Disclaimer: This blog is going to reveal some plot spoilers about the book 50 Shades of Grey. If you do not want to know what happens, please don’t read…
I just finished reading the book, 50 Shades of Grey by, E.L. James. I had heard the hype from a good friend of mine who claimed every woman she knows loved it! While I have never chosen a book only for the hype, I was definitely curious what the big deal was with this one…
I had no idea what 50 Shades was about but, I should have had a head’s up when I went to purchase the book at my local Barnes & Noble. When I asked the bookseller for a copy of 50 Shades, he simply smiled and said to check the Erotica section. “Wait, what?” I replied. He then checked the computer, while the color filled my cheeks and he said that they were sold out. He told me I could order a copy and they would have it delivered. I declined. Interesting, I thought.
When my copy arrived via a friend who was also feeding her curiosity, I immediately felt the need to hide the book from my children. The cover, with nothing more than a gray tie, seemed harmless, but just the thought of an Erotica Book arriving in my home felt -well, wrong.
I sat up, late on a Friday night, my heart pounding as I began to read. I thought I would immediately be drawn into a sort of romantic novel with mushy declarations of love and wordy love-making scenes. Usually I laugh at those kinds of fake love books, however, what I was drawn into was an underground world that I had heard of, but certainly knew nothing about. I could not believe my eyes when I read the story line including Sadomasicism, domination and abuse. The main characters – business man, Christian Grey and innocent young college grad, Ana seemed harmless enough. But, the story, while somewhat contrived and unbelievable was not even well-written enough to hold my attention. The sex scenes, and you cannot dare call it love-making, were perverse at best, violent and graphic at worst. The story line was disturbing enough for me and I found myself skipping large sections of scene to just get back to the barely there plot. To say I didn’t like this book was an understatement. But, what I really didn’t like was the statement it was making about abuse, love and women.
Christian Gray, an obviously attractive and successful man, creates a contract to initiate a relationship with his Woman Du Jour. He lays out in a very matter-of-fact way his plans for Domination in all aspects of the relationship and wants his woman to comply. Ana, a young fresh from college girl, falls immediately for the seduction and continues to allow herself to be abused, taken advantage of in a very physical and psychologically demeaning way and then actually falls for the bastard.
The only hook I found at all in the book, was my rooting for her to leave or for Christian to be hit by a bus. She does leave Christian at the end of the story, but given that there are 2 more books to the trilogy I can only assume she goes back for more – as so many abused women do.
Romance and Erotica novels are the number one selling book genre both online and in bookstores among women.
It is a sad state of affairs when women need a fantasy world to fill them up sexually or emotionally. I am not stating that everyone who reads 50 Shades and likes it must have something missing in their lives. Perhaps they just found the plot more intriguing than I did. However, I do find it shocking the sheer number of my female friends – mothers, career women and even grandmothers that have told me how much they loved this book. Many calling it “hot” and “steamy”.
It saddens me that a book about dominating women sexually, morally and psychologically can excite and intrigue someone so much. Do we as women, feel so unfulfilled that we need to read about a someone else’s great, or in this case disturbing, sex life in order to fill us up? Can’t we just talk to our significant other and create our own world of happiness?
I have a friend who works as a marriage counselor and newlywed teacher. She helped me compile an entire outline for a marriage counseling weekend I worked on for a client. Her job is fascinating – she sits down with about-to-married young ladies and talks to them about the ins and outs of a healthy sexual relationship and the meaning of an important aspect to a healthy relationship – Intimacy.
What I think worked for many women in 50 Shades and is a missing component in many relationships, is a fulfilling sexual relationship. Many women and men do not realize that the key to a healthy sex life is to first create a world of intimacy and then create the physical world.
But, many men and women do not know how or where to create this intimacy in a relationship. The physical is the only part that they focus on and the relationship quickly begins to falter. Pent up anger or resentment builds and partners turn to romance novel, pornography or even other partners to fill them up.
Many men portrayed in movies provide flowers or a piece of jewelry and instantly there is enough chemistry to create beautiful scenes of lovemaking. This is just not reality and women know it, so they turn to books or movies to live vicariously through those ‘scenes’, instead of creating those ‘scenes’ at home. Dr V who is also a therapist, believes that without intimacy you create a physical realm without an emotional one. Romance novels create a physical world that is also full of caring, loving, handsome men showering their women with gift, flowers and the most important component missing in many relationships- lines of open communication and words of appreciation and love. Women who are lacking emotional connection with their partner often don’t know how to ask for it to improve. There are plenty of books, therapists and even whole seminar programs devoted to the topic of intimacy and bringing this back into your life or introducing it if it hasn’t been there all along.
Here are some suggested points from Dr. V to get started for further reading so you don’t have to read about intimacy and hot relationships, you can actually have one!
http://www.gottman.com – Excellent work done by Relationship Institute’s Dr. Gottman
http://www.marsvenus.com John Gray is a leader in building intimacy and healthy relationships for decades
http://www.amazon.com/Communication-Miracles-Couples-Effective-Conflict/dp/1573240834 A recommended read for improving communication skills and having an ‘effective fight’