The Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon
May 30, 2012
All across America, on their e-readers, I-Pads and in paperback, women of all ages have voraciously been reading Fifty Shades of Grey, the first in a trilogy of erotic novels by British author E. L. James. Described as "mommy porn," the story centers around a virginal college student and her dominant-submissive sexual relationship with an older, handsome billionaire. While there's nothing new about the bodice-ripping genre of fiction, Fifty Shades of Grey is different — it's far more graphic than the typical damsel in distress story and as a result has a result has a lot of people thinking and talking about their own sexual relationships. So what's all the fuss about? And why now? Do the books say anything new about the lives of women and their sexual desires and fantasies? We turn to Indiana University sexual research scientist DEBBY HERBENICK and SALON.com writer TRACY CLARK-FLORY to help us understand the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon.