Saturday, March 17, 2012

Yes Honey, I’ll Spank You If You Insist

The book world is abuzz over the success of the erotic trilogy, 50 Shades of Grey. This is great for the book industry. It  is nice to see some excitement and big sales numbers. But what makes it of interest is three things:

First, it shows a book with little marketing, can build up a huge following. Unknown authors from overseas with a no-name publisher usually don’t get the attention this book is garnering.

Second, it shows the erotica market is booming and will continue to grow much the way porn has. It is becoming so mainstream to read a book – man or woman – that involves creative sexual positions, odd couplings, multiple partners, and unusual circumstances.  Look at the strange sex life portrayed in The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, which included rape. Look at the bondage and slave-master stuff in 50 Shades.  What used to be the domain of men is now embraced by women. What’s next? Will women be reading Penthouse Letters?

But the most interesting thing is that 50 Shades, one that normally guys would read, is being embraced by women. Surprisingly, the author, who only uses initials for a first and middle name, is a woman. Who would have thought that a woman would write what amounts to be every guy’s fantasy – and then has women clamoring for it?

Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised that women are buying in to the male-dominated erotic culture. After all, film and TV have done a great job of softening women up into accepting gratuitous nudity mixed with violent or unusual sexual situations as the norm. Have you watched Showtime lately? No series, if successful, goes without nudity. Californication is especially good at having tits and ass jump across the screen. But even Weeds, a show about a suburban mom selling pot, throws sex scenes in. So does Dexter, the cop-turned-seria-murderer. HBO is just as good with keeping up with sex and violence. Boardwalk Empire is the Sopranos.of the 1920s, complete with women getting freaky with crazed criminals.

Plus, add in the fact that the Internet has made porn mainstream over the last 15 years. XXX is becoming more like PG-13. Couples watch porn together – or each person watches it on their own and doesn’t hide the fact. None of this is bad, mind you. It’s about time the country liberates itself from its puritanical roots.

Erotica romance is a crazy-hot growth genre right now. Women, who buy most books, can make a big impact on society if they start to enjoy raunchy, society-challenging stories where the woman is spanked, whipped, roughed up during sex, and treated like toys. Many men enjoy such stories – but who knew women have an appetite for this?

What is next? Will men gravitate to chick-lit and form book clubs? Who knows? No one predicted the unlikely breakthrough of excitement for 50 Shades, so who is to say how the public’s appetite for other genres will lead to new phenomena.

I was in Jamaica 20 years ago and the hotel next to mine was a nudist resort, Hedonism. I don’t know if we will ever live like that – they were naked 24/7, in public places like the pool, restaurant, even the elevator. But I do encourage women to read as much smut as possible. America needs to be free. I am all for public nudity and public fornication – and for society to live out in the open about sex. Sure, there would be challenges with some couple getting it on during a rush-hour subway ride, but I think we can find a way to accommodate that.

I cannot wait for my wife to finish reading 50 Shades of Grey. Now we’ll really be on the same page!

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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