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2.05.2015

50 Shades of Grey: Get ready to blush.


**This is going to be very difficult for some of you to read. Especially if you are related to me and/or uncomfortable with discussing sex.**

You've been fairly warned.

I LOVE to read. It is my favorite past time. In fact, I read every single night while I am in the bathtub. Yep, I am one of THOSE women...

Reading is my escape. It allows me to delve into worlds unknown, unfamiliar and impossible. Reading provides an opportunity for me to be a queen, a princess, the President, a slave, a hero, a hobbit, a warrior, a wizard, a Jewish remnant, a scientist, an astronaut, an orphan, a time traveler, a Greek god or a military general. Books are incredible gifts given to us for our pleasure, our education, our edification, our soul. Books are tools for expressing what we can't verbalize with our tongues. They are love letters from authors who spend countless months and years of their lives piecing together fantastical worlds in which we can lose ourselves.

I'm giddy just talking about reading!! Truly, I love literature!!

So, with all of that said, here we go...


50 Shades of Grey

I'll admit, I have NOT read this trilogy of books. And not necessarily because I am morally against them, but because I just simply haven't. However, I know women who have read the trilogy and other women who have chosen against doing so. And to be honest, I understand both camps.

My female friends and acquaintances who have chosen to partake in this global literary phenomenon say the books aren't really that big of a deal. Most admit that the first book, "50 Shades of Grey", is pretty intense sexually and that some of the sex scenes are hard to read. Most agree that the second installment of the series, "50 Shades Darker", is simply "okay" and that the third book, "50 Shades Freed", is either a great ending, according to some, or that they never finished it because they lost interest. Most admitted that it was "frisky and kinky" and made them a little more so. **it's okay if your cheeks are burning**

My girlfriends and acquaintances on the other side of the "50 Shades" spectrum have a much more passionate position. (No pun intended!) They believe that to read these books, which are deemed by them as soft-core porn, would be to defile their marital bed and to embark upon a path of sexual and pornographic sin. Many argue that women who read this trilogy are doing immeasurable harm to their spouses, marriages and children. Some ladies say that the sexual, turned dating, turned engaged, turned marital relationship between the two main characters is at a minimum, emotionally and physically unhealthy, and at most, emotionally and physically abusive. Many argue that the book and the upcoming film are degrading and dangerous for women and young girls. They see Christian Grey's handsome, wealthy character as a sexual predator and Anastasia Steele's wide-eyed character as his virginal victim.

From what I can gather from reading Christian and secular reviews, Cliff's notes, blogs, watching film trailers and snip-its, etc. this erotic trilogy deals with unique, "singular" sexual appetites, submission, domination, contracts, jealousy, money, control, friendship, forgiveness, secrets, kidnapping, family dysfunction, exploitation of an adolescent boy by a much older, trusted woman, the loss of virginity of a college graduate girl, marriage and ultimately, children.  

So, I guess these are my questions: Are critics of "50 Shades of Grey" more offended by Anastasia's premarital sex? Or is it Christian's "singular tastes" that so incite the masses? Is it the abuse? The belt? Is is because she "asks" him to punish her? Is it the cyclical nature of the trilogy--Christian's exploitation by an older woman and then Anastasia's exploitation by him? Is it because a vast majority of the trilogy's following are married, Christian, southern women?

Is it all of the above?

Or is it that Christians, especially evangelicals, are super uncomfortable discussing sex and its enormous importance in healthy marriage?

Hold on...don't send the hate messages yet.

So, here's where the rubber hits the road: Sexual exploration and expression within the confines, safety and respect of the marital bed is good.

For those of you whom I'm offending, please don't stop reading now...

I believe wholeheartedly that God wants us to and created us so that we could enjoy sex. Really enjoy sex. We are designed for marital, sexual pleasure. Marriage is God's design and sex is a super-duper important element within it. Our bodies are beautiful and strong and flexible and shaped in ways so that we can be creative and fun during our most intimate, marital moments. **go ahead, smile. It's okay.**

But unfortunately, I believe that many of us are inhibited and crippled within our marital beds (and our minds) because of our human insecurities, guilt from past sexual experiences and an unwillingness to completely and totally submit and trust our spouses.

I think it is safe to say, based on current divorce rates and the prevalence of adultery, that most of us are not experiencing the full measure of pleasure associated with marital sex. And that, my friends, is why so many marriages end up being sexless, unhappy and ultimately end.

So, no, I haven't read these books. And to be honest, I don't know if I ever will. I don't know if I will choose to watch this movie. Yesterday, I read some pretty compelling arguments, letters, blogs, etc. on social media advocating for both the boycotting of the film and the attending of it. 

After all, we, Christian Americans, go to watch all sorts of Hollywood garbage. Most movies created today endorse something we, as believers, SHOULD resist and take a stand against. We should rail and protest against ALL attempts to redefine what we know to be true and righteous. But we don't. We go, stand in lines, purchase our large popcorn and soft drinks and enjoy! We LOVE movies and the extreme wealth within the entertainment industry confirms that.

Now don't get me wrong, I deeply respect that some of you feel very convicted to take a stand on this particular issue. I completely appreciate your position. I just hope and pray that in the future, when there are blockbuster, Oscar nominated films that endorse or sensationalize, either blatantly or covertly, behavior or messages that conflict with your closely held beliefs, that your passion and principle will be as strong and determined as they are today. Tremendous social and cultural good could come from that sort of convicted stand.

I know, it's hard--I get it. Living within this world but not succumbing to it is a balancing act and extremely tricky. 

Where do we draw the lines? 

But, in reference to this particular movie and this particular discussion, I can say this with the utmost certainty: being sexual isn't something that married Christians should be embarrassed of, shy away from and unwilling to discuss. We need to "own" what was designed for us. We have been terribly silent and too "dignified" in our dealing with the truth about sex. We have allowed a fallen society to high jack the most intimate, most sacred, most beautiful gift that our LORD intended for our good and our pleasure. We, believers, need to be the ones driving the cultural, sexual conversation. Instead, we have allowed and are continuing to allow, the social progressives and Hollywood imbeciles who equate promiscuity with liberation and sex with self expression to define what is good, satisfying and acceptable. 

Many of us, at one time or another, have perverted what was intended for us and our spouses in the realm of sexual intimacy. But those missteps and errors shouldn't define our sexual experiences and behaviors forevermore. In fact, I think we could do tremendous good if we, Christian men and women, were willing to get down and dirty and talk about the bare essentials of life.

If the plot summary I found online of the final book, "50 Shades Freed" is correct, these two characters, Anastasia and Christian, ultimately get married and have a family. Apparently, in this "Grey" world, what began in sin, ends in relative rightness. So, in an effort to see the potential good that can come from all of this "50 Shades of Grey"-mania, I am going to focus on the blush-worthy conversations taking place about how amazing, satisfying and crazy H-O-T-T sex can be within marriage. And I like the fact that this secular, erotic trilogy and it's misguided, broken characters eventually came to that same conclusion.

3 comments:

  1. I love that you posted this. I will say that I am a fan and I will argue with anyone as to why I am. I read these books as twilight fanfiction before they were ever published probably about 5 years ago. I have spoken to the author numerous occasions on fanfiction websites through reviews and private messages.

    Erika wrote this book to explore this lifestyle. She didn't practice it but definitely had fun researching it. BDSM is all about trust. A good, healthy BDSM relationship is very emotional and open, more open and emotional that many vanilla relationships. You know your partner inside and out, what they are thinking, how they are thinking it, why they are thinking it and how to get it out of them to help them destress. There are safe words and limits put into place for the safety of all.

    Too many people are bashing something that they see as negative, when in reality, BDSM is a lifestyle choice that many people participate in everyday, everywhere. Many in this town that you would NEVER dream of participate in this lifestyle.

    However, you know that something bad can happen and it gives the whole group a bad name. But does one bad apple make the whole bushel bad?

    Maci, I commend you for stating what you did on the "for 50 shades" camp. I understand and value what you and others have said about the "against 50 shades" camp.

    Those are all valid statements.

    I know I can offend people with my views, sorry, but they are mine! So here goes...

    People get in ruts and a little exploration with your loving, significant other is not anyone else's business. In fact, it can reignite the passion in a relationship.

    To say that most people are close minded and prudish about the books is a little harsh because not ALL people are that way. However, I believe in what you seem to think. Some Christian people (and people in general) are very tight lipped about explaining the joy of a sexual relationship with a spouse. Like you said, "crazy, hot sex within the marriage bed", is fun!

    We all just need to remember that sex, whether people have boring, vanilla sex, or disciplined, unorthodox sex, it's just sex. ......with two people (sometimes more in polyamorous relationships) that are trying to express an emotion and fulfill a human emotional need that has been around since the beginning of time. How you like to achieve that emotion is your business.

    I could go on and on and on! The BDSM concept intrigued me and still to this day, fascinates me.

    I have researched and studied about it so much that I could write a dissertation. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your insightful comment!! And trust me, I am not offended at all!! I am not only fascinated with the popularity of the book but also with the deep division of opinions. The passion on both sides is incredible!! Personally, I am excited about the fact that we are talking about sex and marriage and the necessity of the two for happiness!! Again, I LOVE your comment and appreciate your thoughts. Have a good one!!

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  2. I have to,know who wrote the above comment. If you feel comfortable, contact me, I have a similar view.....carmenvictoriasmith@hotmail.com

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