With all the intense hoopla surrounding the simmering eroticism of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey, I have to wonder why are women attracted to the book? In my own book club, readers admitted to being captivated by the story that delves into the harder edges of a consensual relationship.
So is it the eroticism or the relationship that is pulling us in? I found myself skipping through some of the sex scenes to get to the relationship parts. From my perspective, the quippy email barbs between Christian Grey and Ana Steele -- not the S&M -- were the best part of the book. Maybe I am old school, but what really draws me to a story is the simmering allure of romance, like the kind you find in Sense and Sensibility and The Sound of Music. No non-disclosure agreements pertaining to sexual encounters required.
So what is everyone else so titillated about? Do women need more thrills in their lives? Are we looking for a fantasy escape from grown up responsibilities? The obligations we shoulder may provide us with home, family and career, but are we missing the excitement and forbidden pleasures that come from being less well-behaved?
With so many marriages ending in dissolution and divorce -- and so many women drawn to so-called "mommy porn" -- I think we should all consider what keeps the spark alive.
As I look at my husband of 28 years, I still feel the spark I felt when I first laid eyes on him. Yes, he is graying, as am I. The chondroitin sulfate he buys en masse at Costco doesn't always diminish the aches and pains in my joints. And the realities of aging often lead to unexpected results. When asked what I wanted for a birthday present last year I requested a colonoscopy (his -- not mine). Yet we continue to enjoy a shared journey that binds us.
And yes, there have been many conflicts and stresses over the years. Money, children, household tasks, aging parents and blackberries at the dinner table have been topics of a few shouting matches and sleepless nights. We don't need manufactured tension or pain in our lives... it's there. But there also have been many ways we keep the fires burning.
To read the rest of this post by Jody Gastfriend, LICSW, read her blog at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jody-gastfriend/marriage-advice_b_1762105.html