Article originally posted on The Love Life Blog
30 million copies of 50 Shades of Grey sold and counting..... Leaving commentators bemused: why so popular?
It's obviously not high literature, but then again, it's not trying to be, it’s just a good romance.
But 30 million copies ... there’s got to be something special.
Ignore the standard 'bodice ripper' elements - rich hero, innocent heroine, both stunningly beautiful main characters, exotic locales, etc - and you basically have a love story which has important elements that all couples can relate to.
I see three important, and appealing, themes:
Good Sex Requires Ongoing Negotiation
Couples need to negotiate their sexual relationship and be completely honest and open when pushing their boundaries. In the 50 Shades Trilogy, she's pushing her boundaries re BDSM and he's pushing his through allowing intimacy. It's scary for both of them, they have their freak-outs, but they keep working through with openness, honesty and respect.
Apply this to real life couples and you get the same thing: you have to keep talking about sex. Otherwise you get stuck in a sexual rut, never game to try anything new, assuming (or hoping) that your partner is happy with the status quo.
So whether it’s something as tame as trying sex with the lights on, or as ‘out there’ as considering setting up a dungeon in the spare room, it takes discussion and negotiation - then exploration, experimentation and more discussion and negotiation.
Kinky sex is not 'bad' it's just one type of sexual relating
Just as we all have different tastes in food, so we all have different tastes in sex. As long as it’s between consenting, adult, living humans, then it’s fine. Some people are very happy with a sweet and simple approach to sex and others like a more adventurous approach (and you can move up and down that spectrum throughout life).
In the 50 Shades Trilogy, he starts out only having experienced sex as a pretty extreme form of kink, which freaks the bejesus out of her! Fair enough too, she doesn’t want an ‘arrangement’, she wants a relationship. Take away the concept of contracts and impersonal relating and she realises she actually quite likes the play. So they tone it way back and start exploring…
There's a whole range of kinkiness - from simple hair pulling in the throes of passion, through to setting up a dungeon in the basement. I’ve been talking a lot about kinky sex in the last few blogs, showing how kinky play can be positive and highly enjoyable.
When done with genuine interest (if the thought leaves you cold, then don’t go there) along with mutual consent and respect, then kinky play can add interest and spice to anyone's sex life.
A Strong, Sensual Man is a Sexually Desirable Man
Women respond to a sensual man who is focused on them and openly adores them. The seduction must never stop!
The male protagonist in 50 Shades is constantly focused on his partner, never waivering in the face of her demands to lift his game and be all he can be. He takes it on board and proves himself worthy of her love - and in so doing she opens herself to him and comes to trust him enough to really explore her sexuality.
Too many couples get complacent with each other and stop making an effort. Men, adore your woman; and women, allow the adoration! Be open to it and respond positively. He’s doing it because he genuinely loves and desires you. Your appreciation and acceptance makes him feel so good. He’ll become more confident in his masculinity, allowing you to be more expressive in your femininity.