For far too long the tendency among churches has been to overlook the sexual needs of Christian wives. In their book Pulling Back the Shades, authors Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery acknowledge that spiritual women are also sexual beings. With great insight and great compassion, these authors expose the dark side of erotica. At the same time they offer hope by acknowledging God’s desire for women to be fulfilled in every aspect of married life.
On behalf of both authors, Juli admits, “We know that women aren’t just drawn into books like Fifty Shades of Grey for the entertainment factor. Erotica strategically and masterfully pulls you in by exploiting what your heart secretly longs for.” The women have detailed five basic longings in a woman’s heart and how the counterfeit fulfillment of those longings can be dangerous:
Longing No. 1 — Women long to escape reality.
Married women can find themselves feeling bored with daily responsibilities, so they seek adventure—even if it’s fantasy and not reality. Juli and Dannah remind readers that true relationship takes time and effort, hard work and character. The relationship counterfeit found in erotica requires no effort and simply provides a shortcut to escaping reality.
Longing No. 2 — Women long to be cherished by a man.
Every woman deeply longs for the experience of being chosen and cherished, and that reality is not just something taught in romance novels. This natural desire is often portrayed in movies and literature, but erotica distorts that natural longing into something that becomes unhealthy—something so costly that it requires women to pay a high and painful price in hopes of being cherished.
Longing No. 3 — Women long to be protected by a strong man.
Women were created with a natural attraction to strong and confident men. But what does that look like when women are living in a culture where they’re taught to fight for freedom and independence? According to Juli and Dannah, media have devalued men to the point of giving up their strength and confidence, and now it seems that “even the most liberal women in media are talking about the thrill of a strong man.” If women still appreciate healthy and respectful strength in a man, why are words like submission, master and obedience now considered “sexy”? Yet again, a natural desire has been twisted.
Longing No. 4 — Women long to rescue a man.
Women have been created with a natural longing to rescue a man, explaining why a wife longs for her husband to be a better man after years of marriage than he was when he was young and single. Books like Fifty Shades of Grey take that natural longing of a woman’s heart and twist it to portray the woman as a savior to the man. She aspires to a place and relationship that is unhealthy for both people involved.
Longing No. 5 — Women long to be sexually alive.
Women were created to be sexual beings and their desire is not wrong. Juli and Dannah explain, “Women are drawn to the promise of sexual fulfillment and the ability to fully surrender to it. …Enter erotica. No man needed, no risks of heartbreak involved.”
Unfortunately, pornography in any form reinforces the cultural lie that sex is about physical pleasure and not a committed relationship.