Sex Sells: Why Fifty Shades Of Grey Is Flying Off Shelves – Plus Bondage Tips For Beginners (PICTURES)

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The story begins with devilishly handsome millionaire Christian Grey falling madly in love with ‘innocent, unworldly’ literature student Anastasia Steele - and convincing her to become part of a sado-masochistic relationship involving bondage and sex toys.

Hardly your typical chicklit holiday read. But that hasn't stopped erotic novel Fifty Shades Of Grey flying off British book shop shelves this summer.

fifty shades

According to recent statistics by Nielson Bookscan, Fifty Shades Of Grey is officially the fastest selling book of 2012, with over 700,000 copies now appearing on bedside tables.

Other best-selling novels, such as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, took over six months to achieve these sales records and Harry Potter even longer.

In short, Fifty Shades has spanked her competition.

And perhaps more surprisingly, none of us are embarrassed about reading it.

Despite the book’s unconventional and salacious plot (even the author, E L James is too ‘mortified’ to talk about the sex scenes in public), British women are unashamedly flicking through its pages in public.

Copies can be spied on the beach and during the morning commute.

In modern Britain, there's no longer seems to be any guilt attached to reading about the ‘kinky f*ckery’ between Christian and Anastasia.

And it's not just book sales that are going through the roof – DIY stores have reported an increase in ‘soft cotton rope’ sales since the book was released earlier this year.

If you aren’t one of the two million women in the UK who have read the novel - in the first book, Christian purchases rope from a hardware store - for not-so DIY-orientated ends.

“Oh, we’ve been selling rope to women,” Clifton Kahn, owner of Lexington Hardware, told The New York Post. “I’d say tenfold more rope than usual in the last six months. The women are definitely buying, and it’s still continuing."

But why limit it to rope? Take a look at HuffPost's tongue-in-cheek predictions of other DIY items that might start flying off the shelves at your local B&Q...

We Predict A Sell-Out
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Sales of sex toys and bondage gear are also shooting through the roof, according to Neal Slateford, founder of Lovehoney.co.uk.

“It really is a case of Fifty Shades of Wey Hey! Demand has been huge,” Slateford told HuffPost Lifestyle.

“Couples are becoming more and more adventurous in their sex lives. They are buying sex toys like vibrators to use together and achieve perfect sexual happiness. Once you start to experiment, there is no turning back.”

Surprised? Well, don’t be, because according to the recent Durex 'Big British Sex Survey', we’re indulging in risqué lovemaking more often than you think.

The survey discovered that nearly one in four Brits participate in bondage.

Oh yes.

A further 38% admitted to using handcuff during sex and 41% enjoy being spanked. Nearly one in 10 (8%) use a butt plug during sex – another taboo broken in the BSDM world of Fifty Shades.

Intrigued? Take a look at HuffPost's guide to bondage for beginners...

Bondage For Beginners
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So why is this book topping the best-selling book lists and being widely (and proudly) discussed by women?

Emily Bendell, CEO of lingerie and lovestuff retailer BlueBella.com believes the secret behind its success is because it’s a sexy book written by a woman – for women.

“Over the past few years, as the genre has become increasingly popular, authors such as KD Grace have ensured there is something on offer for everyone, and with books such as Fifty Shades of Grey accelerating the trend, the genre can only continue to grow in popularity,” she told Huffpost Lifestyle

And it’s not just suburban housewives who are enjoying the book's thrills and spills – a flock of celebrities including Kirsten Stewart, Miley Cyrus, Ellen DeGeneres have all come forward gushing over the kinky literature.

“He's the ultimate fantasy figure - a good-looking man who takes control, pushes us to our limits, but makes sure we're all right in the end,” sexpert and author of Sex Academy Dr Pam Spurrs told HuffPost Lifestyle.

Emily Dubberley, author of The Field Guide to F*cking, believes the book’s popularity has helped shed the stigma attached to erotic reading – and the discreet cover (which features a simple grey tie) has helped women take the jump.

"There's still a stigma attached to sex - particularly kinky sex - but Fifty Shades of Grey managed to get around it due to the word-of-mouth way in which it spread: people who'd feel mortified about buying a book with a graphic adult title will happily opt for the relative discretion of 50 Shades of Grey,” Dubberley told HuffPost Lifestyle.

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But not everyone is thrilled with the book.. (WATCH: Grannies react to saucy Fifty Shades)

Take a look what people are saying about Fifty Shades on Twitter...

Fifty Shades: Twitter Reacts
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