The lines between reality and fantasy are dangerously blurred in our culture. “Reality TV” isn’t real. We are beginning to live vicariously through the photos and newsfeeds of others on social media. Airbrushing photos can be done on any smartphone in seconds.
Sadly, following the drift of our culture, “Fifty Shades of Grey” blurs the line between fantasy and reality in sexual relationships. After reading the book or seeing the movie, many women fantasize about the main lead character, Christian Grey. They errantly romanticize the story of coercion and abuse because they long for the way Grey patiently builds the sexual tension.
Women then expect their husbands to match the careful preparation and intentionality that Grey demonstrates in pursuing Anastasia. Real men cannot live up to the expectations formed by an idealistic fantasy. Similarly far too many men are buying into the airbrushed fantasies of pornographic pictures and videos. Real women cannot live up to the unreasonable expectations of carefully staged and professionally edited images.
Generally men are visually wired sexually. Pornography draws a man’s heart away from his wife to an airbrushed, sensual beauty that doesn’t really exist. He becomes unsatisfied and frustrated when his expectations that his wife match the non-exist woman of porn go unfulfilled.
Generally women are relationally wired sexually. Erotic storylines (like the one found in “50 Shades”) draw a woman’s heart away from her husband to an imaginary man whom she dreams would patiently build the sexual tension as he pursues her as a lover. She becomes unsatisfied and frustrated when her expectations that her husband match the fictional hero of the story go unfulfilled.
When both a husband and wife pursue sexual fantasy over sexual reality, neither is satisfied. Intimacy fades. Frustration grows. As fantasy is normalized and reality is overlooked by our culture, more couples report less sexual satisfaction in their relationships.
As God introduced Adam and Eve to each other, he established the pattern of sexual reality (Genesis 2:24-25). He said that a man and woman leave their parents, come together in commitment, and then for the rest of their lives passionately pursue oneness with each other personally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Growing sexual satisfaction happens when that pursuit is based in everyday reality not unreasonable fantasy!
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” -1 Corinthians 13:6