"At the same time, many felt it was not truly as empowering as they wanted it to be, or as they hoped women's erotic fiction would be," Craig said.
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One book that came up in every interview was the popular erotic romance novel by E. James "Fifty Shades of Grey." "None of the women read Fifty Shades in their book clubs, but it was regularly discussed in that context," Craig said.
"Overall, women I talked to about Fifty Shades felt conflicted." On one hand, they felt the opportunity for women to access literature about sex in a more public way was indicative of great forward progress for women, she said.
"In this way, women saw possibility for empowerment as they felt more comfortable openly reading about sex and sexuality," Craig said.
For instance, seeing other women at the doctor's office reading the same thing put them more at ease, and they began having conversations with one another about a dialogue they would not have openly admitted to reading before.