Let's talk about sex

Times-Herald Editorial Staff
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Even when I disagree with or dislike something I like to give credit where credit is due.  

Samantha Emann

By Samantha Emann, special to the Times-Herald

When the trailer for the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation debuted, social media was buzzing with discussion and I started to think about the new ways in which the movie might encourage discussion about sex in all its facets, much as the books had done.

The Fifty Shades novels were not the first to attempt to push the boundaries of the discussion about sexuality, but they did seem to be the first to successfully mass-market sexually explicit content, in this case BDSM, to the everyday reader.

To put the book series’ popularity into perspective, The Business Insider recently published numbers that paint a very vivid picture of how much people were and still are interested in ‘naughty Twilight fan fiction.’

According to the article, “The first book in the series, Fifty Shades of Grey, became the fastest-selling paperback book ever beating out J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.”

The article also claimed that sex toy sales had spiked and that the book is the first to sell more than one million copies on Amazon Kindle.

I have read the entire series and a few points very quickly became apparent.

It is very obvious the series is derived from the Twilight story and characters.

It was also clear the author lacks any technical skill in writing. In fact, if I did not find the character of Christian and the sex scenes so interesting I would go as far as to call the book descriptively lazy and repetitive, as well as grammatically cringe-worthy and for this editor, twitch-inducing.

As a derivative of Twilight, this series inherited some of the issues I had with that particular saga. The uninteresting, stereotype-encouraging female role model that is Anastasia Steele and the stalker-like, obsessive personality of Christian Grey are just some of those issues.

Essentially, if you were to mix Twilight with Secretary and take away the vampires of the former and great chemistry between the main characters of the latter you would have what I suspect the Fifty Shades movie will turn out to be.

Setting the comically awkward dialogue and sentence structure aside, there is something this series achieved for which I have to give it props.

I think, for a portion of the global population, these books changed the way some people thought about and discussed sex.

The availability and mainstream marketing of these books may have been a good thing because it dragged sexuality, and alternative consensual sexual practices, out of the closet and into everyday conversation.

For some it may have meant trying new things, stepping outside their comfort zones and questioning traditional views of sexual expression, but I think anything that helps people have healthier and less inhibited attitudes toward sex and their own bodies can be empowering.

I think being open and honest about sex, and all the different things that sexuality can entail, is always a good thing. I think the characters and writing of Sex and the City was also something showed a more honest view of sex and the different kinds of relationships that can exist and was one of the first hit shows that really pushed those kind of boundaries.

Many of us may have been raised to think of sex a certain narrow-minded way, and I think popular entertainment such as these books help to broaden our minds in a healthy way, despite the very obvious faults within the writing itself.

Whether you agree or disagree about the merits of this particular series, I think the best thing about these books is that they have started a conversation, about healthy and unhealthy relationships, and about the very way in which we think and talk about sex.

We all have our guilty pleasures and it’s about time we felt less guilty about them.

Stay tuned next week for ‘Let’s talk about sex’ part 2 when I discuss sex education in Canada and the current issues surrounding it. Meanwhile, feel free to e-mail me with your thoughts and comments.

Organizations: The Business Insider

Geographic location: Canada

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