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What Do You Think Makes 50 Shades Of Grey So Sexy?

50 Shades of Grey

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What Do You Think Makes 50 Shades Of Grey So Sexy?

Are you like me left wondering what makes 50 Shades of Grey so sexy?

[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]”Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” — Oscar Wilde[/tweetthis]

It’s rare for a man to appear on the cover of a woman’s magazine. But in advance of the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie this month, British actor and Calvin Klein model Jamie Dornan made it onto the cover of February’s Elle UK.

I don’t think it’s his best picture, really. He looks tired and distracted. But my fellowFifty Shades fans on Twitter profess to like it anyway.

“C’mon, really?” I tweet. “What’s the attraction?”

“His arms.”

“Are you serious?”

“Definitely. They’re strong and powerful.”

“I don’t hear women talking about guys’ arms that way in real life.”

“Maybe not to you.”

“Good point.”

Still, I’m skeptical. In the book Fifty Shades of Grey, the heroine Anastasia Steele often goes on at length about Christian Grey’s physical beauty—his magnificent hair and sculpted body. I found it unconvincing.

Maybe I’m just jealous. But I had a feeling his body wouldn’t have counted for quite as much if he wasn’t a billionaire and didn’t have a high-end stainless steel designer kitchen overlooking downtown Seattle.

Since Elizabeth Bennett first began to warm to Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice after getting a look at his country estate at Pemberley, many a literary heroine’s feelings for a man have been influenced by a setting that suggests wealth, power and good taste.

For most men, a beautiful woman’s body is an immediate turn-on. For most women, the response to a man’s body isn’t quite so automatic. But if in addition to having nice arms, he also has that aforementioned high-end stainless steel kitchen with a view of downtown Seattle, then things might get interesting.

I return to Jamie Dornan on the cover of Elle UK and notice that he’s hugging himself. My Twitter colleague notices this, too.

“Women like that, you know. Strong arms to hold you and protect you. That’s appealing.”

OK. But I have to use my imagination there, because the idea that protection might be erotic is totally foreign to me as a man.

“OMG I just figured it out!” my Twitter companion exclaims. “It’s all about power. Ana walks into Grey Enterprises and thinks, “He has power over all these people, and I have power over HIM!”

Now that makes more sense. And maybe it explains Jamie Dornan’s image on the cover of Elle UK. His arms look strong, and his hands do seem to yearn to hold someone. But he looks a bit off his game—a little vulnerable, perhaps.

I’m reminded that it’s Christian Grey’s love for Ana that makes him so vulnerable. Indeed, there are many places in the book where she might well think, “He has power over the whole world, and I have power over him.”

Christian Grey is just fantasy, of course. He’s a rich Häagen-Dazs flavor of delicious ingredients whipped up in just the right combination to excite. His looks, his wealth and power, his passion for the woman he loves, his urge to protect her and (as we discussed in Fifty Shades and the Tests of Love”) his willingness to endure suffering on her behalf.

But the most exciting flavor of all may be the power of the heroine who has him helpless with desire.

He has all this power, and I have power over him. What could be more erotic?

It’s the biggest turn-on in the whole book. Hey, even a man can understand that.

www.sexualityresource.com(link is external)

 

Stephen Snyder, M.D., is a sex and couples therapist, psychiatrist, and writer in New York City. He is currently Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. He has lectured nationally on topics related to mental health aspects of sexuality–combining the biomedical perspective of a physician and the psychological perspective of a sex therapist. He has been an active member of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research since 1995. He has been a featured lecturer and discussant at the Society’s national meetings, and has served on both its Professional Book Award and its Consumer Book Award committees. Over 25 years of practice in Manhattan as a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and sex and couples therapist, he has worked to develop better treatments for sexual problems– including integrative treatments that combine medical and psychological approaches.

His current major areas of interest include: sexuality and the self; diversity of individuals’ sexual natures; current controversies regarding the “medicalization of sexuality”; and sexual psychology in popular culture (be sure to catch his blogs on Twilight, and on Alvin & The Chipmunks). He lives with his wife and children in New York City.

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