Therapist: Couples reading '50 Shades' together

Therapist: Couples reading '50 Shades' together »Play Video
This advertising image release by Stuart Weitzman shows a model sporting knee-high 50/50 boots. The boots are part of a line inspired by the provocative "Fifty Shades of Grey" books. (AP Photo/Stuart Weitzman)

EUGENE, Ore. - E.L. James calls her "50 Shades of Grey" a mid-life crisis: a chance to put her own passions on paper as fetish fiction.

What she didn't expect was how many people would want to play along.

The trilogy follows a young virginal college graduate who meets a very powerful man.

There's just one chink in this Prince Charming's armor: He likes it kinky. Very kinky.

The character engages in BDSM sex, like bondage, dominance, submission - everything from tying your partner up with a tie to flogging and caning them.

Stephanie Steele is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Eugene. She said couples are coming to her with a copy of the book in hand.

"Surprisingly, I have had couples that have actually been reading it together," she said. "The most beneficial results are when they read it out loud to each other, which I find very interesting."

Steele has read all three novels. Her biggest criticism of the books: how James generalizes the BDSM subculture.

"We can't look at this book and think this is how everybody acts or engages in this subculture," she said. "That's dangerous to assume that everybody that's engaged in the subculture has psychological issues."

Steele said the real takeaway from "50 Shades" is that any relationship needs communication.

The two main characters in the book talk a lot about what they're comfortable with - and what they are not comfortable with.