Why Your Wife is Reading “Fifty Shades of Grey”

What would you think if you found your wife reading the new erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey?

I’d love to take a poll.

Some men would probably be disappointed. “Why is Beth reading mommy porn?”

Perhaps, in a world where 87% of men admit to looking at porn each year, many husbands might actually be excited. “Maybe she does actually want sex!”

If only those men knew the difference between sex and affection. If they did… their wives would be a lot more fulfilled, and in turn, those men would probably get a lot more sex. (Funny how that works.)

I don’t think I let the cat out of the bag when I hinted that a man’s sex drive usually is a little greater than his wife’s. But being fair, how hard are these men trying to romance their women and meet their needs? And if they are… why are literally millions of women turning to harlequinesque novels like Fifty Shades of Grey to get their romantic fill? Is it because these women want sex? Or is there something a little deeper that many husbands are missing.

USA Today’s Deidre Donahue just wrote an article providing a little more insight as to why she thinks Fifty Shades of Grey is selling like gangbusters. Donahue gets straight to it. “Gentlemen,” she writes. “Don’t get your hopes up that women of America have developed an insatiable appetite for pornography and multiple partners… James is actually writing romance, the most popular category in book publishing.” (Donahue goes on to share 10 reasons she thinks why Fifty Shades of Grey has shackled readers.)

Listen up men, because Ms. Donahue just gave you a glimpse into a woman’s desire for “affection.”

Perhaps the problem is that most men don’t know the difference between affection and sex. Willard F. Harley, Jr., in his insightful book, His Needs Her Needs, affirms that men’s number one “need” is sexual fulfillment. Women’s, however, is affection. Affection is the expression of love nonsexually (hugs, greeting cards, holding hands…), communicating protection, comfort and approval. Unfortunately, many men don’t which is which. For a man, a hug leads to… well… other things. Harley notes the difference between the two. “We often confuse sex and affection. Affection is an act of love that is nonsexual… However, acts that can show affection, such as hugging and kissing, that are done with a sexual motive are actually sex, not affection.”

Most men flunked out of Affection 101. Too bad… because it’s hurting their marriage.

Enter Fifty Shades of Grey stage left. In an affection vacuum, women are gobbling up books where they can live vicariously through female characters drowning in affection. And what eventually happens when a woman’s need for affection is met?


And these books offer plenty of that as well.

Men just need to understand that these women aren’t looking for a roll in the sack (those women populate MTV reality shows). They want love. James’ taboo little novel is about a 27-year-old CEO who takes time to notice the object of his affection, braiding her hair, showering her with complements. Does it help that this guy is rich, powerful and handsome? Absolutely. (How many married guys let themselves go after they’ve said “I do”?)

Sadly, men often are reaping what they sow in their marriage.

Men, I challenge you to ask yourself candidly. How much time are you spending meeting your wife’s need for affection? Or more specifically:

  1. When is the last time you planned a surprise date for your wife where you made her feel like the most special person in the room?
  2. When did you buy her a new outfit from her favorite clothing store? (Have you ever gone in her favorite clothing store with her? Would you even know what to get her?)
  3. When is the last time you wrote her a card telling her why you appreciate her?
  4. How about flowers?
  5. How about holding her hand and whispering how beautiful she looks?

Your wife doesn’t need Fifty Shades of Grey. She needs affection. She needs you!


The Increasingly Difficult Task of Fleeing Porn

Shhhhh! Don’t Talk About Sex

3 Expressions of Flove That Will Change Your Marriage


  • http://www.talleyimages.blogspot.com Addie

    Very good article… sadly most men probably wont read it

  • Bev

    I don’t want my husband to buy my clothes! To be honest, it really may be about the sex for some women. I’ve never read it, have no desire to. It sounds like trash, don’t need it in my life.

    Honestly, if a woman feels she needs more affection from her husband, she should let him know. You’re not a very good marriage partner if you don’t communicate your needs while caring for your spouse’s. That works for both spouses. And women aren’t the only ones who need affection. I feel that you’re painting this picture with a very wide brush, and it doesn’t apply to everyone.

    Honestly, a Christian women who fills her mind with raunchy stuff like 50 Shades of Grey isn’t behaving like much of a Christian. And, I’m sorry, this is saying it’s her husband’s fault is ludicrous. Did God excuse Adam in Eden when he pointed at Eve and said, “She made me do it”? Do you think God’s going to buy it when a woman points at her husband and says, “I only read porn because he didn’t _________”? Don’t tell others to justify their sins by blaming others.

  • Kristin

    Doesn’t make it right that they are reading it.

  • http://www.talleyimages.blogspot.com Addie

    I dont think he was saying it was right, but rather just giving an explanation as to why it was happening and maybe how it could be prevented…

    • jonathanmckee

      Exactly. Thanks Addie. The article wasn’t meant to imply that this is the case in all marriages, and it wasn’t meant to give a nod of approval to women reading the book if their husbands are turds! :) I simply wanted to point out that men (and women) should be always trying to meet their spouse’s needs. For most men, they could use a little work in the area of showing affection.

  • Bug

    Don’t need it… my husband does just fine. I am a blessed woman and a very happy one at that. God is good all of the time even when we don’t think so at first. Give him the glory all of the time.

  • http://www.generationactzyouthfellowship.com Tonya Berry

    I think that one thing a lot of Christian men are misunderstanding about us is that most of us enjoy and desire sex just as much as they do, and that a lot of women look at porn and read this stuff because a lot of them were molested and have never dealt with the issues that arise from that later on in life. We women, especially us Christian women, don’t like to talk about sex or intimacy much, and I think that’s why everybody thinks that “Oh studies have been done that show that men have a bigger sex drive”. My husband has complained before when I got busy, that I wasn’t affectionate enough. My husband seems to enjoy affection about as much as I do. I think it’s just a cultural taboo for women to talk like they like sex. We want everyone to think we’re as pure as the driven snow and as innocent as five year olds, and so even in these studies a lot of the women probably pretended like they weren’t as into it as they were. Now as for the book, me personally I just heard of it last week (See? I’m pure as the driven snow ha ha) and I have NO interest in reading it. I’ve always found stories about other people or even make-out scenes in movies to be voyeuristic and weird. Just ask my husband, I always cringe when they make the “kissy noise”!

  • MarkC

    I am showing my wife affection if I make her sign a contract telling her what she can and can’t do and turn her into a whore. This is porn wrapped in a thinly veiled poorly written fan fiction piece of crap.