And sure enough, following on from yesterday’s post Fifty Shades of Rubbish, today’s story is about the mainstream publishing company, HarperCollins, who have released a guide to bondage bedroom play – or BDSM, as it is known to the initiated.
While it is a lifestyle choice enjoyed, sometimes to extremes, by people across the globe, it is fair to say that the current popularity of BDSM refers to a sort of ‘BDSM lite’ – a tamer, more approachable version of the sexual proclivity.
And that is just what is portrayed in HarperCollins’ new guide. The book, Fifty Ways To Play – which carries the subtitle “BDSM for nice people”.
The book claims to offer 50 ‘edgy and erotic’ adventures which the publisher says are ‘perfect for the millions of readers who have been inspired by the phenomenal Fifty Shades trilogy.’ ‘Fifty Shades has broken down the taboos about BDSM and more women than ever are wanting to spice up their sex lives,’ HarperCollins said. ‘But there is very little out there that shows you how to turn every night into an erotic fantasy. ‘From turning your bedroom into a ‘Red Room Of Desire [in the Fifty Shades Trilogy it is known as the Red Room Of Pain] to exploring the fine art of Japanese rope bondage, these 50 edgy and erotic adventures make incredible sex incredibly easy,’ they say.
Conveniently for the budding BDSM-er, the book is being packaged up and sold as part of erotic gift sets by www.boxofgrey.com, a website set up for newcomers to the BDSM world. They have created gift boxes with a selection of props to complement the book, with two different sets on offer to assist the BDSM virgins: the Play Box, which includes a blindfold, paddle, kegel balls and a rope kit, and the Summer Holiday box, which contains a holiday-friendly selection of products that the site says are discreet enough that they can be packed in hand luggage without arousing suspicions during security checks.
All this strangely reminds me of the Paul Simon Song, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” released in December 1975:
Is the struggle he refers to the chains, ropes and/or handcuffs used in BDSM … you decide!
I am really quite cross with myself! Despite knowing that all the hype was probably just that, hype, I gave in and bought the Fifty Shades trilogy to take on my recent holiday. Everyone was reading it and the buzz around the story was intense. Why oh why didn’t I listen to the voice of reason in my head telling me to leave it well alone?
Dubbed “Mummy Porn” by the media, these books by British author E.L. James trace the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele (“Ana”), and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. They are notable for their explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage/discipline, dominance / submission, and sadism / masochism (BDSM).
Fifty Shades of Grey has topped best-seller lists around the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States and the series has sold 40 million copies worldwide, with book rights having been sold in 37 countries, and set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing the Harry Potter series.
Predictably there has been much interest in turning these books into a feature film and in March 2o12 Universal Pictures and Focus Features secured the rights to the trilogy and there has been a lot of speculation as to who should play the leading roles. There are lots of pretty male actors around who could happily play the part of Christian Grey but I nearly fell off my chair when I heard that Angelina Jolie (age 37) had indicated that she would like to play the part of Anastasia – I am struggling to think of a less likely candidate to play a 19 year old virgin!!!
But back to the books themselves. If like me you are an avid reader and someone who enjoys a good story, these books are not for you! The first book sets the scene and the subsequent two make a half-hearted attempt to weave a very weak storyline throughout. There is some development of the characters but you soon find yourself skipping over the salacious parts which become incredibly boring after a while.
In particular, the section in the first book which details the contract laying out the terms of the sexual arrangement between them is, to say the least, ludicrous, and “safe” words are clearly reiterated so Ana can maintain certain boundaries when it comes to pain and humiliation. Surely one would hope that a simple “Stop” would be a better place to start! Furthermore, in the final book she allows him to continue using some of his sado-masochist tendencies on her whilst pregnant with their first child – as if!
The phenomenon of Fifty Shades is hard to ignore however and every day there is a new story making the whole thing a Marketeers dream. One idea that I particularly like comes from Richard’s Cakes (‘Quality Cakes for All Occasions’) from Manchester who have sculpted, baked and created a Fifty Shades of Grey Cake based around the Red Room of Pain. I just love the handcuffs on the bed.