NCSF on Twitter   Subscribe to the NCSF RSS Feed   NCSF Blog

“Fifty Shades of Grey”: The How-To Class

on Wednesday, 23 May 2012. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

The New Yorker

Over at Babeland, a New York sex shop, the best-selling trilogy “Fifty Shades of Grey” has shifted from erotic fiction to how-to guide. On a recent Friday, a hundred or so women, four men, and one Chihuahua crowded into the SoHo store for a class inspired by the books. “I found out about the books because people kept coming into the store and asking about specific products—floggers, restraints, paddles,” said Claire Cavanah, Babeland’s co-founder.

The series, which is light on plot, centers on the lives of Christian Grey, a young businessman, and Anastasia Steele, an innocent college student, as they enter a dominant-submissive relationship. (The conflict comes when “Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own identity.”) Cavanah says that she’s seen a twenty-per-cent increase in sales of B.D.S.M. gear since the books’ début. The only analogous moment she can recall during her twenty years at Babeland was when the characters on “Sex and the City” discussed a rabbit vibrator: “There was a run on the store!”

The “Fifty Shades” guests, as they waited for the class to start, tooled around the displays while sipping cocktails (cranberry juice and vodka) and avoiding eye contact. On display were such items as a “pinwheel” the size of a cooking thermometer (twenty dollars, no explanation), sienna patent-leather handcuffs with a matching paddle, and various chains that recalled a rappelling device. “My kids would love these,” one woman from New Jersey said, picking up a bag of phallic-shaped sour-patch candies. “What is this?” A woman wearing black loafers and a blazer asked her friend. They both tapped inquisitively at a gray cannister with a pink, rubbery filling, their lips curled. “Now that’s gross,” the friend concluded.

E. L. James, the author of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, is a mother and television executive in her forties. The series started as “Twilight” fan fiction; James has said that she modelled her two main characters after Bella and Edward. Yet, even though her characters are college-aged, the books have resonated most strongly with James’s contemporaries—mothers, wives, “The View” enthusiasts—women who, if they owned riding crops, would store them in the garage between the skis and mountain bikes. The promise of erotic reading may be the initial draw, but, for many readers, there’s the added fantasy of E. L. James herself—the working mother and fan-fiction writer turned overnight success. ...

Social Bookmarks

Comments (0)

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest. Optional login below.

Cancel Submitting comment...

Latest Reader Comments

  • Whichever vacuum you decide on, one important factor to take into consideration is filters.
    To apply it make sure how the crevice tool...
  • Just go back from Dean’s side (how you came in),
    and also you can walk right inside the stairs on the
    left to succeed in the...

    uv keyboard

    20. November, 2015 |

  • Children belong with their parents! Love has no boundaries and is to precious to be limited by "societal norms". My heart goes out to...


    02. November, 2015 |

  • A guilty verdict is suffice. There seems to me to be little to no excuse for this sort of thing to go on as there is more than enough...


    28. October, 2015 |

  • The human condition never fails to amaze and astound, and this woman fits that description. What a celebration of life this is.......30


    15. October, 2015 |

  • You have to wonder about people out there who come up with these ideas and thinking. These guys belong on a " stupid registry ", just...


    15. October, 2015 |