Is ’50 Shades Of Grey’ Women’s Gateway Drug To Porn?

Research from the University of Waterloo has found that the 50 Shades of Grey franchise has inspired women to consume porn in greater volume and variety.

The 50 Shades of Grey book became the focal point for lead researcher Diana Parry, associate professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies. According to Salon, Parry and her collaborator, Tracy Penny Light, became interested in the book when they heard about so many women reading it. The two researchers then set out to analyze 50 Shades of Grey from two perspectives.

“So, we published a paper that unpacked the book [’50 Shades of Grey’] and looked at it from a liberatory perspective and also a constraining perspective,” Parry said.

“One of the things that jumped out at us from that research was that so many of the women were hopping in for the first time to pornography or sexually explicit material that was written by women for women. It got women moving from the book [’50 Shades of Grey’] into consuming other types of books, but also sexually explicit material that’s online.”

Parry’s initial paper on 50 Shades of Grey led her and Light to conduct in-depth interviews with 28 women ranging in age from 21 to 54 about their pornography consumption patterns, sexual desires, and impacts on sexual practice.

Key findings are:

* Women are watching more online porn than ever before
* Women enjoy watching and proactively search for same-sex porn
* Regardless of sexual identity, some women consumed porn that only featured women

The last finding corroborates with a PornHub finding that women seek out more girl-on-girl porn than men do on their popular porn site.

“In part, their choice reflected a more diverse appreciation for female bodies than men’s bodies,” Parry said.

“Some women were much less interested in stereotypical porn star bodies – and body parts – and much more aroused by porn featuring a range of body types.”

But some critics think 50 Shades of Grey could pose very specific problems for women. Author and feminist Naomi Wolf has written in her book, Vagina: A New Biography, that erotic books like 50 Shades of Grey portrays women as having “no existence seperate from her vagina.”

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has described the 50 Shades of Grey franchise as a cultivator of a rape and sexual violence culture targetting women.

While it’s unclear whether 50 Shades of Grey is primarily responsible, women are the fastest-growing demographic for online porn consumption.

The Inquisitr reported that the 50 Shades of Grey movie release is expected to generate increased sales for sex toys.

[Image via NBC Philadelphia]