I'm Still Not Reading (or Watching) Fifty Shades

God planned the gift of sex to go way beyond physical limitations to enable us to deeply know one another.

I'm still not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

It bears repeating because of the upcoming release of the movie. I told my husband back then that I didn't really want to get involved. But then, I found out my girlfriend's seventy-year-old mom had her name on a long waiting list at the library to borrow Fifty Shades of Grey. And then my mom told me that a relative I love and respect for her strong faith devoured the book. She regretfully couldn't "get the images out of her head." So, here I am, again. In an attempt to keep the images out of yours, I'd like to explain to you why I'm not reading Fifty Shades of Grey and why I won't be watching the movie.

1. Let's start with the facts. Fifty Shades of Grey is classified as erotic fiction.

According to one online dictionary, this genre of literature is defined as that which has "no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire." I've been studying what God says about sexuality for over fifteen years. According to Him, there is only one who should stimulate sexual desire in me: my husband. Since that's God's plan for my sexual desire, anything other than my husband creating arousal in me would be missing the mark of God's intention. (Translation: It is sin.)

Jesus said it this way: "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." The same is true of a woman looking at or reading about a man that is not her husband. Reason #1? I believe reading erotica is sinful.

2. The Bible has said for thousands of years that lust is hurtful and harmful.

Guess what? Biopsychologists and others are studying the effects of lust, pornography, and erotica on the brain and the body. They are finding that the Bible was, in fact, right. Over time, your body becomes conditioned to self-stimulation and gratification. It's not just a preference. It's physiological. The lust cuts a literal pathway in your brain tissue that's kind of like a rut—one you better be prepared to get stuck in.

While at first a little bit of erotica might give you a taste for your spouse (if you're married), over time that rut reminds you how great you are at self-stimulation and how powerful your imagination can be. You'll become less interested in real sex with your husband. (Both SELF magazine and The New Yorker ran articles on this phenomenon in recent years. They both suggested that if you want to have a great sex life, you better push pause on porn!) The fact is, erotica robs you of real sex. It's not good for your marriage or future marriage.

3. Okay, we're girls. And, sadly, a few of our guys have looked at porn.

How'd it make you feel? Did it cross your mind that you could never compare to the perfection created by lights, camera, and Photoshop? Well, he can't compare to a plasticized, vanilla interpretation of manhood either. Devouring erotic fiction while demanding men refrain from porn is a double standard.

4. Do you know what BDSM is? Bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism.

If you don't know what those words mean, be glad. If you do know, you should understand that the most damaging part of Fifty Shades of Grey is that God created sex to be a partnership that's fueled by love and self-giving, not pain and humiliation. It's not just that this book misuses sex, it redefines it into something evil as the lead character dominates in a hurtful manner. How woman can enjoy that, I can't understand! But I do have a theory: It seems to me that, in our emasculating culture, there is a such a great hunger for strong men that women will stoop to bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism for just a taste. Do yourself a favor . . . don't!

You might be wondering if I've read the book. I haven't. I don't need to. And I don't need to see the movie. There are many things in this world I need not partake in to discern that they are going to be harmful to me. God has given me more than fifty shades of truth in His Word, and when just one of them is in conflict with my entertainment choices, I choose to pass! To be clear: I wouldn't drive my Envoy into the front of an oncoming semi-truck any more than I would open the pages of or sit in the theater watching Fifty Shades of Grey. I love my marriage, my God, and myself too much.

5. I've discovered a connection between satisfaction in Christ and sexual fulfillment.

The University of Illinois at Chicago conducted one of the most liberal sexual studies to date. It revealed that the most sexually satisfied women were middle-aged married women who were religiously active. Specifically, evangelical women reported the highest level of satisfaction even when compared to college co-eds thought to be having the most fun. You know what I think? I don't think this is about sexual satisfaction at all. I think that these women—like me—have found that when Christ is the center of our fulfillment, the rest of our lives just work better. Every single part of them. It proves, too, that sex isn't about hot bodies and sensational technique, but love, commitment, and intimacy.

Satan's greatest attack against holy sexuality is to limit it to something that is only physical, and that's the greatest problem with erotica like Fifty Shades of Grey. God planned the gift of sex to go way beyond physical limitations to enable us to deeply know one another, which is why women who are in deep intimacy with Christ are able to experience intimacy within their marriage beds—or truly know genuine contentment if they are single.

As for me, I'll be passing on Mr. Grey and recommitting myself once again to the lavish love of Christ. It's the only thing that's ever truly satisfied me.

What will you choose?

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

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