Monday, April 2, 2012

Let's talk about porn -- Yes, I read 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Ah, it's a touchy subject, even in 2012. Women aren't supposed to like porn. Apparently we're supposed to be offended by all of it and roll our eyes when guys know the names of porn stars. Porn on the internet/XXX films are a totally different post, and I could go on and on about how puritanical the country is right now, why sex isn't a big deal, and why, yes, some of them are degrading. What I want to talk about today, however, is erotic fiction.

Why is the country surprised that "Fifty Shades of Grey" is a top seller for Kindle and similar devices before it's even in print? (It's available for print-on-demand, but not in stores yet.) I'll tell you why. Because women are reading it.

Please tell me you're not shocked by this statement: Women love sex. When you wake up from that dead faint, here's another. We like reading about it. We like sex scenes in films. Oh, I'm sorry. That was two. Are you okay? Need smelling salts?

If you're not familiar with the book, "Fifty Shades of Grey" was original written as fan fiction. (Loosely based on "Twilight." The main character Christian Grey is not a vampire, but he's certainly tortured. Ana Steele is a bit Bella though.) A young woman falls in love with a gorgeous, successful and very messed up man. There are lots of sex scenes, some of them damn spicy and all of them extremely graphic. There is S&M, and a bit of the sex involves that, but way less than you expect when you start the book.

So, why is it a giant news story? People are freaking out all over the place, calling it "mommy porn" and bemoaning the state of culture in America. Is it really so surprising that women like this sort of thing? Why, in this day and age, are we still pretending that this is weird?

Yes, we like sex. We think about it as much as you do, gentlemen. We read about it. We talk about it. (Trust me, you do not want to be in a room when a bunch of girls start with the details. You may not recover from the shock ... but you will definitely learn a few things.) I think part of the problem is that we rarely admit it. I did a red carpet recently where I asked celebrities if they'd read it. Pretty easy to see that the ones who did, didn't want to talk about it. One of the main reasons this book has done so well is that you can read it on a Kindle and no one knows that you're mid-sex scene.

Ladies, am I right here? If so, share this. Let me know if you've read it and what you think.

6 comments:

  1. I wrote about it here: http://open.salon.com/blog/pretend_farmer/2012/03/23/fifty_shades_of_fantasy_porn. But I've read this kind of thing for a while now. I've always liked it but now, with the Kindle, I don't have to worry about embarrassing covers any more. :)

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  2. What blows my mind is not only how shocked people are by the book's popularity, but also how people are saying it has "invented" a genre. There is award-winning erotica out there and it has been out there for a long time. This book isn't anything new or ground-breaking. Of course I may be biased. ;)

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  3. THANK YOU!
    I find that a lot of the women who get "shocked" about pornography are the same ones who inhale a "Fabio covered" book a day. If women didn't like sex, Laurel K. Hamilton wouldn't have a job. What's really fun is bringing up the subject of the "Gor" novels to these women. They are usually outraged and then state that they've read at least three of the books, if not the whole series. Completely revealing that they enjoyed the S&M slavery that the books prominently feature.

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  4. Thank you for this article. I cannot fathom how in today's day and age people are still shocked by the fact that women like sex just as much as guys do, if not more in some cases. This is nothing new or really shocking, except when mainstream media feels it needs to increase ratings and stir the pot. I'm just kinda surprised at the amount of attention this is getting. I think most people would faint if they really knew how kinky that "girl next door" really was. What bothers me is that if a woman says she likes sex openly, she's viewed as a slut, but it's fine for guys. Hell, I'm a guy and I think it's a poor double-standard.

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