This Valentine's Day fans of Fifty Shades of Grey are being teased by a poster touting a movie based on the book to be release one full year from now. The poster reads: "Mr. Grey Will See You Now."
As a clinical psychologist, the Fifty Shades phenomenon had my attention right away. Frankly, I thought it was a passing fad. I never dreamed it would catch fire as it has, but within months the series had opened the door to an entire line up of copycat books so fast that the BBC reported erotica was "cannibalizing" the rest of the publishing industry. And I think the books could cannibalize your love life.
While erotica might originally heighten sexual feelings, over the long haul it erodes something much more important—intimacy. Whether you are married or single, you are looking for more than sex. Your body, your mind, and your spirit were created to crave intimacy. You want more than an imaginary escapade with a fictional character. You want more than a momentary feeling of sexual arousal. You want a real relationship, with sex as an expression of true intimacy. Mommy porn and other forms of pornography are cheap substitutions for the real thing.
My ten-year –old son woke up hungry this morning. Boys tend to do that. What would you think of me as a mom if I fed him cotton candy and coke for breakfast? I may have satisfied his hunger with things that tasted good, but in the long run, I have done him harm. First of all, the food I gave him will not build his body, giving him the nutrition he needs for the day. Secondly, I’m ruining his appetite for good food. What kids wants to eat an apple when he’s been feasting on candy?
This is exactly what mommy porn will do to your intimate life. You are hungry for a relationship that will nourish. By feeding on “sexual junk food” you may feel momentarily satisfied, but never nourished. To make matters worse, you will lose your appetite for the things that create true intimacy.
Porn and erotica are selfish sex, requiring no sacrifice and no effort to love another person. You can have what you want, when you want, and how you want it. The problem is, it’s all fake. The more you chase the counterfeit, the further away you get from the real deal—intimacy. A fulfilling, lasting sex life requires patience, vulnerability, and unselfishness – these are all things that books like Fifty Shades help you avoid.
The journey toward true intimacy is learning to create the safest environment possible so that you and your partner can explore together without fear of betrayal or humiliation. Erotica and porn do the exact opposite. While initially “spicing things up,” they will eventually erode the trust and communication that make love last.
Some women who read erotica end up in sexual addictions, constantly seeking that next sexual thrill. Others leave their real-life husbands or boyfriends to chase a fantasy, no longer needing a real person to be sexually satisfied. They progress in their own private sexual world… a world that doesn’t require the hard work of relationship. Nor does it yield the satisfaction of intimacy. Self Magazine and The New Yorker ran articles on this phenomenon in recent years. They both concluded that if you want to have a great sex life now or in the future, get rid of porn.
There are healthy ways to spice up your love life, but they don’t include pornographic fantasies of some fictional character. If you want to build towards true intimacy, don’t escape. Instead press into the awareness of the real person you are in love with. Instead of pretending that your lover is someone else, revel in the beauty of who he is.
Dr Juli Slattery has a new book coming out about erotica, intimacy, 50 Shades, and being spiritually & sexually satisfied called "Pulling Back the Shades". It releases March 1, 2014- pre order today!
Dr. Juli Slattery & Linda Dillow have also written a resource to help spice up your love life. It's a 10 week study called "Passion Pursuit" complete with a workbook and DVD. A Bible study for women about sexual intimacy in marriage, this audaciously bold study will answer questions that women have but aren't sure where to go for honest and Biblical answers.
For more information on Dr. Juli Slattery you can connect with her here: