It is precisely this sharp self-positioning at the interface of a critical dialectic that reveals the value of contract BDSM for a broader legal study. Namely, BDSM contracts offer a greater distillation of the interaction of legal conflict not only with BDSM, but also with sex in general and with other areas legally considered «private», held behind the doors of the chamber and beyond the scope of state intervention. Like BDSM contracts, this private sector is in a confused web of regulatory and anti-regulatory impulses, defined as a «natural» space outside the law, but inexorably marked by legal decisions. BDSM contracts can then offer a new lens to ask one of the most pressing questions of the science of law: the role that the law plays in the construction of a structural private can, can and must. Amid criticism, Fifty Shades of Grey became a cultural phenomenon that went from fan fiction sites to bestseller lists and secured a multi-million dollar deal. In the story that produced more than one hundred million copies,1×1. Julie Bosman, For `Fifty Shades of Grey,` More than 100 Million Sold, N.Y. Times, 26.2.2014 www.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/business/media/for-fifty-shades-of-grey-more-than-100-million-sold.html [perma.cc/HJ9P-P2UM]. a naïve female coed arouses the interest of a handsome tycoon who takes the heroine (and ideally the reader) on a journey of sexual awakening.
The hero, a self-described «dominant,» leads not only virgin heroine in sex, but also in the practice of BDSM, a compound acronym that connotes sexual interactions with bondage/discipline, domination/submission, and sadism/masochism.2×2. Margo Kaplan, Sex-Positive Law, 89 N.Y.U. Rev. 89, 116-17 (2014). From his «red pain room,» filled with «strings, chains and glittering chains,» 3×3. E L James, Fifty Shades of Grey 98 (2011). the hero shows the heroine how to be a «submissive» who experiences sexual desire by ceding domination and control as part of a negotiated contract. Complicated with BDSM`s investment in power is his commitment to what Professor Janet Halley has called a «will problem» 44×44. Janet Halley, Split Decisions 301 (2006). : the idea that sexual desire depends on insecurity, contradiction and paradox, and above all that one does not want to know what one wants. However, as Mr. Halley points out, this conception of desire is deeply «problematic»: it creates an inevitable risk, because «if you answer it, you are put on the path of unwanted sex,» 45×45.