5 Lies in 50 Shades

Hopefully, you’ve already decided that Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t worth your time. But since, as Christians, we’re called to engage the culture for Christ, it’ll be helpful for you to know a few things about it so that you can converse sensibly and convincingly with your friends and coworkers.

Fifty Shades of Grey is a best-selling trilogy of novels and now a Hollywood movie. The franchise is worth millions. But this poorly written “love” story is more than just a harmless novel for bored housewives. It is filled with subtle and not-so-subtle lies. Let’s look at five of them.

Lie #1: Violence is sexy.

If you know anything about Fifty Shades, you know it’s a story about a man and a woman, people from opposite worlds sexually speaking, who become infatuated with one another. The main character, Ana (who has the personality of a wet toothbrush), is largely innocent and inexperienced when it comes to sex. Christian, on the other hand, is a sexual psychopath, deeply mired in a world of bondage and sadomasochism.

Fans of Fifty Shades are quick to point out, “Look, Ana eventually tames Christian and leads him away from his emotionless world of sexual dominance. Just read the sequel books.” That may be, but it’s the eroticism in the books that has made them best-sellers. Whatever change Christian goes through in story arc, we can’t overlook the way his violent fantasies scar Ana. This is precisely how the first book ends: with Ana alone, crying on her bed because she has fallen for a man who she realizes is deeply disturbed.

This is, sadly, the trend of pornography, whether words, photos, or videos. A recent study of top-selling pornographic films found that nearly 90 percent of the scenes contain acts of physical aggression. In most of those scenes, women are portrayed as enjoying being dominated or punished. Now, if someone responds, “Yes, but being dominated and threatened is so much more exciting than faithful marital sex,” to me, that’s analogous the meth-head who thinks normal, un-high life is boring. In both cases I just want to extend sympathy.

Lie #2: Sexual brokenness is sexy.

For many women, Christian Grey seems like the epitome of female fantasy. He’s unbelievably wealthy. He worships the ground Ana walks on.

But Christian is also a terribly damaged individual who at age fifteen became involved in a dominant-submissive relationship with a female friend of his mother’s, a relationship he says has left him fifty shades messed up. And yet his resulting perverted obsessions are the very things that have made the books millions.

Can you imagine if the scenario was reversed? Picture a 15-year-old girl being coerced by a man her father’s age into a relationship in which she’s sexually dominated for years. Then picture that girl entering into one relationship after another of emotionless, violent sex. Is that woman’s state of mind something to celebrate, something men should fantasize about?

Lie #3: Women should put up with stalkers.

Many fans of these books will say, “Look how much Christian wants to be sure he has Ana’s consent. This book isn’t misogynistic, because Ana gives her full consent.”

First, consenting to being degraded doesn’t make being degraded any cooler.

Second, the book blurs the line between consent and control in the worst ways. At one point, Ana says, “Of course he knows where I live. What able, cell-phone-tracking, helicopter-owning stalker wouldn’t?”

The Journal of Womens Health published an article showing that Ana is actually a victim of “intimate partner violence.” The study says the book shows emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction the couple has, including elements of stalking and intimidation.

Lie #4: Consent is secondary when lust is involved.

Christian is a billionaire with nearly unlimited wealth at his disposal, and he buys Ana extravagant gifts. One of these gifts is a first-edition copy of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the dUrbervilles. You may be thinking, “Big deal. He bought her a nice book. She’s a British literature major. What a lovely gift.”

But in the note that comes with the book, Christian writes, “Why didn’t you tell me there was danger? Why didn’t you warn me? Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks.”

For those unfamiliar with Hardy’s novel, this is what the main character, Tess, says after being raped by her stalker in the woods. Right away Ana recognizes the quote from the book but doesn’t really think through its implications. It’s clear Christian wants Ana physically, and he will use whatever tricks he can to get her. Throughout the book, as their twisted romance unfolds, we see how Ana compares Christian to the villain of Hardy’s story.

Lie # 5: Pornography is morally acceptable.

The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey will help persuade people (including the young and morally uninformed) that pornography is okay. But, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. ”

Don’t be fooled. Fifty Shades of Grey is nothing but poorly written, violent pornography.

If you or someone you love is hooked on porn and want or wants to be free, download my free new e-book, The Battle Plan, and my new audio presentation, “The Hidden Battle.”

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m-fraddMatt Fradd works for Covenant Eyes, and is the author of the new book Delivered: True Stories of Men and Women who Turned from Porn to PurityHe is also the founder of The Porn Effect (www.theporneffect.com) a site dedicated to exposing the reality behind the fantasy of porn and offering help to those who seeking to sexual freedom.

29 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this… People really need to see the truth about this series and about its terrible contents that have undoubtedly and very sadly poisoned many people’s views on real love, romance, and intimacy. May they all be delivered from those lies in Jesus’ name…

    By Tammy | 2 years ago Reply
  2. I don’t get tired of re-reading this article! To be hooked on “mommy porn” is some serious bussiness it’s easy to live a fantasy but much more pleasurable and fulfilling to love as God made us for. Chastity gave me this open mind because the world’s view narrows love = sex and the “liberation” they talk about only enslaves in porn, lust and many other sins. Thank God for the Evert couple and Matt Frad! :’) Your words have helped understand so much!

    By Cari | 2 years ago Reply
  3. I don’t get tired of re-reading this article! To be hooked on “mommy porn” is some serious bussiness it’s easy to live a fantasy but much more pleasurable and fulfilling to love as God made us for. Chastity gave me this open mind because the world’s view narrows love = sex and the “liberation” they talk about only enslaves in porn, lust and many other sins. Thank God for the Evert couple and Matt Frad! :’) Your words have helped understand so much!

    By Cari | 2 years ago Reply
  4. I’m a junior in high school and your posts always give me more knowledge so as to understand the culture more fully and understand how God wants me to live, can’t wait for “Old Fashioned”! Thank you Mr. Fradd!

    By Kylie | 2 years ago Reply
    • Pretty mature than most Juniors that we know! Never, ever be frightened of standing alone in your walk of goodness and truth!

      By Mich | 2 years ago Reply
  5. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for these sensible points against 50 Shades of Grey! Already re-posted this on my Facebook account. 🙂

    By Etienne | 2 years ago Reply
  6. Every human commit sin with a full submission or self consent just before the act in time of micro-seconds even though the person seem not guilty of the act after its completion.

    No one can escape!!! Because we know when we sinned even if we try to justify it or speaking unaware!!.

    To be frank, i first came to know about this movie through one of our Catholic blog and after that i watched the trailer. May be if not i wouldn’t have seen or noticed.

    I didn’t discuss about the movie with my friends who haven’t even heard of it, because i don’t want to tempt them to watch trailers or the movie later.

    But, we should speak about the reality, because this culture is taking away some words which had some meanings, like “mistake” or “sin”.

    And i hope i can keep my friends away from watching this movie.

    May the evil of porn leave our universe!! 🙂

    Mamma Mary pray for us!

    Thank you Matt 🙂

    May God bless you and your family and your loved ones 🙂

    By Matt pratt | 2 years ago Reply
    • Can you please share the Catholic blog? 🙂 Thanks !

      By Mich | 2 years ago Reply
  7. This is absolutely brilliant and well to the point!!

    This also should inspire us to pray for people who are like the 2 characters and are in the same situations as the characters in this book.

    If one were to hear these situations off the news, lo and behold it’s shocking, but when it’s in the guise of ‘literature’ it’s considered harmless. In both cases sadly, we do not see they are our siblings, children of God too, human beings. No freedom in both media and mainstream lit. to see our siblings.

    True danger begins when lies and thoughts squirm into our brains and inhibit us into paralysis from turning to fight and pray, from turning to God.

    Saint Augustine, pray for them.
    Saint Maria Goretti & Alessandro Serenelli, pray for them.

    Thank you Matt. I’m definitely gonna share this out.

    By D. | 2 years ago Reply
  8. I really honor and thank God thru this blog. This will truly help and aid women out there who will surely be trapped into the darkness that the book brings. Rest assured that I will be one of your prayer warriors for this spiritual warfare.

    Mama Mary, continue to intercede for us and always bring us all to the light of your son – Jesus Christ.

    We also ask for the prayers of all the saints and angels Raphael, Gabriel and Michael to protect us from all dangers and temptations as we continue to go back to God in this journey in life.

    Amen.

    By Elvie D. Asendiente | 2 years ago Reply
  9. Love this so much. In the weeks to come, I think we’ll all need to justify why the 50 Shades phenomenon is not harmless.

    By Anna | 2 years ago Reply
  10. Thanks for the well thought out article. I have always avoided reading 50 shades of gray, but now I know why!

    By Kate Ernsting | 2 years ago Reply
  11. I work in a school and overheard eighth grade girls talking about this movie today. I told them it’s soft porn, about S & M, and sounds more scary than romantic. They told me it’s only rated R, but the ads they’ve seen already are too much. Wish I could be sure the cinemas keep kids out, but in modern multiplexes I know they can’t be completely sure. Keep spreading the word.

    By Pam | 2 years ago Reply
  12. Perhaps the problem this article points to is the lack of truly worthwhile Christian book titles for people to read and then make movies from.

    By David Flynn | 2 years ago Reply
  13. Personally I love erotic books although fifty shades of grey didn’t fit my list. It wasn’t enough but it did have good plot. First of all the book is focuses a lot about BDSM which is fun, safe, and requires consent of the submissive one. Why do you think he made Anna read the contract before accepting it. She had a choice she wasn’t forced into it.

    And why would I want to imagine the scenario reversed? Men get abused and scarred too. That makes me feel that we should be more concern about a Women’s state of health, safety, and mind. Other than that I agree with the article.

    By Kathleen Argueta | 2 years ago Reply
  14. I do agree too that you can see how Christian is abusive when he has sex with her.

    By Kathleen Argueta | 2 years ago Reply
  15. Just because the book does not follow the black and white way of thinking does not mean it is wrong or poorly written. Though I respect your position on the matter, I disagree. This world is grey if you haven’t notice. The ideas of right and wrong do not exist. Fifty Shades might explicitly explain some of the ideas of what goes behind close doors, but there is substance to what is being said. Because your mind is not expansive enough to read between those lines, your judgment isn’t entirely valid. It may be an unconventional way to love someone, but this “black and white world” has no understanding of how grey it actually is.

    By courtenay | 2 years ago Reply
  16. Half of the points here are inaccurate and not what the book is portraying at all.

    By Anna | 2 years ago Reply
  17. never heard of it, now I really want to watch the movie. Wait, let me pirate it as well!

    By a | 2 years ago Reply
  18. I think all the books and the movie should be banned. I think us as men should file a class action law suit against the author and the production company. This gives women a false sense of what reality is really like. Most women are looking at this movie as something fantastic. Its merely garbage.

    By Jeff geer | 2 years ago Reply
  19. I personally like the series along with many of my friends. I see no problem as it is FICTION. It is the readers fault if they take it seriously, not the authors. I also, cant wait to see the movie. As a writer myself, I see that people need to realize that not everything written, is true and should be taken to heart. I’m not trying to change anyone’s opinion as I respect everyone but i’m just saying….IT’S FICTION.

    By Brigitte | 2 years ago Reply
  20. Jeff, do you not think women would be able to file their own law suit?
    Or are we, as women, less able to distinguish fantasy from reality and therefore need some nice strong, sensible and moral gentlemen to handle it for us?

    By Katie | 2 years ago Reply
  21. I love how “Christians” write these articles, when they are such a corrupt religion that covers up the fact that their priests are child molesters. Hypocritical and disgusting.

    By Alex | 2 years ago Reply
  22. Freedom of speech, freedom to see the movie if one wishes to do so. Don’t hate on the movie or the books, everyone has their own opinions and likes/dislikes. If you have a problem with the books and/or movies don’t read them or see the movie! Simple as that. Also, since when does the Christian church involve feminism? Last i saw women were inferior to men in the Christian world.

    By Michelle | 2 years ago Reply
  23. This is just a book. It is just a movie. It is fiction. I know what the books contain. If it bothers you that much, don’t read the book and don’t go see the movie. It is really quite simple. Do not partake in it in any way. Don’t write your articles, warning people of the dangers of what is included in the books. We are all intelligent people who can make up our own minds. I do not need some man or woman making my mind up for me. It is a book. It is a movie. It is fiction. The day I let someone tell me what things I can read and watch is the day I also start doing the same to others. The books and subsequently the movie is NOT FOR EVERYONE. If it offends you, don’t read the books and don’t see the movie. If you look hard enough into something, you will find the things wrong with it that you want. Get a grip.

    By Anna Barbalich | 2 years ago Reply
  24. En mi opinión este es un muy buen articulo el cual habla todo lo que pienso de esta película, se necesita mas personas con este tipo de pensamientos y que los transmita a todas las personas porque muchas caen en las mismas ideas que el creador de esta novela. Mis compañeras del colegio persuaden mi cerebro con que lea el libro pero no tengo ningún interés en leerlo ya que pude reflexionar mas leyendo este artículo. Puedo invitar a todas aquellas personas las cuales dicen ser “cristianos” a no leer y ver esta novela ya que interrumpe con su compromiso/obligación con la iglesia.

    By claudia salinas | 2 years ago Reply
  25. This article states very clearly why fifty shades of grey is not just a book or a movie that you will watch and then forget. This book, not only for Christians, can permanently affect your mind. After reading some more articles about rough sex I found the source to this wanting. Women get to like such thing if they had any problem with the male gender. For example: your father, being abused as a kid, having self-esteem problems, etc. While this book gives us a perfect image of a rough sex relationship, we have to know that this is not normal. This type of relationships are the need for attention, auto punish or wanting an alpha male to have the control or control you mostly because you feel like you need to be controlled. But we have to remember that THIS does not make it the sexiest and greatest thing to feel or do, because it is not.

    By Natalia Mariscal | 2 years ago Reply
  26. En este articulo todo lo que dice es cierto. El amor no debe ser asi eso no es amor la pelicula en si es violencia, te dan una perspectiva de como el amor se supene que es hoy en dia y no es cierto dan una imagen destorsionada de como tratar a tu pareja y cualquier persona deberia saber que esto esta mal y deberiamos de valorar a nuestra pareja y vivir el amor correctamente sin violencia, sin ser abusados no podemos cegarnos a gente que hace eso. Deberiamos de saber que merecemos lo correcto no acloparse a lo que sea o sentir la necesidad de cambiar a la persona, este articulo te ayudara a reflexionar mucho del amor y la imagen que nos Ponen hoy en dia.

    By mariana ortiz | 2 years ago Reply
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    By Willodean Neu | 2 years ago Reply

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