And while a lot of what I read may not rank high among literary masterpieces, quite a few always lead to some interesting debates. These days it's hard to find anyone who does not have an opinion on the most talked about book of 2012, Fifty Shades of Grey.
The naughty, but not exactly well-written, trilogy has opened the door for many conversations and now, some 10 months since the books peaked in popularity, there is a bit of a baby boom ... and no wonder. Regardless of your or my opinion on the quality of the writing, pop culture consumed these en masse. And couples were all of a sudden exploring in the bedroom.
Heck, even at the Everything To Do With Sex Show a few weeks back, almost every vendor was trying to capitalize on the increased interest in bondage.
I mentioned that in passing to a few of my more open-minded coworkers and we soon found ourselves immersed in a discussion on what is erotic and what is too much.
I have some pretty clear rules when it comes to exploring the world of bondage, domination and submission: nothing that causes pain; nothing that humiliates; and nothing that crosses the line in terms of our marriage vows.
Outside of that, there are many aspects of the "Fifty Shades" experience that excite me; and I'm not even touching on the ridiculousness of the plot. I have no delusions of meeting a rich, young, handsome man with nothing better to do in life than strap virgins onto a St. Andrew's cross in a personal playroom somewhere in Seattle.
One of those aspects is how in my own bedroom, things have been a bit more "bound and determined" when it comes to being playful. Being blindfolded and teased is a highly erotic experience for me. It touches on a desire in me to be dominated, but at the same time falls right into my safety zone. For my husband, it allows him the opportunity to do some of those things to me that I typically do to myself. He can indulge in the erotic thrill of my forced orgasm, using a toy on me while I am totally incapable of bringing myself to one.
Eroticism requires a heightened level of anticipation. It goes beyond just the physical stimulation, but plays on the imagination at the same time. Which means the unknown of what sensation to expect next when being blindfolded enhances the excitement for me ... and I know I'm not alone in this. Ethel Person of Columbia University reports that 51% of women imagine being forced to have sex and another 33% get off on pretending to be a slave who must obey a man’s every wish.
And it's not just Person saying it. According to many studies, exploring a submissive role is one of the leading sexual fantasies for women. Psychology Today estimates that between 31% and 57% of women entertain fantasies where they are forced to have sex.
For many women, it is a safe way to be bad, permission to be naughty in a way that is still a little shocking.