Fifty Shades of Red

Dam, just when I have got over my fixation with Porn and what do they do, they publish a series of “soft” (What is soft? As in flaccid?) porn novels that are now being made into a series of movies and I would presume a TV series, comic books and eventually bubble gum cards.  Women all over America are running into “Adult” shops to buy whips, handcuffs and blindfolds. 

By the way, here is a disclaimer, if you can’t take “Hard Core Porn” stop reading now.  I can’t stand wishy-washy watered down forays into anything. If you are going to go for something, go all the way.  Life without Passion is Unforgiveable!  Stole that line from Sean Combs!  So why bottle it up with shades of gray when you can have pure unadulterated lust.  Let out your real Marquis De Sade or your real Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, depending on what turns you on. These names of course are the two historical figures from which the terms sadist and masochist derive.  A sadist and masochist are complimentary lovers.  Somewhat like the Yin and Yang concept.  One loves to inflict pain and the other loves to receive pain. 

Just when I thought Americans could not plumb any further depths of sexuality and lo and behold, out comes a book that turns every woman who reads it a-quivering with lust and passion.  Furthermore, whereas Lady Chatterley’s Lover was “Banned” in Boston, there has been no discernible effort to ban “Fifty Shades of Grey.” What is this sign of the times telling us?  Are we getting more permissive?  Are some women getting to realize that maybe they are missing out on something?  Is it a sign that the aging “boomers” never really were as sexually liberated as they thought they were?  Or is it a symptom of frustration with the Right Wing Puritanical Evangelism that has saturated this country over the last few years?  Will we soon see readers of Fifty Shades of Grey streaking through the streets wearing nothing but handcuffs and blindfolds?

Sex usually requires a partner and therein lays one problem with this phenomenon.  Assuming that this “Grey” frenzy is mostly attacking older women, it is unlikely to find fertile ground among their aging mates.  I like to think that for many of the “real” men I know our porn has always been Red for passion. A “real” man dishes it out hard and fast.  But let’s be honest here. In terms of baby boom “real” men, hard is not what it used to be and fast means we are probably asleep by 9:30 PM or else too tired to pop or even think of Red passion.  Of course, there is Viagra and assorted “hardeners” but most of us have learned that no matter what the drug is there are always side effects.  Not to mention, that many of the positions in the Kama Sutra are beyond wishful thinking for either us or our spouses.  The last time I tried one exotic position, I almost had to call 911.  Even years of Yoga practice did not seem to help.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is now beyond weak.  Marathon sex sessions are a thing of the past.  Actually, I have never had a “marathon” sex session.  This suggests a title for my next book which could be marketed to all of the “Grey” readers.  “How to Have Marathon S&M sessions without Dying of a Heart Attack or Dislocating Your Hip Socket.”  

Perhaps, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is more of a fantasy for the young. They have the stamina, they have the energy, they have seen and absorbed more information about sex than the previous 20 generations combined and they are still capable of contortions that would disable most elderly.

Nevertheless, I am still left wondering why so many people are always fantasying about sex.  Our ads and commercials routinely sell products and services by depicting women as sex objects.  Our TV shows blare innuendoes and double-entendres about sex faster than a politician can lie. Movies are even more unbelievable.  What used to pass for “Hard” core porn a few years ago now is close to carrying a “Family Fare” rating.  Porn is perhaps the biggest seller on the Internet with more sites dedicated to porn than even t-shirts. 

To return to my original question, why are we so engrossed in reading, watching, imagining and fantasying about sex?  Are our love lives so impoverished that “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a decent substitute? Or are we so afraid of the real thing that we would rather watch others do it than do it ourselves?  How many people would engage in S&M with their partner? 

I think we are a nation of voyeurs and hypocrites. Fantasy lives of sex would be okay if we not so contradictory in dealing with the reality of sex.  We condemn unbridled sexuality but secretly watch it in a myriad of safe guises.  We want to imagine “doing” it but we would never really do it. The reality of sex denigrates and condemns those who really do it or who make a living doing what we only fantasize about doing. Porn stars are considered second rate actors in Hollywood where they are mistreated and abused by the porn video industry.  Prostitutes and escorts are illegal in most states despite their ubiquitousness.  Strip-tease dancers are banned to shady “adult” clubs where they can be watched by people not wanting to be seen in public places observing such displays.  Millions of people spend a few billion dollars a year on Internet Porn secretly watching others do it and wishing it were them.  These same voyeurs would never admit to their spouses or lovers that they were engaging in Internet porn, hiring an escort or watching a strip-tease dancer. 

We have a society wherein the “Good Girl” “Bad Girl” paradigm still holds sway.  The good girl you marry and the bad girl you “—-.”  Now we see those “good girls” reading “Grey” and fantasying about what it would be like to be a “bad” girl.  Renowned relationship and psychology expert Lisa Firestone echoes my questions with her comment about the “Grey Phenomenon.” She says:  

“My concern is whether the popularity of a text like 50 Shades of Grey reflects a more pressing psychological matter regarding sexuality. Does it really reconnect readers with their desire to be physically intimate? Or does it merely point out how easy it can be for us to lose touch with our own sexuality? How much are we drawn to real romance, connection, passion, and affection with a partner? And how much are we drawn to fantasy? Are our actions moving us toward or away from having a close and fulfilling sexual relationship?”

Nathan Bransford also answers my question as follows:   

“Why now? Maybe as we sprint toward chartering new gender and relationship dynamics with more sensitive guys and greater equality there’s some appetite to escape into a story with a less complicated and familiar throwback to a dominant man and submissive woman. Maybe we’ve become such a sexually open society people were ready for the needle of mainstream edginess to be moved a little farther over.  Maybe Christian Grey and his dorkily named helicopter are just that hot.”

I thought I would conclude this blog with the above two comments that address the questions I raised in respect to the mass popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”  Being an aspiring author, I can only admit to wishing I had written the tome.  Being an aging man, I bought my wife several copies of each edition of the series, just to make sure she would read them. I would love to report that my sex life has improved dramatically since she started reading the series, but I cannot tell a lie.  At my age, truth becomes a very valued commodity.  Besides, Karen (my spouse) tells me it is more about romance and less about S&M.  She explains that if I were more romantic, ate less garlic and did not fall asleep so fast, our love life would improve dramatically. 🙂  I am sorry though, I am addicted to Garlic and Sleep. Maybe if I could just get a Sex Addiction going or perhaps I could dress up as Christian Grey and sneak into my bedroom some night with handcuffs and whips?  Would she still notice my Garlic breath? 

Ok, time for questions. 

How’s your sex life?  Did you read “Fifty Shades of Grey?”  Do you think we are too obsessed with sex?  Why so many Romance novels?  Why so much sex on TV and in the Movies? Are we just a nation of “voyeurs?”  Are we really Puritans at heart?  What do you need to do to have more fun in your sex life?  Are you adventurous?  Would you have sex in an up elevator or a down elevator?  What limits your sexual nature?  Are you afraid of what the neighbors might think? 

Life is just beginning.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Carolyn Wedin
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 16:45:26

    I think Karen is right!



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