EL James is teaming up with the erotic website Lovehoney to launch a collection of 50 Shades-inspired sex toys. I think it's amusing. I also believe it's a good thing. Whatever encourages couples to experiment with some kinky loving is fine by me.
criticism of this sex toy collection, along the lines of "That's not a real BDSM toy."
My take on BDSM (and, by extension, toys) is that the interaction should be fun for both parties. There's no "lifestyle directive" that prohibits certain toys because they are too soft and fluffy. So what if the 50 Shades paddle is padded? It is likely to make a nice smacking sound. In fact, some folks think the best BDSM scenes involve mindfucks. Sounds are legitimate tools for the mindfuck. And maybe an expensive, light-hearted bag'o'toys will be the gateway to bigger and better things. Or not. It doesn't matter, as long as everybody is enjoying themselves.
My husband (recall, he's a converted vanilla) once bought us a blue suede flogger. I was charmed. The thing is cute and pretty. It doesn't really work well for our purposes, but I'm grateful that he bought it. It's the kind of small step that should be encouraged in a vanilla conversion.