Girls can’t get enough of the smash-hit erotic book, but what about the boys?
‘Girls will believe this is what all men want’
Paul Judge, 28, a projects officer from Norwich, is single. He says: “According to Fifty Shades Of Grey, an immense amount of money and mysterious personal issues entitles you to behave in a degrading way towards women. Stalking and being a control freak are seemingly excused because apparently the male lead character Christian Grey has “a good heart” and had a troubled childhood. Hmm.
Still, I had hoped that the book would give me a better insight into the female psyche and what women like and don’t like in the bedroom. Nope. Really, it’s a story about one couple and one kind of sex – nothing more.
I’m all for experimentation and think this book may help some couples open up to each other about things they’d like to try, which can only be a good thing. But I’m old and experienced enough to know that the kind of sex Anastasia and Christian have isn’t remotely realistic. It even got a bit repetitive, proving that even a kinky love life – complete with paddles and restraints – can become mundane if it’s done over and over again.
I’d be intimidated if a girl revealed she was into S&M sex, but it’s more about how she broaches the subject. Introducing me to her dungeon on the second date could see me running for the hills. But if we knew each other well enough and she asked me to try someting outside my comfort zone, I’d give it a go. It’s about being open-minded.
My only worry about the success of the book is that it might make some women feel that they need to be kinky in the sack. I fear some girls may also think it’s what all men want, and I can assure you, it isn’t. Not every man is like Mr Grey and some are just as clueless about this sort of sex as Anastasia is in the book! Men are more attracted to confident women who don’t feel the need to totally submit. If anything, the book could be used as a lesson for young men on how not to treat women emotionally.”
‘My girlfriend wants to try it!’
Greg Double, 23, is an account executive from Reading, and has been with his girlfriend for two years. He says: “While millions of women are snuggling up in bed reading Fifty Shades Of Grey and gossiping with their friends about the saucy sex scenes, I expect just as many men are lying awake worried they aren’t satisfying their partners.
Keen to know what all the fuss was about, I downloaded the book on to my Kindle so I could read it on the bus in secret. While I think it’s badly written, I can’t deny that the graphic sex scenes are hot. I actually enjoyed the softer scenes more than the kinkier ones as I felt I could identify with them better.
The frequency of Christian and Anastasia’s S&M sex sessions – which involve whips and handcuffs – is totally unbelievable. S&M requires an element of planning and that can make it clinical. Let’s face it, sometimes you just want to have a spot of morning sex without having to tie your girlfriend to the bed. So-called “vanilla” sex can be brilliant, so I hope women don’t normalise Christian’s sexual fantasies and think they’re what all men want.
I’ve been with women who want to take the lead and ladies who prefer the man to be in control. Most men appreciate that different women have different needs, and both can be just as much of a turn-on.
I think the benefit of the Fifty Shades phenomenon is that it will help couples talk more about their sex lives and be more experimental. But trying new things doesn’t have to mean full-on S&M. I asked my girlfriend, who is currently reading the books, whether she’d want to re-enact any of the sex scenes. She said that as long as it was on the milder end of the scale it could be exciting. Surely that can’t be a bad thing?”
‘I don’t get the hype around the book’
Max Rees, 32, from London, works in film production and special effects. He’s been with his girlfriend for four years. He says: “Frankly, I don’t get the Fifty Shades hype. It’s a romance that is so badly written it’s hilarious, not sexy. I didn’t find it that extreme, as I know quite a few people who are into fetish.
Four years ago, I paid a few visits to a fetish club in London called Torture Garden out of curiosity. There, people play out their roles as dominants or submissives. A few friends asked if they could come with me, and they just walked around having a look. Some were shocked, but most just laughed it off.
It’s the same with the book. The S&M stuff will be quite new to a lot of readers, but I can’t see it dramatically changing their sex lives. You’re not going to find all the “vanilla” types across the world suddenly buying whips and chains and hanging from ceilings.
To most guys, a bit of S&M is a nice fantasy, but putting it into practice is a different matter. To turn the book on its head, the average Joe would probably find it a bit threatening if he found himself in bed with a dominatrix.
My girlfriend has refused to read Fifty Shades because the story involves a woman being submissive and signing a contract, and she doesn’t agree with that.
Maybe the book will teach people that S&M isn’t as bad as they think. If nothing else, I guess it’s good that it’s getting people talking, but I just can’t see it crossing over into real life.”
Read all about it
Haven’t read Fifty Shades yet? Blag your way through any discussion with our cheat sheet!
THE CHARACTERS Anastasia Steele, a 21-year-old English literature student who’s a naive virgin, and Christian Grey, a handsome 27-year-old billionaire businessman with “commitment issues” and a penchant for S&M.
THE PLOT Experienced lover Christian asks student Anastasia to become his latest submissive. Ana agrees that she’ll do whatever he wants and give herself to him sexually for three months (as you do).
THE SEX Think horse whips, chains, a suspension rack and spanking, which is mostly in Christian’s red room of pain – his personal sex dungeon.
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