Saturday, July 7, 2012

50 Shades of Grey

A while back I posted about how spanking has gone mainstream. On the cover of Newsweek, tons of news programs like 20/20, Dateline, Nightline, and more. Interviews galore with the author of the now worldwide best seller of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. 

Image from Wikimedia

Now, the books aren't solely about spanking, nor are they about domestic discipline. I get that. But, does spanking exist? Yes. Does the book have some element of domestic discipline? Yes (but it's hidden..more on that in a moment). The fact that this sort of lifestyle (even though the books are much more BDSM) has gone mainstream is really cool to me.

So, when I first heard of these books, I was skeptical about reading them for numerous reasons. However, the popularity of these books kept increasing and week by week I saw it as the #1 book on the New York Times bestseller list. Finally, I caved in.

I'll admit, I've only read 1 book (out of the 3) so far. I probably should have waited to put up this post after I read all 3, but I've had a lot of inquiries as to what I thought of the book, so I decided to do it now. After I've read all 3, I'll re-review probably.

I didn't have very high expectations (at all) for the book. However, I must say, it was better than expected.

I won't give too much of it away for those who haven't read it yet, but want to. However, the basic idea is a young girl meets a successful businessman and they begin a relationship. However, he is very dominant and controlling (and she isn't used to it) and insists on the two of the implementing a contract in order for their relationship to go further. The contract details out expectations/rules, consequences, hard/soft limits, etc. I'll admit, it was pretty interesting considering I've never really seen a contract like that before.

The book is very sexual (there's your warning). It's also very graphic. I'll stop short at calling it porn, but I will say that unless they very  heavily edit the movie that they're planning on making around this book, it will, no doubt be given over an R rating. 

Still, the book raises a lot of questions. The biggest one I have is that if people appear to be so against the idea of rules and punishments (whether sexually based, like BDSM or non-sexually based like DD) then why is this book a) getting great ratings (out of over 7,000 reviews on Amazon.com, over 3,300 of them rated it 5 stars..and that's just on one website) b) gaining popularity like you wouldn't believe. 

Lets face it, this topic fascinates people. 

The book is not about domestic discipline. Let me just put that out there. The 2 characters in the book do not have a domestic discipline relationship. So, will the popularity of this book increase the popularity of couples doing domestic discipline? Probably not by much. 

However, the book does have moments that are a little "DD-like". Example: He threatens that she won't be able to sit if she doesn't listen. The entire book isn't sexual, although a very large majority of it is. But, would I recommend it? Yes. 

If you read the books, please don't read them in order to use them as like "advice" books for your own marriage. That would be a bad idea. Also, don't read them if you're offended by sex. Don't read it if you are expecting it to be about domestic discipline. However, it is an interesting read, and I'd be curious to hear what ya'll think of it.

So, have you read the books? What do you think?

Also, I have the 2nd and 3rd books downloaded onto my Kindle, but haven't read them yet. Once I do, I'll update this post.

Until then, if you're interested in reading, you can buy 50 Shades of Grey on Amazon (or virtually any other site, or at any bookstore).  


I'm curious to hear your thoughts!

36 comments:

  1. Hi! I just found your blog via a crazy week of research I've been doing that has all been spurred by 50 shades! And as luck would have it this was the first blog post I saw.

    I am not in a dd relationship however I have a wonderful marriage of 10 years and I'm extremely happy. However this book has spurred alot of conversations about women's sexuality and bdsm among a small group of friends which led me to start researching things. I'm not sure I want a full on dd relationship but I have to say I find it EXTREMELY sexy when my husband just takes over any given situation or puts his food down about something. I think what makes the book so popular is not spanking or bdsm, but that women STILL want a MAN. A man who is confident and strong. And we've lost that in this society. The only "strong" men are the douche bags we tell our friends to stay away from. What's happened??? Not to mention the how many girls say they aren't interested in a guy because "he's just too nice" . In the last few months I've heard this soooooo many times. "Nice" has become synonymous with "easily manipulated", "soft", etc. What this is....if guys would read the books (which they won't) is a call from women for the return of the man.

    I have to say I've been telling my husband alot of what I've found and I might have shocked him. He's told me that he's tried to so hard to be "the nice guy" because he didn't want to be lumped in with "the typical male". Needless to say conversations have definitely livened up around here.

    I'm still researching dd to find out if there is a form of it I'm comfortable with. This should be interesting....

    (P.S. since I run my own business I'm keeping my name out of this but I'd love to talk to you more sometime)

    Cheers! C

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    1. C,

      Welcome to my blog! That's great that you have an awesome marriage and congrats on 10 years!

      You're right, this book has sparked up all sorts of discussions from people all over the world. I think it's pretty interesting, honestly. The attraction that people have to this book is mind blowing.

      You make a lot of great points. Whether women want to admit it or not, most want a man that leads, and is strong (as you put it). I definitely think that has to do with why those books are so popular.

      I'd be more than happy to talk to you further! Feel free to email me. My email is under the "contact me" section of my blog.

      -Chelsea

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  2. lol....just reread my comment. food=foot. HAHAHA

    Cheers, C

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    1. Gotta love autocorrect!!
      -Chelsea

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    2. I have to comment that I am in a very similar position as C. My husband and I have been married 13 years with no marital problems. Sex life was always fine I thought but I always kind of thought I'd like a little more "passion" or "intensity" but didn't know how to explain it to him. After I read all 3 50 Shades books I was sort of inspired I guess. It's definitely opened up our communication and we've been more openly talking about our sex life. We've tried him tying me up and spanking me and we both really like it. We just don't know how to incorporate this into our regular sexlife. I like a little bit of pain, like in the spankings, and he likes that as well. We don't do anything with punishment or too serious I guess. It's all for fun and for our mutual pleasure, but I've told him I would like it if he told me what to do a little more. He's still figuring out how to do that. Its hard when they are used to being a "nice guy". I do try and let him know what I like after he's done it, like the next day, so he gets the hint. But I don't want to be the one directing the show, so to speak. Any suggestions on how to bridge the gap? We're kind of in this akward phase right now. He doesn't know what to do. I wish he'd read some of the things I'e read, but he's a guy, he won't. (I've read some things online about it also.)
      --A

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    3. I feel your pain. Mine won't read either. I've tried finding some short stories and we are talking about it. So far. :) Its a journey.

      Cheers, C

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  3. I've read all three books. I agree with much of what you say. I believe that women truly want a man they can respect. A man who can make a decision, who can take charge and make things happen. Yeah, I gripe when that includes taking charge of ME, but hey, if you read my last post, it's easy to see that we function much better that way.

    I also agree with the above post. I enjoyed all three books. Saw alot of my reactions and feelings about things in them. I believe with anything else. You take away what is relavent to you, speaks to you. You process the rest and move on. For example, we are very much in a DD relationship, however, it is tailor made for us, for our relationship. What is an issue for other HOH's is not for him etc.

    It's just nice to know that we are not so very alone out here trying to navigate a better marriage.

    Dana

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    1. Dana, since you've read all 3 can you tell me..are the 2nd and 3rd books really more "scary"? (as some people have warned me about) I've heard that the BDSM elements in those really intensify, which is part of the reason they are still sitting, unread, on my Kindle.

      -Chelsea

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    2. I have read all 3. I don't think it actually intensifies that much. If anything he calms down as he falls in love.

      Cheers, C

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    3. I agree. They don't get that bad. I would call all of it pretty softcore BDSM truthfully. I have seen worse around blogland. My thought on the books...they were ok, not wonderful, not terrible, not something i would read again. What i do find fascinating though (much more so than the books themselves) is the media hype surrounding them. i loved the articles you posted, and the 20/20 segment i watched. i could talk about the book all day long, and truthfully I'd rather talk about it than read it! It has caused me to have several very interesting conversations with DDer's and non DD'ers alike.

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  4. HI Chelsea
    I just don't believe this I was about to ask you about 50 shades of Grey when I come unto the blogg and here its up on your blogg i would like to read it but can't get it in Northern Ireland it just keeps selling out - hope it doesnt confuse me any more than i am - I agree with the other bloggers here I think woment do want real men and they don't just want to go and find a new person they want the man they are with to become a real man. Here in this country they amount of broken relaionships and new relaionships and divorce is soring maybe something is really happening don't know its really interesting.
    Jane

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    1. I read your mind Jane! Lol, just kidding.

      You can order the book online, and read it directly from the computer. That way you don't have to worry about it selling out.

      I know you don't currently practice DD so let me warn you, again, now that 50 Shades of Grey is NOT DD. I don't want you to think that while you're reading it, lol.

      -Chelsea

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  5. I actually finished reading the books a few Weeks ago, and i must say that when i first started reading them i was quite taken aback by just how much sex there was, i mean, my God, they have sex for about 6 chapters straight.

    My fiancé and I are new to dd, but i did notice a few elements in there that are similar, but it's mostly sexually oriented.

    despite all the sex (I usually do not read erotic novels lol) I really enjoyed the story line throughout the series, and my good friend and I are currently arguing who should play Christan Grey in the movie.

    I hope you like the rest of them as much as I did (:

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    1. Rachel, I agree with you. If you can look past the sex and BDSM elements, I thought the books were good.

      Welcome to DD, by the way. If you need anything please let me know!
      -Chelsea

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  6. Hi Chelsea.
    I have just finished the first.
    I have to say the first commenter here is an inspiration. Wouldnt it be great if more couples find Dd on the back of 50shades!
    And yes I agree, post modern Britain, at least, is full of men being manipulated. I think women do want strong men who take the lead, unfortunately this is synonymous with abuse and degrading women, and we know that this isnt the case.
    Thanks for the post.
    I liked the book, but prefered the first half, i ended up scanning past the sex scenes!!

    C

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    1. Lol, I agree, that would be awesome if 50 Shades of Grey brought more couples to DD. What I'm thinking is that someone needs to write a book about DD that becomes a huge hit (like, 50 Shades of Grey type of thing)...then DD would be everywhere!

      -Chelsea

      PS: I scanned through some of the sex scenes too.

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  7. I read all three of the books, and didnt like any of them for many reasons, but mainly because there were grammatical mistakes throughout them and because any scenes involving sex in them were the virtually the exact same paragraphs written over and over and over and over (etc.) with only miniscule variations. Also, I didnt like the way the lifestyle was portrayed (as being "50 shades of f***ked up" and a pyschological disorder that needs to be fixed) and because the way the author portrays this type of relationship is nowhere near realistic. The girl screws up big time in a few places and he doesnt even blink, but then for little things he blows his top and flips out on her. Its just not realistic. I've avoided saying anything about these books so as not to ruin them for others, but I thought they were very badly written, unrealistic(like her flipping out over 6 belt strokes....when she had not one, but TWO safe words and could have stopped him physically at any time....I mean really?!?!?) and just lame. The idea that spanking, BDSM, and DD could be going mainstream is very interesting, but these books make all three out to be mental disorders that should be corrected, not lifestyle choices that are enjoyed by millions of people every day. Ok, I'm done now....sorry that was long. Its just my opinion, but the books speak for themselves.

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    1. I agree, there were a lot of grammatical mistakes which definitely made the books a little more difficult to read.

      There were definitely a lot of things in the book that I would consider to be unrealistic, without a doubt. The belt strokes scene you mentioned was a good example.

      Thanks for your opinion! I agree with many of the points you made.

      -Chelsea

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  8. I read all 3 books. They weren't what I was expecting considering all of the media frenzie about it, but I have read a lot of (to put it mildly) romance novels, and that would be what I would call them. Yes, I did enjoy them. I would compare the storyline to Pretty Woman.

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    1. I haven't heard of the Pretty Woman comparison before, although I can understand the similarities between the two (I love that movie, by the way).

      Thanks for sharing your opinion!

      -Chelsea

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  9. I haven't read the books (even if the protagonist has a nice name!), mostly because I don't want to pay money for a book that I probably am not going to find "keep-worthy". Meaning something that I want to keep on my shelf for a good long time. It's also a book that I feel shy about borrowing from a library. :) Maybe sometime when it becomes available in the clearance pile of a used bookstore...

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    1. Ana,

      Don't feel shy about borrowing it, it's one of the top books in the country lol. Trust me, no one is going to think anything other than "this girl wants to see what all the buzz is about".

      You should read it and let me know what you think.

      -Chelsea

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  10. Hi Chelsea, my name is Becky. I have been reading Clint's blog, as well as, yours. I wanted to say I am a huge fan. We have always had elements of DD in our relationship for our 5 years of marriage...but since taking advice from you two, our relationship has improved. Thank you. I'd love to chat more. I need some friends who are involved in DD marriages.

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    1. Thanks Becky! I appreciate your kind words. I'd love to get to know you better.

      -Chelsea

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  11. Hi, I read all 3 books and think the story is good in bringing what women really want out in the open. I think false feminism has taken our true desires away from us and made us feel we are wrong to want the leadership of a man even one who we love and trust.
    What I do not like of the books is that they are not well written. The writer seemed rushed and didn't develop the characters enough. She also used the same wording over and over. Another thing I wish she hadn't done was attach Christian's proclivities to abuse! This makes it seem that anyone who allows such treatment must somehow be damaged. I wish she had turned their relationship into DD rather than more vanilla.

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    1. Hey Liz,

      I agree that they aren't extremely well written. It seemed like something that EL James wrote in about a week, as opposed to most authors who take upwards of a year (or sometimes more) developing their books. However, I do think that, despite the books many issues, it isn't so bad. It was worth reading (in my opinion).

      I totally agree, I would have loved to see it turn a little more DD.

      -Chelsea

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  12. I loved the books but do have to agree with Liz on the aspect of Christian "being this way" because he was abused. The book has done great things for bringing this kind of lifestyle out of the shadows but I wish she hadnt made that an element of it.

    The books certainly arent literature, but considering they started as a bit of fluff fan fiction and were written insanely fast (I think all three in under a year) she did a fairly decent job.

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    1. All 3 in under a year is pretty incredible, I didn't know that! I agree, considering how fast they were written, the books aren't THAT bad.

      -Chelsea

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  13. Chelsea, I wasn't expecting much when I read the first book but I was curious. It was much better then I expected. Okay, I have to say this and please don't take this the wrong way. I am really glad that you have read the books. It seems like a lot of the women I know through DD are not allowed to read the books. And since many people listen to what you and Clint do and say, I think that there may be some more women who will get to read the books. So thanks for sharing. Oh and the thing that I disliked most about the book is that most of the people I know that are involved in BDSM (not dd) are not super wealthy and super good looking like they are in not only 50 Shades but most books that are erotic in nature

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  14. i have read all the book and have some how convinced my Husband to listen to them with me as audio books. We are enjoying the quiet in the evening before bed listening to it and cuddling making the story even more awesome to me!

    now for the story i see it as entertainment i read them not because i want to learn anything about DD or BDSM or sex or relationship i read them because i want to be entertained, i do like how it has elements in it that i can relate to in some ways i do agree that it is kinda unrealistic is some parts and a little far fetched but still i like a book i can relate to on some level these books were good reading!

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  15. "Don't read it if you are expecting it to be about domestic discipline."

    I’d also like to add that you shouldn’t use them for information about BDSM. The author – who admits to knowing nothing about BDSM – got it VERY wrong (plus, the series is about “curing” him of his dirty kinky sickness, which is beyond insulting!).
    There’s already enough misinformation out there without this adding to it. Sadly, many people don’t go beyond this Twilight fanfiction before passing judgement on a lifestyle they know nothing about.

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  16. I have read all three and I couldn't put them down. Some parts were slow or poorly written but I loved them.
    Becky

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  17. I read these books and it made me start thinking why they really did something for me. So in the next few months I started reading anything and everything about the whole BDSM world, but kept feeling like I was still missing what I was reaching for. Eventually I stumbled across DD and the light bulb went off!
    Now my hubby and I are beginning our life in DD and I'm excited,terrified,and happier than I've been in years with my husband. We both are amazed at the change in our communication and our intimacy in just a couple of months! So... no, Shades of Grey did not start the DD life for us BUT it started me on the path that lead there!
    I wouldn't be surprised that it started more than just me on this journey. Go Shades of Grey! Lol!
    Julie

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  18. It took me a long time to actually read it and I was actually and pleasantly surprised. Do not read it if you want to learn more about ttwd. Do NOT read it if you think that it will be your ticket into BDSM. However, it is a GREAT tool to branch into those topics with people that appear vanilla. Cause let's face it we all appear vanilla on the outside but if you walk up to me with a paddle I will grin. :D LOL Yes, it started as a fanfiction but a lot of authors, myself included, use known characters as a base to jump off ideas.

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  19. I have never actually commented on your blog or any other blog that I follow before but I decided I wanted to on this post. I know it's a bit old already but oh, well... I know that 50 shades often gets a bad review from the DD community as well as the non DD community for multiple different reasons. I am an avid reader so for me, it was almost pure torture to read through the first book. The writing was terrible, tons of grammatical errors, etc. Yet, I couldn't put it down. I've been interested in DD for years now. Way before I was ever married. Before I ever even found a world of "practicing DD" community on the internet. This is the first DD blog that I have been to that has given 50 Shades a semi decent review. Everyone seems so irritated with it because it's not actually DD but is semi portrayed as that. For me, 50 Shades was a way to open the door to my husband about what I desired. I had attempted on multiple occasions to bring my desire for DD to him but could never bring myself to do it. I wanted to buy the book forever but wouldn't because I was afraid of what he might think. Finally, one night we had a discussion about what we wanted to try in bed, I guess, that we hadn't actually shared yet. I shared spanking. I went into a little further detail and explained that it wasn't necessarily erotic spanking that I was into, but there was an actual life style that I was really drawn to. I explained it to him as best I could. I could tell he was intrigued by it but he didn't really say much and I never said I wanted to try it or anything. Just that it interested me. A few days later, he brought up 50 Shades and asked what the big deal was about it. I told him what it was about. Our discussion took off from there. I read all three books in about 2.5 days. They were terribly written but did get a little better with each book. I couldn't put them down. I still love them. I think the biggest reason I love them is because of the constant conversations it brought up between my husband and I. I explained that they aren't about true DD but clearly other people have an interest in it if the book is doing so well. It took a couple of months but my husband finally said he wanted to give DD a try. I never even told him that I actually wanted to live a DD marriage. I never even asked him. I shared with him that it interested me and then because of 50 shades, we had lots of conversations about DD. He was the one that eventually asked to start it. And so we are currently practicing DD. (Yay!) :) So, my "official review" of the series: Terrible writing, way too much sex but I am a huge fan. I actually bought the kindle edition as well as box set which I then loaned out to people. :) I just had to share as it seems that "true DD" people are often annoyed about the series. I love it. It was an excellent "open door" to discuss DD with my husband. (And by the way - My husband was very bothered that it took my 5 years of marriage to finally share my desires with him. He said he thinks that DD would have saved us a lot of trouble if we had started back from the beginning.) I'm so sorry this post turned into a novel. ;-) It ended up being much longer than I anticipated.

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  20. Love the disucssion. I have a little in DD and D/s relationship that I sought out, and am currently opening up to my new spouse more about my needs. He is the typical, "not such a big deal for erotic reasons, but can't wrap his mind around my discipline need." Luckily he is very dominate by nature, coupled with the sweetest disposition ever. Any way, I was intrigued when my outwardly vanilla friends talked it up at dinner one night. Their perceptions were fun to hear, and I never quite told them where they got it right or wrong from my own personal experience :-) but it was amazing to me how popular the books became.
    I finally read the first one. I waited because I didn't want to be disappointed, and because I knew it would make me crave DD more, and my husband wasn't there yet, so I avoided putting myself in a situation where I would long for something old, instead of the wonderful person I am married to.
    With his permission I did read (I told him my concerns and he thought it over, and then when he was in a receptive mood to more DD exploration, I began to read.
    What I liked, somewhat similar to what I experienced, except I knew I wanted it, and we got involved for that reason. Similarity, - he swore he wasn't able to love again.
    I also liked, that he did want to discipline her.
    What I didn't - The whole "damaged goods" is the only reason why someone would like this presenation, just like in the secretary - when it goes mainstream, it is often a character who is messed up somehow. (Okay so maybe we all have our issues - but vanilla people do to!) AND I didn't like that her biggest issues with being spanked. Kind of depressed me. I went through a - "something is wrong with me" phase during the reading of it and at the end. So was weird, but I was grateful I had gotten my husband on board with me reading it. SO now I am not sure if I want to read the rest

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