Three Hidden Dangers of Fifty Shades of Grey


Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the most anticipated movies of 2015. There is no doubt that fans of the best-selling trilogy will flock to see their favorite characters come alive on screen.

While I have not seen the movie, I have read the books. On the surface, they may appear to be fantasy and fun but, as a psychiatrist and an advocate for women, I worry about the impact this phenomenon has had and will have on women and our society.

Here’s why:

  1. Fifty Shades is changing our expectations about sex. Sixty years ago, women didn’t have much trouble saying “no” to sex. A man truly felt that he “got lucky” if a woman would have sex with him. Society supported women withholding sex. Today, many women don’t feel supported when they choose to delay having sex, and now Fifty Shades is pressuring them to say “yes” to a new arena of sexual activities where violence against women is normalized.

    While the Red Room seemingly worked out for Christian and Anastasia, we must remember that this is fiction. The glamorization of the Fifty Shades style of sex sends a subconscious message to women: “If you are not playing by the Fifty Shades rules, you are not desirable, or you are a prude.” Is this the message we want to send to women?

  2. Fifty Shades glamorizes the microwave romance. What’s a “microwave romance”? It is one that progresses at lightning speed. It also typically explodes in your face. A five-star restaurant is not preparing meals in the microwave. You want a five-star romance, right? If so, the microwave is not your answer. Faster does not equal better. Great relationships take time to evolve. You can’t rush that process like Christian and Anastasia rushed into the Red Room.
  3. By focusing on sex, Fifty Shades takes focus away from the real prize: the relationship. By the end of the trilogy, it appears that Christian and Anastasia have a beautiful relationship. But this is a fairy tale! In my 29 years of listening to women talk about relationships, I’ve seen that most of the best relationships don’t lead with sex. In fact, and from the beginning, they focus on emotional connections.

I am speaking out because I want to help women navigate this tricky phenomenon. Society tells us that we need condoms and birth control, but what about protecting our hearts? Your heart is precious. No book, movie, or celebrity knows what is right for you.

I am starting a new revolution where every woman can be her own Brand of Sexy. You can take the focus off of societal expectations and define what feels right for you, and support other women in defining what is right for them.

How do you feel about the Fifty Shades phenomenon? Have you ever felt pressure to have sex before you were ready or to experiment with sex? How have you handled it, and what is your plan for future relationships? I’d love to hear from you. Please let me know in the comments below and on Twitter and Facebook.

Together, we can do this. Support your sisters. Join the revolution. Be your own Brand of Sexy and get what you want.

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