'Fifty Shades of Grey': From erotic fantasy to real-life hazard? Plus, the Guantanamo connection

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The outrageously popular erotic tome Fifty Shades of Grey may be responsible for some interesting trends among British couples and Guantanamo prisoners, according to CNN.

Published in 2011, and the first in the trilogy by E L James, the fan-fiction-turned-bestseller cast a warm afterglow on the lives of bored housewives and fans of drugstore paperbacks, harlequin romances, and Lifetime specials everywhere. But now its kinky premise, of a college grad’s foray into sadistic sexual play with a businessman, extends beyond a sultry beach read into a burgeoning international phenomenon.

First, in Britain, in which Fifty Shades was the best-selling book of 2012, firefighters now know more than they ever wanted to about the public’s bedroom behavior. CNN reported that London firefighters noticed an uptick in emergency calls regarding individuals caught in handcuffs — 79 incidents total, since 2010, which pales in comparison to the calls London fire crews received from individuals stuck in “everyday household items” — 1,300 to be exact.

“I’m sure most people will be Fifty Shades of red by the time our crews arrive to free them,” Third Officer Dave Brown told CNN.

Beyond British couples getting kinky with it, Fifty Shades is apparently popular among Guantanamo Bay prisoners, according to the Huffington Post. Virginia Representative Jim Moran told HuffPo: “Rather than the Quran, the book that is requested most by the [detainees] is Fifty Shades of Grey. They’ve read the entire series in English, but we were willing to translate it.

“I guess there’s not much going on, these guys are going nowhere, so what the hell,” Moran added.

Fictional story plots, especially those of the fantasy genre extending to real life mimicry via role-playing, merchandising, and theme parks, is nothing new, but does it make a difference when a plot this sexually graphic ceases to become a middling afternoon-delight read and is used for real-life sex tips? I don’t think we’re close to a pandemic of Christian Grey copycats anytime soon, but maybe we’ll just have to wait until theĀ movie comes out.


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