“Fifty Shades of Grey.” More Like Fifty Types of Denial.

I’ve received several questions via email about a new erotic trilogy called Fifty Shades of Grey, a story about a young college woman (and a virgin) who enters into a contract with a businessman whereby he has total control of her life while she participates in a submissive sexual relationship with him. The book takes place in Seattle (my current hometown) and involves explicit descriptions of sexual encounters including bondage and S&M.

Apparently, it’s become quite a hit and women everywhere are devouring (no pun intended) the series, including women of faith.

Some quick thoughts–

  1. You are what you eat. Garbage in, garbage out. The concern here isn’t so much about sexual mores as it is with personal well being. Just as we are deeply affected by what we eat, whether it be overall health, clothing size, or mental well being, so we are affected by the images and ideas that we introduce to ourselves. Consuming a steady diet of media content that is, well, less than uplifting, takes it’s effect. [See the movie Idiocracy for more on this. It's not kid-friendly and f-bombs (sic) make up half of the dialogue, but it makes a great point. Consider it WALL-E for adults.]
  2. It’s hard to tell from our contemporary culture, but sex is meant to be something deeply personal and intimate. When we allow ourselves to be shaped by outside images and ideas, especially deficient ones, we end up denying our own experience of sex. We take someone else’s ideas, a stranger in this case, and make them part of our experience surrounding sexual intimacy. But they belong to someone else. They’re not something discovered in an intimate, trusting, and exclusive relationship. They’re imposed upon from without.
  3. The brain is the most powerful sex organ. In other words, this is just porn for women, porn that is easily consumed now that e-readers abound and no one has to know what another person is reading. It’s not that people shouldn’t have sexual thoughts, but rather how those experiences should occur and how they can be used constructively. Just as regular porn isolates and disconnects the consumer from reality, particularly the reality of love, so do erotic novels disconnect its readers (largely women) from the reality of relationship and love, two things that one hopes might have something to do with each other.
  4. Escapism doesn’t work. The women enjoying Fifty Shades appear to be doing what most of us do when we enjoy media or read a book: taking a break from our busy (often troubled) lives and escaping into someone else’s story. That’s human nature and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. But, let’s face it, marriages and other relationships are under a lot of stress today. When we need to take a break from them, we need something that’s going to give us the strength to get back out there and work (fight?) for what we believe in. I’m not saying that our entertainment needs to be Pollyanna. But it should be constructive. Even in our escapes or breaks, we need to be able to experience something constructive. The last thing women need is to immerse themselves in a world where the heroine is abused, degraded, and not allowed to be her own person. Just because it’s “consensual” doesn’t mean it’s good for a woman.

It says a lot about our culture when so many women find their escape in an erotic novel in which there is clearly lacking a balance of power between the female and male protagonists, respectively. You’ve come a long way, baby, so far, in fact, that you’re further back than when you started. We used to call that denial.

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  • Paul

    It’s really a sad day when you self censor. Expanding your mind and experiences is a good thing. If the only way to protect your faith is to pretend that other views don’t exist, then you are lost. It’s a shame that you can’t see that.

    • Brandy Miller

      @Paul: Do you view child pornography? Do you read snuff literature? Do you read the lives of the Saints? Have you read the Catholic Catechism in its entirety? Do you read blogs with viewpoints you don’t agree with?

      My point to you in asking all of this is that we all self-censor, and we should. You probably don’t view child pornography partly because it’s illegal and in part because it doesn’t fit within your moral framework. The same with snuff literature – you most likely don’t find the idea of reading about how someone is killed for sexual gratification fits within your moral framework. You most likely aren’t Catholic, so you don’t read Catholic literature because you don’t care to hear the point of view you feel sure will be espoused by those books. (If you are Catholic and you’re not reading it, you’re being really lazy and denying yourself a great opportunity to grow in your understanding of the reasons the Catholic Church teaches what it does and how it has come to those conclusions). It’s unnecessary to pretend other views don’t exist, but you also don’t have to immerse yourself in those views in order to grow. For instance, you can learn about the psychology behind bdsm without immersing yourself in the world of it and grow far more than by participating without studying the psychological impact such a lifestyle has on a person.

      • BDM

        Great job Brandy! I cannot imagine a better way to explain the truth shred by this article or the fallacy in Paul’s response.

    • http://going-greene.blogspot.com Tori

      She is clearly not pretending this doesn’t exist. She is facing it head-on and shining the light of truth on it. And there is nothing wrong (and actually everything right) with rejecting something that one feels would be detrimental to one’s well-being. It’s a shame you can’t see that.

      • http://going-greene.blogspot.com Tori

        Just wanted to clarify, that reply was directed at Paul.

    • http://www.charlenelockwood.com Edgy DC

      Posted below, but meant in response to Paul’s comment:

      I’ve always known “self-censoring” to be censoring what we say, not what we take in.

      We all make careful and considered choices about what we take in. We have to, as we can’t and shouldn’t try and consume everything.

      I see a movie poster and the if claims the film marketers are trying to make tell me in my wisdom and experience that it’s not for me, then I take a pass — hopefully a healthy one. “Self censor”? Please, let’s not make something so dramatic out of it.

      We’re not just vessels for constant consumption, but actors and agents in the world, hopefully taking in what we think is good and breathing out what we think is best.

    • Jonathan

      What you call self-censoring, I call judicial and prudent decisions for what you allow your mind to contemplate. The fact is that not everyone who limits what they allow themselves to be exposed to is a coward who is afraid of other views and actions besides their own.

      I would like to ask you this basic question: Is there anything truly evil in this world? Would you classify child pornography, rape, genocide, murder, or pedophilia as legitimately evil? If you acknowledge anything at all as evil, regardless of how we may differ on what is and is not evil, you can understand why someone would want to judicially examine what goes into their mind, and make the distinction between that which they want to experience and grow into, and that which they reject because it is immoral. Only if you legitimately make no distinction between good and evil acts about even the most heinous and grotesque of crimes could you honestly hold that prudence toward what you allow into your mind is cowardice and self-censoring.

      • Brie

        You don’t have to censor against pedophilia, rape etc. – the government does that for you – it’s illegal! Snuff films and child porn are not on the blockbuster shelf. Censorship is in the bounds of placing morality on things that some in a free society do not feel is immoral. BDSM is actually a rare sexual practice – engaged in by consenting adults who enjoy it – they do not feel it is wrong. FSOG is not real BDSM – in fact many healthy couples already engage in the practices described in FSOG of handcuffs and blindfolding or an erotic spanking. And apparently millions of women don’t find these things wrong – they enjoy the books and reportedly feel it spiced up their sex life. FSOG may not be everyone’s cup of tea – but come one – child porn? That it is not.

    • Rebecca Jordan

      Would it be good for a person to get their dinner from a dumpster outside of Chuck E Cheese? I HIGHLY doubt it. Just like food, images and messages we take in from the media affect our moods, behaviors, and relationships. There are many research studies to prove it.

      I am sorry, but I am a much better happier person when I censor things. I think woman who think that this book is entertaining are forgetting one thing: they are worth something. Women debase themselves constantly, and I find it immensely depressing to see women who are good and beautiful making themselves objects just for a fleeting second of attention and/ or lust. How can objectation be an escape? I think this book and those like it put women in the chains of self-hate, low self-identity, and depression. Women deserve than this book. On a side note I really like the movie Pollyanna.

      • Brie

        Research so far – even a clinical trial with married couples in counseling – showed that the book improved marital sex lives – and that is what I have heard from every woman that has read it. Probably because the books are not about objectification – the man who is into BDSM due to psychological problems from childhood abandons the lifestyle marries the girl they have babies happily ever after. The man is willing to change his life and face his problems to keep the girl – she leaves him in the story. And though she does not like BDSM she realizes she does like a few of the milder things in it – which most women reportedly would like to have their men try because it has to do with pleasing the woman being the focus – not the objectification of pleasing the man – and not abusive or painful. This is not debasement – many women wish their men would have the love for them to want to heal some of their more damaged areas of their life. To those unmarried women out there that stay with problematic men hoping they change this book offers what should be done – leave him! If he does love you he will want to be better – and having the guts to walk away sometimes prompts this change – that is not a totally uncommon story – if anything this book shows what a man will do if he truly loves you – he is the one who goes the extra mile – not by her choosing to be debased – but him becoming healthier. Get the story straight – you don’t have to read the book – but make judgments based on the actual storyline not an imagined one.

    • enness

      I don’t have to take a swim in the pond at the sewage treatment plant to know that it exists. And if I said I couldn’t know whether I was interested unless I tried it, you’d probably think I had a few screws loose.

  • http://going-greene.blogspot.com Tori

    I am so mystified by the appeal of this kind of garbage. The excuse I keep hearing is “But it’s a love story!” Besides the fact that sadism has no place in a real loving relationship, even the most tender love story is no excuse to delve into the details of another person’s sexual encounters – fiction or no. Thanks for tackling this subject! It’s refreshing to see that there are others who see the trash for what it is.

  • Bmaz

    Would love to hear a similar analysis of “magic mike”, which I often hear lumped in with 50 Shades as mommy porn. Amazing (and scary) how culture is changing.

    • Sarah M

      There is actually a good analysis of “Magic Mike” at Sr. Helena Burns’ movie review blog (called “Hell Burns”). Just read it today.

      • mariagianna

        am reading it now..love the website!! Thanks!

    • Nina

      Depends where you see it. Here, in San Francisco, there were far more men on line to see it than women. :D

  • http://www.charlenelockwood.com Edgy DC

    Sheesh, if Idiocracy is Wall-E for adults, I question the meaning of adult. Makes a meaningful point, but makes it poorly.

    Generally agreed, though.

  • Sunny

    I posted this on Catholic Vote. I figured I’d post it here too. These books are AWFUL… They’re a train wreck.

    I have to tell you. I started reading the books because I thought it was a HUGE over exaggeration… Turns out, it wasn’t. It is full on, out and out, erotica at some parts. That being said; Parts of the story have some good elements. It’s gotten entertaining for me and I have started tuning out the sex scenes. They no longer make me go, “Oh my goodness,” and blush, they make me go, “OK, search for the end of this so it gets back to the story.” I finished the second book last night. It ended in a cliff hanger, and I plan on reading the 3rd book, because it’s the train wreck that I can’t look away from. I even cried a bit at some of the parts describing the horrific early childhood that the lead male had. It is by no means a masterpiece. It isn’t very well written. Frankly, the “Twilight Saga,” elements are very clear to me. (Because it started as “Twilight,” fan-fic.) It is purely, entertaining. (To me. I cannot judge what it does to/for other women.) I think that the effect that this has on people, really depends on the personality, and WHY they are reading it. I’m not reading it as a means to make my sex life with my husband better. I’m not reading it to get some sort of sexual satisfaction out of it, at all. I am reading it to see what all the hype was a about. And, it gloriously, well, AWFUL. I agree, what goes in, comes out. And this a series that has me laughing out loud at the audacity, crying at parts that really touch me, and going, “Seriously, that’s just terrible. How could you even write that?” It is what it is. If people don’t want to read it they shouldn’t. But this is something that can purely be taken at face value as a TERRIBLY written, erotic novel, with a somewhat entertaining story line.

    I realize this sounds contradictory to your blog post… Trust me it is not. I agree with you. It’s terrible, and if taken the wrong way can be detrimental to someone’s psyche… Did I mention it’s TERRIBLY written?

  • http://www.charlenelockwood.com Edgy DC

    I’ve always known “self-censoring” to be censoring what we say, not what we take in.

    We all make careful and considered choices about what we take in. We have to, as we can’t and shouldn’t try and consume everything.

    I see a movie poster and the if claims the film marketers are trying to make tell me in my wisdom and experience that it’s not for me, then I take a pass — hopefully a healthy one. “Self censor”? Please, let’s not make something so dramatic out of it.

    We’re not just vessels for constant consumption, but actors and agents in the world, hopefully taking in what we think is good and breathing out what we think is best.

  • Jane

    Sunny–I am confused. If it is badly written and pornographic, why would you spend any of your finite time on earth reading it? And your own post confirms one of the points in the blog (under GIGO)–the more time you spend with this terribly written and pornographic book, the less you are shocked by it and the more you want to read….perhaps a rethink is in order?

    • http://www.charlenelockwood.com Edgy DC

      Yeah, Sunny needs to experience the liberating joys of literature chucking.

    • Sunny

      I am not un-sensitive to them. *I am skipping over them completely.* I am completely reading the story parts, not the sex parts.

      I think this is a manner of self censorship. And I’m censoring the parts I’m taking in.

      I am simply stating my opinion on the books, and feel no need to rethink anything. :) It’s entertaining, to me. I do not feel that I am in anyway damaging myself. If anything, it’s made me thankful for what I have. A loving husband, a healthy relationship, and someone I can giggle with about the terrible book I am reading. My husband thinks it’s hilarious when I come in and say, “Oh this is awful. Guess what happened at this part. NOW, she wants to go to church, she should’ve done that in the beginning.”

      • http://www.authenticbioethics.blogspot.com AuthenticBioetics

        We have a proverb, “playing with fire.” I know kids from a certain boys’ high school who juggle flaming batons. I also know they get burned a fair number of times while learning, and there is always a risk of things like hair and clothing catching fire. But, they don’t have to juggle flaming batons to enjoy juggling. There are better ways of getting easy to digest entertainment. You might be skipping over the “bad” parts, but they may burn you yet.

      • enness

        Here’s what I don’t understand, and this is not a criticism: you do have to at least skim those parts, right, or else how do you know when they end?

      • Brie

        LOL! People that think this book follows the usual romance novel the man is perfect have not read the book! Women report that it is spicing up their sex lives – maybe because they do appreciate their husband more! I think the hero in the story does draw you in emotionally – but not to fantasize being with him – he is a mess! I agree the writing was not great – but Twilight and FSOG were in essence based on Wuthering Heights – and though the story is erotic – you would never want to be with Heathcliffe! The explicit scenes may not be for everybody – but the story is pretty good despite the writing because it pulls from the old literary story of the fallen hero – though at least these books offer a happy ending!

  • Marie

    I started these books and had to literally rip myself away from them because of how they made me feel. It was an addicted feeling. I discussed this with my husband and he helped me rather than condemned me. After that and a trip to Confession I feel MUCH better. Ask yourself, is this how I want to feel? How would my husband feel about this? It’s not just another book, it’s a book chalked full of sin and treating people as objects. We all know the end of that story.

    • Sunny

      I don’t know if this was in response to me or not. But, I’ll respond anyway…

      I’m so sorry they made you feel that way. :( I am glad your husband is supportive and helped you through it. In my opinion, definitely, if they make you feel like that, you SHOULD stay away… I’m so happy that the priest and your husband could help.

      I will def rethink if I start to feel addicted, or if I start reading them for some other gratification other than to laugh at them.

      I do think I’ll go talk to my confessor and see if they are effecting me in a negative way. But, I have been praying all through this process and feel that if I wasn’t they may make me feel bad. (I also take time to read religious papers and books more so than I am this. “Adam and Eve After the Pill,” is soooo good and took up more time that “50 Shades Darker,” this week.) But, as of yet, I haven’t once thought of them in a sexual manner, or felt like I HAD to read them. In fact, It’s taken me about a week per book. Normally it takes me 2 days to get through books.

      Again, I’m really sorry that you felt that way. I can’t imagine. It’s good to have support.

  • Sarah M

    I really like your point about someone else’s notion of sex diminishing one’s relationship with her spouse. I suppose that just as pornographic images can numb a man to the beauty of the real woman he’s married to, so can novels like this lead a woman to see her own relationship as dull compared to the plastic reality in her mind. Something to be careful of, for sure.

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  • mariagianna

    I like Pollyanna….and Mary Poppins, and Sound of Music. Classics. This kind of thing truly troubles me. I read a LOT, and I am not prude(Song of Songs is my favorite book of the bible after the gospel of John), but somethings are clearly poison. If we read things like “Shades of Grey” where abuse is shown in a titillating manner we as Christians pollute the temple of the Holy Spirit…I think Women, particularly Christian women are crazy to read this. I wont touch it. As someone who was wounded and exposed at a very young age to sex through molestation and pornography, its been a life long struggle to fight the darkness of sexual sin and I didn’t voluntarily let it in!!! I would give anything…absolutely anything to have this stain of the Nazgul purged from my soul…I know that God will heal me someday completely in purgatory….but now I have this wound…I can’t imagine why anyone would voluntarily let it in.

  • Mary

    I am so thankful that someone is finally talking about these books for what they are, pornography. I went out with 6 or 7 friends and the books came up. When I said I didn’t read them because they were porn, my firends turned on me. They questioned me, made fun of me and argued with me. I left that evening very troubled. Today I was at my hair dressers and the books came up. Again, I said I didn’t and won’t read them. One of the ladies said it was soft porn. Apparently bondage and sm is soft porn now. Proverbs 23:7 states “For as he thinketh in his hear, so is he…”. What you read or watch, you become.

  • Marius

    Unfortunately, this kind of smut is quite popular now and public libraries waste their budgets on purchasing multiple copies of it. A garbage read for the Age of Stupidity, that’s all.

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  • rob

    “Even in our escapes or breaks, we need to be able to experience something constructive. ” …

    Simple, yet profoundly wise advice from Dr P. The point of recreation is to re – create… to restore us from our tiredness as a result of our efforts, so that we can return to our callings in life with renewed vigor.

    If one indulges in this stuff, one must evaluate one’s self-perception. Is it fulfillment of self-oriented appetites or fulfilling God’s call?

  • http://www.latersbaby.net Crissy

    In terms of Garbage In, Garbage Out – I find I can learn from other peoples mistakes. Sometimes I don’t need another human being to make a mistake, I can read a book and be entertained by it and still say – Wow, that’s not a healthy relationship, don’t do that.

    As for people who might read a book like this and think that the behavior is normal, they probably already did or were inclinded that way. Someone with a healthy attitude is not going to go astray because of a novel they read.

  • http://www.motherinthevale.blogspot.com Cindy

    Wow. I have seen some of my Facebook “friends” comment about the books. None of my personal Catholic friends have read them, probably because we work really hard to avoid the near occasion of sin. But if these books are filled with what you say, I can’t even imagine why in the world anyone would want to read them. A person is abused so he sets out to sexually abuse another person and it’s called “a love story?” What an absolute mess of world we live in. Maybe instead of Shades of Grey, they should read Madame Bovary instead.

  • TheresaEH

    This book is about legalized dedgregation of woman. and the sad thing is that smart, well educated women are paying good money to read this garbage. Women are becoming more more victims of ABUSE all in the name of “diversity, open mindedness”.

    No wonder the parmacutiacal companies are making billions and trillions of $ on anti depressants!!!!

  • InformedAndFree

    Where are the womens’ rights groups on thus issue?

    Did’t they come into existence to get women’s out of the kitchen/bedroom and into the workforce, making their own decisions as equal members of society? Subservient no more! I personally believe their agenda has gone too far but they should at least speak up when a series of books is promoting sexual slavery.

    • Marie

      You’re not going to hear from them because their agenda all along is not to uphold the dignity of women but to downgrade the dignify of men. This selective silence speaks volumes.

  • http://joannab-everyday.blogspot.co.uk/ Jane Frances

    I was personally saddened that something like this has become ‘mainstream’ reading. It seems that low level porn/deviancy is no longer a ‘taboo’ issue but that just shows how much people’s morals have changed and consciences are not seared anymore. I think we know that this book is bordering on the areas that we know are wrong especially within ourselves and certainly not Holy or uplifting in the way the stories of The Saints would be for today’s young women. I will be just glad when some other novelty takes off. I think it is a sad day when they make this into a movie and all in the name of money. Sex sells still. Let’s just pray it’s such a bad movie it will fall flat and all the hype will disappear.

  • enness

    When I was young I would sometimes sneak-read the racier parts of the women’s magazines I found. Actually, not too long ago, a thought hit me like a lightning bolt: the stories that couples were telling didn’t sound like something they came up with themselves (because seriously, who talks like that in real life?). It sounded like something they were coached to say, or like a script that was written by someone else entirely. Scary.

  • Susie

    Jane Frances, I am concerned, too, that this type of literature has become mainstream. It is hard to think of my children’s school teachers reading it, especially since even Catholic school teachers often do not have well-formed consciences, but I think we can be sure that many, many of our children’s teachers have read the books.

    Sunny, I think your point of view is interesting. You are able to read it in a detached way, which leaves you maybe more able to discuss it with friends who have read it. It would certainly require prayer to the Holy Spirit to inspire you with words that would be helpful in such discussions with friends, though. For myself, I can’t think of a bigger waste of my time then reading the books. It seems that praying a Rosary for the author and fans of the books would do more for them than me spending my time reading the books.

  • http://www.cranepoolforum.net Edgy DC

    Special thanks to all the folks here and their continuous reminder that innocent and victimless indulgence in pornography is neither, and the subtle but real damage it does to our souls and our relationships.

    So many of us are so lonely, and it seems like a modest band-aid on that. But like the nip of whiskey in the cold that makes our skin feel warmer as our body is actually losing heat, we fall for the illusion — a lie — and we are far more hollow on the other side than when we in.

    To mix a metaphor. A lot.

    You hardly have to be Catholic or a believer of any stripe to understand this. But too often, open-ness to a broader sexual experience — even one your good sense tells you will harm you — has been conflated with self-liberation. It’s a emotion and logic smashing against each other and it’s so hard to get past.

  • http://www.patrickcoffin.net Patrick Coffin

    Mommy Porn, with its sad amalgam of sorrow and emotional engagement, is our post-Larry Flynt culture’s last frontier. It’s tempting to say that this isn’t inevitable, but…

    A certain Peoria-born prelate once observed that “the history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.” We have placed ours on nerf pedestals and stood them in quick sand.

    I say give the devil his due: As titles go, “Fifty Shades of Grey” taps into our fallen natures tendency to rationalize morality as Not Being Black And White.

  • Micha Elyi

    Make that 51 Types of Denial.

    The foremost type of denial is encapsulated in the phrase “porn for women”.

    Just look around you – the porn preferred by females is openly sold in supermarkets, displayed in full view of children. Everyone is supposed to pretend that female-preferred porn isn’t really pornography and that it’s kinda sorta ok.

    - – -

    Q. What’s the difference between an EWTN program hosted by and produced for men versus one hosted by and produced for women? A. They both obsess over men and porn. (See the difference?)

  • Bozo

    I am so glad to see something written re: these porn books, so many of my friends are diving into these books and can’t stop talking about them. I have felt very troubled by what I’m seeing happen to our culture; this is an insipid way to reach many women who don’t understand what they’re allowing their consciences to experience and I’m praying that the tide will turn the other way. Thanks for stating the truth about these books!

  • Sandra

    If you are what you eat, you also are what you read/listen/watch. Reading garbage only fulls your head with garbage.

    There is a reason why many people teach/taught that the “gate-way” sin to separation from G-d is rooted in the human procreation drive. Subverting it, as well as the focus upon doing what is pleasing to your self, not what is pleasing to G-d, is the cancer of our society.

  • Mrs Baker

    When SNL does a skit about married women using this as a way to “stimulate” themselves, then you know it’s trash.

    Well-written article. I had no idea what it was when I saw the SNL skit. Now I know. Junk.

  • MaryD

    I am enjoying this very civil discussion. I think escapism is a constant temptation for moms and an important survival skill. It is true isn’t it that the uncensored imagination can take us places that feel very real, and even change us, sometimes leaving little scars that play against our self worth and wellness. Freedom is our birthright and our peril. Wish I always used mine wisely.

  • Charles E Flynn

    Suggested alternative: “The Fortunes of Permanence”, by Roger Kimball.

  • Anna W

    Hmmm. I am not a fan of censorship on this one even if I will probably never read the book. However, some women are into this sort of thing, even Catholic women. I do not see the point in tut-tutting about a book like this as it is escapism for women by a woman. There is no male coercion here. Too many Catholics wag their finger at people’s sexual recreations which are consensual and, unless conception occurs, affect only them. If only Catholics were as worked up about real world priestly sexual-abuse and the bishops that covered these crimes up. Just my view.

    • http://brandy-miller.blogspot.com Brandy Miller

      You know someone is defensive and knows they don’t have a really valid point to make the minute they bring up the sex abuse scandals – kind of like the kid who points at someone else’s bad behavior as a way of excusing their own.

      That a woman wrote this book for women does not make it more legitimate. There are no strictly personal sins, as we are all members of the body of Christ so what we do impacts the entire body in the same way that pain in the toe affects the entire body.

    • Nerina

      Anna,

      Do you think Catholics are NOT worked up about the abuse commited by a tiny fraction of priests and the cover-up allowed by some bishops? You haven’t been paying attention and “your view” needs to be expanded. Have you not noticed the steps taken by the Church in addressing the abuse scandal, the safeguards now in place and employed throughout the Church? If only other institutions were so vigilant (check out abuse in public schools, for example). I appreciate that those outside of the Church harbor anger and resentment regarding the abuse scandal, but try being a faithful member of the Church and imagine our outrage, disappointment, hurt and confusion. It it much, much more personal for us, I assure you.

      Regarding this book, the point remains that this type of literature can be very damaging to people. I won’t say that everyone is affected in the same way, but all who read it will feel residual effects to some degree. Finally, if you can’t see the connection between debased sexual fantasy literature and situations like the abuse scandal then you are willfully ignoring the obvious. It all comes down to failing to see other people as humans with inherent dignity simply because they are human. And no human, when properly viewed, should be treated as an object for someone else’s gratification.

  • Charles E Flynn
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  • http://www.thereignofchrist.com sam

    Thanks for the blog. I had to search a little to find something like this. If you don’t mind, I copied your link and added a little commentary. I did not quote your whole blog so that readers can come here and read the rest. The Lord be with you.

    http://thereignofchrist.com/fifty-shades-of-grey-or-fifty-shades-of-porn/

  • Charles E Flynn

    The New York Review of Books has published a fascinating back story on how “Fifty Shades of Grey” came to be published:

    http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/jul/27/seduction-and-betrayal-twilight-fifty-shades/

    According to WorldCat, 463 libraries worldwide have subscriptions to the London Review of Books, but more than 2,000 decided to spend money on “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

  • MaggieMcC

    I have a simply guide for my reading and other activities: is this something I Could share with Jesus if he were with me? It cuts through all the confusion.

  • lee

    who said sex is meant to be personal and/or intimate. sex is different things to different people.

  • Rachel

    I like your article and I agree with it completely. When you consume junk you become just like it. I haven’t met one person or couple who indulges in pornography that’s happy with themselves or each other. Porn is like a cancer that destroys relationships and personal views of one self. People need to indulge in the word of God.

    Numbers 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

    God Bless

    Proverbs 4:23

    23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

    Psalm 141: 3-4: Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;

    Keep watch over the door of my lips.

    Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,

    To practice wicked works

    With men who work iniquity;

    And do not let me eat of their delicacies.

  • Tony Conrad

    I was tempted to read it but didn’t. I am so glad I didn’t in hindsight. It’s great to be out of it. Sex is between me and my beloved wife, not reading about it on someone else’s book.

    I think that some are losing their compasses in this age.


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