We dated the Zeros… so you don’t have to.


Guilty pleasure or just guilty?


I’ll admit, haven’t had much luck with erotica over the years. In high school, I read one or two Danielle Steel books, which I found embarrassing from a literary standpoint, as well as from a plot/character standpoint. In college I tried again, but being the total snob that I was I had to go as highbrow as possible. I read Anais Nin, which was fine but I didn’t find particularly hot. I read The Story of O, which, if memory serves, is the tale of a woman volutarily enslaving herself sexually to one rich and powerful man who then gives her to a more powerful man, and (spoiler alert) she dies in the end. I found this book profoundly disturbing and not at all sexy. Since I was a film snob as well as a book snob, I sought out some X rated(ish) films by reputable film directors in an attempt to be cosmopolitan. One such movie was In The Realm of The Senses, a period piece based on a (I think) true story about two lovers so sexually obsessed with each other that when some sexual strangling went terribly wrong and the guy died, the woman went mad with grief, cut off her lover’s genitals and was found carrying them around the town square (I’m working from memory here). Much like The Story Of O, I found In The Realm of The Senses completely troubling and depressing and not remotely erotic. Based on those attempts, I decided erotica might not be for me.

I think one of my big problems was my snobbiness – going highbrow with sex stuff really isn’t the best bet. The more literary or cinematic the attempt, the more likely things are to get dark. I later stumbled upon a piece of fluff-smut (chick lit with a few good sex scenes) called Welcome To Temptation and while I can’t say I found it totally hot exactly (and yes I still was embarrassed to be reading it) at least it was mildly entertaining and didn’t totally creep me out. I’ll admit, I tried reading one or two other books by the same author Jennifer Cruise, but she’s totally a one trick pony (her plots are all the same… a repressed good girl who find a hot guy and a rescue dog along the way) and the other two books by her I read were much stupid(er) and less entertaining.

That’s my history with erotica… not very successful. So it has been with some amusement and curiosity that I’ve been reading about the newest literary craze sweeping womandom, 50 Shades Of Grey by E.L. James. It is being called ‘Mommy Porn’ and apparently women (not just moms) are going nuts for this book.

I have to admit I’m dubious. First there is the plot description: ‘a “female empowerment story” where a young woman is awakened sexually by the unconventional methods of her older, controlling lover.’ Cue my serious eye rolling. And then there is the fact that the ebook got its start on Twilight fan fic site. Not being a Twilight fan, the only good thing I can think to say about the notion of Twilight fan fic is that it is not actually written by Stephanie Meyers and thus might actually be more readable than Twilight (sorry fans). Still, women are swearing by the book (though I hear many are grateful that it was an ebook and thus could be read in public without anyone knowing). It is causing a bidding frenzy in Hollywood, the male executives being convinced by their wives and mothers that this is the hottest property in town.

So dear readers, let me know… have you read it? Is it worth checking out? Is it actually sexy? I’m super curious…

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One Response to “Guilty pleasure or just guilty?”

  1. April 17, 2012 at 9:38 am

    If you aren’t a Twilight fan this book is probably not for you. It follows the same theme of clumsy, awkward girl and exceptionally gorgeous controlling man that is obsessed with her. The prose is not any better, in fact worse, than Meyer. However, it is a pleasure in my opinion if you can enjoy it for what it is, which is not great literature, but a fantasy ride you take, and I enjoyed the momentary escape of the Twilight series. The theme of the book is a woman getting through and healing an emotionally damaged man, the fantasy that a woman’s love can open up a man that is emotionally unavailable, with some explicit sex scenes throughout. If that type of fantasy is your thing you will enjoy the book regardless of it’s faults, but if the damaged, emotionally disturbed hero that the woman gets through is not your thing these books will annoy the he’ll out of you.

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