Dating 50 shades of experimentation

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50 shades of experimentation

Sexual experimentation has suddenly gone mainstream. Spurred on by the overwhelming global reaction to 50 Shades Of Grey, more and more of us, it seems, are willing to try new tricks in the bedroom (or wherever else may take our newly-adventurous fancy).

As one British charity calls for a ceremonial ‘book-burning’ on November 5th, here in Australia handcuffs, blindfolds and other sex toys are flying off the shelves in sex shops, as more customers appear to be embracing their naughtier side.

Earlier this month, Simon Preuss, who owns the Extasy Sex Shop in Townsville, told The Townsville Bulletin that sales of bondage toys, including restraints and blindfolds, and other fetish gear, had risen five-fold over the past few months – something he’s putting down entirely to E L James’ New York Times bestseller.

“Our trade is like Christmas at the moment,” he said. “Anything mentioned in the first book of the series sells well. You can hear the customers chatting away, saying the ‘Grey’ word as they walk around the shop.”

A recent survey backs up Preuss’ assumption that women have been inspired by virginal Ana and dominating Christian’s antics. Reported by the Daily Mail, the survey revealed that just under 80% of women surveyed find the idea of succumbing to a dominant male like Christian Grey a turn on, whilst 90% of men revealed they were turned on by the idea of a woman being submissive.

Forty three per cent of those questioned said they were now more likely to use handcuffs in sexual role play, while 47% confessed they wanted to experiment with blindfolds and other bondage gear after reading the book.

Just yesterday, a major UK chain store revealed sales of racy lingerie are up by 63%. And it’s not the women who are making the purchases. ‘We’ve seen a huge increase in male customers visiting our lingerie departments, over the last fortnight,’ says Sharon Webb, Head of Lingerie at Debenhams.

‘Usually we never see so many men until the week before Christmas when there is a mad rush. They’ve been spotted nervously loitering, their faces 50 shades of red as they try to find the perfect gift for their other halves.’

According to Webb, thanks to the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon, men are purchasing more daring pieces. ‘Traditional knicker sales have been surprisingly low, but we have seen a big increase in sales of babydoll negligees, silky underwear sets, thongs, stockings and suspenders.’

There’s no doubt the 5o Shades trilogy, which includes 50 Shades of Grey, 50 Shades Darker and 50 Shades Freed has been a hit. In the US the books sold more than 20 million copies in just a matter of months. By way of comparison, it took three years for Steig Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo trilogy to reach the same level of popularity.

But whilst many of us appear to be upping our sexual game thanks to the now mainstream erotica, not everyone is impressed. In New York this year, a panel of literary greats known for writing about sex were, for the most part, unimpressed. Erica Jong, whose 1973 novel Fear of Flying became a sensation for its frank treatment of female sexual desire, said, “I couldn’t find anything that turned me on, other than the fact that he gives her a rare copy of Tess of the D’Urbervilles.”

Tell us about you. Have you been spurred on to experiment thanks to 50 Shades of Grey? Have you read the book and were left unimpressed?

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About the Author

Lizzy has more than ten years’ experience in the print and digital publishing arena and is the Editor at Single File. Having moved from the UK to Australia in 2008, Lizzy has worked for a number of leading publishers in Sydney and has particular expertise in the health, wellness and travel markets. If you have any questions for Lizzy, you can send them across by email to

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