Fifty Shades of Grey inspired me …
by Sophie Hart
Unless you’ve been living in a remote cave on the moon for the past year, you’ll have heard of a book called Fifty Shades of Grey. You might be one of the estimated 70 million people who’ve read it – or if not Fifty Shades, then perhaps Bared to You by Sylvia Day, Destined to Play by Indigo Bloome, or any of the hundreds of erotica titles currently dominating (if you’ll pardon the pun!) the paperback and e-book charts.
Without a doubt, Fifty Shades of Grey has had a massive impact on both our reading habits… and our sex lives. Whilst we might not all have our own Red Room of Pain, sales of sex toys rose by 400% last year (love beads were a particular favourite, apparently), and there’s now an official Fifty Shades range. Even the recent baby boom has been attributed to the book!
Suddenly it’s become commonplace to read erotica on the bus, to experiment with blindfolds and spanking paddles, or to confess to your partner what you’ve always secretly longed to try in the bedroom. And whilst women have always loved a good natter about sex and relationships over a bottle of wine or two, Fifty Shades has given a whole new flavour to the discussion – and it isn’t vanilla!
As well as reading erotica, it’s also become more acceptable to write it. What was once a rather shadowy, secretive writing world, is now the hottest literary trend (in more ways than one). It’s given confidence to debut authors to write about no-holds-barred sex, and the sheer volume of new titles out there – especially on e-book – is mind-boggling.
The Fifty Shades phenomenon has also inspired me! Although my new book, The Naughty Girls Book Club, is more chick-lit than erotica, it undoubtedly owes a lot to that genre. It’s about a group of women (and one man – can’t forget Reggie!) who join a rather racy reading group, exploring erotic novels from the Marquis de Sade to Jilly Cooper.
On the surface, the characters have little in common – from the newlywed who’s eager to put the spark back in her relationship, to the recently retired grandmother who’s wondering just what she’s missed out on – but the books have a huge effect on all of them, as they’re pushed out of their comfort zone and given a confidence boost both in and out of the bedroom.
Whatever you thought of Fifty Shades of Grey – love it or loathe it – there’s no denying it’s had a huge influence on what we read and talk about. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and buy some jiggle-balls (purely in the name of research, of course!)
Sophie Hart is a pseudonym for a popular women’s fiction author living in London with her boyfriend and her collection of naughty books. She likes to spend her time going on nice holidays, making half-hearted attempts to exercise, and lusting after Daniel Craig.