By Tom Bartley
A couple Friday nights ago Staci and I stepped into the highly charged waters surrounding the new movie Fifty Shades of Grey. We arrived early in time to purchase Staci’s large popcorn and Coke (a movie only tradition in our house). To our surprise, the audience at our showing appeared young, and with a noticeable amount of what seemed to be nervous energy and laughter before the movie started.
I have not read the book the movie is based on, nor do I profess to be a go-to person regarding the movie or book. This movie seems to have stirred a significant amount of conversation and emotion, and my sense is due to its sexual nature and message.
As I left the movie, I was surprised about all the intense media and social network conversation associated with Fifty Shades of Grey. My movie experience was a confirmation and knowing of two of the most important tenants of love and relationship from my vantage point and experience.
- Love is the largest experience in life as a human being.
- Love has a need to be physically expressed.
I have always found it most beneficial for myself to look within rather to judge a situation, especially when it’s centered around a subject where there are so many varied opinions. I’m confident the topics of love, sex, and intimacy definitely evoke many varying opinions, feelings, and experiences. And the amount of intense conversation seems to confirm my thesis.
Christian and Anastasia, the two main characters in the movie, come from very different backgrounds and life experiences. Anastasia meets Christian unexpectedly, as Anastasia steps in for her sick college roommate and interviews Christian, a very wealthy and successful businessman.
I’m confident most of us would be excited with the many first experiences a wealthy partner may offer us when starting a relationship. I myself have been blessed to take two helicopter rides in my life and they both were fabulous. The movie progresses, like things also do in real life when two people continue in a relationship, more of their entire and whole person emerges.
Our needs, wants, and preferences being revealed and exposed to our partner is a very vital and important part of the chemistry for sex and intimacy. The finest definition I have ever heard for intimacy is “into me you see.” While partaking in intimacy, you are hopefully allowing your partner a window and deep view into the depths of your total being.
As the movie progressed, it became clear for me that Anastasia and Christian were seeking very different experiences and connection, certainly at the sexual and intimate level. I feel it’s important to remind ourselves the importance of clarity. Regardless of what the initial outer picture may suggest, we need to ask what have we clearly defined for ourselves? Aligning with a partner where there is mutual agreement in these very crucial areas of a relationship is very important.
There are no shortcuts to this process, no matter how hard we have all tried to seek first the partner with a beautiful car, an incredible home, successful career, or model looks and appearances. These attributes may or may not align with your non-negotiable relationship needs and wants. A much more important question and conversation for all of us is truly what shade of grey are we?