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The Diary of a Submissive is a subtitled “A real-life Fifty Shades of Grey” which is probably a strategic bit of marketing given that Fifty Shades probably didn’t become until after Moragn had finished writing her memoir.
If I was going to be super-nitpicky I would point out that book isn’t actually a diary. And, oh look, I just have so I guess I am. Instead, it is a fairly straightforward autobiography in which Morgan takes us through a pedestrian trot through her early life and dreams of becoming a journalist as well as sharing the sexual experiences that make up her identity as a sexual submissive.
|‘Jewellery by Coco de Mer’, apparently|
Sophie Morgan talks us through the three main relationships which informed her experience of being dominated. (Morgan is remarkably lucky in her sexual partners, it has to be said. She clearly has whatever the BDSM equivalent of gaydar is. She meets her men through the most prosaic ways – in a queue, through work etc and they all just happen to be quite enthusiastic and/or accomplished doms. Maybe it’s not that weird. Maybe everyone’s a kinky bastard, really, and we’re all just too embarrassed to talk about it.)
The first boyfriend who helps her explore her masochistic side, is Ryan an international student she dates at uni. He takes her offer to ‘use her hairbrush’ in a slightly different way from how she intended and instead puts her across his lap for a spanking. The relationship doesn’t get much of a chance to progress before Ryan has to return back to the States but the experience confirms the suspicions that Morgan has harboured about her sexuality ever since she was a young girl getting turned on by seeing Maid Marian bound and shackled in the Adventures of Robin Hood.
|Couldn’t find any pictures of Maid Marian tied up, unfortunately.
You’ll just have to imagine the peril for yourselves.
The next relationship is with a guy call Tom. It isn’t a relationship relationship. More of a friends with BDSM benefits sort of arrangement. It is with Tom that Morgan gets to explore the side of her who gets off on being humiliated. This isn’t just about being tied up and spanked. Tom makes her do things that he knows she will hate like sucking his toes or humping his leg. Personally I do find the humiliation aspects a lot harder to get my head around than the pain stuff. As Morgan says, she hated it. “Not in a ‘pretending to hate it but secretly quite liking it’ way… It made me furious. Flashbacks-for-days-afterwards-and-I couldn’t-think-clearly furious.”
Tom introduces his friend Charlotte, a switch who is happy to play both sub and dom in the bedroom, to the dynamic and the three of them enjoy some fairly intense times together.
The main relationship of the book is with James, who, unlike Tom, Morgan develops real feelings for. Things get off to a promising start between the two of them when after their very first date, James sends a text to Morgan jokingly threatening her with a spanking for rushing off to catch a taxi. The two of them enjoy an inventive time in the bedroom employing handcuffs and riding crops and blindfolds and canes and memorably in one chapter, a long distance punishment involving some chopsticks and elastic bands.
|I had literally no idea it was a thing.|
This is Morgan’s actual, real life – bar a few artistic flourishes and the occasional bit of confusion about what family details she has changed (her brother turns into a sister for a bit and then back again.) There are two impressive and articulate speeches she makes near the end of the book which I remain a little bit sceptical actually happened the way she said they did. There’s a more than a whiff of l’esprit de l’escalier.
Morgan seems a very a very nice lady, fun and articulate and obviously interested in introducing people to the idea of BDSM. And knowing that this is someone’s real life – someone who has opened up and shared the most intimate details of their life – does make me feel a little bit mean for criticising it. But the problem is for all Morgan’s honesty and frankness, the book ends up being, well, kind of dull.
It doesn’t matter how wild ‘n’ crazy the sex life, if all you’re doing is running through your love-life in a blow-by-blow fashion (so to speak), the result ends up a bit like a laundry list of BDSM practices. I’m not sure what I wanted Morgan to come up with instead. It’s not like I was expecting her to fill the book with a bunch of car chases and comedy set pieces. Tellingly, at one point in the narrative, Morgan says of herself: “I was one of the most boring people I knew” and I think she may have hit the nail on the head there. Apart from her willingness to be tied up, spanked, subjugated, humiliated and punished on a regular basis, she’s not all that interesting.
Don’t get me wrong, she’s still honest and insightful and articulate and open. And kinky, of course. There are plenty of reasons to want to read this book. Not least to get a better idea of how someone juggles such a lifestyle with all their other commitments. I just found I wasn’t as enthralled (or to be honest, as turned on) as I hoped I’d be.