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Fifty shades of Brown

E L James’ debut erotic novel has loosened modern morals; shouldn’t the law, then, keep up with the times, asks Richard Easton

9 March 2015

E L James’ debut erotic novel has loosened modern morals; shouldn’t the law, then, keep up with the times, asks Richard Easton

When hardware stores like B&Q predict a surge in sales of rope and cable ties following Fifty Shades of Grey's cinematic release on 13 February, it is clear that S&M has moved from sexual subculture to normal bedroom antics.

But is English law a prude when it comes to consensual sadomasochistic harm? And should the Law Commission, which this year is considering reform of offences against the person, look again at consent and assaults?

Fifty Shades may be to some the BDSM equivalent of Mills
& Boon but, in law, the injuries inflicted on Anastasia Steele could leave a real-life Christian Grey in handcuffs, and not the pink fluffy kind.

The leading case on consensua...

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