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Lots of chitter chatter out there in the social media world about a little movie called 50 Shades of Grey.
Like a lot of movies, this one comes on the heels of an incredibly successful book by the same name (actually a series of books).
Not since Harry Potter has a book generated so much noise, disagreement, attention and controversy. I'm not here to debate about Harry. You know as well as I know that sex is my wheelhouse; not clever coming-of-age wizards.
A few years ago, I was talking to a woman who went on and on about how much she liked the book 50 Shades of Grey. She asked if I had read it, and I said, "Well, I'm a Christian, so the content doesn't exactly appeal to me. I have not read it."
She squealed with delight at our sisterhood, smiled and said, "I'm a Christian too!" Without skipping a beat, she said the book had done wonders for her sexual connection and arousal with her husband.
"Why do you need a book about promiscuity and sexual manipulation to heighten arousal with the man you married?" I thought.
I didn't speak those words out loud, of course. I mean, we were at a women's business networking event for crying out loud. And we had neither time nor setting to unpack a conversation about moral compasses.
When the gal and I had that brief encounter, who would have thought a producer would turn that book into a movie?
And now here we are and the movie 50 Shades of Grey is clamoring to entertain us and enlighten us… to show us how much we've been missing, trapped in our naivety, bound by boredom and outdated sexual boundaries.
To be honest, I had decided to put off blogging about 50 Shades for… well…forever. Mostly because the phenomenon of the book and movie seemed to be no more than that -- a phenomenon that would come and go. (One can only hope, eh?)
But my heart kept being tugged, relentlessly pulled back to this whole notion of power and sex. And if ever there is someone who wants to speak about power and sex, it is me.
You want inspiration for tantalizing sexual encounters in your marriage? If so, I guarantee you won't find it from counterfeit and cheapened sexual images upon a screen. Such images will offer you no lasting inspiration.
But your own heart and hands and mouth and ears and mind? Well, now we have something to work with.
Don't see it.
Spend your time instead making love to your husband. And then make love some more.
"But Julie, you just don't understand. We have big issues in our marriage. And even bigger issues in our bed. I can't just flip a switch and start liking sex."
If that describes your marriage, I am saddened with you. But I am not without hope, and I pray you are not either. I pray you find some helpful encouragement in my post 3 Things to Do NOW If You Don't Like Sex or in my many other posts.
I understand how contrived and skewed sexuality on the screen is alluring. I get it.
50 Shades of Grey, no doubt, leverages in a painfully distorted way what is actually natural and real at its core -- the desire to be desired, the way our bodies intuitively crave sexual response that catches us off guard, the hunger to be turned on by someone's touch and attention.
I get it.
Sheila Gregoire digs into this deeper in her incredible post The Appeal of 50 Shades of Grey. (She also includes links to many other posts on 50 Shades, so I passionately encourage you to cruise over to her post at some point).
Sexual arousal and fascination are not wrong, but God commands us to keep them in their right context. He is the biggest fan of sex in its right context. He longs for husbands and wives to craft authentic intimacy for which there is no substitute -- no counterfeit.
My hope for your marriage and for all marriages really is that sex is a pathway to not just a stronger relationship, but also a more genuine appreciation of God's gift of sex.
The best way you as a wife can respond to 50 Shades of Grey?
Make love to your husband.
As sisters in Christ, could we be women who are not drawn to a movie about cheapened sex, but compelled toward nurturing the real thing beneath the sheets?
Could you be a wife who whenever you hear 50 Shades of Grey mentioned (at work, on TV, among friends), you make a mental note to touch your husband affectionately the very moment you see him?
(I know, it sounds like one of those college drinking games. Whenever 50 Shades of Grey is uttered, you caress your husband. When the two of you are at Target, and you catch a glimpse of the book cover of 50 Shades of Grey, lean into your husband and give him a passionate kiss. Sounds. Like. Fun!)
Obviously, you don't need book covers and mindless office banter about a movie to be your cue. But you get my point, right? What you need is to be intentional about sexual arousal and sexual pursuit of that guy you do life with.
Sex does indeed have a lot of power. Within it, you hold the power to affirm the person you love. To bring him intense sexual pleasure and to embrace your own. To let go of your sexual inhibitions.
Sex has the power to convey oneness and tenderness in a way that is unlike anything else. With sex, you and your husband have the power to worship, to say to the Lord you are grateful, and to lose yourself in something that is both sacred and scrumptious.
Skip the movie. Make love to your husband instead.
Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.