The Mainstreaming of Porn

'speed reading' photo (c) 2006, Pedro Figueiredo - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

When I was young, it was hard to come across porn by accident. It was all sold in special stores, or on high shelves in magazine racks. Novels weren’t really raunchy in the same way. It wasn’t as if porn could just jump out at you, by accident.

But today I’ve had a rather distressing experience. I went into Shoppers’ Drug Mart, a big drug store chain up here in Canada. The vast majority of what they sell is beauty products and medicines. But they do have a magazine aisle, and the “top 20″ book section. And there, in a large display, was 50 Shades of Grey. Then my daughter and I went to our grocery store, which sells–you guessed it–groceries. But even they have a new “top 20″ book section, and there was 50 Shades of Grey, too.

The books are at eye level, or lying on a table. Anyone can pick them up. They’re mixed in with Hunger Games and the latest mystery thriller. They look so, well, NORMAL.

I’ve already written on what I think of the trilogy. I completely believe that 50 Shades of Grey is bad for marriage. It’s a dangerous trend. But what makes me even more sad is that it’s now completely mainstream. “Pick up your milk and eggs, and grab a copy on the way out!” Browse for some beach reading on the go, and grab a copy along with the latest bestsellers.

It’s just sad, that’s all.

Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Still 30% off at Amazon!

On another note (but a related one), my sales for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sexspiked last week for some reason. I don’t know why exactly, but I’ve been detecting a trend. Most books sell by word of mouth (that’s what happened to 50 Shades of Grey!). And as people read it and like it, they tell friends about it. And I’ve been getting emails from people telling me they’ve recommended it to friends, so perhaps word of mouth is building!

I know that we in the church aren’t always completely comfortable talking about sex. But honestly, if you want a great, fun sex life, pick up The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex! And if you’ve already read it, please tell someone about it. Let’s get a trend going of GOOD books to spice up your marriage, not books that will kill intimacy. So if you hear women talking about 50 Shades of Grey, tell them about this instead! And ask your local library to order it, too.

Read some reviews here. Pick up the Kindle edition here. Or buy the paperback!

Comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    I was part of your sales spiking. I bought it for a friend in need of God’s healing touch in the area of sexual freedom.

  2. I really have a problem with this trend too. It’s so insidious!

    Even more, it’s the blantant display of Cosmo magazine with it’s pornographic headlines glaring out at me and my young daughters as we wait in line at the grocery store. A few months ago Selena Gomez was on the cover and my 11 year old made a beeline to the magazine before she dropped it with a look of emarrassment on her face after reading the cover. I wrote all my local grocery stores to ask why they choose not to protect children and they all said in a vague way that although they don’t want to offend anyone, they choose their magazines based on customer preferences. In other words its a really big seller and that counts more.

    I have not been able to to find an organized group in Canda against this but if you know of one Sheila please pass it on. I would sign up in a minute!
    Ruth recently posted…A Fresh StartMy Profile

    • van Rooinek says:

      One of the Hearst descendants, Victoria Hearst, is a Christian and is part of a protest against the magazine. She’s not trying to stop its publication or change its content (1st amendment prevents that anyway), she just wants to get it covered up and not sold to minors. In other words, she wants it to be treated like porn.

      http://observer.com/2012/06/hearst-daughter-joins-christian-campaign-to-cover-up-cosmopolitan/
      http://www.styleite.com/media/victoria-hearst-cosmopolitan/
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/13/victoria-hearst-rallies-with-christian-group_n_1594346.html

      The industry I work in, advertises in Cosmopolitan, and as a result, complimentary copies of it are sent to the marketing deparment. One day when I was in the marketing building, I saw a copy of Cosmo, with a brazen front-cover statement, “The Sex Issue”. I laughed out loud… EVERY issue is a “sex issue”, that’s all they talk about.

      Even funnier… From time to time I pick up the magazine peruse the articles about “What your man is thinking”, “what his clothes/ food/ drink/ hobbies tell you about your man”, “how to decode your man’s inner workings”… all the “man-alyzing” stuff. Such articles are characteristically100% WRONG, indeed, from a male perspective, laughably so. Girls would be better off getting their advice from the Manosphere than from the clueless columnists of Cosmo. (hey, that was a nice alliteration… the Clueless Columnists of Cosmo… no copyright, feel free to spread the meme.)

      As for the prime topic of the thread… an “alternative” to 50 Shades of Grey… .WHY is an alternative necessary? What’s the point? If a romance novel spurs sexual desire, it’s in the same category as FSoG, and under the same condemnation. But if it does NOT have substantively the same effect, it’s not truly an alternative. Unless the definition for pornography is different for each sex — to wit, for men, the line is black and white; but for women there are 50 shades of gray…

      Seriously folks… no “alternative” to 50 Shades of Gray is necessary. Harkening back to the theme of yesterday’s thread: instead of wasting time reading a romance novel, spend that time ACTUALLY HAVING SEX.

      • van Rooinek says:

        to clarify…. I don’t mean to dis YOUR book, Sheila.. but there are commenters here, advocating “alternate” romance novels. why bother?

      • You have the best final lines in your comments! That’s two in a row that have made me laugh out loud.

    • I turn the front copy around on the magazine rack. And I don’t care if someone does think I’m weird for doing it – I don’t want to explain those words to my seven year old.

    • In florida they put a cover over the magazines so kids cant see them, i am sometimes surprised but glad what they do cover up!

  3. I saw your book on my library’s shelves and grabbed it this week!
    Sis recently posted…Reclaiming Modesty for MyselfMy Profile

  4. Annette says:

    A friend of mine and I have started to suggest Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers when 50 Shades of Grey comes up in conversation. As an avid reader, I have a lot of people recommending the book to me and I think this is a great way to let them know I’m not interested in the book, but have a great alternative!

  5. This breaks my heart that so many Christian women are being deceived by the lies that this is just “good fiction.” I have a friend who is in my small group, who just posted on FB that her husband asked her not to read the book, so she’s “reading it in secret.” I don’t understand. I don’t understand why there is not more conflict in our hearts and how we can set down our Bibles and pick up 50 Shades of Grey and have a clear conscience. I don’t know how to address this with my Christian friends who are choosing to read the book. So I just blogged about it. :)

  6. What gets to me is how many women are picking up the book not knowing what it’s about. I’ve had more than one woman mention their curiosity about it and they are nothing less than shocked when I tell them it’s erotica. Be wary, sisters – check things out before picking them up!
    Melissa recently posted…I Appreciate…My Profile

  7. Oh my goodness, you are RIGHT ON. What we see in the stores is an indicator of what is happening in society (or maybe it’s the other way around). Just as the Bible predicts, we really see that values are relaxing more and more until we wonder if there is a such thing as “values” anymore! Normal is officially the new conservative! : )
    A couple of years ago, when I stood my ground in a conversation with a few acquaintences about this issue, I quickly realized that I was definitely the minority. For them, porn was no big deal and something that “all men” entertained themselves with. My girlfriends even commented that “men would be men”, and that we just have to pick our battles. It’s so refreshing to hear viewpoints from others who recognize it for what it truly is.
    Kellie Woodson recently posted…Happily Ever AfterMy Profile

    • Tony Conrad says:

      What they say is far from the truth. All men do not do porn. This is one of the most important battles for young people in our day. Men will be men is just giving up and avoiding confrontation. Wives need to confront as it is mental adultery. I see a seperation of the world and the church. We need to make sure we end up on the right side and cultivate His kingdom.

  8. Well said, I definitely think your book makes a great alternative, but one of your commenters said it VERY well. haha! Made me laugh. Great post.
    Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace recently posted…Your Role in Marriage – 3 Characteristics You Need to OwnMy Profile

  9. Sheila, you are so right on with this! 50 Shades shows us that women are hungry for better sex lives (whether someone agrees or disagrees with reading the book). Thank YOU for continuing to address this rising trend and for writing Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. I think we should all recommend it to our friends the way women are recommending 50 Shades. C’mon ladies, let’s put it on that top 20 shelf! Is there a study guide also? I was thinking of starting up a group study/book club.
    Melissa Titus recently posted…Stop setting goalsMy Profile

    • Tony Conrad says:

      Having a wife who is hungry for a better sex life is a desirable thing in my eyes. With that going on who would be tempted by porn? Not looking or reading at anything sexual and not having a full sex life in marriage does rather leave one in a no man’s land, with regard to sex anyway. So the alternative to 50 Shades should be to make it more exciting in marriage.

  10. You should do a search on Amazon of the top 100 free eBooks. It’s crazy to say the least.

  11. oh it’s possible to ask the local library to get your book? I had no idea! (am still newish in the country – US, that is)

    I like your stand Sheila, no gray areas when it comes to this book. Some Christian bloggers are still sitting on the fence on this. I know we cannot make people do anything but we sure can speak our sanctified Christian minds in our blogs instead of being vague and all.

    Now I know the alternative book to recommend the comments sections! – hadn’t thought about it. Thanks and God bless!
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…I am at Brandon Gilliland Today!My Profile

    • Anonymous says:

      I asked our public library to buy it when it first came out. They bought multiple copies. I just checked it now and there is still a lineup in the hold queue for the book. It’s rated 5-stars on our library system web site.

  12. A few days ago on the news I saw a story which said there is someone writing “new” versions of classics like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice etc and giving it the “50 shades” treatment. I was so disgusted.

    The classics are classics because of how they are already. We don’t need to sex them up to make them popular with younger generations. The great appeal to most women I know who love those stories is that there is very little romance that becomes explicit in them. It is the purity, innocence, and true masculinity of the characters that makes them so fun to read.

    I miss the days when more was left to the imagination and I’m only 49 years old.

    • I saw that news story, too. I’m sure Jane Austen is rolling over in her grave. How horrible. Those are the best books already.

  13. I pre-ordered your book…but just recently read it. We just celebrated our seven “monthaversary”….and your book blessed me SO much!!!! Thanks for this wonderful alternative to 50 Shades. I love how you truly talked about how making love is more than the physical. But more than that (which is where most other material I had read about sex stopped)….you talked about HOW and WHY it’s more than the physical. I have already bought your book for an engaged friend and I intend to buy it for other friends who get engaged!

  14. Anonymous C says:

    Sheila, have you heard of a supposed Christian author by the name of Calle Zorro? My husband and I are struggling in our marriage sex life (I have to literally force myself to be intimate with him). This is no fault of his but he has fallen for the crap this Zorro dude is spouting about how he can turn me on. Ick! My husband informed me he has turned to porn due to my lack of intimacy (due to abuse as a young teenager) and proceeded to tell me about the numerous women he has to turn away who are craving a sexual relationship with him. I can’t decide whether he’s trying to bully me into having sex with him or he thinks that will make me appreciate him more. It does neither-it actually disgusts me. I am broken, sad, exhausted. I don’t want him to think the junk he has been reading is what has gotten to me when I have been reading your blog for a few months now and working toward reinstating a sexual relationship with him based upon what I have read that you have written. I want to be known and respected as a wife first and foremost, not someone to be leered at and groped at will. That’s my struggle and I’m fearful it will end our marriage.

    • I haven’t heard fo that author at all. Oh, that’s so sad! I’d just really recommend talking to your husband about how this makes you feel, but choose a low stress time when you can just have an honest conversation. And pray lots beforehand!

  15. My mother in law recently read “50 Shades” while we were visiting my daughter who was preparing for her own marriage. She could hardly put it down. I knew nothing about it at the time. She handed it to my daughter and after flipping through it, Michelle put it down. She told me she would NEVER read something like that.

    Michelle was married this past Friday! This is a young woman whose first kiss was with her fiancé and she truly saved herself for him in every respect. I am so proud of her!

    I was in Costco yesterday, where there was a big display of “50 Shades.” A woman was there with her husband and 3 year old son looking over the books and lamenting that she had paid full price for it at Barnes and Noble. You are so right that porn, and that’s what it is, seems so “normal.” I fear for our society–and hope for more strong women like my daughter.
    Carol recently posted…Sweet!My Profile

  16. Lixie Belle says:

    Sheila, last week I came across your blog post on 50 scriptures to memorize on Pinterest. It led me to your blog and I stumbled across 29 Days! I started reading. I pinned it on Pinterest and I there it went :) My husband and I are going through 29 Days together and it has really opened the doors of communication which will hopefully lead to a more vibrant marriage in every respect. When I can squeeze it in the budget, I am buying the book! Thanks for such a great reasource!

    • Lixie, that’s awesome! So many people come to that one post on the best 50 verses to memorize. I had no idea it would take off like that! And then I think people are rather surprised when they see the rest of the blog…But I’m a big believer that Hot and Holy go together, so memorize Scripture! It will help your sex life! :)

      Glad you and your husband are having such a good time. :)

  17. Sheila, last week I came across your blog post on 50 scriptures to memorize on Pinterest. It led me to your blog and I stumbled across 29 Days! I started reading. I pinned it on Pinterest and I there it went :) My husband and I are going through 29 Days together and it has really opened the doors of communication which will hopefully lead to a more vibrant marriage in every respect. When I can squeeze it in the budget, I am buying the book! Thanks for such a great reasource! On the 50 Shades note, I totally agree with you! I don’t even read “Christian” Romance anymore…

  18. Anonymous Too says:

    I read a story yesterday that really upset me. A small hotel in England is replacing all the Bibles in their guest rooms with 50 Shades of Grey! And yesterday at my daughter’s ballet class, a mom was reading it in the lobby. It’s appalling.

  19. I find it so bizarre that people advertise one Facebook and everywhere else how they are “reading 50 Shades and loving it” or things like that, I can’t really comprehend how this is any different (I know it isn’t different) than telling the world you are watching porn. It’s just so weird to me.

    Thanks for your post and all of your great posts, you are such a great spokeswoman for healthy relationships. :)
    Kristina recently posted…playing with water and geographyMy Profile

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