50 Shades of Grey is at the top of most women's book list these days, but along with the good comes some bad. Adrienne C. Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of The Engagement Coach, discusses the pros and cons of being swept away by Mr. Christian Grey.
If you've met Christian Grey, you're among good company, as most women can't stop talking about him. While the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy offers what some are calling "mommy porn", it also teaches women that being in an emotionally abusive and controlling relationship is not only acceptable, but desirable and worthwhile. Let's touch on the good before we get to the bad.
A lot of couples are reporting an increase in sex, and women especially are finding themselves more sexually minded and open to trying new and different ideas in the bedroom.
Women enjoy having something to look forward to, daydream about, discuss with other wives, moms, etc. Women have fantasies too, and aren't usually as forthcoming about bedroom desires. This gives them a sexual outlet that feels safe and appropriate, and mostly judgment-free.
WHY WOMEN ARE FINDING THIS BOOK SO ATTRACTIVE:
What woman doesn't want to be adored and ravaged by her partner?! Women are so often the "managers" and multi-taskers of their families, keepers of all balls in the air, etc. that the fantasy of having your partner completely take care of everything has a lot of allure!
Also, the sexual allure of these books is less about being submissive in bed and more about having a partner who knows what to do in bed! A lot of men don't know how to correctly or effectively please a woman, and having to ask your partner for what you want in bed can be scary, intimidating and uncomfortable.
Now, for the CONS:
This story depicts a highly emotionally abusive relationship. If you take away the sex and S&M scenes, what's left is power, control, and manipulation. . . all symptoms of an abusive relationship.
SYMPTOMS OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP:
An abusive relationship happens when one partner in the relationship tries to control or dominate the other partner, either emotionally, physically, sexually or verbally (likely a combination of some or all of these).
An abusive cycle typically contains these elements:
Tension in the relationship builds
The abuse happens
The abuser apologizes and promises to change/not do it again
There is a honeymoon phase and everything feels right again
The cycle repeats itself
WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Trust your instincts and don't ignore your feelings. It's not your fault that you're in an abusive relationship.
Plan for your safety! Reach out to people who can help you. In the Twin Cities, you can contact the Domestic Abuse Project at the following numbers:
For shelter in the state of Minnesota and 24-hour crisis assistance.
Day One® Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line 1.866.223.1111
Contact DAP Advocacy at 612.673.3526 if you: Need an Order for Protection; Have questions about the legal system and victim's rights; Need assistance with lock changes, food, shelter, clothing and other basic needs.
Contact DAP's First Call desk at 612.874.7063 to learn about and/or register for therapy classes for:
Women who have been victimized by a domestic partner
Men who use abuse in their intimate relationships
Children who have witnessed domestic violence
Adolescents who are using abuse in their dating relationships
For more information on Adrienne's counseling services and free relationship tips, please visit her website at www.TheEngagementCoach.com.