Fifty Shades of Grey—the runaway, international bestseller—is set for theatrical release on Valentine's Day, and I think it's safe to say that it will own the weekend for box office receipts. And whether you loved the books or think they are the biggest waste of time, anyone and everyone who wants to please their partner needs to be paying attention. It doesn't matter whether the movie is a true-to-life portrayal of the BDSM lifestyle. And putting aside the control issues (including the infamous "tampon removal scene" that demonstrated how much control Christian Grey had over Anastasia, which will not be included in the film), What makes Fifty Shades different and special is how the sex and interpersonal dynamics between the two main characters taps into women's psyches. It showcases two things that so many women are yearning for from the men in their lives: passion and desire.
The millions of women who have purchased the series are seeking not just a love story. They are looking to connect with a story that portrays unbridled wanting—perhaps with a side order of dominant and submissive sex. For many women, it's primal to want a man who is overcome with an unquenchable need to have her, with passion so hot it could boil rain as it falls. Most heterosexual women want to be afforded pleasure at the hands of a man who is both capable and confident; a man who is so secure in his own self and sexuality that he gives her as much pleasure as she can stand, while finding pleasure in it himself. But perhaps most importantly, women want this dynamic to stay in the bedroom without the issues of control and dominance spilling out into real life—altering the genuine, respectful love that is equally important.
If the book's sales numbers are an accurate gauge (as I'm sure they are, as well as the coming ticket sales for the movie opening on February 14th), it's crystal clear that millions of women want to "let go": To trust, to release, to just be women (as opposed to "moms" or "wives"). They want to be sexual, sensual and feminine; to be trusting and hand control over to a partner who will not use it against her later. Many men think that it's Christan Grey's wealth that captivates Anastasia. I'm sure that helps, but a rich, weak man wouldn't have the allure that Christian has. What women do want is a man who is confident, charming, alluring, captivating, mysterious and bad... all the while caring deeply for her integrity. (Note that none of those characteristics have to do with his bank account). He wants her, he takes her, but he respects her. It is precisely these qualities that more men need to embrace: the ability to be strong yet soft... to create an environment where a woman can release, let go, and not worry about any "repercussions" or the dynamics shifting in their relationship outside the bedroom. Is everyone into dominance and submission? Of course not. But that's not the point. The point is that these are the traits women want from the men in their lives — and men should be listening.
For some men, there are two types of foreplay: being touched and the anticipation of being touched. What these guys don't seem to realize is that their version of foreplay is in direct opposition to a woman's largest erogenous zone: her mind. There's no substitute for mental stimulation and intelligent discussion as foreplay. (Well, mostly. For some women, foreplay begins when he puts the dishes away or takes out the trash without being asked... but I digress.)
Bottom line: If a man wants a woman to let go and trust him in the bedroom, he needs to make it safe. He needs to seduce her. He needs to want her. He needs to show her his desire.
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This article was originally published at Charles J. Orlando
. Reprinted with permission from the author.