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The movie Fifty Shades of Grey proved to be the blockbuster everyone predicted.

Fifty Shades of Grey and Its Effect on WomenMany people see the books and movie as fantasy and fun but, as a psychiatrist and an advocate for women, I am very concerned about the impact this phenomenon has had and will have on women and our society.

There are many ways the books and movie are extremely confusing. Here are three reasons…

1. Fifty Shades is changing our expectations about sex.

Sixty years ago, women didn’t have much trouble saying “no” to sex. A man truly felt that he “got lucky” if a woman would have sex with him. It wasn’t just a cute expression.

Society supported women withholding sex. Today, our society pressures women to be sexy and sexual. As a result, many women don’t feel supported when they choose to delay having sex. Now Fifty Shades is pressuring them to say “yes” to a new arena of sexual activities where violence against women is normalized.

While the Red Room appeared to work out for Christian and Anastasia, we must remember that this is fiction. The glamorization of the Fifty Shades style of sex sends a subconscious message to women: “If you are not playing by the Fifty Shades rules, you are not desirable, or you are a prude.”

Is this the message we want to send to women?

2. Fifty Shades glamorizes the microwave romance.

What’s a “microwave romance?”

It is one that progresses at lightning speed. It also typically explodes in your face. A five-star restaurant is not preparing meals in the microwave. You want a five-star romance, right? If so, the microwave is not your answer. Faster does not equal better.

Great relationships take time to evolve. You can’t rush that process like Christian and Anastasia rushed into the Red Room.

3. By focusing on sex, Fifty Shades takes focus away from the real prize: the relationship.

By the end of the trilogy, it appears that Christian and Anastasia have a beautiful relationship. But this is a fairy tale! In my 29 years of listening to women talk about relationships, I’ve seen that most of the best relationships don’t lead with sex. In fact, and from the beginning, they focus on emotional connections.

I am speaking out because I want to help women navigate this confusing  phenomenon. Society tells us that we need condoms and birth control, but what about protecting our hearts? Your heart is precious. No book, movie, or celebrity knows what is right for you.

I am starting a new revolution where every woman can be her own Brand of Sexy. You can take the focus off of societal expectations and define what feels right for you, and support other women in defining what is right for them.

How do you feel about the Fifty Shades phenomenon?

Have you ever felt pressure to have sex before you were ready or to experiment with sex?

How have you handled it, and what is your plan for future relationships?

I’d love to hear from you. Together, we can do this. Support your sisters. Join the revolution. Be your own Brand of Sexy and get what you want.

Dr. Susan L. Edelman

Susan L. Edelman, MD is a psychiatrist specializing in women’s issues, dating and relationships. She is the author of the new book, Be Your Own Brand of Sexy: A New Sexual Revolution of Women. You can follow her on Facebook and @BrandofSexy on Twitter.

What Do You Think?

5 Comments | Join the discussion

  • Katelynn Mar 12, 2015 at 5:05 am

    I completely disagree with your statement. Anastasia was never forced into doing anything she could stop at any time she just chose not to considering she was a virgin she was very curious about herself which I think is the reasoning why she never wanted to stop she wanted to keep venturing to see what she like to do and there’s nothing wrong with finding out what is good for you and what isn’t. Christian asked her every single detail of what was okay and what wasn’t and he never once crossed the line or tried to push her into doing something that he knew was a hard limit for her I have read all three books I have watch the movie the movie leaves a whole lot out that was in the book pertaying Christian worse than it really was. Christian had a control issue but he also cared in his own way and you never got to see that. They made him as overly controlling rather than the few times that you did see him starting to care or becoming somewhat confused about what he was doing In no way do I feel that this movie or book make me feel any different about myself or my sexual preferences then I did to begin with I don’t believe that this movie has any pull on how others view themselves and if it does then any movie or book would cause they are weak minded individuals. It may have started off as nothing more then a sexual relationship but as you get through the second and third books he starts realizing that what he was taught at such a young age was not the correct way to have any sort of a relationship and things start unwinding better between them and they actually start having a real relationship with partial S&M things and partial just regular old sex but there’s feeling and emotion to it and that’s all that is really needed to have a good foundational sexual relationship. Not to mention he’s always asked her throughout every book to be honest with him about everything which also important in a relationship.

  • Laurence Mar 9, 2015 at 7:13 am

    I completely agree with you. “50 Shades” was a badly written book that glorified and romanticised a very unhealthy and harmful relationship. Christian Grey should not be our idea of the ideal partner: he manipulates, stalks, does not allow his partner to be herself but would rather control her and turn her into what he wants, disregarding her as a person. I am grateful I am balanced enough not to dream about these types of men!

    • Iva   Laurence Mar 10, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Yop Laurence you are right 101% and also this book was written by real story and the story is that Christian was married abuser and on the end Ana had to move to different city to stay save from that man


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