Even if you haven’t read the wildly popular erotic novel, you’ve probably hear of it. The Daily Mail reported “Fifty Shades of Grey” sold two million copies in one month.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” speaks about women’s secret longing to be sexually dominated by a powerful and controlling man, according to Psychology Today.
The novel explicitly describes bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM) as a relationship unfolds between recent college graduate Anastasia Steele and handsome young billionaire Christian Grey, who wants her to share his secret dominant/submissive sexual proclivities, wrote USA Today.
It definitely has people talking about women, sex and sexual fantasies.
Katie Roiphe’s Newsweek piece seemed to find the book’s popularity incongruous. The Daily Beast wrote that it’s intriguing that huge numbers of women are eagerly consuming submission fantasies at this time.
Women make up almost 60 percent of college students. Four in 10 working women now out-earn their husbands. And the majority of women under 30 are having and supporting children on their own.
WebMD reported domination is one of women’s top five sexual fantasies. This fantasy allows women to engage in sexual stuff that may seem taboo, without any guilt.
People Magazine said the book has sparked many conversations as to whether women secretly desire to be submissive to their men.
The book’s author, E L James, said, "You're in charge of your job, your house, your children, getting food on the table, doing all of this all of the time. It's nice for someone to just be in charge for a bit."
Jezebel.com countered saying “Fifty Shades of Grey’s” success isn’t about repressed feminist fantasies. The vast majority of fans are fawning over the emotional relationship between Anastasia and Christian, not the sex.
There’s been a lot of coverage of the BDSM aspect but it‘s so much more than that. The website quoted a Barnes and Noble reviewer as saying that “the romance is the main character."
Despite the heroine's sexual submissiveness, there's "nothing gender-subversive in the book," Staci Newmahr, an assistant professor of sociology at Buffalo State College told USA Today.
“In regular vanilla eroticism, women are supposed to want dominant, rich men. This is 'Cinderella-kinky,'" said Newmahr.
In Buzz Feed, Amy Odell said “Fifty Shades of Grey” finally has the world talking about female sexual desires. Yes, women fantasize about sexual submission. But it's not news or a new cultural trend.
In Psychology Today, Randi Gunther, Ph.D., a long-time sex therapist, concurred that the predominant sexual fantasy for many women is to be “taken” by sexy and powerful men who will ultimately fall deeply in love with them. However she doesn’t agree that women’s deep desire for dominance automatically places their fight for gender equality in question.
Sallie Foley, a certified sex therapist and author, told USA Today, it's a fantasy.
"More people will realize it's OK to explore this and have a fantasy life; it doesn't mean in any way women want to give up the vote."