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The Polluted Waters of 50 Shades of Grey, Etc.

a guest Jul 20th, 2012 180 Never
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  3. Jared C. Wilson|9:00 am CT
  4. The Polluted Waters of 50 Shades of Grey, Etc.
  6. [TRIGGER WARNING]: The content of this post (and resulting comments) contains language and imagery that may be sensitive or harmful to victims of sexual abuse or rape.
  8. Edit: This post has received a lot of attention. From a lot of people. I hope they will also read this follow-up, in which I attempt to clarify that neither I nor Douglas Wilson as I understand him are advocating any sort of violence, abuse, or manipulation of women. The charge is heavy and the thought is unconscionable. But it appears necessary to clarify, and so I have.
  10. This passage from Douglas Wilson’s book Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-Woman Man was written 13 years ago, but I found it especially relevant in the wake of the success of 50 Shades of Grey and other modern celebrations of perverted sexual authority/submission. It is found in the chapter in the book on Rape, and Wilson argues that this sort of sexual pathology is a perverted version of good, God-honoring, and body-protecting authority and submission between husbands and wives.
  12.     A final aspect of rape that should be briefly mentioned is perhaps closer to home. Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence.
  14.     When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.
  16.     But we cannot make gravity disappear just because we dislike it, and in the same way we find that our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual “bondage and submission games,” along with very common rape fantasies. Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the “soon to be made willing” heroine. Those who deny they have any need for water at all will soon find themselves lusting after polluted water, but water nonetheless.
  18.     True authority and true submission are therefore an erotic necessity. When authority is honored according to the word of God it serves and protects — and gives enormous pleasure. When it is denied, the result is not “no authority,” but an authority which devours.
  20.     – Douglas Wilson, Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-Woman Man (Moscow, Idaho: Canon Press, 1999), 86-87.
  22. Update: Please read the follow-up to this post.
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