The moment of release is nearly upon us as Fifty Shades of Grey – teased for the last few months with trailers – finally comes out on February 13.

And while the film is sparking conversation, it’s apparently also sparking desire.

Sellers of sex toys are anticipating a surge while Chislehurst-based sex and relationships expert Donna Dawson thinks the film, directed by Croydon-born Goldsmiths graduate Sam Taylor-Johnson, will encourage couples to experiment in the bedroom.

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Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson star in Fifty Shades of Grey

A psychologist specialising in personality behaviour, Donna, who also studied at Goldsmiths and was This Morning’s ‘sexpert’ for two years, said: “It’s a hook on which anyone who wanted to have a discussion about their sex life and taking it in a different direction has now got a way of getting into that conversation: ‘what do you think of the film? What do you think of what they’re doing? What do you think if we tried that?’

“I actually think this is how the best conversations happen, when you can link it back to something relevant that is happening around you that you can both look at together so it doesn’t become an accusation, ‘you never’ or ‘you always’.

“You can kind of tackle the subject sideways in a way that doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings or make them feel inadequate because they haven’t done such-and-such.”

According to erotic high street retailer Ann Summers, we’re gagging for S&M action between the sheets.

The first trailer for the Fifty Shades of Grey film – based on EL James’ 70-million-selling book - has more than 46 million hits on Youtube and was the most-watched movie trailer of last year, beating the likes of the new Star Wars and the Avengers.

Within an hour of it going live, the Ann Summers website saw a 45 per cent increase in activity. 500 sets of handcuffs were sold that day, double the previous week.

The Fifty Shades effect contributed to an 80 per cent increase in sales in diamante crops in a week, 50 per cent more eye masks sold, three times as many restraints and ties and twice as many paddles and floggers for spanking.


Ann Summers’ PR manager Kyrsty Hazell-Page said: “Ann Summers have been spanking the competition for 40 years when it comes to pleasuring the nation, however we are pleased that the meteoric rise of the book is opening the eyes and minds of those who would have never dreamt of purchasing a cheeky flogger or eye mask before.”

The manager at the firm's Bromley store said: "We’ve already experienced a surge in customers asking how they can recreate the scenes from the book, so as the film release approaches even closer, we’re confident that we’ll be busy helping Bromley spice up their sex life.

"It’s great that our customers are becoming more confident in asking us about our sexcessories and ‘harder’ products and more open minded when it comes to our product offering.”

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Ann Summers

While couples may well embrace elements of Fifty Shades’ kinky new world, it clearly isn’t for everyone.

Donna said: “The only rule is, if you don’t want to do something then you shouldn’t be forced to.

“If you think something really isn’t for you, you have a right to say no.

“I don’t want women to feel that because this film is dealing with S&M that men have somehow got the upper hand and that all women enjoy bondage and doing whatever a man wants.

She added: “If you are into that extra stimulation, you both have to agree that’s the direction you want to go in.”

While whips, chains and red rooms of pain may not be for most of us, Donna said the film could be healthy because it makes us talk more about sex – especially if you’re stuck in a rut.

She said: “It’s a starting point. I wouldn’t like to think that this film – or any other film like it – dictated to people what they should be doing.

“Basically, it’s about ‘let’s start talking’.

“You don’t have to be really zany to improve your love life  - doing it at a different time, doing it with a few clothes on, doing it in a different room, these are all things that can make a difference without getting into the realms of S&M.

“It’s not about taking big leaps forward. It is about lots of small steps that you both mutually agree on.”

Fifty Shades of Grey is out Friday, February 13. Donna Dawson is a psychologist specialising in personality behaviour, sex and relationships. Go to

TOP FIVE: Ann Summers’ best-selling items in Bromley

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1) Lena (lingerie)

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2) The Mighty One Rampant Rabbit

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3) Victoria (lingerie)

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4) Fluffy handcuffs

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5) Rose Gold Massager