“50 Shades of Grey” books are still selling and the movie is still being seen. We did some research about the its popularity: The book trilogy has sold over 70 million copies, it has been through 67 printings, and it will be translated into over 50 languages. The movie brought in $250 million in worldwide ticket sales the first weekend it was shown, and over 100 million people viewed the movie trailer. The great majority of viewers are women. Many of the others are boyfriends and husbands who were most likely dragged into the theater by their girlfriends and wives.

With a franchise this popular, how can it be harmful to our culture?

It can be plenty harmful! Women have struggled for so long to achieve equality. Their right to vote was only granted in1920. The struggle goes on for equal pay and equal access to higher jobs. And the struggle goes on for woman to be accepted as equal partners in so many ways.

Now we have three books and a film which include frequent, explicit sex portraying a man emotionally and physically dominating a woman with whips and ropes. The female protagonist becomes the stereotypical woman from the past — passive, dependent and willing to offer whatever sex the male protagonist desires, while he is aggressive, hostile, and lacking warmth and intimacy.

How harmful can this be? Plenty harmful to both genders! With the enormous audience reading about and watching these messages which are blasted into the emotional part of their brains, it is inevitable that this outlandish behavior will become acceptable to many.

Some people, both men and women, will undoubtedly decide to emulate this behavior, potentially damaging their lives. Others will begin to view sensual and sexual relations as less caring, less meaningful and more separate from the whole love relationship experience. We cannot prevent people from reading the book or watching the film – both of which, incidentally, have had poor reviews. What we can do is encourage more loving behaviors.

Love requires sensuality, in and out of bed. Love requires respect, acceptance, mutual appreciation of each other’s personality and character. Love requires understanding how your partner thinks and feels. Abusive sexual experiences is not what love is about.