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Part Two: Fifty Shades of Grey: Sexual Abuse All Grown Up

In my last blog I started a series on my critique of Fifty Shades of Grey, a trilogy of books that advocate using bondage and sadomasochism (abbreviated BDSM) as a way to spruce up your love live.  The blog was a response to a question by a reader (Thank you!) who felt the book she’d started to read (first in the series) seemed to contradict her faith and made her morally uncomfortable (You should read that blog first before reading this one).

I suggested there’s a good reason she felt uncomfortable.  Your actions speak louder than words.  The actions proposed in Fifty Shades of Grey imitate imprisonment and death.  I called this the Sexuality of Death and contrasted it with the Sexuality of Life.  Marriage creates an environment where the Sexuality of Life can flourish, but if you aren’t careful, you can easily introduce the Sexuality of Death into your marriage.  Marriage is a boundary that provides a safe place for the connection of sexuality between a husband and wife to grow.  The message behind BDSM is NOT protection and is anything, but.  If you flirt with these behaviors your can literally traumatize your spouse, which can leave your spouse terrorized and fearful of you.

Gina Ogden, the modern priestess that anything sexual is fine as long as there’s a spiritual element (the spiritual she’s preaching about is not with the LORD Almighty.  Her sexual cocktail includes any gender, even alone, as long as it’s “spiritual”), was interviewed about her view of this Fifty Shades series and why (some!) women over 40 are so (supposedly!) interested in it and she is quoted on Yahoo as saying,

An extremely titillating book like this slows you down and gives you a fantasy from the reality of your life, from taking care of the kids, parents, working…Because of physiological changes and the fact that our focus has shifted to all these other responsibilities, it takes longer to warm up to sex. We need to be led into it, whether it’s through reading erotica, a massage from your partner, or being romanced.

It’s difficult to read Ogden because you have to sift out the truth from error. Some of her advice is very helpful.  Yet, she says “partner,” not husband or wife or spouse.  She includes reading erotica in the same category as a massage or being romanced.  Just as there are not too many women out there who appreciate their husbands getting off on naked, nubile 20-year olds in pornography, there are not too many husbands, who are thrilled if their wives need to fantasize about someone else to be sexual with them.  For Ogden sexuality is not the connection between a husband and a wife; it’s the sexual spiritual experience in any context apart from abuse.

But I would argue that BDSM IS ABUSE, child abuse all grown up.  With the clients I’ve seen on this issue there is one partner (usually a husband steeped in porn.  If it’s the wife, she was usually sexually abused as a child) who is trying to talk his wife into this type of behavior.  He uses all manner of persuasion, including quoting the Bible (Satan is really good at quoting the Bible.  He used it on Jesus in the temptations in the wilderness. He’s still using it.  Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing.).  The same arguments Uncle Bob+ uses to convince little Billy or Sally that it is fine and honorable and good for little girls and/or boys to do these fun little acts with Uncle Bob (“See how happy the little girl is when she does this to her uncle?” as he shows her pictures or videos of smiling children being tormented by some self-worshipping adult), so, too, Uncle Bob comes to his wife or her husband with pictures of smiling, happy people assaulting, asphyxiating, tying up, humiliating, choking, or imprisoning other seemingly happy people:  “See the pretty knots?  See how happy they all are?  You want to make me happy, don’t you?”

That’s the trick.  The perpetrator makes it the victim’s fault.  It’s called “grooming” amongst those who work with sex-offenders.  The sex-offender grooms the child to think it is the child’s idea and the child’s desire to be vandalized by this perp.  Of course, the child doesn’t know the child is being preyed upon and Uncle Bob is a sleazy, selfish criminal about to destroy this child’s life for years to come.  Which plays, of course, on the victim’s brain.  It wasn’t all pain, right?  The plumbing works, right?  So we have terror mixed with pleasure.  The child thinks, “It can’t be wrong, because Uncle Bob is such a nice guy and he loves me and he says it’s fine and it feels good.  But I’m confused.  It feels wrong, too.  I’m think I’m going crazy.”

This is the BDMS cocktail: pain and pleasure and I’ll take you right up to the edge until you say “Red” and when you say “Red” I know to stop and everything will be fine.  Of course, if you say, “Red” it makes it your fault if we quit and you won’t make me happy, but I’ll never say that.  It’s really important you make ME happy and do what I want and if you don’t, I’ll subtly make you feel like you are a prude and Miss Goody Two-Shoes and a puritan and a fundamentalist Christian and a naysayer and fun killer.  You’ll just have to figure that out with your therapist five years from now.

It’s not fine and people are hurt and traumatized and devastated and feel violated because “they defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves.”**  The potential victim should have said “Red” the minute her boyfriend, or whoever, started bringing out his little pictures (or in the case of Christian Grey in Fifty Shades, his titillating comments of Anastasia Steel “biting” her “lip” or the tease he gives her of his “secret” room and the tempting signing of his forbidden contract or his phony deprecation that he needs to initiate her to real love-making first, because she’s a virgin, before he totally humiliates her with his hardware store) of imprisoned, smiling, glamorous models all tied-up like they are being offered for sacrifice to Baal, which if you think of it, is just what is going on.

Perpetrators, who sexually abuse children, use secrets and very subtle manipulation to make their victims think the victim wants what the abuser wants (“It’s our little secret.”).  The Bible says Satan comes as an angel of light** and sexual predators do the same thing.  On the surface it seems fine, but there’s just something creepy about the whole thing.  This is the allure of temptation: “Ignore the bad side; look at all the benefits of selling your soul to the devil.  Mooheehee.”  Christian Grey comes across as all glamorous and handsome and winsome and mysterious and tempting and alluring (and, of course, he’s RICH!).  Anastasia Steel can’t resist.  And, porn being porn, everyone’s happy and gets happier the more perverted their behavior becomes.  There’s always a happy ending in porn.  Everyone’s always smiling.  It can’t be wrong if they’re smiling, right?***

Just because a victim is 24-years old instead of 8, does that make it any less abusive?  Just because your victim is your spouse, does that make it any less wrong?  You can’t abuse your date if she’s over 17-years old?  You can’t violate your wife because she’s your wife and she’s an adult and she says it’s Okay?  You’ve told her your lies about everything’s fine and we’ll stop when “you” want to?

Stop when you want to?  All sexual predators have said that phrase to their victims from time immemorial.  Let me count the ways I’ve heard that phrase dressed up as a delectable feast only to discover its excrement with a caviar pate.

Perps go so far as to even say its a way for spiritual enlightenment.  Isn’t that what the Serpent said to Eve?****  And today, Gina Ogden is saying it, and Christian Grey is saying it and, sadly, too many folks are saying it to themselves or their spouses only to wake up to discover they’ve been playing with fire and someone was burned.  Uncle Bob is everywhere.

There is some spiritual crap going on, alright.  If you change the “f” in “defiled” to a “v” you get “deviled,” which is not far off.

The wise can tell the egg that nourishes from the imposter feces that kills.  Just because they both come out of the back-end of a chicken, doesn’t make them the same thing.

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+ I’ve used the “Uncle Bob” metaphor before.  Check out Uncle Bob in two podcasts here.

*Psalm 106:39

**2 Corinthians 11:14

***On a very curious side note, my wife told me last night she wasn’t reading these blogs on this subject because they were “creepy” and then she told me her first patient on the psych floor for her nursing rotation during her nursing school was a swinging adult male who’d flipped out and gone crazy.  Hmmm.  The perp perping on himself?  You not only run the risk of traumatizing your spouse, but traumatizing yourself.  It would be funny, if it weren’t so tragic.

****Check it our for yourself in Genesis 3.

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For the first in this series click here.  To see the entire series click here.

Dr. Bing Wall is a therapist specializing in marriage and relationships and issues facing single adults with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa.  To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.  For more information about Dr. Wall click here.

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