Warning: this post includes possible triggers regarding rape, abuse and pornography
"When it comes to sex men have the need to dominate and women have the need to be dominated."
This is the idea at the heart of the blog post that exploded into an Internet atom bomb. "The Polluted Waters of 50 Shades of Grey Etc." by Jared C. Wilson that was posted on The Gospel Coalition's website. The post examined a passage and ideas in our own semi-local pastor Doug Wilson book "Fidelity: What It Means to be a One-Woman Man." His post has since been taken down and a retraction was made but the issues raised are still important matters to discuss.
The post referenced this passage from Doug Wilson's book:
"Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence.
When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts (emphasis mine). This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.
But we cannot make gravity disappear just because we dislike it, and in the same way we find that our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual “bondage and submission games,” along with very common rape fantasies. Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the “soon to be made willing” heroine. Those who deny they have any need for water at all will soon find themselves lusting after polluted water, but water nonetheless.
True authority and true submission are therefore an erotic necessity. When authority is honored according to the word of God it serves and protects — and gives enormous pleasure. When it is denied, the result is not “no authority,” but an authority which devours."
That post elicited a firestorm of comments, follow up posts, defenses and rebuttals, highlighting a deep division in thinking within religious circles about male and female roles in marriage, martial rape, the appetite for erotic sexuality and versions of sexist domineering religion. It also brought up the issue of pornography, eroticism and the popularity of that genre in our pop entertainment.
The Fifty Shades of Grey series has sold 31 million copies worldwide, with book rights having been sold in 37 countries,and set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing the Harry Potter series.
Who knows if any sanity will arise from the tussle but at the root of the fumble and scramble for real truth, I hope we can discover meaningful discussion about sexuality/eroticism in marital sex, the popularity of 'softcore' porn books like "50 Shades of Grey" or almost hardcore porn books and TV shows like "Game of Thrones."
Our culture, and even our fellow Christians are reading, watching and forming or reforming their values and beliefs about sex, love and entertainment in the public square and even in some pulpits. If you don't agree with this vision of marriage, sex and entertainment being preached, taught and consumed, then it's time to engage the conversation.
What do you think are the roots of interest and need at the core of our consumption of these types of books and films and this kind of relational ideology? Is it simply sinful appetites, brokenness and warped human desires or are there other human needs at work?