I became an avid reader at a very early age, as my parents and grandparents swore by books to stretch the imagination and to entertain.
I’ve always shared a unique relationship with my mum and grandma, and even my late father to a degree, as with a dirty sense of humour the subject of sex was never forbidden in our house. Even today, my mum has a new boyfriend, ten years after my dad passed away and although I think I’ve seen everything by being a sex and relationship writer, she’s opening my eyes about over sixties sex.
So when 50 Shades of Grey hit the shelves, I bought quite a few copies. One for myself and others for my family and friends.
There’s no doubt it caused a sensation as it was labelled “mummy porn” yet there was one woman it failed to impress, my mum.
Over coffee, the conversation went like this:
“So what did you think to Fifty Shades?”
“I don’t know what all the fuss is about we had saucier stuff in the sixties, seventies and eighties.”
“Oo tell me more”
“Well there was 9 ½ weeks, now that was life changing for many, everyone saw their fridge in a whole new light. Your generation thinks we stuck to strawberries and cream but in reality we didn’t care much for strawberries as you had to spit the seeds out.”
“And no man likes to watch a woman spitting out seeds. Couldn’t you just learn to swallow?”
“Oo no, that’s the whole reason your grandma wouldn’t eat seeds or tomatoes after there was news in the seventies that a tomato plant grew in someone’s lung. Needless to say she wasn’t keen on 9 ½ weeks”.
“What did she like?”
“Well your grandma loved books such as “The Confessions of a Window Cleaner” it was about a man that would be quite the voyeur often having sex with his customers – the typical bored housewife.”
“Sounds like a book for men”
“Oo no it caused quite a stir, showed even the bored housewives could have affairs if they wanted to and also showed women as being sexual beings rather than cooks and cleaners. You’re grandma loved it so much she got granddad to buy a set of extendable ladders”.
“I thought granddad was scared of heights, the reason he joined the navy not the RAF?” I remember taking granddad to visit his old ship in the harbour, he wouldn’t even cross the jetty as it was quite high from the sea beneath.
“He was, your grandma left the curtains wide open as she lay on the bed in a negligee waiting for your granddad. It took him twenty minutes to get to the top of that ladder. Not only had your gran nodded off due to the Guinness she’d drank to give her Dutch courage, she’s propped the sash window open with a box of washing powder. Your granddad knocked it as he tried to climb in, the sash window fell and he was stuck with his legs hanging out while neighbours called the police and the fire brigade.
Your grandma slept through it all. The firemen and police saw everything through her see through negligee. Personally I think she pretended to carry on sleeping and liked the voyeur part of it after all”
This revelation made me consider how books have transformed sexual relationships over the years.
Going back in time my mother’s generation had Lady Chatterley’s Lover that caused a stir as it showed the woman as being the one to initiate and desire sex.
From 91/2 weeks to the American gigolo, The Secret of O and up to Belle du jour, although porn has remained very male orientated, erotic literature has definitely catered for the woman.
It’s changed relationships dramatically, educating men while showing women that they deserve to enjoy sex, that it’s not just for a man’s pleasure, women should have orgasms too.
Then with the launch of 50 Shades of Grey a whole new generation has changed the way they think in the bedroom, craving a confident, macho man that seems to offer it all. Not only does he know exactly which buttons to press, he has oodles of money, movie star looks and the ability to fall in love with an absolute passion.
Now, expectations are even higher in and out of the bedroom, with men being the ones that must shape up to satisfy the woman.