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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Reading Fifty Shades unhealthy for women, linked to violent relationships, binge drinking

IANS  New York, August 22, 2014
First Published: 14:39 IST(22/8/2014) | Last Updated: 15:55 IST(22/8/2014)

Have you read the blockbuster erotica Fifty Shades of Grey that has sold over 100 million copies worldwide and its movie adaptation is scheduled for release? Beware that you are at an heightened risk of developing binge drinking and unhealthy sexual habits.

According to an interesting study, young adult women who read Fifty Shades of Grey are more likely than non-readers to exhibit signs of eating disorders and have a verbally abusive partner.

Also watch: Fifty Shades of Grey is high on teasing

Moreover, women who read all three books in the erotic romance series are at increased risk of engaging in binge drinking and having multiple sex partners.

“All are known risks associated with being in an abusive relationship, much like the lead character, Anastasia, is in Fifty Shades,” said study author Amy Bonomi from the department of human development and family studies at Michigan State University.

If women experienced adverse health behaviours such as disordered eating first, reading Fifty Shades might reaffirm those experiences and potentially aggravate related trauma, Bonomi added.

To reach this conclusion, researchers studied over 650 women aged 18-24.

Compared to participants who did not read the book, those who read the first Fifty Shades novel were 25% more likely to have a partner who yelled or swore at them. Nearly 34% were more likely to have a partner who demonstrated stalking tendencies and more than 75% more likely to have used diet aids or fasted for more than 24 hours.

Also read: 36 million and counting, record YouTube views for Fifty Shades of Grey trailer

“Those who read all three books in the series were 65% more likely than nonreaders to binge drink - or drink five or more drinks on a single occasion on six or more days per month - and 63% more likely to have five or more intercourse partners during their lifetime,” Bonomi explained.

“I am not suggesting the book be banned or that women should not be free to read whatever books they wish or to have a love life,” she said.

However, it is important women understand that the health behaviours assessed in the study are known risk factors for being in a violent relationship, Bonomi noted.

“We recognise that the depiction of violence against women in and of itself is not problematic, especially if the depiction attempts to shed serious light on the problem. The problem comes when the depiction reinforces the acceptance of the status quo, rather than challenging it,” researchers concluded.

The study appeared in the Journal of Women's Health.


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