What’s the biggest literary sensation to sweep the nation since Harry Potter started doing magic to our brains in 1997? Well, don’t tell your mother or your English teacher, but one of the contenders is definitely porn-like in nature. Actually, go ahead and tell them, because chances are, they have the very same porn hidden on their Kindle or a paperback copy stuffed in a desk drawer. Released in 2011, the [amazon_link id="034580404X" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy[/amazon_link] has been an epic bestseller, with over 10 million copies sold in the year since its release. It still holds its place as the #1 downloaded [amazon_link id="B005890G8O" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Kindle[/amazon_link] book on Amazon, and even its author, E.L. James, has been shocked by its stratospheric launch into bedrooms worldwide.
What’s so different about [amazon_link id="B007J4T2G8" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]50 Shades of Grey[/amazon_link]? For starters, it’s basically porn. Sure, there’s a love story undercurrent, but it’s difficult to notice that love story when you take into account the references to anal plugs and ben wah balls that litter every passionate page. And that’s the other thing that’s very different– it’s not missionary, leave your socks on, post-wedding porn. It’s all about BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, masochism) and sex toys and kink.
That’s right. Chances are good that your son’s kindergarten teacher, your cookie-baking neighbor, the cashier at the grocery store, and the snooty woman from the playground are all reading or have read books that discuss fisting and nipple clamps. Weird, right? The sheer scope of different types of women that this book has reached is mind-boggling.
You know whose mind is boggled even more than ours? The husbands and/or partners of these women. What happens when a sweet, cookie-baking, intelligent, stable woman who has spent her married years enjoying pretty traditional sex is all of a sudden gagging for experimentation, kink, and a touch of sexual submission? What happens when once a week sex turns into clawing, grasping, twice-a-day demands for servicing?
Some men are thrilled, having spent the last decades wishing fervently that they might actually get to spank their wives or tie them up, only to fear the wrath they might incur if they suggest such tomfoolery to their beloved spouse and mother to their 2.5 cherubic children.
Finally! A chance to do all that porn stuff that the internet talks about, but that every man knows is just fake, airbrushed, soundtracked, vaginoplastied, mammoplastied, unrealistic…you get the picture.
Finally! Their penises can stop writing disturbed letters to the editor about infrequency of use, replete with threats to pack up their balls and leave!
Life is great, marriage is awesome, and E.L. James is inducted into sainthood by sexually repressed men everywhere. Long live E.L. James!
*loud clapping noise that sounds suspiciously like a sexy, round bottom being whacked with a paddle*
Some men, though, have to be taken aback by the sudden demand for them to act uncharacteristically aggressive. All of a sudden, the John Mayer-types of the world are finding out that the market for their brand of gentle, hair-stroking lovemaking and melodic guitar strains is rapidly shrinking into nothingness.
They’ve been replaced by a new, emerging market that coyly requests hard sex, ball gags, and death metal jams. This kind of rapid about-face sexual preference can put serious strain on a marriage, and has been blamed for everything from arguments to affairs. Some women have just checked out of their relationships, realizing that the sexual status quo wasn’t going to cut it, and their partner couldn’t be the dominant sexual hurricane they needed them to be.
It’s possible that too many women, too many marriages, have become sexually complacent. Sex in long-term relationships can take on a checklist quality, with the same moves and the same positions in the same order for the same length of time. Part of that is knowing your partner’s body, sure. You know what makes them tick, and hopefully they know what makes you tick. But so much of that is just mechanical repetition. If the mouse follows the exact same maze path to the cheese every. single. time. eventually they’re going to find the cheese rolling its eyes and the maze feigning headaches.
In talking to friends, I’ve heard every initiation move in the male partner playbook. A brief poll returned with the answers “he just grabs my boob,” or “he just says ‘we should do it’,” or “he hits me in the butt with his penis when I’m not paying attention,” or “he does the dishes.”
Honestly, the list depressed the life out of me. The thing is this: many women have selected men who are kind, funny, loving, responsible, playful, great dads, great partners, supportive…all good things. But somewhere in that personality type, the aggression and passion got totally lost.
Can you imagine if, during your very first time with a partner, they initiated sex by saying “wanna see my weiner?” The answer would be an immediate “NO! I don’t want to see your ‘wiener.’ Are you 5 years old, or just a creepy pervmobile?” But somehow it becomes okay when you’ve been with someone for a while.
It comes as absolutely no shock that some marriages have struggled with the added demand for the “nice guy” to become the aggressor. To stop doing dishes long enough to pin their wives against the hallway wall at 2:30 in the afternoon, say sexually explicit things in a gruff, aroused voice, and then bend her over for a serious trip to Pound Town? To spend a little more time being rough, dirty, strong, adventurous and sexually attentive? It may be new for old relationships, but many women are looking for that change.
Every partnership has different needs, has a more aggressive partner and a less aggressive partner, has sexual highs and lows. It just comes with the territory. But maybe it’s time to heed the call of the bestseller and recognize that there are 10 MILLION women out there who bought (and probably read) an explicitly sexual novel about rough, wild, multi-orgasmic sex, and maybe that means that some needs aren’t being met, some fantasies aren’t being explored, and some sexual relationships are going to have to adapt and adjust accordingly to keep the spark and satisfaction alive (or to reignite it altogether).
And maybe some of these men should consider reading the books their wives raved about and learning a thing or two about how to show a girl a good time. Just sayin’.
How has [amazon_link id="0345803485" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]50 Shades of Grey[/amazon_link] affected your marriage? Has it changed your tastes and preferences when it comes to sex?
image credit NBC/Universal