Dorothy Carter flips through Fifty Shades of Grey while she peruses the best selling books at Chapters on Douglas Street. Carter was curious to leaf through the book after having heard hype on TV surrounding the erotic novel

New era for erotic lit?

Fifty Shades fad driving desire to become more sexual, says Victoria sex therapist

Its title has seeped into Facebook statuses and tabloid headlines, comedians have staged dramatic readings, and at Chapters in Downtown Victoria, the racy book and its two steamy follow ups are the store’s top three best-sellers.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James – the first in the series of sadomasochism (SM) erotica which has been widely criticized for its poor quality of writing – has become one of the fastest selling books of all time, and one local sex therapist began experiencing an onslaught of women bent on getting in tune with their sexual side like never before.

“It’s interesting to me, how the people who have never really been interested in sex are suddenly interested in erotica and more of an erotic life for them and their husbands,” said Jayne Weatherbe, a Victoria-based marriage and family sex therapist in practice for the last 30 years.

“What I’m also noticing in friends and family is that people who have never really been interested in sex in their marriages are suddenly getting really interested.”

Next week, the 63-year-old therapist hopes to address those desires she attributes to the book by offering three free workshops aimed at women of all ages who would like to feel sexier.

University of Victoria political science professor Janni Aragon specializes in pop culture and gender issues and sees some troubles in Fifty Shades.

Aragon completed her thesis on women in sadomasochism at San Diego State University and says the research reveals most women in SM play the more dominant role, unlike the submissive role portrayed by the lead character in the book.

She likens the work, which initially began as fan fiction linked to the Twilightseries, as similar to any other fad women are told to buy into – from the South Beach Diet to Brazilian waxing.

“Too bad it’s not good writing,” Aragon said. “Too bad it’s not more philosophical, but people want some sort of feel-good thing and if this is causing women to be more sexual or sensual, that’s positive. I just hope lots of women aren’t buying into that they need to be submissive … this want to be submissive and to have a man take care of you is very Twilight-esque, very Harlequin-esque.”

Metchosin and Vancouver-based contemporary romance writer Susan Lyons – who also writes under the pen name Susan Fox or Savannah Fox – has noticed a marked boost in her foreign sales since the rise of the Fifty Shades of Greyphenomenon.

“The industry is responding,” Lyons said. “Publishers are repackaging books to look more like 50 Shades of Grey – the kinds of covers that women will take out in public.”

On July 11, Aragon noted, Penguin Group rereleased Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beautytrilogy repackaged with a Fifty Shades-esque cover and a line that reads “If you liked Fifty Shades of Grey, you’ll love the Sleeping Beauty trilogy.”

Lyons, like Aragon, is unwilling to purchase the book due to her disinterest in a theme of female submission. Weatherbe admits the writing may not be of high literary merit, but it’s having an effect on the women around her.

“The one good thing about this is that women are talking about sex and sexuality,” Aragon said. “Sorry to be so cliché: that’s a win. Now if we were talking more about female orgasm, positive sexuality, positive body image – I’d be happier with that.”

Weatherbe’s free workshops run Monday through Wednesday evenings (July 30, 31 and Aug. 1) downtown, in Saanich and Oak Bay. For details and to register call 250-388-6434.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Victoria school district to spend $10,589 per student next year

School board approves $250 million budget

Driver crashes car into building on Quadra Street

Emergency crews respond to single vehicle crash Thursday morning near Mason Street

West Shore RCMP receives five cougar reports in two days in Colwood

Colwood and Sangster Elementary Schools taking precautions

More checks on contractors part of BC’s new pavement marking program

20,000 Km of lines to be painted, some given second coats

Esquimalt-based HMCS Regina makes third drug bust in two weeks

Ship seized hashish and heroin in Indian Ocean

VIDEO: Large dust devil swirls through town in B.C.’s interior

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Second dump site of Dungeness crab discovered in northern B.C.

DFO confident new site related to larger April 2 dump

Northern B.C. high school student reaches 100,000 followers on YouTube

Voice actor, animator, Jericho Fortune has more than 30-million views on his channel GTAGAMER222

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

B.C. woman pleads for people to stop stealing daffodils meant to honour cancer victims

Cynthia Bentley honours memory of those lost to cancer by planting 100 daffodils each year

Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment, according to the company

Most Read