How Trauma Changes our Sexuality – Fifty Shades of Grey

I am sitting in my bed, feeling extremely uncomfortable. I have just finished reading Fifty Shades of Grey (#1 of the series) and the book has impacted me more than I thought was possible. I know that the book is no shining example of a literary writing; the characterisation is weak, and the language a bit trashy so why am I sitting here in a trance…

I don’t understand. I know that I need to investigate further. I download the book #2 and #3 of the trilogy. I finish reading them in the next day and I am still in a trance. I download the movie and I watch it and the trance continues…

It feels like the movie & the books have pulled me into a whirlwind and I have lost complete control. I cry. I suddenly feel so alone. There is no one to hug. There is no one who I can share my trauma with and let them see the dysfunction that it has created in my life. Why does Grey get to be loved even though he is so messed up?

I am starting to see what has grabbed me in the Fifty Shades of Grey books and the movie. Grey was physically abused and sexually abused in his early years. He was used by adults as an object of their anger and as an object of their sexual desires. Now, the only way he feels “safe” is when he has control.

I see similarities in his identification with control and how I seek control in my relationships and in my life. But I also see that Anastacia accepts him as who he is. She struggles with his need for control; she struggles with his need for owning her but she loves him anyway… and it is through her love that he starts to heal…

Where is my lover? I think to myself. Why do I have to do everything alone? I want to live vicariously through Grey. I am obsessed…

For the next 2 months, I give in to my addiction with Fifty Shades of Grey. I watch the movie (#1 of the series) every day and sometimes twice a day. And when I am not watching the movie, I read the Fifty Shades of Grey books. In the text, I find glimpses of myself. I see him changing and healing and part of me heals too…

In one of the books (I have read them so many times that I have lost track of what text is in what book), whenever Anastacia wakes up, she finds herself wrapped by him. He chases her during his sleep and when she is not there, his nightmares keep him awake… I do the same. I don’t know how E. L. James knows this about trauma but somehow she has described it well for me… For the first time, I can see that my “fucked up ness” is not so fucked up after all. That my trauma is real and the impact is real and no matter how much I try to hide inside a shell – the shadows lurk in the dark – sometimes during my sleep and sometimes in the subtlest of my behaviors.

I have spoken to many people about the movie and the books. So far, I haven’t found anyone who has shared my views of the book. Most people dismiss the movie and the book as a sexually deviant creation and don’t want to see any more into it.

But there have been so many of us that have been impacted by the trauma. There are so many of us who struggle with control and who don’t feel safe when there is no control. I have described it here: Do you have an Inherent Need for Control?

The movie is just a depiction of what happens in real life. Sure, there are Hollywood effects that the movie has; there is a fairy tale aspect of the movie but, to be honest, I don’t like Anastacia’s character. I like his darkness because I share the same darkness.

For me, the story is crucial in understanding how trauma impacts us and how real it is and how much love and understanding we need to be able to heal. In fact, I believe that it would be very hard to heal without a partner who loves us despite the trauma and who accepts us as we are…

Here is a scene from the book:

He’s come back. Mommy’s asleep or she’s sick again.

I hide and curl up small under the table in the kitchen. Through my fingers I can see Mommy. She is asleep on the couch. Her hand is on the sticky green rug, and he’s wearing his big boots with the shiny buckle and standing over Mommy shouting.

He hits Mommy with a belt. Get up! Get up! You are one fucked-up bitch. You are one fucked-up bitch. You are one fucked-up bitch. You are one fucked-up bitch. You are one fucked-up bitch. You are one fucked-up bitch.

Mommy makes a sobbing noise. Stop. Please stop. Mommy doesn’t scream. Mommy curls up small.

I have my fingers in my ears, and I close my eyes. The sound stops.

He turns and I can see his boots as he stomps into the kitchen. He still has the belt. He is trying to find me.

He stoops down and grins. He smells nasty. Of cigarettes and drink. There you are, you little shit.

Every time Grey wants to control Anastacia, I see similar instances in our daily lives. The only difference is that it happens without the Holywood Effect. We want to establish control and when we can’t, we freeze or leave our bodies in order to cope with the situation. My blog For Survivors, it All starts from Never Feeling Safe… Here is how explains it well.

Christian Grey keeps on using women as an outlet for his anger, his suppression and his need for control and then, Anastacia comes along. She challenges him and forces him to look deeper within and finally confront his demons. She holds him through his trauma. She walks with him in his darkness and keeps loving him anyway.

Fifty Shades of Grey is a reminder that unless we acknowledge our darkness within us, we can’t see the light.

The only way to the end of the tunnel is through the tunnel.