The book Fifty Shades of Grey, written by E.L. James, has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide and a movie by the same title, was released almost 2 years ago, just 2 days before Valentine’s Day. It was a global box office success earning over US$571 million. In the story, Anastasia Steele, a university graduate, and Christian Grey, a very wealthy businessman, enter into contractual sex that has bondage, dominance, and sadism/masochism (BDSM) elements. Come February 2017, its sequel 50 Shades Darker will be screened in cinemas around the world.
The 50 Shades series of books have seen phenomenal success with many women, Christian women included. A search online reveals that a number of Christian women view female erotica or what is commonly known as “mommy porn” as harmless. Some have even gone further to assert that books such as those from the 50 Shades series actually help them improve their sexual experiences with their spouse. However, a close study of God’s word will reveal that these claims are nothing further from His truths.
Violence against women is never acceptable
To perpetuate the notion of deriving pleasure from another’s pain goes against what God teaches us about love and service towards one’s spouse. It has been written in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always, protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
The storyline of a selfish and egocentric man persuading an impressionable young woman to have sex with him in a violent and controlling manner that pleases him, cannot be something that God-loving couples would want to introduce into their heads as images to heighten sexual intimacy and excitement in the bedroom if they want to have their marriages be living testimonies of God’s goodness and grace.
The gift of sex is intended for married couples only
1 Corinthians 7:2-3 states, “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfil his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.”
Based on excerpts from 50 Shades Darker that have been retrieved online, the male protagonist, ironically named Christian, has multiple sex partners, with even an ex-lover plotting revenge on the young woman he is wooing. Relationships are not exclusive and commitment towards one another is nothing to be celebrated in this series of erotica. As people, Christians alike, fill their heads increasingly with such notions, dismissing it as mere entertainment, there is an increased risk of desensitization towards the sanctity of marriage and God’s design for marriage that will be difficult to abate.
Sex should always unite a married couple in greater physical and emotional intimacy
While sex involving bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism might be permitted legally as long as there is consent, it is never beneficial in enhancing the kind of emotional and physical intimacy as described in the Word of God.
1 Corinthians 10:23 says, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say – but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ – but not everything is constructive.” The sexual practices as described in the 50 Shades series are destructive of true intimacy because it rules on fear, anger and jealousy. If emulated, the sexual acts are committed at the expense of one’s spouse. Sex with a spouse should never be self-serving.
At the same time, if a married couple needs to fill their heads with images of other couples’ sexual experiences to derive their own sexual highs, it speaks volumes in terms of the sexual and emotional intimacy the couple shares; and it goes against what is said in Hebrews 13:4 – “Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure ...” It would do the couple well to prayerfully share their sexual likes and dislikes to achieve greater physical and emotional intimacy with each other than to rely on erotica as a catalyst for increased libidos.
As seen, in reality, there are no grey areas when it comes to the use of erotica. More than anything, it goes against much of what God intended for all His believers. We must rest in the Holy Spirit to guide us in our choices of entertainment, if we seek to truly please Him.
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