For the rest of you still hanging out, thanks for being curious :)
Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James is taking over the bedrooms of bored women across the nation, or so the headlines have been screaming. The book charts the complex relationship of Anastasia Steel (literature student) and Christian Grey (wealthy entrepreneur). It's the classic story of unworldly, slightly clumsy, doesn't-know-she's-hot girl meets experienced, dark, I'm-in-need-a-therapist hot guy.
The twist, if you're not aware, is that instead of your run-of-the-mill romance novel steamy scenes, EL James lets her readers explore a slightly darker gamut of sexual expression in the world of dominant/submissive, accompanied by some light bondage, a touch of flogging (not in the Spanish Inquisition sense), and a few spankings. That would be BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism) and all of the ensuing combinations.
I'll kick off my review with this statement - sexuality is not fixed or binary, it is highly personal, and as long as you and your partner set the boundaries and are honest with each other, what you do with and to each other is your own damn business.
If you think erotica is porn, well, I'm surprised you're still reading this. I could devote another post to explaining the difference, but porn is visual and leaves nothing to the imagination. Erotica is sensual and requires imagination on the reader's part. The difference is profound - porn is a 10-minute quickie whereas erotica is a drawn-out seduction.
Back to Fifty Shades. This book started out as online fan fiction for Twilight. Oh yes, the main characters were once Bella and Edward. The influence is easily discernible, which may put you off or pull you in.
I also easily tired of our narrator, Ana. She's young, innocent, exploring her sexuality for the first time (she starts out as a virgin), and is written accordingly. She can't bring herself to talk about her or Christian's body directly; instead she refers to down there, his erection, or the apex of my thighs. She constantly says holy shit! when something arousing happens, which gets annoying because it seems so juvenile.
Despite my literary beef with the execution, it distresses me that the media sharks out there have dubbed this work mommy porn <shudders> There are so many things wrong with that term - it's sexist, disparaging, and dismissive.
To be honest, this is Introductory Erotica. Unlike most of the user-submitted stuff you can troll for online, Fifty Shades at least had some quality control, but there's better stuff out there. If you've never tasted this taboo genre before or are already a closet Harlequin reader, I endorse this for you. But if your sexuality is more robust, this will leave you unsatisfied.