Women aren’t just reading the books, rolling over and going to sleep, however. If sales figures are any indication, they are also going shopping for the various accoutrements mentioned in the novel, from blindfolds and riding crops to the “pleasure beads” that play a prominent role in the book. Retailer Babeland has an entire section of its website devoted to the Fifty Shades phenomenon, including a Fifty Shades of Grey fantasy kit. Early to Bed, a sex shop in Chicago, tweeted out a picture last week of its in-store Fifty Shades display, featuring bondage rope and fuzzy wrist restraints. And here in Vegas, the Déjà Vu Love Boutique has dedicated its storefront window to kinky paraphernalia and the Fifty Shades trilogy.
So what does all of this mean in terms of dollars and cents? LELO, a Swedish company that makes a product similar to the sensual “pleasure beads” depicted in the books, reports that sales for its Luna Beads have jumped an astonishing 400 percent, growth it attributes directly to the series. Demand is so high that retailers I spoke with can’t keep the item in stock. Many sex toy manufacturers and retailers are reading Fifty Shades in an effort to better understand this new demographic of shoppers—what we might think of as the “Fifty Shades consumer.”
Metis Black, president of Tantus, a sex toy manufacturer in Reno, says, “I have to understand what the trends are, and part of that is doing research and understanding the zeitgeist.”
“What many folks have said to me,” says Jacq Jones, the owner of Sugar, a woman-friendly sex shop in Baltimore, “is that the book just has them feeling sexier, reminding them that sex is fun, turning them on and freeing them to try new things.”
Black echoes this. “Women haven’t been given permission to fantasize that much. This book gives women permission.” She adds, it also shows readers how to negotiate boundaries, establish safe words and talk about what they want to do and don’t want to do sexually.
Brenda Knight, an associate publisher at Cleis Press, which has been publishing erotica for over 30 years, has seen sales increase by 30 percent over the past few months. “It is really fascinating. At first it was hard to see, but at this point, [the increase in sales] is mostly books where the women are identifying as submissive. To me, that says that millions and millions of women are reading about that, and want to experience it. They want to experience what Anastasia is experiencing.”
Knight, however, wants to ensure that curious beginners who’ve never dabbled in BDSM or kinky sex have the information they need to do it safely. In September, Cleis will release an e-book called Fifty Shades of Kink: A Beginner’s Guide to BDSM, written by award-winning author and sex educator Tristan Taormino.
“There is such a surge in interest about kinky sex because of Fifty Shades,” Taormino tells me. “I wanted to create an accessible guide for newcomers, and also help paint a more realistic portrait of how people actually do kink that’s grounded in experience, creativity and safety.” ...
A kinky sex party scheduled to take place inside an old Episcopalian Church in Philadelphia has been cancelled after it was exposed by PIX 11 in an exclusive report.
The bondage, dominant-submissive, sado-masochistic sex play party entitled "Sacro-delicious" was scheduled for September 15th at the old Church of The Evangelical in South Philadelphia. The party, run by a dominatrix named Mistress Zeneca, was advertised online. This is the second such party at the church run by the mistress. Pictures of a similar event in February are posted on the Mistress's webpage.
Philadelphia Attorney Wally Zimolong, who tipped off PIX 11 to the story, says the Mistress pulled the more provocative pictures off her site after he complained. "There were pictures of couples engaged in sexual acts on the altar, in front of the crucifix and under a statue of the blessed Virgin Mary," Zimolong told PIX11.
The attorney sent a registered letter to the owners of the old church asking them to cancel the September 15th event. "It is offensive to all Christians," Zimolong says.
The Institute had no comment. But when PIX11 contacted Mistress Zeneca she immediately cancelled the event because of "unwanted media attention."
The Church of the Evangelical on Catherine Street in Philadelphia was deconsecrated by the Episcopalians in 1941. The Fleisher Art Memorial, one of the oldest and most prestigious art institutes in the country now owns the church. They have kept the altar, statues and stain glass in pristine condition and rent it out for weddings, receptions and one bondage, sex play party.
A South Philadelphia neighbor of the old church, who had no idea a bondage party took place or was scheduled at the old church, said "Good. God has no place in things like that. Things like that belong in the bedroom."
A prosecutor filed new paperwork today, making new allegations against three persons charged in the death of Brittany Killgore, a 22-year-old woman who was married to a Marine deployed to Afghanistan when she was killed.
Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza filed a new “amended complaint” this morning in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse. The prosecutor listed 42 “overt acts” in support of his new charges of criminal conspiracy to kidnap Brittany Killgore and then torture and sexually batter the woman before ultimately murdering her.
The new allegations could qualify as “special circumstances” if the District Attorney’s office chooses to pursue the death penalty, in future. This decision probably would not be announced until after a preliminary hearing, which was re-set today for December 3.
Louis Perez, 46, and Jessica Lopez, 25, and Dorothy Maraglino, 37, all pleaded not guilty to all charges through their court-appointed attorneys.
According to the prosecutor, on the day of the crimes Louis Perez announced to persons who were part of a “Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism (BDSM) community that he was planning on engaging in a BDSM session” that weekend.
The prosecutor also claimed that Brittany Killgore had texted Louis Perez that same day, April 13 2012, asking Perez if he knew anyone who could help her move, and Perez texted in reply, “Party with me tonight & you’ll have five guys there in the morning.” Louis Perez had asked Killgore earlier in the day to go on dinner-cruise with him that same evening, but she had declined, the prosecutor alleges.
Perez also directed co-defendant Dorothy Maraglino to phone Brittany Killgore to tell her that the dinner-cruise tickets were already purchased and would go to waste if she didn’t use them with Perez that night, the prosecutor alleged. And Perez did go to Killgore’s apartment and did pick her up that evening at 7:37 p.m., the prosecutor stated, and thirteen minutes later Killgore texted one word to a friend: “help.” ...
With the blockbuster success of "50 Shades of Grey," an erotic novel that shattered sales records this summer, kink is king. The topic of BDSM – an umbrella term used to describe all manner of bondage, discipline, domination, submission and masochism role-playing taboos – is, well, no longer so taboo.
"Even though '50 Shades' depicts a fictional and inaccurate view of BDSM, I actually have seen an influx of the curious," said Mistress Zeneca, who hosts "Sacri-Delicious," a religious-themed role-play party held amid medieval statues and 19th century theological tableaux at Fleisher Sanctuary, a deconsecrated 19th century Episcopalian church attached to Bella Vista's Samuel Fleisher Art Memorial that now serves as a popular rental space for events, including weddings. "Pop culture opens the door, it is up to the community to offer the welcome."
She said the book's portrayal of a BDSM relationship depicts many traits that are actually unhealthy and abusive, but it has piqued the interest of many, leading to a largely positive impact on the city's already-robust community of those who like to spank and be spanked. "I think for all the inaccuracies the book contains, the real power of the book is that it got people talking about BDSM and learning more about it," said Zeneca, who declined to give her real name.
Zeneca herself began to dabble in BDSM culture 11 years ago as an apprentice to a mistress in Los Angeles. "I was amazed at the kinship and love that I felt in the air," she said of the first play party she attended. "That welcoming energy is what I try to recreate for my guests."
Though she finds Philadelphians to be more reserved about going public with their penchant for pain, Zeneca still estimates that there are over 1,000 people in the area who publicly participate in the practice in some way and another 10,000 who like it a little rough in bed but might not consider themselves part of the BDSM scene.
As far as the Sacri-Delicious' sacred subject matter, Zeneca said religion and BDSM surprisingly share many themes. "The topics of guilt, pain, suffering, redemption and desire are common between both religion and BDSM," she said. "The power in religion is that it is something we are both attracted to and rebel against."
Fleisher Art Memorial officials referred to Sacri-Delicious as a "costume party" and stressed that it was a private event, though tickets are available to everyone over the age of 18. "Fleisher respects diverse backgrounds, viewpoints, and traditions and applies this value to all its operations," the school said in a statement. ...
A Florida swingers' orgy went horribly wrong when a jealous couple lost their cool during the carnal proceedings and proceeded to assault each other.
Hernando Todayreports that Tina Michelle Norris, 39, and her boyfriend James Albert Barfield, 56, were arrested while naked and charged with domestic battery following the aborted late-night orgy at their home in Weeki Wachi, population 12. Norris and Barfield, both swingers, brought other sexual partners to their home in the wee hours of Monday morning. Barfield was accompanied by another woman, while Norris upped the ante by bringing home a pair of men. Temperatures and tempers rose as Barfield watched the two men pleasure his woman and Norris saw another woman sexing her man. It wasn't long before the couple went at each other, and not in a good way. Norris ended up with a bloody lip, beaux Barfield's back and neck were scratched and the objects of the couple's temporary desire fled in fear before police arrived and arrested the feuding libertines. ...
More proof that the Fifty Shades trilogy is dominating the books industry: Barnes & Noble got a much-needed rise from sales of the BDSM trilogy, which helped the bookseller narrow losses for its latest quarter. Quarterly revenue for the nation’s largest bookstore chain climbed 2 percent to $1.1 billion, partially due to last year’s closing of competitor Borders. But the CEO of the company’s retail unit told analysts that “clearly Shades of Grey had the biggest impact in the numbers.” All in all, Barnes & Noble’s net loss in the quarter revealed a 28 percent improvement from its net loss at the same time last year.
VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - A man claims in court that a sex educator defamed him on a social networking site for "kinksters" and BDSM practitioners. John Langdon sued Jennifer Skrukwa aka Jennifer Zurba, in British Columbia Supreme Court. Langdon claims that Skrukwa, a sex educator, defamed him in status updates posted on her profile at fetlife.com. On its home page, the website, visited this morning, describes itself as "a free social network for the BDSM & fetish community. Similar to Facebook and MySpace but run by kinksters like you and me. We think it is more fun that way. Don't you?" Langdon claims that he and Skrukwa have dozens of mutual friends on the site, and that Skrukwa defamed him in posts of Aug. 8 and Aug. 12, falsely accusing him of having sexually and physically assaulted two women. Langdon says the posts were removed after his attorney sent letters to the site's owner, but the damage was already done. Before the Aug. 12 posting was removed, Langdon claims, "a number of people reposted the offending post onto another group called Vancouver BDSM, which has over 2,000 members. Many of these 2,000 individuals would have seen this libelous post on their own Fetlife home page, or through a scheduled email update." Landon seeks damages for defamation and wants Skrukwa enjoined from any "further publication of the defamatory expression." He is represented by Derrill Thompson of Main Street Law Group in Vancouver.