Looking Back: 10 Years of Fifty Shades of Grey

by Anna

on Apr 1, 2021

In May 2011, a small virtual publisher released a print-on-demand eBook into the world, with little fanfare. Relying largely on blog reviews for publicity, the author waited quietly, watching as sparks of interest in her book began to fly.


Thanks to word of mouth and whispered recommendations, scandal, controversy, headlines of ‘mummy porn’ splashed across the front page... Those tiny sparks soon ignited a red hot wildfire. The whole world talking about one of the steamiest erotic novels to ever hit the mainstream...

Fifty Shades of Grey.

2021 marks 10 years since the world was first introduced to the kinky world of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. The impact of their story can not be denied - within 5 years of release the print trilogy had sold over 150 million copies worldwide, become the best-selling book series of the decade, and spawned 3 film adaptations grossing over $1.32 billion globally.

At its peak, two copies of the first Fifty Shades of Grey were being sold every second. The UK even ran out of silver ink, thanks to how many copies of the luxurious book covers needed to be printed!

Not bad for a first-time author…

It’s no secret that Fifty Shades of Grey pulled BDSM into the mainstream. Across the world, people enthralled by the books wanted a little piece of their own ‘red room’ heaven. Sales of sex toys mentioned in the books shot up over 400% (thanks mainly to pleasure balls), and search trends showed that after looking up the trilogy online, 68% of people went on to search for some new sexy lingerie, and over a quarter went on the hunt for a new sex toy.

And who can blame them? It’s impossible to watch the films without wanting to immediately dive into bed and recreate your favourite sex scenes. More great sex, more things to learn, and more kinky exploration… sign us up.

One of the millions of people mesmerised by the world of Fifty Shades of Grey was our Global Product Director, Bonny Hall. After proposing a line of products to author E. L. James, in 2012 Lovehoney released the first official collection of Fifty Shades of Grey inspired sex toys and bondage kits.

It was the perfect relationship. Both sides wanted the public to be able to re-enact their favourite steamy sex scenes from the book exactly how they were meant to be, with the exact toys they had read about. "This range is what I always imagined while I was writing Fifty Shades of Grey," said James. "I’m so excited that the toys I described in the books have come to life, and can now be enjoyed around the world."

Our customers clearly felt the same way - the first products sold out within 14 days! Luckily the team hasn’t slowed down since, creating endless new and exciting Fifty Shades of Grey toys and collections, and scooping many amazing awards in the process.

Discover Our Fifty Shades of Grey Bestsellers


Written by Anna. Lovehoney Editorial Team
Anna has been writing for Lovehoney since 2020, and is a co-host of the Sexual Happiness Podcast.
She believes that everyone deserves to feel confident in their body, sexuality, and relationships, and loves to help them do so

Originally published on Apr 1, 2021. Updated on Apr 1, 2021