Fifty Shades of Grey (opens in new tab) may be fiction, but for women who have read it, there's potential for serious real-life consequences, according to a new study from Michigan State University (opens in new tab). Reading the book—or worse, the whole series—is linked to a whole load of bad-for-you behaviors including binge drinking, promiscuity, a tendency to have an abusive partner, among others.
Researchers questioned women between the ages of 18 and 24, better known as those most likely to be dating, drinking, and having casual sex. While they found a difference between those who have read Fifty Shades of Grey and those who haven't, they also found a contrast between those who've read the whole series and those who stopped after finishing the original.
Women who have only read the first 50 Shades (opens in new tab) text are more likely to have a partner who is verbally abusive or even display stalker-like tendencies. Not to mention, they're more likely to develop an eating disorder. Chances are even worse for women who've indulged in all three of E.L. James's tomes—they're more at likely to be binge drinkers and have a larger number of sexual partners. And it doesn't matter if readers engaged in these sort of behaviors before they picked up a copy of Fifty Shades—reading it entices these behaviors those who haven't engaged in them before, or maintains them in veterans.
The erotic novel has frequently come under fire for crossing the line from showcasing a consensual dominant and submissive relationship to romanticizing destructive dating behaviors, so the results of this study aren't entirely shocking. Just another reason to think before your fantasize about Christian Grey (opens in new tab) as your dream man. Hard when he looks like Jamie Dornan (opens in new tab), we know.
More on 50 Shades of Grey:
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I'm an Associate Editor at the Business of Fashion, where I edit and write stories about the fashion and beauty industries. Previously, I was the brand editor at Adweek, where I was the lead editor for Adweek's brand and retail coverage. Before my switch to business journalism, I was a writer/reporter at PEOPLE.com, where I wrote news posts, galleries and articles for PEOPLE magazine's website. My work has been published on TheAtlantic.com, ELLE.com, MarieClaire.com, PEOPLE.com, GoodHousekeeping.com and in Every Day with Rachael Ray. It has been syndicated by Cosmopolitan.com, TIME.com, TravelandLeisure.com and GoodHousekeeping.com, among other publications. Previously, I've worked at VOGUE.com, ELLE.com, and MarieClaire.com.
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