Unless you live under a rock, I’m going to say that you’ve heard of the 50 Shades series. Perhaps you’ve read it. Perhaps you haven’t. (For the record, I have not.)
I’ll admit though that when it caught on like it did, I thought about it. I don’t actually have time to read a book so that helped a lot. I read the whole Twilight series because all my students were reading them and I was curious about what they were all into. And I wasn’t impressed. But I was weirdly sucked in.
What turned me off to actually picking up the 50 Shades series is what I started seeing on Pinterest. Over and over I would see memes talking about the book or making references to it. When something is that popular, you expect it. But what upset me was when there was a picture of a baby wearing a onesie that said “9 months ago my mommy read 50 Shades of Grey“. I found that to in extremely poor taste and was pretty turned off to the phenomenon. And every time I saw the onesie post after that, I got a little more uneasy. I already don’t think things are funny when it comes to putting down our husbands or marriage in general.
And then I got invited to a Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?
women’s night and was introduced to the work being done by the women at Authentic Intimacy. (I actually won a copy of Passion Pursuit to use. YAY!) I love what they are doing over there – by helping women heal and giving women resources on the sexuality God created for them, by talking about sex in a way that the church has shied away from, and more.
Through this, I got accepted to be on the launch team for Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart
by Dr. Juli Slattery and Dannah Gresh. The back cover says:
You don’t have to choose between being sexual or spiritual. Spiritual women have legitimate desires that seldom addressed – and books like Fifty Shades of Grey are designed to exploit! Yet spirituality and sexuality were never meant to be mutually exclusive. Now, with solid biblical teaching and transparent stories, trusted author [Gresh and Slattery] offer an unflinching look at the most personal questions women ask. Whether you are single or married, reading erotica or Jane Austen, Pulling Back the Shades will address your desire to be both sexual and spiritual.
I know, I said I didn’t have time to read a book. This was a pretty quick read (2 or 3 hours if I could have sat down and just read right through it). Both Dannah and Juli have a voice on each topic and it’s great to see how they both talk about things – from confessions on their own journey (Dannah did not read 50 Shades and Juli decided to while literally on her knees in prayer), to what “mommy porn” and erotica do to your mind and your marriage, to how to know what’s ok in the marriage bedroom, and how to revive your sex life.
Honestly one of my favorite aspects of this book is the encouragement that the church needs to stop just playing defense when it comes to sex. I had a friend come to me when she was about 6 months from getting married and I was about 9 months in. She asked me how I just turned it on. After some more conversation, she revealed to me that she had no idea how to be a wife that way or what was ok and not ok to do. All she had ever heard was sex was bad, bad, bad and how are you supposed to go from bad, bad, bad to reckless abandon with her husband?
And I think this is a lot of where sexual hesitation comes from in women – that message is hard for us to work out once we are married. There are enough difficulties and challenges and things to learn when it comes to sex – do we really need to create MORE hurdles by only playing defense and no offense? By not addressing the real issues that single, married, and divorced women are going through?
I think we could all benefit from reading this book and by looking at what God has to say about the desires we have to be loved and known intimately and what He says is ok and not ok.
I encourage you to really consider reading this book, especially is you are wondering how to combine your sexual desires with your spiritual needs.
Of course you can check out the resources page for other books we recommend on intimacy issues in marriage.
Be sure to check out The Respect Dare blogging team – Nina, author of The Respect Dare andDebbie, especially for parents of teens, tweens, and twenty-somethings, and you can subscribe to me in the sidebar. And connect with me on twitter @LeahHeffner and on faceboook on The Respect Dare community page.
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Ruby Merten says
I DID read the entire first book. I am pleased to say that I did not PAY for the book. A girlfriend gave it to me and warned me that she could not finish it. She was a victim of sexual abuse and could not stomach the content. I read it out of curiosity to see what the fuss was all about.
I can easily see WHY so many women are drawn to the book. Even with all the explicit sex scenes taken out – the story is about a girl “inexplicably” drawn to man and how she allows him to lead her in AND out of the bedroom. Gee. I wonder why this would make women swoon.
We have created a culture where women emasculate men and then we wonder where all the “real men” have gone. The author of 50 Shades created a good-looking powerful man who is rich, a leader of a massive corporation, yet deep down has a sensitive soul. What woman wouldn’t be willing to submit to a man like that?
Personally I did not like the book and breezed through it pretty quickly as I skimmed over the numerous sex scenes to get back to any “real” storyline content. I think the story is less a reflection of a woman’s sexual desires as it is a statement on the longing to have male leadership.
I loved being on the launch team and I think this is a fantastic and spot on review!