10 years after Fifty Shades

shades of grey

Ten years ago the adult industry was changed in a very real and very mainstream way through the novel; you guessed it: Fifty Shades of Grey. That’s right. 10 years ago in May E.L James took to publishing her novel Fifty SHades of Grey which was originally a Twilight Fanfiction on her website (now obsolete) fiftyshades.com. Her first novels were published as requested by an Australian publisher in 2011. The series began to spread in notoriety in book clubs and small circles as  must read “have you read that book?” It wsn’t the first erotic novel that tackled or used BDSM and yet it began to spread like wild fire. A year later Random House Publishing bought the rights to the trilogy and sold over 45 million copies of the book.

The trilogy was so popular that the UK ran out of silver ink at one point from printing the seductive covers. During its first week of sales, word of mouth had done such a successful job in promoting the novel that it hit the New York Time’s best seller list. At its peak, two copies were sold per second of the seductive story; within four months, it had sold 4 million copies.

The fifty shades of grey saga has certainly been an interesting one. Not only do we have the novels and ebooks but we have the cinematic immersive experience which plays nom de plume E.L Jame’s piece into real life and then we have LoveHoney’s own line of deviant adult toys to bring the debauchery alive. All of this has created an existing enterprise worth over $1.3 Billion.

It cannot be denied that Fifty Shades of Grey brought BDSM mainstream to a lot of people who had never considered it before and allowed BDSM to be privy to many new parts of conversations within friendship circles and relationships where it would not have been before. Insights from Nielson stated that previous to having such a mainstream book like fifty shades of Grey people found discussing BDSM or adult toys difficult to discuss with friends, however having a book to use as an ice breaker or an “in” made it much easier to casually throw it into conversation and start a discussion.

Many of the following of fifty shades of Grey came from women in the 30s, 40s and 50s and most read and reread it again and again giving it positive and amazing reviews and praise, adding to its notoriety. But then there was the flip side.

Not everyone loved fifty shades of Grey, in fact some loathed it. Many critics bemoaned its prose and badly written sequence calling it nothing more than a Harlequin paperback and crappy writing. And perhaps this only added to the demand of people “having” to read and experience it. But on top of this, many experts, novices, kinksters and BDSM practitioners read, watched or listened to others describe the saga with concern because while E.L James may have briefly looked into this world that some of us live in- it is not correctly portrayed in either the books or the movies or the franchise.

And boy was there backlash.

If you were to type into google what Fifty Shades of Grey got wrong you would be inundated with articles, blogs and rantings of various levels from fans to psychologists debating over the extent in which the storyline portrays the use of BDSM, communication and general healthy relationships throughout the three novels.

The main and crucial part of the dynamic that is often found to be missing between Anastasia and Christian is consent. I have often discussed consent in some of my earlier articles how it is used in everyday life, how it is imperative in any relationship and how it is more than just yes and no. What is demonstrated in the early stages of Ana and Christian’s relationship is not only against the carefully constructed “safety” of the contract that Christian supposedly uses to ensure the safety of his submissives but also the blatant manipulation of Ana’s feelings and coercion into saying yes to situations within their relationship that she did not want and was not ready for because she was afraid that by saying no she would lose Christian and therefore their relationship.

Neither of these instances highlight a healthy relationship nor do they portray Dominance/submission. Let me use  the spanking scene from the first book as is often discussed as an example

“Oh, Anastasia Steele, did you just roll your eyes at me?”

Crap.

“No,” I squeak.

“I think you did. What did I say I’d do to you if you rolled your eyes at me again?”

Shit.

“I haven’t signed,” I whisper.

“I told you what I’d do. I’m a man of my word. I’m going to spank you, and then I’m going to fuck you very quick and very hard.”

Tentatively, I uncurl my legs. Should I run? This is it; our relationship hangs in the balance, right here, right now. Do I let him do this or do I say no, and then that’s it?

He hits me again … this is getting harder to take. My face hurts, it’s screwed up so tight. He strokes me gently and then the blow comes. I cry out again.

“No one to hear you, baby, just me.”

And he hits me again and again. From somewhere deep inside, I want to beg him to stop. But I don’t. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction.

 

Out of context

and out of the book, this paragraph may even read as an abuser bargaining with an emotionally inexperienced person who isn’t sure how else to keep a relationship that has only just begun. This is not what the definition of consent is whether as part of a D/s relationship or not. While the act of contracts is something that many dynamics use, it is not for every D/s or M/s dynamic and should never be imposed without both parties fully understanding the responsibilities of the document and being able to feel safe and heard should they have any sections that they would like to change.

 

We note here that in the Fifty Shades Series, Anastasia does not eventually sign the contract even after the review of terms. This does not mean that it was all talk, in fact it would seem a reasonable assumption that the relationship that Christian and Anatasia took on, developed outside the means and the rigid boundaries that the contract had provided Christian; highlighting again that it was more a story of deeper communication and psychological dysfunctionality rather than the perversion of BDSM.

 

What is also absent from the stories is the continuity in Christian’s role as a Dominant. Anastasia, who has zero sexual experience is left to “research” the roles, terms and nuances of the contract and kink. Any prospective Dom should be helpful and willing to explain these to any potential submissive to help ease their mind but also to ensure that they are on the same page. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet. Anastasia proves this by typing a few things into a search engine, taking one look and going “nope-nice knowing you”. To which, later, Christian gets upset that she could so easily dismiss him. Gee, I wonder if there was a way he could have prevented that from happening?

 

For all of its misgivings regarding kink, consent and BDSM, if you took away the prospect of Christian falsely promoting himself as a well seasoned dominant there is something we can agree on. He did enjoy Kinky fuckery. The start of Anastasia’s journey into kink is not the most consensual, however we do learn that she does also delight in aspects of kinky fuckery.

 

This, along with the serendipitous timing of Fifty Shades is what opened many a conversation up to toys, bondage and spicing things up in relationships and sexual exploration. In Fact in the wake of the books and then the movies, adult toy sales rose over 30% in total. 400% increase in weighted love balls (or rather Kegel balls), 60% in whips, 35% in bondage and 150% in anal plugs.

 

Whether or not Fifty Shades of Grey contributed to the awareness or staggering interest that many people found in their own sexuality and escapades (or should I say Sex-capades), there is no denying that it came at a time where people began to feel more readily accepted to discuss kink, sex and using toys.

 

10 years on from Fifty Shades of Grey and people are still talking about it, it is still referenced and many have reported it to be a segway into having that “I saw/read about this in Fifty Shades, can we try that?” Because of its popularity it makes fifty shades a point of common ground for people to refer to that is not as lucrative as some others.

Fifty Shades made sex toys mainstream

We can agree that Fifty Shades helped make using toys and bondage more mainstream for some, we can also agree that Fifty Shades is not the compendium that should be used for Dominance, Submission or perhaps even relationships in general. But it is a starting point.

 

If you enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey and wanted to learn more about kink try reading

Screw the Roses Send me the Thorns by Philip Miller and Molly Devon

The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taomorino

 

If you loved the fictional kinky BDSM aspect of fifty shades and want some more try

The Crossfire series by Sylvia Day or

The Original Sinners Series by Tiffany Reisz

 

As always

At your Service

Tiffany,

OhZone Sales Consultant, Avid Reader and Kinkster.

Kits, Kits and More Kits!!!

Fifty Shades Sex Kits

Sex Kits are the best of both worlds, why choose just one product when you can have a whole bunch in one box. Kits will often contain a vast amount of different products depending on the particular type you choose, there are anal training kits, bdsm kits, lubricant kits and so much more. Without further ado, here are some of my favourite kits we carry across all of our Adult Lifestyle Centres!

 

Fifty Shades Darker: Dark Desire Couples Kit

  • Perfect for a naughty weekend away with your partner, there’s something for everyone in this kit.
  • Silky and VERY soft bondage rope along with bondage tape is perfect for keeping your loved one wrapped up tight, right where you want them.
  • Take away their sight and enhance their other senses or keep them from knowing what pleasurable item is next with the cushioned blindfold. I hope you aren’t afraid of the dark!!
  • After tying your partner up, give them an unimaginable, leg shaking orgasm with the bullet vibrator. Small, sleek and discreet but oh so powerful.
  • Are you afraid of a little smack? The mini paddle with let you punish any naughty bums in the room, your partner will hold their breath as they wait for the next smack while you run the paddle along their body to tease them.
  • The good vibrations don’t stop there! Add the vibrating love ring during sex to amplify pleasure for both you and your partner!! The love ring will also help the wearer stay harder for longer!
  • Last but not least the sleek butt plug, can be worn and enjoyed by either person in your party to enhance the overall pleasure and give you that little bit extra to push you over the edge and beyond.

 

The Rabbit Company: Bound To Please S & M Bondage Kit

  • Another kit for that special naughty night in! Everything you need in one box!
  • The Beaded Rabbit, has a specifically curved tip for the ultimate g-spot stimulation combined with rotating metal beads that rotate in sync will have your toes curling more than the wicked witch of the west. As the beads and tip work their magic the extremely powerful rabbit ears will provide constant clitoral stimulation for a combined overload of pleasure. USB rechargeable to give you hours of fun and splash proof in case things get wet.
  • The silky, soft satin eye mask will help create a more sensual and lustful environment by taking away the ability to see what is going to happen next.
  • Combine pleasure and pain with the silicone whip. Perfect for beginners or advanced bdsm couples alike, or perfect for taking things to the next level.
  • The kit included a cute little “do not disturb” door hanger to make sure no one interrupts your fun. A satin pouch for you to keep your kit in and S & M tip cards to give you fresh and sexy ideas.

 

 

Doc Johnson Good Head: Fundamentals, the Ultimate Oral Sex:

  • This helpful kit contains everything you need to improve your oral game, he won’t know what hit him!
  • Intimints are tingling sugar-free mints that create a numbing and tingling sensation in your mouth and throat so your gag reflex is less strong and you can go deeper for longer!
  • Intensify your blowjobs with the flavoured tingle drops, a few drops is all you need to create a tingling sensation that will taste amazing (watermelon and apple are my personal favourites) for the giver and feel electrifying for the receiver.
  • The sweet strawberry oral delight gel will have you going back for more. Not everyone enjoys performing the act and taste can be a factor in some cases, the delicious strawberry flavoured gel will help with not only the taste but will reduce friction and make it easier to perform oral in general.
  • Add another level to your oral skills with the helping head stroker. This extremely soft and stretchy stroker will take oral to the next level, with a soft opening and massage beads on the inside for enhanced pleasure, use whilst performing oral instead of your hand to create a new level of excitement for your partner.

 

Wicked: Teasers 10 Lubricant Packettes

  • Not a kit per se, but it is a little box full of multiple products so not a lot of difference!
  • Wicked have some of the best tasting flavoured lubricants I’ve ever had, I could just sit there and eat them all day if I’m honest. There are so many flavours to choose from and it’s hard to make a decision, so why choose!!
  • The teaser packette comes with 9 flavoured lubricant sachets that are perfect for on the go as they are travel size, and one toy gel lubricant that has no flavour for use with toys.
  • The kit includes 3 of the most delicious flavours in my opinion: Candy Apple, Salted Caramel and Mocha Java. You’ve got sweet, sour (ish) and savoury all in one packet. You get 3 packets of each flavour so once you try them all you can decide which one is your favourite and next time go for a big bottle!
  • The lubricants are all water based which makes them safe for use with all toys, cruelty free and sweetened with stevia extract instead of sugar.

 

Jovial: The Ultimate Anal Kit

  • The Jovial ultimate anal kit has absolutely everything you need to start your beginner anal journey or to add to your advanced anal collection!
  • Contains two different cock-rings both having different widths and shapes to assist with keeping blood flow in one area to help endurance and performance and increase sensitivity. Both rings are very smooth, stretchy and strong.
  • Next up we have the anal plug and cock-ring combo, the cock-ring assists with endurance and performance as well as enhanced sensitivity whilst the plug provides constant pressure/stimulation for the prostate. The combination or the two will be more than enough to push you over the edge with an orgasm like never before.
  • Two small anal plugs that can be used by anyone, the smaller of the two plugs has a slightly curved tip to enhance pleasure with a constant stimulating pressure as well as a flange for comfortable long time wearkit The other small plug has spiral nodules across the toy that apply constant pressure across different areas to enhance pleasure as well as a circular finger hole on the end for easy insertion or removal.
  • Last but not least the large suction cup plug. Take your anal pleasure to another level with this large soft plug. The plug has a large rounded tip followed by two other nodules creating 3 sections of the plug before the straight thin shaft leading down to the suction cup, this will create different layers of pressure and pleasure.

 

Whatever kit you may choose, I can guarantee you’ll have a good time!! Stay safe and enjoy!  All these sex kits are available from the Adult Lifestyle Centres Sydney.

In Defence Of 50 Shades Of Grey (From A Non-fan)

50 Shades a BDSM movie

The happy and bubbly couple stood in front of me “You know he uses them on her in the 50 Shades movie.” I stare back at her blankly my face tells her I haven’t seen the movies. “Oh my god, you haven’t seen them! You have to!”

50 Shades Of Grey for those of you that don’t know (all 3 of you) is a book series about a woman named Anastasia Steel and her love affair with a handsome rich guy named Christian Grey. This book series is also being made into films.

“You’ve read the books though right?” asked the customer. This I could answer “Yes, I read the first one, but I couldn’t really get into it.” She looked at me shocked.

The truth is I really just didn’t like it that much. As someone who has always been pretty sexually open I found it tame. And while I thought the story was ok I just really couldn’t see what all the fuss was about.

In truth, I am not alone. The reaction to 50 Shades Of Grey has been mixed, for every person that loved it there was someone else who said it was pure “mommy porn”, “watered down erotica” or even said it was “not real BDSM.” It seemed that for many people they were underwhelmed, they expected something more from all the hype and to be honest I did kind of agree with them.

However none of that mattered when I had a customer in the store ask for something specific from the films. I realised in that moment whether I liked it or not I should know more about it because like many of the other things I sell I may not be personally into it but it is my job to know about it. It was this interaction that had me downloading the films that night when I got home and settled down to watch them. I didn’t really want to spend the time reading the books and being a film school grad I was keen to watch the movie for homework. I switched on the movie and rolled my eyes at the cheesy opening music and began to watch.

Now this isn’t a film review (no matter how much I want to turn it into one) and in fact I quickly came to realise that what I personally thought of the film was unimportant. What was important was me understanding the appeal and I do.

Who Is Fifty Shades Of Grey Made For?

I had to come to realise that this film wasn’t meant for me, an adult lifestyle centre employee with no filter and little shame. 50 Shades is for people who aren’t or haven’t been very sexually adventurous but would like to try. This book isn’t something the more “experienced” should roll their eyes at it is actually something we should be grateful for.  Because of this book more people and definitely more women are considering their own kinky sexuality, trying new things and generally taking a greater ownership of their own selves.

While the story is considered by many as anti-feminist, I can say the result of the book is anything but. In truth I think many women who like the book see themselves as Anastasia and are coming to realise that their sexuality isn’t something to be ignored it is something to be explored.

Also couple this with the widespread success and the fan fair of the books and movies. To get so popular they must have appealed too many and in that there is an increased acceptance for broader and more open definitions of sex. It was almost saying to people who maybe hadn’t been as open that:

“You liking this isn’t weird look how many other people do as well!”

Anastasia Steel Being Dominated By Christian Grey
Buy Now | Fifty Shades Of Grey Sex Toys

Why Understanding Fifty Shades Of Grey Is Important

From my perspective of taking the time to watch and understand these films has been very important. Firstly, it helped me realise that the people coming into our stores who ask about 50 Shades weren’t uninformed about sex toys, or sex in general (outside of the norm) but rather they are starting their own journey to learn about what is BDSM to them after being inspired and have because of the book have felt comfortable enough to come in and explore their options. Secondly, it reaffirmed something that I had forgotten, people have different tastes. I was always so understanding of customers who would come into the store with “extreme” (whatever that means) requests and questions however I wasn’t extending the same courtesy to the other end of the spectrum, those who were just starting to explore their desires.

In truth, I think there is a lot of judgment surrounding the 50 Shades Of Grey franchise, it seems to be the easy target for many different groups of people and after considering it, I think that this is just silly. Just because you don’t find something appealing doesn’t mean others will have the same reaction. Live and let live as they say.

Author: Jamie is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres