The success of Fifty Shades of Grey proves that sex does indeed still sell – with a worldwide gross of $569 million, plus the record for highest opening weekend in a February ($85 million), no one can contest the value of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. By June of 2015, the book alone had been translated into more than 50 languages and had sold over 125 million copies.
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The film also garnered a storm of negative press centered around the reportedly unhealthy relationship between the protagonist and her dominant partner. Exactly how healthy was the relationship between Christian and Ana? While the question is still up for debate, one thing is certain: people still found it hot. If sales were to determine the validity or legitimacy of a literary work’s or film’s content, there is no doubt that Fifty Shades has the stamp of approval of audiences worldwide.
However, behind Fifty Shades lies an incredible wealth of sexy, boundary-pushing film. In fact, some of the first films ever made were images of sexuality or were vaguely adult in nature. Because of the long history of sex on screen, it’s hard to imagine that Fifty Shades was a film entirely without peers. And, in fact, it isn’t. So, to help illuminate the path to cinematic eroticism, here are 10 erotic films that are better than Fifty Shades of Grey.
Secretary is probably the film on this list that most closely resembles Fifty Shades. Lee Holloway (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal) is hired as a secretary by an attorney (James Spader) who, coincidentally, is named E. Edward Grey. The two of them, due in part to Gyllenhaal’s character’s inadequate secretarial skills, develop a deep and intricate BDSM relationship.
Through the many explicit scenes, the film cultivates a very alluring sexual aura: the build-up of watching Lee blossom sexually under the careful domineering eye of her master, Grey, provides the audience a voyeuristic view into one of the more accurate mainstream film representations of BDSM culture.