Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Thursday, August 16

Fifty more shades of grey light on christian sexuality

There was a Channel 4 documentary on it last night, so that has saved my wife the trouble of reading it.

Apparently it is mostly about bondage, sadism and masochism.  The heroine likes getting whipped.  Not everyone's cup of tea!

Of course they had feminists on, saying that this is all a form of assault even if there is consent, and it is still about male violence against women etc.  I disagree - I hear that most bondage is actually where powerful men (such as senior police officers) who having bossed people around all day like to be bossed around themselves at night.  So the 'submissive' is usually the more powerful of the two.  However, in the context of the book, the feminists may be right.  The other point made is that the man in the book likes sadism because he was a victim of abuse in his earlier life which is also apparently rarely the case.

Mrs' observation is that although the book is very popular, some of that will be down to hysteria and everyone buying it not because they really want to but because everyone is reading it and they don't want to miss out.  That is I suppose her own position.  Some of her friends have finished it, and say it is boring because the sex is so relentless.  Mrs also comments on the price - she bought it at £3.50 but if it was £9.99 like most books she wouldn't have bothered.  These are all factors in the popularity of the book.

Mrs also commented that the author seems to have just looked things up on the Internet and incorporated them into her book, rather than being truly creative.  At what point does 'research' negate 'creativity'?

I felt a bit sorry for the author, because she never expected the book to get this kind of attention.  It is being read by literary critics who are judging it as literature - when it was never intended as such.  And it is being read by sociologists who are judging it's comment on society -again it's not what she was trying to do.  If she had felt these people were likely to read and comment on it, she may have written it more carefully and thoughtfully.

And, since this is a Christian blog and I am commenting frivolously about something that could be quite serious, where does the book stand theologically?  As I have said in previous posts, porn is porn, and is wrong.  But it's not real people or real events - it's just someone's imagination, something she is telling us of her own thoughts.  So that's OK.  ..ish.  The book still endorses a huge amount of pre-marital sex, which is wrong.  But apparently they get married at the end, which is good.  And there is plenty of extra marital sex in the Bible, and that works out OK.  But the sex in the Bible is not for titillation.  But then there is the Song of Solomon, which is really quite sexy and raunchy.  And with the poetic licence it's hard to tell if the couple in it are married or courting, actually doing it or just dreaming.  Songs tells us that sex is good.  Sensuous,  Fun,  Holy.  Personally I have reached that stage in life where - although hormones still rage uncontrollably through me, there is another part that can't work out why civilised middle-class people who create cities and art and literature and machines then go home and poke around each other's bodily orifices.  I mean, WHY???  But sex is good - sex is made by God, to be enjoyed.  I speculate that there are a lot of Christians who spend too much time being anxious about whether their sexual practises (with their spouse) are OK - we tend to be too prudish.  Is anal OK?  Is oral OK?  I think we are one flesh, and we should do what we find mutually desirable within the marriage without restriction.  I think we need to be more inventive, more creative, rather than just the routine missionary position in the bedroom every Saturday.  I would therefore in some ways cautiously encourage Christians to read Fifty Shades, to get some tips and ideas.  There may be a case for Christian couples to share these and other tips with each other.  Not demonstrating of course, just talking.  I know I am treading dangerous ground here.  But when we got married our pastor lent us a book published by Scripture Union, which was basically a sex manual for Christians.  A Holy 'Joy of Sex'.  It was good.   It was helpful. 

Anyway, after the programme, Mrs doesn't need to read Fifty Shades any more.  Which is why last night she started to!  She has skimmed quite a few pages already, but has still not reached anything raunchy.

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