According to a recent story in the New York Post, sales of rope at hardware stores all around New York City have increased markedly in the last few months, and store managers are largely attributing the boost in sales to the best-selling Front Cover of First Fifty Shades of Grey BookFifty Shades of Grey books by author E.L. James. The erotic trilogy of novels tells the tale of a young woman’s developing relationship with rich and worldly Christian Grey, a man with a dark past and an obsession with sadomasochism. Since the steamy books hit the number-one spot on the New York Times best-selling list, hardware store owners say they are seeing many more women in the rope section looking for soft or natural-fiber ropes for bondage use.

Most of the new customers are snatching up cotton clothesline or soft and pliable nylon rope. Lexington Hardware on the upper east side estimated a 10-fold increase in these rope sales in the last 6 months. Sales of other kinky items have also jumped at stores that specialize in sex toys. A Babeland spokesperson reported that sales of BDSM toys have increased 30% since the 50 shades trilogy came out, mostly from purchases of the types of items described in the books.

The 50-shades phenomenon is increasing the public’s awareness and acceptance of kink and consensual rope bondage; and with this upsurge in interest more and more people are going to be looking for a length or two of rope to add some spice to their bedroom activities. I imagine that quite a few hardware store clerks who have only ever fantasized about rope bondage are finding themselves in a position of shyly being asked for advice on the suitability of different kinds of rope for sensual bondage.

Unfortunately the selection of rope at most hardware stores that is actually suitable for really enjoyable bondage tying or the delights of being bound is paltry to non-existent. For the sake of the the newcomers who venture into this wonderful realm of consensual rope restraint I hope at least a few hardware store clerks know enough to steer the newbies looking for natural-fiber ropes away from the sisal and manilla – unless their customers have a decidedly sadistic or masochistic gleam in their eyes.