Friends read it. Friends raved about it. And one friend almost fell off a treadmill because she was so enthralled in the visuals, the emotions and the shock-factor of 50 Shades of Grey.
Maybe you haven’t read it, but I’m betting you have heard of it.
Women flocked to it, over 70 million to be exact. “The first book in the series became the fastest-selling paperback book ever, beating out J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series” (USA Today).
I didn’t read it.
I’ll admit I was tempted—curious, mostly.
What was in this book woman that were so attracted to? Was the love story so deep, the writing so good?
From what I heard, it was neither; it was the sex.
The erotic fantasy that peaked interests, boosted libidos and “did for women and erotica what the advent of the Internet did for men and porn” (Pulling Back the Shades pg. 9).
What’s wrong with this you ask? I reviewed Dannah Gresh & Dr. Juli Slatter’s response to this phenomenon in their book Pulling Back the Shades to hear their side of the story.
Since I haven’t read the 50 Shades of Grey series, I turned to Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slatter’s new book with an open mind, curious how they could write an entire book to, what seemed, rebut a best selling series.
After devouring their 150 page quick-read, Pulling Back the Shades, Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart, I have to admit, 50 Shades of Grey doesn’t look appetizing to me, but instead, I want to recommend Pulling Back the Shades to every woman out there—single, dating, engaged, married & divorced.
- The authors aren’t uptight. This book is not an account from sweet, sheltered pastor’s wives who haven’t seen the world. This book was written by professionals, counselors and a psychologist who have seen the impacts of what books like 50 Shades of Grey can do. And yes, one of the authors read the series, allowing her to truly understand the story and come at it with an informed, educated view. The authors care about women and care about women’s present and future sex lives. They aren’t responding to this book because they simply didn’t like it, but because they don’t like what is doing to women. They are pro-women and pro-sex.
- The book provides facts. There is a false understanding circling our culture that erotica is harmless fantasy, an escape for the brain and a way for women to embrace their sexuality through their imagination. Yet, as many sources are coming out to show the negative impacts of porn on men, Dannah and Dr. Juli provide valid reasons why we should show the same concern for the impacts of erotica on women. Sources that discuss the effects of porn: http://yourbrainonporn.com , http://www.gq.com/blogs/the-feed/2013/11/10-reasons-why-you-should-quit-watching-porn.html
- It debunks the lie that erotica is satisfying.“The fantasy of erotica inspires one thing—the longing for more. Instead of satisfying your longings, it will awaken, manipulate, and deepen them. No longer will you be satisfied…Normal sex in your marriage—the kind that requires communication, sometimes involves frustration, and doesn’t always end in a rapturous orgasm—will now be disappointing. A hardworking man who is faithfully scrapping by will never be able to provide for you the way a man in your fantasy can” (pg. 36-37).
Fantasies are just that—fantasies. They are twisted truths that can never become reality, no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves. Dannah and Dr. Juli dive into this matter and provide first hand accounts as well has scientific proof that erotica will only hurt those who depend upon it. “Erotica seems harmless because it’s just words on a page but it brands your mind, and creates false expectations for future relationships” (pg. 33).
- It provides a healthy description of submission. If there is one word today’s women try to avoid, it is submission. Most people see submission as weakness instead of one of the essential elements that holds healthy marriages together. Yet for some reason when it comes to sexual submission, the obsession around 50 Shades of Grey shows what woman are so desperately longing for—to submit to a strong, confident man.
Dr. Juli, who read the book, describes scenes and themes from the book, helping those who haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey understand the unhealthy submission portrayed. The abusive, sexual, yet arousing scenes of Christian and Anastasia (the main characters) have awakened something in women around the world—a curiosity for more. “BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism)—once clearly stigmatized as dark and uncommon—is begin normalized and applauded.” (pg. 75)
Dannah and Dr. Juli examine and explain the root of what is going on and uncover what women truly desire. They give examples from their own lives and the lives of others, providing practical ways for women to quench their deep thirst that will never been satisfied by erotica or BDSM.
- It provides hope. My heart was pounding when I finished this book. I felt like I understood something deep about myself, my own struggles and the pain of women everywhere. Pulling Back the Shades wasn’t written to place guilt on those who have read 50 Shades of Grey, but to provide hope for those who have been misinformed and misled, offer encouragement for women to pursue healthy, fulfilling sex lives and to shine a spotlight on the lies and misunderstandings that been surrounding sex for generations.
The most frightening part of this book is that it will challenge you.
It asks you to step out and make change, but for the better.
It will open your eyes to things you may have never seen in yourself and guide you toward a healthier view of yourself and your sexuality. Yes, it goes against the grain of modern thought and the moral grey areas E.L. James asks readers to consider through her best selling series, but Pulling Back the Shades will beckon you to rethink what you have been told by society, and decide for yourself truth, morality and how to healthfully pursue your deepest desires.
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