Sunday, February 8, 2015

50 Shades of Confused

     My title for this article doesn't make sense, but that is the way I feel about society's acceptance of a pornographic movie being released this week, "50 Shades of Grey." I was hoping, by some miracle, that the movie would flop, sending a message to Hollywood that we don't want more of that kind of depraved film making and that the SpongeBob movie would take first place again this Valentine's Day weekend. Alas, I just read that pre-ticket sales for "Grey" are astounding. Instead of sending a message to Hollywood, they are sending a message to us: You are a bunch of voyeurs and we're going to capitalize on it. Yes, I said, voyeurs. What else would you call it? "Grey" is rated "R" by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) for "strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language." We're not okay with a peeping Tom lurking in our neighborhood and enjoying a view through somebodies bedroom window unbeknownst to the victim,  as we shouldn't be, but we are okay with people paying 12 bucks, walking into a movie theater and watching sexual exploits, "unusual behavior" and "graphic nudity." Confusing. 
     One of the stars of the movie was quoted in an online article as saying something to the effect of, "Don't pass judgement until you've seen the movie." Flat out, I do not need to see this piece of... film to judge it. The MPAA has already summed it up for me. It would not be good for my soul or my marriage to be a consumer of this phenomenon. But, still, I will judge it. Better yet, I will assess it, or at least where we are as a society when it comes to sexual health.
     I am a certified sexual addiction specialist with the IACSAS (International Association of Sexual Addiction Specialists). I have experienced personally what pornography can do to a marriage and I am now committed to helping others who's lives have been rocked by sexual addiction. I read an article on about teens and pornography use. In it was the statement that viewing pornography was "normal and natural." Reading those words caused head-shaking on my part. Is it normal and natural to have an intimacy disorder because fantasy has over-ridden reality? Is it normal and natural to have a spouse experience post traumatic stress when she discovers her husband has been consuming pornography? Is it normal and natural to experience sexual impotency in real life relationships because of the frequency of self-gratification that pornography provides?
     Anyone who buys a ticket to "50 Shades of Grey" is a consumer of pornography and exhibiting voyeuristic tendencies. Now, one could argue that consuming pornography and being "legally" voyeuristic are not harmful, but I know the effects of these behaviors, as noted above. I have seen lives destroyed, marriages shattered, jobs lost, and futures altered because of the "normal and natural" role pornography plays in a person's life. I even conducted the funeral of a young man who had killed himself, and countless sexual images and pornographic paraphernalia was found on his computer after his death. Think I'm being overly dramatic? Can pornography really cause someone to commit suicide? I firmly believe it can be a contributor when mixed with depression because there are extreme, euphoric highs involved, and very low lows. Pornography destroys lives. I cannot be convinced otherwise.
      In the movie "From Here to Eternity" there is a scene in which two lovers are famously kissing on the beach when the tide comes in and splashes over them. That is uncategorically one of the most romantic clips in cinema history. The reality of that situation would be salt water getting in orifices and sand infiltrating swimsuits. It is Hollywood. I shudder to think what will actually occur when people see the 50 Shades movie and try to attempt some of the activity displayed on the screen. Do not forget, this is a production with actors playing a part that they have been paid huge sums of money for. They were cast because they are attractive people and are creating a piece of fiction.  I predict disappointment when it doesn't play out the same as it did for Mr. Grey and what's her name, anger and frustration if someone doesn't want to give it a go, actual physical pain that was in no way pleasurable, and feelings of being abused and for very good reason.
     The popularity of "50 Shades of Grey" isn't a reflection of how far Hollywood has gone, but how far we've come since it is our dollars that fuel Tinseltown. If we didn't buy, they wouldn't create (don't hold your breath for an "Ishtar 2"). And since my hopes have been dashed that this movie will flop, I will continue doing what is my passion to do, helping those whose denial has been broken through enough to realize they need help. Maybe I'll stand outside the theaters this weekend with my business cards.

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