What are the lasting effects of ’50 Shades of Grey?’

Women are taking charge of their sexual fantasies.

As part of Metro’s annual sex issue, we explore today’s hottest sex trends both locally and nationally. For more of this year’s theme — kink — check out our 2012 sex poll and an interview with E.L. James herself.

With its bedroom banter, bondage scenarios and detailed explanations of what goes where, “50 Shades of Grey” has gone from a cultural must-read to the book your mother-in-law brought on vacation. With the initial hype dying down, what will be the long-lasting impact?

Expect an era where women can be more open than ever about what they enjoy in the bedroom — often taking charge of the fantasies themselves — according to experts. Sarah Forbes, a curator with the Museum of Sex in New York, says that she has observed more women writing erotic fan fiction online (which is how “Fifty Shades” began, as a “Twilight” spinoff). She chalked it up to women, more than men, needing to be stimulated mentally as much as physically. Writing about sexual daydreams or drawing sensual fan art can be an erotic experience. The success of “Fifty Shades” legitimized the form.

“It can just be fun and playful,” Forbes says of using erotica as a creative outlet. “It lets people create a relationship with these icons of our popular culture.”

Sex therapist Wendy Maltz points out that society has been “very repressed and uncomfortable” about the topic of sexuality, so fan fiction is a way to lighten the mood. It can open up discussion about people’s

real-life likes and dislikes, but this is only the starting point.

“There is a lack of healthy direct discussion about sexual issues,” Maltz says. “There is a difference between what are the real needs sexually for men in the general population and the more sensational extreme presentations that come out and are put into the mainstream pop culture and are not representative of real satisfaction to people in the long run.”

You now have ‘permission’

The experts we spoke to  recommended defining yourself against these forms of media, rather than being defined by them.
   
Dr. Stephen Snyder, a sex specialist and sex therapist, has seen an increased openness among women to explore their sexual sides. “Fifty Shades of Grey” has given women “permission” to explore explicit sexual fantasies, he says. The book might even improve your relationship, with a catch: “We’d probably need the men to read it too,” Snyder says. “There’s much that men can learn from Christian Grey about what women need, such as [expressing] his desire for his partner in words.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.