Why 50 Shades of Grey is relevant in 2015

50 Shades of Grey

I wanted to write this musing before the movie comes out. Will I see it? Yes. On the big screen? No.  On Valentine’s day? Definitely not.  I have better things to do with my time. Love or hate the idea – they’ve decided to make the movie, and despite the weak story, people will watch it because of the hype and their own curiosity.

Here is my opinion on Fifty Shades of Grey, and why I do feel this movie IS relevant and worthy of discussion…

Firstly, I have to confirm that I have read the books. All three of them. And though they were poorly written and the story line was based on the love story of the Twilight series (sans werewolves and vampires), I found that I couldn’t put the first book down. As the second and third book died a boring and tedious death, I finished them – only because I wanted to say that I did, indeed, read them all. Okay, they were sweet in the end, and made up for all the Mills & Boon novels I refuse to read.

Shades of Grey caused my hair to stand up when a Christian (the religious kind) website proclaimed the book to be promoting the exploitation of women. It was clear to me that they had never read the book. Anastasia and her lover, Christian Grey, is in a true, rollercoaster, initial relationship of uncertainty and insecurity in terms of the other’s feelings for them when the relationship starts out. And although Christian is into “kinky” sex and extraordinary activities and he introduces Anastasia to new ‘things’ early on in their love life, he is never anything but caring and tender and careful towards her. I do not find that exploitative at all.

For me, this is the essence of any relationship: we are there to introduce each other to different, perhaps new, things. Regardless of whether these things are of a sexual nature or not. It could be teaching each other patience, assertiveness, how to do Excel or not to be afraid of skydiving – just something your partner is able to do and enjoy and that you battle with. When the relationship is mature and settled, you discover new and different things – together.

When Christian Grey introduces Anastasia to his way of lovemaking and his road to fulfillment, the book focuses on her experience and enjoyment of it.  Not once is she hurt, or forced to do anything against her wishes.  To me, this is the essence of good sex. Christian is pleased by teaching her, taking enjoyment from her pleasure, and she in turn, enthusiastically takes to reciprocating and to pleasing him. Is that not what a good sexual relationship should be?

Admittedly, Anastasia and Christian do things that ‘normal’ couples don’t often do. I find nothing wrong with that. Whatever your sexual preferences are (or are not), if it is done between consenting adults, in a loving, caring and affectionate way, experimentation and discovery, play and exploration should be part of the package. That is how a relationship grows and flourishes, and it is not limited to the sexual aspect of it at all.

I think the best parts about the book is the fact that the sex scenes are explicitly written without using ‘dirty’ words or medically correct terms. This opened the book up to using some level of your own imagination. Boy, did I use mine! Feelings that I thought had been dormant for a while were reignited, so to speak.

My final verdict on this book and movie (which I sincerely hope will not be perpetuated by a movie two nor three), is that I commend the author for getting women to feel sexy again and for men to hear enough about it to want to read the book. Most importantly, E.L. James got couples to experiment, play, and at the very least, to think about their attitudes and preconceived ideas and notions about sex. If you are not going to watch the movie, go read the first book!