Fri | Mar 31, 2023

Sex sells

Published:Thursday | March 3, 2016 | 12:00 AMCorine La Font
E. L. James – ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.
Dakota Johnson (left) and Jamie Dornan in the film ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.

What's with the Fifty Shades of Grey? Why did it fly off the shelves in every continent, nook, and cranny? Sex sells, people!

I was asked to address this question by a client of mine and while I was hesitant at first because of the nature of what she was asking me to do, I thought to myself, "What the hell! Why not?" My client couldn't see why it was so

popular, since to her it portrayed women in a degrading manner. To each his own, or in this case, her own.

Now, what follows is my opinion and I have no way of substantiating this, but just being a woman and having a sense of what I believe to be true based on discussions I have had, with women. In addition, this in no way is to give credit or to promote the author or the book Fifty Shades of Grey. Just a little disclaimer there.

Fifty Shades of Grey and other erotica books appeal to many women for the simple reason that they secretly desire that type of love, affection, and intimacy from their partner. They may not show this in the day or while in uniform at work, but behind closed doors or after hours, this is their true desire. Do we as women have a dark side? I won't really say dark. I would just say hidden or another 'self' that needs attention. Do men know this is what women want? Some might, depending on the relationship and communication, while others don't for fear, resentment, a woman may be frowned upon by her partner or the man may not be able to fulfil this request based on how he was raised, his values and attitude towards sex and women.

What a woman desires may not be as deep as what 50 Shades demonstrated, based on what I watched in the movie or what is written in the book but along those lines are what women want from men.

It also works in the reverse. Men want that type of pleasure as well. Don't think for one minute that it's only women, though the majority would flock the movies or the books. Men did, too. Just that their egos get in the way but I am almost sure and willing to bet they wouldn't mind benefiting from it.

After a hard day's work, dealing with the kids, cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing, no woman wants to do any additional type of work when it comes to the bedroom. They take pleasure in allowing the man to do all the work and it is quite sensual and attractive to a woman when he becomes the lead or dominant figure while she remains submissive.

Writers of these types of books have to have a wild and creative imagination to conjure up the type of sensual thoughts and emotions that are required to make the book a success. You will find that many of these authors, when you see or meet them, do not quite look the part. In other words, you would never think upon meeting them that they would write such types of books or harbour such thoughts. They look... well... innocent, but then the beauty about the mind is that you can't read it and that's why these type of books can come from anyone, even you!

Some authors like my friend, New York Times bestselling author Alessandra Torre, does research before writing. She may test things out with her husband or visit strip clubs, adult stores, etc, to get a feel of her characters, setting and mood so that it communicates a realistic story rather than something made up or false. Readers can easily pick up when something is off, and if sales do start off well, it will quickly go down based on bad reviews.

I figure this article may have touched a nerve or two and I expect to have emails coming out of my inbox, but it's OK. The truth is simply the truth and for those of you who have books like these within you, don't hold back. Get it out. Believe me, it will sell!

Feel free to email me your questions like my client did and you may just see the response here or on my blog.

n Corine La Font is a speaker, author, coach and self-publishing consultant. She is also an award-winning publishing resource in the 2013 Small Business Book Awards. Get a copy of her book at, Subscribe to her magazine at tune in to her radio programme at and check out her website at She can be reached at