Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersStudy: Test detects signs of dementia at least six months earlier than standard method The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 Democrats see Christmas goal slipping away MORE (I-Vt.) said on Sunday that a controversial essay he penned in 1972 discusses topics similar to the popular erotic novel 50 Shades of Gray.

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The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that his essay was “very poorly written.”

“And if you read it, what it was dealing with was gender stereotypes, why some men like to oppress women, why other women like to be submissive,” Sanders said.

“You know, something like 50 Shades of Gray, very poorly written 43 years ago,” he added.

Sanders argued on Sunday that the 1972 Vermont Freeman piece had no bearing on his current political life.

“Look, this is a piece of fiction that I wrote in 1972, I think,” Sanders said. “That was 43 years ago.”

“What I am focused on today are the issues impacting the American people,” he added.

Sanders’s campaign staff tried calming controversy over the article last Thursday once re-printings appeared in the media.

“When Bernie got into this race, he understood that there would be efforts to distract voters and the press from the real issues confronting the nation today,” spokesman Michael Briggs said.

Briggs added that the essay was Sanders’s “dumb attempt at dark satire in an alternative publication” and “in no way reflects his views or record on women.”

Critics pounced on Sanders’s writing over its graphic language concerning rape.

In it, a woman “fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.”

A man’s “typical fantasy,” meanwhile, is “a woman tied up, a woman abused,” it says.

Sanders also pondered news media consumption in the divisive article.

“Do you know why the newspapers with articles like, ‘Girl, 12, raped by 14 men’ sell so well?” he asks in the essay.

“To what in us are they appealing?” Sanders wonders.