Shannon Ethridge had a salient piece on the CNN belief blog recently.
She argues that many people are searching for legitimate intimacy but settle for the intensity of sexual experience because true intimacy is elusive.
She also specifically mentions the 50 Shades phenomenon.
Many legitimate possibilities have been offered for the seeming success of “mommy porn.” Women are more sexually liberated than ever before. Couples are longing for ways to spice up their sex lives. Many women have a deep inner longing to be dominated by a man who’s absolutely obsessed with them.
While there might be some truth to each of these theories, I think the real force behind this “Fifty Shades” phenomenon is that our society is clamoring for closeness. However, in the absence of genuine sexual intimacy (best defined as “in-to-me-see”), we settle for sexual intensity: erotica, pornography, an office romance, an extramarital affair or whatever strokes the ego and provides the sexual high we crave.
The phrase “clamoring for closeness” seems to hit very close to home. Her thoughts in this article for CNN are very similar to the arguments proposed by Michael John Cusick in his book Surfing for God.
Etheridge also says:
If deep and spiritual intimacy is what humans seek, then relational or sexual intensity can never satisfy our deepest longings or heal our oldest wounds. Christian and Anastasia (for all the “Fifty Shades” fans) won’t discover heart-deep intimacy in whips, chains, pain and sexual intensity. Their deep wounds will be healed by sacrificial love (of which Christ is the incarnate example) and intimate relationship (both human and divine). Soul-deep intimacy is what we seek, and it’s ultimately found in the God who created human sexuality.
We live in an age in which digital connectedness is at an all time high, and will continue; yet, our relational connectedness has never been worse. And in our disconnected relational state, porn and fantasy take on additional power.
The increase in popularity of all forms of porn only signals our true lack of relational health and connection to real people.