Fifty Shades Feeding Frenzy

Unless you have been living on a remote island with no internet connection for the past few weeks (months or years), you are likely aware of the upcoming premiere of "Fifty Shades of Grey", the movie. You would have been hard-pressed to miss every trailer, commercial, photo, advance review, interview with one of the stars, speculation on the success of the upcoming movie. In just hours, women (mostly) will storm the theaters to see the fantasy brought to life.

Just consider the amazing statistics and interest the books and movie have garnered.


Since Random House bought the rights to the trilogy in 2012, the series has sold well over 100 million copies worldwide. Trailers for the movie adaptation of the first book have been viewed 250 million times, according to an ad aired in early February; it's expected to gross at least $60 million at the box office in its opening weekend.

The first article I ever published in HuffPo 2 ½ years ago was about this very same phenomenon, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. As a "vagipreneur", a person in the business of female sexual health, I actually needed to read the books for work. I was knee deep in the effort to create and generate a positive discussion about female sexuality and satisfaction. At the time, Fifty Shades of Grey was both a blessing and a curse. The books certainly catalyzed conversation about female satisfaction. Maybe you remember the stories and you might have seen yourself in some of them - women flush with desire waking their husbands up in the middle of the night, women secretly reading the books on their ipads in carpool line (or in the office, in the shower), women hiding the book inside the covers of what felt like more publicly acceptable reading materials. The momentum of the Fifty Shades Frenzy swept us all up in its wake.

So now in the hours leading up to the premiere, the sold out shows, the endless reviews and conversations, I am once again blown away by the tsunami of interest. I find myself with a lot of questions. What are we supposed to be learning? Will the movie tell us something important about the society in which we live, our sexuality, our sexual practices, our relationships? Are women the world over poised to enjoy an undiscovered interest or resurgence in BDSM ( Bondage & Discipline / Domination & Submission / Sadism & Masochism). Do women want their husbands/partners/lovers to create a playroom, their own private "Red Room of Pain"?

I admit I have not conducted any sort of statistically valid sampling of women across the US, across the world, across my neighborhood, and certainly not across my family to answer these questions. But if I am being honest, I feel pretty confident that none of these questions will be answered in the movie. Most likely, sexual relations, interactions and interests are probably just as varied, unique, personal and complex as they have always been.

Humor me and take a little test to prove or disprove my hypothesis. You don't have to answer out loud, but just be honest with yourself. How interested do you think the shy, college-going, virgin, Anastasia Steele (or you), would be in BDSM, if it didn't get delivered and experienced in the form of a dashing, rich, adventurous, educated, well-dressed, cultured, Louboutin-buying, fancy-car owning, helicopter-traveling, Christian Grey.

So before we get caught up in the frenzy, the obsession with BDSM (not that there is anything wrong with it), just consider that the real appeal of this souped-up chick flick, might be simple. Maybe a partner's undivided attention, their intense interest in one's emotional and physical needs, their desire to satisfy (on all dimensions), is still the ultimate sexual fantasy for women. And maybe that is what the real frenzy is all about.