HOST INTRO: 50 Shades of Grey opens in theaters today, just in time for Valentine’s Day. The film is based on the popular book series about a sexual relationship between alluring businessman Christian Grey and innocent college graduate Anastasia Steele. It’s pretty kinky.
GREY My tastes are very singular. You wouldn’t understand.
STEELE Enlighten me then.
While Hollywood hopes couples will celebrate Valentine’s Day by going to the movies, many in the sex toy industry see evidence that they’re staying in. Camille von Kaenel reports.
The Museum of Sex is at Fifth Avenue and 27th Street. The gift shop there sells everything from massage oil to vibrators to how-to books to paddles. Amy LaPaix manages the store.
LAPAIX I’m a sex educator as well. And every now and then, I sell sex toys.
Sex toys with a new theme these days. Fifty Shades of Grey is hot.
LAPAIX We have a couple of toys that are similar to what’s in the book, so those really fly off the shelves, we’re always sold out of those, especially.
There are only two boxes left what LaPaix has nicknamed “the Christian Grey box. The box has a satin whip, an eye blind, and kiegal balls. The boxes sit on the fetish table of the store, which LaPaix has found has been particularly popular with clients recently.
LAPAIX All of our ropes we’ve sold out of them, and they don’t stay in the store for too long. People love our whips, and they love the tape.
She’s glad the movie and the books are getting people to try some new things in the bedroom.
LAPAIX Maybe the book has normalized kinky sex and fetish, and I think that’s a good thing, as long as everyone is safe, and everyone enjoys it, everyone is included and is enjoying it.
But up at the Lincoln Square theater, moviegoers are having rather mixed reactions. The theater is showing the movie eleven times today in IMAX. One woman saw the movie with her partner, and she come for the romance.
MOVIEGOER I think the relationship is a romantic story.
But John says for all the ideals of sexual liberation the movie has brought up in our society, it was a disappointment.
JOHN It pretends to be about dominance and submission but it’s not at all. It didn’t explore it at all. It wasn’t really honest or courageous in that way.
RACHEL I floated the idea of my boyfriend going to go see it and he was like absolutely not.
Rachel isn’t at the theater. She was in SoHo. She just came out of Babeland, which is a sex toy shop based in New York and Seattle. Babeland carries its own Fifty Shades of Grey line, with products ranging from blindfolds to mouth gags to what’s called a vibrating bullet. So according to co-founder Claire Cavannah, sales of bondage-related items have increased by at least thirty percent in recent months. Rachel got a 50-dollar gift for her boyfriend.
RACHEL Cuffs and a massage candle.
It’s the first time she’s bought cuffs. She’s looking forward to bringing a little bit of Christian Grey into the bedroom this weekend, and hoped others will enjoy their weekend too.
RACHEL I hope everyone has a good Valentine’s Day, hopefully everyone gets treated the way they should, right? Cuffs or no cuffs.
From the whole team at Uptown Radio, Happy Valentine’s Day all.
Camille von Kaenel, Columbia Radio News.