Fifty Shades of Grey

Think about that title for a minute. We’ve definitely lost the age where black and white choices seem pretty clear and basic. No, we’ve moved to the age of grey.

Fifty Shades of Grey releases in theatres this Friday. The release of this movie reflects the dire need of our culture. When sexual abuse is glorified, and women are racing to watch a movie that opens the door for a greater degree of exploitation, we need to talk. We need to pray.

We need some good resources to share with others who are being sucked into erotica.

Dannah Gresh and Juli Slattery have posted here before and will be doing some guest posts for me on the blog this week to help us think through these issues. If you missed Friday’s post explaining what we’re doing on the blog this week, click here.

Here’s Dannah on why she’s not reading the book, Fifty Shades of Grey:

I wasn’t planning to announce this, but I can’t help myself. I told my husband, Bob, that I didn’t really want to get involved. But then, I found out my girlfriend’s 70-year-old mom has her name on a long wait list at the library to borrow Fifty Shades of Grey. And then my mom told me that a relative I love and respect for her strong faith had already devoured the book. She regretfully “can’t get the images out of her head.” So, here I am. In an  attempt to keep the images out of yours, I’d like to explain to you why I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

Reason #1: Let’s start with the facts. Fifty Shades of Grey is classified as erotic fiction. According to one online dictionary, this genre of literature is defined as that which has “no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire.” I’ve been studying what God says about sexuality for fifteen years. According to Him, there is only one who should stimulate sexual desire in me: my husband. Since that’s God’s plan for my sexual desire, anything other than my husband creating arousal in me would be missing the mark of God’s intention. (Translation: it is sin.)

Jesus said it this way: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The same is true of a woman looking at or reading about a man. Reason #1? I believe reading erotica is sinful.

I guess I could stop there, but it won’t be enough for some of you. So let’s go to reason number two.

Reason #2: The Bible has said for thousands of years that lust is hurtful and harmful. Guess what? Biopsychologists and others are studying the effects of lust, pornography, and erotica on the brain and the body. They are finding that the Bible was, in fact, right. Over time your body becomes conditioned to self-stimulation and gratification. It’s not just a preference. It’s physiological. The lust cuts a literal pathway in your brain tissue that’s kinda like a rut. A rut you better be prepared to get stuck in.

While at first a little bit of erotica might give you a taste for your spouse, overtime that rut reminds you how great you are at self-stimulation and how powerful your imagination can be. You’ll become less interested in real sex with your husband. (Both SELF magazine and The New  Yorker ran articles on this phenomenon in recent years. They both suggested that if you want to have a great sex life, you better push pause on porn!) The fact is, erotica robs you of real sex. It’s not good for your marriage or future marriage.

Reason #3: OK, we’re girls. And, sadly, a few of our guys have looked at porn. How’d that work for ya? How’d it make you feel? Did it cross your mind that you could never compare to the perfection created by lights, camera, and Photoshop? Well, he can’t compare to a plasticized, vanilla interpretation of manhood either.

Reason #4: Do you know what BDSM is? Bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism. If you don’t know what those words mean, be glad. If you do know, you should understand that the most damaging part of Fifty Shades of Grey is that God created sex to be a partnership that’s fueled by love and self-giving, not pain and humiliation. It’s not just that this book misuses sex, it redefines it into something evil and transgressive as the lead character dominates in a hurtful manner. How woman can enjoy that, I can’t understand! But I do have a theory. It seems to me that in our emasculating culture there is a hunger so great for strong men that women will stoop to Bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism for just a taste. Do yourself a favor, don’t!

You might be wondering if I’ve read the book. I haven’t. I don’t need to. There are many things in this world I need not partake in to discern that they are going to be harmful to me. God has given me more than fifty shades of truth in His Word and when just one of them is in conflict with my entertainment choices, I choose to pass! To be clear: I wouldn’t drive my Envoy into the front of an oncoming semi-truck any more than I would open the pages of Fifty Shades of Grey. I love my marriage, my God, and myself too much.


Thanks, Dannah—we hear you loud and clear and are grateful to you and Juli for writing the book that explains the dangers of this new genre of literature.

Go to this website to read (or listen online) to chapter one of Pulling Back the Shades.

Have you read Fifty Shades?

Do you plan to see the movie?

Do you recognize the dangers of this book series and now the movie?

Adapted from Dannah’s 2.05.14 post at Pure Freedom

Image courtesy of phasinphoto/


  • Sue

    Thank you for using your blog to shine God’s light on this despicable, all-too-often reality in so many relationships. Dannah asks how women can “enjoy” BDSM? My concern is that one of four (or more) of us women were trained as little girls by men powering over us that we don’t have a choice. So many women bring this silenced voice right into their adulthood, performing with a smile while they are continuing to die inside. It’s time to say NO MORE. It’s time for those of us who have found our voice to help rescue those who are still shamed and silenced into submission.

  • Vivian Etherington

    I have read Challies blog, listened to some of the interview on FamilyLife Today with Dannah and Juli, and your blog about this movie. I also read an article in Time magazine about the making of this movie. I am disturbed and sickened by the fact that so many people have already bought tiickets to see this movie! I don”t understand why women especially would desire to view this type of material in which a woman is demeaned in this arena. Apart from that, just viewing any sensual material for any believer is off-limits, sinful! I had a conversation with my 21 yr old daughter who is in college about the movie. Of course she is NOT planning to see it but many of her classmates/teammates are! She attends a Baptist college and plays on the basketball team. I am so grieved by that but should not be so surprised. I sent her the link to this blog so she can discuss this with them. Thank you!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Sue ~

    I agree, I believe this problem has been perpetuated through silence. Praying that God gives the Church a wake-up call with this! Did you see Dr. Albert Mohler’s blog post on this? I’m posting it below it was excellent:

    Thanks for sharing your heart ~

  • Vivian Etherington

    Thanks, Kim for those links. I had read Al Mohler’s but had not read Paula’s which is very excellent!