50 Shades of Grey

50 Shades of Grey

Is ‘Fifty Shades’ poorly written? Who really cares?

 “I think that women are giving other women permission to read it and get in touch with their sexuality,” says Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, a marriage and family therapist who is a frequent guest on The Dr. Oz Show. “And there’s something very normalizing about that.”
By EMILY J. MINORPalm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 5:49 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Posted: 5:48 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, 2012
My favorite side effect from the Fifty Shades books is probably the little story singer John Mayer told on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Whether it’s true or not, who knows? But Mayer says he took the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey, and actually sang a page to a woman, a possible bed partner, in an attempt to get her all ready for the sack.
Oh Anastasia. Your alabaster skin is so hot.
Who doesn’t love a little romance resulting from all this Fifty Shades madness?
Well, that and the fact that I now know what a spreader bar is, and it’s not something farmers use for fertilizing the fields.
The first time I heard about this phenom series, a trilogy – I hesitate to use the word “threesome” – was only about a month or so ago. I’m a late bloomer, a considerate understatement now that I am deep in the third book, Fifty Shades Freed, and starting to realizing what’s going on in American bedrooms.
And dining rooms. And automobiles. And boat houses.
And it’s not Saturday-night sex with a bottle of Astroglide.
There we were, my schoolteacher friend and me, barreling down Interstate 95 to attend a sporting event involving a bat, a ball, and beer, and she was screaming, and I mean screaming, as she weaved her car with the broken speedometer through fellow travelers, some of them probably Fifty Shades readers and therefore technically unfit for driving in that they were presumedly still a bit weak in the knees from Chapter 21 in the second book, Fifty Shades Darker.
OH MY GOD, she was bellowing. YOU HAVE TO READ THEM.
And I think teachers should be obeyed, much like Anastasia Steele obeys Christian Grey, unless she wants to be spanked.
There’s a lot of high-brow grousing going on right now about the series – written by a British TV executive, first launched as Internet fan fiction – that is, fantasy chapters about existing books and existing characters – and then snatched up by Random House because of the following author E L James had established online. Apparently there is a widespread literary opinion that the books – a continuing story about a young woman, a recent college grad, who falls in love with an ultra-wealthy businessman who is “fifty shades” of messed up because of his crack-addicted birth mother – are poorly written.
But I hadn’t noticed.
Erotica has been around since the dawn of time. Have you watched HBO’s Game of Thrones? My mother used to keep a tame version stashed under her bed. Remember those old True Story magazines? But what’s so different about the Fifty Shades series, I think, is how everyone’s talking about it.
Indeed, Hokemeyer speaks the truth. We’re not hiding our copies in the T-shirt drawer or under the bed. Women are reading Fifty Shades books on airplanes and in waiting rooms and while standing in line at the grocery.
In just six weeks, the series sold 10 million copies – which begs the obvious question:
Just how horny are we?
“Here’s what I think,” says Dr. Maureen Whelihan, a West Palm Beach OB/GYN who is considered a leading national expert in sexual medicine.
“I think people, especially people in long-term relationships, they don’t believe they’re horny. They don’t believe they have the drive. So when they read these books, there’s that intense dopamine surge that gets women aroused and they get a little validation that they’re not broken.”
On these matters, I completely trust Whelihan, who through the years has collected women’s intimate sexual stories, everything from bedroom practices to libido levels, then teamed up with a writer to put the stories in a book.
Yes, this is a woman who knows her sex and I’m betting Maureen Whelihan was all hip about bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism back when I still thought BDSM was the airport code for Boulder, with an extra letter thrown in for good measure.
Like maybe a clue about my cute luggage, or something?
Sex and money are two funny things in our lives. They pretty much rule how we live, from happiness to contentment to physical fulfillment, yet we don’t talk about them much. Nowadays, though, we all seem to have gone a bit haywire. Well, I should speak only for myself – a grown woman who recently started yelling “Fifty Shades, baby,” after a few mojitos.
“I really just think these books are permission-giving for women to talk to their girlfriends and to talk to other people,” Whelihan says.
And her recommendation to all the John Mayers out there?
“Don’t send her to the girls’ book club,” Whelihan says. “Read her the book. Give her a glass of wine.
“I assure you there will be frequent breaks.”
And who doesn’t want that?
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