Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Fifty Shades Of Grey Phenomenon

The "50 Shades of Grey" movie came on Valentine's Day, and women around the country have dragged their presumably wary men away from ESPN and repeats of "Mythbusters" to see it. The "50 Shades" series has been the subject of a great deal of hate and kvetching as well as much curiosity and praise. Much of that hate comes from writers who may be jealous of E. L. James's runaway success. It also comes from BDSM practitioners who decry the inaccuracy of the depiction of dominance and submission in the books. Domestic violence activists also condemn the books because they believe – with good reasoning – that Christian Grey's relationship with Ana Steele is based on abuse rather than consensual sex. The praise comes from fans of the series as well as some sex toys companies who have jumped on the bandwagon, thanking the series for increasing sales.

I read the first book but not the rest of the series. I have not seen the movie. Not yet, anyway. Yes, better erotic books with similar themes have been written, but they aren't making millions of dollars; nor have they captured the imagination of ordinary women everywhere who don't normally read "books like that". There are many articles with recommendations for "what to read after '50 Shades of Grey'" and some of the books recommended are doing quite well. There is even a Facebook group with the same name. Some writers have seen an uptick in their sales because of the "50 Shades" phenomenon.

Regardless of what you think of Ana's constant sighing, her chats with her Inner Goddess, or Christian's questionable contract, you can't deny the series' impact, especially that of the first book. Sex toys companies like Lovehoney and Babeland have jumped on the "50 Shades" bandwagon by gearing their sales around the series. I've heard rumors of sales of rope and fasteners sailing out of hardware stores and ending up in couple's bedrooms. Vanilla couples are experimenting with light kink for the first time. If this series results in a relaxing of puritanical views of sex, I'm all for it.

I do not plan to see the movie until it comes out on DVD. I'm more inclined to see a horror movie like "Crimson Peak", which is coming out in October. That said, I've been watching the loosening of pearl clutching over types of sex ranging from vanilla to erotic spanking. I'm very happy to see it. Maybe "50 Shades Of Grey" will help usher in a more relaxed view of sexual relations, which will only benefit everyone.

And now, just for fun...


  1. Even though I think Valentine's day is stupid, I know it is suppose to be about love. 50 Shades of Grey is NOT about love.  It romanticizes abuse and leads people to believe that kind of behavior is okay. I have heard countless excuses like "but he is cute" or "oh I'm not going with a guy so it doesn't matter".  The truth is it does matter. People who go and see that movie are supporting abusive behavior and people who are in an abusive relationship might not seek help because they think that it is okay, or that the abuser is just being romantic. If you are in an abusive relationship or know someone who is, go to or call 1-800-799- SAFE (7233).

  2. I survived an abusive marriage, so I get what you're saying. Christian is horribly cruel and abusive towards Ana. He has plenty of excuses, but his behavior is abhorrent regardless of what he says. Even though Ana leaves him at some point, his behavior is what it is. I hope women don't learn a bad lesson from the book and movie, but those that see Christian's behavior as romantic are in danger of falling for it in real life. That's a serious problem. One good thing about the movie and the book is that women are at least talking about sex openly for the first time in a long time. Women who don't read "those kinds" of books have read "50 Shades" and are discovering other, better books that include non-abusive , kinky relationships. It's a shame something so poorly written and questionable ended up ushering in open talk about kink and sex. I only hope that women in general discover the plethora of fine erotic fiction out there.