British fiction writer Jilly Cooper says women have lost interest in sex, that our vaginas have dried up as a result of busy schedules and overburdened bodies and minds. While she has a point -- fatigue and stress are two libido-busters for both men and women -- Cooper's comments relate to her belief that because of this, ladies have stopped lusting over sex scenes featured in fiction.
And she's not giving that darn "Fifty Shades of Grey" novel the credit it deserves. (Gag.)
Cooper's body of work spans decades, with the successful "Rutshire Chronicles" series of romance novels and uber-popular lifestyle columns featured in the Sunday Times and The Mail, two major Brit newspapers. Her topics range from infidelity, how to stay married, and how to survive a 9-5 job without going completely insane. But her claim that "Fifty Shades of Grey" has merely revived an interest in the sexy novel genre reads more envy than expert.
"Porn was terribly out of fashion before that book came out," Cooper told the Telegraph. "While I have heard that it is quite poorly written, I am delighted that it's giving a new lease of life to the genre."
"Fifty Shades of Grey" is one of the worst books I've ever read with regard to syntax, sentence patterns and intellectual brain stimulation. I, and several sex writer colleagues of mine, remain convinced that we lost IQ points with completion of each chapter and there's a good chance I grew a new shade of gray hair each time Anastasia Steele bit her bottom lip. (SOMEONE GET THAT GIRL SOME CHAPSTICK.)
But what the "Fifty Shades" trilogy has successfully accomplished is inspiring women and their partners to dust off their maritally neglected private parts. The meticulously detailed BDSM sex scenes that author E. L. James described while mangling the English language got juices flowing figuratively and physically from areas that some women though would remain dry for the rest of their lives.
"I have had women write to me saying that reading this trilogy has revived their long term relationships," said sex columnist and "Between the Sheets With Lora Somoza" radio host Lora Somoza. "And by revive, I mean brought back from the dead. One woman told me she and her husband have had more sex in the past two months than they had have in almost 15 years of marriage. She credits her new sudden horniness to Mr. Grey and E.L. James's ability to tap into desire. Say what you want about the book's writing, but she conveys the sense of desire really well."
Though women's libidos are negatively affected by the crazy lives we lead, it appears literary stimulation has been a successful remedy for women across the country. And the resulting orgasmic and analgesic effects that sexual activity can have on the body may just be what women need to put away the Xanax and take a chill pill instead.
"If you're tired and stressed the last thing you want to do is focus on sex," said Jamye Waxman, published author and resident sexpert at Gasm.com. "But orgasms are analgesic and having sex will actually de-stress you. Many women think daily about work, the kids, schedules, and it's easy to forget that the brain is the most powerful sex organ. We need to get out of our heads and focus in our heavy breathing."
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And that's what novels like "Fifty Shades of Grey" are making easy. Cooper says she's taking the hint and plans to incorporate a whole lot of sex in her next novel. And if she's able to convey the feelings of longing, craving and bruising that "Fifty Shades" fans can't seem to get out of their brains, there's a good chance she might be inspired to edit her "women don't want sex" mantra.
A good first step would be to follow James's lead and stock up on some fun tools of the trade for inspiration. James tested out a few floggers, handcuffs and other sex toys before featuring them so prominently in the "Fifty Shades" trilogy, which might be one of the reasons the sex scenes are so stimulating to read.
And though most readers can tolerate amateur-hour writing skills (which Cooper fortunately doesn't have to worry about), nothing will kill their literary libidos faster than an author who fakes it.