Jamie Maclean is the founder and editor of theÂ Erotic Review Magazine,Â an intelligent and artsy London-based website dedicated to sex (and NOT the US-based Yelp for escorts of a similar name). So how could we allÂ not get on?! And then he called us “New Yorkâ€™s coolest sex therapists” and said that our new book, 150 Shades of Play, “makes Christian Greyâ€™sÂ Red Room of Pain look like a stationery cupboard, and Anaâ€™s Inner Goddess like a virginal mouse.” Our inner goddesses are doing cartwheels!
We recently chatted with Jamie for an Erotic Review podcast, which you can listen to hereÂ – we talk about, amongst other things, why Fifty Shades is so successful, and whether or not we feel guilty for jumping on E.L. James’ bandwagon while simultaneously poking fun at her writing (plot spoiler: we don’t!). Here are two brief excerpts:
Jamie Maclean:Â Fifty Shades of GreyÂ has had such an unprecedented sales record that itâ€™s hard to believe that its success stems merely from an introduction to (and a subsequent fascination with) BDSM. But if thisÂ wasnâ€™tÂ the only reason for its triumph, what other — or others — do you attribute it to?Â
Em: Well, for starters thereâ€™s the fact that Fifty Shades begin its life as Twilight fan-fiction — and if there was ever a story that was beginning for raunchy fan fiction, it was Twilight! So E.L. James didnâ€™t exactly come out of nowhere — she had a pretty big fanbase in that world.
We also think that all the money-related escapism in Fifty Shades helps readers feel more comfortable with BDSM in particular and sex and raunch in general. You see the same thing in the world of sex toys — buying a five-pound dildo in a sleazy sex shop frequented by men in raincoats feels dirty, but paying 400 pounds for a platinum-plated one in a fancy boutiue is just being naughty.
Lo: This also explains why BDSM is increasingly mainstream — itâ€™s increasingly expensive, well-designed, and nicely packaged! (Judith Krantz and Danielle Steele figured this out a long time ago, by the way, as did many many romance novelists).
TheÂ Shades of GreyÂ heroine, Ana, is more than a little seduced by Christianâ€™s obscene wealth â€“ a while ago she might have been the heroine of what was then called a â€˜shoppingÂ & fuckingâ€™ novel. And perhaps part of that bookâ€™s appeal hard-worked housewives is the altogether delightful fantasy of a young womanâ€™s untrammelled consumerism. And now thereâ€™s a scramble to accessoriseÂ Shades of GreyÂ sex. Is your book just another part of the â€“ unofficial â€“Â Shades of GreyÂ franchise?Â
Em: Ha ha we hope so! Weâ€™d love to get stinking rich off this.
Seriously, though, we take a sunnier view of all this consumerism: If itâ€™s making women more comfortable and open about reading erotica, buying sex toys, and getting kinky in the bedroom, can it be such a bad thing?
Lo: Personally, we love the idea that so-called porn for moms has taking the publishing industry by storm. Bring it on!
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