Can Jamie Dornan Deliver the Magic as Fifty Shades’ Christian Grey?

Can Jamie Dornan Deliver the Magic as Fifty Shades’ Christian Grey?

It’s That Time Again  July 16, 2014 In 2012 the world went temporarily crazy for Fifty Shades of Grey, which sold 100 million copies. It seemed every woman in America was reading E. L. James’ 3-volume erotic romance. We discussed the book at length on these pages, in articles such as “When Should a Sex Therapist Recommend Fifty Shades of Grey to Couples?,”  “Why Fifty Shades Leaves Women Wanting More,” and “Fifty Shades for Men.” After a few months, though, no one wanted to talk Fifty Shades anymore. Like a new dance craze, it lasted a single summer and then was gone. I felt a little embarrassed to have written about the book at all. But now the movie is coming out on Valentine’s Day 2015, and Grey fever is back. My twitter feed has been lighting up with fan sites discussing the movie trailer’s release on Thurs July 24 as if it were the Second Coming. Most of the interest in the movie seems focused on who’s playing the main characters. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, Don Johnson’s daughter Dakota plays Anna Steele. And Calvin Klein model Jamie Dornan is Christian Grey. These casting decisions have been parsed with an intensity greater than the World Cup Final. I had trouble at first understanding all the excitement about something as mundane as casting. But now that the trailer is coming out soon, I’m starting to get a feel for it.   Heart of Many Rooms This week I was interviewed on a FiftyShades fan site, and I learned a new word: “book boyfriend.” A book boyfriend is...
The Year in Clinical Sexuality, 2012

The Year in Clinical Sexuality, 2012

  How are they ever going to make this into a movie? This year Fifty Shades of Grey flashed 1,2 and 3 on the New York Times bestseller list all summer long — only to pretty much disappear from the national consciousness with the arrival of Fall.    While it lasted, though, FiftyShades spawned a magazine,  a Katie Roiphe piece in Newsweek, a party game, and a great deal of attention among the commentariat regarding whether or not the book was a good thing for womankind. A fan fiction spin-off of Twilight, FiftyShades generated a host of questions, such as — “Is it an accurate portrayal of BDSM?” “Why do women tend to get excited about the same thing as their friends?” “How could Drew Pinsky have the temerity to discuss it on TV without reading it first?” and “Should men read it, and why?” No question about FiftyShades, though, got nearly as much attention as “Who will be cast as Christian Grey in the movie?” Would it be Ian Somerhalder?   Miley Cyrus’ fiancee Liam Hemsworth?  Or some other young man with a buff bod and a winning smile? In the sex therapy world (especially after the FDA’s rejection of Boehringer-Ingelheim’s desire drug flibanserin)  many hoped the book would be of some benefit for low-desire couples.    Initial reports seemed promising, but the final verdict was expressed best by  HuffPo’s Julie Gerstenblatt, who wrote  — “My friends and I read the books and enjoyed them and experienced a momentary spike in our marital sex lives (‘for like a week,’ as my friend Kate said, rolling her eyes) and then we...
Before the last word is said about Fifty Shades

Before the last word is said about Fifty Shades

Here’s a question: Does anyone have any idea why Fifty Shades of Grey has sold so many millions of books? I’m asking because in all that I’ve read about this book, I haven’t seen one mention of what it’s really about.  And why it’s been such a runaway success. Is it because of the explicit sex scenes? (No, I don’t think so.) Is it because of the BDSM? (Not likely.) No, the reason Fifty Shades has captivated so many American women is this: It’s a book about impossible love – made possible by courage, persistence, and luck. Just like Twilight: A young woman falls in love with a vampire.  Impossible.  But they make it work. In Fifty Shades a young woman falls in love with a deeply damaged man who is a sexual dominant.   He needs a submissive woman, and he’s had many such women.   But he hasn’t been able to fall in love with any of them.  So he’s deeply lonely. He meets the heroine, who of all the women he’s met, does not have a submissive bone in her body.    So it’s impossible. She too has never been in love before. But by the end of Volume 1, she has against her will fallen deeply in love with this tormented man.   In the first book . . . At the very end . . .  in a moment of profound tenderness, she tells him she loves him.  His response is brief.  “Oh, no,” he says. She leaves his place immediately, goes home, falls on her bed and is wracked with sobs.  She is broken. Except...
When Should a Sex Therapist Recommend Fifty Shades of Grey to Couples?

When Should a Sex Therapist Recommend Fifty Shades of Grey to Couples?

Eighth in a series on Fifty Shades of Grey   Can Fifty Shades save your relationship? I’m hearing the same thing from sex therapists all over the country — If you recommend Fifty Shades of Grey to clients who are stuck in unhappy sexual relationships, some of them will come back reporting better sex. We sex therapists are practical folks.  We’ll use whatever works — as long as it’s ethical and legal.   But what is it about Fifty Shades that’s made it the latest gadget in the sex therapy toolkit?  Here’s my list of reasons– 1.   It’s respectable. Hey, it’s in the New York Times.   Still number 1, 2, and 3 on the New York Times best-seller list this week.   That gives a couple permission to read it without being labelled as perverts.    Permission-giving is a crucial part of sex therapy. 2.  It’s popular. You can discuss it with your friends.  As I wrote in “From Beatlemania to Fifty Shades of Grey,” ultimately Fifty Shades may be so popular simply because it’s popular.   So much of sexiness is power of suggestion anyway. 3.   It’s a romance novel. Romance novels are the most lucrative genre of literature in the publishing world.   The dashing but dangerous billionaire driven mad by his desire for a virtuous but irresistible young woman.   That story has been selling like hotcakes since 1740. 4.  It’s got BDSM. No, that’s not the latest hip-hop group.  For those few who still don’t know, BDSM stands for “Bondage, Domination, and Sado-Masochism.” According to my colleague Dr Wednesday Martin, the kinkiness in Fifty Shades is mere...
New York City Sex Therapy Diary:  Fifty Shades for Men

New York City Sex Therapy Diary: Fifty Shades for Men

OK, guys — By now you’ve probably noticed your wife or girlfriend has become more interested in sex since reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Have you thought of reading it yourself — to find out what all the fuss is about? I’m going to tell you a secret:  I read the whole thing.   All 3 volumes. It really isn’t so bad.  True, there are large sections devoted to clothes and shopping.  And the beginning of Volume 3 especially might make you feel like a prisoner at a crafts fair.  But there’s a lot a man can learn from Fifty Shades. Here are three lessons I think every man should absorb from this book.   1.   Be interested in sex. That doesn’t sound too hard, right?   Aren’t all guys interested in sex? Actually, no.   Not from a woman’s point of view.   You really have no idea what women go through to make themselves sexually appealing.    Women pay attention to every detail.   You take a woman out on a date, you can be sure that her hair, her skin, her outfit, even her shoes have all been studied very carefully. Christian Grey sweats the details in just that way.   He selects his clothes as a woman might — to highlight his best features.  And he makes sure he has great-smelling lotions and stuff in his (very clean) bathroom.   He’s interested in the whole sensory experience — the colors, the music — everything. Christian Grey is really interested in sex.   He has a whole room devoted to it.   OK, it’s full of implements of pain — whips and floggers and stuff.  ...