When Sexual Passion Gets Darker

It’s almost Valentine’s Day so that must mean we’re getting ready for another installment in the Fifty Shades movie franchise, this time: Fifty Shades Darker. If only it were a sequel about chocolate.

i really wasn’t going to write about it, but then i got thinking about the way porn culture is the hatred of women writ large in society, and i felt a need to say something.

i wrote about Fifty Shades when the first movie was released, and it seemed i had said all i had to say. But perhaps there’s always more to say when it comes to the devastation porn culture has wrought, and continues to wreak, on the lives of real people.

It’s easy to live in such a detached way that you don’t ever realize what the actual impact would be if the fantasy in your mind, or on the screen, were ever to manifest in real life. Equally, it is all too easy to ignore the effect that the fantasy is having on you as you indulge it, even as you tell yourself that “it’s only a fantasy” and you would never act on it.

Porn culture depends on its consumers living as people who are detached from their true humanity. It relies on us living as fragmented beings where our sexuality is not integrated with real love.

The title Fifty Shades Darker is clearly intended to add to the allure, to make it enticing by inserting a sense of forbiddenness, but the title simply increases the fragmentation of the soul by referring to sexual activity as something dark that should remain hidden.

In other words, sexual passion is sinister.

i remember when i used to live under that cloud; when sexual passion seemed so dark and dangerous that i had to act on my desire in a secret life. i remember when the forbidden nature of it — or the way in which porn culture promoted it as forbidden — made it all the more alluring to me.

Fantasy is, essentially, dreaming of the future. It is an exercise of imagining a desired outcome. By definition it doesn’t have to be dark or forbidden, even when it’s sexual.

One of the truly sad things about the Fifty Shades phenomenon is that the trilogy purports to be about empowering women sexually, about giving them permission to indulge their fantasies and be liberated sexual beings, while all the while it does so in the context of the sort of male domination that normally results in a restraining order.

i understand from talking to women that they want to be desired and pursued by men, but the entire framework of Fifty Shades is a world of sexual experience that only allows for the man’s specific preferences. The books, and now films, seem to be telling us that a woman’s sexual liberation is based on her developing fantasies in which she gives away all of her sexual agency in order to be a man’s sexual object.

That’s worse than bad porn. And how is it liberating for women?

What 50 Shades packages as sexual freedom turns out to be entrapment. Somehow we are supposed to believe that this is a healthy and desirable sort of relationship.

Therein lies the cunning of porn culture, and those of us who have been caught in its trap know this all too well. i have chased many things that seemed like sexual freedom only to find out, each and every time, that i had been fooled.

In one sense i understand the popularity of the Fifty Shades phenomenon. i think most people with my past history of compulsive sexual behavior would. Who knows, if this series had been written when i was in the throes of my addiction, i might have been an eager consumer of it.

it’s no surprise that the Fifty Shades franchise is a hit. i get it. Again, any person with a porn addiction should.

But i am still saddened by Fifty Shades the same way i am saddened when i think back over the years i was addicted to porn. i certainly understand the attraction and the thrill, but lately when i feel the pull toward lust and porn, the thrill doesn’t last very long.

Instead, i feel the deadness that comes from wasting my life; a form of oblivion sets in from watching instead of living.



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