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Blog Snog: The Fifty Shades/Frozen Mashup Is So Wrong It’s Right

February 13, 2015

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Top 10 Things We Hope the “Fifty Shades” Movie Does Better Than the Book

February 12, 2015

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OMG IT’S TONIGHT OMG IT’S TONIGHT OMG IT’S TONIGHT! The film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, the first book in the mega-selling erotic trilogy by E.L. James, finally opens tonight! Well, officially it opens tomorrow, but a bunch of theaters are holding screenings tonight. Ladies, we hope your limos are booked (ours is… seriously). With the casting of Jamie Dornan (The Fall)¬†as Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson (The Social Network) as Anastasia Steele, many diehard fans have been crying foul, saying that the filmmakers got it wrong. They certainly get Jamie Dornan’s hairstyle wrong in the movie, of that much we’re sure. Then again, we’re not sure any casting would have been universally warmly received (short of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart), but we do think the film has a chance to definitely get some other things right. Behold, our top 10 improvements on the book we hope to see in the movie tonight:

1.¬†No cable ties: In the first book, when Christian visits Ana at the hardware store and picks up some DIY bondage supplies, it’s implied — intentionally or not — that he’s hoping to use cable ties as wrist restraints on his next guest in his Red Room of Pain. Big mistake. HUGE! If used in such a way, cable ties could cause cuts, poor circulation, and a little thing called nerve damage. The only thing they should be used for in BDSM play is organizing all the cords of your various plug-in vibrators.

2. ¬†No explosive orgasms from Ben Wa balls. It’s just not realistic, at least not for the majority of women. Giving them the same power as, say, a vibrator just sets women up for yet another sexual expectation most can’t meet. Balls (like LELO’s Luna Beads) are better suited for working out your pelvic floor muscles and thus improving pelvic health, which can lead to better sexual sensations. But as little balls full of cosmic orgasm potential? Uh uh.

3. Give Ana some sexual experience. Just a smidge. We’re supposed to believe an adult woman who’s not a member of the FLDS can graduate college with absolutely no sexual interest, no¬†experience with men, and no attempts at masturbation ever? It perpetuates the myth that women aren’t sexual creatures until the right man comes along. Please. She’s the virgin and he’s the stud, and they save each other — gross.¬†And even if we were to believe that such a mythical woman could actually exist, it would be totally irresponsible — reprehensible even — to dunk her over her head into the world of BDSM.

4. Full disclosure on the¬†slave contracts. Christian doesn’t¬†ever clearly articulate to Ana that slave contracts are not actually legally binding — you know, thanks to Abraham Lincoln and that whole abolitionist movement. Here’s a kid, for all intents and purposes, who is not what you would call worldly or business savvy or lawyered up. Not cool for a romantic interest who’s supposedly falling in love.

5. Easy on the controlling, abusive, stalker-ish behavior. Christian spies on her and tries to control who she can see, where she works, what she eats — and she is not down with it. She’s afraid he’s going to hurt her; he causes her physical and emotional pain she doesn’t want — that’s not a D/s relationship, that’s abuse. And where’s the aftercare? Christian is a terrible top. The movie should make him a better one.

6. More well-adjusted kinky characters.¬†It would be nice if the movie could add a character or two who’s into kink who isn’t royally fucked up. In the book, it’s Christian the controlling abusive boyfriend, his crazy gun-wielding ex sub, and his statutory rapist from when he was a kid. Not exactly the best advertisement for the kink community, the majority of whom are uber-responsible, law-abiding, stable citizens.

7. Drop Ana’s issues with eating. ¬†With Ana forgetting to eat all the time, not being hungry and being forced to eat by Christian,¬†it’s like she’s got an eating disorder. Maybe EL James was just playing around with a woman’s ultimate fantasy of never being hungry, but it’s a distracting issue — let the girl have a healthy appetite.

8. Have Ana enjoy the kink more. She can be conflicted about it, sure, but she should ultimately love it, embrace it and not be so afraid of it.

9. Make the sole minority character less date rape-y.¬†Jose, basically the one minority in the book, is on a clear path to sexual assault as he tries to take advantage of Ana when she’s super drunk outside the bar. He tries to kiss her even though she keeps saying no and trying to push him away. He continues to hold her in a bear hug and is about to commit a crime before Grey breaks it up. Criminal tendencies aren’t a great quality in a “really good friend.”

10. No Ana narration. We hope and pray the movie dispenses with Ana’s insipid internal dialogue. Please no voiceovers about the “ghost of a smile” on Christian’s face or her cartwheeling Inner Goddess.

For an awesome book about kink that should be made into a documentary movie, check out our award-winning¬†“150 SHADES OF PLAY: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink”¬†– now available as a Kindle E-book!¬†

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Top 6 Love Lessons from “The Bachelor” (The Badlands)

February 10, 2015

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from “The Bachelor’s” hysterical Twitter feed

After such a tepid start, this season of¬†“The Bachelor”¬†has really started delivering on the crazy, thanks in part….okay, all thanks to the evil manipulation of events by the hand-rubbing, mustache-twirling producers. Let’s give the jock the short wedding dress during the mud run competition so she’s sure to win the one-on-one date where Chris can unceremoniously boot her off! Let’s force Chris to ditch his other dates and secretly take the one they’re most jealous of to a concert she won’t even like (but the others would have loved)! ¬†Let’s make Chris keep the two craziest ladies in the house long after he wanted them gone just so he can dump them both in the Badlands and escape via helicopter!¬† We’d feel pretty morally outraged if we weren’t so shamelessly entertained.¬†With all the choreographed drama this week, there weren’t a lot of obvious love and dating lessons¬†to be gleaned, but somehow we managed. After all, we’re professionals:

  1. Even though it feels like you “won’t ever get over” a breakup (Mackenzie), you will. Especially if you’re only 21. Life goes on, and you will too. The more proactive you are about it, the better.
  2. Just because you’ve never experienced something in the flesh, doesn’t mean your first time with it has to be totally uninformed. Whether you’re an inexperienced kisser, a heterosexual intercourse virgin, or a newbie to the Bend Over Boyfriend Kit, do a little research, read up on some tips and tricks, watch some vids for inspiration, and/or practice by yourself. For example, even though Becca may be a virgin, after a great date with obvious chemistry there’s really no excuse for kissing Chris like somebody’s parents would in front of their little kids.
  3. As soon as you feel overconfident about the security of your relationship, that’s when you should really worry about losing it. Overconfidence breeds selfishness, myopia, and lackadaisical loving — three things that are anathema to a healthy, thriving relationship. The person who thinks they “have this in the bag” often has a big-ass hole in their bag.
  4. When it comes to makeup, less is more. Use a light touch when applying foundation. And, for the love of all that’s holy, do not attempt contouring unless you are a professional makeup artist, otherwise you’ll end up looking like you rubbed dirt all over your face for you’re date (which, if your date was in the dusty Badlands, maybe you did).
  5. If a lot of people, including the person you think you’re going to marry, feel the need to point out certain personality flaws to your face, that’s probably a good time to do some soul searching and life questioning, rather than doubling down on the idea of how perfectly unflawed you are.
  6. As much as we understand the impulse (and enjoy watching the resultant visuals on TV), do not revel in the romantic misfortunes of others, because the exact same fate likely awaits you…and soon. Karma’s a bitch (and so is the Bachelor).

 


 
Read up on last week’s love lessons learned from “The Bachelor.”¬†

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How to See the “Fifty Shades of Grey” Movie in Style

February 10, 2015

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In case you couldn’t tell from the onslaught of Fifty Shades posts on our site in the past week, we’re a teensy little bit excited about the¬†Fifty Shades of Grey movie that opens this Friday. It’s not because we loved E.L. James’ book. (We didn’t. Too many inner goddesses doing cartwheels and too much cliched writing.) It’s not because we expect the two stars to have any chemistry on screen. (They clearly don’t.) It’s not even because HOLY MOTHER EFFING SPARKLY VAMPIRES IS JAMIE DORNAN HOT. (He absolutely is, but the filmmakers inexplicably ruined it all by giving him a bad haircut in the movie. Who knew it was even possible to make him look unappealing?) And it’s certainly not because we expect to get any decent sex tips from the movie. (That’s what our book is for, duh.)

No, the reason we’re excited is this: What better excuse can you think of to get your drink on with a bunch of lady friends and go giggle at the big screen? And that’s exactly what we plan to do. It will be a much needed respite from the rather bleak selection of Oscar movies this year:¬†Nightcrawler is brilliant but cheerless. Mr. Turner is simply cheerless. The Theory of Everything seems kind of uplifting until you Wikipedia Stephen Hawking and realize how soon he is likely to be suffering from locked-in syndrome. American Sniper is a great movie that made us feel bad about America.¬†Still Alice made us weep.¬†Foxcatcher made us feel funny inside. ¬†(Bad touch! Bad touch!) And so on.

So tell us this: Which of the above movies would be appropriate to see drunk on champagne? Only Fifty Shades of Grey! Which of the above movies would be appropriate to car-pool to in a cheesy white stretch limo that is more commonly hired for local proms? Only Fifty Shades of Grey! Which of the above movies warrants you getting dressed up and teasing your hair big like you’re actually attending one of those local proms? Yep, you got it: Fifty Shades of Grey.

And this is exactly what we plan on doing this Friday, February 13th. Yes, we’re serious about the stretch. Our husbands think we’re nuts, but they just don’t understand. Sure, this could be a painful viewing experience, but as the inimitable E.L. James wrote: “There’s a very fine line between pleasure and pain. They are two sides of the same coin, one not existing without the other.”

So get your tickets in advance (they’re selling out), rent the limo, and get your girlie drink on without shame!

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The Best Last Minute Valentine’s Day Present This Year!

February 9, 2015

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Here are the top 10 reasons why our book¬†150 Shades of Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink — now also available in a discreet Kindle edition! –¬†makes the best Valentine’s Day present this year:

  1. It gives you the great excuse to try something new in the bedroom — perfect for longterm couples on Valentine’s Day.
  2. It also has staying power. The perspectives it can give you on kinky sex can inspire your sex lives for years to come. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
  3. It’s timely and relevant. We’re pretty sure even Kurdish fighters know that the Fifty Shades movie is opening this weekend. Our book helps put such a huge cultural phenomenon into perspective, in a way that’s fun and flirty (and actually well written).
  4. It helps round out a nice gift basket of treats for Valentine’s Day: chocolates for your sweetie’s sweet tooth, tickets to the Fifty Shades movie for some eye candy, roses for romance, and 150 Shades of Play for playtime! (Way better than some ill-fitting lingerie they’ll never wear.)
  5. Even if your partner doesn’t love it, you can pass it off as a gag gift that makes a great bathroom book. Just turn to the entry on ¬†pony-play!
  6. The lighthearted tone of 150 Shades of Play takes some of the pressure off of you two to perform (unlike the gift of, say, a strap-on dildo).
  7. It’s a great way to give your partner hints about what you’d like to try…just happen to leave a bookmark or post-it next to a section that catches your interest, then leave the book on their pillow/night-stand. Or just get the book for yourself, read up on some tips and techniques before Valentine’s Day, and then wow your luvva with your amazing new moves!
  8. Not only can it improve your sex life, it can improve your social life! You can enliven future cocktail parties with some of the trivia you’ll learn from 150 Shades of Play:¬†Did you know that we get the term “masochist” from Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch, the author of the 1870 novel Venus in Furs? Both he and his main character got off on being degraded by dominant women wearing fur. And that’s one to grow on!
  9. It’s affordable!¬† Especially on Kindle! You get so much — 230 pages of well-researched history, fascinating cultural information, good sexual advice, precise technical instruction, cool illustrations, and side-splitting humor (basically everything that wasn’t in Fifty Shades) — for so little: dollars less, in fact, than what 8 measly pieces of Godiva chocolates costs! Less even than a single movie ticket in most of this country!
  10. Not only will you be giving your partner/friend/friend-with-benefits a great gift, you’ll be giving us a gift too: By buying our book, you will literally help keep this site up and running. So won’t you please be our Valentine?

150 Shades of Play is available on Amazon.com, in either a gorgeous glossy paperback or a discreet Kindle edition. Visit 150ShadesOfPlay.com for more information about our book, including excerpts and praise from actual celebrities.

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Watch the Entire “Fifty Shades” Movie Online Right Now!

February 6, 2015

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Okay, it’s not exactly the entire movie. But from these five sneak-peak clips that ran on the Today Show this past week, you basically get a complete picture (lots of awkward pauses, dubious chemistry, lame Christian Grey hair). Are we still gonna see it? Hells yes! But now, you don’t have to. Here they are, in what we’re guessing is chronological movie-scene order:

“We offer an excellent internship program.”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 
“Ok… rope, tape, cable ties. You’re the complete serial killer.”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 
“You’re energetic this morning.”
“I’m making pancakes!”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 
“I don’t do romance.”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 
“This is my playroom.”
“Like your Xbox and stuff?”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Catch up on all our “Fifty Shades” posts in this Special Issue:



The Top 5 Writing Lessons of “Fifty Shades of Grey”

February 6, 2015

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According to Wikipedia, the¬†Fifty Shades of Grey¬†series “has sold over 100 million copies worldwide and been translated into 52 languages,¬†and set a record in the United Kingdom as the fastest-selling paperback of all time.”¬†Not only has it introduced many people to the world of kink, it’s given them a lesson in how¬†not¬†to write. And if a lack of literary merit didn’t slow down sales, well, at least people can learn about the elements of style while being turned on by the elements of sadomasochism.

1. Avoid repetition of words and phrases. 

When Ana first meets Christian Grey, she thinks she spots a “ghost of a smile” in his expression. That’s a nice, descriptive way of putting it — it’s easy for the reader to imagine. The problem is, James uses the same exact phrasing only a few pages later, for the same character. And that’s not the last we hear the term “ghost of a smile,” either — it pops up a few more times in the first book. Using something so specific again and again just comes across as lazy.

 

2. Use adverbs sparingly. 

Anastasia Steele never met an adverb she didn’t like, especially when it’s modifying the way she or another character speaks: “I mumble almost inarticulately”; “I murmur apologetically”; “he murmurs softly.” (For painfully excessive use of the word “murmur” throughout¬†Fifty, see rule #1).

 

3.¬†Don’t use substitutes for the verb “said.”

The¬†Fifty Shades¬†characters rarely just “say” something, they¬†whisper¬†it, they breathe it, they¬†moan¬†it, they mumble it, they¬†murmur¬†it,¬†ad nauseum¬†(see rule ¬†#2, and then rule #1). One of Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules on Writing is this:¬†

Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But “said” is far less intrusive than “grumbled,” “gasped,” “cautioned,” “lied.” I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated” and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.

What he said.

4. Be accurate. 

There is such a thing as creative license, but E.L. James’s should be revoked. Like driving, creative license is not a right, but a privilege, and should be used responsibly and with the utmost care. For example, the author creatively personifies Ana’s internal struggles over various situations as two polar-opposite people living in her head: a sex-loving, open-minded, free-spirited, back-flipping “Inner Goddess” and a careful, cautious, judgmental worrier called her “Subconscious.” Cute, but what Alanis Morissette did to the word “ironic,” E.L. does to the word “subconscious.” To quote Inigo Montoya from¬†The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” If it were truly Ana’s subconscious guiding her, Ana would not be aware of her — that’s what the whole “sub” part of that word means: not conscious! Similarly, there are a ton of British anachronisms in a story about American characters living in American cities with nary a funny Mancunian sidekick to rub off on them. James even includes an apology at the end of the third book for including a scene so preposterous that it defies all logic and law — that’s when you know you’ve abused your creative license.

 

5.¬†Don’t worry about the rules of writing.

E.L. James didn’t, and look where that got her: laughing all the way to the bank! The most important thing is just sitting down and actually writing. As long as you do that — ideally with passion and conviction — then there’s a chance (albeit small) that you can ignore rules 1 through 4 above and still be a success.

If you liked Fifty Shades¬†(despite the writing), you’ll love 150 Shades of Play, our how-to companion piece to the popular trilogy!¬†

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Blog Snog: Fifty Shades of Bad Tattoos

February 6, 2015

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The 17 Most Annoying Aspects of the “Fifty Shades” Story

February 5, 2015

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By Lindsey Kupfer for YourTango.com

Here’s a refresher course on how messed up Fifty Shades really is.

The¬†Fifty Shades Of Grey¬†movie hype is growing as the movie’s release date (February 13) gets closer, which means a barrage of media attention is once more on the mommy porn flick. And¬†that¬†means I get to hear endless apologies and explanations for how what may be the most sexist, poorly written piece of literature since Tucker Max thought he was relevant.

Listen, if¬†Fifty Shades Of Grey¬†turns you on, that is your business. You do you. I’m not here to judge anyone for their bedroom behaviors, be it vanilla¬†sex¬†or BDSM. As long as you’re all consenting adults, have at it. But there are parts of¬†Fifty Shades Of Greyand its sequels (Fifty Shades Darker¬†and¬†Fifty Shades Freed) that are much more painful than being spanked with a riding crop, and I’m not talking about the painfully, secondhand embarrassingly bad dialogue (which is bad enough).

It’s the relationship between Ana Steele and¬†Christian Grey¬†that’s really disturbing, and at times flat-out abusive. Also unsettling? The relationship between Ana Steele and herself. And between Ana Steele’s brain and, I’m guessing, huffing glue. Here are the creepiest, most disturbing moments in¬†Fifty Shades Of Grey¬†(and its sequels). Keep these in mind when deciding whether or not to order advance tickets to the movie, okay?
 

1. Ana Steele doesn’t have an email address.

Listen, I can forgive and understand someone not having a computer (you can use labs at school) or a Smartphone (they’re not for everyone). But 21-year-old Ana Steele not having a f*cking email address? Seriously? No one graduates or even enters college without an email address.¬†Your college will give you one if you don’t have one already. And if you don’t have one already, you’re either Amish, elderly, or don’t exist.
 

2. Ana Steele has no self-esteem.

To be fair, Ana Steele goes beyond basic and into “remedial” territory, but she should still have a modicum of respect for herself if only for being a living, breathing human being. Instead, she spends her time wondering if she’s good enough for a man who compares her to his “crackwhore” mom and controls her every move. How empowering.
 

3. Ana Steele has never had an orgasm.

Let’s be clear: This has nothing to do with being a virgin. You don’t need a partner to have an orgasm.
 

4. Christian Grey wanted to take advantage of a drunk Ana Steele.

When Ana Steele drunk dials Christian Grey, he shows up at the bar, is a dick to her pal, and scolds her for acting like any young 20-something. Then he tells her that he wants to have sex with her. While she’s too wasted to give consent. Yeah, nothing sketchy about that (if you’re Bill Cosby).

5. Christian Grey is basically a stalker.

In only the¬†second chapter¬†of¬†Fifty Shades Of Grey¬†(EL James wastes¬†notime),¬†Christian Grey shows up at Ana Steele’s job even though there are plenty of hardware stores in the world that he can access at any time. He continues popping up and refusing to leave her alone throughout the story, despite her insistence. That’s not romantic. That’s psychotic.
 

6. Ana Steele doesn’t have a lawyer look over the BDSM contract.

Considering Ana Steele didn’t have a second set of eyes reading her BDSM contract with Christian Grey, she basically went in blind and a with a real handicap. Also, to reiterate, she’s a college graduate without an email address. I’m willing to bet she didn’t quite understand all of the stipulations and risks involved with this.
 

7. Ana Steele loves Christian Grey’s super-creepy gifts.

Sure, there’s nothing inherently creepy about a Blackberry or a laptop, but there’s a lot wrong with someone giving you a Blackberry and a laptop for the sole purposes of controlling, tracking and manipulating you (and showing up at your house if you don’t text him back fast enough). Also, that book,¬†Tess Of The D’Urbervilles? It’s basically about a woman being raped repeatedly. How romantic! You know, if you’re Ted Bundy.
 

8. Christian Grey tries controlling Ana Steele’s diet.

Remember when Christian Grey tells Ana Steele she needs to eat three meals a day? Because there was no other way for her to know nor find that information other than from his mouth? Or when they’re at the restaurant and he makes her order steak? First of all, he shouldn’t have to force her into eating steak. Steak is f*cking wonderful. But he also shouldn’t, you know, force her into anything. What if she were vegan? (Just kidding, she wouldn’t be vegan or have any other sort of distinction in her diet nor her character, because she doesn’t have a personality.)
 

9. Christian Grey is attracted to his mother.

Okay, technically to women who¬†look¬†like his mother. The same mother to whom he affectionately refers as a “crackwhore.” That’s about as flattering as being told, “You look fat today,” only¬†about a million times worse.
 

10. Christian Grey’s own mom thought he was gay.

Dude, come on. If that isn’t a red (or rainbow) flag, I don’t know what is. Also, while we’re at it, remember when Ana Steele’s buddy Kate Kavanaugh is shocked that Steele is “fascinated by a man?” Why wasn’t anyone asking if Ana was the gay one here?
 

11. Christian Grey buys the company where Ana Steele works.

It’s remarkable that someone as basic and useless as Ana Steele was able to find and keep a job at a publishing house, and it was a good sign of her growing independence and confidence. So Christian Grey takes that away from her and essentially becomes her boss in yet another arena without her knowledge. Hot.
 

12. Christian Grey arrives uninvited at Ana Steele’s mom’s place.

No normal man wants to spend extra time with his mother-in-law. Not even yours. Not matter how great your mom is. Know that.
 

13. Ana Steele gets pregnant by accident.

When taken correctly, birth control pills work. Ana Steele had a Blackberry. Why couldn’t she set an alarm? I’ve seen¬†Maury. I don’t buy it.
 

14. No one says “jeez” that much.

Seriously. No one. Ever. Toddlers have a more sophisticated vocabulary than this.

 

15. Ana Steele’s “inner goddess” is about 11 years old.

Oh, need proof? Here, direct quotes:¬†”My inner goddess jumps up and down with cheer-leading pom-poms shouting yes at me.” Also, “My inner goddess looks like someone snatched her ice cream.” Basically, Christian Grey may be an accidental pedophile if we’re going by mental age.

16. Ana Steele’s brain literally doesn’t function properly.

Early in the book when Christian Grey first visits Ana Steele at Clayton’s, she muses, “And from a very tiny, under-used part of my brain‚ÄĒ probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata where my subconscious dwells‚ÄĒcomes the thought: He’s here to see you.” That is not what your medulla oblongata does. Your medulla oblongata handles boring stuff like¬†breathing, body temperature regulation and your heartbeat. Your “subconscious” doesn’t “dwell” there, and if it does, well, it explains why you think this is quality writing.
 

17. Ana Steele is taken aback by really mundane things.

From the multiple uses of baby oil to not realizing coffee shops also serve tea, Ana Steele’s epiphanies prove natural selection is a load of bullshit, because she’s almost too stupid to live.



Erotic Deathmatch: Fifty Shades of Grey vs. 150 Shades of Play

February 5, 2015

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This is the face the other Jamie makes when judging our book better than the one his movie is based on

Jamie Maclean is the founder and editor of the¬†Erotic Review Magazine,¬†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 all¬†not get on?! And then he called us “New York‚Äôs coolest sex therapists” and said that our book, 150 Shades of Play, “makes Christian Grey‚Äôs¬†Red Room of Pain look like a stationery cupboard, and Ana‚Äôs Inner Goddess like a virginal mouse.” Our inner goddesses are doing cartwheels!

We chatted with Jamie for an Erotic Review podcast, which you can listen to here¬†– 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:¬†Fifty Shades of Grey¬†has had such an unprecedented sales record that it‚Äôs hard to believe that its success stems merely from an introduction to (and a subsequent fascination with) BDSM. But if this¬†wasn‚Äôt¬†the only reason for its triumph, what other — or others — do you attribute it to?¬†

Em: Well, for starters there‚Äôs 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 didn‚Äôt 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 — it‚Äôs 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).

The¬†Shades of Grey¬†heroine, Ana, is more than a little seduced by Christian‚Äôs obscene wealth ‚Äď a while ago she might have been the heroine of what was then called a ‚Äėshopping¬† & fucking‚Äô novel. And perhaps part of that book‚Äôs appeal hard-worked housewives is the altogether delightful fantasy of a young woman‚Äôs untrammelled consumerism. And now there‚Äôs a scramble to accessorise¬†Shades of Grey¬†sex. Is your book just another part of the ‚Äď unofficial ‚ÄstShades of Grey¬†franchise?¬†

Em: Ha ha we hope so! We’d love to get stinking rich off this.

Seriously, though, we take a sunnier view of all this consumerism: If it’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!

You can listen to the entire podcast here at the Erotic Review website. And you can get your own copy of our book, 150 Shades of Play, here.

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