By Dr. Juli Slattery
If you’ve been paying attention to the media at all, you know the phenomenon of Fifty Shades of Grey. As Christian women desiring to follow Christ, what is to be our response? Is it okay to read the book? See the movie? What is this cultural shift really saying about the intimacy that women long for today? Described today as “mommy porn,” the book has been compared to pornography for men. It’s been heavily marketed to women and while it may seem harmless, the dangers are real. While women have legitimate longings, the book and the movie exploit these. This book/movie not only distorts relationships, it distorts sex. Women can quickly become unsatisfied with their lives when they begin comparing them to something and someone that cannot possibly exist. But where do you go with the longing the book and movie have uncovered?
Christian authors Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery, a clinical psychologist, have written much on this topic in articles and in their book, Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart (Moody Publishers). They’re not saying it’s wrong to be sexual in our marriages. In fact, God designed sex to be wonderful in marriage and He has given us legitimate longings that the church has been afraid to talk about. You can be both sexual and spiritual in a safe, healthy, Christian way.
We hope these resources will answer these questions and help you think through what to do when you are asked about seeing the movie, Shades of Grey or picking up the book to see what all the fuss is about. Find out what a biblical response should be both personally and as you talk with other women about this new phenomenon.
A Word from Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery
Gresh and Slattery wrote their book, Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart in response to the book Fifty Shades of Grey which swept through the country as countless women became lured into the frenzy.
Here is what the authors of Pulling Back the Shades have to say about it:
“This is a book we never expected to write about a book we never expected you to read: Fifty Shades of Grey. How could this book series have sold over 70 million copies in its first year? And now it’s not just that series being devoured by women, but an entire lineup of copycat books rushed to the market so fast that the BBC reported erotica to be “cannibalizing” the rest of the publishing industry. Erotica is the fastest-selling genre of books selling to women.
We believe that the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey series was a transforming moment that fueled the erotica craze, normalizing its use. The series has done for women and erotica what the advent of the Internet did for men and porn.
Some consider the story of Christian and Anastasia, the hero and the protagonist in the Fifty Shades series, to be one of love and healing. Others say it’s degrading and pornographic. There are plenty of opinions on both sides of the debate and no doubt you have yours.
Last March we released Pulling Back the Shades. You might consider this a double play on words. Not only do we want to pull back the shades of Grey for you to see God’s truth about what it and other books like it can do in your life, but we also want to pull back the shades on your own sex life.
Christian women don’t have to choose between being sexual and spiritual. They have legitimate longings that the Church has been afraid to talk about, and books like Fifty Shades of Greyexploit. Whether you are single or married, sexually dead or just looking to revive your sex life, Pulling Back the Shades will address your desire to be both sexual AND spiritual. With solid biblical teaching and transparent stories, we offer an unflinching look at the most personal questions women ask.
God designed women with these longings and has a plan to satisfy them. It’s time for women to identify their intimate longings and find God-honoring ways to fulfill them.
Excerpted from Pure Freedom website, the ministry of Dannah Gresh.
The phenomenon of Fifty Shades of Grey has been exploiting women’s legitimate sexual longings. Whether you are single or married, sexually dead or just looking to revive your sex life, Pulling Back the Shades will address your desire to be both sexual and spiritual. With solid biblical teaching and transparent stories, trusted authors Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery, offer an unflinching look at the most personal questions women ask. The book offers practical advice for women to address five core longings:
- To be cherished by a man
- To be protected by a strong man
- To rescue a man
- To be sexually alive
- To escape reality
God designed women with these longings and has a plan to satisfy them. It’s time for women to identify their intimate longings and God-honoring ways to fulfill them.
Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love are You Making by Linda Dillow and Dr. Juli Slattery
A Bible study about sex for women? It’s about time! This new 10-week study lets God’s Word speak about sex being holy and erotic. Using Song of Solomon (of course!) and Scripture throughout the Bible, you will discover answers on topics as diverse as: what’s okay—and not okay—in the bedroom, temptation, forgiveness, a wife’s power, and how and why to pursue passion. You’ll be amazed at how much God has to say on all these subjects and more. Satan has worked hard to twist God’s design for sex and now is the time for us to go on the offensive and reclaim that territory!
Each lesson begins with a bold and dynamic 30-40 minute DVD teaching from Linda Dillow and Dr. Juli Slattery, which leads you into five days of additional, helpful information and revealing questions in the workbook. This material is perfect for personal use and small groups in your church or neighborhood.
This workbook is available in English and Spanish. The DVD is in English with Spanish subtitles. For chapter-by-chapter descriptions plus DVD clips, go to authenticintimacy.com. An in-depth leader’s guide is available to help your small group work through this life-changing information.
Authentic Intimacy (Linda Dillow and Dr. Juli Slattery’s website)
Women were designed for intimacy. Intimacy with their husbands, with friends, and with their Creator. While we crave more, most of us settle for superficial interactions in all these areas. Authentic intimacy is a multi-media teaching ministry designed to bring God’s healing and naked truth into the deepest recesses of a woman’s heart. The website features blogs, products, and an online community (a safe place for women to address their questions or struggles with intimacy), and much more.
The website of best-selling author and speaker Dannah Gresh. Dannah is author the co-author of Pulling Back the Shades.
Psychologist and co-author of Pulling Back the Shades answers your questions about Fifty Shades of Grey. Questions like: Should I Go to the Movie? Why do you think women are flocking to Fifty Shades of Grey?
Clinical psychologist Dr. Juli Slattery was featured on Fox News’ spirited debate last March. The interview focused on Dr. Slattery’s Moody Publishers’ (moodypublishers.com) book Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart which she co-authored with Dannah Gresh.
While giving a biblical response to the bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey with Fox News’ Lauren Green, Dr. Slattery discussed how women have legitimate longings that can be fulfilled in God-honoring ways, but that the Church has been afraid to talk about them. Unfortunately, as Dr. Slattery points out, books like Fifty Shades of Grey have stepped in and exploited these longings.
Is There Anything Redeeming in the ’50 Shades’ Triology? By Jonalyn Fincher
If we can’t avoid trashy novels, perhaps Christian women could see Fifty Shades of Grey’spopularity as a missional opportunity without having to read it. What if we saw Fifty Shades as an opportunity instead of a threat? You don’t have to read the book or see the movie to enter the discussion and hear how women want to share their stories of sexual desire and frustration. The fields are ripe right now. Fifty Shades of Grey means we can talk about another model of sexual pleasure, one created by a God who made our sexuality.
It’s the number one bestseller and now a Hollywood movie. The 50 Shades franchise is worth millions. But this poorly-written “love” story is more than just a harmless novel for bored housewives. It’s filled with subtle and not-so subtle lies.
Fifty Shades of Grey: 5 Things to Consider By Chelsia Checkal
A frank discussion about the Shades of Grey and what it means for the Christian woman. Why it’s a discussion we need to be having.
7 Lessons from 50 Shades of Grey By Helen Thorne
Shades of Grey portrays sex and relationships in ways far removed from God’s design. It serves as a cultural barometer that alerts us to the colossal changes that have been occurring in recent years, and to the consequences they bring.
So what can the 50 Shades phenomenon teach us today? Erotica is in; Sex isn’t just for men; Erotica is dangerous; Erotica is in among Christians; Erotica wounds our walk; Erotica harms us all; and Erotica shows we need Jesus.
The movie is not about romance like it’s being portrayed. It’s actually about a sick, dangerous relationship filled with physical and emotional abuse. Read more about the dangers to women promoted by Shades of Grey.