Whips, chains, & floggers, oh my! Fifty Shades might not make good literature, but it is one hell of a catalyst for conversation. The astounding popularity of the Fifty Shades trilogy has brought kink out into the sunlight, but now what? What happens when poorly researched fanfic is used as a mainstream cultural reference point? These books could fade as a fad or they could be leveraged as a new way of being open about sexual desires & normalizing kinky fantasies. Couples have been furtively bought feathered riding crops & fur-lined handcuffs for decades, only now it’s becoming socially acceptable to admit it. Learning the difference between fantasy, reality & abuse is a key element to healthy kinky expression but on this point Fifty Shades fails miserably. The books start as sexy inspiration but ends up promoting unrealistic expectations & false stereotypes. Yet when the books are used to arouse a social sexual awakening & get people talking, they hit the mark perfectly.