I am going to go out on a limb today and ponder a question. Is the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey a reflection of a bored society?
As a writer, it is my attempt to understand human nature so that I can provide a narrative to connect with readers emotions. I ‘ve have not only read, but have been told that the book will spice up a marriage. Are marriages in that much trouble? I recall watching the movie based on Phillipa Gregory’s novel, “The Other Boleyn Girl”, in a scene Anne confides with her sister that she finds herself doing the most unspeakable sexual acts to keep Henry’s attention in her. I found this scene rather interesting, in the fact, that some women believe getting kinky is the way to keep a man’s attention in her. Is this the message young women and middle aged women are lead to believe is the secret to lasting love in the modern era? Some have suggested since I haven’t read the story, I have no room to critique it. I beg to differ. I asked one of my friend’s wife would she sign a contract with a man she barely knows to agree to never speak about what is done in the bedroom? What is the triggering signal that something is not right? Somehow the backstory to Christian’s life and his abuse justifies the story line.
Let me give women something to ponder. You read it in the news everyday, where some guy rapes a woman because he felt the woman was in the “right frame of mind.” Where does this male thinking come from – movies, books, music, or conversations at the company water cooler? Are men in the right frame of mind when we hear that 50 shades will “spice up” the bedroom? How far should our experimentations go?
My wife and I discuss these topics often. For 35 years we have openly discussed sex and love. With a divorce rate of over 50%, will kinky sex decrease the trend, or will we opt out of a marriage as the easy excuse to justify when our partners no longer interest us? We will continue to pretend that our careers and material possessions provide us happiness? Will we find ourselves with the thought that a sexual partner’s only purpose is to provide self satisfaction? Will women still believe they can “change” a bad boy?
I have read women defend the book as pure fiction. Avatar too is complete fiction, yet many people suffered bouts depression after watching the movie. Sales of adult toys are at record highs. Pure fiction? The human mind is affected by many things. What we see, what we hear and what we read will impact us. Young minds interpret the signals differently. My wife’s aunt was incredulous because we had no intention of seeing the movie, as though we wouldn’t have anything to discuss in social gatherings. Are we truly this bored?
My perceptions of love are very different. I am throwback to a different time. I am an educated man, I recall much of what I learned in college including Maslow’s hierarchy, as described as follows:
1. Physiological needs, such as needs for food, sleep and air.
2. Safety, or the needs for security and protection, especially those that emerge from social or political instability.
3. Belonging and love including, the needs of deficiency and selfish taking instead of giving, and unselfish love that is based upon growth rather than deficiency.
4. Needs for self-esteem, self-respect, and healthy, positive feelings derived from admiration.
5. And “being” needs concerning creative self-growth, engendered from fulfillment of potential and meaning in life.
Maybe in the near future there will be a maturation in the stories our society wants to watch and read, supported by music which brings more love out in us. When I was first listening to music as a teen in the 1970’s my favorite band was “Bread.” Why? It was at this time I began to notice the beauty of the opposite sex and how I felt when someone actually had interest in me. After being with a girlfriend, which meant maybe holding hands or exchanging a short kiss, I was euphoric and the words in the music matched those feelings. I discovered over the last few years a song by David Gates, that to me, expresses the highest level of love, of my own self-actualization, that one day I will leave this physical realm and be united for all eternity with my wife, whose smile to this very day can soften my anxieties. I still want to feel the softness of her hand and take simple pleasure of displaying that love by holding her hand in public. She has my admiration and respect when she is not in the mood. Am I bored? Never. There is so much more to life and love than sex and all its experimentations. Maybe it’s time to make your own 50 shades of love list and share with your partner.