have not heard anything back. As for this story about the Master Bob and how that incriminates him, being in the lifestyle, and to top it off a Sadist. I knew that would happen. From the moment they outed him as a Sadist, I knew that he would get this all pinned on him. I actually told my husband we could write a great twisted BDSM erotic thriller based on that story because the idea is so interesting. Only I wouldn’t have Master Bob take the fall. From what I had originally heard, the wife knew the whole time about his kink and allowed him that because she wasn’t into the lifestyle (which is not outside the realm of belief, I know others that live this way.)

    As a whole, I think 50 Shades is out of hand. I don’t think people choosing to go on talk shows and chat about BDSM know a damned thing of what they are talking about, are afraid to research this ‘dark and taboo’ subject, so they just go “OH be like 50 Shades and do bondage this way.” I shake my head, and as much as, yeah it is great for BDSM book sales, you all do realize that all these women are basing proper BDSM on THAT BOOK, so when they read actual S&m books they have been rating them a 1 star and saying they aren’t accurate when in fact it is far more accurate lifestyle wise than 50 Shades. Yes, I am an author, and yes I am perhaps talking negative about another author. I will repeat I am NOT telling anyone to NOT read this book! Read it, go for it, have fun! I personally, as someone well knowledgeable about S&m did not find it enjoyable. But as much as its great more people are reading BDSM, it is pulling it out of ‘the underground’ if you will, and flashing it all over the place. I have had to defend my masochistic nature way to much recently, to scores of people saying that if you are a masochist you are a doormat, I shouldn’t have to defend that, and I shouldn’t have to be insulted when I read any number of blog postings about MY lifestyle, by people that have no clue what they are talking about.

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    • behalle says:

      I’m glad you weighed in. I will end up reading 50 shades BUT… I don’t know. As a woman who is so trying to learn and understand more all the time about the lifestyle, I was just so incensed. Just pissed me off. There is so much more to the lifestyle and no one gets it. Going to write Dateline but I suspect I’ll get the same kind of crap – nothing. Just burns my ass they did so little to prepare.

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  15. Reblogged this on Erotica Everywhere and commented:
    Murder, marriage and 50 Shades!! Where will it end?

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