Most of us have the sex talk with our mothers as teenagers. We think it’ll never have to happen again. And then we find EL James’s “Fifty Shades Of Grey” next to Mom’s pillow. Recently, my mother and I had our second big talk when she was in town for a visit. I’m in my 20s now, but I felt just as uncomfortable as I did a decade ago.
“What is this?” I asked, expecting her to claim that she was holding it for a friend.
She wasn’t, though, and if I had to guess, your mom isn’t holding it for a friend either. With the book’s mainstream success and an upcoming feature film, we have to accept that our moms don’t just know what BDSM is — they actually kind of like the idea. It’s hard to deal with and even harder to discuss, but you can get through this with a few familiar talking points.
“The Most Important Thing Is To Be Safe”
Mom led with this topic during your first sex talk. Similarly, attempt to scare her away from the subject at hand. Google a few dangerous sex bloopers. When you’re too disgusted to relay specifics, just warn her that trying what she sees in “Fifty Shades” can land her in the ER.
“It’s Perfectly Healthy”
No one wants their parents reenacting “Fifty Shades” scenes, but if your parents are still together, you know this book is keeping their relationship spicy. If they aren’t, then you’ve stumbled on a subject that may get your dad to come back. Just power through that nausea and force out a, “Good for you,” then change the subject to literally anything else.
“This Is Just As Awkward For Me As It Is For You”
Remember when Mom walked in on you watching porn? This is the same thing, only you can’t actually see what she’s reading — like how she could see your screen — so you have to imagine it, which is even worse. Acknowledge the mutual embarrassment, and maybe don’t look each other in the eye for a bit.
“There’s A Lot You Don’t Know About Yet”
Make sure the woman who raised you knows where her creepy fantasies came from. Fun fact: “Fifty Shades Of Grey” was originally written as “Twilight” fan fiction. Have you ever wanted to say, “Vampires are responsible for your sex book, Mom”? Great, now is your big chance.
“Make Sure It’s With Someone You Love”
Here’s what my mom said when I confronted her about reading trash: “Have you ever considered that it’s a love story?”
And perhaps a little sentimentality does make it (slightly) easier to talk about, even if it’s a love story about a kinky sex contract. It also confirms that your mom still has morals. You might be grossed out, but take comfort in the fact that you treated Mom like an adult. Considering what she’s been through with you, that’s only fair.