Shocker: Fifty Shades of Grey reinforces the problem of abuse against women, new research has shown. Nope, it seems EL James' novel - the fastest selling paperback of all time - cannot be regarded simply as "erotic fantasy."

Amy Bonomi, a professor at Michigan State University, and two former colleagues from Ohio State University undertook an in-depth study of the book's first eight chapters and found that "emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction."

They found that the book, dubbed "mummy porn," included a number of examples of "intimate partner violence", including intimidation, isolation, stalking and humiliation.

The novel tells the story of a relationship between graduate Anastasia Steele and billionaire businessman Christian Grey, which is primarily fuelled on bondage. 

Despite its popularity, Ms Bonomi said: "This book is perpetuating dangerous abuse standards and yet it's being cast as this romantic, erotic book for women.The erotic content could have been accomplished without the theme of abuse."

The research paper was published in the Journal of Women's Health and also found that Anastasia's experiences in particular were "reactions typical of abused women."

"I can't tell you the number of students I've had in my classrooms who've told me they had no idea what they were experiencing was abuse," she added.

The new research isn't great news for Universal Pictures and Focus Features', who paid big money to develop a movie adaptation of the novel. Sam Taylor-Wood will direct the film adaptation, though casting of Anastasia and Christian is still underway. Ian Somerhalder, Matt Bomer and Alexis Bledel have reportedly expressed an interest in the parts, while Nina Dobrev, Amanda Seyfried and Anna Kendrick have been linked to the film.

The movie is being written by Terra Nova scribe Kelly Marcel. Well, we hope she's already finished it to be honest, given the planned release date of August 2014.

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