Love it or hate it, you’ve heard of the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy, and unless you’ve been tied to a bed post for the past month, chances are you’ve heard about the big screen version set to release on Valentine’s Day. Most of the conversations being shouted around the web are either bubbling with enthusiasm, or ooze scorn from every paragraph. While I may not agree with either the frenzied fans or the condescending critics, I do absolutely agree that this is an important moment in history.
My roommate let me borrow a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey back when it burst out as a social tidal wave. I had seen so many copies of it in benign places like the subway and the grocery store that the thought didn’t even cross my mind to put it away when the cute cable guy showed up at my door wearing nothing but ripped jeans and a tool belt to accentuate the rock hard planes of his abs. Just kidding. He was wearing a shirt.
Anyways, he noticed the book lying out and mentioned his girlfriend was reading it. I revealed that I thought it was rather boring and he looked at me like he was scared I might jump him any minute and bend him over my knee. Using considerably vague language, I quickly explained that, while the book had some juicy scenes, it was lacking an engaging plot to keep me from skimming from one spank session to the next; that I was somewhat of a connoisseur of erotic fiction and I had read numerous novels that appealed to me more.
Basically I had just told a stranger of the opposite sex I consume a lot of porn and this wasn’t my favorite. This is not a conversation that would have ever happened 5 years ago. I don’t care whether Fifty Shades of Grey is a classic piece of literature or the trashiest of romance novels. It has gotten people talking. It has appealed to enough people that we’ve reached a critical mass and as a society have decided that it is ok to speak honestly and openly about whether or not you liked a work of erotic fiction dealing with BDSM. That is a HUGE landmark.
Popular opinion has determined that romance novels are a harmless vice but most people still consider all visual porn to be evil, even as they consume it. Yes, most porn is completely terrible, speaking from an artistic standpoint. It is generally unrealistic and not a good starting place for forming organic, positive ideas about sexuality; but not all of it is bad. Just because a representation of sex is taken from print to film does not turn it to trash. It’s in the composition and the care given to the final product.
Erotic fiction has had a lot of time to evolve. Check out literotica.com and you will find as many cringe worthy erotic stories as there are terrible porn clips, but what visual porn is missing, is the equivalent of the good romance novel. We have classic works of literature like we have Oscar nominated films, and we have the raunchiest most offensive erotic stories like we have the saddest porn clips. What we don’t have is the film equivalent to a good steamy romance novel. Chick flicks just don’t do the trick. You’re lucky if you see more than a kiss, and if you do see sex in a film, it’s usually coupled with violence or a strip club/whorehouse and used merely as a titillation device.
Can Fifty Shades of Grey turn the tide? Not on its own, but it is a great place to start. Whether it turns out to be a monumental flop or a stellar success, it is raising the bar and expanding the conversation about sexuality and the sort of fantasies that most people have had, but have not been comfortable admitting. Hopefully this conversation will lead to the conclusion that what we need is better visual representations of sexuality.
In the mean time we here at Sensory Fuse are not waiting around to see what will happen. Mainstream Hollywood should catch on eventually, and maybe we’ll be transported to a Golden Age of Porn Renaissance but until then we’re scouring the web to find creative and organic adult content. It’s a dedicated labor of love and lust. We’re not going to lie, it’s pretty fun. If you want to enjoy the succulent fruits of our labor keep up with us on social media and we’ll let you know how the search is cumming and when sensoryfuse.tv is live!