Well, I read it and, if I’m honest, I feel let down.
I desperately don’t want to belong to the weighty group of detractors who snobbishly dismiss it as “mummy porn”. Neither am I keen to be one of the masses who use it as a literary aphrodisiac to pep up an ailing sex life. Instead I find myself in a third category, maybe alone, feeling queasy, uneasy and a little bit sleazy for having read it.
Queasy because the overall premise did not sit well with me – young virgin is seduced by rich and powerful sadist who uses her innocence against her in order to abuse her physically and emotionally whilst saying “I’ll stop if you don’t like it.” Believable it wasn’t, comfortable reading certainly not.
Uneasy because, in these post-feminist times, is this really what women of a certain age are looking for from their light reading? Mummy porn? This is far from my idea of titillation and far from any sexual fantasy I can identify with.
Sleazy not necessarily for the talk of sex toys, sex acts, positions and entry points, nor for the number of times he rolled a safe-sex-for-the-unsafe-sex condom down his impressive length. More for the sheer number of sexual encounters stuffed between the covers and the unsavoury taste they leave in the mouth. Having said that I couldn’t help but admire the sheer gall of an author who gives the inexperienced heroine a 100% orgasm strike rate with earth-shattering climaxes (sometimes multiple) whichever way he takes her.
Holy cow/hell/shit/crap, as Anastasia said many, many, many times throughout the book – EL James is obviously exploiting us just as much as Christian Grey is taking advantage of Ms Steele.