50 Shades of Grey

Sales of this aren't dropping off any time soon. But we should already know that writing quality doesn't effect sales: James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell etc... A club here in Bristol bought out all the copies that were in Smiths, Waterstones and Sainsburys and had them as giveaways for people who came down the club on a Friday night. With how quick we're selling out, it's probably the easiest way to get hold of it!
Anyway, who wants to read about straight sex? Yuck. ;)

Who indeed? :p

About the download thing, probably another huge factor in its popularity must be Kindles/iPads, since people can read it in public and not have the social stigma of having the book cover on display for all and sundry to see.
Like most good romantic fiction it is gushing with, well, romance. Hopelessly in love beyond anything you have ever experienced in your life romance. In this sense the book hits its target.

Actually, that's not a good description of any of the romantic fiction I've read. The characters are generally swinging like a pendulum between love and hate. With a good deal of lust thrown in for good measure. Characterization takes second place to the plot, such as it is.

And it's not true that women have just discovered erotic fiction. If you mean books with lots of sex, then that would describe a lot of category romance. Sometimes described in (improbable) detail. And although there are not whips and chains, in the historical romances there is frequently a sadomasochistic edge to the sex. (The male has sex with the female to punish her in some way, when he's in the hate phase -- of course she loves it in spite of herself) None of this is true of the entire romance genre, but it is closer than what you are describing.

I think it's that so many women are openly reading something with an open element of SMBD that is different.
And it's not true that women have just discovered erotic fiction. If you mean books with lots of sex, then that would describe a lot of category romance. Sometimes described in (improbable) detail.

In the Friends Of The Library bookstore where I volunteer, we can't seem to keep the Sandra Brown books on the shelves. They literally fly out of the building. Of course they may seem tame by comparison with the subject book.

A while back a pair of very sweet, late middle-aged women came into the store with a fairly large donation of trade copy paperbacks. We thanked them and they went on their way. When we got to looking at the collection, we were somewhat amazed at the salacious degree of the subject matter. They were "romances", but definitely high octane. We didn't know how to display them. We didn't think they would fit in the generic Romance section. So we finally created a seperate section for them and labeled it "New Age Romance" for want of a better term. They weren't around long. ;)
I have to admit that I do want to read it, if I can snag it free from somewhere, just so I can properly snigger at it. I've read sections (you can 'see inside' on Amazon and it's like russian roulette to get a sex page). I think the writing and the awful cliches (falling face first into the office the first time she meets the cool, oh-so-manly Mr Grey) would drive me insane.

Also, see comments from anyone in the actual BDSM scene and they'll tell you just how much of an awful misrepresentation it is. But I think the fact that lots of people are clamouring to read it shows it as a kink that more people are interested in than society at large would have us believe. It at least scores a point for opening conversation about what consenting adults can enjoy.

But from what I hear, the 'emotional' relationship bits paint a troubling and sexist relationship that I don't really want to read about.

And it's Twilight Fanfiction.
I'm on Tumblr and there's so much slash fiction. Especially in the Sherlock fandom :D Most is very well written.

And, don't generalise, there are men out there who would.
Actually, I'm sure there are women out there who would.

You've never ventured into fan fiction, have you? There is tons of gay sex in there, mostly written by women for women. It's popular with female readers for exactly the same reason that "lesbian" porn is with men, i.e. two hot members of the desired sex are better than one ;)
I like to think of it as the adult version of Twilight, but without the vampires of course :)

I have yet to read it but I don't think I ever will. I can't stomach erotic literature of any kind. It sends chills didn't my spine.
it's peddling exactly the same "abusive stalker as romantic ideal" crap that Twilight did -

I wouldn't be surprised to find out neither author has ever had a stalker, I have, it wasn't sexy or romantic, when he was telling me we were 'fated to be together' I was scared, I used to hate being anywhere I could be cornered. This genre in writing bothers me, but I was lucky, it petered out and I was never physically harmed. I get that it's fantasy, but surprisingly enough my fantasies do not involve stalkers, and I'm sure I'm far from the only one. I do quite like erotica, but only if it's clearly consensual and fun.
It has been shown in studies that while men like - um - visual prompts, for women, words work more effectively. Women's porn has been around a long time - black lace books were probably the most mainstream up to now. Sadly, too, the actual set up - controlling man with a consensual (I haven't read it, but I think it's a concensual relationship) is a very standard one. Thing is, most men don't actually want the scenarios played out in magazines as their standard in life (I think), and most women don't want the scenarios outlined in the book in life, either. (The secretary was another that explored this type of relationship, wasn't it?)

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