Wednesday, October 31, 2012

50 Shades of Good Communication

"About three degrees more to the left and I think we've got it!" Image source: Sex and

Scanning through the stuff my flying monkeys bring in from the Interwebs, particularly about "50 Shades of Grey," is a task not for the weak of heart. Most of the stories are complete fluff, or are completely stupid, thus suitable only for mocking (see previous post).

So when I come across a SMART story about 50 Shades of Gray, I gotta share. This one's from the Psychology Today website, and it is head and tails above the rest because it appears to have been written by someone who has actually read the books with an open mind, instead of having them described to them by a junior high school boy forced to read Fifty Shades of Grey against his will.

The key point of the article is that Fifty Shades is a book where the characters go to a great deal of trouble to communicate their sexual feelings. It's a key point of the book, and the focus on feelings is a hallmark of romance novels. The author notes that people may be attracted to each other purely physically, which are triggered by reading stuff like the sex scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey, but it's the play/joy circuit involved in communicating your feelings (as often occurs in sexual roleplay) which combined with trust, can lead to deeper feelings, like love. As the story says:

In 50 Shades, Ana (the main character) constantly battles with the competing urges of approach-and-avoidance, emotions that are controlled by the most ancient parts of the mammalian brain. But Christian Grey (the wealthy male character who fears close intimacy and attachment) tries his best to be gentle and kind. These genuine displays of affection stimulate the caring circuits of the brain which allow the couple to slowly build a mutually loving relationship.

Hell, yes! It's interesting that professionals like the sex educator cited in a previous article and the psychologist cited here tend to like Fifty Shades of Gray, whereas most critics are generally run of the mill bloggers, such as this bit of drivel on something called ... though it's nice to see readers giving the author a few well-deserved non-consensual kicks in the ass for confusing BDSM power play with abusive relationships.

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