Fifty Shades of Grey to steam up the Valley’s screens
THE raunchy read 50 Shades of Grey is going to be seen in all its erotic glory on the big screens in the Clarence next week with the film tipped to mirror the success enjoyed by the explicit novel of the same name.
The book, penned by Erika Mitchell aka EL James, delved into the sexual world of bondage/discipline, dominance/submission and sadism/masochism (BDSM), and ushered the fetish out of the shadows and into mainstream culture like never before.
Sue Adams, manager of South Grafton store SS Lingerie & Pariah Tattoos, said the Clarence Valley was no different to any other town in the world when the story about Anastasia Steele and her brooding lover Christian Grey was first released in 2011.
"We had people coming in looking for particular products from the book. Masks, small whips, those kinds of soft-porn products. Grafton's not the country town you think it is," she said.
Ms Adams said one of the products that featured in the book and had proven very popular were duo balls but the purpose they serve and how it served will be left the readers' imagination as a courtesy.
"The sales of those things tripled," she said. "If you ever see a housewife with a shopping trolley and a smile on her face it could be thanks to those."
Grafton's not the country town you think it is.
An aerobic workout is also said to increase the effectiveness of the duo balls and Ms Adams said some versions even came with remote control devices that work up from up to 50metres away.
Now before you click the escape button on this article, there is a more serious side to the services Sue provides.
In among the collection of gadgets and creative literature you find in the adult product section are items that can be prescribed by a doctor (no, not Dr Love, a proper medical one).
"A lot of them send their patients here to buy particular products to help alleviate their problems," Ms Adams said.
"I do feel like a sex therapist sometimes. We have devices here to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles and assist gentlemen who have had prostate problems. It's a lot cheaper to buy these items here than order one through medical channels."
And while adult stores often conjure up images of men wearing trench coats and women of the evening, Ms Adams said that perception could not be further from the truth.
"We get all types of people coming here, singles, married couples, older people, people of all persuasions," she said.
"We have a lot of older ladies coming in. It's probably 50/50 with males and females though across the board.
"Some people genuinely need help and are a bit shy or embarrassed when they come in but I try to make them feel as comfortable as possible. People with depression are particularly vulnerable. Also people with low libidos. Kids will do that to a relationship."
While the adult industry can and often does draw criticism, SS Lingerie & Pariah Tattoos has prospered since it was first established in 1996 despite being told "they wouldn't last two weeks".
"We have actually expanded since then, running three shops now, the tattoos, lingerie and adult products," she said.
"It's never dull here. Just when you think you have seen it all, someone else comes through the door with a new issue."
Ms Adams said discretion was probably the main reason the South Grafton business has continued to enjoy success.
"I remember once a church-going lady came up to me when I was ordering lunch," she said.
"She saw my t-shirt which had our business name on it and complimented me on our discretion. Although she had never been in the shop she said she was grateful by the way we operated our business."
That success is evident in the almost empty shop, a hangover from the Christmas rush that sees stock fly out the door.
"We have lots of novelty items here and they prove popular for those secret Santas," Ms Adams said.
"The suppliers also have holidays in January so we are expecting deliveries to get back to normal soon. Hopefully in time for the movie release."
WIN TICKETS: Turn to Out There in Thursday's DEX for your chance to win one of 50 tickets up for grabs for the Saraton Theatre's premiere.