I have seen a ton of articles about this movie in the past week. It’s insane.
Interestingly, the articles I have seen circulating are attempts to dissuade the public from going to see it. I have not seen any articles that defend the movie or encourage others to support it. This may not be true but it seems to me that most of the press this movie is getting is negative. So, if there aren’t a lot of people screaming support of this movie then why are so many screaming opposition? It’s probably because the book (under the same title) has sold over 100 million copies and the movie is projected to bring in about $60 million. It’s not hard to understand why many people are trying to discourage others from supporting the movie. Pornography is bad. This movie has a really terrible theme. However, that’s not what this article is about. I want to explore the question not many people are open to asking:
Why Is This Book/Movie Drawing In Millions of People and Why Am I Even Tempted to See It?
I find it very interesting that millions of people have purchased this book and plan on seeing the movie, yet I’ve seen very few people promoting it. I think that’s because many of us have a certain curiosity about pornography that we aren’t willing to admit. It’s embarrassing. We know something’s wrong but we can’t help but wonder. It’s uncomfortable to contemplate why people are attracted to this movie but if I am to be completely honest…
I am tempted to see this movie.
How can that be? I’m a solid Catholic. I try to live out a chaste life with my bride. I have a great love for the Theology of the Body. How is it, then, that I am tempted to watch this movie? Well, I don’t think I’m the only one. Naturally, we all have a great curiosity about sex. The Catholic Church teaches that sex can be a way we experience Heaven… an intense closeness with God. You don’t have to be religious to recognize that there is something great about sex. We all recognize that it is a great mystery that draws us in.
That’s a part of our design. We were created to be intimately united to another. This is why we desire union; why we desire sex. We don’t just want it. We crave it. Even those of us who are married still recognize that there is a great mystery that we are unable to unfold. We are attracted to people who are not our spouse. Even in marriage our desires are not completely and totally satisfied.
In Heaven we are destined to experience an intense, and intimate union, with everyone. This does not, in any way, indicate that Heaven will be sexual. Sex is a sign that reveals the glory of Heaven to us. It does so by teaching us what it means to be like Jesus. Sex is where we become naked, vulnerable and open to another. It’s where we come to truly know another person. Again, we were designed to be intimately united to one another and sex is one very powerful way to enter into union with someone. However, sex is an earthly sign that will give way to something much greater in Heaven.
Many of us don’t grow up with this understanding of sex. From a young age many of us are discouraged from thinking, or talking, about sex. Of course, that’s impossible. We can’t ignore these great desires. Our curiosity eventually gets the best of us and we begin to experiment. We experience the excitement and rush of physical intimacy and are easily hooked. We think that if it feels good then it must be good. However, that’s not always the case. Just because poison tastes good doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Sex must be in its proper context and according to its design for it to truly fulfill our desires.
Illicit sex – sex outside its proper context and design – can be pleasurable and therefore act as a temporary relief from our desire for union. Sex in this manner becomes a powerful drug. It gives us a “quick fix” but once the high is over we have to go out looking for our next hit. Eventually we start to realize that our usual dosage isn’t enough anymore. We need to increase the dosage to get the same high so we start looking for new ways to experience the same rush and excitement from our first encounter.
We continue to distort sex further, and further, until it becomes unrecognizable as an act of love between two persons who desire to come to intimately know each other. We are forced to separate sex from love in order to accommodate our addiction but we can only remove love from the equation if we downgrade the other person to an object.
This is called pornography.
Pornography was supposed to be the answer to our cravings but it seems that society has grown tired of traditional pornography. We are saturated with naked photos and videos. We have become immune to them. It seems that our culture is looking for something a little more shocking to give us that sense of rush and excitement we are missing in our sex lives. Thus, we have set our hopeful gaze on 50 Shades of Grey.
I think that this tells us something about our culture. We are desperate. We are starving. We are hurting for the Truth about love, sex, and marriage. We know somewhere in our hearts that the desire for sex is ultimately a desire to come to know, and powerfully love, another. We know we were meant to love and be loved – never to use and be used. We just don’t know how to reconcile our immediate desires with the great mystery that is our ultimate union with each other in Heaven.
I have to be honest. I can’t ignore the great longing I have to be united with people other than my spouse. It’s not simply a sexual desire. It is a desire to come to fully know others. It is a desire to be united with the body of Christ. So, when I am presented with an opportunity to come to know someone else on an intimate level, to witness someone in their most vulnerable state, I am tempted because I know that there is some good mixed in with the bad.
But just because I am tempted does not mean I am obligated to act on those temptations.
Holiness is not defined as “never thinking about sex”. Holiness is exercising your will to choose what you know to be right despite your momentary feelings. Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want to see the movie but I can’t deny that I have some curiosity about it. The reason I don’t deny that there is some curiosity, or temptation, for me to see this movie is because I appreciate the fact that I have the opportunity to choose to sacrifice. If I never experienced temptation I would never have the opportunity to be heroic.
Not watching the movie is my choice. Not fantasizing about, or pursuing a sexual relationship with, a woman who is not my spouse is a choice I am privileged to make. That is my sacrifice and that is my antidote to the drug. It is how I show my bride that I truly love her. I choose her and therefore reject any drug that would hinder my ability to love her properly.
That is how I continue our great love story.