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Kink & BDSM in the Movies

Updated: May 8

Kink and BDSM has been portrayed and referenced in various forms of popular culture, including books, films, music, and art.


These references and portrayals of BDSM in popular culture can help increase awareness and understanding of BDSM practices, but they can also perpetuate stereotypes and misconceptions. It's important to approach depictions of BDSM in popular culture with critical thinking, and to seek out accurate, informed sources of information about BDSM.


Some examples of popular culture references to BDSM include:


9 1/2 Weeks 1986

"9 1/2 Weeks" is a 1986 erotic romantic drama film directed by Adrian Lyne. It stars Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger as anonymous New Yorkers who engage in a sexually charged relationship that grows increasingly intense over nine and a half weeks. The film explores themes of power dynamics, sexuality, and emotional vulnerability as the two characters engage in a series of increasingly intense experiences. Despite its controversial subject matter, "9 1/2 Weeks" was a box office success and has since become a cult classic.


Secretary 2002

"Secretary" is a romantic comedy-drama film directed by Steven Shainberg. It stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader as Lee Holloway and E. Edward Grey. Lee, a recently-released mental hospital patient, begins working as a secretary for the eccentric and demanding E. Edward Grey.


The film explores the relationship between the two characters as they engage in a BDSM dynamic. Through this unconventional relationship, "Secretary" explores themes of power dynamics, sexuality, and personal growth. The film received critical acclaim for its bold and unconventional approach to its subject matter, as well as for the performances of its lead actors.


The Night Porter 1974

"The Night Porter" is a drama film directed by Liliana Cavani. The film stars Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling as Maximilian Theo Aldorfer and Lucia Atherton, respectively. The film is set in 1957 and explores the relationship between Maximilian, a former SS officer and concentration camp commandant, and Lucia, a former prisoner at one of the camps he oversaw. The film is known for its controversial depiction of a sadomasochistic relationship between a former Nazi and a survivor of the Holocaust. The film received mixed reviews for its handling of sensitive material and its explicit sexual content.


Kink 2013

"Kink" is a documentary film directed by Christina Voros. The film offers an in-depth look at the world of BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism) and the Kink.com website, one of the largest producers of BDSM content in the world. The film follows the behind-the-scenes work of the Kink.com crew, as well as several of the performers who participate in their shoots. The film also explores the ethical considerations involved in producing BDSM content and the ways in which participants navigate the power dynamics of their relationships. "Kink" offers a nuanced look at the BDSM community and the many different forms that kink can take.


Exit to Eden 1994

"Exit to Eden" is a comedy-drama film directed by Garry Marshall. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Anne Rice and stars Dan Aykroyd, Rosie O'Donnell, and Dana Delany. The film takes place on a fictional tropical island called Eden where guests can live out their sexual fantasies in a BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism) setting. The film follows two main storylines: the relationship between a detective (Aykroyd) and a photojournalist (Delany) who are investigating a diamond theft on the island, and the adventures of a group of guests as they explore their kinks and desires at Eden. "Exit to Eden" was criticized for its lighthearted approach to BDSM and for its over-the-top comedic elements. The film received negative reviews from both audiences and critics.


The Duke of Burgundy 2014

"The Duke of Burgundy" is a 2014 drama film directed by Peter Strickland. The film stars Sidse Babett Knudsen and Chiara D'Anna as two women in a BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism) relationship. The film follows the relationship between Cynthia (Knudsen), a wealthy lepidopterist, and Evelyn (D'Anna), her maid and submissive partner. The film explores the power dynamics of their relationship, as well as the ways in which BDSM can serve as a source of both pleasure and pain. The film is known for its stylish, dreamlike aesthetic and its sensitive portrayal of BDSM. "The Duke of Burgundy" received positive reviews from audiences and critics and is considered to be one of the more accurate and respectful depictions of BDSM in film.


50 Shades of Grey 2015

And finally no list could be complete with mentioning the "Fifty Shades" franchise. A series of books written by E.L. James and turned into films. The series consists of, "Fifty Shades of Grey," "Fifty Shades Darker," and "Fifty Shades Freed." It is a romance novel of sorts with BDSM being central to the storyline. It follows the relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and young business magnate Christian Grey. The series has received both critical acclaim and criticism for its depiction of BDSM and has been the subject of controversy due to its explicit sexual content.


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