COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Christian Examiner) – In direct contrast to "Fifty Shades of Grey," set to open Valentine's weekend, two evangelical Christian women have written a guide to intimacy that addresses women's longings and honors God.
Dr. Juli Slattery, 45, from Colorado Springs, and Dannah Gresh from State College, Pennsylvania, wrote Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy and the Longings of a Woman's Heart after realizing members of their evangelical communities were reading the Fifty Shades trilogy, according to Marissa Charles for the Daily Mail.
"Mrs. Gresh, a sexuality educator who refuses to read the novels, says she was horrified to learn that 'praying grandmas' and 'pastors' wives' were reading about bondage and [other] sexual adventures," Charles wrote
"The Fifty Shades phenomenon has done for women what internet porn did for men: fuel its use and normalize it," said Slattery, a psychologist. "It's time to add the Bible's view on sex and intimacy, and the spiritual road into meeting a woman's deepest human needs and wants."
Women have five core longings in relation to men, the authors determined: to be cherished by a man, to be protected by a strong man, to rescue a man, to be sexually alive, and to escape reality.
"God designed women with these longings and has a plan to satisfy them," Slattery said. "It's time for women to identify their intimate longings and God-honoring ways of fulfilling them."
So sure are they of the superior quality of Pulling Back the Shades that they made an offer two weeks ago on Amazon.com to trade without cost copies of the Fifty Shades books for their book, which was first released by Moody Press in March 2014.
As of Wednesday, 350 people had taken them up on their offer, which is good through this Saturday, Valentine's Day.
"Pulling Back the Shades will address your desire to be both sexual and spiritual," according to Amazon.com. "Christian women don't have to choose between being sexual and spiritual. They have legitimate longings that the Church has been afraid to talk about, and that books like Fifty Shades of Grey exploit. Whether you are single or married, sexually dead or just looking to revive your sex life, Pulling Back the Shades will address your desire to be both sexual AND spiritual."
Erotic novels are like pornography in that they "teach you to respond sexually to someone other than your partner," Slattery said. "So just like a woman might say it's not fair for my husband to compare me to some super airbrushed model he sees in pornographic literature, I would say the same is true when it comes to this sort of erotic fantasy.
"It creates in your mind an appetite for something that's not real," Slattery continued. "It makes you less satisfied with the partner you have, and the good things you have within your relationship."
In contrast, excerpts from the beginning of Pulling Back the Shades show the book creates an appetite for something that is real, making the reader more satisfied with what she has.
"Erotica strategically and masterfully pulls you in by exploiting what your heart secretly longs for. ... Erotica promises to take you out of your boring world and inject some adventure, even if it's only in your mind. For a brief time, you an feel alive imagining what it would be like to fall madly in love with a gorgeous man, to be so beautiful that heads always turn your way, to ride on a private jet to an ocean getaway, or to have mind-blowing orgasms at will. ...
"Your longing is legitimate. We just believe there are ways to what you are looking for without compromising God's standards."
Pulling Back the Shades is a #1 Best Seller in Gender and Religious Studies on Amazon.com.