50 Shades of Belle du Jour: Sex, Writing, and Making Movies

Article and Illustration by Haley Houseman

Despite the pearl-clutching that occurred when Fifty Shades of Grey appeared on our cultural radar, erotica has been mainstream for a while. From Victorian erotica, full of incest and explicit descriptions, to Playboy and the power of its pinup girls, the public has always enjoyed reading about sex. Romance novels make up more than 10 percent of the market and it’s not just housewives reading the genre. BDSM, the byword of Fifty Shades’ licentiousness, has been reported on in major publications as a stress reducer. Sexy rewritings of classic litera...

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