50 Shades, Cockring, London Fire Brigade, Epidemic, Removal, Penis Ring

50 Shades of PR-Shaming Sexually Curious/Adventurous Men

When will this trash-hole franchise just die already?


I lost my virginity at the age of fourteen. The next day, I was already more sexually mature and open-minded than I imagine most of the perceived audience for the deplorable 50 Shades novels and films must be.

If you’re unfamiliar with this “cultural phenomenon” (gag), I certainly envy your obliviousness. The books and movies deal with the “sexual awakening” of a 20-something girl by way of hilariously unreal and out of touch bondage and domination scenarios, designed to… I’m not even sure. Make BDSM palatable to white, 40-somethings who live in the midwest and have had <4 sexual partners over their entire lifetime?

I’m not here to shame or deride anyone’s choices to remain virginal or to call out those who have a limited amount of experience for whatever the reasons may be (by choice or otherwise), but I’m definitely here to tell people that these particular stories aren’t what good/smart/kinky/enjoyable sex looks or feels like. In almost exactly the same way that Sandra Lee doesn’t know what food is, E.L. James doesn’t know what sex is.

Having said that, it should come as little surprise that the PR blitz (at least here in London) for the latest 50 Shades installment (currently resting at 9% on Rotten Tomatoes) is necessarily designed around shaming tactics focused on sexually curious men (they can’t sell it as anything authentic, since the ultimate destination of the BDSM in these stories is to “cure” Mr. Grey of his desires). After all, what seems ‘safer‘ or more ’empowering’ for women (the prime demographic for both the books and movies) than ridiculing male sexuality or sexual behavior? Punching up, you guys.

In the past four days, I’ve gotten no fewer than 30 google alerts about how the London Fire Brigade is “bracing” for an “epidemic” of men trapped in cockrings that are too small, due (somehow, mysteriously) to the “50 Shades effect.” Which is *definitely* what this is all about, and *totally* not a promotional or sponsored attempt to get the 50 Shades titling into hundreds of press releases and click-bait articles about penises. This is totes legit, you guys. It’s an epidemic.

Of nine people.

In an entire year.

At least Quartz had the decency to gently suggest that this was basically bullshit:


“It’s possible that the London Fire Brigade’s linking of their campaign to the films is meant somewhat metaphorically, rather than implying direct causation. Quartz staff who had seen the films and read the books didn’t remember a penis ring featuring, and recalled restraint with ropes rather than handcuffs.”


Yes. It’s a “metaphor.” Ok.

Men: listen. If you want to play or experiment with cockrings, it’s cool and it’s safe and it’s really fucking fun. Do it smartly, though. Learn how to properly size and purchase rings that are right for you. Don’t wear them so long that they cause discoloration or pain. In fact, don’t do anything that’s going to cause your penis pain.  If it hurts your dick, you’ve got the wrong size or the wrong ring for you.

Most of all, though, don’t let this kind of media nonsense impact what you find pleasurable or fun. These articles are written to make timid people laugh at the foibles of those more adventurous than themselves. And the misguided notion of “punching up is at play here, even if it’s not on the surface.  It’s a disrespect for sexuality and sex that comes from the same place as giggling during sexual education class: inexperience.




*Header image gently stolen from the Cockring Buddha, in loving tribute to his excellent work and beautiful penis, which you should go and read/see immediately




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