The official trailer for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie released yesterday. The film won't hit theaters until next year but, given the fact that 80 kazillion women have read the books, we are only seeing the beginnings of six months of non-stop buzz.
I'm not recommending that you watch the trailer, but judging by its premiere on the Today show this week, you're going to stumble across it at some point.
I could go on a rant about how many impressionable teenagers are getting a twisted view of sex from E.L. James' book series. But how can I lament a bunch of undiscerning kids when grown women are doing the exact same thing? What stuns me is how many women of faith have devoured the books. And they will likely devour the movie.
I'm painfully aware of the content found within Fifty Shades (pun intended). I've never touched the book, but I've read a detailed summary online. Oh, my. Beyond the racy content one might find in an explicit romance novel, the characters' spin on sex is both violent and self-centered. Can we not see this? Have we become so accustomed to the counterfeit that we can't see how different it is from what God designed?
Is Mommy P@rn Good For Our Marriages?
I have heard many people claim that the books have invigorated their marital sex lives. There were even reports two years ago that, due to couples becoming more sexually active, Fifty Shades created a baby boom. Strategically, the movie will release around Valentine's Day...how romantic!
Somehow, the fact that Fifty Shades of Grey is "literature" enables us to convince ourselves that it is art and thus good for us. After all, it is creating a new excitement in the bedrooms of so many! We are able to push away the nagging feeling in our hearts and minds that we somehow know to be true: This is mommy porn at its worst. Yes, I said it. Fifty Shades of Grey is pornography.
These books (and next year, the movie) use the sexual activities of others to generate arousal. Even worse--if it can get worse--they give an utterly demented picture of sexual intimacy. This stuff is dangerous and harmful to your relationship.
I know some women will disagree with me. I know some see the books as harmless, even beneficial. For those who aren't convinced that it brings an unhealthy and troubling outside dimension to the marriage bed (and God's design for generous, sacrificial and spouse-focused intimacy) let's change things around a bit. Let's defend porn targeted at men with the same vigor that some women defend Fifty Shades.
Some Good Reasons that Men Should Watch Porn:
*Sometimes, marriage gets stale. Twenty years of being married to the same, boring wife can cause a man to lose interest in her. Regularly watching porn will remind him how much he loves her.
*Let's be honest, after having a few kids, a man's wife's body doesn't look like it used to. And that's unfair to the guy. He should be allowed to be aroused by other women before intimacy with his wife.
*Looking at porn can enable a man to endure the monotony of daily life. For example it should be socially acceptable for a man to look at it while lounging by the neighborhood pool.
*God wasn't creative enough to make sexual intimacy truly exciting. Men need to be able to have a regular dose of "outside the box" porn to keep them interested.
*Single people are allowed variety in sex: different people and different circumstances. Sadly, married men are stuck with the same person over and over again. Porn provides the variety a man needs to experience lasting oneness in marriage.
God Has Created A Better Way
The list above is entirely moronic. Sadly, many men in our culture are being trained to think it makes complete sense. Now women are getting their own dose. And many people of faith are buying into it.
God help us! Truly...I'm praying that: "God help us! May we discover the true beauty of intimacy that only You could have dreamed up. May we celebrate in a physical and tangible way the oneness that we have with you and with our spouses. May we be old married people who still 'rejoice in the wife of our youth,' never finding our spouses to be boring or familiar. And may we raise our kids NEVER TO SETTLE for anything but God's very best sex that is found within the security of a covenant marriage."
Barrett's rant for the day is over. You can go on about your business.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Why and how have we gotten so out of line with God's design for sex? Tell us on Facebook.
Barrett Johnson is the Minister to Families at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Atlanta. He is also the founder of INFO for Families and the author of The Talks: A Parent's Guide to Critical Conversations about Sex, Dating, and Other Unmentionables.