In Defence of Mommy Porn aka 50 Shades of Grey – SPOILERS

ATTENTION: Here there be SPOILERS!!!

In my journeys around the net to see reader and industry reaction to 50 Shades, as someone who has aspirations to get my own novels published, I came across a whole lotta negativity towards the books. Go to Amazon.com and read the reviews — they range from “Best books I’ve read in a long time!” to “Worst piece of trash ever written”. I mean, the reaction was so polarized – people either hated or loved it. At every website I went where 50 Shades was reviewed there were detractors and supporters.

What bothered me was putting 50 Shades down because it was ‘Mommy Porn’.

Here’s my thesis: (remember, I’m an analyst by education and profession)

Mommy porn, far from being something to scorn, is damn good porn and good healthy adult entertainment.

While 50 Shades of Grey isn’t going to be up for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction any time soon, it was never intended to be. It is pure entertainment, fantasy, and pure fun. Just because I read it and loved it, doesn’t mean I am less of a woman or person or that I have bad taste or can’t recognize good literature. I’m an overly-well educated professional woman. I’ve read the classics and Booker Prize, Pulitzer Prize and other prize winners, I’ve read Vic Lit, Modern Lit, You Name It Lit. So I do know what really good literature is. I love great literature.

But here’s something I’ve learned: us Mommies need our porn, too.

50 Shades of Grey is our porn. We deserve it.

We work hard holding up half the sky. We work in paid jobs and have demanding careers. We raise children, clean dirty toilets, balance check books, and try to manage the best we can in the economic downturn.

We toil. We labor. We fight not to lose our youthful glow from the stress and strain of our lives – having babies, being too busy to take care of ourselves as we should. We live entirely mundane lives. And yanno, we’re generally ok with it. We have our husbands or partners, we have our children, we have our work and our lives and friends.We may not be as beautiful as the protagonists of 50 Shades of Grey and we don’t have psychotic ex-bosses out to kill us – if we’re lucky. But we love sex and we love romance and we love love.

One thing we Mommies miss is the good stuff we had in the early days of our relationships — you know, when we were so hot for our lovers that it kept us up all night, made us lose our appetite, lose weight, and exist in an almost constant state of arousal at the prospect of being with our new guy. We wanted to fuck like bunnies.

We may not be that young woman, we may not be Ana, but we still want romance. We still want heat and lust and desire. And while we love our dear husbands and partners, after years of being together, changing diapers, cleaning toilets, paying bills, it’s hard to rekindle that early lust. That sense of almost being choked by desire. Yes, it’s usually replaced by a deeper love and eroticism, but truth be told, it’s hard to keep up the passion and romance, despite your love for your spouse.

50 Shades of Grey remind us Mommies what it felt like way back when to be infatuated with a new lover, to explore a new body, and have someone explore yours. It gives us all those wonderful brain hormones that are a natural high. It reminded us of what it was like to fall in love with someone, and then have it develop into something more, so that the breathless early days gave way to deeper love and even better sex.

At least 50 Shades did that for this mother. 🙂  But it did more than just remind me of my own love affairs before I settled down and got married.

The thing I liked about the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy — besides the sex — was that it wasn’t just sex although there was lots of it and it was great. It really did explore what went into making one man what he was — a sadistic over-achiever who needed to exert total control over his life in order to overcome a deep deep trauma as a child. That story really spoke to me — it is a story of redemption and self discovery. It is a great character arc.

50 Shades also explored the sexual awakening of a young woman who was repressed for years and never really knew her own desires. A young woman, who through her relationship with her man, was able to develop and exert her own will. It was a story of her agency — her ability to act in her own interest and retain her sense of self in the face of an overwhelmingly controlling man.

It was about the love that developed between these two, starting out with a simple physical attraction and developing into genuine affection and caring to actual love. Love that would make you put the other’s well-being first, even if it meant you had to sacrifice something you thought you needed.

It also explored how the trappings of wealth and power were nothing in comparison to the happiness two people felt because of their human to human relationship. Money didn’t buy happiness for Christian Grey. Money and power didn’t matter to Ana, and so Christian had to find some other way to win her. It was his human side and his heart (OK his smoking hot body and looks and lusty ways didn’t hurt his case) that won her over — not his money.

Another thing I suspect that appealed to many women was the whole Ana losing her virginity to someone who knew what the fuck he was doing and did it oh so well. Ana has the dream experience when losing her virginity. I’m sure there are many many women out there who had either a bad experience or a less-than pleasurable one and would love a do-over if they could go back to their young self with what they know now.

I came to 50 Shades only a couple of weeks ago and read one book after the other, during coffee breaks, lunch breaks and every break I could find or make for myself. It was compulsive reading, not only to get from one hot sex scene to the other, but also to find out just what the heck would happen next between Christian and Ana, whether she’d bail once she discovered the depths of his depravity, whether she’d become his submissive for real, or whether he’d succumb to her charms and find a way to love himself and through that, experience real love for the first time.

It really was heartwarming.

It was an entirely titillating and enjoyable ride. Thanks E. L. James for revving up millions of women’s libidos.

So, I want to celebrate Mommy Porn. At least with mommy porn, we have story, we have character development, we have human intrigue, we have plot twists. Yeah, sure, it’s unrealistic for most of us normal folk but it’s a helluva lot more substantial than most porn that exists out there.

So, as a current Mommy, I say three cheers for Mommy Porn!

And here’s one more plug for Ian Somerhalder as Christian Grey:

Look at that face. Look at those eyes. Tell me he isn’t perfect for our 50 Shades of Fucked Up?

So, what do you think about the whole put down of 50 Shades based on it being “Mommy Porn”?

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2 thoughts on “In Defence of Mommy Porn aka 50 Shades of Grey – SPOILERS

  1. Fair enough it is about sex and all that but why just categorize it for women? I remember my friend when she mentioned this book I was like what is it? She said you won’t like it because its for women. I was like why? And she said because its written by a woman.

    By the way I agree with everything you said. The term ‘mommy porn’ kinda puts me off and it leads me to the train of thought that it is categorized for women. I mean the trilogy is famous and everyones reading it.

    • I would love men to enjoy the novel. Statistically speaking (sorry — the analyst in me rears her statistical head) I expect that the majority of readers are women, but I think men could find something to enjoy in it as well. I think men should read it — they’d discover what titillates many millions of us. It might make it better in the bedroom for them as well to have a clearer understanding of what’s going on in women’s psyches and libidos.

      So yeah — men should read 50 Shades if only to better understand what women want. Isn’t that Freud’s question? I think E. L. James provides part of the answer — we want heat, and lust and desire and romance and love. All wrapped up into one.

      🙂

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