'Mommy Porn'

Romance novels have long been a part of our culture, with women often drawn to stories of heroism amid the mundane. But the advent of “mommy porn” has taken this form of literature to a new level of descriptive writing and sexual detail. Women can now read their way through what appears to be a love story in Fifty Shades of Grey, and find themselves processing elements of erotica they may not have anticipated. Or maybe they read with the hope of reviving the sexual passion in their own marriage.

Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery wrote Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy and the Longings of a Woman's Heart to expose the truth behind the lure of erotica found in Fifty Shades of Grey. The authors warn that although women love a great romantic escape, how a woman chooses to escape can actually prove to be dangerous to her marriage.

Juli writes, "Having read the 'Fifty Shades' trilogy, I will say with great confidence that these books are not merely fiction—a story that could be true but is not—but are actually fantasy—something that could not possibly be true. Erotica like 'Fifty Shades' is fantasy because it subtly asks you to assume a different reality."

So what reality differences are implied in Fifty Shades of Grey? Juli says that moral and relational laws are twisted to the point where right and wrong get morphed into a world of grey—a world where black and white can no longer be untwisted. Unfortunately, life has consequences that are not revealed in fantasy, and the relational consequences of embracing a twisted reality can be dangerous.

Dannah writes, "The fantasy of erotica inspires one thing—the longing for more. Instead of satisfying your longings, it will awaken, manipulate and deepen them. No longer will you be satisfied with an attentive boyfriend or husband who occasionally brings you a soy latte to cheer you up … you will want a man who is obsessively, unrealistically in love with you and has the bank account to prove it. A hardworking man who is faithfully scraping by will never be able to provide for you the way a man in your fantasy can."

During their interview with Focus on the Family, Juli and Dannah offered several insights to this cultural phenomenon and the influence it can have on marriage. Just as pornographic images have the potential to ruin a man's ability to love in real life, so too, a written form of pornography has the potential to ruin a woman's ability to love in real life. So why would culture promote erotica for women?

Dannah explains, "One of the things that's happening is that our society really wants to erase gender. So we're telling women that they have to be a certain way or act a certain way—they can't fall into the typical stereotypes." She continues, "The problem with that is that when I look back in the book of Genesis, God loves gender. When He says, 'I have created you in My image,' He lists two things, male and female, that make us most like Him. Gender matters to God."

Dannah sees apparent confusion between social pressures for women to compete with—even dominate—men, and the drive for women to indulge in erotica where there's a twisted distortion of what it means to be a strong male figure. Add to this confusion the fact that this growing sexual appetite among women seems uncommon, even unnatural, and the blurring of gender roles rises to a whole new level.

Juli joins the conversation by clarifying that she sees this pressure and distortion as something more than just the battle of the sexes. She says it represents a spiritual battle that's intended to destroy God's design. For years the Enemy has worked to win the hearts of men by pulling them into pornography and luring them with extra-marital affairs, but he's after the women now, and he wants their hearts.

Juli writes in her book, "It's time for Christians to start playing offense—to reclaim the gift of sexual pleasure as it was created to be experienced."