The steamy Fifty Shades of Grey books have been read by millions and the movie will soon be seen by even more. We may never know how many orgasms they triggered, or how much marital boredom they enlivened with vaginal balls and riding crops, but there’s no doubt that the franchise is a cultural phenomenon. And like all phenomena, it has generated a lot of buzz. Some of it good, but much of it is questionable. For example, we hear that women who have read the book are more likely to be in abusive relationships. But is this causation or correlation? This article will explore what does 50 shades of grey mean sexually and what we can learn from it.
In the simplest terms, Fifty Shades of Grey is about a virginal college student (Anastasia) who meets a sexy/wealthy/successful 27 year old billionaire (Christian Grey). He is interested in kinky sex, and Ana is intrigued by his dark interests. They embark on a relationship that is neither purely romantic nor purely sexual and that includes elements of both control and eroticism.
The title of the book comes from the idea that we see things in shades of gray rather than black and white. It also refers to the fact that Grey is a man of many shades, and it’s not clear whether he is completely evil or completely good. In some ways, this is also how the story develops.