Elizabeth Black writes erotic romance, erotica, horror, and dark fiction. She specializes in erotic retellings of fairy tales. You may find her at her web site, her Facebook page, and Twitter.
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...
And now, just for fun...