Fifty Shades started surge of Mammy Porn in Ireland

first printed in the Sunday Independent on February 2, 2016

Jillian Godsil, who wrote ‘The Cougar Diaries’, has interviewed people about the impact of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. With the film adaptation of the book about to hit our screens, she reckons men in the audiences could be in short supply

50 shades pic

 

 

 

 

 

PRIOR to the publication of Fifty Shades of Grey, what might be considered deviant sexual practices were not discussed at the dinner tables the length and breadth of Ireland, much less practised in the bedroom. But following on from the book’s publication, the conversation went mainstream and in between the sheets.

I started interviewing people and talking about the impact and found to my empirical knowledge that sex had mushroomed in Ireland. Taxi drivers, hotel porters and bartenders – the true barometers of Irish society – were having more sex than ever before and the women were driving the train.

Which is somewhat ironic since the protagonist in Fifty Shades is submissive and very passive. The very Irish women turned on by the book appeared to be tying up their men – and sales of rope in Woodies are going through the roof without a single shred of evidence of any DIY being done. So, the reason Irish men are smiling is less a case of ‘mommy porn’ and more a case of ‘mammy porn’, and you will do what you are told!

And now, the tale is coming to a cinema near you. Somehow, I don’t think this is going to be the ultimate romantic, first-date movie. In fact, I don’t think it will even mimic the Sex and the City experience where groups of women dressed up as their favourite character in the sitcom, drank cocktails and strode around town on impossibly tall heels.

We all know Fifty Shades has sold in huge numbers (about 100m and counting) but I am not sure how the transition from reading erotica to watching erotica on screen will play out. The former is normally a very intimate affair, the latter a public experience.

Then there is the question of appropriate fashion – will the ladies all bring their favourite piece of bondage equipment with them? And I say ‘ladies’ for I don’t think there will be that many brave male souls accompanying their partners to see the film. And for those guys, about to take that plunge, I salute you now gentlemen!

It is hard to believe that the novel was published only in 2011. The book, and the accompanying phenomenon, covered new ground, old ground and some very dodgy ground, but one thing is for sure, kinky went mainstream and there is no closing that particular drawer.

At the beginning of the Fifty Shades excitement, a number of elements were said to be behind its success. The first was the popularity of online book stores and electronic devices such as the Kindle. People no longer had to go into a book store and actually ask for a book – buying erotica or dirty books in the noughties was still like buying condoms in the last century, a shameful act that required much steeling of nerves. Now, the same purchase could be done seamlessly online. And even better, once purchased, no-one could tell what kind of book you were reading – it could be history, non-fiction or erotica.

But while the anonymous purchasing and reading may have propelled the initial interest, soon actual physical book sales were outstripping or at least equalling online sales. In the summer of 2012, it seemed impossible to fall over anyone on a beach not reading the same book. .

But then there were tales of the book being left behind in hotels. Travelodge published a report that said EL James’ book topped the list of most discarded books, which may not upset the millionaire author, but it does beg the question, will the audience react in the same way in the cinema?

For every one person I met who loved the book, I met one who hated it and was unable to finish reading. Will we see streams of people leaving halfway through, like a poor showing at an indie film festival?

My own personal reaction to the book was frustration, and not the good kind. I am a sex-positive feminist and consumer of both erotica and its more edgy bedfellow porn. I am a devotee of Cindy Gallop and her MakeLoveNotPorn start-up, an admirer of Erika Lust and her women-centric porn and some very quirky stuff in between. I do, however, draw the line at reading Barbara Cartlandesque prose just to get to a post-modern, hardcore sex story stapled thinly within such a storyline.

The writing was inspired, as we know, by Twilight fan fiction and it shows: with every inner goddess, subconscious dance move and references to those jeans hanging off his hips. But my biggest criticism of the book is also my biggest compliment to it – the role of women and its impact on women.

Ana, as a character, I hated with a passion. I hated her for three major things. The first was that she travelled hundreds of miles to interview a businessman, but never did any research before stepping into his office – instead she relied on her friend’s notes to conduct the interview.

There is one question at the end of her friend’s notes which asks if Mr Grey is gay. Ana, this supposedly intelligent woman, cannot read the question in her head without blurting the three words out loud.

This was in the opening chapter, and I think this is where my frustration set in. Why do attractive female protagonists have to be so stupid?

The second was the fact that, as an unlikely virgin at 21, Ana proceeds to have effortless, countless, mind-blowing orgasms with Mr Grey. It would appear she has clitorises all over her body, which makes her a medical wonder.

The final nail in the coffin, for me, was her rejection of presents from her boyfriend. I have to say render unto Caesar and all that. If I am dating a mechanic, then a bunch of garage flowers is lovely; if I am dating a billionaire, then a first edition book is very thoughtful. Or maybe I should have watched Boy Next Door (2015) where JLo is given a first edition Illiad by the eponymous anti-hero. Who is the foolish one there?

So will the Mna of hEireann watch erotica on the big screen now that Fifty Shades is being painted on the big screen? Yes – if only to brush up on their knot-tying techniques. Gentlemen, you have been warned!

Jillian Godsil is a Master’s student in screenwriting in IADT, freelance journalist and author. She has published a quintessentially Irish trilogy of feminist, activist and comic erotica under the pen name of Aoife Brennan and entitled ‘The Cougar Diaries’, Parts I, II & III, which is available on all good electronic devices. She blogs on real world stuff at www.JillianGodsil.com

Sunday Independent

Cougar Diaries – purchase here

Mixing your genres – Feminist, Activist, Comic ….Erotica!

How do you make the medicine go down? With a spoon full of sugar of course.

Watch me explain on video here

 

Last year when I found myself speaking into a vacuum about debt and austerity in Ireland, I decided to use the one weapon at my disposal, the one thing the banks could not take from me – namely my pen – and I wrote a trilogy that has at its core the harsh human cost of our economic tragedy. And I say tragedy because most of what has happened to Ireland was so unnecessary. I can guarantee that in all the reviews of 50shades there is not one mention of the collapse of the American banking system. Whereas in the reviews of my humble trilogy there are loads of references to the social and economic landscape that is Ireland today.

So, if you fancy the idea of reading about Ireland in recession, spiced up with some very naughty bits (for people cannot live by recession alone) then I think it would be a very good thing to buy and read my books. Telling the truth through fiction (and naughty bits) seems like an honourable thing to do. And reading about Ireland in Austerity is also an honourable pastime.

Here is me talking at the Women’s Inspired Network in Wexford to explain how I came to mix my genres.

The Cougar Diaries – thinking women’s erotica – Also read by men (and students of modern Irish history)

The Cougar Diaries, Part One (UK) (US)

The Cougar Diaries, Part Two (UK) (US)

The Cougar Diaries, Part Three (UK) (US)

and if you prefer hard copies – why not visit Lulu.com

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Interview with Aoife Brennan, author of The Cougar Diaries

Jillian Grab 4I have been working with South East Television and recently they asked me to interview Irish writer Aoife Brennan, author of The Cougar Diaries.

 

 

 

 

Jillian Grab 6

Aoife’s book is fascinating in that she writes from the heart. It is not your normal erotica, in fact it is it quite the opposite as her character faces real life situations and troubles as she tries to discover who she is post divorce. It is also very funny in parts and a little sad in others.

 

 

Jillian Grab 5 Aoife explained that this book is all about Sex and Divorce, but book two is all about Sex and Austerity. And funnily enough, it works. A real page turner. Watch here to see my interview with this lovely author.

 

 

Jillian Grab 3Sadly we had to take down the YouTube link HERE (NSFW). but here is a transcript of the very funny interview – lots of laughter and frank discussion!  Buy the book here (.com) or here (.co.uk)

 

 

Jillian:

The year is 2013 and the book title Fifty shades is synonymous with erotica or Mummy porn. People said it started off with ereaders – women could buy the most salacious reading materials and no one would know it. It also sparked off a discussion of the Orgasm Face – where watching people reading ebooks became a national pastime and people tried to guess not only what they were reading but which part they had reached – as in if they had reached a juicy part!

But last summer all over Europe and by deck chairs up and down by every pool was a copy of the ubiquitous book. People no longer hide it on ereaders, they read it loud and proud.

So fast forward to this summer and reading is again the popular pastime for women. There is endless choice available as everyone and his wife has written a bonkbuster – it’s the fastest growing genre on Amazon and it seems there is no letting up.

So today I am going to turn my attention to an Irish Author who has followed suit – only in a particularly Irish fashion. The book is The Cougar Diaries, Part I and it is by Aoife Brennan.  Critics are giving the book consistent five stars and some even say it’s like Roddy Doyle, with sex.

But while this latest book, the first in a trilogy, is gathering followers, the author is very shy. In fact, the author refuses to be filmed and only agree to the interview on the strict condition that her face is not shown. So ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Aoife Brennan

Or rather – I give you her voice

First of all, thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview Aoife. But I understand that you do not want to be recognised and that indeed you are writing under a pen name. Can you tell me why?

 

Aoife:    Laughs. There is only one thing more embarrassing than writing a sex book, and that is writing a sex book which no one buys. I believe in my books – all three of them – but I need to sell copies before I ‘come out’   Plus also there is the thorny issue in the country of debt. I have acres of it myself and I don’t want the banks getting their hands on my money thank you very much

Jillian: You are not alone there. But I have to ask you – you used the term ‘sex book’ is it  sex book?

Aoife: Yes and no! I have to confess there is sex in this book. Some pretty graphic sex and lots of it, but it is much more than a sex book. Warning contains plot (laughs)

 Jillian: A sex book with plot – how novel! Do tell more

Aoife: Well, I started off writing a non fiction book about my life. I was writing about my divorce, my descent into financial hell, the difficulties of dating again in my forties…when well my financial difficulties became so bad I just sort of segued into a sex book. And it was much more fun to write!

 Jillian: So, do women in their forties have sex then?

Aoife: Laughs. Of course. They say that youth is wasted on the young, well so too is sex! The hard part, if you’ll excuse the language, is getting back into the saddle again. You’d think, like riding a bicycle, it would come naturally again – but it doesn’t.

 Jillian: Well, I am glad to hear that women in their forties are having sex? Are they having it with men in their forties?

Aoife: Well, that’s the point. That’s why I called the books The Cougar Diaries. They are actually having a lot a sex with men much younger.

 Jillian: Good for the women in their forties, not so good for men in their forties

Aoife: Laughs – single men in their forties are having sex with younger women – that has always been the way, but now women are doing that too.

Jillian: So there are no forty year old people having sex with people their own age? No, I am messing but I hear your point. There are many examples in the media of older women with younger men, but is Ireland ready to embrace the Cougar culture?

Aoife: It’s already happening with a vengeance. I know many women of my generation who are single. When I told them I as writing a book about Cougar dating, they all came out and said, they were as well. There is a real comraderie between women of this age – there are a lot of downsides to being single in your forties, but there are some very good points too – notably the fun!

Jillian: You mentioned earlier that dating and having sex again was not like riding a bike, what did you mean by that?

Aoife: Well, I was married young but I think sex has changed a lot from when I was dating. It was all so …conventional I think. Now with 50shades and other popular erotica, we’ve opened a Pandora’s box and it’s a lot of fun. People are more experimental and open minded and I think that is a god thing. Sex between two consulting adults should be fun

Jillian: Of course in your book, without giving away the plot, there are some sex scenes were there are more than two? Why did write those?

Aoife: Laughs. I think if you asked most actively dating people today if they had or fantasied about having a threesome, they probably have done so or would like to given the right circumstances. It’s just fun times three and if handled with respect and sensitivity can enliven a couples’s sex life or indeed just create a fun night!

While I was writing the book, a very good male friend of mine kept on joking and asking if he could help with the research. When I was writing that scene in book one, I kept on thinking of him and changed the storyline with him in mind. It was very funny and when I told him afterwards, he was gutted but I just kept on chuckling! You’ll have to read the book to find out why it was funny though!

Jillian: I  hear there is a another hilarious scene involving a strawberry – it’s even got its own hashtag – #strawberrygate. Care to tell us about that one Aoife?

Aoife: I can’t or I’ll have to kill you!  It is a funny scene though. I was waiting for my kids at training one day so rather than stand in the rain, I hopped in the back of the car to finish a sex scene. It started normally enough but then my wicked sense of humour surfaced and I started writing a different ending than originally planned. I was laughing so hard as I wrote I am sure the other parents much have thought me off my rocker!

 Jillian: How do you find writing the sex scenes – is it difficult?

Aoife:  I had written about 10,000 words before the first sex scene reared its ugly head (laughs). I stopped writing and put the laptop away It stayed away for nearly three weeks before I had the courage to begin writing again. Then once I started I just kept on going. It was brilliant – I felt I had faced another challenge in my life and successfully overcome it. I was really energised. 

Jillian: Do you get turned on my your own writing?

Aoife:  Well, put it this way, there is a funeral scene in book two – of a minor character I have to add – and I must have cried about five times while writing it. Real tears running down my face. Even when going back to edit it, I still cried – and I knew what to expect (laughs). In the same way, when I a writing sex scenes I have to see myself in situ. I have to emotionally be at the core of every scene, especially in the sex bits. And yes, I find myself being turned on by my own writing. To be honest, if I didn’t turn myself on, who else would enjoy it!

 Jillian: At the start of the book, you or Aoife, was very worried about getting naked in front of a man who wasn’t her husband. How did you get over this?

Aoife: A wise man told me once that while having sex men tend to only look at the erogenous zones. They don’t see the belly or the cellulite or whatever is bothering the woman. Moreover men tend to like curves so while you may hate your more than ample size – and a lot of women in their forties are heavier than in their twenties – forget it because your sexual partner is probably quite enjoying it! There is too much pressure on people to be perfect or stick thin. We see it all the time in the media where even the beautiful people are photoshopped into something even more prefect. We have forgotten how to love who we are. As women we tend to be more critical than we should be. After all, we have to remember that the largest sex organ is the brain and the best aphrodisiac is confidence. So go get it girl!

Jillian: You said at the start, Warning this sex book contains plot. Where did you get your ideas from?

Aoife: Well, there is a lot of me in this book. A ‘me; if I was in a bonk buster so I have quite shamelessly used vast tracks of life and experiences in this book. A woman in her forties has a lot more to worry about then just sex, laughs. I mean there are often kids, the legal issues, unhelpful exes, aging parents, money worries etc…. and then the dance with no pants!  

A lot of readers have really liked the reality of the plot. Some feel I have stolen their lives but I have just documented a woman’s path through the mine field that is dating in your forties!

Jillian: Ok, I have to ask this question. There is a lot of racy sex in this book, and even more in book two I understand. So, is the sex fact or fiction?

 

Aoife: Jillian Godsil – if I had written a murder mystery would you have asked me if I had committed a crime!!!

All I have to say on record is – I did lots of research thank you very much,

 

Jillian: No, actually thank you Aoife Brennan for taking the time to talk to me today. I have read your book and loved it. I think you have stolen my life – except that I have not yet met Chris Sex God!

Aoife: He’ll come. You just give it time.

Jillian: Thank  you Aoife. It has been a pleasure. For those of you who enjoy old fashioned plot with a smattering of steamy smutt, then I encourage you to go and buy Aoife Brennan’s The Cougar Diaries Part I, with part II scheduled for release in the summer and the final part out by the autumn. On all good Amazon online stores …now!

 

 

 

cougar diaries cover

 

The Next Big Thing

On Wednesday 2 January my ‘Twitter/Crime/Modest’ friend Susan Condon tagged me in an online blogging initiative called The Next Big Thing which is a series of questions about writers’ next projects. The idea is to draw attention to writers and their blogs and to lead readers to writers they might not have come across before.

I have given Susan three labels as one is not enough. We first met as strangers in 2011 on the steps of the Westin having recorded a Christmas charity single that went into the Irish charts at number eight. Four of us started a conversation literally as we were leaving and have been in frequent contact ever since. Twitter is great for making new friends in real life.

Crime is of course Susan’s thing. So much so, her husband sometimes lies awake nights wondering if he is safe.  Recently I had a very funny conversation with Susan and another friend and crime writer Lousie Philips at Maria Duffy’s book launch. The two girls regaled me with stories of how they searched for gory details online on how to kill someone, what happens when you stick knives in funny places and then about bodies decomposing. Their children were less than pleased their kind mothers were engaging in such research and even worse, writing about it. So armed, I returned home to my two teenagers and said wasn’t it better that I was writing about sex and not horrible serial killers and the like. Both my teenager children said they would categorically prefer if I wrote about twelve year olds being killed! Hmmm.

Finally, Susan is one of the most modest people I know. She was won loads of awards and prizes and you’d have to stick knives into funny places before she would tell you. I am looking forward to her book very much. The little snippets sound thrilling. She is also a great supporter and friend and compassionate woman. Even if she writes about murder most foul!

 

My Next Big Thing:

Can I be greedy and say I am working on two next big things? Can I? Can I? They are both so different that it is like inhabiting two very different worlds. The first is a non-fiction book on the impact a severely disabled child has on a family; the way the lives of the parents and siblings are affected. It is a heart breaking book and the family were very honest with me. It is very painful and does not have a happy ending.

The second is of course a sex book. Absolutely salacious. I may have to publish under a pseudonym. However, I believe my book has a lot to say about a woman dating in her 40s post-divorce. Unlike the very obvious 50Shades, my sex book really looks at dating issues and then of course has lots of sex!

What is the working title of your book?

The non-fiction book is tentatively called Waiting for the Gift – in direct contrast to the notion that having a severely disabled child is blessing. Love is there but the burden is overpowering. My sex book has the working title of … My Sex book, lol.

Where did the idea come from for the book?  

The non-fiction book happened as I was approached by the family who wanted to share their experiences, good and bad, to help people facing the same issues and also to open the eyes of people, such as myself, who literally had no idea. My sex book was born from necessity. I was broke and decided that my poverty must be overcome. Sex sells!

What genre does your book fall under?  

Gift – the human condition with heart breaking aspects and some self-help and growth aspects. I guess it might also be considered a biography of a family in stress.

Sex – mainstream women’s commercial literature with plenty of good things to say about the human condition. Aha – there are some similarities between my two books aside from a common author

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?      IFTAs2012 019

Michael Fassbender can play the brother in the first book and the lover in the second. In fact, he can play all the male parts! Should Mr Fassbender agree to play the main lead in my Sex book, I think it only fair I should act opposite him.

 

 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  

Gift – uncovering the myths surrouding disability and the impact on the family

Sex – how to live, survive and have fun post-Divorce

 How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  

Gift took the guts of a year as I interviewed and wrote. Sex took six weeks for the first draft – I wrote like a woman possessed

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?   

I don’t believe there is a comparable book with Gift, not to my knowledge anyway.

Sex – of course 50shades but with a cold dose of reality and a very likeable 40 year old main protagonist

Who or what inspired you to write this book?   

I was invited to interview and recount Gift. I found it a real privilege to do so and found it very, very sad.

Sex was inspired by life but driven by poverty!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  

Some friends have been kind enough to read early proofs of both my books. With Gift a friend who works with siblings affected by disability in families said she found it very powerful and true. It is a story often forgotten and rarely told.

With the Sex book, the general reaction is for women to book their husbands into hotels and for men to take cold showers. I say no more….

When and how will it be published? 

Both are with my agent. I was very happy to give him Gift and really look forward to hearing back. I was mortified to give him Sex – poor man, what did he do to deserve to have to read that!

Just before I hand over to my tag team I wanted to add…

My life this century has been a little bit interesting. I write a blog which reflects that and also my latent activism. Sadly I have been severely impacted by divorce and debt and struggle to survive financially with my two great kids. I believe I have been given a voice and should use it. I have a huge number of people who support me but even more importantly are those people that I don’t know but who are in the same pickle as myself. One might fall, but together we can create change.

Or as citizen Smith once said …come the revolution! Lol

My other books are available on Amazon or Lulu

And now over to my diverse and interesting fellow writers – watch their posts on Wednesday January 16…

Tommy Collison

Tommy is an Irish student, blogger and writer. He writes and listens to a lot of music. He is a secondary school student in Limerick.

Links

https://twitter.com/tommycollison

www.tommycollison.net

 

Mary Bradford

Mary Bradford is a published writer of short stories in magazines, newspapers and anthologies both in Ireland and the USA. She had completed her first novel ‘A Thorn in my Side’. Her first short story collection, ‘A Baker’s dozen’ is now on sale on Amazon, Createspace and Smashwords in paperback, Kindle and ebook format.

Links

https://twitter.com/marytbrad

http://marytbradford-author.blogspot.ie/

 

Patricia (Trish) Nugent

Trish lives in Terenure, Dublin, and is a writer of poetry,memoir and short stories.

A part time actress, Trish has appeared in Fair City, Love Hate and several Movies and TV commercials.  She is a full time wife and mother of three sons and one daughter. She is a member of Rua Red writers group and An Cosan Drama group in Rua Red.

In 2011 Trish represented ‘Platform One’ for social Inclusion week by performing her own monologue ‘The Bisto Tin’ onstage at the Civic Theatre.  Presently Trish is compiling a poetry and memoir collection.

 

Links:

https://twitter.com/Trish_Nugent

trishnugentwriter.wordpress.com

 

 

Cindy Gallop – if she ran the world…

Aspire Magazine ran my article on Cindy Gallop on the cover of September magazine.

 

It was probably the hand action that secured the success of the micro talk at TED2009, that or the fact that Cindy Gallop had broken TED’s porn cherry with the description of her own sex life, the merits of hardcore porn and a personal preference not to watch sex films that resembled open heart surgery. In just ten minutes, a global sensation was born and a Cindy Gallop’s fame washed out of advertising circles and into mainstream social consciousness. Her diminutive frame and well-articulated vocabulary were at direct odds with her subject matter: the creeping ubiquity of porn and its damaging effect on society. However, Gallop is not anti porn, on the contrary she is a discerning consumer of it, but she worries about the effect that male dominated porn has on an impressionable younger generation, both male and female.

Gallop explained her problem and how she encountered at first hand the direct impact of porn on Generation Y, or GenY. In short, she dates GenY men and has sex with them. This point is only of interest as Gallop would be considered a cougar, and is somewhere in her fifties. She did not seek this departure, but during a campaign for an internet dating client while still working in advertising, she joined a dating site to see what it was all about. At the top of her field, single and very busy with work, she did not want a relationship and stated as much in her profile. To her initial surprise, this nugget of information proved very popular and she was inundated with offers of sex and non-committal relationships from young men.

Gallop stresses that she was not seeking young men and she was moreover very discerning in her choice of dates. This is a critical point as it shuts down those who might argue that her experience was slanted because of her circumstances. Gallop chose to date exceptional young men, at least one encounter mutated into a long term relationship. She is a very intelligent woman; she chose not to date unsavoury types.  But in dating younger men she came across very different sexual mores that had not been prevalent in men her own age or indeed during her previous sexual experiences. There was a whole range of new sexual behaviour that had moved directly from porn into real life and it was not a forward step.  To read more, please visit Aspire Magazine and start your free trial now

 

Argument in Favour of Fifty Shades

(this article first appeared in www.TheDailyShift.com on Saturday 4, August 2012)

 

Guest contributor Jillian Godsil reveals why she believes E.L. James’s infamous novel Fifty Shades of Grey has had a positive impact on modern society and is liberating women around the world…

 

Yes, that ubiquitous book again. It’s the name on everyone’s lips and it’s still flying off the shelves at an amazing rate. Everyone is calling it ‘mummy porn’ and the idea is that eBooks have liberated women and they can read erotica without anyone knowing.

There are some very funny jokes about the Fifty Shades face on the Luas. The trick is to look at women reading Kindles on public transport and guess if they are reading erotica. It’s called the Fifty Shades face and it’s a public version of a woman’s orgasm face.

Actually, we’ve leapfrogged past the part where women are reading erotica discretely; we’ve already gone well past that little hurdle. Women are openly talking about it, women of all ages, and the sales of the physical paper back are through the roof. So it’s not as though women are reading it on the sly. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Instead, what has happened is a revelation. Women like reading erotica. It’s the polite end of porn. Porn, while also increasingly pervasive, is largely dominated by men, so the content tends to be male centric. It is also disturbing as children as young as seven have admitted viewing porn. The gatekeepers of decency haven’t got a hope as porn is so firmly available everywhere. It’s not that porn is intrinsically bad, it’s just that it is predominantly skewed to a male stereotype. This is another conversation but have a look at what Cindy Gallop of makelovenotporn.tv has to say on the subject.

Back to erotica. Women like reading erotica. This has been known for a long time. Women have known for a long time that the largest sex organ is the brain. Men find this a little hard to grasp. They don’t understand the popularity of Fifty Shades: ‘There are no pictures’ is often the puzzled cry. The fact is that women like to imagine their own pictures and erotica allows them to do just that. Women also typically like to find a context for their lust, so a plot is helpful. This concept is behind the idea that foreplay begins at breakfast, women like to be warmed up and not cold taken.

So while women know they like erotica, the problem was where to find it. Chick lit has the context but limited actual erotic writing. There are only a couple of well known names in this field; Anais Nin wrote literary erotica, Nancy French curated women’s fantasies, Erica Jong coined the term the ‘zipless fuck’ and Julie Burchill played fast and loose with her female character in Ambition. But those are only four names and their styles are so vastly different it would be unusual to find them all on the same person’s bookshelf (ok, they are all on mine).

The beauty of Fifty Shades of Grey is that people know it is an erotic book. It is all about the sex.

It is not terribly well written, the style harks to Twilight. If you love Twilight, then great. It’s very Mills and Boon, but with nipple clamps. The main character is borderline hateful with her great skin and multiple orgasms without Mr Grey going anywhere near her clitoris. She also has an inner goddess that I would personally like to strangle.

Christian Grey is of course young, gorgeous and filthy rich. His jeans hang off his hips and it appears he has a very attractive penis. Someone once commented that their wife wouldn’t let him tie her up as Mr Grey does, only for the wife to retort that not only did Mr Grey have all the above favourable attributes, he didn’t pick his toenails during episodes of CSI.

However, all of those criticisms are irrelevant. The book has sold to date in excess of 20 million copies and is a by word for erotica. I personally want to thank E.L. James for breaking the glass ceiling on women’s reading. And yes, I am writing my very own erotic novel and so am very grateful for the newly popularised genre.

 

Jillian Godsil is on twitter @jilliangodsil and her blog is www.JillianGodsil.com.  Her books are available on Amazon.