By A. Charlotte Rose
Just as Fifty Shades of Grey has hit 100 million in sales a new book has arrived to promote an Anti-Christian Grey point of view… and to detail the way they belieChristian Grey and erotic romances in general are leading women of faith down an inappropriate path.
But the authors of Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart don’t blame it all on E.L. James and Satan. They say the Christian church is at fault for not nurturing the natural urges of women and for not allowing sexuality to be part of an ongoing conversation.
The book is written by Dr. Juli Slattery, a clinical psychologist who founded Authentic Intimacy, and Dannah Gresh, best-selling author and co-founder of Pure Freedom. They are devoted believers in the Purity Movement and they consider books like Fifty Shades to be pornographic. They pretty much attack the whole erotic romance field, saying the books are not true romances, and that books like Fifty prey on women’s natural sexual and relational urges. They claim women have been seduced into reading erotica with no redeeming or bible-centered content.
The Christian Post has been giving the authors a platform this week to share their beliefs about Fifty Shades, including this article titled, “Pulling Back the Shades Authors Claim ‘Fifty Shades’ Has a Satanic Agenda.” But in fact, one of the authors said she would not go as far as saying it is Satanic.
Only one of the authors read the books, and she had people praying that she did not get lost in the hypnotic, erotic magnetism of Christian Grey–the way the rest of us 100 million or so readers have. I guess I will have to have people pray for me too when I read their book.
I did not interview these authors, but I think this is a news item that is getting a lot of attention and wanted to share excerpts of their Christian Post interview this week.
Author Had People Pray For Her While Reading Fifty
Dr. Slattery said she read the books because she had to, she told the Christian Post.
“My thoughts in reading the trilogy were, “I don’t want to! But I have to.” To have a response to Fifty Shades one of us needed to be aware of the content that was in it more than just reading the summary. A lot of the women that would write us would say, “Well you don’t understand, it’s a love story. You have to read it to understand.” So we really felt like one of us needed to know in detail what the content was.”
“I definitely went into that process of reading the books with fear and trembling and just asking the Lord to protect my mind and my heart. I had people praying for me while I was reading it. In the long run, I’m really glad I read it because I think what people aren’t talking about, and I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t read the books, was some of the underlying spiritual themes and agendas in Fifty Shades of Grey.”
“The sex is very kinky and very descriptive,” Dr. SLattery surmised. “But what no one had mentioned to me before was that there’s a lot of spiritual things happening. I would even go so far as to say there’s a Satanic agenda because of some of the ways that things that are sacred to us are violated. Some basic examples are, the main character being Christian, that’s his name, and his mom’s name being Grace. But there are other spiritual elements that we talk about in Pulling Back the Shades where a wooden cross, and hymns and Scripture are used throughout the trilogy in a way that just drags Christianity and everything that’s sacred through the mud. I wouldn’t’ have known that if I hadn’t read the trilogy, and I’m glad I’m done reading it.
Women Reading Fifty is Equivalent to Men Watching Porn
Gresh, who promotes chastity among young girls, said that the Fifty Shades of Grey books made her “sad”.
“I’m sad because the book honors and glorifies bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism [or BDSM sex play],” Gesh is quoted as saying. “…and the normalization of erotica that’s resulting from it [Fifty Shades of Grey] will have the same impact on the Church as the advent of Internet pornography and men using it 20 years ago.”
Obviously, in the world of fans, there are some readers who would say, quite frankly, “Thank God for that! It’s our turn to oogle hot men and read about hot sex.”
Gresh addressed the double standard of porn being disgusting in the hands of men but Fifty Shades being whipped out and read in public places. She basically indicated that women are being as gross in their approach to erotic romance heroes.
“Christian Grey, the male figure in the book, is being … glamorized and women, their hearts are palpitating for this fictional character. If men responded that way to porn stars that they’re watching, we would find that repulsive as women.”
The Church is Also At Fault for the Popularity of Fifty Shades
In a second interview in the Christian Post, Dr. Slattery was asked: Why do you think there’s so much frustration, confusion or discomfort when it comes to openly dealing with and discussing women and sexuality, specifically in Christian contexts?
Her response: “One of the reasons why so many Christian women are reading Fifty Shades of Grey is because there hasn’t been good teaching coming from Christian sources on sexuality, so they just go to the world without having that discernment. Why is that? I think people falsely make the assumption that because sex is private, the conversations about sex should be private. In other words, you can teach about sexuality, the “Song of Solomon” teaches about sexuality and there are many places in scripture that mention sexuality, without sharing privately what happens between a particular husband and wife.
“Also, there’s just shame associated with sexuality. It’s probably one of Satan’s greatest schemes, is that he uses so many avenues to pair sexuality with shame. A woman who gave away her virginity in her teen years [may] feel shameful and guilty about her sexuality. A woman who was sexually abused as a child has any sexual response paired with terrible shame, and that just doesn’t go away once you get married. There’s still shame associated until the Lord really breaks those bonds.”
“In our ministry, Authentic Intimacy, we talk pretty frankly about sexuality in a Christian context and for some churches that’s difficult for them to give us the freedom to address the questions that women have about sex because there’s an element of, “Wait a minute, we shouldn’t be talking that openly.” But in fact, we should be talking openly so that women have a biblical source of getting their questions answered.”
Although the book takes a very different point of view then most Fifty Shades fans, it does address the concept of being “addicted” to erotica. Some hardcore Christian Grey fans will be first to admit they are addicted to the books!
They also say their book addresses Five Core Longings in women, which, interestingly, coincide with some of the longings fans have discussed in relation to what draws them to Fifty Shades of Grey and other books about protective hot alpha heroes who need a little fixing up. These are the longings they say they address from a Biblical perspective.
to be cherished by a man
to be protected by a strong man
to rescue a man
to be sexually alive
to escape reality
The part I appreciate about this book is that the authors are saying, “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.”
The part I don’t like is the idea that books like Fifty Shades of Grey are “exploiting” women of faith. I give women more credit than that, and believe as addictive as book buying may be, God gives us free will over whether we use that Amazon one-click feature or not!
There was a big study last year that pinned Christian Grey as an abuser, libraries that have refused to carry it, and there have been complaints from people who bought but did not enjoy the books, but overall there has been relatively little backlash on the books themselves. Fans have been frustrated about the movie, but they LOVE the books.
If Pulling Back the Shades opens up a shame free discussion about sex for women and couples of faith, we are all for it. But of course we take issue with the idea of one trashing another book to make a point.
These authors, I am sure, are believers in their message and their experience. But it is a tiny bit ironic if they end up having a bestseller based on trashing another bestselling book.
At this writing, the book is not trending as well as Fifty Shades of Grey on Amazon.
If you would like to check out the point of view presented in Pulling Back the Shades, you can order here.