Friday, May 11, 2012

50 Shades of Great

I read them, and I liked them. I have read reviews both positive and negative, but this isn't about the books. It's about what the books are going to do for the rest of us.

I am excited about the success of the 50 Shades trilogy because I think that it is a huge step forward for women and their fantasies. I know it's gotten some kicks from psychologists who are worried about domestic violence and an attitude of women as sex toys. Obviously those concerns are huge. I mean, I get it. But what they don't get is that the world inside your head doesn't have to conform to any kind of social rule.

It is incredible to me - and lots of other people - that a book with BDSM themes has become a number one bestseller in mainstream America. Women everywhere have read it, and those who haven't have heard about it.

Women seem to be surprised that they are getting turned on by male dominant fantasies, but they are acknowledging in droves that they are being turned on. Does this mean that suddenly huge numbers of women are going to get into violent relationships? Hardly. It doesn't even mean that they are going to seek dominant lovers. Instead they are learning more about their own sexualities and they are realizing that it is okay - even healthy - to fantasize and that what you do in your mind is not about who you are in "real life". Your fantasies do not dictate what kind of person you are and many people wouldn't choose to act on their fantasies even if given the opportunity.

Are masses of American women asking their husbands to spank them in bed? Well, maybe. But that's not so bad. Lots of them are probably coming to the conclusion that for them it's better left a fantasy.

Now that I am seeing 50 Shades in bookstores and airports everywhere, I'm a little bit concerned about the backlash. Let's face it. It is explicit, and it is edgy. And I guess anybody of any age can go out and buy it.

The powers that be are so confused right now about what to do with sexually explicit material, especially considering the e-book explosion. Just a month or so ago, Paypal was going to refuse to work with companies whose books involved BDSM. Along comes 50 Shades, a huge money maker, and the company has had to reconsider.

Somewhere a line will be drawn. Let's hope it's in favor of fantasy.

So here's to 50 Shades and to the many books so similar to it. Let's embrace our fantasies and explore those deep, dark places in our minds.

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