Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why I'm grateful for 50 Shades of Grey and you should be too

Whether you are a romance/erotica/erotic romance or even doing the chick lit route author, traditionally or self-published, a stay at home mom, working mom, single or in a committed relationship pretty much all women who are having sex or want to have sex on a regular basis-this goes for men too. You really should be writing a  thank you note to E.L. James. Say what you will about the quality of writing or lack there of, when I finally read it I will say (this coming from a person quite willing to be a bitch) it wasn't as bad as people made it out to be. It also wasn't nearly as salacious as it was made out to be either. 

What can I say I like it dirty. 

I didn't read it until last year but I've been saying it for the last few years, the story/writing itself didn't matter so much as the fact that the book opened up the conversation about women and their needs and desires when it comes to sex. In the past women were told they were to submit to their husbands/significant others and hope they didn't take long. While Sex and the City made it okay to not only like sex but spelled out the sex is an integral part of a satisfying relationship. It didn't really go into the bedroom, except Samantha's and said she was a whore for liking and wanting sex on her terms-not really a step in the right direction for women. 

Several times I've seen people post stuff and call themselves crazy or weird and I shrug and think, yeah not so much. The 'norm' is a very flexible description for anything in life. Shades took sexual acts, things not considered 'normal' and pulled it out of the dungeon into the daylight. Wait, it's okay to like to be spanked? I can like my sex rough and dirty? I'm not a freak for liking to be tied up? I can actually talk to my partner and tell them what I like and don't like? Not gonna lie the last thing ticks me off the most. If a woman doesn't feel comfortable enough to sit down-outside of the bedroom- and talk not just about birth control but things they do and don't like, favorite sex positions, yes please/no please to nipple play, I like to be tied up, a tap on the ass is fine but anything more and I'll break your hand. Without the comfort level that is there to have that conversation then how can the woman truly be comfortable enough to not just get off but really, really enjoy it? So many women live in their heads-me included-how can they disconnect enough to not worry if they are doing it right or look good (which really men could cared less about BTW) while having sex or worry their man will do something they don't want to just let go and be in the moment and enjoy what's happening?

Ok, maybe the conversations was actually happening but usually with the best friend, sister, or god forbid mother and not the actual sex partner. So Shades opened the door, not just to a lifestyle but for women to see really see sex as an enjoyable, healthy need that they had a real say in. I also liked that it made the guy's needs 'unhealthy' or not important or hey maybe we can split the difference here and it not be a flat no. There can be varying degrees of what a partner wants and needs. With that came the realization it doesn't just end there, and hey I don't actually like someone flogging my ass but there are all these other books out there and I like what's going on in this book, ooh and this book and no fucking way on this book. 

Say what you will about E.L James and yeah yeah yeah all you erotica writers were here before her and are better writers and she's a one hit wonder-oh no wait three time and now four time. Were the readers looking for you like they are now? Were any erotica writers featured in a newspaper or morning news show before Fifty Shades? The answer is no. Just like there was Sookie Stack House before Twilight and Mercy Thompson before Twilight the attention blew up after a book everyone wants to diss rolled out-no I haven't read it and life is too short to waste that kind of time. (If I wrote vampires and wolf stuff I probably would just to see what the competition looks like. But I don't.)

For the writers out there shaking their head and refusing to give James any credit other than getting BDSM all kinds of wrong and I'm an idiot, really? Does your unicorn roam free in your backyard or do you keep him in a stable because you are the delusional one. You don't have to like the bank in order to cash your check there. You do and should give props for it being open and willing to cash your check and those readers who probably hadn't read a book in a year or two took the 50 Shades to number one and were hungry for other books just as salacious just as naughty, dirty, and good. You are cashing their checks. 

I wouldn't say I'm an E.L. James fan, I stopped at book two and have no desire to read the recycled Grey out from Chrisitian's POV. This isn't a bet I lost but I do owe her a word of thanks for putting it out there, all out there because without it I wouldn't have put mine out there as erotic romance. They would all have been fade to black Harlequin Presents knockoffs and I love what I'm doing, the stories that I'm sharing and for that, I'm saying thank you. 

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