Why 50 Shades of Grey is destroying relationships, poisoning minds, and ruining sex lives. Here are 5 reasons you should avoid watching it.

5 Reasons 50 Shades of Grey is TRASH

In For the Ladies, Marriage, Relationships by Debra Fileta140 Comments

To say I’m appalled by the positive reaction to 50 Shades of Grey is an understatement.

But what’s even more alarming to me, is the mass amount of attention and praise both the 50 Shades of Grey book series and films have received from CHRISTIAN WOMEN. With the new movie coming out in just a few days, I thought it was due time to bring back this post, and push back against what our culture has declared to be the norm.

50 Shades of Grey. It’s a story line filled with dysfunction, pain, and sexual perversion played out between a young 22-year old virgin and a seriously disturbed 27-year old man. I have to start my post by saying I didn’t read the actual book, nor do I ever plan on doing so. I couldn’t justify filling my mind with trash for the sake of writing this article (for you critics out there, I read one-too-many summaries and excerpts, and spoke to people who’ve read the series, and did research of my own). But what it comes down to is that you don’t need to watch porn to be against it, nor have experienced abuse to be able to stand up for what’s right. And just the same, you don’t have to read trash to be able to declare it as such.

I, for one, am officially declaring this entire 50 Shades of Grey movement as T.R.A.S.H.; portraying a completely inaccurate view of:

Theology,  Relationship Advice and Sexual History

It’s destructive to relationships, poisonous to the mind, harmful to sexuality, and deadly to the soul. As both a Professional Counselor and Christian woman, here are 5 reasons why I believe it’s complete and total TRASH:

Why Is 50 Shades of Grey TRASH?

1. Because it portrays a relationship defined by SEX rather than a relationship defined by LOVE.

Aside from the fact that the story line of 50 Shades glorifies sex outside of marriage, even more destructive is that it defines an entire relationship by SEX.  It’s a plot that looks at a relationship between a young man and woman through the lens of nothing more than the dynamics of their sexual relationship. Talk about a seriously lacking view of relationships!

I’m appalled by how this story cheapens relationships by condensing the complexity and sanctity between a man and a woman down to this one thing. The moment we define our relationships by our sex lives, is the moment that we’ve failed to experience relationships to their fullest. Great relationships are never just about sex (though great sex is the FRUIT of a great marriage!) they are about LOVE, they are about INTIMACY, they are about WISDOM, they are about LOYALTY, and finally, they are about COMMITMENT.

2. Because it defines love as an act of TAKING rather than an act of GIVING.

Even though this entire story line is about sex, the word love and being “in love” is used fairly often from what I gather in the summaries of the series. But the problem here is that this “love” is always defined by what it can get, rather than what it can give. From the start, both parties are in it to GET something. To get sex, to get security, to get healing, to get pleasure.

Choosing Marriage BookBut true love is never about what we can get, but rather, what we are enabled to give. In my book, Choosing Marriage, I spend chapter after chapter outlining the importance of going into marriage with the mentality of what you can give, not what you can get. The formula for true love is always We > Me, and applies to everything from sex, to conflict, to communication, and everything in between.

But laced throughout the story line of 50 Shades, we find the very opposite attitude. Anger, rage, violence, abuse, dysfunction, and hurt emerge time and time again from one partner toward the other. What a completely twisted picture of “love”! True love is never out to hurt, instead it’s defined by kindness, patience, gentleness. It’s defined by self-control- not self indulgence. By forgiveness, not wounded-ness. True love is an act of selflessness, which is the farthest thing portrayed in 50 Shades of Grey.

3. Because it presents pleasure as rooted in DYSFUNCTION, rather than rooted in INTIMACY.

It saddens me to hear that so many woman are enthralled, excited, and turned on by this story line because it is all about pleasure rooted in dysfunction. Since when is pleasure defined by bondage, dominance, and masochism? Since when is arousal dependent on pain, abuse, fear, hurt, and violence? This sickest part of this story line is that it makes light of some serious sexual dysfunction rooted in the main character’s past abuse history. How often do we bring our wounds to relationships in hopes for healing? But a relationship rooted in dysfunction will never survive, because relationships can’t heal our wounds, mend our insecurities, or cover up our past. They weren’t meant to, because only God can do that (but that’s an article for another day).

Rather than pleasure that’s rooted in pain, what about looking for pleasure that’s rooted in intimacy, love, and trust? I’m thankful that God’s design for sex includes SAFETY and SECURITY within the walls of a loving marriage offering us pleasure beyond measure rooted in intimacy, commitment, loyalty, and respect. And please don’t misunderstand- there is SO MUCH FREEDOM for sexual pleasure in marriage, because ultimately, it is pleasure rooted in the enthralling intimacy of love.

4. Because it presents a one-dimensional, cheap, and superficial view of sex rather than seeing sex as valuable, deep and meaningful.

It’s amazing how many women will get worked up about their husband’s viewing pornography, but then get excited by the story line of 50 Shades. Yet since when is lust in women more acceptable than lust in men? Just as cheaply as pornography takes the sacredness of sex and turns it into a one-dimensional self-serving act, 50 shades does the exact same thing.

It fixates on the physical components of sexual connection, while completely neglecting the emotional, psychological, and spiritual connections involved in the truest form of sexual intimacy. Sex is so much more than physical. If we could only learn to view sex in every dimension, then maybe we would learn to savor it, respect it, cherish it and honor it rather than frivolously giving it away.

5. Because it OBJECTIFIES women (and men) instead of EMPOWERING them.

After getting a closer look at this story, I was surprised to find so many woman singing it’s praises. 50 Shades is the sad story of a man who was objectified through past sexual abuse, objectifying woman after woman along the way.

The only truth I find in this whole predicament is the reality that: “Hurt people, hurt people”. It’s a story of hurt, and brokenness, and wounds finding their outlet in the form of dysfunctional sexual expression. And if that’s the kind of thing that turns you on- you might need to take a step back and do some soul-searching. It encourages both men and women to fall into the trap that our bodies hold the solution, and that sex can somehow hold the answer.

I revolt against this mentality with all my heart, because I know full well that the answer is not – and can never be- found in sex, in romance, or in relationships of any form- because the Answer is found in nothing short of Love.

If there’s anything I take away from the 50 Shades epidemic it’s this: Our cultural obsession with sex is telling. It’s telling, because SEX is just a symptom of something far greater. Ultimately, it’s a symptom that we are DESPERATE for connection. We’re desperate for relationship, desperate for love, and oh so desperate to be wanted. And while the TRASH of this world may offer some temporary relief, it will never leave us feeling fulfilled, whole, and satisfied. Because it doesn’t have the power to. 

I am thankful for a God who has provided the answers to fulfill my deepest needs, heal my deepest wounds, and satisfy my greatest longings. I am thankful for a God who offers to fill us with His living water, and fill us to overflowing.

Because it is only when we are truly filled, that we can learn the art of filling others…and in marriage, it’s that kind of love that will make for some really incredible sex.

If you agree, share this article! Let’s make some noise. 

For more on the harms of 50 Shades of Grey, check out the advocacy work being done by the National Center for Sexual Exploitation.

For a different approach to love, sex, and marriage, check out my latest project, Choosing Marriage. I hope and pray it brings healing and hope to marriages and FUTURE marriages across the country.

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, and Choosing Marriage: Why It Has To Start With We > Me where she writes candidly about love, sex, dating, relationships, and marriage. You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, reaching millions of people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!


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140 Comments on "5 Reasons 50 Shades of Grey is TRASH"

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Loving the Journey

I saw it …I cried. Its of great sadness that the characters could not truly connect on an emotional and loving level. I identified …so thankful I’m not there anymore.

Loving the Journey

Thank you to God …

Thank you so much for being a voice and advocate for healthy relationships and love. Thank you for exposing 50 Shades of Grey for what it is. I have also been disturbed and stunned by the popularity of this movie/book. Too many view pornography and stories like this as harmless. You have shed light beautifully. I have studied, taught, and spoken on the dangers of pornography and how it destroys lives, ministries, and families. We have a friend who’s in prison because he was driven by his porn addition to act out in real life what he’d seen. I’m haunted… Read more »

Thank you for stating the truth about 50 Shades of Grey biblically and unequivocally! Really appreciate your speaking boldly about this.

I do agree with this statement – “But being a Christian comes with a responsibility and a challenge to choose what’s best for our lives -” Something that unfortunately many people can’t seem to comprehend, or don’t want to believe and apply to their lives because it keeps them from doing the ungodly things they want to do. However one question I have for you is this – There is scripture in the bible that says “everything in the marriage/marital bed is sacred.” What do you think of BDSM within a marriage? What sexual boundaries, if any, (besides the obvious… Read more »
It appears that there are frequently two ends of the spectrum at play in this comment list, trying to communicate. I encourage y’all to keep it up, on the road to understanding the other point of view. Both points of view have made great points. There are some who have given balanced commentary on it too, tho. I’ll give mine… and I’m speaking from the standpoint of someone who’s never read the books nor known the story-line in my life, just going by the comments on here: I won’t be condemning of those who wanna know the story, and are… Read more »
I did read the book, and while I personally was not comfortable with all that happened, there were parts that were surprising. The girl while young and naive did have her limits, she did not give into every request (she ignored or said no) this handsome powerful man tossed at her. He was a deeply wounded man, who had found a way to be touched/loved in a way most people are not comfortable with. It was only through the girls boundaries and expanding them through building trust that he in turn was also able to open himself up to more… Read more »
In reading all of this, I can’t help but to be reminded of 2 Timothy: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and… Read more »

Would Jesus watch or endorse FSOG?

I grew up in an abusive home. I worked with my Heavely Father for years from the age of 19 to heal from that. At 30 I was raped after graduating college through my Heavely Father I’ve healed from that. As I read books and walk through life I’m concerned at how woman and men both find it ok or good to have an abusive person in their life. Those books are trash and try to glorify a very abusive relationship and try to fill us with lies that it’s great and romantic (the father of lies) tried to pull… Read more »
Miryan Iliev

Reviewing a book that you have not read is simply ridiculous.

Thank you for this article. I have never watched or read FSOG because I know it involved BDSM. I have watched tv shows since I was 11. Now I watch it very rarely and selectively because I have to admit it has impacted my views on love and sexual life differently and wrongly compared to what Lord said on the Bible. I just realized this only a few years back. I didn’t even realize it when I was kid. I watched it because it gave me pleasure, filling me with desire (I just found the words as I am getting… Read more »
Keierra ReeNell
Thank you for being bold enough to write this!!! There is a new movie I hope the last coming out next year and now the lovers are married. As you stated it is dysfunctional and the young people have never got truly healed. This is a book and movie series made by people who obliviously do not know the LOVE we know so thus the reason for this foolishness. I do like how you pointed out people in the church men and women have enjoy these books and movies yet try to judge porn differently. A pastor I was once… Read more »
Madoc Thomas
Yes’m! The celebration of 50 is parallel to the celebration of violence in our society. Both are rooted in irreverence for life as a beautiful gift to be held in honor. By the way, after nearly 43 years my wife and I (for medical reasons) have no genital sexual interaction but have more pleasurable intimacy that ever! 50 couldn’t imagine such a thing. Read or see the movies? I’m too busy at 74 trying to finish education, reading lots of Buechner, Brene’, Yancey, and rereading Manning. And walking my dogs. Too busy living the dream in Christ for 50! Madoc… Read more »
Yes and No. I do agree with all your statements above, as all Christians should. I have seen the movies and will most likely see this last movie. I have not read the books. I enjoyed the movies. Yes, the relationship is toxic and harmful, but thinking about it from an English Literature background its a compelling story. A STORY!!!! My take is that they are just books and movies and if you think of them as just a story then its ok. I have friends that have been sexually assaulted and have watched the movies and read the books,… Read more »
Yes, I totally agree, with one added observation. I was appalled to find out that 90% of the people who bought the books were women, 90% of the people who went to the movie, were women and 90% of the people who bought the DVD were woman; and yet the story glorifies a dominant/submissive relationship between a man and a woman, where the man is the dominant and the woman is a willing submissive. The author made (approx) $100 million dollars from her books and movie rights. And yet, as women, we have been struggling and fighting to get out… Read more »

I find it ironic that this book that demeans women is written by a woman and read by women!!!! most men wouldn’t bother reading this utter garbage. Stephen King on the other hand is an author who respects women and writes about strong women!!! however there is a multitude of women who think King is trash and think Twilight which also demeans women is great, hmmmm go figure!!!!