The story of desire, passion and BDSM in E.L James’ best-selling trilogy and world-wide phenomenon, Fifty Shades of Grey, has had an impact on billions across the world, opening them up to a whole new world of bondage play and kink. The erotic story inspired people everywhere to embrace their sexual fantasies and consequently, the books are widely thought of as the instrumental factor for sex toys and bondage entering the mainstream.
With 2021 marking the ten year anniversary of the first best-selling Fifty Shades of Grey installment, Lovehoney Sales Executive Jade Bawa compiles her Top 10 Fifty Shades mOHments spanned over the past decade.
- After taking inspiration from Stephenie Meyer’s 2005 vampire romance Twilight, E.L James began writing her own explicit take on the story. After publishing it online, her work went viral and in 2011 a small Australian publishing house agreed to publish Fifty Shades of Grey.
- After the initial shock sets in from consumers over the explicit content, within a year, James is engulfed by a frenzy. Women in coffee shops everywhere began to be heard discussing the sexy scenes in excitement, rather than disgust, and introducing kink and bondage into their own sex lives.
- Sales of sex toys and bondage sky rocket 400% in the first year of the book alone . In 2012, after witnessing an uptake firsthand, Lovehoney co-founders Neal Slateford and Richard Longhurst, both huge fans of the books, worked collaboratively E.L James on launching the only official licensed Fifty Shades of Grey The Official Pleasure Collection, which went on to become one of the fastest-selling adult product lines worldwide.
- After its first year, Fifty Shades of Grey cleared the shelves so quickly that UK printers reportedly ran out of silver ink for the black and metallic grey covers, which James designed herself.
- In-line with Valentine’s Day of February 2015, the first Fifty Shades of Grey film was released by Universal Pictures. It was an immediate box office success, breaking numerous box office records and earning over $571 million worldwide. 
- The release of the first film inspires millions more to reinact their favourite sex scenes from the movi, helped by Lovehoney’s products being named after specific scenes from the book. This sparks further adult product sales uplifts, as well as footfall to adult shops. Lovehoney themselves saw a significant rise in clitoral clamp, a previously niche product, with sales rising 86% year-on-year.
- Thanks to the new widespread acceptance of bondage products, Lovehoney’s Fifty Shades of Grey Official Pleasure Collection graces screens everywhere. In a 2017 episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, self-proclaimed ‘momager’ Kris Jenner was filmed trying out wrist ties from the range, showing that even Hollywood’s rich and famous are no exception when it comes to opening up about bondage play.
- The sequel film Fifty Shades Darker is released on the 10th February, 2017, while the third and final movie Fifty Shades Freed released on the 9th February, 2018. Both films dominate the box office and the trilogy is seen as a global phenomenon.
- In 2019, the NPD Group reported that the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy marked the United States’ three top-grossing books of the last 10 years, with the series selling 35 million print and e-book copies from 2011-19. 
- In 2021, Fifty Shades of Grey turns 10. There has been vast popular culture moments in the last decade, but none as monumental for our category as the Fifty Shades of Grey effect. With the ten year anniversary happening this year, and ripples of Kink and BDSM conversations being ignited again, the adult products industry can expect another bumper year, as shoppers look to embrace their fantasies.