Why ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Wrecks Marriages And Ruins Sex.

The movie Fifty Shades Of Grey opened in theaters this past Friday causing theaters to fill to capacity. In the background of this storyline, however, there’s a dangerous reality that is destroying true intimacy.


Go ahead and say it. Okay, I will- “I’m jumping on the Fifty Shades bandwagon with this post.” I’m not going to try and convince you I’m not. I’ll even use the cliché of “I haven’t seen the movie but I have friends who have.” That’s not exactly accurate, however. I don’t know anyone who’s seen the film, but I do know a few people who read all of the books (which are supposed to be better than movie adaptations in the first place, right?).

My perspective for this post comes from 2 sources- conversations with those who’ve read the series, and my own reading of reviews and other blog posts about the movie. Truthfully, I only found one blog post to be worth my time. I stumbled across several posts from a Christian perspective and was sorely disappointed by nearly all. Instead of authentically pointing readers toward truth and freedom, they made Christianity look judgmental and nasty.

Make no mistake- I have a moral issue with this film. But my issue goes beyond the sexually explicit content or weird S&M games (honestly, who does that stuff anyway?). In fact, my issues are the same issues I have with pornography and other erotic novels.

False Intimacy. 

Lots of people- married couples, dating couples, engaged couples, single men and women, have been drawn to this film and novel series. Have you stopped to consider why?

It’s not necessarily the weird sex games or controlling nature of a character like Christian Grey. Like I said earlier- who does that and actually likes it? What most are drawn to is the fantasy. Fantasy in finding that mysterious, intriguing person. Fantasy in allowing your curiosity to trump your inhibitions and do things you never thought you’d do. Fantasy in experiencing a world unlike the world you currently live in. Fantasy in being the person who rescues a tortured soul and changes them forever. Fantasy.

Do you want to know the biggest problem with this?

Anytime you replace real-life, real experiences, and real intimacy with fantasy, or a cheap representation of romance, you create problems.

Why? Because fantasy is…well…fantasy. It’s fake. It’s not real. You see, my issue is not with the books or the movie as much as it is with the viewers and readers who consume them. They’re buying into a false reality. They’re following a rabbit trail of truth. They’re being lead to believe that people actually have these kinds of encounters and actually find fulfillment from them.

Pornography, and erotic romance novels do the same. They set the viewer or reader up for massive failure. Men or women who watch porn end up with deep-seeded intimacy issues. Why? Not because they don’t like sex. Not because they don’t get how it works. But because their sexual wiring becomes screwed up. The images on the screen, the experiences in the novel, implant themselves in the mind of a consumer, convincing them that this is reality and that every sexual encounter they have should play out like those viewed or read.

Not true. We are wired sexually. We are, in fact, sexual beings. That’s our physical ID. The God-given wiring we have within us is only fulfilled by intimacy built on trust, commitment, love and truth. Fantasy destroys all of this. Buying into fantasy, over true intimacy, wrecks marriages and ruins sex because it rips out our wiring and replaces it with a cheap representation, whether the fantasy comes from pornography, erotic novels, or an extra-marital affair.

Real Intimacy.

How do you achieve real intimacy then? How do you find that fulfillment that only a deep, committed relationship can provide? Believe it or not, the answer is not that complicated.

Fact is, you can have a great, fulfilling intimate relationship with your marriage partner if you choose to make it that way. You can have amazing sex if you choose to make it amazing. You can achieve deep intimacy, if you choose to invest in your marriage relationship. It all comes down to choice.

The problem that we human beings have is that we are always looking for something better, deeper, and more fulfilling. We grow tired of what we have and go on a search for what we believe will actually fulfill us, instead of opening our eyes to see what we already have: a husband or wife who loves us and has given their heart, mind and body to us.

Before you search for something better, choose to make what you already have better. You may just find what you’re looking for.

Question: What are your thoughts on Fifty Shades Of Grey? What are your thoughts on intimacy verses fantasy? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Nora Matthews

    You make some important points about fundamental problems with porn culture. But beyond the question of whether erotica is good/evil/something else, I think this movie is even more problematic because it frames what is clearly an abusive relationship as an erotic one. It isn’t “edgy” storytelling. If the main character wasn’t wealthy and conventionally attractive the mass market would have no issue with characterizing this as a story of rape, but for some reason the viewer is clearly supposed to accept that there are at least “shades of gray” about a virgin being coerced into sexual activities she doesn’t consent to. I could at least respect an artistic work that explored such a power dynamic as inherently problematic, or a consensual adult relationship featuring less mainstream sexual practices. That this has been marketed as something that will turn anyone on is really scary. Consent is sexy. This isn’t.

    • Nora, thanks for your comment. I agree completely with you. In fact, I could write about 3 or 4 more posts about the problems this movie and storyline create. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  • Yes! I am saddened by recent studies that show that this new generation might struggle with healthy relationships because they have already been exposed to so much junk. We have teenagers already addicted to this (some even preteens!), how will they know what true intimacy and a healthy relationship are? We have work to do. Keep sharing about this, it is so important for us as parents as we teach and guide our kids.

    • Ellen, absolutely. One of our biggest passions is investing into families and married couples and helping them heal from the wounds of buying into fantasy and false intimacy. This includes kids as well. Thanks for your comment! Hope you and your family are doing well these days.

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  • I appreciate your perspective in this post! I believe that our culture and kids desperately need help understanding true intimacy, healthy sexuality, and God’s design for it all. Sex and intimacy are good and beautiful, but our world perverts them and sells cheap substitutes that as you said, are false, but people believe they are real. In the end, they wreck a lot of relationships and marriages. My husband and I recently attend a pre-session with speaker/author Shannon Ethridge (whose books I love) and she has a great resource that she put out in response to 50 Shades of Grey awhile back called the Fantasy Fallacy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWnaZ_PvaPo

    • Nathana, so glad the post resonated. Thanks for the link. I’ll have the check that out.

  • Lucky Vine

    It’s funny how you keep asking who actually likes kinky sex when it is blatantly obvious that a LOT of people do. I mean literally MILLIONS, if not billions, like to engage in some form of kink from time to time. All the kinky erotica and porn you see is not strictly fantasy. All over the world, people are DOING that stuff every minute of every day. It is incredibly short-sighted to assume that just because YOU don’t like something, it’s impossible for anyone else to. Flip that around and see how it goes, because then you’ve got people wondering how YOU could possibly like something THEY don’t.

  • Emma

    This is hilarious. The majority of society is sexually repressed and unable to express their sexual wants and desires hence why some people use pornagraphy to such an extent. As a person who embraces my desire for full tilt kink it makes me sad that people will live a vanilla life and be unhappy with unfulfilled sexual desires their whole life. I can comfortably ask my partner to degrade me to the fullest without feeling shame or guilt because it’s what I want sexually. A lot of vanilla couples can’t even mention anal because of the guilt society has put on any type of non penis in vagina sex.
    50 shades of grey unfortunately gives a false representation of what BDSM entails. She fails to explain that all BDSM involves intense trust, extensive open communication and very safe precautions due to the intensity of scenes that are played out. BDSM practitioners are aware that this is fantasy and can separate that from reality. Also many vanilla couples have no idea what their HIV/ STI/STD statuses are because it’s not considered important, whereas this is a common piece of information shared in BDSM/ Kink relationships.
    Regarding your comment about not being able to achieve real intimacy, you need to maybe read “Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns” because having someone tie you up, etc involves pre-planning, open discussion of a scene and most importantly AFTERCARE! When is the last time a vanilla couple had sex and then talked after about how the experience was for them and what they would like to experience in the future?
    Lastly, pornography has nothing to do with it. I do not watch pornagraphy on a regular basis and my fetishes are not based off of pornagraphy. I knew I liked experiencing pain and discomfort when I was young and it clicked that doing such things during sex enhanced the experience.
    50 Shades of Grey sucks! However it is not responsible for the break down of marriages, lack of intimacy and the overuse of pornographic material. Sexual repression is. If your husband or wife or partner cannot say “Hey, it turns me on if you slap me in the face while having sex” and represses it because society says it’s wrong then they are highly likely to engage in pornagraphy or erotica that entices this fantasy. This is where communication breaks down and great sex is all about communication! Food for thought.

  • Phillip Derrick Gray

    I can’t stand the whole concept. I tried reading the first novel back before my wife and I met. I was grossed out and insulted as a man. I’m not into BDSM and I’m not abusive toward women, I don’t enjoy experiencing or inflicting pain. I don’t get the fascination with it. I think that if you like either, it’s a sign of deep psychological issues and you need treatment, not indulgence. Unfortunately, my wife began reading the books a couple years ago and she liked them. She claims to not be into that stuff and she’s never asked me to hurt her or bind her during any sexual activity, but I can’t help but wonder… if she’s not into it, why is she enjoying the literature? Why does she enjoy the films? She guilted me into seeing the new film with her this past Sunday, indicating she would be upset if I didn’t because she didn’t want to by herself. Reluctantly, I went. I felt forced, but I tried not to show it. The film was easily the worst film I have ever seen. I have never been so joyless, even through films that I cannot stand. There are films I can’t stand that I would rather watch over that atrocity. Dude tracks this girl’s moves, spies on her, has her bank acct info, has an entire file on her like some kinda FBI profile, all without her knowledge and obviously, permission. Where I come from, we call that stalking, but my wife actually laughed about it. WTF? He tries to order for her without asking what she wants. He’s upset that she’s speaking with a male coworker and her boss. He gets upset that she’s going out of town for work and demands she not go. That’s possessive. Dude actually admits that he enjoys hurting women who look like his mother. That’s a direct quote. He ackowledges how messed up it is, but even so, how does anyone justify staying with someone like that? How can a monster like that be a part of anyone’s romantic/sexual fantasy? I had a hard time watching the sex scenes, which were basically more like softcore porn. The spanking was abhorrent and her final acceptance of the whole thing was disappointing. Truth is, Ana is not independent. She needs Christian Grey to make her feel wanted and tell her what to do, as much as he needs her to make what he does feel normal and rational. She retains the appearance of individuality, while he retains the real control. She gave it up without even knowing. And I’m sure his money had nothing to do with it. Without money, this would play out like an episode of Law & Order SVU. Even with the money, in real life when all’s said and done, somebody either in jail, dead, on the run or in a ome for battered women. Maybe all of the above. Then there’s this ther girl who was his past “sub” that’s now obsessed with him, so she resolves to kill Ana, but C intervenes with his disturbing sith mind tricks and she winds up in an institution. Truth be told, he should be there as much as her, for turning her into that. And yet, women are still attracted to this character. But, if I did any of that, I’d be in jail. Certainly, I wouldn’t be able to hold a relationship. I just can’t help but be upset at the whole thing, and not just the sex. As a man, a nice guy with even the smallest shred of decency who respects women as equals and would never hurt a woman without provocation, I am absolutely insulted at the whole prospect of this abomination being remotely attractive to anyone, but especially because it’s my wife. I just can’t get my head around it. The, why? There is no understanding it. My wife and I aren’t intimate very much, either and I have no clue why. I could do it everyday, but she doesn’t often show interest. But, these books? The movies? And other films, like magic mike? She says she loves me, but why is she more interested in that smut than me? I just don’t effin get it.

    • Kyla Campbell