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10 BDSM Movies Better than Fifty Shades of Grey

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’re at least familiar with the cringe-worthy phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey.

E.L. James’s series of BDSM-lite novels, has sold over 100 million copies worldwide, been translated into 52 languages, and even inspired a crummy line of lube.

Thankfully, there are a ton of other movies that combine sex with intelligent ideas and work to advance the idea of what it means to be sexy. The films on this list aren’t loaded with chains, whips, and cuffs — some don’t contain any explicit sex at all. What they do have, however, is some pretty damned strong sex appeal. The films also challenge the viewer, while breaking some ground of sexual conversation, and tantalises thought.

Sure, Fifty Shades of Grey might be based on sex, but all that “unusual behavior” feels like a school play when compared to these movies. So, without further ado, here are 10 BDSM movies better than Fifty Shades of Grey.

Belle de Jour (1967)

Based on Joseph Kessel’s 1928 novel, Luis Buñel’s surreal classic sees a young housewife Séverine (Catherine Deneuve), whose sexual relationship with her husband is nonexistent. Electing to become a daytime prostitute at a brothel while her husband is at work, under the name “Belle Du Jour,” fulfilling her sexual fantasies and desires.

While there is some brothel-based kink, the key BDSM content lies in the dream sequences, in which Séverine fantasises about an S&M relationship with her husband. Best line in the movie? “Do as you wish with me.”

Maitresse (1975)

The French – sexually liberated beings they are – sure know their BDSM. Director Barbet Schroeder’s film tells the story of a small-time crook called Olivier (Gerard Depardieu), who inadvertently burgles the home of professional dominatrix Ariane (Bulle Ogier), in which a torture chamber sits in the basement.

The BDSM scenes proved so racy that the movie was banned until 1981 in the UK, with the ratings board remarking, “the actual scenes of fetishism are miles in excess of anything we have ever passed in this field.” But while it pushed censors to the limit with its explicit dungeon scenes, the film was downgraded to from an X to an 18 certificate in the UK in 2003 with all the cuts – which included an un-simulated scene where Ariane nails a client’s penis to a piece of wood – were waived.

The Night Porter (1974)

A concentration camp survivor develops a complex S&M relationship with her torturer in this then-controversial drama from director Liliana Cavani. Dirk Bogarde plays a former Nazi SS officer who reunites with the concentration camp inmate Lucia Atherton (Charlotte Rampling) with whom he had a sado-masochistic relationship during the war.

A striking, disturbing study of power, sexuality and transgressive behaviour, it features a topless Rampling dancing in a Nazi cap and leather gloves.

9 1/2 Weeks (1986)

Based on Elizabeth McNeill’s semi-autobiographical book, Adrian Lyne’s erotic drama was the Fifty Shades Of Grey of its day. The film is about a divorced gallerist (Kim Basinger) who becomes involved with a hot-shot Wall Street broker with a thing for dominance, played by Mickey Rourke. Cross-dressing and public sex lead to whipping and edge-play galore. Eventually, he stretches her too far, and the relationship proves too adventurous for her tastes.

While relatively unsuccessful on in the states, the film found its audience abroad and went on to become a bit of a cult classic.

Crash (1996)

Defiantly provocative and certainly not for the squeamish or people that can’t handle more than a light spanking. David Cronenberg’s Crash, based on J.G. Ballard’s 1973 novel, boosts the kink factor by exploring a world in which film producer James Ballard (James Spader) and his wife, Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger) indulge their sadomasochistic desires by engineering car crashes, a notable form of paraphilia. The film was released in R-rated and NC-17 versions.

The Piano Teacher (2001)

This thriller from director Michael Haneke tackles the touchy topic of self-mutilation as a form of sexual arousal, and benefits from a masterful performance from Isabelle Huppert as a Erika Kohut, a music professor hiding a slew of fetishes behind her repressed exterior. Based on Elfriede Jelinek’s 1983 novel, this film is complex and often uncomfortable watch, which I’ve to admit is a bit of a turn-on at times.

A Dangerous Method (2011)

Fifteen years after Crash, David Cronenberg explores a fascinating psychoanalytical exploration of humiliation BDSM via a love triangle between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and their complicated patient Sabina (Keira Knightley), who has a fondness for spanking caused by the simultaneous humiliation and sexual arousal she felt when her father spanked her naked as a child.

At Freud’s suggestion, Jung and Spielrein begin a hot and heavy affair — one that includes bondage and plenty of spanking and flogging (another turn-on) by Michael Fassbender, although Knightley admitted to slugging vodka before filming the flogging scene.

Preaching To The Perverted (1997)

Billed as “the first fetish feature film”, this London-set indie became a firm favourite on the fetish scene while narrowly avoiding the porn tag. The witty look a kinky clubbing stars Guinevere Turner as Tanya Cheex, a New York dominatrix under government investigation. Other BDSM performers which include Miss Kimberly, Chaos Clowns, Suzi Woodroffe, Lucifire and other make appearances as well.

Secretary (2002)

I had to save the best for last. Steven Shainberg’s film tells the tale of Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a clumsy and emotionally fragile young woman who gets a job as a secretary for an attorney, E. Edward Grey (James Spader), who revels in how submissive she is. What starts off as spanking to punish her typos blossoms into a full-blown dom-sub relationship.

Does the whole “awkward, clumsy young woman who meets a mysterious domineering businessman called Mr Grey, and develops a submissive relationship with him” sound familiar?

So that’s my list. Did I miss anything? Should I have left one out? Let me know in the comments!

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Shawn
    April 25, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    No love for Quills?

    • Reply
      Rajan Dominari
      May 3, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Quills was an excellent film! I actually forgot about it, to be honest. So thanks for the reminder, Shawn.

  • Reply
    fetishdawgphoto
    April 3, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    “Duke of Burgundy” on Netflix streaming. Well done, and some funny moments about topping from the bottom.

    • Reply
      Rajan Dominari
      April 3, 2017 at 11:32 pm

      That’s the second time today that I’ve heard that title. I guess I’m going to have to check it out!

  • Reply
    WarMachine79
    April 3, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    These were some really good picks. I’ve seen a few of them, like Secretary 9 1/2 Weeks and Crash. Great post!

  • Reply
    bruisesandlace
    April 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Secretary was always a good one for me

    • Reply
      WarMachine79
      April 3, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      I love Secretary. It wasn’t too over the top, or too in-your-face with everything. And I love the acting!

  • Reply
    phillyslays
    April 3, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Fire In Her Bed has some awesome BDSM type scenes.

  • Reply
    Denisse
    April 3, 2017 at 11:55 am

    That is a great list, i love “Preaching to the perverted”. Here is one that is worth checking out, my favorite BDSM movie: Going under (2004). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0431091/

    • Reply
      Rajan Dominari
      April 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      Thank you, Denisse. I’ll definitely check it out, and I appreciate the suggestion!

  • Reply
    PrettyAspieLuvsP0rn
    April 3, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Jade Nile and James Deen Black and Blue is perfect BDSM depiction with same setup as that hollywood movie; dirty talk and initiating girl into submissive role, basic bondage, etc. https://fapxl.com/video/3233104/jade-nile-in-black-and-blue

  • Reply
    _I_Have_No_Mouth_
    April 3, 2017 at 1:08 am

    9 1/2 week’s sequels were so disappointing that they tainted the first for me, in all honesty.

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