Explaining ‘Fifty Shades’ popularity and Success

A rich, handsome man charms a young innocent with lavish gifts and bold declarations of desire. With a smoldering gaze, he melts her insides, turns her legs to jelly and paralyzes her subconscious, paving the way for hot sex scenes while she attempts to crack his steely veneer.

Formulaic as it is, E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy is poised to become one of the fastest-selling series in recent years, with 20 million copies sold in the United States and 31 million worldwide since March….

What’s behind the trilogy’s runaway success? The books hit the romance novel scene at just the right moment, insiders say, riding a wave of smart marketing and benefiting from the erotica world’s e-book savvy. Plus, if the plot and characters sounds a bit like “Twilight” fan fiction, it’s because they’re modeled after them.

The most potent (and obvious) factor is that sex sells, and kinky romances like “Fifty Shades” are sating women’s lust for erotica-lite, said Jaclyn Friedman, author of “What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex & Safety.”

“The popularity of ‘Fifty Shades’ speaks to the fact that the dominant model of mainstream pornography and ideas of sex are targeted at men. The fantasy starts when he’s into it and ends when he’s done,” she said.

“A lot of women have said that they’ve learned the most about what sex could be for them from erotica novels,” she said. “These stories focus on female desire and what’s in it for the woman, and there’s not a lot of that in mainstream culture.” (Fox8.com)

I credited a huge chunk of the Fifty Shades phenomena to Twilight beings as it started out as a Twilight fanfic….but then like the article says…sex sells and all I’ve heard about this book is the kinky BSDM that’s within it’s pages…which I’ve been told isn’t really even in that much  of the book (I’m still holding out on reading this one!)…and I’m sure libraries banning the book only pushes the envelope more and selling even more copies!!  And let’s not forget the movie rights that have been spoken for….we all know that when a book makes it to film that everyone (a big chunk of people anyway) then wants to read the book as well.  Milking that money cow for all it’s worth…and who can really blame them??

~Commentary by OBS Staff Member Heidi