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The Rulers of Pleasure

Sexual intercourse began

In nineteen sixty-three. . .

Between the end of the Chatterley ban

And the Beatles’ first LP.

— Philip Larkin, Annus Mirabilis [1974]

I do not ordinarily cover the newest fads.  This week, however, I am making an exception because the newest fads are inspired by a movie that will be released the day before Valentine’s Day and the timing of this column is such that readers who are inspired by it can rush off to their nearest Target stores and present their purchases to their Valentines on the day itself.

The movie that is being released is called “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Just as Erica Jong’s erotic novel of several years back called “Fear of Flying” had nothing to do with phobias and airplanes, “Fifty Shades of Grey” does not attempt to instruct the interior decorator on the interesting effects that can be achieved by taking advantage of the subtle differences between different shades of grey or explaining why the chandelier looks better if it is not hung over the center of the table.  Fifty Shades of Grey is  a trilogy and is  all about sex.  The author, E.L. James  (not her real name) can explain why she sought to mislead those who bought the books hoping to get tips on interior decorating. Those going to the movie may get new ideas about things of considerable interest to them but none of them will improve the décor around the house.

The movie (whose advent has been eagerly awaited by members of both sexes although reportedly, more by the fair sex than the other one) tells a story of a young woman’s introduction into the world of sexual bondage.  I’ll not say more about that since (a) I’ve not seen the movie nor read the books and (b) even if I had, I’d not want to spoil the movie for my readers or reduce the number of viewers it would have attracted had I not written a spoiler. Many viewers will find the sorts of things that go on in the movie intriguing and will wonder where the artifacts that were used by the actors to enhance the activities displayed on the silver screen can be obtained.  A quick search of the Internet discloses that a company known as “Lovehoney” is, as its website proclaims “The Official Pleasure Collection.” E.L. James is quoted on the home page of Lovehoney as saying:  “I’m so excited that the toys I described in the books have come to life.” She is, of course, not speaking literally since none of the toys being sold have a life of any kind so long as they sit on the shelf.  But readers may wonder how they can help bring the toys to life. Herewith the answer.

Although Lovehoney is the “go to” source for the toys, there are some who will be reluctant to order those toys on line because of fears their order may be disclosed in unexpected places on the internet.  For them the destination store will be a Target store near their homes even though the product selection may be more limited than what is available from Lovehoney’s website.  The fact that the selection is limited is offset by the fact that the buyer can acquire the sought after items more discretely than may be possible over the Internet. In one Target store, for example,  the Lovehoney items were put on display right next to the Captain America toothbrushes. That is helpful to the sensitive type who, when buying a Lovehoney product can, if another shopper is standing nearby, pretend to be interested in the Captain America toothbrushes rather than the Lovehoney product.

It is impossible in a column such as this, to describe all the products that can be found on Lovehoney’s website and, to a lesser extent, at your local Target store.  A few of them do, however, deserve mention.  Among them are“his and hers No Peeking Soft Twin Blindfolds” for $14.95,  and “Yours and Mine Vibrating Silicone Love Ring” that also costs $14.95 (and almost certainly comes with instructions.) For $12.95 a “Tease Feather Tickler” can be purchased and for another $11.99 a “Spanking Ruler.”  (If you are shopping at Target that can probably be found in the school supplies section as well.)  For the partner of the purchaser of the ruler, for $16.99 a “Soothe Me After Spanking Cream” can be purchased.

There is one benefit to shopping on line rather than at Target.  According to the Lovehoney website, anyone spending $60 on  “The Official Pleasure Collection” gets a FREE Charlie Tango. Not everyone will know what to do with a Charlie Tango but I am sure it will come with a book of instructions. The lucky person who gets this bonus should read the book before bringing Charlie to the evening’s activities. Have fun.

Christopher Brauchli can be emailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu.

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