Up until four months ago, no one had ever really heard of 50 Shades of Grey. But now it’s the only thing that anyone can talk about.
Of course, they were probably the same people who completely ignored the erotic romance recommendations from every sex therapist and relationship expert, including the Mominatrix, turning their prude little noses down on the thought of reading something that involved actual sex as if it would help them have more satisfaction in the bedroom.
Now they’re loading it up on their Kindle or quietly circling the bookshelf at Target waiting to grab a copy while it’s on sale for 20% off when no one is looking.
The criticism of 50 Shades of Grey runs rampant, and rightfully so; the book is hardly a work of genius and most of it is fairly laughable, even if you’re an inexperienced smut reader. But even the author E.L. James doesn’t claim that it’s a literary masterpiece. The book was originally fan fiction, never to actually be read by anyone but gaggles of crazed Twilight fans.
But now it’s a New York Times bestseller, and suddenly it’s acceptable to read. At neighborhood book clubs, on airplanes.
Even during dance recitals.
And while I’d say it’s more of a “keep in your nightstand when you need a little inspiration” kind of book rather than something I’d read at Starbucks, I don’t think 50 Shades of Grey is a bad thing.
Considering they’re already talking about a baby boom in February 2013, the book has clearly had a positive effect, perhaps for those people who would never have picked up smut ever in their lifetime and are now having amazing sex, or at least sex better than they were having.
Or hey, maybe they’re just having sex again.
And while I can appreciate that 50 Shades has brought BDSM into the mainstream, aside from the contract and a few long winded passages and interactions, that’s really not the focus on the series. And I’m quite certain that if that was the majority of the book, it wouldn’t have been as popular.
The real appeal of 50 Shades of Grey is the idea that a homely, average girl could become the object of obsession for a wildly attractive, sex-crazed man who is willing to do anything and everything to take care of her and be with her.
If there’s anything that’s missing from the modern marriage with kids, it’s exactly that: a feeling of excitement and mystery, an almost desperate pining for someone who isn’t a supermodel.
It should be no surprise that most women don’t need elaborate story lines or even anything more creative than phrases like “penis springing free” and repeatedly used words like “crimson” and “my sex.” Because for so many of them, having kids has so dramatically changed the dynamic of their relationship to the point where something is better than nothing.
A penis springing free is better than no penis at all.
And as pathetic or insulting as it might seem that women are so easily turned on, that we are so desperate that we’d be willing to do anything and everything for a guy, the idea that we don’t have to be picture perfect Playboy models for men to become putty in our hands feels like vindication.
Hot, sexy vindication.
The challenge is recreating this in a 5, 10, even 15 year relationship (or longer), when putting your partner first is not a priority for many people. There are the kids, and jobs, and laundry.
How many people will make sure the laundry is folded but will put off having sex?
As cheesy and ridiculous as 50 Shades of Grey might be, it offers inspiration that a lot of relationships could use. For some of you, just reading, heck even skimming it might be enough.
But for others, taking a few cues from Christian Grey might just be exactly what your sex life needs.