Dawn Muenchrath/the Gauntlet

Sex lives steaming up with Fifty Shades of Grey

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This summer was 50 shades sexier with the newest literary phenomenon, Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James. Some call it the adult version of Twilight, others say it’s pornography for women. Whatever the case may be, the book flew off shelves in bookstores around the world. It’s been on everyone’s mind lately, and the readers just can’t get enough of Anastasia Steele, the heroine of the story, and her sexual partner Christian Grey. 

We live in a suburban heaven where vanilla sex has been considered the norm. People view sex as another item to check off on their monthly calendar. As readers connect with the novel, they also connect with their inner sex kitten. That wild side has started to unleash itself, as sex toys are being purchased at a rapid rate. The novel has aroused a sexual curiosity among individuals and discussion of the explicit content has been flowing through the media. The book has thrived due to its accessibility, and the popularity among different age groups. As popularity for the novel increases, it begs the question: What is behind the book’s allure? 

Talking about sex has generally been taboo for women, however, with more people reading the book, sex is being openly discussed. One of the many effects of Fifty Shades is the evolution of bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism. The acronym BDSM was created in the 1990s, to describe a lifestyle choice, which involves activities revolving around intense sensory stimulation using pain and power. Activities in this erotic relationship can include the consensual use of restraint, role play, bondage, kinky sex toys and blindfolds. These types of sexual acts involve exploring sexual limits and heightening senses so that one can experience acute pleasure. The dominance and submission debate has been a hot topic among youth — is it sexy, or disturbing? If the sales at sex shops around the city are an indicator, more people are experimenting with sex play. The use of sex toys has gained popularity, and couples have started to experiment with a variety of toys, perhaps to measure up to the acts in this controversial novel. 

As society progresses, many seem to be veering away from a conservative stance on sex and moving toward a more liberal one. Fifty Shades of Grey looks at the variety of ways in which one can arouse and sexually satisfy their partner. It seems as though people are living vicariously through Steele and Grey to fulfil a hunger that has been unleashed. Throughout the book, Grey discloses his tremulous past of being a victim of abuse. It relates his obsessive desire for control as a direct result of his traumatic history, and shows BDSM as a coping mechanism for it. He meets the young and impressionable Steele and they enter into a whirlwind romance. Although there are many books with similar stories, the carnal and frank visual imagery in the book and the unique take on BDSM has captured the attention of critics worldwide. It has generated such a considerable amount of popularity that the erotic trilogy is being made into a movie. 

If you’re looking to stimulate your sex life, perhaps reading this book will help generate some ideas. Experimenting within the bounds of a consensual sexual relationship can definitely bring out a different side, and provide a different meaning of sex. Everyone wants that mind-blowing, earth-shaking, toe-curling, hot, steamy sex life, and this book may provide insight on how to have an orgasm-filled horizontal tango. As sex becomes kinkier and more readily discussed, it would seem as though controversial topics like BDSM will become more globally recognized.