50 Shades of Shame

I got 99 problems but Grey ain’t one. Or is he? 50 Shades of Grey. You read the book. You liked the book. You liked the book so much you probably read it twice. It’s your precious little secret. You’re the one on the 8:15am Manhattan- bound E train, cradling your kindle close to your chest, where only your eyes can see what’s happening on those electronic pages.

You smile as Christian aggressively throws handcuffs on Ana’s innocent wrists. As sweat meets your brow, you look up nervously, checking to see if anyone is giving you the eye of judgment. 50shadesactorsGuess what? No one’s giving you the eye. They can’t tell if you’re reading ‘The Joys of Knitwear for Kittens Volume 78’ or one of the most widely popular books in the past five years. Then again, you’re not exactly thinking logically right now because your pulse is racing, your lips are trembling and you unknowingly missed your stop because of one man, Christian Grey. Okay, maybe if you had a marquee flashing above your head that read “Red Room of Pain, Ana is finally in the Red Room of Pain!!!” Then they might judge you. But that judgment might stem from the fact that you’re walking around with a marquee above your head. Nonetheless, you’re embarrassed. You’re ashamed. You’re reluctant to bring up the book in casual conversation. Despite the fact that the book has pretty much taken up a majority of your life. You reject improving your rank in the Kim Kardashian game, in favor of a much more exciting evening with Christian and his infamous Grey tie. But what’s with all the shame? I’m more than a little bit over the fact that women can’t discuss sex openly, which includes what they do and do not like about sex. When I asked a group of women why they read the book, the most popular reason was curiosity. A large number of women wanted to know for themselves what all the fuss was about. One particular woman I spoke to, wasn’t a big fan, giving it 2 out of 4 stars. When discussing the book with her friends, she got mixed reactions ranging from amusement to judgment. Society believes that women are supposed to be pure and chaste and never discuss matters of sexuality. So it’s no surprise that women are embarrassed about reading a book that involves BDSM and a woman’s pleasure. One thing we can all agree upon is the book has opened up a discussion on woman’s sexuality. Women should be able to discuss what they want in the bedroom with their husbands, and if a little action between Christian and Ana sparks that discussion, I’m all for it. 50 Shades is about so much more than just BDSM though. Behind all that sex and eroticism is desire and romance. Women crave romance, and men seem clueless about what a woman’s idea of romance is. Cue the man who described Shades as “woman porn”. The book is very graphic in its depiction of sex but if it was only about sex, it wouldn’t have held a woman’s attention the way it did. It’s the romantic, relentless pursuit of a woman that keeps most readers. We all want to be Ana Steele. There’s a moment in the story when Christian tells Ana he will find her no matter where she goes. This isn’t typically an erotic element, but coming from Christian “I-don’t-do-romance” Grey it oozes off the page like a love letter. One simple act of Mr. Grey showing up when Ana wasn’t expecting him to, is incredibly sexy. The writer, E.L. James knows this because, as a woman she knows what women want. She understands that women love the unexpected. (Boy, does E. L. James know her stuff. You’ve got competition, Nicholas Sparks.) This book wasn’t written for men. Men don’t share the complexities of a woman’s sexuality, because men are pretty basic. A woman’s sexuality starts in her head which includes what she thinks about herself, what others think about her and how she feels physically and emotionally. For our male counterparts, it’s just physical. They are brutes. Women, on the other hand, are delicate and all our ducks need to be in place for us to truly enjoy sex. It’s time for women to be more open about sex talk. Rid your selves of the face reddening shame by talking to your bff about what Mr. Grey did to Ana in the elevator. *GASP* You’ll be glad you did. You can go ahead, and buy your $15 ticket all incognito, pretending you aren’t going to be first in line when the movie premieres this weekend; or you can join me and shamelessly, very publicly, like the official 50 Shades of Grey Facebook page, Invite all your friends out on Valentine’s Day, for giggling and side-eyeing in the movie theater. Or don’t. It’s really up to you. What are your thoughts? Are men really brutes or are women too complex? Comment down below! (This article originally appeared on The Feed on February 9, 2015)


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