Basking in the glow of yesterday’s blog post and the wonderful dialogue that spun out of it, I want to further the conversation.
Three themes come up when discussing this trilogy:
1. How many of us spend as much time as Anastasia Steele, assessing, evaluating, and actively deciding whether the person before us is the one we want to be in a relationship with? How many of us spent time really looking at the pros and cons of a new relationship? Or did we just wheel our way in and deal with the ups and downs once we got there?
I agree, this book has a lot of steamy sex scenes. (Some call it “gratuitous sex” – but I’ll get to that in a minute.) But in between the sex scenes is a running dialogue with Ana’s subconscious about what she wants, what concessions and compromises she is willing to make, and how she feels.
I dare say, most of us never did that in the beginnings of our relationships. And we might have been better off – or better equipped to handle bumps in the road – if we had.
2. Is there such a thing as gratuitous sex?
First, let’s define gratuitous:
gra·tu·i·tous/grəˈt(y)o͞oitəs/ – Adjective. 1. Uncalled for; lacking good reason; unwarranted. 2. Given or done free of charge.
If you are going to employ the word, might we argue that all sex is gratuitous – or none of it is? Unless we aim to bring a baby into the world, all sex is gratuitous. It’s also the glue that can make a relationship sail smooth seas.
And here is where we unload the discomfort that certain people feel when discussing this set of novels.
Our society shines a spotlight on the issue of sex – in one way, we are incredibly prudish in this nation and in another way we are way too exploitative. I take huge offense to the clothing women wear (and which men demand to see) – scantily clad, baring all in broad daylight – and then we go and complain loud and clear about a novel that no one held a gun to your head to make you read which contains wanton scenes. Hot scenes.
Admit that they’re a turn-on – don’t run from them.
And if we want to tie it all together, some complain about the Time magazine cover showing, um, what? A boy whose mouth covers any of the off-limits part of his mother’s breast? I don’t quite see how one is offensive and another is acceptable. Seems our values on the human body, nudity and sexuality are all upside-down.
3. Many of us suffer from a huge lack of confidence, which is apparent in the fact that we prefer to hide this book on our e-readers rather than blatantly pull out a brazen hard copy for all the world to see.
Get over it. You are enough. I am enough. It does not matter, for one second of this sunny bright day, what anyone else thinks or says or does.
It’s time we start living that.