While you might be thinking “not another Fifty Shades of Grey article,” its phenomenal response has raised some valid questions about whether it’s helped or hindered the advancement of women’s sexuality. Is all this female sexual submissiveness actually doing us more harm than good? Or should women embrace it as an opportunity to speak up and finally demand to be seen as sexual beings? We turned to a few experts to find out.
First up is the opinion of Dr Debby Herbenick, researcher and author of Sex Made Easy. “Fifty Shades is getting a lot of people thinking and talking more openly about sex, sexuality, desire and interest,” she told the Washington Post. She sees this as a positive for female sexuality because more women are beginning to open up (so to speak) to “feel comfortable enjoying something about sexual fantasy and arousal.”
This opinion isn’t difficult to support. If you have a look on the net there are a host of others in the field of women’s sexuality giving their thumbs up to Fifty Shades. Their main argument being that the book has provided an opportunity for women to finally speak up as sexual beings.
Women are also taking it that step further and becoming more sexually confident. The phenomenon has apparently been great for the sex toy industry, ironically aimed at women, and has boosted sales remarkably. Plus, there are now a lot more couples beginning to experiment with introductory forms of bondage. Increased communication about sex seems to be the determining factor for a lot of advocates, suggesting Fifty Shades of Grey has made a positive impact on women’s sexuality overall.
Then there are opinions like that of Megan Maas, a sexuality educator. Standing against popular media like Fifty Shades and it’s positive impact on women’s sexuality, Mass questions it’s overall effect on increased violence and abuse towards women in an article for the Huffington Post. This opinion has also been shared by many. Given the high rate of domestic violence and abuse against women in many countries this is a particularly valid argument.
Women are still being victimised, abused and raped and it continues to go unreported at alarming rates. Plus, even when women do report that they are still being victimised, many never see their day in court or justice done for crimes against them.
Additionally, regardless of the impact the erotic novel turned movie has had on women’s ability to talk about sex, they remain treated unequally when it comes to labeling sexual behaviour – men are still called studs and women sluts in similar situations. We really can’t say with conviction that anything has changed here. Therefore, is this indicative of advancement in women’s sexuality? Probably not.
Either argument is valid regarding Fifty Shades of Grey’s overall impact on women’s sexuality. Yes, women can possibly talk about sex more openly; however, the fact that there is such widespread abuse and violence toward woman is a testimony that more than talking is needed. Fifty Shades might be popular entertainment for some, but it also serves as a grim reminder that we clearly have a long way to go before female submission is a mere choice.
Image via tumblr.com