Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fifty Shades of... WTF?

I just started reading the wildly popular Fifty Shades trilogy. I'm maybe a quarter through the first book, (SPOILER ALERT) where the ever enigmatic, perfectly chiseled Adonis, Christian Grey, and the sweet, innocent and virginal (but not for long), Anastasia Steele, have engaged in "vanilla" sex. I haven't yet got to the really kinky stuff. Is that "chocolate" sex? Maybe "rocky road" would be more appropriate.

I'm a little torn about what I've read so far. The writing is awful. The story, banal, until you get to the sex, which, let's face it, any way you cut it, is titilating. Of course I'll continue to read, because once you get to the raunchy stuff, you don't really care how it's written. It's dirrrty, and we like that.

However, my dilemma arises from the portrayal of how easily this young virgin takes to sex. In their first sexual encounter, Anastasia is still a virgin and has never once masturbated, however, she manages to have three orgasms, one while Christian is stimulating her nipples, the second, during intercourse, with a condom, and the third, again during intercourse, from behind, with a condom.

I get that it's supposed to be a fantasy, and most women who've just read the paragraph above will acknowledge that it is indeed just that, a fantasy. I don't know about you, but the first time you have sex, even if you're not a virgin but with a new partner, it is rarely, if ever, of the multiple orgasm kind.

It's awkward at best, as two people explore new territory and try to figure each other out on a physical level. In reality, most women can't orgasm simply through intercourse, and with a condom? If you're gonna go the fantasy route, you'd better go all the way. There are no condoms in our fantasies because STDs don't exist in Fantasyland. Why bring down the dream with, and I'm paraphrasing here: "As I lay writhing in ecstasy, I heard the tear of a foil packet and he put on a condom." Is this an advertisement for safe sex? No. So, like, WTF?

Anastasia, as it turns out, is also an instant expert at oral sex. Miracles never cease. Again, in reality, practice makes perfect. Your first blow job probably wasn't stellar. It may have been acceptable, but not of the "sweet mother of God, what just happened" variety. I mean, we're playing with junk that in no way resembles our own, and on top of that, each male partner is different from the next, so it's like starting all over again every time you're with someone new.

Realistically speaking, if you stick with one guy for a while and sleep with him a few times, then things start to fall in place, you get familiar with each other's bodies and, if you're lucky, you start to orgasm.

Sure, there are some exceptions. There may be women who can come at the drop of a hat, just thinking about sex or while sitting on the bus, if it vibrates in just the right way, on just the right spot but that's a very slim minority, and one I'm sure us chicks would all like to be a part of.

I guess my only beef with this kind of writing is that it sets such unrealistic expectations of what sex and intimacy are that it can only lead to disappointment if readers try to live up to these ideals. It may even lead some women to think there's something wrong with them because they can't orgasm while some dude pounds away at them, all porn-style. Of course, Anastasia could orgasm, like, her very first time having sex. Feel good about yourself now?

I think erotic literature definitely has its place, especially for women, who I suspect prefer to read about and imagine it rather than watch it. This particular trilogy has definitely got people talking about sex and thinking about sex and probably having more sex and, in that respect, it's a good thing.

I would just be wary of trying to emulate what's in the books, hoping for the same results. Sexuality is such an individual thing and everyone responds to it very differently. Going into it with the myth of the multiple-orgasming virgin looming over you just may suck all the fun right out of it.

Here's my version of this portion of the story:

Christian and Anastasia are having sex for the first time:

Anastasia: F*ck Christian, that hurts!

Christian: You like that, don't you.

Anastasia: No, I'm serious, it f*cking hurts. It's my first time!

Christian: Oh. Ok. I'll go real slow. Easy.

Anastasia: Ok.

Christian: How does that feel?

Anastasia: Um, kinda cool, I guess, and well, weird but good, I think.

Christian climaxes. Anastasia doesn't but thinks sex is kinda neat and wants to try it again sometime soon.


Carrie said...

I haven't read the series and I really don't intend to unless I can borrow or get a free copy. I refuse to pay money for books I know by reading snippets are badly written. I can forgive some things but not that :)

A very interesting point. Erotic romances generally have the "unbelievable" factor in them for number of orgasms etc but generally the sex is between experienced people who kind of know what gets them off. A virgin? Not so much :)

Marie Nicole said...

50 Shades of... You'd think this was the first erotica novel ever written! I don't get the hype.

But I get this post. So true, so true. Little Anastasia would have needed earlier experimentations for such an insta-orgasm. Maybe Anastasia's daddy was a bad-bad man? I don't know. Haven't read these shades, and so far this is the closest I've come to reading in!


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