Tag Archives: sex

7 Things To Do Before Seeing 50 Shades of Grey

50 shades

Although it seems that I’ve been posting about movies a lot lately (okay, this is only my second post about movies this month, but still…that’s more posts than I usually devote to movies), I promise, this is not turning into an entertainment blog.

I guess it’s just that the movies that have come out lately have snagged my attention, and for one reason or another, compelled words.

And today’s topic? 50 Shades of Grey. Of course. Isn’t this the only thing people are talking about right now?

The movie is about to hit theaters and, if anything like the book(s), will be wildly popular.

That makes me sad.

Let me be totally transparent with you from the get-go. I haven’t read the books, nor do I plan to. I will not see the movie.

I could devote this entire post to the reasons why I’ve chosen not to read the books or see the movie. I could tell you all about the Biblical reasons and how I believe that sex belongs only in marriage, but there are a zillion posts out there that have pretty much said what I would say, like this one, written by a pastor and literary agency mate of mine. Read it. It’s full of truth and grace.

You’re going to make your own choices about these books and movies regardless of what I have to say, but I hope you’ll briefly consider a few things—things I think you should do before you go see this movie.

  1. Consider whether or not your movie ticket dollars could be better spent.

Instead of paying for a ticket to this movie, perhaps you could put the money toward bills that need to be paid. Maybe it could go toward groceries or clothes or something else in your life. Perhaps you could be a blessing to a stranger today and use those dollars to “pay it forward” while you’re out and about—purchase the order for the person behind you in the drive-thru, etc. Maybe you could give the money to charity for a cause worth fighting. Check out WorldHelp’s child sponsorship program. Do something with the dollars that will either make a positive difference in your life or the life of someone else.

  1. Talk to your spouse or significant other.

The vast majority of ticket holders for this movie will be women, so ladies, I’d like to challenge you to have a real conversation with your husband or boyfriend about this movie—about how they feel about you seeing it. Does your husband support you? Is he aware that this movie promotes graphic sexual situations based on pain as gratification? Have you discussed with him the reasons why you enjoyed the books (I’m assuming you did if you want to see the movie) and why you want to see the movie? I want you to consider how you might feel if your husband went out to see a graphic sexual film because he was “turned on” by the premise or by one of the characters. I think you should discuss this with your man and give him the opportunity to share with you any feelings he may (or may not) have on the subject. Open conversation about difficult topics is a positive attribute of a strong relationship (something I think the characters in the 50 Shades story-line sorely lack). PS, check out one of my favorite relationship bloggers for more.

  1. Consider how seeing the movie (or reading the books) will have a positive impact on your life.

Will seeing this movie, in anyway, make you funnier, more intelligent, more compassionate, more aware of others, kinder, more devoted to helping people, or set your mind, in any way, on positive things that will help you grow spiritually?

I think we can ask ourselves the question above about a lot of forms of entertainment to help us weed out things that fill our brains with garbage, taking up the room we could be devoting to things that help us grow as humans; things that connect us to other people, not in a way that makes people appear as sexual beings, but as human beings with brains, hearts, and souls that are valuable to humanity and precious to God.

  1. Question your definition of love.love

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day—the day when all the world gets mushy and gushy about love. And yet, while we’re all thinking about hearts and cupid and giant teddy bears and boxes of chocolates, too many people are walking around saying that the relationship portrayed in 50 Shades of Grey is a love story. I disagree wholeheartedly.

Love is not someone who spends lots of money on you.

Love is not jumping into bed with a person you hardly know.

Love is not sexual gratification from pleasure in pain.

Love is not one person’s needs being met at the expense of another’s.

Love is not sex slave and dominant.

Love is not sex.

Love is not what this movie is about. At all.

Love is commitment. Love is devotion. Love is a man who makes a woman feel like a princess and a woman who makes a man feel like a hero. Love has nothing to do with money. Love is beautiful and kind and patient and not prideful. Love is sacrifice. Love is what a strong marriage is built on, and most strong marriages have very healthy and not-at-all boring sex lives.

Before you see this movie—question whether or not you’re justifying by calling this a love story.

  1. Invite your grandma.

I’m not even going to tell you to consider what Jesus would think if he was with you in this movie because folks, he IS with you in the movie. God is everywhere and He sees all things. That being said, I want to just encourage you to invite your grandmother to go with you to see 50 Shades. Would you feel comfortable sitting by grandma during “those scenes?” If not, question why you’re comfortable going at all.

  1. Read about how the actors feel about the movie.

This article was interesting. It appears that the actors from this movie don’t even like each other and also disliked pretty much everything about the movie. The actor playing Christian Grey mentions that he had to take a long shower after filming before he could touch his wife and young child, presumably because he felt dirty from filming. Gotta wonder why that sort of filth would appeal to anyone. (However, if they truly hated it all that much, I have to question why they’d sign on for it at all.)

  1. Consider some alternatives.

There are tons of movies that you could watch that are far more romantic than 50 Shades of Grey will ever be, because unlike 50 Shades, they are actually romantic, not just about sex.

A few suggestions: Becoming Jane (one of my favorites), Austenland (hilarious!), A Walk to Remember, The Princess Bride, Say Anything (my husband’s suggestion), Emma, Pride & Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility (yeah, I love Jane Austen), P.S. I Love You, The Vow, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (a classic fave), The Notebook, Dirty Dancing, etc…there’s a VERY long list of alternatives.

I’m not asking you to agree with me that 50 Shades of Grey is not a good movie for anyone to see and could actually do harm to your relationships and your outlook on love, marriage, and healthy sex.

I’m just asking you to do the things above and see if you might decide that you have better things to do with your valuable time and money.

Share with me: What’s your favorite romantic movie?

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Filed under Just For Fun, Romance, The Christian Walk

If Beauty Is In the Eye of the Beholder, We’re In Trouble

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

We’ve heard it and said it a zillion times.

We talk about how important it is for all people, not just Christians, to keep from judging one another. We live in a world of political correctness where all are supposed to be equal. We fight for respect and acceptance.

But not for ourselves. It seems we can’t grant ourselves the very thing we fight to give everyone else.

Why is it that we can train ourselves to refrain from judging others, but when it comes to what we see in the mirror, we’re our own worst critics?

I recently read a post on marriage and sex on Sheila Gregoire’s blog, To Love, Honor and Vacuum, that made me pause.

(By the way, if you aren’t familiar with her blog, you should get familiar. I think it’s excellent.)

She did a series of posts promoting her new book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, and it she delved into the problem that many women face in the bedroom–accepting their own bodies.

I think I have half-decent self-esteem. I’m okay with myself and the body God gave me. Sometimes. On a good day.

So I was shocked when the challenge on Sheila’s blog that day stumped me.

The challenge was to name five things about your body that you really, truly like.

I couldn’t do it.

I venture to say that there are a very, very small number of women on the planet that can do it, and I’d also guess that most of them aren’t supermodels.

Five. Five things about your body that you can celebrate and be proud of. And things that come in sets don’t count as two.

I’m right there with the majority of women who engage in an unhealthy amount of self-loathing every time they look in the mirror.

And that self-loathing is destroying our relationships–both with our spouses and with other women.

We don’t like what we see in the mirror. We don’t like what genetics, babies, time, and development have done to our bodies. We can’t accept the skin we’ve been given. We want to look like someone else.

We live in a society where beauty is emphasized over character. And that’s so, so messed up.

So, what do we do about it?

Some women turn into recluses, covering themselves from head to toe, hiding. They over-compensate for their looks by drawing attention away from them–covering up, or on the other side, distracting from their looks with funny faces, wild personalities, crazy antics. Then there are those who take matters into their own hands and seek medical correction for the “flaws” they see. Still others, try to “correct” their problems with too much exercise and too little food.

Don’t get me wrong– I think being healthy is incredibly important.

But I don’t think any of these actions are healthy.

I think healthy begins with acceptance. And acceptance begins with learning to like what we see in the mirror, no matter what size, shape, or color we are.

I’m challenging myself and now I challenge you.

Share with me: Can you name five things about your body that you really, truly like?

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Filed under Marriage, Romance

“Mommy Porn”– The Answer for The Desperate Housewife?

I’m taking on a heavy topic today, folks. One that’s serious. Some might say that as a Christian writer I should stay away from such a topic, but I think differently. There’s a growing trend in publishing that can’t be ignored. We’re losing readers, faith-based writers! We need to figure out why and what we can do to encourage readers to pass by the books they’re choosing and choose ours instead. It’s a timeless battle, but one that’s come to the forefront with the emergence of new technologies.

I’m talking desperate housewives– not the TV show, but the real women. The ones who are, according to our society, unhappy and unfulfilled at home. And how do they find happiness and fulfillment? Sex. Just ask any one of the very promiscuous characters on said TV show. Or the studies that show that unhappy homemakers are increasingly turning toward gratification in the form of fiction.

Welcome to the digital age– the age of eBooks, huge increases in self-publishing, and the rapidly growing markets of fan fiction and erotica.

The numbers of straight-to-eBook self-pubbed erotic novels are apparently attracting huge numbers of women, so say the number crunchers.

Why? Because it’s easier for women to hide their “guilty” pleasures now–they can download them straight to the eReader of choice. No more public judgement from cashiers at the bookstore or hiding a saucy cover from curious eyes.

Don’t believe me? Here’s just one of the gazillion articles that’s been published recently about this surge in numbers.

We aren’t talking about light romance here, either. No Nicholas Sparks story where the couple might end up in bed together but the details are left to the imagination. Nope, we’re talking about a serious, descriptive, pornographic novel that leaves very little to the imagination.

But what’s the attraction? Why are women drawn to these stories? It’s not the stellar narrative, because stellar narrative and craft aren’t what these authors are going for.

Take Fifty Shades of Grey for example: Started as Twilight fan fiction. Self-pubbed eBook trilogy. Drew huge numbers. Contracted for world-wide printed and eBook release. Sold movie rights. Considered a phenomenon. Erotic fiction based on some fantasy about a restricted college student and a billionaire with fetish for abusive sexual exploits. Rave reviews from swooning readers, negative reviews from other authors, critics, and industry leaders for lack-luster writing and weaknesses in all areas.

Yeah, I haven’t read these books. I have no desire to do so. But I have read several articles about the books because I’m curious about the label given to them and books like them– Mommy Porn.

According to analysts, women, specifically “mommies” between the ages of 20-45, are eating these books up– using them the same way a man might use porn– to create sexual fantasies.

And since it’s my blog and I can be honest, I have to tell you– this phenomenon really, really disturbs me.

As if we needed more reasons for marriages to fail, for women to feel devalued, for women to forget and ignore the very reasons for which they were created, more reasons to create negative views on what sex is and how it is to be treated in a loving, Christ-centered relationship.

As if the “world” needed more ammunition against the institution of marriage.

As if teens and young people needed more ammunition against the very idea of a healthy relationship that could lead to marriage.

Yeah, I look at this whole phenomenon as an attack on marriage and positive relationships between men and women. Here’s yet another example of how we, as a society, are valuing sex over everything else in a relationship.

It’s been this way since the dawn of time. As a history teacher I can tell you honestly that nothing makes the world go ’round like sex, money, and religion. And sometimes you can combine all three and discover that they are behind some of the world’s greatest events and most powerful people.

It’s a war long waged. And it seems like it’s taking down some of the ones who had been able to avoid it before. Now, thanks to eReaders, any shame is hidden, so more women are indulging.

And what is this indulgence doing?

  • Creating an unrealistic view of sex in a relationship. For a long time, many have argued that romantic fiction creates an unrealistic view of “happily ever after” and actually harms relationships by giving women an unrealistic view of men. Although I don’t agree with that argument, I do think that erotic fiction is dangerous– it gives women a view of sex as completely the opposite of what it should be, as it was created by the Creator.
  • Reinforcing the idea that sex outside of marriage is acceptable, even encouraged. We should be instilling in our young people the idea that sex is perfect within a marriage only, as it was designed. How can we do that when parents (“mommies”) don’t believe it?
  • Encouraging women to “sleep around” to find the right guy. We have enough of this in our society as it is.
  • Encouraging women to believe that they are sex objects before anything else. If “Mr. Right” in the book is only right because of how he performs in the bedroom, something is very, very wrong.
  • Encouraging women to fantasize sexually about someone other than her husband.
  • Opening the door to sexual addictions, no different than an addiction that someone might have to pornographic photographs.
  • Putting the emphasis of the relationship on sex. Again, we have enough of this in our society as it is.

I have more thoughts on this topic which will make themselves known in future posts, like how we as faith-based writers can combat this growing phenomenon, but for now, I want your thoughts.

Share with me: What do you think the “Mommy Porn” phenomenon is about? Why are women drawn to these erotic books? Are housewives really so desperate?

 

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Filed under Marriage, Romance, Writing