Mommy Porn

When the 50 Shades of Grey trailer was released last week the controversy started again. Is it porn? Is it porn specifically for women? Is it (lets go for the worst thing possible here) mommy porn? (cue the doomsday, horror movie sound track)

50 Shades 50 years ago

Personally, I would say it is not porn. I would call it a romance novel with an erotic element, and compared to other erotic romance novels, its kind of tame. If you took out all the sex scenes you would still have a story, specifically a romance about a girl and a guy who change in order to become a couple. (Pretty standard romance stuff).

So why the mommy porn moniker? Media hype. The phrase manages to combine two elements that our society believes should be diametrically opposed. Based in the antiquated madonna/whore idea is the belief that any woman who has given birth simultaneously erased all hints of her sexuality. Unfortunately women have believed this myth, bought into it, then shut down the sexual part of themselves. (Which was equally unfortunate for the men they were married to.) Fear of bucking the social norm still keeps so many women from admitting that they have any interest in anything sexual.

Would it really be such a bad thing if a married woman with a few kids managed to turn off the incessant stream of grocery lists and school agendas running through her head and instead remembered that sex can be exciting and fun? I argue that sexy novels do more good for marriage than harm. 

I saw an old man attempting to thumb through a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey at Costco once. He was so nervous and immediately stopped and walked away when he saw his wife approaching. I wanted to tell him to buy the book plus a nice bottle of wine and something that didn’t need to be cooked for dinner. Then go home climb into bed and read it to his wife. Something tells me that, love the story or hate it, they would have had some fun, exciting and interesting conversations (and probably much more) that night. Opportunity missed. 

One of the arguments against erotic romance books (especially this one) is that it has women fantasizing about someone either than their husband. I can see where that could be a problem … if Christian Grey was real and living in your neighborhood. But he’s not. He is pure make-believe and guaranteed to never show up and lead someone astray. Even the real-life movie version, Irish actor and underwear model Jamie Dornan, is highly unlikely to be out trolling your neck of the woods looking for a middle-age woman driving a minivan full of kids.

Actually, romance novels can bring discord to a marriage. Women who read about men who work at staying in shape, know how to dress and have a working knowledge of female sexual anatomy and desires, often do start wanting some of that in their own lives. But being the eternal optimists we are (and really loving souls) we more often than not

try to get more of what we want from within our marriages. 

I’m not sure how many couples will go see the movie on Valentines day (the release date). Through the books and movie and others like it, women are just starting to acknowledge that they are still whole people, still sexual beings and we quite often like to take those baby steps in the safety of a group of our peers. Like the man at Costco, there is a risk (oddly enough) in admitting our desires to our spouse. But the benefits … 

I’m not specifically recommending these books, but I am recommending more romance reading (which works out well since I am a romance writer.) There are so many sub-genres within romance: historical, western, vampire, etc. I guarantee there will be one that will curl your toes and make you go “squeee”; that will wake up (or possibly start) all those wonderful dirty thoughts that will have you packing the kids off to bond with grandma so you can “review the finer plot points” with your spouse.  




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