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What I Don’t Understand About Fifty Shades of Grey

by Craig Gross on February 7th, 2018 in Women, Couples, Spouses

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[Editor’s Note: We originally published this post three years ago but with all the attention being given to the upcoming Fifty Shades Freed we thought this was worth resurrecting for our readers. That being said, Craig wrote a new blog post regarding the new Fifty Shades Freed that just came out. You can read that here.]

I don’t read fiction. Ever. I haven’t since high school, and even in high school, I opted for Cliff’s Notes. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, I heard about it (and have even commented on it over the years) but never opened the book. I never even skimmed it. I have friends who have and have filled me in.

I thought it was a fantasy book about a guy with some crazy desires for some violent sex. I was blown away to learn it sold 100 million copies, and when the movie grossed $260 million worldwide this weekend, I became even more fascinated.

So I went to see the movie. I went with my wife, to the noon showing at the mall by our house. It was packed. I can’t believe how many people were seeing this movie on a Wednesday afternoon.

So what’d I think?
I kinda didn’t hate the movie.
I did hate Christian Grey.

I didn’t walk out or picket, but I watched the whole movie because I wanted to better understand why this has resonated with so many. Why is Christian Grey someone that women are cheering on and fantasizing about? Why does my own mother at 66 years old connect with this story and feel like she “missed out” on something in her sex life.

As I write this, the movie finished two hours ago, and I’m still upset over what I just saw. Not some young woman being tied up, but Christian Grey himself.

Let me explain:

Christian Grey was born to a prostitute/crack addict and put up for adoption.
Christian Grey was sexually abused by an older lady from the ages of 15 to 21.
Christian Grey was introduced to BDSM and forced to be a “submissive” for a number of years.
Christian Grey is very successful, rich, and powerful in his job.
Christian Grey has everything he needs and more, but deep down inside you can tell is not happy or fulfilled.
Christian Grey is used to getting what he wants and no one tells him no.
Christian Grey has had over 15 sexual partners that we know of.
Christian Grey does not “make love,” he “f*cks… hard.”
Christian Grey does not like to be touched.
Christian Grey gives things to get sex.
Christian Grey is abusive, controlling, dominant, and invasive.
Aside from his looks, money, and power, Christian Grey is the worst boyfriend imaginable.

Anastasia Steele is a virgin.
Anastasia Steele is infatuated with Christian Grey.
Anastasia Steele enjoys being pursued.
Anastasia Steele obviously is uncomfortable with the sexual experiences Christian Grey is wanting.
Anastasia Steele is constantly pushed to give in to the sexual requests of Christian Grey
Anastasia Steele is given more things in order to submit to Christian Grey’s sexual requests.
Anastasia Steele desires a relationship but gives sex hoping to get the relationship.

So, for those who have not read the book or watched the movie, you’re up to speed so far. Christian has a “contract” he tries to get Ana to sign, a contract that explains what she will and won’t do sexually and what she is and is not allowed to do outside the bedroom. In exchange for the signing the contract, she can move into the house and get all the benefits of being with Mr. Grey.

I get from the movie that Anastasia is not interested in sex so much as she is Christian Grey, and I think that is pretty normal for most women I meet that are pursuing men. (The famous saying, after all, is that men give love to get sex and women give sex to get love.) But in this movie, Christian is not willing to negotiate. He is not willing to show love or be attached. In fact, Anastasia is not even allowed to sleep in the same room or bed with him. She really is just his sex slave. She won’t sign the contract and at one point he gets so desperate he offers, “If you sign this, I will give you one night out a week as a couple. We will go out to dinner and go see a movie like boyfriends and girlfriends do.

Enough about the movie. Here are some takeaways and things I am left not understanding.

– Marriage only works when both sides give and both sides take, and sex is the same way. Men and women have needs and desires, and marriage and the marriage bed is a place to have those fulfilled. If you are with someone and they don’t take into consideration your needs and only demand things from you, then get the heck out of that relationship if you’re dating. If you’re married, then head to a counselor.

– Most people who abuse others were abused as children. The best available research suggest that 75% or more of those who commit acts of sexual or physical abuse against others were themselves abused as children. Christian Grey was abused as a child, a horrendous act that he never got over or dealt with or talked with anyone about. This has led him to some serious walls that have gone up in his life. and the only way he knows how to deal with it is to abuse someone else. He has done this to over 15 women and will continue. I heard this story was about sex, but this story at its core is about a broken man and his inability to love and be loved. How do people reading this book or watching this movie not see this? This is not a love story. This is not even an erotic story. (Tweet This!) This is a story of broken people continuing a cycle of dysfunction in their lives rather than dealing with their issues.

– The Bible says I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. I am not against being playful or doing things to spice up things in your bedroom, but the question I always have is why? Why do you think you need that? If both people agree to try different things in the bedroom, I am all for that. Christian Grey, on the other hand, is dealing with his pain by inflicting pain on someone else who is visibly uncomfortable with it.

He has trouble at work one day, so he sends Anastasia to the “playroom” to take out his frustrations on her. If your partner is asking you to do something or try something new in the bedroom, my advice to you would be to ask why. The reason behind the ask is the deeper issue than the act itself. In a lot of cases, it might just be a fun thing – or it might be a case like Christian Grey where he wants to avoid dealing with his own pain.

– “Why don’t you try things my way?” Christian never wants to try things Anastasia’s way. I think that would be a better movie, but he insists she does what he wants. If you are in a relationship and your partner makes demands and pressures you to do things you don’t want to do, then say NO.

Many people won’t understand this, but because I’ve seen the inner workings of the adult industry, this movie didn’t turn me on – it made me mad. (Tweet This!) The sex shown in the movie is violent and not love-making, and I don’t understand how 100 million people can read this book and think there is anything sexy about Mr. Christian Grey. If he was broke, ugly, and had a hard drive of porn instead of a “playroom” in his house, every woman reading this would be freaked out enough to stay away from him forever. The books and movie have painted a sick disturbed man as a sex symbol that many, many women have gone crazy over.

So I leave even more confused.

Why? Why does my 66-year-old mom feel she missed out? Why is this unhealthy domination held up as an ideal? Why do so many men and women still not realize the greatest sex you can possibly have is by learning how to serve one another, discovering how to give to your partner and receive from them as well?

If you haven’t seen the movie or read the books, don’t. Instead of wasting that time examining this unhealthy dynamic, spend those hours talking with your spouse about sex. Talk about what you desire, what you think is missing. What your history with sex was. How you missed or messed up or abused sex prior to marriage. Talk about your expectations for sex and whether they’re being met or not. I assure you that will lead to so many productive conversations. Maybe even fifty of them.

*I was invited to speak at Daybreak Church about this topic. Please watch and enjoy. Then let us know your thoughts in the comments.

* If you want to download the audio version click here.


Best Sex Life Now is an online video course hosted by couples Dave & Ashley Willis and Craig & Jeanette Gross. It’s a real, honest conversation about sex and marriage, an elegant production for married couples, newlyweds, and those about to be married.

Learn how to “spice” up your sex life in a healthy way. Use coupon code REALLOVE at checkout to save 25% from now until Valentine’s Day.




  • J

    Read ALL of the books before publicly forming such a strong opinion. There is a lot more to the story than the movie.

    • Ashley

      I completely agree. Before forming a complete opinion you need to read all 3 books. It is a love story. Christian is a broken person and isn’t able to express things the same way as “normal” people can due to his childhood. There is so much more to the story than just judging the first movie. Read all the books and watch the next 2 movies when they come out and THEN form an opinion.

      • Jeremy B

        So if he had all those issues, was controlling and abusive, what made you keep reading the books? In real life, most women don’t stick around in this type of situation to see if this turns out to be a “love story.” So what compelled you to do it now?

        Anyone viewing this situation after book 1 would have giant red flags. So you’re criticizing Craig and others for not knowing how it ends? You didn’t either after book 1 – but you kept reading. The question is “why?”

        • Anna K

          Maybe some people see past the sex and have sympathy for the characters? I really didn’t care about the sexual parts of the book or movie but rather wanted to see the Christian Grey character achieve a healthy, happy ending …… which at the end of book 3 *spoiler alert* he does.

          • Jeremy B

            That’s great Anna K. I’m sure many of us enjoy a great redemption story. However, it seems the masses weren’t drawn into this book for the redemptive story. If that were the case, there are much better examples of that than 50 Shades of Grey. For most, it seems the sexual/fantasy part is a big draw.

    • Angela Murray

      Agreed…the books dive far deeper into his abuse and why he is the way he is. What is portrayed on the screen is not all that the books are about.

      • Sojourner Grace

        The consequences to the victim of an abusive relationship are not removed in a greater understanding of the abuser.

        • Angela Murray

          While that may be true, we are all arguing over something that was written as a fictional piece for enjoyment of the ones who choose to read it. At any time , those of who you who choose to not like the story can choose to not read the book or go see the movie or take part in any discussion that involves it. All you are doing is adding to the hype by judging he people who liked the book.

          • Sojourner Grace

            Angela, do you live in a world where people do not have or share differing opinions than yours? I’m not sure that a situation where media is consumed and discussed or debated only by those who love it exists, or why anyone would desire that. And I’m not sure where you are seeing judgment. But in all honesty, I will say this: I am, personally, confused that so many of my own gender find any appeal in the abusive relationship portrayed in the first book. And I’m appalled that anyone would justify a situation (fiction or not) where an impressionable, naive Virgin girl is lured and manipulated into a sexual relationship with a man who wants to use her as a slave simply based on the sad past of the male character. Hence my comment that understanding an abuser does not negate the effect of the abuse they inflict on others. It’s is a poor justification for seeing this story as a love story. Call it a rape fantasy or domination fantasy, but trying to paint it as healthy or loving in any way is misleading.

    • Sojourner Grace

      The end does not justify the means.

    • Jeremy B

      Why?/ Why does he anyone need to read the books? Whether a book or real life, no one knows the end until they get there. No one knows how a relationships will turn out. So knowing what you know after one book, what made you keep reading? No one wants to answer that question.

      If you were in a relationship like this at the end of this movie, what would make you continue? So many are quick to criticize Craig because he doesn’t know the whole story. So why did you continue the story, not knowing the end, with an abusive, controlling, dominating man who uses women due to his own issues? Ask any therapist – the portrait of Christian after the first book/movie is a huge red flag.

      So rather than criticize Craig for not knowing the whole story, explain why you continued knowing what you did.

  • jv

    You need to read the books… You know nothing about the series until you read all the books… You will have a better understanding of the movie then. And I tell that to everyone, you need to read the books before you watch the movie and try to analyze the story…

  • Aleah Trovata RN

    Just as others have posted…reading ALL of the books would show just how much of a LOVE story “50 Shades” really is. He was broken and so was she…in the end they saved each other…its beautiful really. Not well written but the message in the end is beautiful.

    • oneblessedhome

      Because demanding to put your balls in your girlfriends mouth is soooo romantic!! Seriously? And that’s just from the first book.

    • Sojourner Grace

      How was she broken? Inexperienced and naive, yes. But, broken? Only in the sense that Grey breaks her down so that he can build up into a better partner for himself.

  • Portion…

    You only watched a small portion of the story. You need to be better informed on the entire thing before making statements that are not entirely true based on the ENTIRE story.

  • A

    I think you can’t fully understand if you don’t read the books. I have seen the movie and read the books. The books are so much better because you learn what they are thinking and feeling in the situation.

  • C

    As with the other comments, I think you should read the entire series to understand both characters completely. Also, the movie leaves out a big part that Christian is seeking counseling for his behaviors. Also, the series is not completely about sex. It shows them falling in love, getting married and eventually having children.

    • Sojourner Grace

      Christian does not receive counselling for his behavior in the first book.

  • Rahab2011

    I don’t recommend reading the books, and refer you to Philippians 4:8. My take on the submission part of BDSM, having participated in it before I knew better, is that it is a counterfeit for the submission to God we are born craving.

  • Alexandria Holt

    Hi Craig,
    Your post was shared on my facebook feed, and I thought I would weigh in. I have read over your article, and I appreciate you taking the time to ask these questions. I think that one thing that needs to be made very clear: Fifty Shades is fiction. It is a fantasy. Christian Grey and Anastasia aren’t real. These books were written to entertain and excite. Just because something is entertaining does not mean it is wholesome. Just because something is exciting does not mean it is joyous. These books are an escape. They are an anchor to base your own fantasies off of.
    Why is it so wrong for women to be aroused by this type of relationship? I am sure many of the women who read this book in are in committed, loving relationships. Just like you. That doesn’t mean it isn’t pleasurable to imagine what if. There is nothing wrong with imagining, and enjoying this type of fantasy. That’s the beauty of fiction. When you are tired from work and making dinner and cleaning up the house or whatever, it’s nice to have somebody else plant the seed of excitement in your mind. Even if it’s just for five minutes or a couple of books.
    Let’s just quickly take a look at a different work of fiction. The Lord of the Rings. I have loved this book my entire life. However, doesn’t Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, etc. kill countless sentient creatures in the movie? Yes, it’s for the good of middle earth, but shouldn’t we teach others that there are more diplomatic ways of solving conflicts? The short answer: yes. Yes, we should teach our children to solve problems in a civilized way. But The Lord of the Rings is fantasy. It’s not meant to teach you how to solve complex international relations. It’s purpose is to sell copies and provide a sense of escape from reality.
    The level of writing in Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t equal to LOTR, but the underlying principle is the same. Don’t BE these characters, enjoy reading about them. If I am aroused by the taboo nature of BDSM, it does not mean I love my husband any less. It does not mean I don’t understand the importance of being in a committed, mutually beneficial relationship. It does not mean I support sexual abuse, child abuse, or rape. And I don’t have to explain why.
    Please don’t read this message in an attacking tone. I am just trying to share my opinion and answer your questions to the best of my ability.
    Thank you,

    • Rob

      Alexandria, I can fantasize about killing myself… Or about chopping up young children into bits. As Craig said, everything is an option but not always beneficial. Would letting my thoughts get wrapped up with that stuff be a good option as a pathway to greater fulfillment, peace or personal wellbeing? My point is that the subject of our thoughts and fantasy do indeed matter, & my encouragement to you, myself and all, is to choose life. It is a worthwhile practice to examine something and ask is it wholesome, desirable, worthwhile, positive etc and then make the choice to immerse myself in it or not. The sad thing is that in our culture, the things that start off as taboo or risqué soon become the accepted norm, & someone has to Stand up and question its content and desirability and ask some hard questions – for the sake of us all. We are the guardians of the culture that our kids and grandkids will inherit, & I don’t want my granddaughters growing up in an environment that believes this behaviour is “alright”: please God, no!

  • tough_tooties

    First, let me say I haven’t read any of the books, and I don’t plan on seeing the movie. Now…that being said, this is only MY opinion of stories like this — all these tend to do is create doubt in women’s minds about their relationship! “Why can’t my husband/wife be like this?” “Why isn’t my life as exciting as this?” On and on and on. And honestly, I don’t think any relationship needs that kind of pressure, times are hard enough as they are these days! Maybe I’m wrong, and I hope I am, but I don’t think so!

  • kk

    I think this article is wonderful and I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets mad at things like this.

  • c

    I wasn’t going to read this books until everyone made a big stink about it. And now that I have you guys are so far from what this books are about. Don’t judge something you don’t know about. Its funny how christian’s claim to not judge but they are the first to judge something that makes them uncomfortable.

  • L

    Is anyone else wondering why you are throwing your mother under the bus publicly?

  • KF

    Perhaps you should read ALL 3 books…..seriously people, you are beating a dead horse. Book/movie 1 lays the ground work ONLY. The story, in its entirety, is heartbreaking, hopeful, and unconditional….

  • J

    I disagree with most of these comments. A movie has to stand on its own and can be reviewed/critiqued without reference to the books. You do not have to read all the books to have an opinion about a movie. I have read many negative reviews of this movie–apparently even the BDSM community objects to this movie. I want to address Craig’s confusion as to why this genre is appealing. First, the movie is not appealing to many women. It’s straight porn and is a primarily visual medium that appeals mostly to men. The books appeal to women, as they have more relational elements as discussed by the commenters. Why are women interested in this kind of story about relationships? As a psychologist, I am aware that the cross-cultural literature suggests that men go for looks, and women go for status. He is rich and a high status individual. Craig is right–if he were low-status (e.g., poor, ugly, not very bright) then there would be no appeal. There is an element of fantasy in being desired by a high status man, just as for men there is an aspect of fantasy in getting a beautiful woman. These are deeply rooted themes, and sometimes are base instincts (not necessarily virtuous). Also, once sex starts there’s the whole oxytocin bonding thing that makes women (testosterone counteracts oxytocin) attach in a way that may not seem appropriate given the facts of their relationship. Literature/movies always have some small kernel of truth from observing human behavior–especially when the story strikes a chord in people. But stories communicate morals, and the moral of this story with respect to violence, coercion, subjugation, etc. is deplorable. It’s not a healthy relationship at all.

  • bc

    the ‘ity’ at the end of ‘sexuality’ means ‘religion’ to me… as in ‘I will feel whole, complete, fulfilled, if only I can have this sexual experience that eclipses my past and brings me to the ultimate state’.. it’s like a bad drug, but it’s more socially acceptable. Sex isn’t to be worshipped, though you wouldn’t know it from TV.

  • Jm

    Yes, please read all 3 books first. I read them to see what all the hype was. But to truly understand the story, you have to continue the story……

  • albibird

    It’s just your basic fantasy fulfillment story, like Twilight. It tells women what they want to imagine: That a wealthy and exciting man will invade their lives, and pursue them with a desperate need. Every woman wants to be desired.

  • Sojourner Grace

    To those of you who keep saying that he needs to read all the books to get a clear view, can you answer one question?
    Do you dispute anything he has said is present in the movie / story as not actually being in the movie / story?
    I know I can answer that with a big “No.” The first book is actually much worse than the movie. The movie tones down the oddness of Anas jealousy towards Christians abuser, his obsession with her food intake and overall desire to control her life.
    Secondly, if you do not dispute it, but are justifying the abusive relationship of the first with the “happy ending” of the last, do you realize what you are perpetuating? The idea that a bad man can become good if the woman with the magical vagina just sticks with him through his abuse and “loves him back to normal” is an old one indeed. A woman’s belief that she can change another human being (or her man) by putting up with abuse and control is at the heart of why we need women’s shelters in the first place.
    You can barely call this an erotic story, but for heavens sake.. Don’t dare call it a love story.

    • Angela Murray

      Is it not true that loving someone can change them? Maybe not a woman changing a man but him choosing to change and let her be There through the healing process?

      • Sojourner Grace

        Do you mean in a spiritual way or a sexual way? This book portrays what has been called the magical vagina like I said. The idea that the right woman, and always via sexual desire, can change a bad man through the power of her innocence. It’s a supremely overdone trope in women’s romance. My husband’s love for me does effect change, but he does not abuse me or use power against me and I don’t do that to him either. I am saying that a person in a relationship where there is such an imbalance of power, along with manipulation, control and physical intimidation, is in an abusive relationship. And it is damaging to the millions of women who are dealing with this to paint the mindset that perpetuates staying in this type of abuse (that being “if I love him and stay with him, he will be better”) as romantic or appealing.

    • James_Baker

      Well, if the writer is as confused as they say they are, reading the rest of the story sounds like a no brainer!

    • wowreally1523

      I don’t think Ana or her vagina magically changes him into anything. He sees a shrink in the books. Not sure about the movie, I haven’t seen it. But they also see the shrink together. Also, it’s not abuse when it is in the form of a consensual relationship between adults. What Christian experienced as a teenager, yes that is abuse. Just in my opinion. However, it is a fictional book. If you do not like it or agree with it, do not read it. Don’t go see the movie. What gives you the right to condemn those that do enjoy it? The book, not the lifestlye. What gives you the right to say it is not a love story? Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. The great thing about free will is that we are all able to choose what we do and do not like or want do not want to enjoy. So while you are telling others above it is ok to have differing opinions, you may want to remember that yourself.

      • Sojourner Grace

        “I don’t think Ana or her vagina magically changes him into anything. He sees a shrink in the books. Not sure about the movie, I haven’t seen it. But they also see the shrink together.”
        -You can not simultaneously defend the acts depicted in the relationship as consensual/healthy while also acknowledging that the behavior itself warrants a need for therapy to correct it. Either his behavior is abusive (needs the therapy to correct it) and Ana is in large parts of the story in an abusive relationship or the behavior is acceptable and consensual and the therapy needed in the story is pointless, as this is a healthy relationship. Her “magical vagina” or the “power of her innocent love” is what gets him to the shrink in the first place. You haven’t really disputed anything.

        “Also, it’s not abuse when it is in the form of a consensual relationship between adults.”

        – Yes. If it is in the form of a consensual relationship between adults. I think that is the point though, don’t you see that? Sexual arousal is not consent. And consent received by sexual manipulation is not consent. I am still waiting for a “fan” to dispute anything I have said.

        “What gives you the right to condemn those that do enjoy it? The book, not the lifestlye.”
        -I am not aware of any condemnation put forth of those who enjoy this media. An incredulous lack of understanding, perhaps.

        “What gives you the right to say it is not a love story? Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.”
        – The fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinions gives me the right to say this is definitely not a love story. Maybe I would be better off saying it like this: This story is not what an emotionally healthy person SHOULD define as love.

        “The great thing about free will is that we are all able to choose what we do and do not like or want do not want to enjoy.”

        -Absolutely. And hopefully my opinion on what I do NOT like about the storyline in these books will stem off some of the delusions it is perpetuating about real BDSM and how one defines a loving relationship.

        “So while you are telling others above it is ok to have differing opinions, you may want to remember that yourself.” and “If you do not like it or agree with it, do not read it”

        – I am not sure how you could assume that I have forgotten…? You really just seem offended at my perceived “judgment” on those who enjoy the books. I assure you that is not the case. If you were to take your own advice here, would you not simply stop reading my comments, which you do not like, agree with or enjoy, and move on to something that you do?

  • Sean

    Thank you for writing this post. I really appreciate the authors feelings on this and after seeing the movie i’m not surprised. Its so important that these concerns be addressed.

    So I’m a christian and on my church’s prayer team. I’ve been into bdsm for around 5 years. It has healed me from a childhood of sexual abuse. I really enjoyed the movie but I feel like the punishment scene at the end really cast BDSM in a negative light.

    One thing an experienced DOM (Christian) should never do is proceed with a punishment while both people are in a negative emotional state. Its the DOM’s job to protect the submissive and crying is a huge red flag to stop the activities immediately and talk about where the tears are coming from. That punishment scene should never have happened. It’s also common practice to have “aftercare” after a spanking where the couple snuggle for a while. Aftercare is really important and allows negative feelings that might have occurred during the spanking to subside and reassures the SUB of the genuine caring that is there. Most BDSM books provide a framework for communication and setting healthy boundaries. Although the movie spent a great deal of time with setting Anastasia’s boundaries I would not use the 50 shades book series as a BDSM reference for proper etiquette and communication in the bedroom. A couple great references are “Screw the Roses Send me the Thorns” or “The New Topping Book” by psychotherapist Dossie Easton.

    Also.. The concept of signing a contract is one of the most advanced BDSM topics. Not everyone who is into BDSM would ever sign a contract with a DOM. Its a pretty big deal and you better be sure that the DOM knows exactly what they are doing and they posses strong communication skills and psychological health. You would literally need to check with their past submissives for a history of abuse before signing among other things.

    Ty again for sharing your feelings.

  • Jeremy B

    OK so many women are on here defending the book saying that we should read all the books before making a judgment. However, given what you had read after just one book, what appealed to you?

    Is it about sex? Is it about a man with power and money desiring a woman? From what Craig described, I don’t see anything in the first book that appeals to women so much that they had to read the rest of the books. A domineering, controlling man who uses sex to control women and avoid dealing with his issues. So it turns out to be a love story. However, it sure doesn’t sound like that after one book.

    So something appealed to women after one book – without knowing the end. So those of you giving Craig a hard time for for his perception after watching the first movie, it’s your turn – why did you like it after one book? You didn’t know the end either so tell us what appealed to you rather than telling others they don’t know the whole story. Most of us don’t know the end of a relationship before it begins. Craig is giving his view as it happens and sharing the warning signs he sees. Without fiction or reality, most of us don’t get to see the end. What appealed to you in the beginning? Because Craig and many others don’t see it.

    Part I turned him off. However, it didn’t turn you off. The question is “Why?”

    • mari

      Well asked, Jeremy! What was the lure to read more? Perhaps some would say it was strictly curiosity. Others may say, I always finish what I start. Still others may retort honestly…Well, let me leave that to them.

      • Jeremy B

        I don’t understand what turned so many women on. Why don’t they answer honestly? Like Craig, they didn’t know the end either. So why are women in such a frenzy over controlling, dominating man who has issues and would be a red flag on every therapist’s radar?

  • SW

    A porn addict should NOT be going to this movie nor should the spouse be an enabler and go along with you (yes, author, that’s directed specifically at you). For spouses of those addicted to porn this article is a slap in the face and has me questioning the validity of this website altogether. For those of you rationalizing and explaining the dysfunction of these characters is mind boggling. There is nothing good, healthy, or positive about the subject matter or storyline. Seeing the trailers is enough warning for me. If your alarms aren’t going off they should be. Material like this desensitizes and opens the door to “the urge” whether this is your turn on or not. This is not a movie you HAVE to see. Don’t waste your time, money, or energy focusing on this movie. Your resources would be better spent on the relationships with those who love and support you while struggling with your addiction.

    • Guy

      I fully agree!

  • Pieter Smal

    Good post – except for the terrible opening. We should read fiction – surely!

  • joevtoo

    To proudly state you don’t read fiction? That’s one well-rounded education you missed.

  • Kristen M

    i must say you don’t understand the movie because you didn’t read ALL of the books. You should not comment on a movie when you know there is more to the story and this is ONLY the beginning. The purity of this story and how Christian evolves is breathtaking. You can see a damaged person make a total 180 and fall deeply, madly in love with a woman who refused to sign his contract until he met her in the middle. that’s a relationship my dear friend..

  • Mark T. Zak

    “The bible says I have the right to do anything”

    Really, is that what you think it says?!

  • high_heels

    It is about a broken man with serious issues. But the story goes on. It’s all about perspective. You have to read the other 2 books. I came from an abusive home. I completely relate to him. At the end it’s a great story.

  • Katie Kochon Schmidt

    Thank you!!! I didn’t ant to read it or go see it, but wanted to know what the hype was. Beautifully explained and I don’t understand either. Sad that this is exciting to some. I will take my awesome mutual married sex any day!

  • Jeffrey P. Rush

    I don’t think anyone here is justifying the abuse without the ultimate outcome. But I would ask, is it abuse?

    OK, so I know what many may be thinking, but she consented to everything – everything. Grey is as was described here, and his tastes are the outcome of what happened to him, but she did agree to everything he asked for. Everything he asked to do. Let’s not forget that.

    • Sojourner Grace

      That is NOT true, Jeffrey. As a matter of fact, Christian beats her prior to her ever signing “the contract” or consenting to physical punishment for rolling her eyes at him. This is a strange scene in the book as in the aftermath, she is sad and upset and repeatedly refers to his behavior (in her own mind) as an assault. At one point, he even expresses that he had a concern she might call the police. Alas, all it takes to soothe poor little Ana is for him to come back to her house and stay the night with her.

      • Jeffrey P. Rush

        OK, I haven’t read the book. Didn’t see that in the movie.

  • Tyler

    Many of you make excellent points on both ends.

    I guess, to those who are judging Craig for reacting and making a post without seeing or reading the complete story, or the others on here making comments without reading it all, are you certain that their reactions are the only reactions of those who didn’t read the whole story? I mean is it possible that there are other reactions of those who didn’t read the story in it’s entire form that could do damaging things, like try to force their sexual partner into behavior seen in the movie, or abuse someone, or be led to believe that everything in the movie is healthy and okay? Is it possible that teenagers or other young people will be and have already been exposed to this movie? I would guess most of them wouldn’t know the whole story, nor care to find it out. If our answer is yes, then is that a price our culture is willing to pay for entertainment? Are we okay with saying that the negative potential of a piece of entertainment is worth it to be entertained? Is this the best love story we can create? Are we not capable of doing more?

    To me personally, regardless of the true nature of the story, the damage potential is not worth the value of my entertainment, and I cannot be for something and call it entertainment if it is damaging to others. That is not a judgement on those who watched it and enjoyed it, or read the books. It’s simply a question I’d like to raise.

  • storie

    One thing some are forgetting. There IS a standard of living. There is right and wrong. There has to be. There are standards of measure for everything; baking, building, sewing, etc.
    Why? So the thing desired turns out right.
    For marriage to turn out right, the measure of Gods Word must be used or it results in chaos, pain, fear, heartbreak, etc. Opinions are numerous and everybody has one but they can’t ALL be right.
    The number 2 law of God is to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ and….. Love is patient, kind, does not envy, is not easily provoked, is not boastful or proud, esteems others higher than oneself.
    Pretty lofty but oh so beautiful.
    50 shades of gray doesn’t fit any of that.

  • Yelhsa Yad

    You “didn’t hate it” but yet it “made you mad”?????? Hypocricy!!!

  • Not liking any bit of this

    Did we forget to mention that the character Ana would have been traumatized as well? Was she not beat with a belt buckle along with some 10s upon 10s of other sexual traumas? Would she need therapy also? Now who will she need to beat? Will there be a fourth book describing the hell the kids would probably go through? In real life how would this effect them? He had effects from his abuse. I wonder about the actress who played Ana, she will probably need some therapy and counseling!

  • Anonymous

    It’s only a love story because this guy is a handsome billionaire. If he lived in a trailer park, it would be a criminal minds episode.

  • R.T.

    If any woman is reading the book and wondering why her husband can’t be like Christian Grey – they need the help of a therapist! The books take place over a fairly short amount of time, the honeymoon stage. Everyone likes the excitement of falling in love, but I don’t know anyone who’s maintained that same level of excitement over the long haul. After 10 or 15 years, you’ve heard all the stories, you’ve seen what’s in his/her bag of tricks and there aren’t any surprises left. You settle into a different kind of story, one that is more rewarding and beneficial to both parties, but no one forgets those feelings of excitement from when you first started dating. People need to be realistic about what and who they are and the outcome of the choices they’ve made. You can’t reverse the hands of time, you don’t get to be 22 and innocent forever. If anyone has a spouse wondering why they can’t be like 50 shades, first they need to look in the mirror because the answer is probably because you are a regular person, you’re not making $100,000.00 an hour, you aren’t drop dead gorgeous, so sexually skilled that you barely need to make skin contact to elicit an orgasm, so in love with your spouse that the mere thought of being separated is too much to bear and you forget to eat for two weeks or have a staff to do everything for you. You are what you are and I will bet you aren’t all the things I just listed. I’d bet the majority of women/men reading this are just regular people living regular lives that involve chores and bills and too much to do and too little time to do it. You probably have a good sex life, but not the kind that achieves multiple orgasms with such little elbow grease, and if you do, you probably only have time for a few because you’ve got to drive carpool in a half hour and run to the pharmacy before it closes – and get your tires rotated. I don’t know what the demographic is for this book but I kept reading because for a moment it was fun to read about a 22 year old girl – said to be a regular plain Jane (aren’t we all?) who attracts this gorgeous, successful, man who loves her so much that he will practically change everything about himself to be with her, and require no therapy in order to do so. A tortured soul who is transformed into a loving husband. The tortured soul is one of the most popular stereo types out there, hence the Twilight series. I did not like what Mr. Grey was trying to push on her sexually, but that did change, and they teased you with the idea that the love could be strong enough to overcome ridiculous obstacles, like transforming yourself into a different person – which is why I kept reading book 2 and 3. Pure ridiculous fiction, just like historical romance novels or the Twilight books. No one looked around and said “why can’t YOU be a vampire?” no, because it was crazy talk. This is the same, only instead a vampire he’s a man with deep rooted problems but super human powers in the bedroom. Given the choice between my regular life and the life of the characters in the books, I’ll pick mine any day of the week and twice on Sunday because that is real.

  • frances

    my first sexual relationship was within the BDSM realm. we were 2 consenting adults, and went over “ground rules” before we began. Contracts are highly encouraged as are “safe words”. I am reading a lot of the comments saying they don’t understand the draw to Christian Grey or that lifestyle. I see a lot of “abuse” claims. I am also a christian woman. i have not read the books (i have never been much of reader) but I have seen the movie, and spent quite a few years in that lifestyle, going so far as “dating sites” for the sole purpose of finding a male Dominant. i was never abused. being a submissive in a BDSM relationship is very freeing, very enjoyable. i learned about myself during those years, i learned about hard limits and soft limits. i trusted the men i was with. i am drawn into it by the dependence of another, the trust that grows between us, the various ways the body can contort. i sought out men for BDSM, i have never been abused in my entire life.

    at the end of the movie **possible spoiler alert** Ana asks Christian to show her the absolute worst it could get, and he does. He did as she asked.

    • frances

      and if my memory is correct, at various times throughout the movie he says that she can stop at any time

  • David Trainer Read

    Not bad. I like this article. Will try to see this movie at some point in time. I admit I dabbled in BDSM/ Gor for a bit, that was online only when I was deployed during my first tour in Iraq. I’m no counselor but I do understand that some things can’t be explained and not everything originated from being abused. However I agree with most everything that was in this Article. In general this kind of sex is unhealthy and will cause alot of issues and problems- if not for yourself then for those around you.

    For others, people get into Gor/ BDSM like me because they want love, power and to be wanted. Not the best course if you want love and a real relationship, because even if you do find it, chances are you’ll probably end up losing the other person because of some problem that you’re having that you can’t deal with.
    I know because that happened to me.

    Lastly, this is a story that was first conveyed by book now by movie. Take from it if you’re going to watch/ read it but understand that this- for some people is a form of entertainment, enjoyment, just as it is painful and causes issues for others. I don’t want to say it’s a learning experience because I don’t know if this movie is right. While I can’t talk much about the movie, I do know that most people get into BDSM for sex and not for love or for any sort of loving relationship.

  • Tinkerbaby

    The book is fiction. Get over yourselves

  • Tinkerbaby

    It’s a “love story” the way broke back mountain was a love story. Predator/ victim Predator/ victim Predator/ victim Predator/ victim To infinity

  • Jonathan

    So, I don’t think the person who wrote this understands BDSM and Dom sub relationships.

    Also of course Christin Grey had to be sexy or there would be no movie. No one likes an old man with porn. The reality is he is sexy. Alot of wemon like a confident guy that is sexy and powerful so it’s no shocker wemon like him.

    This movie is about Ana trying something new and when it isn’t for her the movie is over. This book was written for wemon. The movie is not about Christin at all and never is and that’s why we don’t ever find out his history and that’s why he doesn’t open up. This is about her journey.

    I hada bf who was rich and kinki and after the point that in the movie Ana decides she can’t go on with him is the point were my bf decided he couldn’t be kinki with me because seeing upset hurt him. I was expecting Christin Grey to change for Ana cuz in reality he would have. She became important to him and as stubburn as people are they value the one they love. I expect he could have been with Ana in a loving relationship and got his kink out on the side. Although the reality is he like so many wanted his cake and to eat it too. That’s the problem. It so rarely can be done unless u are both into it with years of experience and its the life style u both want. Being this is Ana’s first sexual relationship she is only just discovering her self. The sequal should be about her finding out why she was drawn to all the kinki sex. Basicly she wanted to please him but she her self is a bit kinki for agreeing to it all. Although to be fair everyone’s first love is a wave that washes over us and takes controle. By guy ten or 11 Ana will know her self better and be able to deside if she is really kinki of not. Christin Grey should know he needs to find someone into it with experience like him and who has a drive and desier for that kinda play. U think after 15 wemon he might have enough experience not to wast his time on a newby. He is very immiture and selfish to enjoy dragging someone down that road. That kinda play requires self discovery.

    Anyway. It was a good movie. Alot of Christin Grey reminded me of my X Bf and there r men like him out there. They are afraid of intimacy and afraid to be made to feel little and will only function in a way that lets them no be stubborn and worshiped for it. Guys like that are no fun cuz even after they buy u a car or take u on a plain ride they just ruin the experience when one detail or eye roll or comment doesn’t go there way. They are actually big baby’s inside.

    My two sence.
    Comments? Email me.
    [email protected]

  • Kaze Chan

    Because as woman, I think it’s challenging to win Christian Grey type. He’s hard to handle but the reward is good enough. “He never love anyone, can I be his first love?Maybe I can be his saviour. I will change him. I can make him a gentleman.” This is what most woman thinking.

    He’s like a charming prince in cinderella story I guess, woman used to hear this fairytale in her childhood, and this is what makes woman want to be treat as a princess. And Christian Grey would give that imagination if someone won him. This is what I think about. Most women think he’s a challenge, that’s why we have term, “good guy is boring”.

    Nah, I won’t be boring with this kind of guy. Although, we admit that he’s a worst boyfriend. But luckyly he’s rich, if he doesn’t have a job, it won’t be an erotic romantic story, it would be just a crime story. ?

    Sorry for my english. Not good enough.

  • WJ

    While wanting to see what all the FUSS was about with Fifty Shades books -I broke down and started reading them.(finished all 3 books in less than 2 weeks. But in doing this – I was exposing myself to the language and sensual lines and with all honesty – it was very difficult to put them down.

    I would have never thought I would have gotten into them as I did. Being a married woman with 2 teens I am shocked at how I reacted to them.
    After reading many articles and comments from sights all over the internet I understand where people are coming from with the bondage issues. But the love story/romance in these books (like Jane Austin books) is very alluring. But you don’t see that in the movie (yes I seen that too) The movie does not do the books justice – its just a quick film (though 2 hours) and the books show more love in them.
    But now that I know the affect these books had on me, I’m disappointed with myself for reading them. I hate that I was hooked on these books. Also, I can’t quite get those alluring scenes of falling in love or the sensual scenes out of my head – but I know in time they will fade. At the end of the day – I wish I hadn’t read them or seen the book.
    These books are not real life at all – in reading them, you can walk away discouraged or depressed truly feeling like (I want that attractive life) and not appreciating the one “real” one that you have. If you haven’t read them…. don’t <3

  • Jack Thompson

    Craig, Kaze explains it very well in her comment from 2 years ago why women like Christian Grey and 50 Shades. They want a good-looking, rich, confident bad boy. Why do you have trouble understanding that?

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