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Fifty Shades of Grey: A MilSpouse Must-Read or Glorified Porn?

Women are talking about it at work. Friends are discussing it on Facebook. Saturday Night Live actors are parodying it. Moms are reading it at t-ball practice. It’s Fifty Shades of Grey, and it’s the book every woman seems to have on her nightstand.

Call me a prude, but I’ve never read any book classified under the erotica genre before, nor have I ever had any desire to. But then I thought about some of my friends who were raving about the Fifty Shades trilogy, women I never pegged for the erotica-reading types, and I figured it couldn’t be that graphic. I’ll give the first book a try and see what all the fuss is about.

Well, if you’re one of the millions of women reading these books, you know that they are that graphic. But despite my lack of prior experience and interest in erotica, I found myself kind of enjoying the book. Oh, who am I kidding? I couldn’t put the book down. And I’m far from the only MilSpouse who has jumped on the Fifty Shades bandwagon.

So what’s the appeal of Fifty Shades? Why are women obsessively reading (and rereading) these so-called sex books?

“I love it because it is very passionate,” Tiffany, one of my mil spouse friends told me. “I would recommend it to MilSpouse. We lead a stressful life, and this is total escapism. It is pure fantasy, and I think we need that in our lives.”

Another MilSpouse gal pal Kris, who has read the entire trilogy twice, agreed. “Once I got past all the um, details, and saw the love story, I was hooked,” Kris said. “In my opinion, I think the appeal to the books is the idea of having a man love you as deeply and openly as Grey.”

Most of the friends with whom I’ve discussed Fifty Shades agree that this isn’t the typical kind of book they would choose to read, but got sucked in because of all the hype. Most also agree that reading the books is a great way to spice up a marriage.

“It made me want, okay, more like lust my husband,” MilSpouse Amber said. “It opened my eyes up about different ways to spruce up our love life. I think with any married couple, we have all sunk into the ‘plain vanilla’ role from time to time. Fifty Shades of Grey made me want more.”

The only downside my friends expressed about the books is deciding on the most ideal time to read them. “My husband was not home while I was reading it, and that was probably not a smart move,” Angela said. “I actually had to put the book down for a few days to cool off. Not a good thing to read while the husband was away training.”

Kris’ husband was home when she read the books, which she said was a good thing. “If a spouse’s husband is deployed, I would hold off reading it until right before he came home,” she advised. “The poor guy, he wouldn’t know what hit him when he got home though!”

Tiffany also recommended holding off until husbands are home. “I say if your husband is on his way home, it is a great time to read it. And I think that couples should share the book. It could bring your relationship to a whole other level.”

Not surprisingly, there is a lot of controversy surrounding Fifty Shades because of its racy content. Some call it soft core pornography, and libraries are pulling copies off their shelves. I do understand how women might find the books over the top, so for those who find the subject matter offensive, I promise not to loan you my copy. But for other curious MilSpouses, I echo the sentiments of my friends and recommend you check it out.

(However, I might also recommend buying the Kindle version for the added bonus of discretion, unless you don’t mind people knowing you’re reading the sex book.)

I recently finished the first book, and while I would never be so bold as to be seen reading Fifty Shades at t-ball practice, I will admit that I’m itching to read the next two books. And thanks to my recent discussions with my girls, I’m thinking about starting up a Fifty Shades book club. Even if all we discuss is which actor should play the lead role in the movie, at least it will give us a good excuse to say “Laters, baby.”

Have you read the Fifty Shades trilogy? What do you think: must-read or glorified porn?

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