Rihanna's "S&M" Video: NYC Sex-Shop Employees (Including A Former Dominatrix) Weigh In

Delicious and nutritious
Delicious and nutritious

There comes a time in a foreign country's life when it has to stand up and say, "No, Rihanna, we do not want to see you deep-throat that banana." That time was last week, when 11 countries banned the pop star's new bubblegum-colored, bondage-laden music video for her song "S&M." Supposedly, according to director Melina Matsoukas and Rihanna herself, the video is a light-hearted examination of the latter's relationship with the press -- she enjoys enduring daily paparazzi pain, because that's what gives her the pleasure of fame. As for the U.S., MTV is considering a clean edit. Meanwhile, to assess the validity of the video's so-called inappropriateness, we went directly to the source: sex shops. We asked the kind folks at Fantasy Party, Cherry Boxxx, and Tic Tac Toe what they thought of all the hullabaloo -- and Rihanna's S&M prowess.

Before we move on, the video in question:

Here are the responses from the Greenwich Village sex shops we consulted, assessing the video in terms of the ban, Rihanna's S&M abilities, and how effectively the clip relates to actual S&M culture:

Fantasy Party's Shanlin Perry

The Ban: "I was a dominatrix for 12 years, so I really want to see this. [Watches video.] She made it look really pretty, but yeah, that's a lot of S&M. It's starts off with mummification and then you've got gag balls, the latex fetish in there, you've got the fucking hog-tie fetish. Yeah, that's kind of extra for children to see."

Rihanna's S&M Abilities: "She's not a dom [short for dominatrix]. It's very pop. She was doing what all girls do in videos, except she had a little whip."

The Video in Relation to S&M Culture: "It seems as if she's mad at the press, so she wants to tell them that she'll kick their ass. I don't know what the connection is, Rihanna. It's not adding up. Are you into chains or what?"

Fantasy Party's Guy Ayad

The Ban: "It's unfair. I'm very into freedom of speech, and I think adults can decide on their own what to see and what not to see. I think children should be prevented from seeing certain things. They might not be ready for it."

Rihanna's S&M Abilities: "Knowing the field and working in a sex shop, I would say a B+. It's not like I say, 'Whoa, she can do it.' She passes."

The Video in Relation to S&M Culture: "I think she's just trying to describe it. It's not a deep text. It's not someone really trying to understand what it's all about. But, I mean, it's okay for a pop song."   Tic Tac Toe's Judy

The sex shop near where Bob Dylan lived
The sex shop near where Bob Dylan lived
Rob Trucks

The Ban: "I don't really think that there's anything wrong with it. She's telling the truth. If somebody has a different perspective on it, it's not necessarily bad. Just because she's into S&M, or the video itself is about S&M, doesn't mean that it should be banned."

Rihanna's S&M Abilities: "She has most of the bondage down right. She did it right, more or less."

The Video in Relation to S&M Culture: "I mean, it's got everything."

Cherry Boxxx's John

The Ban: "I had to ask who that was in that one scene, because I thought it was a porn star, not Rihanna. They can ban it in other cultures, but not here. I definitely wouldn't let kids watch it."

Rihanna's S&M Abilities: "She's got skills, but I don't know. Who knows how many times they made her do that before she got it right once? Maybe she just looked good in one out of a hundred takes."

The Video in Relation to S&M Culture: "It captures it. But ever since she broke up with Chris Brown, it's just been sex, sex, sex. I think the same thing that happened to Britney is going to happen to her."

Final Verdict: These are polarizing results. But it must mean something if a former dominatrix wouldn't want kids to see this video. Surely, Google's "flagged as inappropriate" policy won't keep 'em out, but MTV's potential clean edit should take care of that. With that said, Rihanna's S&M-ness is lacking, and that makes things less threatening. When you've got Perez Hilton on a leash, miscellaneous gag-ball-stuffed reporters, and whip-crackin' action, you must be doing something wrong if you're Rihanna and all you get is a crummy B+.


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