Sex: Is it 50 Shades of Great?


By Jami and Marla Keller

The buzz around the book, and now the movie “50 Shades of Grey,” has fascinated us. It is wildly popular among women, and we have to admit, this was really surprising. As we have learned more, we get it. Not because we agree with the premise of the story, but because we understand that it is filling an unmet need, but not in a healthy way. 

Just like ice cream provides nutrition to the body (uuuhmmmm, it doesn’t), adrenaline is not the best food for your sexuality. It has been proven that the consequences for even reading about BDSM ties these three centers of the brain together, and in fact, it intertwines them: Sexual Arousal, Aggression, and Fear/Anxiety.  These are usually three completely separate centers of the brain, and were never meant to become “one.”

When intermingled, these three important centers of the brain create damaging behaviors that range from “kinky” to extremely dangerous physically and emotionally. What does this mean? Very basically, it means that to become sexually aroused you need more and more fear, anxiety and aggression. Does this sound like a good platform for a healthy relationship???

Okay, so we were originally surprised because 50 Shades of Grey is obviously a dysfunctional relationship, idealized for fantasy. After watching the movie (much to our discomfort), it made more sense. This is the stereotypical desire of a woman to “rescue” the rich and abused man and teach him how to love. Kinda like Harry Potter; everyone wants to have a special ability, some kind of power that allows them to save the day and live happily ever after.
We are going to restate this very important fact here, now, so that our words aren’t confused or misconstrued: the difficulty of having the centers of the brain that are not usually connected for healthy sexual practice (besides the obvious strangeness of having fear become a turn on) is that more and more “stimulus” is needed to, well, get off. Complicating the issue is, once these centers are tied together, it takes much more conscious effort to “untie” them. This is because the adrenaline actually acts like the cement on the freeway of the neurosynapsis and creates a habit. Once habits are formed, think ice cream again, they can be very difficult to change. The good news is that this is fixable. 

We are not saying that reading or watching 50 Shades is going to turn you into a freak. We are just pointing out that there is a much better sexuality to be had, one that values yourself and your partner. This better way is to produce oxytocin between you and your partner instead of adrenaline. This requires a conscious effort to learn the skills that allows for true vulnerability and connection. We have been teaching these tools to couples for twenty years, and we have seen them overcome the damage of violent rape, affairs, and long-term abuse.  And they get to begin to live into a bigger story and better party. Fully satisfying and connected sexuality is the better party we talk about.  There is so much more to life and love than just the sex, and it starts by allowing some of the old dreams (or nightmares) to break, and for a bigger story for your life than the one prescribed in a money-making book series/movie. The better party is one where you take the time to discover what you really want (what you really, really want) and to learn how to ask for it in a safe and healthy way; a judgment-free way. At we are dedicated to helping people discover this bigger, better place to live. When you’re ready to begin this better journey, let us know. 

What are you willing to do to have a connected, intimate, healthy, joy-filled relationship?

PictureJami and Marla Keller, Co-Founders of Passion Provokers

Jami graduated from LLU in 1990 with a degree in Occupational Therapy. In 1995, Jami and Marla became Relationship Coaches and Facilitators for Life Skills International, and Jami and Marla began their part-time Relationship Coaching business that has turned into a full-time career. In 2001, Marla finished her BA degree in Family Counseling. To continue their journey into deeper healing and knowledge, in 2009 they became Executive Coach Certified through Invite Professional Coach Training, and in 2011 founded Passion Provokers.