Fifty shades of anticipation

Erotic literature is more popular than it has ever been before.

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy that has topped best-seller lists around the globe and sold more than 90 million copies is being transformed into a movie, which began production on Dec.1, according to Internet Movie Database.

Fans hungrily read through the first book in the trilogy, which told the story of romance and erotic sex between timid college graduate, Anastasia Steele and a young, attractive entrepreneur, Christian Grey.

The first novel was published in June 2011, and the third was published in April 2012.

The books have developed a cult-following. Fifty Shades’ loyal fans have created a fan website and conducted a petition poll as to whom was ‘qualified’ enough to star as the infamous Christian Grey.

The phenomenon that is “Fifty Shades of Grey” has started a new era of erotic literature.

However, the big question weighing on fanatics’ minds is, how will they turn the erotic literature into an R-rated film?
In Health Science 425, a Cal State Long Beach human sexualities course, Professor Claire Garrido-Ortega discusses psychology and history in a way that explains the recent emergence of interest in these risqué novels.

Erotic literature has existed through poems, manuscripts, lyrics and verses ever since ancient Greece and Rome, before the 17th century. Shakespeare was also known to have written erotica in his time, although these plays were never performed.

However, throughout history, social and sexual taboos have been placed on erotic literature. These bans have led to the ban of many erotica novels, such as the very controversial book, “Forever…” by Judy Blume.

Recently, psychologists have been researching more about the newfound fad of erotica that “Fifty Shades of Grey” has created, making prevalent a different perspective on the psychology of sexuality.

Bondage, Discipline, Dominance/submission and Sadomasochism (BDSM), and erotic practices involving restraint, sensory stimulation, and role-playing are sexual lifestyles that some people prefer.

Garrido-Ortega said that psychologists have started conducting more research on the topic of BDSM and what it is about this trilogy that has led to its enormous popularity.

Although the trilogy consists of many erotic sex scenes bound to make readers wriggle and writhe in their seats, it also has a lot to do with romance and the desire to be swept away into a fantastical relationship filled with passion and ecstasy.

According to an article on psychologytoday.com, “A large number of Americans believe that they are duds in bed. They think that everyone else is having a much more interesting sex life than they are.”

Some relationship psychologists have begun assigning partners who are experiencing sexual problems in their relationships, to read the trilogy in hopes of improving their intimate lives, bringing the novel from naughty to clinically useful.

Research and Human Sexuality courses such as the one taught by Garrido-Ortega infer that it is likely that the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy will inspire readers to be more experimental and creative with their own sexuality, and improve their intimate connection with their partners.

The movie is expected to hit theaters in February 2015.