What “Shade” Is YOUR Libido?

by | Jun 11, 2012 | Health & News | 3 comments

Fifty Shades of Grey – Erotica meets BDSM… Healthy Sexual Fantasy or Flagrant Sexual Violence?

Not since the Kamasutra was released, has a book created such a stir, sexually speaking! The book is Fifty Shades of Grey – It’s name insinuates a multitude of meanings with sexual content raising eyebrows across the country. Some critics claim that the explicit scenes of bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism (BDSM) are “disturbing” and depict flagrant violence against women. Others have applauded the book for waking up the dormant sex drives of American women, who are buying up the book in droves, touting it as “Mommy Porn” and “Twilight for Adults”.

Having heard the numerous rumors, I felt compelled to explore what truly was being discussed at water coolers, book clubs, playgrounds, and senior citizen centers across the country.

Let’s start with a little history behind the book. Apparently, Fifty Shades of Grey, written by E.L. James, began as fan fiction of the “Twilight” series and was independently published. (1) Through numerous social media networks, word of mouth, and women-centric blogs, the trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed, now occupies the top 3 spots on the New York Times Fiction List! As one would have predicted, the rights for the trilogy were recently acquired by Vintage Books for a seven-figure sum and plans for a star-studded Hollywood movie are in the making.

So why all the buzz?

Well, it has to do with the controversial topic of BDSM which does not routinely appear in romance novels. This book explores what it is that women are seeking within an intimate relationship. Is it to be submissive? Or be taken away? According to the author, E.L. James, it’s probably a bit of both. Her protagonist, Anastasia Steele is a young and sexually naive college student who is seduced by a rich, powerful, bondage-loving billionaire, Christian Grey. Grey proposes a contract to Steele which would allow him complete control over her life, both inside and outside of the bedroom walls.

For many readers, the book is an unfolding romance of vulnerability that extends beyond the normal comfort zones of sexual experiences. Others claim that the explicit sexual scenes constitute a woman’s “rape fantasy”. This is where the controversy really starts to heat up. Do women truly want to be submissive and dominated by a man or do they want to merely fantasize about it?

Maybe, female readers relish in the fantasy of being dominated and controlled within the framework of the “red playroom” while not agreeing to be dominated by men outside of this arena. According to Rachel Kramer Bussel, former sex columnist and editor of the Best Bondage Erotica of 2012, “it’s about consensually playing with power and eroticizing it in a safe environment.” (2)

What is erotica? Fifty Shades of Grey is the ultimate example of erotica or romance fiction. Women are magnetized to this, rather than hardcore porn. This lies in the fact that erotica and romance novels describe the written form of sexual intimacy, vulnerability, and self-exploration. In fact, according to recent statistics, the romance genre generated approximately $1.37 billion ( yes, billion!) in sales, constituting the “single largest share of the fiction market.” In that same year, at least 74.8 million people read a romance novel, with over 90 percent being women. ( 3). Compare this to approximate 100 million men the US and Canada who accessed porn online in 2008. Amazingly, erotica now produces more revenue than does online pornography for men.

Why are women drawn to erotica? Let’s put on our science hats on for a minute. As we all know, men and women differ in many ways— in their sexual drives, sexual responses, and stimuli for sexual arousal. In general, men are more visual creatures compared to women who are more auditory and imaginative. This helps explain why men gravitate towards hardcore porn literally showing all the graphic details while women would rather ponder the romance, imagining how they might create the scene in their own heads. To put it bluntly, women want to imagine their sexual fantasy, linger in it and feel connected, appreciated and fully understood by the romantic hero. This differs greatly from porn, where there usually is not much storyline or character development, but rather consists of impersonal, anonymous, orgasm-driven sex.

Deducing from the fact that so many women across the country are ravenously consuming this book there may be some things missing in our intimate relationships. Aside from reading romance novels, let me share some tips with you to spice up your sex drive and fill in some of the missing pieces.

1. Pamper yourself with some new perfume, new lingerie or hair-do. A small, subtle change can stimulate your libido and boost your self-confidence.
2. Start appreciating your body – stand in the mirror and look at your curves. Know that these curves make you a woman and attractive to your partner.
3. Focus on saying one positive comment about your body, every day, starting now.

It’s amazing how you’ll feel a sexual shift just by affirming these positive statements. Whatever your belief may be, there is definitely one truth: this book is getting women talking about sex, and stirring up libidos – both in and out of the bedroom!

Have you read it yet? I want to hear your comments!

1. James, E.L. Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker: Book Two of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, Vintage Books, April 1, 2012
2. https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/03/14/erotic-novel-50-shades-grey-unites-women-unnerves-some-men/
3. Ogas, Ogi, and Gaddam, Sai. A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire, Dutton: Penguin Books, USA, 2011