Red heart on pile of iron grey nails, pierced by a nails

{ Many of you have asked that I provide my letter to young people as a PDF. Download A Letter to Young People About Fifty Shades of Grey here. }

There’s nothing grey about Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s all black.

Let me explain.

I help people who are broken inside. Unlike doctors who use x-rays or blood tests to determine why someone’s in pain, the wounds I’m interested in are hidden. I ask questions, and listen carefully to the answers. That’s how I discover why the person in front of me is “bleeding”.

Years of careful listening have taught me a lot. One thing I’ve learned is that young people are utterly confused about love – finding it and keeping it. They make poor choices, and end up in lots of pain.

I don’t want you to suffer like the people I see in my office, so I’m warning you about a new movie called Fifty Shades of Grey. Even if you don’t see the film, its message is seeping into our culture, and could plant some dangerous ideas in your head. Be prepared.

Fifty Shades of Grey is being released for Valentine’s Day, so you’ll think it’s a romance. Don’t fall for it. The movie is actually about a sick, dangerous relationship filled with physical and emotional abuse. It seems glamorous, because the actors are gorgeous, they have expensive cars and private planes, and Beyonce is singing. You might conclude that Christian and Ana are cool, and that even though their relationship is different, it’s acceptable.

Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated by a Hollywood studio. The people there just want your money; they have no concern whatsoever about you and your dreams.

Abuse is not glamorous or cool.  It is never OK, under any circumstances.

This is what you need to know about Fifty Shades of Grey: as a child, Christian Grey was terribly neglected. He is confused about love because he never experienced the real thing. In his mind, love is tangled up with bad feelings like pain and embarrassment.  Christian has pleasure from controlling and  hurting women in bizarre ways. Anastasia is an immature girl who falls for Christian’s looks and wealth, and foolishly goes along with his desires.

In the real world, this story would end badly, with Christian in jail,  and Ana in a shelter – or morgue. Or maybe Christian would continue beating Ana, and she’d stay and suffer. Either way, their lives would most definitely not be a fairy tale. Trust me on this one.

As a doctor, I’m urging you: do NOT see Fifty Shades of Grey. Get informed, learn the facts, and explain to your friends why they shouldn’t see it either.

Here are a few of the dangerous ideas promoted by Fifty Shades of Grey:

  1. Girls want guys like Christian who order them around and get rough.
  2. No! A psychologically healthy woman avoids pain. She wants to feel safe, respected and cared for by a man she can trust. She dreams about       wedding gowns, not handcuffs.

  3. Guys want a girl like Anastasia who is meek and insecure.
  4. Wrong. A psychologically healthy man wants a woman who can stand up for herself.  If he is out of line, he wants her to set him straight.

  5. Anastasia exercises free choice when she consents to being hurt, so no one can judge her decision.
  6. Flawed logic. Sure, Anastasia had free choice – and she chose poorly. A self-destructive decision is a bad decision.

  7. Anastasia makes choices about Christian in a thoughtful and detached manner.
  8. I doubt that. Christian constantly supplies Anastasia with alcohol, impairing her judgement.  Also, Anastasia becomes sexually active with Christian – her first experience ever – soon after meeting him. Neuroscience suggests their intimacy could jump start her feelings of attachment and trust, before she’s certain he deserved them.  Sex is a powerful, intense experience – particularly the first time. Finally, Christian manipulates Anastasia into signing a legal agreement prohibiting her from telling anyone that he is a long time abuser.

    Alcohol, sex, manipulation – hardly the ingredients of a thoughtful, detached decision.

  9.   Christian’s emotional problems are cured by Anastasia’s love.
  10. Only in a movie. In the real world, Christian wouldn’t change to any significant degree. If Anastasia was fulfilled by helping emotionally disturbed people, she should have become a psychiatrist or social worker.

  11. It’s good to experiment with sexuality.
  12. Maybe… for adults in a long term, healthy, committed, monogomous relationship, AKA “marriage”.  Otherwise, you’re at high risk for STDs, pregnancy, and sexual assault. It’s wise to be very careful who you allow to get close to you, physically and emotionally, because just one encounter can throw you off track and change your life forever.

Bottom line: the power of Fifty Shades of Grey lies in its ability to plant seeds of doubt. There are vast differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships, but the movie blurs those differences, so you begin to wonder: what’s healthy in a relationship? What’s sick? There are so many shades of grey…I’m not sure.

Listen, it’s your safety and future we’re talking about here. There’s no room for doubt; an intimate relationship that includes violence, consensual or not, is unacceptable.

This is black and white. There are no shades of grey here. Not even one.

 


For information about booking me to speak at your event, please see my speaking page.

 

250 comments

  1. Christine Donavan - reply

    Thank you for writing the truth. I am sharing this with everyone I know. Even if a person were to disagree (and I don’t), reading this enables a person to see it through a much clearer lens.

    I am cheering you on Dr. Grossman.

  2. Nicole - reply

    Thank you, Dr.Grossman – I’ll be sharing with my daughter.

    I think I’m better equipped now to handle Hollywood’s promotional “50 Shades” assault, seduction – or both – on my children. The problem I’m having, however, is I have friends who have devoured these books.

    I’m a 44 year old mother of two and I’ve been happily married for 15 years. I’m not a prude by any stretch but reading these three books has just never appealed to me. I have a master’s degree in publishing and not even an interest in the genre or the capability of the writer has drawn me in (which, sometimes when a book is really popular, I’ll check it out just to evaluate it from a publishing perspective).

    I have several friends who were obsessed with reading these books and bought the next one the minute they came out. They also are awaiting the movie with bated breath. One friend in particular (my next door neighbor) kept asking me if I had read it and was pestering me to read her copy – and I finally said “I really don’t have any interest.” It bothers me that someone who is a friend would find this type of book and movie entertaining. Of course the friends that I’m naming all have poor marriages with inattentive husbands so maybe there is something to that. I know that friends don’t have to embrace the same interests but this one issue has really bothered me since the books came out. I don’t know that I can be friends with someone who enjoys his type of entertainment and is so blatant about letting the world know it.

  3. Ann Marie - reply

    Wow! What a great way to expose the lies that Hollywood is trying to perpetuate. Parents need to get their heads out of the sand and begin to re- engage their young people in meaningful discussions about the TRUTH of human sexuality. Our young people have been growing up more confused than ever due to the “sex soaked” culture we live in. And to think that this movie being released on VALENTINE’s Day will sell itself as a romance. Our young people need to be told of their intrinsic value and how precious they are to God and their families. They must be taught that self-respect comes from within, and engaging in a relationship like that of Grey and Anastastia will surely NOT enhance that self-respect. Keep telling the truth, Dr. Grossman!

  4. Mariela frindt - reply

    Thank you for your comments. I am from chile South America. I read you book unprotected, it’s nice to find such a powerful and full of evidence book. I hope to have you down there one day to open the eyes to so many Mather that are not informed about what is happening here.
    Thank you so much for your help!
    Mariela Frindt

  5. A mom - reply

    Can you post ‘printable version” so we can give this more easily and maybe effectively to our kids. Thank you for doing this!

  6. lisa - reply

    Thank you for informing us about the true nature of this movie! It is not love!

  7. Mike Hutchings - reply

    thank you

  8. Donna Easters - reply

    Please send me the letter, so, I can help spread your important warning about this perverse movie.

  9. Alejandra Fabris - reply

    Thank you Dr. Grossman for your work!

  10. Sandy - reply

    Thank you Dr. Grossman for giving us the tools to talk to our adolescents.

  11. Sue - reply

    Haven’t seen the movie but I plan to. While I agree with all the psychiatrist says here absolutely about the behaviours in the movie I don’t believe should not show the good and the bad of life. Why else would there be war movies and horror. Where are the denunciations of those shoot-em-up films that are produced in abundance. If we only showed fairy tale like movies would we be showing young people the truth? Wouldn’t we be creating naive, idealistic people who certainly would fall for anything due to underexposure? Besides, I’m sure this movie has a rating which allows only mature audiences. Who goes out to carry out half the things we see in a movie? Or how many who would watch this wouldn’t be smart enough to surmise that an abusive relationship is not acceptable, sexy or something to seek??? Someone who already has intelligence challenges I presume and at that point it would be like carrying a child to that kind of movie. A responsible adult shouldn’t. But while we can’t police all children and teenagers see 24 hours a day we can grow them up confident and wise to make sure they view this as just a movie. A movie that perhaps teaches what kind of relationship not to want to get into but they would have learned what to look out for in terms of abusive behaviours and codependency. If we are worried about one movie what about the news? Talk shows that come on in the day? Do they teach young men and women about healthy relationships any better? Or about being emotionally and intellectually ready for intimacy? Do they teach them any better about how a healthy love relationship looks like and how we should love one another? Not really in my opinion.

    • Rach - reply

      I agree with you that we should explore what is good and what is wrong with this world and to explore what bad relationships are like to learn from them.
      But I do not agree with the parallel in your logic with war and horror movies with 50 shades. War movies and horror movies show all the atrocities within the movie in a bad light, so the audience understands that there’s something wrong with what is happening. However, 50 shades of Grey glorifies the atrocities and it places abuse as acceptable in the created world. As the psychiatrist said above in the article, there are loads of people who do not understand what a working relationship is, I would extend that to say that no-one knows what a real and working relationship is as everyone is flawed.
      People gain an understanding of relationships by observation of others. Hence why it’s harder for children to grow up with a single parent to understand a romantic relationship because they haven’t observed it from when they were young. People with those sorts of experiences haven’t observed a good relationship and then go onto interpreting romance as just a tool for sexual desires, rather than a desire to love and care for your partner sacrificially.
      This is why this movie is wrong. There are people who are confused of what a real loving relationship is about, and when they see this movie that glorifies abuse, they then think it is acceptable that these acts are alright in societies eyes.

    • Gem - reply

      Brava Sue

  12. Sandra Shill - reply

    I’m with you on everything up to #6. It is quite possible to have healthy sexual relationships outside of marriage. I’m concerned that, by including that last part the way it’s written (rather than just emphasizing the importance of having safe sex with people who are trustworthy), the very audience that needs to read and believe this “letter” the most, will discount all of it because they know that #6 isn’t necessarily true and represents the view of just certain age/religious/cultural demographics – a view that is very much in the minority in our society and has much less basis in scientific thought than the rest of your excellent article.

    • darren - reply

      Well said. There is a growing number of people who don’t feel the need to involve the government in their relationship(marriage) & aren’t religious. They can still have safe, meaningful relationships.

      And i agree that this one point could easily make younger readers doubt the whole message.

      • Frank - reply

        Sandra I disagree with you on this point, if you truly love your partner you will honor her/him by marriage commitment before you become one in intimacy (Sex). If you are having sex and still not marry that means that you are still having 2nd thoughts (NOT SURE YET) about staying with the person for the rest of your life, let’s be real if you want sex so much then honor your partner and don’t play with her/his feelings, don’t waste time get marry and live a normal life. Makes no sense to give yourself totally to a man/woman when there is no commitment (Not Marry), unfortunately that is what a lot of people are doing and calling it normal.

        It’s very simple “meet a person”, “get to know the person-build trust”, “get marry-be committed for life” and “become one in the love making experience”= (Live). Now that makes SENSE.!

        I have been Married for over 10 years and love my Wife now more then when I knew her at the beginning, I also know that by my 50th year of being married my love for her will also have grown 50 years as well. “Just for the record, I honored and respected my Wife before we got Married”.

        I agree with the Dr.Grossman on this article.

    • Ed Sinclair - reply

      Important point, well put, Sandra. I was thinking this as I read it too. (Also the conclusion: “There’s no room for doubt; an intimate relationship that includes violence, consensual or not, is unacceptable.”) The very people who maybe dabble a bit in the BDSM scene, and therefore know this statement to be not necessarily true, are the people who could most benefit from the otherwise good message in this letter. As it is, they’re likely to conclude that the author is coming from a particular moralistic/religious viewpoint that the reader at best has no connection to, and at worst deeply mistrusts.

  13. Jessica - reply

    This is a very biased view. While I am not standing up for Fifty Shades of Grey, as that particular relationship is abusive (it is NON CONSENSUAL and manipulative), I will stand up for BDSM. The acts of a BDSM relationship are safe, consensual and normal. They have a right to do whatever turns them on in the bedroom as long as both partners are completely consenting. It is healthy and builds trust if done correctly.
    Please do not impose your particular turn-ons as the only “correct” turn-ons. Some of us like being handcuffed. Some of us don’t like wedding dresses.

  14. Traci - reply

    This is what I have been thinking all along. The fact that these books are so popular is pretty disturbing – is this what women really want? I know I don’t.

  15. Billie - reply

    Thank you for calling this abuse out. It’s not a relationship to aspire to!

  16. Renee Cassese - reply

    I was thrilled to see this letter!! I wish more of this was disseminated when the book came out. As a former wife of an alcoholic I know that dysfunctional relationships are nothing about love. We are a culture that now accepts too many dysfunctional behaviors and we need to stop promoting this in movies and fiction. As a writer I was appalled when the book cam out and sent hundreds of otherwise normal women to the hardware store for clothesline. I am now in a functional and loving marriage and my husband doesn’t need to resort to abuse to get my love and attention. I hope that more teenagers, boys and girls, will read this and not be taken in by painful and abusive relationships that are advertised as love and romance.
    I’d love to see you go speak at high schools around the country and make a positive impact on the next generation. God help the children of parents who grow up thinking these behaviors are okay.

  17. Leigh Holt - reply

    I Disagree. I am an adult and realize that the book and movie are works of fiction, the same as any other movie. American Sniper did not make me want to go around shooting people from roof tops and Twilight didn’t make me want to drink blood. It’s not for everyone, granted, but there are those of us who can read/watch it and realize that it’s made up and go on with our normal lives from there.

  18. Dana Brown - reply

    This is probably the most truthful article about the book series. All who are fans of Fifty Shades of Grey should read this. You may look at the story in a different light. I already know the repercussions of falling in love with the story and trying to make it my own reality. You DO NOT end up with a Happy Ever After. You end up in a lot of mental and emotional pain that the book doesn’t describe. I’m only saying this because I’ve been Ana with my own personal Christian and I have mental scars that still aren’t completely healed. This book and movie are no Fairy Tale. Don’t fall into medias trap of glamorizing crap. I’m so thankful to the friends I had who supported and loved me through my dark period. I don’t wish this kind of naive foolish unhappiness on another individual ever. Please think real hard before you ever give yourself to another human being, because you never know their motives. And don’t rely on books and movies to dictate your Happy Ending. Thank you for the article. And yes I was a virgin. I’d never done anything sexually in my life when I seemed out this man after reading the books. I really thought I could change him as well and end up with the Fairy Tale like in the books. I was dead wrong. I’ve been in therapy for two years, and on anti depressants for a few months. It took a lot of prayer and love from friends to heal me a and show me that it wasn’t my fault. That I was a victim and he was a creep who tool advantage of my innocence. And honestly I’m not completely healed and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be. Because my heart still loves and aches for me him. And I’d probably do it again if I thought this time I could make him love me back.

  19. Melissa Spencer - reply

    this article is absurd and completely wrong, and it is apparent that this doctor writing the article never read the books…and is judging its material based on what exactly I do t know. But let’s get some things clear here from the beginning Christian fully gave Anna a choice to participate is a sexual relationship that was different than just boring sex…who doesn’t want that?! For their sexual relationship they set boundaries based on both of their comfort levels and only went beyond them when they felt comfortable. Another thing Christian never pumped Anna full of alcohol to take advantage of her. In fact the scene where she is in the bar and she drunk calls him he comes to help her and pull her supposedly good friend off of her when he was trying to force himself upon her, that very well could have been a rape situation. then to state that if this book took place in real life the “Christian grey” would end up in jail?! Ummm strangly enough people practice bondage every day and are not in jail because of it, to say this novel series if full of abuse is very ignorant, there is a difference between span king for pleasure and beating your spouse till they are almost dead…maybe instead of going on a witch hunt to write such negative reviews on something you should actually read the book and see the movie and rethink what you are putting into people’s heads. People need to realize that we are no longer in the 30’s, 40’s or 50’s and there is no need to be so prude!! People reading this article is not correct information, make your own decisions about the books or movie by reading them or seeing it yourself…don’t let someone who knows nothing about the story line falsely convince you. Think for yourselves!!

    • Bryanna Johnson - reply

      I completely agree with you I was thinking this the whole time I was reading this article I am glad someone here makes sense.

  20. MHB - reply

    Great, well thought out review and message! Thank you for writing it! I have shared it.

  21. Jose - reply

    A great piece of advice to young people of today who tend to be less rational and more physically unhibited. More to you doctor.

  22. Anonymous - reply

    A woman can be psychologically healthy and have atypical sexual interests. I’m all for the health and safety you point out, but don’t make women feel guilty and ashamed for WANTING to engage in these activities. I realize that sometimes it is a problem and that some women are putting themselves in danger. But don’t make healthy women who dream of “handcuffs” now and then feel like there is something wrong with them.

  23. Dani - reply

    I agree with a lot of what you’ve written but disagree with your conclusion that consentual use of pain during sexual intimacy is always a destructive behaviour and a bad decision. For instance, some degree of light pain included in sensation play with a trusted partner can heighten the pleasure due to increasing physiological arousal. This kick is similar to the thrill of a fairground ride or the slight hyperstimulation of a strobe light in a club. As examples, I’m referring to this such as spanking, nibbling or running your nails down a partner’s back. The degree of simulation that is enjoyable and exciting varies from person to person in the same way that different people may enjoy a different amount of chilli kick in spicy food.

    For people who have a history of trauma, having their consent violated and their and their personal freedom ignored by people they trusted, consentual BDSM play with a trusted and careful partner can function to help restore a person’s trust in people to gently push the boundaries of their comfort zone while respecting their choice to stop immediately before they become stressed. This is similar to gradual desensitisation therapy, where the phobia in question is the lowering of physical and psychological boundaries that is essential for normal intimacy between partners.

    Fifty Shades tramples all over these subtleties. You’re right: it romanticises abuse and is a dangerous fantasy for naive people to dabble with recklessly. But you are wrong that the issue of consentual kink is black and white. Our experiences of intimacy are not in shades of grey, nor in your black and white. They are a rich and colourful tapestry and it is okay to consider and explore kink so long as coercion is replaced by compassion and an open dialogue between partners.

  24. Chandra Dickson - reply

    I understand what you are saying and I don’t totally disagree, but by stating that girls should be dreaming of wedding dresses is rather sexist. Girls should be dreaming of becoming fully independent women one day and not dreaming of only a marriage.

    Also, marriage is not the only way to have a having sexual relationship. I an 40 and have no plans to get married, but that does not mean that I can not have healthy sexual relationships that are safe and fulfilling for myself and my partner.

    Don’t take girls back to the dark ages.

  25. Amy Pope - reply

    Could not finish the book as there was nothing real about it, a joke, please people don’t be sucked in, even the sex was dull!!!!

  26. Laix - reply

    This is sold as a romance that makes the woman author and the film makes hugely wealthy at the expense of male sexual abuse and violence against women and girls! Gratuitous male sexual violence, intimidation, manipulation , stalking and denigration of women’s rights to respect and dignity as well as personal safety and security.
    Yet millions of young women will flick to see it who have also read the books. What a terrifying enditement of how today’s young women lives are so empty and so false!

  27. R Biller - reply

    Thank you for sharing your professional thoughts. It is good to hear from someone who has obviously dealt with people who have been victims of some of these issues from this movie and books. I do pray that people will listen to your thoughts here and not go see this movie or read these books. It is dangerous to even let these thoughts into your mind.

  28. Jodie Nalder - reply

    Your approach to the understanding of BDSM is a disgrace. Yes, the 50 shades books are a terrible, unethical, abusive display of BDSM but not a single person in the BDSM community disputes that.
    We take a lot of pride and care in how we exercise our lifestyle, we support and care for each other, we run workshops on the correct methods of inflicting pain without injury. We do NOT abuse the gift of submission. As a medical professional who is clearly not kink aware and to purport to be a specialist in the understanding of it you are a disgrace. I sincerely hope that a genuine submissive or masochist never enters your practice because the advice you would give them would be detrimental to their safety and their mental health. Truly educate yourself before you give advice, we are a accepting community and most of us would love the opportunity to show you how wrong you are provided you can show up with a open mind.

  29. Millicent-Joy Maloto - reply

    It’s a book for goodness sake.
    Why aren’t you saying the same about serial killer books? Or Hannibal? What about TV Series such as Breaking Bad? Game of Thrones?
    Why?
    Because, it’s whole different genre that the Film Industry rarely ever gets to produce.
    It’s fiction, it’s not real. You’ve taken this book too seriously, but if you knew how the trilogy went, you’d know why the film ended the way it did and what it lead to in the end.
    Healing from the abusive stage; because, like you Doctor, regular people can heal others too, even without a degree.

  30. Kym - reply

    So incredibly and beautifully said. I applaud you for your honesty and integrity and telling the truth about what you see. You’re a trained observer of such behaviors and others, and you can clearly see how unhealthy this is. Amen to your statement, “there are no shades of Grey here, not even one!” there is no healthy relationship or encounter that uses violence to engage in sex. I once was with an older man that was easily my father’s age and he slapped me a few times during our encounter, and that was enough for me, I was done done done with that! Any man who raises his hands to a woman and it’s not to pray, needs to be avoided.

    Thanks for keeping it real and honest.
    Blessings

  31. Ce - reply

    Thank you.

  32. Melody Haskins - reply

    AND as well as all the above points, the book (don’t know about the movie) is shockingly BADLY written!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRR

  33. anonymous - reply

    So where does that leave the people who enjoy these sorts of fantasies about being dominated and controlled?

    All the women who enjoyed the book or even before the book had these thoughts. Are they all psychologically damaged?

  34. Evridiki Melachroinou - reply

    Dr. Grossman, while what you say in your letter is true, and actually everyone everywhere should know this there is something that just doesn’t sit well with me. You are talking about 50 shades of grey, I am guessing because of the popularity the books an the movie have gained ever since the publication. It’s recent. But 50 shades isn’t by far the only thing that can pass the wrong message. My point is, the books are fiction and the movie is just that, a movie.
    I believe that the only reason anyone would get the message that the relationship between Christian and Anna is something healthy and something to actually look for is because they are not educated properly. TV, the internet, Hollywood, they give shows that entertain, that are provocative in order to gaine money, earn a paycheck if you please. A child has to be educated properly from the begining in order to be able to tell the difference between what is real and what is for entertainment only, what is true and what is false, what is right and what is wrong. If the parents and schools don’t do that then your warnings, and anyone’s warnings are pointless. Don’t forget that we live in an era when there are shows like “16 and pregnant” on TV. What kind of message does this send?
    I have read the books and I have seen the movie. They are provocative, entertaining, hot. But I know the difference between a movie(fiction) and reality. The movie doens’t tell any girl to go and find a man that treats her like a slave. And frankly any girl who thinks like that is plain stupid. Women were forced into that place by men not so long ago when their only job was to get married, clean, cook and look after the kids. We weren’t able to work, to vote, to go out of the house even if it wasn’t for housework. Once upon a time women weren’t allowed to write books, be actresses or , in the medical department, be anythingother than a nurse or a midwife. If a girl ends up in a relationship where the man beats her, or treats her badly and doesn’t get out it’s not a movies fault. It’s so much more than that.
    I understand why you felt the need to write this letter. But since I have found only one for this particular book series and movie I will tell you this : you should write such a letter for every book, avery movie and every TV show that sends the wrong message to teenagers. Because now it looks like you are attacking 50 shades as a personal vendeta.
    I would really like to live in a world where people whould stop judging each other and instead start judging themselves. I guess that’s not happening any day soon though… Be the best you can be, help whomever you can. Don’t attack. It’s not polite.

  35. Kim - reply

    “A psychologically healthy woman avoids pain. She wants to feel safe, respected and cared for by a man she can trust. She dreams about wedding gowns, not handcuffs.”

    For one as a psychologically healthy women I do NOT dream of wedding gowns. As a psychologically healthy women, I DO enjoy bdsm. If you could please make the clear distinction that the book is nothing like the bdsm world that may be helpful. Sexual experimenting is healthy when done safely and not just “maybe if you are in a long term relationship.”

    If society would talk about sex more, teach sexual education and teach what a healthy relationship looks like, instead of this being taboo or religion speak then so many young people would not be “confused” about love.

  36. Marthi Scheepers - reply

    As a grandmother, who read all three of the books, I agree it will put our vulnerable youth, on the road of self destruction. Not even to think of the degree of living standards. As you say it’s a fairy tale completely set in Holywood style. In the real world boy or girl may realy set their goals upon. Wich will be acomplete misfortune without realisation. Dr I can only say thank you, as with your summary, I can truly say, I dò understand the plot.

  37. Missing the point - reply

    I completely disagree. Christian doesn’t “abuse” Ana. In fact, in reality the submissive in a dominant-submissive relationship actually has the upper hand. They are the ones that can put an end to what is going on with one word. He never actually hurts Ana in any way. You are missing the point of the story. It’s a love story with a “different” type of sexual relationship.

  38. Also a Mom - reply

    I feel like you are missing the point of this whole book/movie. It is not about abuse, it is about love. It is not for teenagers, but for women and men that are mature enough to understand the difference between right and wrong. Ana holds all of the power in this book. She can walk away at any time. You are correct in saying that it is not real life because it is a FICTIONAL story meant to entertain. I will teach my daughter to be a strong woman. Hopefully, she will be smart enough to see that some things in the media are not real life but for entertainment. We have to teach girls that they are powerful. I think we should take this book for what it is…a romance, and move on with our lives.

    And to the woman who can’t be friends with her neighbor. WHAT!?! You can’t be friends because she has a different opinion of this story? How can you judge her when you have not read the story yourself. You don’t understand all of what happened. Get past all the sex, and it was a romance. For the record, I too liked the story and have a very good marriage. My husband is very attentive and we enjoy each other’s company. I think people just need to settle down. IT’S JUST A FICTIONAL STORY!

  39. Linda Life - reply

    Dear Dr. Grossman, Thank you for putting into perspective and truth the words to explain, understand and share an honest, educated view of just what? the 50 Shades trilogy is all about.
    A friend of mine posted yesterday, your letter on facebook to get conversation going. I found your letter valid and credible and most of all, necessary to share. I copied, pasted, shared and continue to on every feed I follow on my facebook page, as this is the uttermost top trending story, possibly of all time thus far! You have put into words what I’d like to say. Not having An education as far as you, no doctrine, nor, for that matter a degree. I am grateful for your letter. Having this valuable tool to share has revealed some interesting and sadly disturbing observations. I’d like to elaborate.
    I have two daughters that are in their mid to upper 30s. They, along with their friends and women that have negatively responded on my feed, seeing nothing wrong with the 50 Shades books or movie. For the MOST part, these women all seem to be between the ages of 30-40 range. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not as educated as are you, or, for that matter, my daughters and their friends.
    Throughout your letter, which I’ve read a few times now; no where did I see you mention your own religious values. Yet, repeatedly those that proved they weren’t ingesting your words and refused to have any part of it, claimied you had no real knowledge of what the trilogy was even about. Stating you obviously DID NOT read the books, or, see the movie. MANY, also attacked me, as if I had written your letter. I wish! : )
    I have also observed and recognize, from other feeds and worldly issues I follow; a trend of similar people sharing extreme determination to sway and turn anyone they can to thinking and agreeing with their views, ideals and opinions. If you go against them, they begin by bullying you, harshly accusing you of being stupid, ignorant, other devaluing adjectives and finally, “so called Christians”. Being a Christian myself, I find it most difficult to bite my tongue and refuse to be drudged through the dirt, defending my values and conviction. Which sadly and largely is part of the rotting decay and hell bent destruction our world seems to be in. Unfortunately, this demographic seems to have unleashed some unworldly power over many. They are our sons and daughters. They are RAISING our grandchildren. It’s frightening! Very frightening. The very future of this country, of the world!
    One other thing I’d like to share. My youngest daughter and I see nothing the same. She and I are exact polar opposites. We disagree about everything! We argue about the Illuminati, something until 2012, I was unaware of. She is even the one that told me about them. The subject baited my curiosity and encouraged me to do my own research. After much research and educating myself with any available information, I come to my own conclusion. Once again, she and I do not agree. When visiting her one day, in the recent past. My grandson, now 14, but at the time still 13; came downstairs to tell me goodbye. For the past 3 years he has become extremely anti-social. He, by the way is, to look at him the most sweetly innocent and non threatening boy there is. He was the TOASTER STRUDEL boy for Halloween, for goodness sake! If he’s not in school, he literally lives online, via the xBox, playing war games. All of which are for 18 and older, R rated, parental guidance recommended. He came down the stairs wearing plastered in bold lettering across his chest ILLUMINATI. I was horrified! I made the mistake of saying something to my daughter about the shirt. She told me, I was ridiculous and that the Illuminati was not real. The only thing I can do now is pray and I will continue to pray. I feel it goes beyond my grandsons freely given lifestyle, my daughters (both) carefree, care less attitudes and over all the people I have demographically determined following the same beliefs and ideals, that it’s necessary to P.U.S.H.
    One final, overall observation: This group of people I’ve mentioned, from everything I’ve seen, heard and learned, at this very time in life, are more rebellious than any other generation before them. Their children, however, are not! They believe they are better parents and we, as their parents failed miserably and they are out to prove it. The grandchildren are given anything and everything they want. There are no boundaries, no limits and most of all, no regard for any damage that will unfold from this freedom and liberties afforded to all of them. I realize, not everyone is onboard with this behavior. But if it continues with the way things are, it is inevitable.
    Thank you for posting your letter and allowing everyone and anyone to share. I pray we are NOT in our final days. However, looking around here and everywhere I fear, sadly, that just isn’t so. Again thank you and God bless you!
    Respectfully yours, Linda Life

  40. yo - reply

    I would like to contest a few points from the article.

    Firstly, They all paint Christian to be the bad guy and conveniently assume that most guys if not all who are exposed to this movie will have inklings of desire to become like him. I contest this because 50 shades has existed in print for a long time and what shocks me is that men aren’t even interested in that book or what it offers. EL james sold 100 mil books. with a vast majority of it snapped up by women. The real problem is isn’t men becoming abusive as all these articles are trying to “prevent”. Instead what scares me is how so many women love and are a fan of this series. That means women themselves want to receive abuse even though men want to love them!

    Instead of concentrating on all the so called “negative” parts of the movie, why don’t we learn positive lessons from it? the article states that ” Christian Grey was terribly neglected. He is confused about love because he never experienced the real thing.” so we learn that family ties and love are important for raising children lest they become like christian.

    In fact as I was researching the phenomenon of 50 shades, I realized that in married couples, it was the wife who was approaching the husband to try out such “novel” ideas. of course much mutual trust and much discussion as to what the limits are have been set before anything is tried.

    The number one reason for divorce in the states was because the wife got bored of monogamy. I feel this novelty can add spice to the lives of couples and prevent the so called boredom of monogamy by the wife.

    Note that I do not condone any of this to be done out of wedlock.

  41. Martha Davidson - reply

    Thank you, Dr. Grossman for being courageous enough to critique this “trash” and call it what it is! I am a psychotherapist (Master’s-level professional counselor,) and I have tried to help so many grown women try to sort through the residue of past abuse. We certainly don’t need popular culture promoting domestic violence or distorting the true meaning of romantic love!

  42. Judy Brown - reply

    How can I send this by email and on facebook? I’d like as many young people to know about it as possible.

  43. Fay - reply

    I have to ask, have you even read any of the books, or about the lifestyle. If so you would know that half of your logic is flawed. You say she wants to feel safe by a man she trusts, well this lifestyle is all based on trust, each partner puts their trust in the other. Women can also be in the domineering position as shown by the Mrs Robinson character.
    You refer to the fact that anastacia is weak and is overpowered, yet at the end of the book, she says no and walks away.
    I think you should go back and re-examine what you have written and approach this from a non biased point of view, and read the whole series of the books and understand what is going on.

  44. Thank you - reply

    Thank u for taking the time to study this and help us all .

  45. jane - reply

    Thank you.

  46. Jun90 - reply

    hi :) I appreciate very much your views and many young and impressionable individuals would do well to heed your advice. But there’s also a reason why they call this stuff fiction. To assume that mature individuals will think that this movie is a realistic portrayal of a healthy, adult relationship is also flawed. In the same way that mature adults don’t take up a carreer on wizardry after watching Lord of the Rings or looking for a nanny as fantastic as Mary Poppins after watching Julie Andrews. There’s a reason why this movie is rated R precisely because its for discerning and prudent individuals whose concept of what is right or wrong is not easily swayed by whips and chains, no matter how glamorously it is portrayed.

  47. Beverly K. - reply

    Miriam, this article paints you as an extremist. The movie and books do tell the story of a disturbed man who wants to foster an abusive relationship with an insecure naive young woman. It may be a fantasy to think this relationship could grow into something positive, but that’s the point. It’s a fantasy. Fictional entertainment. Who wants to go to the movies to see reality? Stories such as these are intended to allow us to fantasize about unrealistic yet satisfying endings. There are a zillion other examples in the overly popular Harloquin Romance novels. Or Lifetime Network’s regular run of fictional tales that resemble real life, but always have a happy, feel-good ending. I find it extremely difficult to believe that young women are being swayed to make horrible life altering choices by something as benign as a fantasy flick…even one such as this.

    I believe your efforts to spare women the hardships resulting from bad and/or uninformed choices are just and noble. But your use of this movie to further that cause is off base.

    There are several reasons why this story resonates with so many readers/viewers. The least of which has anything to do with abuse or sex. I find it interesting that the people I know who refuse to see the movie are pre-judging it negatively based on some preconceived notion that it is nothing more than an abuse riddled porn flick. The reality of that notion is simply…fantasy.

    Sincerely,

    Beverly K.

  48. Judy - reply

    thank you for your comments .i never read the book .wasn’t my cup of tea. But was thinking of seeing the movie, but changed my mind.my daughter 25 yes old read part of the book didn’t like it .said grey is very strange not the kind of guy I’d date.

  49. Marta - reply

    “A psychologically healthy woman avoids pain. She wants to feel safe, respected and cared for by a man she can trust. She dreams about wedding gowns, not handcuffs.”

    How can you generalise about all women like that? Very dishonest of you.

  50. Michael Snell - reply

    i don’t think I saw the same movie you saw: perhaps you didn’t see the movie. Besides being wrong on some facts your analysis is flawed.
    I also work in the field of damaged people.
    My guess is that most of them will be turned off not on by this movie. It is not an erotic movie.
    No one needs to see this movie but what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their home should not be feared.

  51. Sarah - reply

    i am appalled at your clearly biased “analysis” of this book and disappointed that you try to use your position as a psychiatrist to push your Christian values as “science”. I completely agree with you that Christian and Ana’s relationship as portrayed in the book and movie is not healthy. However, I object to your analysis of what a healthy adult is and what a healthy relationship is. First of all, mature adults are fully capable of having a relationship that is monogamous, healthy, and STD free without being married. That you describe this type of relationship as “AKA marriage” exposes your underlying Christian bias despite the fact that mature adults can still committ to each other without the need for a ring. Second, although I do not (nor have ever) participated in a BDSM lifestyle, you, as a psychiatrist should know that this is a recognized community where HEALTHY people engage in activities that bring them pleasure. They talk about the activities ahead of time and make sure each person is comfortable with what is planned, establishing boundaries and safe words. It may seem like I am advocating for this book and Christisn and Ana…I most definitely am not…they do have a messed up relationship. I am just disappointed that you did not write a scientific, objective article as your profession should have taught you too.

  52. Nadine Cassandra - reply

    The movie is what it is
    ..a movie. Don’t assume that people are stupid. It is not showing anything that we haven’t seen in so many other shows on television. So it is like all of the others, for entertainment.

  53. Rachel - reply

    This “letter” is a perfect example of the puritanical values on which this country was founded. If you have taken the time to read these books you would know that Christian freely admits he has intimacy issues which,I might add, Anna helps him over come. Their sexual relationship evolves dramatically over the series from strict BDSM to a more intimate, supportive experience. But even at the first Christian struggles with bringing Anna into his world.
    The biggest problem young people have with love and sex today are that their role midels are on the silver screen. Their real life role models refuse to discuss the reality of love and all it’s complexity. Wake up people! Perhaps if you fought to keep your marriages together and actually talked to your children about their bodies and relatiinships you wouldn’t have to worry about them getting the “wrong idea” from a movie. It’s not rocket science just good parenting skills!

  54. Dwight - reply

    WOW! It’s really up building to hear a DR. Explained the dangers of such an abusive relationship. I have only been married once and I’m still with my wonderful,wife Jacqueline of 31 amazing years, I would never ever even contemplate hurting her, or abusing her in anyway. Her happiness is of my utmost concern. I cherish her. I just wish that so many of the young ones today could experience what I have had and experienced over my wonderful married years.

  55. kim - reply

    This is an excellent letter. Thank you for publishing it for all to read and pass on. I do want to make one point. I believe emotionally healthy adults can read these books and watch this movie without condoning this behavior, believing this is normal, or having fantasies along these lines. Just as slasher horror films don’t appeal to me, I don’t criticize other people who enjoy them. I have not read these books and don’t have a desire to see this movie and I agree 100% with what Dr. Grossman has written in her letter to young people, and I will share it with my 19 year old daughter, but I do worry about people judging others who enjoy fiction and can separate it from reality.

    All that being said, I think young women and girls today are extremely vulnerable to this type of emotional and physical abuse and just as Dr. Grossman has done, I believe we have a responsibility to communicate the message about violence in relationships to young and old alike, that it is NOT ok, and that this movie is totally fiction.

  56. Lynn McDougal - reply

    I don’t agree with your assessment entirely because you certainly do give credence to a grey area: when a couple is in a monogamous relationship and wish to experiment. So you end up contradicting your own arguments right there. But your intent is well meaning.

    However, I think that the *most* dangerous aspect of this movie lies in you point number 5: the story concludes with Ana going along with everything because she is going to “save this man” and change him which happens. *This* is the biggest illusion/delusion for most young people. Thinking that if they just put up with inappropriate/dangerous/harmful behaviors long enough their love will save the other and things will change. This is so often why the abused remain or go back to the abuser. And it is a huge psychological illness.

    This is the biggest piece of fantasy in this film and what needs to be pointed out to everyone who is attracted to seeing it. Just my HO…take it for what you paid for it!

  57. Taliya V. - reply

    Amazing! Thank you very much for your analysis. I was under the impression that i am the only one against this disgusting movie.

  58. anonymous - reply

    I very much enjoyed reading this article and seeing someone’s point of view but, with all due respect, I disagree. This book was written for entertainment purposes. The movie was made because the book was an excellent read and sold so rapidly. The movie/book wasn’t meant to be this life altering thing. They were just for entertainment. I read the book and it was amazing. After reading it I don’t feel the urge to let someone beat me and I don’t feel the urge to let someone control me in anyway. Just my point of view.

  59. Arkansas woman - reply

    I agree with Lynn McDougal that the most dangerous message of the book series (as a collective, not just the first book) is the delusion that you can change someone through love, no matter how damaged they are.

    A few months ago, a friend of mine was murdered by her abusive boyfriend. She tried to get away from him several times, but was always sucked back in because he was troubled and she thought she could somehow save him. That does not make her stupid or naive, in my opinion. She had a very caring nature and just wanted to make a difference in the world, even if it was just helping this one person. And, she finally realized that she could not help him and tried to get away. That is when he hunted her down, broke down her locked door, strangled her, then dumped her body in a bayou.

    My point is, some people need professional help, and without it, cannot be “saved”. If you feel the need to address young people with a warning, that should be what you concentrate on.

    Sincerely,
    Someone that DID escape an abusive relationship

  60. bo al8ng - reply

    I’m sorry. If you haven’t seen the movie then how can you comment on it?

  61. Tonya - reply

    Only other thing I would add is the timeline of which this trilogy takes place… Don’t Christian and Ana get married a month or so after meeting for the first time? I know for some folks that when they know they’ve found The One, they “just know…” but in this case, mixed with his troubled past and her belief that love changes everything, it feels like a recipe for disaster.

  62. Mary Trotta - reply

    Grossman. You need to read up on the NEW DSM-5. You are clearly spewing opinion to the masses rather than our medical model. Clearly you seem to think that this movie is about something that it isn’t about. This movie is about someone who would be diagnosed dysfunctional. Clearly you should know this by reading the new DSM-5. Clearly you seem to be consumed by some sort of hatred toward people who can function in this sexual idea. If people can function with sex in this manner then they are not dysfunctional. That is a fact. Read your DSM before posting silly opinions.

  63. alex - reply

    Thank you for your time and effort in writing this Dr. Grossman.

    Our society has become a vast machine for generating illusions, all sorts of them including the distorted view that anything can be justified if one’s ‘consent’ or ‘free will’ was exercised. Even worse, this is done in the name of ‘love’.

    The biggest problem with this utterly destructive story/film, is the psychological, spiritual, emotional impact it has on the large majority (youth and adults) of people who are already confused enough about life as it is. Many will see this film and remain unconscious of its destructive effect, because it has been spun into a ‘romance’ or ‘love’ story. I personally happen to believe that pure love really does and can solve any human problem that exists, but this story is the ANTITHESIS of love.

    Emotional, psychological, and physical damage and abuse are really OK, since one party ‘consented’ to it? Really? Was there love involved because one (or both) side is so psychologically damaged that they decide to stay with the person?

    This is not very different from the wife or husband of an alcoholic who keeps giving their wife or husband more alcohol and more drinks saying ” but I love him and just want to help”

  64. Mary Trotta - reply

    Grossman you need to become familiar with the DSM-5 and stop spewing opinion to the masses rather than our medical manual. Disgraceful.

  65. Anja Q. - reply

    I’m just here for the popcorn.

  66. Lisa - reply

    I agree. It’s abusive and degrading to woman. The male role needs therapy and the female needs more self respect.

  67. catlos - reply

    BDSM is never a normal thing. Meriam, you did pointed out the exact things about this Hollywood thing. People don’t understand the power of media.It ddoesn’t only affects the way we think, it goes down deep in our personality and character. BDSM is not experiment, it is in fact a mental illness that people thought is just a normal thing, something fun. Alfred Bandura once experimented violence and aggression among kids who are exposed in media that shows the latter. Please be advised that we want our generation and the next generations to do the right thing, to have better judgment, a healthy mindset. For sure, we don’t want our future generations to think that BSDM is all normal and healthy thing. To promote this cheap and tacky social abnormalities is totally abhorrent and WRONG.

  68. carl - reply

    BDSM is never a normal thing. Meriam, you did pointed out the exact things about this Hollywood thing. People don’t understand the power of media.It ddoesn’t only affects the way we think, it goes down deep in our personality and character. BDSM is not experiment, it is in fact a mental illness that people thought is just a normal thing, something fun. Alfred Bandura once experimented violence and aggression among kids who are exposed in media that shows the latter. Please be advised that we want our generation and the next generations to do the right thing, to have better judgment, a healthy mindset. For sure, we don’t want our future generations to think that BSDM is all normal and healthy thing. To promote this cheap and tacky social abnormalities is totally abhorrent and WRONG.

  69. Lucy - reply

    I seriously don’t get why everyone is getting so worked up about this movie!!
    Like every Hollywood movie, it’s fiction & should be taken with a grain of salt!!

    It wasn’t made to glamourise abuse & anyone who watches it & then takes it as what fact might as well also believe that all holiday love romantic movies are based on reality!!

    Did anything think that perhaps the book was so popular because women enjoy soft porn & have fantasies, some of which the book/ movie exposes & that’s the only reason it was made into a movie!!

    Seriously you people need to take a chill pill!!

  70. Donna B. - reply

    This movie is not one to over-think. It is a fantasy. A Cinderella/Pretty Woman story with a bit of kinky sex. Really, who wouldn’t want a Play Room with a housekeeper to keep it clean and no social inhibitions? My biggest concern was the instant gratification Ana portrayed from her first virginal experience. I felt obliged to tell the teenager next to me, good sex takes time … lots of time.

  71. suchandsuch - reply

    I agree that the Fifty Shades book & movie promote an unhealthy type of relationship and romanticize abusive interactions.

    I do not agree with you that all healthy women should be dreaming of wedding gowns rather than handcuffs…
    I think that by presuming that this book/movie presents a realistic image or BDSM/kink relationships in general is problematic and could be demonizing to the many men and women who practice kinky sex or enjoy consensual power dynamics in their relationships. It would not take a lot of research to learn that most of the BDSM community is strongly against the Fifty Shades series, especially due to the way it is presenting the community; “safe, sane and consensual” is a well established mantra within the community and the relationship in Fifty Shades is thought of by most BDSM practitioners as being abusive, coercive, and definitely not safe, sane or consensual!

    I think the positive thing about this series coming to the public’s eye is that is brings us an opportunity to discuss these matters and educate people about how to make good decisions rather than destructive ones, especially for young men and women.
    Focusing on women’s sexuality and reiterating the outdated notion that the only sex they should be having should be within a marriage (as opposed to other types of relationships, for example long term relationships that have commitment/trust/respect/love but without the legal bind of marriage), especially as many women today are NOT simply dreaming of wedding gowns – that is the reality. Many women are prioritizing careers and self-sufficiency, whether or not they are married or want to be, so your wording feels reductive and patronizing.

    I think it is important to promote healthy relationships, but without demonizing those who experiment with their sexuality or choose nontraditional relationship styles. It is inaccurate to claim that women with kinks, or those who have sex without marriage are unhealthy psychologically and such notions have historically been destructive to the freedom and overall wellbeing of women.

    TL;DR It is possible to promote healthy and consensual sex and relationships to both women AND men, without attacking women’s sexuality.

  72. Adriana - reply

    As western women we are appaled when women are abused in retrograde, barbaric patriarchal third world cultures. We would be raising our voices if a man in Taliban gear would be flogging a woman, yet the women fans of 50 shades of Grey are excited and fascinated when a rich man in an Armani suit flogs his girlfriend with a belt, money and good looks do not make the abuse less cruel or violent. As women, we need to take a stand agaist violence and abuse of women in western popular culture when it glamorizes and normalizes the abuse.

  73. Joanne - reply

    I have four boys and in no way are the things that the book or movie portay what my husband and I are to teach our boys. This speaks volumes for not just girls but boys as well.

  74. Márton - reply

    I agree with nearly everything you wrote. I read most of the book, fully avare of what I will find. Still, there are a few things that I feel I must mention.
    I think that one of the most dangerous things about this book, is making people believe that it’s about BDSM. It’s not. This is simply a possessive and abusive guy manipulating a girl blinded by love to do everything he wants.
    I’m not a psychiatrist, and I’m not a practitioner either, but I feel that your opinion on BDSM is biased. Perhaps it’s only because I know another psychiatrist who was convinced that no sane person could ever desire something like that, but a few of your lines gave me that feeling.
    Maybe the point I’m trying to make is, that it’s okay for people to prejudices. However it is not okay for a psychiatrist to have prejudices. That can lead to great problems for those that go to her for help.
    Thanks for listening to my rantings.

  75. Alex - reply

    Reading your letter I sincerely doubt you have nor read the books neither seen the movie. It is obvious for your comments starting at #4. No alcohol was pushed on anybody, on the contrary. To engage in a any S/M activity you need to have all your senses at their best and not impaired by alcohol or any other substance.
    At the end of this movie, at least, Ana did not cure any emotional problems that Christian may have. She confused him more if anything.
    You imply that only monogamous married people can experiment with sexuality. I take it you mean different sexual scenarios, like S/M in the movie. In what century do you live?!?! You don’t have to be married to have sex with your partner and be happy. There are countless happy unmarried couples who have formed families as are unhappy ones I am sure. But look at the divorce rate, so much for “happy monogamous” marriages, where the rate of STDs is not zero!!!

    But most important of all, this is a movie based on a series of fictional books. The entire country, if not the world, embraced them to the point that they became the #1 bestsellers. How come you didn’t write this “letter” back then? Why now? Just to get some needed notoriety?!? I wonder!

  76. Megan - reply

    Did you read all 3 books or just a synopsis of the movie? BDSM has existed for hundreds of years. Hollywood didn’t event it. They simply took a popular a book and made a movie. It happens all the time.
    If you read the book you would be able to discern between erotic consensual physical stimulation and abuse. I’ve been in physically abusive relationships and I read nothing in the book that even remotely resembles abusive behavior. Christian may need help (and he does have a shrink, by the way) and Ana may be misguided and young, but the bottom line is she likes what he does. She is an adult. There was no pressure put on her. She had ample time and space to review her contract and decide for herself. Just because you can’t comprehend it and don’t like it doesn’t make it abusive or dangerous.
    P.S. If women don’t enjoy male dominance, why are they all swooning over this story?

  77. Sarah - reply

    Not a parent but I understand the concern a mother would have. As a writer though it does scare me that a psychologist puts her opinion to fiction and relates it to fact. If we censored creativity it would put us back many years. Knowing the difference between right and wrong should not change our ability to make up a story. I have written far worse characters than Christian Grey. He is not a good guy but he’s also not real. Regardless of wether it’s a fantasy, sci-fi, porn or drama. I can see some serious conversations happening with young people but it’s fiction. Just like Aliens the movie.

  78. fatti - reply

    Thank you for sharing this information. I hope Director SAM TAYLOR-JOHNSON and Universal Studio will think about having the sequel of this movie.

  79. Capt. Obvious - reply

    Theres a simple answer to all you ladies who don’t like this style of sex, don’t do it. It’s really simple. Notice it does not say force your style or preferences on other women and their relationships. It just says don’t do it

    Here’s a great example. Alcohol is bad for you. It is legal. I don’t like it so I don’t do it. However if other adults choose to, I don’t call them broken, sad, or anything else. I just don’t do it

  80. Mike - reply

    Dr. Grossman,

    As it applies to young people who have yet to experience deep, committed, loving relationships that include sex, I agree that they should not go see this movie under any circumstances. However, to trash the movie in general is prudish at best.

    I went to see the movie with my wife of 40 years on Valentine’s Day, and while there were some uncomfortable moments for me, I enjoyed the movie very much!

    This movie, in my opinion, is a nothing more than a bit of exciting fantasy for most of the women who bought and read the series of books. Healthy, well adjusted women and men see this for what it is. I would venture that 99% of women who are fans of the books and movie would NOT participate in the practice of domination/submission.

    BDSM is not something that is a rampant threat to young women. The rap/thug culture and the lifestyle and musical lyrics that they promote is the ultimate degradation of young womanhood. How about coming out just as hard against some of the music and personalities involved in this moral cesspool?

  81. Martin Legris - reply

    Your test is absolutely shallow, as shallow as the drugs you most likely prescribe. Pain is unavoidable in life, might as well choose some that you like to live with. You’re pretty much a dimwit. And your presumptions about what men and women WANT are the exact reason why there stupid movies and books exist; they are shallow and biased.

    Open your mind. Doctor of what? Hypocrisy?

  82. KK - reply

    Catlos – I DO NOT have a mental illness. In fact many people like myself in the BDSM lifestyle are very psychologically healthy. Stop being so ignorant. Maybe if you talked to your future generations about sex in more than “mission style” terms, it wouldn’t be such “tacky social abnormalities” as you put it. I would love to see the research behind your conclusion that BDSM is a mental illness.

    I apologize if people are just waking up and starting to talk about sex, but BDSM has been around for ages, like other taboo sexual lifestyles. Maybe my generation is more open to the conversations about the differences between sex, love and lifestyle. Lack of information only inhibits good decision making.

  83. Gregory - reply

    Where to start? First unlike you, I know a great deal about the S&M lifestyle AND have seen the movie and read the books. It is apparent that of those three qualifications, you have all but three. So in the spirit of education,let me help you out.

    First please do not counsel people on this issue; you are not capable and will damage them…sincerely… quit talking of that which you know nothing; it can do great harm.

    I have been in the BDSM lifestyle for 35 years as a male dominant. I have been happily married for 26 years of it to a fully self actualized, high IQ, self empowered submissive woman who was so angered by your insulting depiction of submissive women that she outed herself on facebook so she could post messages to correct your ignorant rants. I am just helping her out by doing the same here. The magnitude of your incorrectness on this issue is galactic in scale! Anyway I am not her to insult but to educate so lets get to it!

    First to the movie.

    The movie depicts a wealthy BDSM dilettante with too much money and not enough skill or self control to actually succeed at BDSM relations. He is a failed frat boy with a whip not a skilled dominant. He is working out personal issues and that imperative stops him from being a sensual and competent partner to the naive young Anastasia Steele. So essentially you are comparing a fictional relationship with a failure in the dominant role and a naïve virgin in the submissive role to all BDSM relationships carried out by adults who know what they are doing and do it for very clear reasons. Shame on you!

    Next to our lifestyle.

    Please do not continue to wave your degree around proclaiming us ill and intimating there is some clinical basis for your rants. The current scientific understanding of our lifestyle is far evolved from your Victorian and puritanical assessment and for good reason; we are safe, sane and consentual members of a very special community not a bunch of abusers and doormats as you seem to think. You will probably never know the pure bliss of sub-space (the euphoria the submissive feels from her journey) or the rush of topping someone to that point of ecstacy but just because you cannot understand it does not make you right to opine about it without first having a thorough understanding of the subject! Again please stop blathering; you are potentially more harmful to a young BDSM identified person than the failed dom in the movie was to his naïve and clueless girlfriend!

    Third to your agenda; Science and psychology do not care about your religious beliefs and they are inappropriate in a clinical setting. If you are going to speak as a physician then stick to science without superstition. If you want to speak from your religious position please refrain from conflating it with your degree in an attempt to conflate some scientific credibility onto your religious views. As it stands you do more harm than good promoting this backward agenda that flies in the face of science. I pity your patients!

  84. René Bouman - reply

    “learn the facts,” you say. Perhaps that is a splendid idea. Here’s a writing of a dutch psychologist. With facts. Actual facts, obtained from studies: http://marijkevonk.com/bdsm-what-we-know/

  85. Johanna Fowler - reply

    The books are poorly written with lots of sex to sell books. They are not violent, and he does not hurt her. All kind of silly. The one time he hits her hard, she leaves him, and he is devastated. She tells him later to never, ever hurt her, or hit her like that again. And she is serious. The rest is meant to titular, but is almost comical. The main reason women like the books is not the sex. Christian is totally in love with Ana. He is loyal and faithful to her and does not care about other woman. Plus he is a millionaire and gives her cars , clothes, whatever she wants. Woman want a man who loves them that hard, that exclusive. Period. It is a romantic story. With repetitve silly sex thrown in to fill the books.

  86. Ikpa Onwuka - reply

    This is a nice one. Many watch these movies and get immersed in these fairy tale books and expect them to happen just the same way in real life. They forget that everything in there is from someone’s imagination of a false Utopia. Its well with you!

  87. Deb - reply

    Omg well obviously you have read the books to know what it is all about and it really annoys me that people just criticise about bdsm the book is not just about that plus Christian introduces Ana to bdsm and She has a safe word, not at one point during the book does he force her into the red room. And as the story goes on Ana changes Christian. Bdsm has been around for years I personally don’t see the fascination but if that’s what your into then that’s your business and know one elses. We are now in the 21st century. IT IS JUST A FICTIONAL STORY AND FILM get over yourself

  88. Tiana - reply

    Thank you for posting this.

    I had to divorce my ex husband after years of physical, emotional and spiritual abuse. I can’t see any glamour in signing up for such a relationship. I can totally relate to you assertion that love won’t cure the other person’s problem.

    Thank you for writing this, and speaking out from a professional point of view. Your comments should reach young women across the globe!

  89. Gail - reply

    Ok people you don’t like …don’t go see it! SIMPLE…it’s all FANTASY people FANTASY! Yes this goes on in the real world but this movie was simply for entertainment and maybe to arrouse things in the bedroom!! Get real and not so serious ? What’s disturbing about all this is it’s just a MOVIE and well acted and tastefully done!

  90. Cole - reply

    I agree and disagree with you Dr. Grossman. I agree in terms of the facts you had share about the movie. I may be only a teenager but that doesn’t mean I’m into the kind of relationship like Ana and Christian had. I’m sorry to disagree also because not all people in the world are into this kind of relationship. It still depend on the person if he or she will be a dominant or submissive. It’s their own choice and decision to make. Their decision in their life will not depend on the movie or book itself. But thank you for sharing your own wonderful thought or idea about Fifty Shades of Grey.

  91. betzy - reply

    Someday I hope to be a psychiatrist who can see things as clearly and logically as you. .You have inspired me, Dr Grossman.God bless your soul.:-)

  92. JemKat - reply

    Actually, biologically and subconsciously, women prefer to be the submissive. There are varying degrees of submissiveness. Our brains are wired to see the male as the protector, which is a good thing. Which is why most women prefer men with deeper voices, which suggest the man has a higher level of testosterone. There are multiple studies on the fact that deep down, women would like to take care of their men, and for the men to be dominant.

    This doesn’t mean that men have to be dominant all the time.. but take romance novels for example, in almost all of them, the male is dominant and when the characters have sex it is wild, primal and the male is dominant. That is why the romance genre is so popular and why this particular book is so popular.

    Women in the modern age have to have both male and female characteristics, and in this age men are more emasculated and submissive than ever. To the AVERAGE woman, men who are submissive aka the “nice guy” are thrown into the friend zone. Yes this man is a doctor, but he is only considering a very small portion of the picture and telling women that their fantasies are unhealthy. All fantasies can be healthy and safe experimentation is absolutely crucial for a female to Learn about her sexuality. Dr, do not generalize all women and do not chastise women for something that they are biologically inclined to want.

  93. Lianne - reply

    Thank you, Dr. Grossman for trying to get the truth out about this. To the lady who is questioning being friends with someone into this…I’m doing the same questioning myself. I have friends who know I got out of an abusive marriage and are still all excited about this. Really disturbing!!

    To the teenager, Cole, that’s good you are not into this type of relationship. However, other impressionable minds could very easily be influenced by this type of portrayal. I was a teenager once and thought I knew it all also. Next thing I knew my husband “turned into” an abuser.

    Yes, there is free choice…however if something is wrong, it’s wrong. Only black or white. My only hope is that people who do like this stuff, maybe by being exposed to it, will become aware of the problem and decide to help stop the violence. But that’s unlikely. This type of stuff usually only desensitizes people to it.

  94. Linda - reply

    DISAGREE. I was abused and my take on the 3 books is that this is a healing journey for Christian – away from the lifestyle and into a healthy relationship. People see movies about war, murder, child abuse and all manner of ways humanity is cruel and inhumane, and don’t fuss about it – they don’t write letters fearing the impact on teens. By the end of the third book, Christian and Ana are a healthy, normal and loving couple. So, when quotes are NOT taken out of context Christian loves Ana because she stands up for herself, when hurt she removes herself. When he is out of line she does set him straight. Why are people not getting this? Because they are too busy dealing with their own knee jerk reactions and emotional responses – lots of fear.

  95. Linda - reply

    You as a mental health care professional should have read all 3 books before saying they are about glorifying abuse. If you did, fine, you are entitled to your opinion. But then I really don’t understand your inability to see this story as a healing journey from abuse into wholeness and health. As a doctor how can you fail to acknowledge Christian heals, in part by Ana’s strength?
    I can see what points you are making about abuse. No problem there. Good points. Yet, that’s not what the books are about. I think its about the power of love to overcome – Christian was a victim of child abuse (cigarettes extinguished on the body of a small child, being locked in a room with his dead mother for days, no food, and then seduced by his mother’s friend at 14 or 15) not just “neglect”. Christian repeatedly clarifies to Ana participation must be voluntary. As soon as he hurts her (spanking), she quits. That’s healthy. Christian never wanted to hurt her, and when he understood that he did, he changed.

  96. Lisa - reply

    Yes! Thank you. I can not understand why so many people like this book/movie franchise.
    As a survivor of abuse it concerns me how much manipulation and abuse has been romanticized.

    And the poorly written book, is a mild step up to what it was first published as. Which was Twilight Fan fiction.

    Yes to some people its “just a book” but to people who are vulnerable it can be seen as a confirmation that abusive, manipulative relationships are okay. Its not ‘Ana’s’ job to ‘fix’ Christian. She is not his therapist, she is his partner. It is not our roles to help the one we are with get through major issues, this brings forth codependency and that’s another unhealthy relationship sign.

  97. Peter Tupper - reply

    I agree that FSOG the book (haven’t seen the movie) *depicts* and romanticizes an abusive relationship, I take issue with some of your comments about BDSM.

    “A psychologically healthy woman avoids pain. She wants to feel safe, respected and cared for by a man she can trust. She dreams about wedding gowns, not handcuffs.”

    “It’s good to experiment with sexuality.”

    “Maybe… for adults in a long term, healthy, committed, monogomous relationship, AKA “marriage”. Otherwise, you’re at high risk for STDs, pregnancy, and sexual assault. It’s wise to be very careful who you allow to get close to you, physically and emotionally, because just one encounter can throw you off track and change your life forever.”

    “There’s no room for doubt; an intimate relationship that includes violence, consensual or not, is unacceptable.”

    BDSM operates under the ethics of informed consensuality and mutual pleasure (which are sorely lacking in FSOG). For millions of people, it’s a pleasurable and intimate part of their lives, whether in a marriage or not.

    There’s a normative claim here about what women should want sexually, instead of reflecting the complexity and possibilities of desire. Some women dream of handcuffs, some of wedding gowns, some of both, some of handcuffs and wedding gowns on their husbands. A woman’s freedom should not be contingent on her being married, nor should she be scared away from sexual experimentation.

  98. Michelle - reply

    For such an educated person you sure have some stupid ideas! These are your opinions and are not facts. It is a fictional work with a rating of R. Adults are watching and reading 50 Shades of Grey, and not impressionable children.

  99. chad williamson - reply

    I’m really glad not all girls are as narrow minded and boring as you. Everyone is different and maybe some people get a mutually fulfilling relationship like the type depicted in the movie. I know me and my girlfriend do. It’s the most honest and happiest relationship I have been in and my girlfriend says the same. I don’t think you should make such bold statements and present them as the only truth. You are just one person, with one point of view, one history. You are probably in a typical boring relationship that has ceased to give you pleasure be it mentally or physically. You probably both hide things from each other and present filtered truths to the other. You probably have secret fantasies of which you are too guarded to present to your partner. In most relationships like those portrayed in the movie, none of those facades exist and a more real honestly flows constantly. But you wouldn’t know anything about that because you would rather bash it with uptight tunnel minded drivel to make headlines.

  100. Ysi - reply

    I am incredibly confused. Sorry D. Psychiatrist but as someone has already mentioned 50 Shades is just a movie, it is just fiction. If anybody gets into a “dark” side or take bad decisions it is only because WE took that decisions, not because you want to blame a movie, being part of this world means to take responsibility of our acts too, and learn from and about them. Under your point of view, we should be worried about how a HIT movie can affect into our lives? Really? I do not see anybody worried about all those children following Harry Potter, where children about 12 years old just breaking the rules, don’t attending their classes and living dangerous adventures! What about them then? Honestly, this just doesn’t make any sense to me. Let’s say it clear, this is about sex, right? You people still think there is something dirty and dark about SEX. And any subject about SEX must be keeped in a locked room (Red room ;). But that’s not everyone thoughts!! Can you understand that? I do not think this trilogy is for all publics, of course, for the same reason that Pepa Pig is not either (there is an age for everything). So once we are agree with that (this movie is for grown adults, for people with open minds that just care about to be entertained for a couple of hours at the cinema!). Why we don’t just respect others people ways of life!

    Women dream with a wedding gown? Really? Your article was really hard to read after that point and any hope just lost. Century XXI is about none telling us what we need to think about. Not anymore.

  101. momofthree - reply

    This movie and book is OBVIOUSLY a fantasy-fiction. I usually agree with more conservative views when it comes to society and exploitation…. but anyone who actually tries to pick apart this movie to show how wrong it is has COMPLETELY missed the point with this genre. It is not to be used for realistic viewing and life modeling. It would be like someone thinking that Zombie movies were telling them to stock pile their house with food and weapons to prepare for a Zombie apocalypse! Its complete fantasy fiction… I do agree that only people who understand that this movie is COMPLETELY fantasy fiction and not realistic fiction should see it… but as I recall that was a lesson I learned in 2nd grade. About books and understanding PLOT! ! This article and all the thinking you did about this movie before writing this article was really a huge waste of time….. sorry! I think people need to make decisions for themselves or their young adult/teens on whether or not they can distinguish between realism and fantasy. That also goes for other “relationship” movies that sends messages that all marriages and relationships are like fairytales…. or “chick flicks”…total B.S….and any young lady who falls for that crap is clearly naive. Also violent movies…. a duh… fantasy fiction!! Maybe more people need to pay better attention in General Lit. 101 class!!! And this movie is better seen by women who are of married and having kids age….. who it was intended for in the first place.

  102. Rivka - reply

    As a psychotherapist I couldn’t agree more. Well written

  103. Melanie Klinghoffer - reply

    It is clear from the advice in this blog post that Dr. Grossman did not read the Fifty Shade series to completion. Her facts are not accurate as it relates to the story.

    The Fifty Shades love story is about transformation through love and offers many lessons of resilience. Dr. Grossman dangerously shames “broken” people, which are the very clients she serves. Shame is destructive to people who want to live healthy, free lives exercising their right to consensual sexual relationships with others they love.

    For my viewpoint read:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fifty-shades-resilience-melanie-klinghoffer-jd-llm

    Also read the comments in the post regarding why Fifty Shades is not a story of domestic violence and abuse.

  104. Grace - reply

    I disagree with your letter. Have you read the series of 3 books? If you had, you would know that they do wed. I was abused as a child both physical and mental. The story never made me think of my past. The past is the past. This story is of love, mystery, kidnapping and forgiveness. It’s a story period. There is a whole world out there that does do bondage etc. It’s not abuse, abuse is being beating with boards with nails sticking out of them, car fan belts etc. I can tell you what abuse is and this movie and story is not. My opinion. Just to also let you know, I have a wonderful life and job. I never let my childhood effect my life. I forgave.

  105. Judith Salvacion - reply

    Good day! Im a nurse and I know whats in the movie. We studied the certain problem involve yet I am thankful that you fully delivered to everyone the real happening in the movie. I salute you! I really appreciate the effort. Maybe other people would criticize you for doing such of this but those who are open minded will praise you. You enlighten us the reality. Continue what youvr started. God bless :)

  106. Melissa - reply

    I agree with most of your points, and agree that the book does not represent a healthy relationship. However, your first comment about girls dreaming of wedding dresses discredits your work. Girls should not dream of wedding dresses (if they do, that’s fine, but not all do) and there is nothing wrong with handcuffs when used in a HEALTHY relationship. This comment does girls a great disservice.

    Also, as some have pointed out, not every healthy sexual relationship has to be within the confines of marriage. Let’s come out of the dark ages, shall we? (not to mention, marriage doesn’t save you from some very unhealthy relationships – i’d think as a psychologist you’d know this)

  107. AVF - reply

    Stop sharing articles about this movie. So many do-not-watch-it-articles work the other way round.

  108. Pinkie Boadicea - reply

    Wow, I did not expect to read such a thoughtful discussion on the comment thread!

    I wish I could agree with those who give full support to this letter. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, but that’s because the reviews have painted it as wholly and completely trite and I imagine it would be a waste of my time.

    But even without knowing the story, I can see there is value in what you say as well as massively inappropriate, factless assumptions about “women” and “healthy”.

    I would hope that a doctor, a licensed psychiatrist no less, would know better than to make assumptions not based on scientific research. For one thing, the BDSM community does NOT present a higher incidence of trauma or mental un-health.

    Since most of my thoughts have been posted by others already, I will just add: what is your response, Dr. Grossman, to the critics here? Can you provide any justification for why being a healthy female implies you should dream of marriage? Can you give any support for your claim that marriage is the best way to avoid STDs and sexual or domestic violence?

  109. CRYSTAL - reply

    It is absolutely disgraceful to the medical community that this article came from a so-called “MD” like you. This article is so full of biases and none of what you say is based on facts.

    No, girls absolutely do not have to dream about wedding gowns to be “healthy”. This is your belief and yours only. Please do not generalize to all women. It is not up to YOU as to what girls can and cannot dream of to be considered healthy.

    Free and consenting adults can do whatever they choose to do (sexually). If you don’t agree with their decision, it doesn’t make them “unhealthy”. We all have our sexual preferences and no one should be deemed “abnormal” for what they like or do not like to do.

    50 shades of grey is merely a fantasy, and teenagers are not watching it thinking they want to be Ana in real life. It’s fiction – describing imaginary events and people – alike fairytales and other stories. A normal plain Jane being swept away by some rich handsome man and they go to live happily ever after.

    It is psychiatrists like you that make people feel ashamed for feeling the way they do. You are not truly helping out people in the world. Fact is, psychologically healthy people can enjoy BDSM, contrary to your twisted belief.

    Your lack of professionalism in this article has really got me wondering what kind of “doctors” us citizens put our faith into.

    As a doctor, you have a duty of care and due diligence to your patients. First of all, you need to sincerely want to help somebody. That means being educated about what BDSM is (or try to) and the FACTS that revolve around that topic. Mixing your personal beliefs into your analysis shows your lack of care into understanding your patients and truly helping out their problems.

    How many people will read this article and feel ashamed of themselves? How many people will read this article and feel that they are “unhealthy” because they enjoy BDSM?

    Instead of worrying about how 50 shades of grey is affecting young teenagers, please consider how YOU are affecting them instead.

  110. serif - reply

    Well written, but as expected, fantasy cannot be explained clearly by psychiatric views.

    However, i have a question to ask, i am in a non-abusive relationship. My partner ( i am female, he is male) is not keen on bondage sex. How can i resolve this? Have tried persuading him but to no avail.

    I can admit i am insecure due to a number of failed relationships, while at the same time i enjoyed the book as it satiates me in a FANTASY sense.

  111. Martine - reply

    Thank you for this great article.

  112. myra - reply

    Its for us to weigh the possible outcome of certain actions seen in the movie, and it depends on what to follow either.. we are wise enough to identify the difference between fiction and true to life components of life.. whatever choices it would be, it must comes from within and many thinking.. and must be the right choice. :)
    ThNks for these eye opening message..

  113. Ana - reply

    I read the books and saw the movie. They are NOT about abuse. Dr Grossman (and every other person who says the story is about abuse) is wrong. These naysayers are simply using Fifty Shades to gain their 15 minutes of fame.
    The book is about a guy who has chosen a particular sexual lifestyle. The woman who participated in sexual acts with him do so of their own free will, including Ana. That is NOT abuse. Does he spank Ana? Yes. But she has a choice to say no. That is NOT abuse. That is two adults consenting to perform certain acts that arouse them sexually.
    And if you actually read the books and see the movie you will see that when Ana reaches her limits and becomes confused she willingly walks away from the relationship (at the end of the first book and movie) and Christian lets her go. He does NOT beat her because she is leaving. He does not abuse her.
    Let me set everyone straight……if you read all three books, which is a must if you want the entire story, you will see that this is a love story. While it is true that when Ana first meets Christian he prefers to have sex a certain way, when he meets Ana all this changes and in the end his love for Ana helps him overcome his confusion about love.
    Although I am not on the same level as Christian, I have to admit that I do like to be bound sometimes during sex. It is very arousing. For those who don’t prefer that type of sexual behavior, I respect your tastes. But why do you have to be so judgmental of those of us who do find pleasure in living out our sexual fantasies from time to time?
    I think everyone just needs to get off their high horses. It is a book, a movie, a fantasy. If you don’t like what Christian does to Ana, then don’t go see the movie. But for petesake, don’t make it into a monster that it isn’t.

  114. Anonymous - reply

    Oh good god, get a grip on life. It’s a film and a book and there are worse films and worse books out there. There are racist films gory films all of which are more graphic than this but I don’t see you making a song and dance about those. These are actually quite soft compared to what is available in books of the same genre.

    A couple of things, this sort of behaviour can end in a healthy relationship, some women get excited by the pain and it’s not abuse because it’s consensual, this is a real life practice that was going on way before 50 shades was written. It’s also not just women, men also can be controlled. Before you start slandering a perfectly acceptable film do your research.

    Just because your sex life may be bland and boring it doesn’t mean you need to ruin it for everybody else, no one cares. If you watch the film you’ll see that actually Anna is in control of the emotions more than Christian, she is well aware of what is going on and is in control. She allows herself to be chained up as it’s exciting. If you’ve never tried it then I feel sorry for you.

    It’s so tiresome to see false feminists latch onto something like this and beat on it because it gives them something to talk about. Go find something more worthwhile. It doesn’t promote abuse, it promotes, a consenting couple exploring different avenues of pleasure. She can leave at any time. I don’t see you making a fuss about say 12 years a slave, which heavily features slavery and racism? No? Because it’s a factual situation that your happy to have told. Well this form of sex actually happens. Again get a grip and find something new to moan about, this isn’t affecting the world in a negative way, or anyway at all. The film is bad, just because it’s a bad film, not because of anything that happens sexually in it.

  115. Sarah - reply

    Seems to me after i read this message that you haven’t read all of the serie of 50 shades.
    Sure 50 shades of grey is not a love movie(that’s the only thing i agree to)
    50 shades is a fiction about a troubled man who found love and tried his best to change for the girl he fell in love with. Anastasia also changed for him and together they saw a world they never knew existed for them.
    This serie is a fiction, it doesn’t encourage violence or whatsoever.
    It’s like any book or movie or whatever, it’s just a fiction. If that’s the way to judge a movie or novel then we should not watch movies about magic, aliens, time travel…
    In conclusion it’s a great story and i love it.

  116. Mom of Teenage Daughter - reply

    I have mixed feelings about this Book, Movie, and even this post. I understand the underlying issues why someone would like to get into that kind of a relationship. As far as I feel as long as it is consensual between two Adults, and they both get pleasure and respect each others boundaries then do what works for you.

    What I don’t like about this Book & Movie is that first the hype about the Books which encouraged young girls to read this book. First off they don’t know much about their own sexuality to know what they like or don’t like.

    I personally had no interested in reading the books or even seeing the movie. I read books that have way more graphic details and in that genera, but what I don’t read is books about a grown man that is stocking a young girl and manipulating her feelings of attraction for him to get her to succumb to a lifestyle that she knows nothing about.

    On Valentines Day my Boyfriend was the one that wanted to go see the Movie, I knew what I was in for, him not at all. I think he thought he was doing me a favor. The movie overall was really a soft porn, with very little story line. My take away from this movie is this.

    If my teenage daughter choose to read the books, which thankfully she didn’t I would much rather her keep in her imagination the guessing of what these sexual acts are like. I don’t want her to go and have this put all into a romanticized movie for her to see the actual acts and products. I want her first experience and her time with her sexuality to learn tenderness and caring. In the end when she is an adult and chooses to get into this lifestyle at least she knows the difference, and the confidence in herself to stand up and say “I don’t like that, we are not doing that again”.

    I thank you for your letter, but I don’t necessarily agree with you on all accounts. There are all different forms of a Dominant and a Submissive. In almost every relationship there is a Dom and a Sub weither we like to admit it or not. There are the Wives that are dominant over their husband and the other men tease him because they know his Wife is the “Boss”, and visa verse.

    But hey who am I to say I am just a Mom of a Teenage girl that respects herself enough to say “No Thank-you”

  117. Dr T - reply

    As a Doctor in the field of counseling I totally agree with this letter. I see people on a daily basis that are disappointed because their lives are not like the ones in the movies. People compare their lives to soap operas and are disappointed that their own love lives are not as interesting as the one they see on tv. This leads to all kinds of disagreements within the relationship and many times it leads to affairs. People develop unrealistic expectations on themselves and others when they compare what they have with others. It is very damaging to themselves and their relationships. Watching, or reading, things like 50 Shades of Gray only leads to more disappointment for these people. If grown (mature) men and women can be influenced by these things, how much more young, impressionable minds? The movie is rated R which means teenagers can watch it, and anyone can read the books. Most of the people making negative comments about Dr. Grossman’s letter have no idea what we, in the mental heath field, work with every day. You would be shocked by what we hear and how much seemingling insignificant things can affect the psyche, adults and children both. Many of you made comments that healthy, well adjusted adults should be able to watch this movie and walk away understanding that it is just a movie. Who are these healthy, well adjusted adults and what does that mean? Do you really think that every person that goes to see it is healthy and well adjusted? What about a potential rapist – did watching this movie just fuel their fire? Or the spouse contemplating an affair. Did watching the movie just give them what they needed to follow thru? How about those adults that as children played hours and hours of violent video games and still have those images in their minds. Do they now act out as a result of watching this movie? All these questions could be answered yes! Maybe healthy, well adjusted adults won’t be affected by seeing it. But is those the on people going watching it? Remember that your perspective is not the only perspective and that what doesn’t affect you may damage someone else very deeply.

  118. Terry - reply

    This is a movie made in Hollywood. Let’s be realistic if we are going to judge this movie we should judge every single movie out there. From Disney to everything else that is being filmed.

  119. Betbet - reply

    Wow people are really in love with this fifty shades of grey or completely appalled by it. Any extreme reaction either for or against needs to be examined and held up to scrutiny if you want to think critically and analytically about it. Try asking yourself: What is it about this book’s contents that is making me react so vehemently about it? Who is benefiting from this book’s contents and who is loosing from its contents? What kinds of values and belief is it promoting or destroying about male and female relationships? The exercise is worth doing to come to a thoughtful reflection on the effects of the books/movies contents.

  120. Anonymous - reply

    I take issue with several things in this article. First, why the emphasis on girls dreaming of wedding dresses? I’m sorry, call me crazy, but I dream of success, a career, and financial independence, not wedding dresses. Marriage is simply an option. Let’s try to not be sexist here. Second, the reality is that the majority of young girls reading this article are either sexually active or will be sexually active before ever getting married. Chances are most of your older readers have been sexually active outside of marriage. Neither of those scenarios means the sexual relationship is inherently harmful. Let’s not pretend that marriage is the magic wand that makes sexual relationships automatically healthy. Many women, unfortunately, are in marriages where they are being sexually abused, mistreated, and exposed to STDs by cheating spouses. Marriage is not the solution to avoiding unhealthy relationships. Third, the implication that all forms of sexual experimentation is unhealthy, i.e. the use of handcuffs, or blindfolds, or neckties, etc., is completely ridiculous. There is a huge difference from experimenting and abuse. Painting it all with one wide brush is dangerous and close-minded. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sexual curiosity. Let’s not pretend the missionary position is the only healthy way to engage in intercourse.

    Yes, there are MANY problems with 50 Shades of Grey, but my goodness, can we please stop pretending like women are supposed to be non-sexual beings waiting for their faithful prince charming, all in order to have mundane sex and never explore curiosity? I’m not saying go out and try anything with anyone. All I am saying, is that maybe we should be teaching young girls to be strong, independent, comfortable in their own skin, brave, confident to voice their wants and needs, and honest about their desires, instead of telling them they should be dreaming about wedding dresses, and certainly instead of shaming them for exploring sexuality in the normal, healthy, and positive ways you seem to be discouraging.

  121. Yvonne - reply

    I agree to some extent, but at the same time, it also exercises the modernisation of sex in todays world and society as well as the notion of peoples fantasies beyond “the norm”, or what may be an area of “forbidden” territory, a mystery place people haven’t discovered. It intrigues readers and fascinates them to explore further another form of “pleasure” or “excitement” in a secret world of their own. However, no one really likes to be tortured as you mentioned, and possibly as you also highlighted that those pyschologically affected have certain issues with them to go down the route of sadism.

    Though the movie itself is dependent on individuals and the level of maturity they have in respect that it may or may not have such an influence. yet we canot judge and associate those who choose to watch the film have issues. its almost like the same example of porn, why create such things?

  122. Penny's from 'Evan - reply

    Well it was written by a fanfic writer of ‘Twilight’. Actually I am a fanfic writer myself (X Files, and even David Duchovny loved my work.) I have seen so many brilliantly talented fic writers who get no notice what-so-ever. Yet this crap does! I have shared your page on Facebook to all my friends – some who are writers themselves.

  123. Odee - reply

    “Girls want guys like Christian who order them around and get rough.”

    Seriously, where in the movie did you get this idea?? Girls want guys like Christian because he’s gloriously hot and he gives cars and Macbook Pros for free.

  124. Deb Mohr - reply

    I did watch the movie, mainly to see what all the hype was about.

    When I go to a movie, I am aware that I am observing a work of fiction. Watching Ana consent to a rough sexual encounter did not put me in any danger of doing the same–any more than watching Silence of the Lambs made me want to be a serial killer. To suggest that it might is rather silly.

    What I DID note while watching the movie, however, is that we’re really blurring the lines between what is acceptable viewing and what is pornography. While I am fairly liberal in what I watch or read, I normally wouldn’t waste a second on porn. I think it’s disgusting and I don’t want to see it. We’ve all heard the reports that pornography triggers changes in the human brain and how it can impact a person’s ability to respond normally to sexual stimulus. And how it can create an addiction that needs more and more ‘drug’ to achieve the same high. (Ted Bundy started out reading Playboy magazine until that got boring).

    Fifty Shades of Grey was pretty graphic and at the end of the day, it’s less a love story and more a pornographic movie. A soft porn, like a gateway drug that opens the door to more dangerous fare.

  125. Linda - reply

    Thx so much for this article!
    My niece now 23 was the one that informed me about the abuse in this movie She is highly intelligent!
    She said it is about abuse and the girl i movie is cohersted into sex!
    That in itself is rape!
    I am 55 and have an abusive background with men and aft she explained my niece even more I will never ever watch that movie and also I will pass this on expecially to all 4 of my niece’s!
    I have already told a few of my girlfriends
    Shame on publisher of books and the movie world!

  126. Ekg - reply

    While I don’t disagree with the tone and purpose of what you are trying to relay here to a young person, you clearly haven’t read the book. While it is not a “classic” or brilliant writing, there are some exaggerations in what you’ve said here. I’m an adult and know the difference between tween/young adult relations and not always being able to see reality vs an adult relationship that could have issues and working through them. To state that someone that did not have a good start in life is incapable of change or having a successful relationship is unfair and wrong. Shame on the therapist who doesn’t know that.

  127. HAYLEY - reply

    As parents of a teenage daughter, THANK-YOU so much for this article. It really would be SO good if what you say could be ‘presented’ at high-schools. This story/movie has spread like FIRE – who knows how much damage it has already done and is yet to come due to it. Thanks again.

  128. Annitta - reply

    Thank you, Doctor. Pain is pain and whoever takes pleasure in doing or receiving in any form is definitely sick. Watching this movie and enjoying it means the person is sick.

    • Fay - reply

      Yeah, because if we avoided pain then we wouldn’t have sex at all.

  129. Rachel Chevallier - reply

    I’m appalled that both the writer of the book and the producer of the film are women. The writer is also a mum… What you say is right on the spot, I completely agree with it. As a mother of two teenagers of whom one has already asked me to watch the movie with her friends (legal age in France: 12!!!) and as a psychologist, thanks for speaking up in such a clear way.

  130. V. - reply

    “for adults in a long term, healthy, committed, monogomous relationship, AKA “marriage”. Otherwise, you’re at high risk for STDs, pregnancy, and sexual assault.”

    You can’t be serious? Not being marriage puts women at risk of sexual assault? Being alive puts women at risk for sexual assault and marriage is no protection. Did I just wake up in 1845? Disgraceful.

  131. K - reply

    Dear Dr. Grossman.

    I’ve read the 50 shades trilogy, and I too think it is purely an abusive relationship.
    I also think it has nothing to do whatsoever with BDSM as it presumes to have.
    And yet, you are being absolutely BDSMphobic. Yes, that’s a thing.

    “A psychologically healthy woman avoids pain”
    “She dreams about wedding gowns, not handcuffs.”
    “It’s good to experiment with sexuality. Maybe… for adults in a long term, healthy, committed, monogomous relationship, AKA “marriage”.”

    Let’s set aside the fact that these descriptions won’t remotely be DSM-V approved as mental illnesses, and let’s not get into the fact that physical pain releases endorphins and are felt as pleasurable by many people not even in a sexual contexts, but you are being absolutely and totally judgmental, ignorant, puritan, narrow minded and chauvinistic!

    It’s only OK to experiment sexually in a marriage? A healthy women dreams of wedding gowns? Are you stuck in the 40s?

    I’m a psychologically healthy woman with no previous traumatic experiences. Both my partner and I (NOT husband) had a wonderful childhood. I’m strong and independent and smart and I’m a feminist. I have a BSc in Neuroscience and Psychology and I’m currently a med student. I enjoy pain. I enjoy being submissive. I enjoy BDSM. I think 50 shades is an abusive story but it has nothing to do with BDSM, I also think that what you are saying is even worst! You are labeling a sexual preference as a mental illness, just like homosexuality was labeled. You should be ashamed of yourself.
    It’s perfectly fine to point out the flaws of the movie which makes this story an abusive one and not a love story, but the fact that a person wants to feel pain in a sexual contexts does NOT make he or she psychologically unhealthy!

  132. ELLIE - reply

    1 Christian grey was strongly against ana having alcohol and 2 she didn’t end up signing the agreement anyway so facts straight please

  133. Leila - reply

    I haven’t seen the movie or read the books, I guess they are pretty boring. I should do it before I build an opinion. Anyways, please don’t say that a ” psychologically healthy woman (…) dreams about wedding gowns not handcuffs”. In my opinion that it’s just prejudice. I do not dream about a charming prince, wedding gowns or parties, nor romance in any way, but I have a healthy long term relationship based on love and respect. If you like handcuffs is ok, the wrong thing is doing something against your will.

  134. Lynne - reply

    I think this is a fantastic and much needed letter. To those of you who are criticising its necessesity as ‘it’s just a book’, ‘it’s fiction’, ‘intellligent, mature people can separate fiction from reality’, etc., the aim of this letter is clearly to reach those people who are not mature enough to separate the message of the books and film from real life. I have many ‘mature’ friends who are utterly crazy about the books and now the film. It is discussed constantly by people around me. Children may not know everything the book and films are about, but they have certainly heard of them. Young people these days can download pretty much anything they want and even if, as a parent, you don’t allow them the type of access needed to view this film, some of their friends will have been able to see it and will take great delight in telling all their friends the details. My son is 16 and kids at school are talking about it, many of whom have seen it. I am quite sure many of the boys or girls he is at school with are not mature enough to handle a relationship as a dominant or a submissive.
    For anyone that doubts that 50 Shades of Grey is permeating our culture in a way that many other fictional stories don’t, spend a night out with some women talking about how they are implementing the practices they have read in their own sex lives (I have even heard ‘my parents joke about making a red room of pain’ – gross!), read blogs of young girls and men that are predominantly about BDSM – there are literally thousands of them, the volume of which has increased dramatically since the release of these books. Have a look at ‘adult’ dating sites – lots of young men and women on them these days are advertising themselves as ‘Daddy Doms’ or ‘Sexy Subs’, also in majorly increased numbers since these books came out.
    For some reason, this story has struck a chord with many people in a way unlike many other stories do and it’s negative effect on our culture and the way people view sexual relationships can’t be denied. Those of you who say you are in a ‘helthy relationship’ so would not be silly enough to be affected by this story – this letter is not for you. It is for the many who don’t and the children that are being raised by these people. Many young people are confused and immature about sex and, if they have society basically telling them that this type of relationship is not just ok, but something to aspire to (and believe me much of the chat I have heard in relation to 50 Shades has been aspirational), then this letter is much needed and should be passed to as many people as possible to read.
    Yes, the words in parts are a bit antiquated, especially in relation to marriage, but the message is essential to many people.

  135. val - reply

    An interesting letter and comments. As a sex therapist I read the book and saw the movie out if curiosity. An important point to remember about Anna is that at the end of the book she walks out having experienced the the potential brutality and rejects both it and Christian. Something those of you who haven’t read the book or seen the film won’t have realised. This is a strong message to young women that loving somebody doesn’t mean putting up with abuse.

  136. Lilian - reply

    You have got to be kidding me!

    I don’t dream of a wedding gown, does that make me disturbed? Psychologically unhealthy?
    What is your definition of pain? Losing your virginity is painful. Sometimes a love bite can be a bit painful, but in the heat of passion it happens.
    What is the definition of “experimenting”? For some people it is having sex in a different place aka the kitchen instead of the bedroom with the lights out.
    And what about STD’s and pregnancy? You have heard of condoms I presume, you are not seriously suggesting that young people should have unprotected sex, are you?
    And why is everything based on a heterosexual relationship? What about men who want men? Women who want women?

    I am sorry, but I find this letter extremely disturbing and short sighted.

    I truly hope that sexual education in the USA is of a higher standard than this.

  137. Illona Pucci - reply

    Hello

    I do not speak english very well, but i was surprised his letter that in my opinion is directed to psychologically vulnerable and potential patients of any divan.

    I share some of his views but I think that to deliver a truly objective opinion is necessary to read the book and bring into play the theoretical correlation encompassing. In your letter you also attempts to characterize the characters with a false, negative and false view that truth is stranger than fiction and the relationship they hold will be valued differently by different cultures.

    “Constantly supplies Anastasia With Christian spirit” False, he always gives you something to drink and is SHE who decides what to take.

    “Guys want a girl like Anastasia Who is meek and insecure.” False, she is confident and contained why maintains an extensive internal dialogue and according to the saga, making their own decisions when not agree .

    “Christian’s emotional problems are cured by Anastasia’s love.” Why must “cure it”? in the course of the book clearly shows an attitude of tolerance and acceptance Ana, where through the link Grey achieves the best out of himself in favor of the relationship and where Ana will also imposes limits on the customs bit Grey conventional.

    I think your letter is full of prejudice and according to the opinion that you keep the character Christian Grey you try to control and dominate your readers trying to capture in his thoughts what you regard as “correct” something poorly ethical.

    Anyway … a book with such a terrible issue as war, domestic violence, poverty, etc.

    Illona Pucci
    Clinical Psychologist
    Chile

  138. holdemxpert - reply

    What a load of hooey. Those in consensual Dom/sub relationships are not “damaged” people.

  139. Heather W - reply

    I know a lots of people will hate on me because of what I am going to write.. But I am not agree with you. So you are a doctor. You literally titulated millions of people sick. This story is a fanfic. Hunger games didn’t make me to want to kill others. Or there are a lots of other example. I think literature is beautiful because it has no boundaries authors can IMAGINE anything. This book is not a real thing it’s imagination. It’s a unique love story and it is also about a different sexual culture. You -as a doctor- also kind of called those people sick who are living in the bdsm culture. If you don’t like it thats totally fine, but don’t hurt those people. What is normal for you that doesn’t mean that is normal to others.
    You kind of said that fifty shades is about abuse. If you read the books – and i am 100% sure you did not- than you would know that they discussed every little detail. Anastasia is not forced to do anything. She wants to try those things just as much as Christian. She is never forced. She enjoys it. She could say no whenever she wanted to but she never said it because she enjoyed it. And this book is also a love story. Personally I think that Ana is stronger than Christian, because she helped him to deal with his problems.
    I’m not trying to say that you have to love the books or the movie. I do not love them or anything. But I think before saying really tough things about something without even reading or watching it, well I think that is not expectable.
    Sexual abuse is a horrible thing but I think Fifty Shades has nothing to do with that.

  140. Vale - reply

    You talk about dangerous ideas in media and you say “She dreams about wedding gowns, not handcuffs.” This idea, that a woman should dream about getting married, is dangerous too, maybe not life dangerous, but anyways dangerous. A lot of women get in trouble with their partners because they are supposed to get married, or depressed because are not married when they are 30, and to talk about people taking your money! People spend thousand of dollars in weddings all the time and no one seems to care.

    I agree with a lot of things that you said, but you left the idea that the only relation that its healthy its a marriage and that BDSM its wrong and that its just not true.

    There are always shades of grey.

  141. Lisa - reply

    50 Shades of Grey is a work of fiction. I have not read the book, but I have seen the movie. It is also a work of fiction and a terrible representation of those involved in the BDSM lifestyle.

    I want to point out a few things about BDSM. First, it was previously listed in the DSM. It was removed in the most recent version. Just as homosexuality was once listed in the DSM, and has since been removed. According to the Kinsey Institute, 5-10%engages in SM (sadomasochism) for sexual pleasure, at least on an occasional basis. I had trouble finding clear statistics on the number of homosexual people in the US, but based on what I found, there are more people involved in BDSM than their are homosexuals.

    For a large amount of people who are involved in BDSM, it is an orientation, much like being gay. For me, this is absolutely the case. And as a direct comment to something you wrote about Christian Grey’s (the fictional character) childhood and how that had something to do with his interest in BDSM, I would like to point out that I was not abused sexually, physically or emotionally as a child, nor as an adult. I have had fantasies revolving around control since I was about five years old, and pain became mixed into these fantasies around the time that I became sexual. There are statistics found in the book SM101 (the international bestselling book on BDSM) about how the number of those engaged in BDSM who have been abused is comparable to the general population.

    Again, the book and movie you are referring to is a work of fiction.

    I also wanted to point out that I, personally never fantasized about marriage, a wedding or a white dress as a child, or an adult. Just because most people go one way in life, does not mean that everyone does or should.

  142. Mary - reply

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but please do not use your professional credentials to “shed light” on something that is pretty much obvious to everyone (yes, including young, dillusional women and men). First, it’s a fantasy! Second, I do not recall watching Pretty Woman and aspiring to be a high-priced hooker so I can meet a rich man who will fall in love with me. There are many, many, many examples (from music videos, song lyrics, tv shows, movies, etc) of extreme behaviour and Fifty Shades (the movie) is not quite there. The movie is mostly a very washed out, hollow version on the book. The only “violent” scene is when Christian flogged Ana, the rest is “fluff”. I am not a MD, nor a PhD, but I can assume that (if she were a real person) she wanted to really understand what made him “tick” and what he really wanted to do as a dominant. Any woman in love (or a man!!! The roles can be easily reversed), would want to find out what pleases their partner. She walked away after being unable to handle the pain, but she also endured the entire session without putting a stop to it (something she could have easily done). In the book, there is a clear sense that he is distraught while doing that to her and she is determined to go through the entire thing. I can go on and on…I do not believe the women who like the movie and/or the books are distributed nor do they have dysfunctional marriages – it’s a distraction and a fantasy! Not much different from soap operas with plenty of sexual innuendo and “twisted” partner swapping…Give people some credit! Parents and especially mothers are not dumb and I am certain they have already discussed this movie with their age-appropriate children. Furthermore, I will also assume that most of the young and impressionable adults who have watched the movie and/or read the books are pretty well aware that this is, by no means, a story inspired by true events and the entire thing is a pure, adult fantasy!

  143. Sophia - reply

    To all who showed so much concern on this phenomenal book and movie, heres what I would like to say:

    I am raised as a Christian and I was taught by parents about right and wrong. And now as a young adult, I am capable think to make my own choices and definitely exercise my free will.

    First and foremost Dr Grossman, although I am raised by a conservative religion, I have read the novels for nth time but that doesn’t mean that the story would have change my beliefs about sex and religion. Or would I ever let that FICTIONAL novel or movie would impact my life.

    I think that is very judgmental of you, when you are generalizing that all young adult like me doesn’t know whats good and bad entertainment.
    I do not care if the story is about love or not but what really makes it compelling for me is the strange or out of norm type of novel.

    Besides, do not make ridiculuos comments/feedback if you havent read the entire story, as if you’re jumping into conclusions already.

  144. WebTalker - reply

    Thank you good doctor for believing the way I do about 50SOG.

    I’ve never read the books, however I was devastated and shocked by what women were reading. This is the lowest I’ve seen Hollywood stoop to make a dollar – the degradation of women through acts of dominance, pain, and abuse. This is perversion, and is being presented on-screen as the ultimate expression of Love and sexual pleasure.

    How sick is this?

    This is captivating women by the millions as a form of enlightenment, but in reality leads to the destruction of relationships, homes, and marriages . Women of America – help stop this madness NOW!

  145. C - reply

    Thank you so much for writing this.

    I read all the novels and while I didn’t think too deeply into them and mostly read them for the raunchy details and to have a chuckle at the crap writing.

    Before seeing 50 Shades of Grey the movie, I read the reviews and the outcries and thought people were blowing it way out of proportion. What’s wrong with a bit of fictional bondage action and some poorly written dialogue?
    I went to the movies expecting to laugh my head off (and maybe get a bit of eye candy in the process).

    But I can honestly say that I’ve never had such a horrific experience – to the point where I had trouble breathing and had to leave the cinema.
    It was fine at first; I went with some cousins and we were all giggling and rolling our eyes for a while. But it soon got deeper, and more intense, less funny, and more scary.
    People may think this an overreaction, but whatever you read into it, the scene where he first ties her up in the red room after getting her to kneel on the floor with such humiliation suddenly made my heart beat a hundred miles a minute.
    Within a couple of minutes it triggered in me a panic attack, as I had just left an emotionally abusive relationship I hadn’t fully dealt with yet.

    Anyone who says this movie isn’t domestic violence wrapped nicely in a messed up romantic bow for women who just need to expand their sexual horizons is kidding themselves.
    I’m so incensed this drivel is being marketed as romance and a relationship to aspire to. If you’re in a relationship with a man who doesn’t let you see your friends, controls your every thought or move, demands to know where you are or who you’re talking to and why, thinks the relationship is all about his needs and nothing more and uses sex as a reason to stay and endure all the controlling manipulative bullshit – run as fast as you can. As I did.

    We may have been forced to take that crap back in the caveman days when men were seen as superior but not anymore. We have brains, can think for ourselves and deserve the freedom to make our own decisions and actions.
    And we certainly don’t need to sign a contract (literal or figurative) of demands and rules in order to be allowed to have a relationship.

    Again, thank you for writing this. I hope all women share it and take your message on board.

  146. Kim S - reply

    Really. This is a letter written by someone who has not read the trilogy. I can’t comment on the film as I’m seeing it tonight (with my male partner).

    Firstly – Christian Grey may be damaged by his childhood, but the story is about how he meets someone and struggles to change through the love that grows in that relationship.

    Second – no alcohol is ever foisted on anyone.

    Third – he wants her to sign a contract., She doesn’t. But he never stops her walking away.

    Four – Pyschologically healthy people enjoy BDSM. It’s not abuse; it’s discussed beforehand, nothing is done without (particularly the submissive’s) consent, and it’s not about violence. (I take objection to violent/war/horror movies – but then I don’t watch them so can’t comment on them; it’s not my world).

    Personally, as a 40 something woman, I do dream of handcuffs – it’s actually a big turn on because it increases your senses, especially if you’re blindfolded. It’s worth trying even if you don’t want to go for any of the “painful” stuff. Not knowing what’s coming (no pun intended) increases excitement. Personally I don’t want the very painful stuff, but plenty of people do and that’s fine with me. Suede whips or a smack across the bottom don’t actually hurt; all they do is bring the blood to the surface of the skin which increases the pleasure.

    Saying the S&M element of this film is abusive is plain wrong. You’ll be telling us it’s wrong to be gay next.

    So…before you judge get your facts right. Read the books. See the film. Try it out for yourself. You may just enjoy it.

    My daughter watches a whole variety of Disney films where the always slim, stunning girl gets whisked off by a dashing,handsome prince and always finds true love, gets married and lives happily ever after.

    Nobody every complains about the stereotypical fluff that is filling my daughter’s head, which will set her up for false expectations for life if I don’t manage them carefully when she’s older.

    Fifty Shades is just another story – this time for adults who enjoy reading and watching that kind of thing. I do. If you don’t that’s fine, you don’t need to read or watch it, but please stop passing judgment on a piece of fiction that you haven’t actually read or seen.

  147. Gaby - reply

    Hi, I just can say that I do not follow the crowds.
    What Hollywood or any other mass media broadcaster propose is out of my interest. I normally read what the average people do not read. What concern me the most is some of the opinions against the point of view of the docto. If my kids ask me to give my opinion about these movies or books, I will tell them to invest their money in something that brings them light and knowledge and help them to grown in all aspects. I did not read Harry Potter, twilight or whatever most sold books recommended by Opra are out. What the avarage people watch or reads, doesn’t mean that is good for my kids. They do have Harry Potter books since my mother in law gave them to my kids. What I did is to make sure that these are appropriated for their age and that know the difference between mass media average books and what is necessary to read in order to develope a well balance healthy person.
    Last comment, even though that I read in English and in German as well as in my mother tongue, I apologize in advance if I made grammatical or sintax mistakes.
    My mother tongue is Spanish.
    Dr thank you for sharing your thought on this. I am happy to chose what I read and to select what I watch.
    Regards,
    Fabiola

  148. Michelle - reply

    I am not an expert on the topic since I’m not a professional on human’s mind or social work but, anyhow I can speak from my experiences and I must say that whether the character of Grey is the perfect example of a toxic and unhealthy man for a relationship or not, I do believe that no woman should tolerate such treatment and emotional manipulation from a man, specially when the relationship is just begining and there’s no bigger commitment nor complicated issues in between, like children for example.

    So if the woman or girl just started a relationship with a guy who at the very beginning is showing up his real face and it seems like hard times will come if she continues… then, it is ridiculous to fall into the idea of “I love him and I can make him change”. In the real life saying “he can change” means maybe, years of pain, tears and effort, mainly coming from her not from him, why? Could he be the only and right guy for her? So, among many others, that violent and control-freak was the ONLY possible man she could be happy with? Please…

    Therefore, it seems to me that the story of “50 shades of Grey”, is an example of a common, unhealthy relationship on which the girl dedicates a big big part of her life not on her growth, studies, personal development, etc but, trying to make a relationship work by helping a guy to CHANGE (not even having the security that it will work).

    From Venezuela

  149. Beatriz - reply

    Trust me I’m the last person on Earth to defend this hideous book series and movie, and I agree with pretty much all you said, the ONLY thing I’d point out, is that this article shames the DBSM community by saying Grey’s preferences are sick.

    However, if you’re in a mutual, consensual BDSM relationship (which is NOT the case if the book, you can see Ana is always looking over her shoulder, constantly afraid of him, be submissive to him not for pleasure, but to keep him, etc…), both parties have pleasure, respect each other and are on the same page.

    What this book does is try to pass an abusive relationship and a VERY dangerous man as a consensual and exciting BDSM relationship. The BDSM community itself is furious with this 50 Shades fever because it makes them look like criminals. I’m not into anything kinky, but I do respect those who are and are HAPPY with it.

    I hope people understand my POV… to be clear, I wish it was possible to swip 50 Shades of Grey off of the face of the Earth.

  150. Emmeli - reply

    I’ve read the first book and it is not cleverly or intelligently written. The content is rather boring unless you’re 18 and everything is new and exciting. I think it is a lot of media hype that could be dangerous to young people who might think it is normal to have relationships like this.

    I’ll see the movie in the hope that it is better viewed than read but can’t see myself reading the rest of the books.

  151. Fernando Fernández - reply

    Estoy contigo Illona.
    Creo que la carta nos ofrece una visión muy simplista e infantil de lo que son las relaciones humanas. Yo me he leído el libro, no me ha creado ningún trauma, no estoy enganchado a la saga (solo me he leído el primero), simplemente me ha resultado curioso. No me muero por ver la película, si la veo bien pero puedo pasar sin verla. Estoy felizmente casado, tengo tres hijas, la mayor tiene 8 años, y por supuesto que no van a ver la película. Mi relación de pareja no ha cambiado. Es un libro para adultos por supuesto y la película también.

    Saludos desde España.

  152. itzel Bautista - reply
    • MiriamGrossman - reply

      the spanish translation is on my blog, you should be able to reach it here http://bit.ly/1ANUWSW
      I am sorry if my site is slow, there’s lots of traffic.

  153. AJmama - reply

    As much as I dislike many of the things brought to us by the media, the problem isn’t Hollywood really, it is the parents who aren’t teaching their kids how to love and be loved, or how to think critically. These books/movies are just romance/fantasy stories, not words to live by. In real life, you are right, the ‘story’ would not be so glamorous, but the books/movie is not real life. Parents need to start teaching kids the difference between real and fantasy/fiction. There are many examples of stories, for children even, where real life would not be the same. Cinderella, abused by her step family, saved by a prince (fantasy since real life Cinderella wouldn’t automatically be fixed by a rich man); Beauty and the Beast, basically a woman trying to change a man into something better (fantasy since that man in real life will probably never change). There are so many more stories we are exposed to that need parents to help kids critically analyze (not overanalyze, there is a difference) them so they don’t get the idea that fantasy is real or that it should be real. Too many people just assume that if it is made for kids it is ok to show them. Quit letting Hollywood teach your children and quit blaming Hollywood for corrupting them. It is your job, as a parent, to teach them about the reality of fantasy, and what role it should play in their life.

  154. Cecilia Iglesias - reply

    To Dr. Pucci:

    I firmly believe you should first learn about the culture this book is targeting and then, you would be able to understand why this book may “confuse and plant some dangerous ideas” as Dr. Grossman says.

    These books are not about romance. The first one was created with marketing in mind. After being a huge success, the author went ahead and wrote two more (sequel). Then the movie was made.

    As a psychologist you should know wery well that love does not involve mental abuse or physical pain. As a psychologist you should know, that when alchohol is used as a tool for manipulation is not love, is destruction.
    As a psychologist you should know, it is a sick relationship conducted by an abused character who enjoys only when he makes another person suffer.

    Unfortunately, after reading the book or watching the movie some people who posses a weak judgement may want to imitate the “love scenes”… and that is sad and degrading.
    Online media was used for this author to create an absolute groundswell around her books. She knows that content is the key to elevate “her product”.

    These books were created to sell and to satisfy the reader’s morbo and curiosity. Where you engaged perhaps?

    Kuddos to Dr. Grossman! She went right to the target!

  155. Atziri Arroyo - reply

    I’m totally agree, violence is not valid in any situation, and educating our families and people against violence prevents abortions too and many other psychological problems.

  156. Celeste - reply

    As a 30 year old girl who has been in a very similar situation, minus the red room of pain, abusers are master manipulators, you don’t even this know it’s happening to you until it may be too late to fight it. Abuse is abuse and all of you who want to speculate or disagree with this doctor need to spend one day in the life of a victim to ever understand the truth in this, you lose a part of your soul that I’m still searching to get back. It will change you forever and I commend you doctor for your efforts to warn people. I wish I was informed of the horrifying trap I was led into at 21 it changed my life and unfortunately I can’t do enough to protect other people but sadly most can’t be warned, you will never understand until it’s most likely too late.

  157. Marcia Mendoza - reply

    Dear Dr Miriam
    Whilst I never had any desire to read nor watch this degrading filth, nonetheless l was very disturbed about the lack of outcry and comment from professionals in your field. Until I saw this post. Being a non professional, how grateful I was to read this riposte to this insidious psychological carnage to the emotional wellbeing of young girls. The fact that the author is female…well…if 50 shades of grey are fantasies, it literally speaks volumes.

    Another concern is what are the churches saying? Often people who are broken and destroyed by inappropriate and manipulative relationships resort to churches for healing. The point is why such silence from those who really know or claim to know the truth?

  158. Time to move forward - reply

    Yes, I’m certain 50 Shades is the first book or movie to portray untruths in the history of Hollywood. People, it is fiction! It is designed to get people thinking and talking. There are countless books, movies and games which are violent and horrific, but I don’t see the level of hysteria over them. It’s time to move on….

  159. Felipe Oliveira - reply

    I really don’t think that marriage is only way to be happy in sex.
    * Sorry christians… Sometimes is better to remain single (But not alone)

  160. Kate - reply

    “Anastasia exercises free choice when she consents to being hurt, so no one can judge her decision.
    Flawed logic. Sure, Anastasia had free choice – and she chose poorly. A self-destructive decision is a bad decision.”

    What is hurt? Is a hard massage hurt? If it feels good is it hurt? Is it destructive?

    If you don’t know what does or doesn’t hurt someone else, is it logical or sane for you to making judgement about someone else’s decision?

    Not too long ago, people thought that choosing to have sex with a member of the same sex was a bad decision and destructive. That because someone else didn’t feel the same as you about something they wanted, they must be wrong.

    Good thing we don’t think that anymore, right?

  161. Anonymous - reply

    If anyone is like me, ‘letters’ like these that are meant to discourage, even if they have legitimate points except about how normal girls only dream about wedding gowns and sex is normal only in a marriage setting (this ain’t the 1950s anymore eko) would make me want to watch the movie even more let alone convince me not to. Are people, full blown adults at that, so gullible these days that they are at risk of believing and reenacting everything they see on the screen in their personal lives that a psychiatrist (or religious folks) have to tell them what to read and watch or not? What ever happened to making our own informed decisions as the adults we are supposed to be? Or are we still letting others like this psychiatrist hold our hands and still guide us through the ups and downs of life? Mind you, I may not even like the movie after watching it for much of the mentioned reason in this letter. But, that would be MY decision to make and not that of some expert. As for our children, all we can do is try to raise them confident and wise so they’ll be equipped to make informed decisions in protecting themselves from harm since we can’t completely shelter them from all the evil that is out there. Can’t wait to see this controversial movie and find out for myself what the whole hoopla is all about

  162. Gregory - reply

    I am just wondering Dr. Grossman,

    1) Upon what scientific research in the field of Psychiatry do you base your opinion of BDSM relationships? It is apparent that you disagree with the DSM-5 ? In Richard Krueger’s 2010 paper on the role of BDSM relationships in the DSM-5 this exercpt:

    “Most studies of individuals practicing sadomasochism in the
    community have shown evidence of good psychological and
    social function, as measured by higher educational level, income,
    and occupational status compared with the general population
    (Breslow, Evans, & Langley, 1985; Moser & Levitt, 1987;
    Sandnabba, Santtila,&Nordling, 1999; Santtila, Sandnabba,&
    Nordling, 2000).Weinberg (2006) concluded his review of the
    social and psychological literature by saying that ‘‘…sociological
    and social psychological studies see SM practitioners as
    emotionally and psychologically well balanced, generally comfortable
    with their sexual orientation, and socially well adjusted”

    Since you apparently disagree, can you present a paper with the scientific basis of your disagreement?

    2) It is apparent that you conflate Consensual BDSM activities with abuse. All of science see them as two separate things that wile the potential for a connection on a case by case basis can be made overall they are two different and distinct things. Upon what science do you base your connecting of these two things?

    I saw the fifty shades movie and frankly the dynamic between the two principle characters was confused and dysfunctional. He was not so much seeking a functional BDSM dynamic as he was using BDSM as a compensation method for inadequacies. This is NOT the norm in BDSM relationships it is in fact abnormal in the BDSM community for this to occur. She was seeking only a Vanilla sexual relationship based on common attraction and found the male characters desire for BDSM initially interesting but distasteful in practice. This caused HER to end the relationship and he reluctantly agreed.

    The male characters clumsy and inexperienced attempt at BDSM relationships and her lack of desire for such was the basis of the story. At no time did she lose the empowerment to leave and in fact she did leave the relationship without any abusive repercussions or actions on his part.

    This relationship as described in the movie was simply two people with mismatched imperatives and a complete lack of experience in successful interpersonal relationships attempting an advanced dynamic. That’s it; no disease or evil (other than clumsy social interactions and ill conceived actions) just two people who lacked experience failing at an attempted relationship.

    3) I cannot help but wonder if your religious bias and lack of personal experience in BDSM relationships is actually the sole basis for your opinion? If that is the case then you have erred and should not offer professional help to normally healthy individuals that practice BDSM nor should you counsel young people exploring sexual dynamics if they express interest in BDSM unless you stick to the scientific data present in the DSM-5 and counsel accordingly without infusing your personal and /or religious bias which is not founded on established science.

    • Kerry - reply

      I read this and to be honest, I have never been so shocked by a “professional” letter in my whole life.

      I completely agree with Gregory, and I think you should at least understand the BDSM relationships and aspects before you even think of judging. People who don’t understand may see it as abuse, but that is completely untrue. Those who are involved in any BDSM related activities deem them as “SSC” – Safe, Sane and Consensual.

      Before you compare the film to “the real world”, as you’ve put it, you should at least understand that the real world of BDSM has nothing to do with biased people who think it is purely abuse. There are lots of people that enjoy every aspect of it, and yes, sadomasochism can be a large part of it, but it’s things like this letter that make people judge themselves and worry that there may be something wrong with them because of the sort of life they enjoy. Surely as a doctor, you should be avoiding making people think there is something wrong with them?! Believing that there is something wrong with a person, just because of the life choices and preferences they have, can lead to a hell of a lot more damage than you think, and you’re encouraging that by saying the person portrayed as the “Dominant” in the film, is sick and dangerous and would end up in jail, or that the “submissive” would end up in a morgue.

      You should really think about how that affects anyone who may come across this and is already involved with BDSM, your biased view is utterly shocking and a complete disgrace.

  163. Kim Delano - reply

    Gregory,
    Very, very well said.

    I will add this. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the BDSM lifestyle. While I’m not into full-blown BDSM, I see nothing wrong with being spanked, blindfolded, tied up, etc. as long as both parties are in agreement.

    I do think it’s dangerous to metaphorically “shake your finger” at the younger generation and tell them these are dangerous activities or are wrong. Let’s say someone discovers they like being spanked and it enhances their orgasm. Then they read this column that says spanking is abusive and bad. They may then feel that their likes are bad. Is that the message you really want to convey???

    Everyone has different likes and dislikes. Who is anyone to tell me or anyone else that our sexual likes are bad???

    In the early 70’s, Nancy Friday wrote a book called My Secret Garden. This book detailed women’s sexual fantasies. Fantasies were solicited from thousands of women all over the world. The book broke those fantasies down into categories, based on the most popular responses to the advertisement. Not all fantasies were published, but those that were most representative of the responses.

    The categories of fantasies were somewhat surprising. Based on responses, a lot of women had rape fantasies, they had fantasies of being “taken by a black man,” orgy/gang bang fantasies, exhibitionist fantasies and quite a few others. The book was updated in the 90’s (might be the 00’s) and women’s fantasies hadn’t changed at all in 30-40 years. I’m not saying every single women has those fantasies, but enough had them that they were considered representative and were included in the book. I think that is part of the reason the 50 Shades books were so popular. While most women would backpedal and say “Oh no I’ve never thought about that!” I call BS. Those books allowed them a glimpse (no matter how misleading) into a culture they do not normally experience.

    Women fought for equality in the 70’s and that also includes sexual equality. To tell women now that the equality they fought for is deviant defeats that entire fight. We have the right to say “Yes, I like that and I want to experience it” without being judged by someone who doesn’t even know us.

    I do also think it is dangerous to tell a nameless, faceless audience that their sexual proclivities are bad or wrong. Different? Fine. Knock yourself out. But to tell someone their likes are bad or wrong can have wide-reaching detrimental effects on them. Suppose a young woman says “Oh yeah, I like being spanked (or whatever)!” and someone is telling them they are deviant for enjoying that. That can be devastating to someone and can cause sexual oppression. They may start to wonder about other decisions in their life.

    In order to present a coherent argument on *any* subject, you must be able to argue both sides of that debate. I don’t think Dr. Grossman (or many others who are patting her on the back) can do that. If you’ve never experienced it, you don’t really know, do you?????

    I think people who enjoy straight up missionary position 100% of the time are boring but you know what? Everyone else’s sexual life is none of my business. Live and let live. Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you. Don’t impose your will on my life and I won’t impose my will on your life.

    In short, I think it is reckless and irresponsible to present only one side of an argument. I would have more respect for Dr. Grossman if she had given a counterpoint.

  164. Natalie - reply

    I’m just confused why people are judging this book and movie when they have never read or watched it. If you have done either of those, you will understand this is NOT about abuse. Ana was never forced to sign the contract!! At the end of the first movie, she still hasn’t even signed it. And, Christian sat down with her to make any changes on it that she was uncomfortable with. Another thing, Christian DISLIKED when Ana drank alcohol when you clearly just stated that he forced her to drink it. Bottom line, abuse is abuse. Ana was not abused because she agreed to everything and was free to go whenever she pleased. Learn your facts before you comment. If it bothers you so much, then don’t read or watch it.

  165. Renee - reply

    In response to those who say that Dr. Grossman does not understand BDSM and that “normally healthy individuals” can practice BDSM I say that mentally healthy individuals should neither want to inflict pain on another person nor receive it themselves. If you have this particular propensity you most likely have a history of abuse. Just because modern technology has allowed those who practice BDSM to hook up with like minded people does not mean that it is either good or healthy. Think of an organization like the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). These are people that want to normalize pedophilia and they justify their beliefs by pointing to others like themselves. Those who denigrate Dr. Grossman because of her religious beliefs (which she never mentions in the article) are using that as an excuse in an attempt to discredit her very sane and wise point of view. Many posters in this blog have validated exactly what she is saying, BDSM is not glamorous, it’s dangerous.

  166. Lisabet Ellis - reply

    It’s Hollywood, okay? Anyone with two working brain cells knows that the movies are all about fantasy, not reality.

    While it is true that there is an alternative lifestyle known as BDSM, there are rules and protocols within, and it is not wanton abuse, and nothing at all fitting your condemnation of the lifestyle based solely upon your opinion of a Hollywood MOVIE based on a book, also fantasy/fiction.

    It is only very loosely based upon the BDSM lifestyle; more movies and books are incorporating this theme of late, and they all play fast and loose with the interpretation of what the lifestyle is about. And that’s what Hollywood is about. Physician, heal thyself! (Before you go making condemnatory judgments on others.) You have homework to do.

    I know. I’ve been involved with many of these people–we used to make many of the ‘toys’ they enjoyed playing with. They were also some of the most down-to-earth, straight-shooting, honest people we’ve ever met. Never once did we get ‘backstabbed’ by one of these folks, as we did several times by so-called “straight-arrow” people in our every day life.

  167. James - reply

    WHy was this movie rated as if it were less dangerous than “Showgirls” ?

  168. Bruce - reply

    Porn (in ANY Form) is a Pack Of LIES, guys.

  169. Gregory - reply

    Dr. Grossman,

    I hope you hear and understand exactly what Kerry said, those are very true statements and you need to internalize them.

    The obvious intent of your letter was to attach the credibility conferred by your medical degree to your religious beliefs which taken by themselves are in stark opposition to the science of psychiatry. This is not acceptable behavior for a licensed professional.

    My experiences in the BDSM community as an active participant over 35 years has proven to me that the common and religiously based perceptions of us are 180 degrees removed from reality. In fact the most harmful forms of dominance and submission can actually be found in a church not in our dungeons.

    At no time do we truckle members into submission with an unseen but omnipresent threat of doom over which they have no control. Invoking such would violate the consensual part of our creed; safe, sane, and consensual. At no time do we demand belief in an unknowable, un-provable or un-revealable being supposedly issuing the demands by which we conduct our affairs. that would violate the sane portion of our mantra. And finally we never act without first learning the safe way to conduct any activity we engage in. Most rope tops that specialize in suspension bondage study for years to learn how to do it well and safely while still meeting the needs of the submissive. Yes you heard me, us big bad dominants spend years learning skills designed to bring ecstasy to our submissive partners. Bet you didn’t know that did you? Also the community takes great pride in carefully vetting those who engage in the more risky aspects of play and makes sure those individuals are qualified. The submissives also look out for each other and a dominants reputation is quickly diminished to nothing if he or she does not maintain his or her skills.

    Just because I refuse to submit to an unseen and imagined god that is a sociopolitical creation of man for control purposes over the masses, does not mean that all BDSM participants are atheists. In fact many devout penitents of various religions, including Christianity, are found in BDSM clubs every night. A case can be made that believing in god is more clinically insane than anything I have seen in 35 years of dungeon attendance but for now lets just leave it at this:

    You need to avoid counseling on BDSM related subjects until you have thoroughly investigated the subject including talking at length to a lot of submissive and dominant community members and visiting one of the many dungeons and private play parties available worldwide. You cannot adequately understand us by peeking out of the church door at the world outside and then counseling others as if you know all that is to be known about our complex and wonderful lifestyle. The harm to the psyche of nascent people with BDSM imperatives that might read your letter and think themselves ill because of it is shameful. Please retract your statements and replace them with more knowledgeable writings after informing yourself of our true nature!

    To any people who were affected by Dr. Grossmans ill conceived letter take heart, it was just a personal opinion not a clinical diagnosis you read and it was not accurate. You are not ill for having such feelings but you need to be careful! There are many who would use your uncertainty to manipulate and control your self image. Only YOU can define yourself and if that self definition leads you to our dungeon door you will be safe and welcomed inside!

    To Bruce

    The movie was in fact a lie about the BDSM lifestyle and perpetuated incorrect stereotypes about us. Although it was not porn it was just an ill conceived and poorly executed movie.

  170. Camila - reply

    Please don’t call yourself a professional if you let your own feelings and religion cloud you judgement. BDSM is not sick. It’s not abuse. It’s Safe, Sane and Consensual.
    Though, this movie doesn’t follow the rules of BDSM, the relationship itslef IS sick. He is an abuser. I agree in that part.
    But saying that “Maybe… for adults in a long term, healthy, committed, monogomous relationship, AKA “marriage”. ” is the only safe way to explore sexuality tells me that you are completely close minded, and you cannot accept other kind of relationships, and you don’t even care about getting information.
    This is only your close-minded opinion.
    And I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but if you try to get these stupidity in other people’s heads, please just shut up.

  171. Bec - reply

    That’s quite a heterosexual view on sexuality… “Wedding gowns” or “handcuffs”?

    Are they our only options in your mind? What about abstinence, homosexuality or polygamy (just to name a few)?

    Aren’t you a psychologist? Surely you’ve treated a broader spectrum of patients than just emotionally and physically tortured straight women??

    I haven’t read the books or seen the movie, nor do I have any desire to mostly because it just wreaks of capitalism but I sure as hell never sat and dreamed of white weddings.. Talk about oppression of women!

    Pretty disappointing Doc.

  172. Marijke Vonk - reply

    Dear Miriam, I was wondering why my comment is being held for moderation for some days now? I linked to academic research on BDSM, certainly that couldn’t be considered offensive?

    Marijke

    • MiriamGrossman - reply

      Hi Marijke, I am flooded with emails and comments. Could you resend the information? Thank you.

  173. Doctor Anoymous - reply

    I think we have an American Psychiatrist here behaving like an Indian politician. She should get a Nobel prize for this. How could she advice people to not watch a movie and how could she be sure that kids are bound to get influenced by that? The problem is that people of “her generation” have been over-estimating the stupidity of today’s youth and are being unnecessarily over-cautious for years now. If we follow the same logic we should stop watching any film, stop meeting people, going out of our homes, close all doors and windows, may be spray-paint ’em black and sulk till we become her patients. A totally “Paranoid Psychiatrist”. I would suggest her to not watch the movie herself though

  174. Alex Hagane (@AoiHagane) - reply

    I agree with your main point, that it is an abusive and co-dependient realtionship.
    BUT some of the statements you make… like ” A psychologically healthy woman[…]She dreams about wedding gowns, not handcuffs.” you make it sound like if I want any other than marriage is something wrong with me and franckly I feel so offended and make me doub you, also that close minded view on sex…

  175. Nikoleta - reply

    Everyone should take responsibility for their own decision. On the other side YOU must be extremely stupid, even dump to think that this is a real story, or in real live they are going to meet their Mr. Gray. This book, this story is a fiction. If someone cannot realize this I fill sorry for this person.
    On the other hand I would like to ask what about “Pretty woman”? Is someone think that she is going tomorrow to be a prostitute because one day a millionaire will fall in love with her and everything will change. This is ridiculous. The ability to make difference between fiction and real life is your own responsibility.

  176. jennivieve - reply

    Thank you very much for this letters of yours. It will enlightens us and most especially to young audiences who are keening and itching to watch this movie…i hope they would read it when im going to post it in my facebook an twitter account..

  177. Deborah Halasz - reply

    While I appreciate your well-worded warnings about this movie, I am disappointed in what you failed to discuss. BDSM can be practiced in a normal healthy manner where two sane and sober individuals choose the form of roleplay and together make the rules as to what is acceptable and what is not.
    This movie, as you accurately explained, does not portray a consensual relationship. Ana has no understanding of a healthy BDSM relationship and in her naivety she accepts Christian’s treatment as normal. Christian, transferring the abuse he received to how he will act in a male/female relationship, is nothing less than a monster. At the very least, he needs counseling. At most, he deserves to be locked up in a jail cell!
    I would hope if you could see BDSM as a form of role play between two consenting adults who love each other and have together set boundaries of what is acceptable or not acceptable, you would not be so quick to judge the relationship.

  178. Tom Johnson - reply

    For many child abuse activists, the elephant in the room with respect to this movie and all the intensive discussion thereof is how inadequately protected minors are from the kind of treatment Ana receives as a consenting adult.

    It’s worth noting that if Mr. Grey were a high school principal in Texas, Alabama or one of the other states where students are legally forced to “submit,” he could routinely paddle teenage girls–including those 18 or over–without breaking any laws. The only consent he might need is that of the girls’ parents. (For illustration, look up the case of Jessica Serafin and the School of Excellence in Education.)

    See also: http://www.fiftyshadesofchildabuse.org

  179. Marga - reply

    Dear doctor:
    I agree with violence in relationships is unaceptable, but i’m a young woman and don’t dream about wedding dresses… It’s abit insulting for me: I dream maybe of having a nice partner, but not even think of marrying…
    I dream about nice jobs and people around me, healthy relationships with family and friends, making my dreams true, achieving my social projects in my neighbourghood… Nothing to do, as you say, with becoming a bimbo inside a white dress, looking as a cream cup cake…
    I like tour crític about the movie, but a lot or your etnocentrism and narrow minded stereotypes are expressed un tour article.
    I think it could be more interesting If it could be a bit more scientific and less of your own personal opinion, because you write as a doctor, not as an ordinary woman.
    Thankyou anyway for tour opinión.

  180. mariam mneimneh - reply

    hi. thank you very much for these words.. you are so right! last week i was in cinema and i saw the ad for 50 shades of grey and i was really angry to see young guys entering to see the movie.. i just imagined what will they think about after watching it! they will try to act like it im sure and sad about it.. its a very abusive movie and i wish everybody understands this..

  181. marian - reply

    I haven’t seen or watch this movie but my classmates keep talking to this kind movie or books.and for me as a teenager ,Its nice to know that there are people who put concern with this matter and I’m glad you put effort to proclaim this information Doc. thank you

  182. Woman of letters - reply

    Miriam, 50 Shades of Grey is not a love handbook for young people, but a bad fiction movie. Fiction does not have a pedagogical purpose anymore (at least, not necessarily), instead it is a space where collective fantasies, fears and memories can be explored and rehearsed. Fiction is a GAME that makes possible the act of fantasizing about what cannot be done in real life. And we, young people, know that. You are really mixing very different concepts on your argument. So, please, stop using your professional authority as a doctor to talk about things that you obviously don´t know and limit yourself to your your area of expertise. Thanks.

  183. Gregory - reply

    In reply to Renee on Feb 24,

    I , an experienced member of the BDSM community completely disagree with your assessment of us overall and in particular our lovely submissives. First your innuendo that BDSM participants are all either abusers or victims is completely baseless. In fact the typical submissive (Male female or Trans) is above average in IQ, self actualized, independent in daily life and quite resistant to actual abuse because of these traits. They come to the dungeon for very specific reasons and it has nothing to do with debasement or self loathing typical of people who gravitate to abusive relationships. The Amygdala in the brain releases endorphins (Neuro peptides that elevate pleasure and dull pain) in response to heavy stimulus. Learn to control this response or better yet, amp it up, and sexual pleasure is greatly increased. Also the feeling of sinking into an endorphin laced euphoria is pleasurable even without conventional sex as a final component to the encounter. Add to that the feeling of empowerment gained form trusting a partner completely and giving yourself over for a brief time to his or her command and you have a slice of heaven on earth for the average submissive.

    The dominant gets a rush of pleasure too from seeing his partner in a state of bliss that cannot be had from typical sexual encounters which focus only on momentary pleasure.

    The common perception of pain as it is delivered by BDSM play being agony is a load of propaganda by moralists who don’t know better because they are actually bent on dominating people for real and involuntarily instead of playing with domination on a consensual basis with complete consent of both parties.

    You would do well to consider this aspect of BDSM and revise your opinion, you might just find that euphoric state someday with a special partner if you do! I hear all the time about how bland boring and manipulative the average sex life is. I feel sorry for those who let others define their sexuality rather than do it for themselves. Churches and agenda driven counselors commit heinous domination and abuse and get away with it all the time. The damage religion has done to normally healthy Gay, Trans, Lesbian, and kinky folk by marginalizing them and making them feel rejected is absolutely disgraceful.

    That is the real abuse and happily it is eroding quickly as an increasing majority of people discard bronze age principles based on a convoluted novel and address the reality of being human!

    The reality is that your assessment of us is incorrect. The question is do you have the courage to find out that I am right? The same goes for Dr. Grossman!

  184. Crina - reply

    Miriam, I am totally agree with you, even other’s not! :)

  185. Klara from Central Europe - reply

    Dear Dr. Grossman,
    Your article was translated to my language (Hungarian). Many thanks for it.
    I wonder your responsibility for all of us.
    ML Klara

  186. No one - reply

    All I have to say is: this is NOT a movie for small minded people. If you are intelligent enough, you should be able to see everything from a different perspective. I’ve seen the movie and I was able to continue my ordinary life after watching it. This movie didn’t make me dream of my own Christian Grey or want to be handcuffed by the bed. I think this letter should apply only to people who don’t have the necessary education to understand this is just a movie based on a fictional book, and that’s how it should remain. This doesn’t apply to everyone because, apparently, some of us are able to take care of ourselves and are perfectly conscious that a goddamn movie shouldn’t affect our daily experiences. I don’t even know what kind of person you have to be to let a movie alter your perception on real life matters, like love or safe relationships. If you’re not able to detach a fiction film from your real life actions, you certainly have a problem and you should seek for help.

  187. marathisend - reply

    Dr. Grossman,

    I hail from India (from your perspective a radical and conservative society) but my approach to life in wider and humanatarian approach to any aspect of my life issues either Sex, Romance. I read this book and saw this movie too. They are implanting sick sex & abusive relationship subconciously. I thank you from my bottom of my heart personally for exposing the real truth of a sick relationship from Psychologist point of new. These holly wood movies always portrays violence , terrorism and sick sex to spin our money in destroying our society & family values. An eye opener for youngsters who should undersand the real meaning of love or understand the Terms of endearnment. Thank you Dr. Grossman once again for expressing your factual views, for which our planet earth needs more noble souls like you to exist longer period than you deserve with abundance of happiness, prosperity and robust health till you ceased to exist.

  188. Jeew - reply

    This article is a disgrace to the science called medicine. The human behaviour is not a stereotypical ‘standard’ thing as this learned doctor portraits. The inability to accept the reality has made so many disasters and she seems to be stuck in an era where ‘normality’ is defined as majority.
    One can expect such biased un-scientific review from a lay men but not from a doctor who we expect to be more broad and humanistic in thinking!
    God save the medical profession!

  189. David - reply

    Love the comments. Miriam Grossman, a Christian? Oy gevalt.

    Unfortunately the BDSM comments detract from the real perturbing dysfunctionality of the story’s male character. He’s a stalker, control freak, and (in the book at least) he continues to have sex when she says ‘no.’ To me this qualifies as rape. So what I think Dr. Grossman is saying is that the story, albeit a fictional one, says that the control-freak-stalker-rapist is OK as long as the guy is super rich.

    Women, I say leave this as a fantasy if you like but please PLEASE don’t think this will EVER have a happy ending in real life. If, as in the book, you are afraid of him (like Ana was) for any reason whatsoever, then GET AWAY FROM HIM.

    And no, I didn’t read the book or see the movie, but I did read the blog commentaries that go through it chapter-by-chapter (See Jenny Trout’s blog and 50 Shades of Tedious F*****kery. Much funnier and easier to read than the original.)

    Oh, and as far as being a pilot is concerned, to a pilot, Christian is no pilot. Even if the radios failed after the ‘crash’ of the helicopter in book 2, there was this little thing mandated by the FAA that all aircraft carry called an “Emergency Locator Transmitter” (ELT) that could have been turned on with a push of a button that would have brought help to them so they wouldn’t have to walk out of the woods. The author didn’t do her research on many levels.

    Speaking of the author, have you noticed that there was a deep disagreement with the movie’s director on the content of the movie? Somehow EL James got full access to the set and editing room, something completely unheard of. She was such a control freak on set that director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel won’t work with her again. James was the one that insisted the awful dialog from the book be used in the movie. Note that EL James, a control freak, wrote a story about a CONTROL FREAK. In the books, Ana has ‘conversations; with her ‘subconscious.’ WRONG!! One CAN’T have conversations with ones’ subconscious! Conscience, maybe, but not the mental thought processes below the threshold of consciousness. So in this case, EL James’ control-freak subconscious was coming out in the book as a character trait in Christian. And yes, newbie writer’s like James put their subconscious all over their initial works.

    But I digress. I’m not the target audience of the movie/books, but I feel so sad for the ones who are that buy into it. Keep going Dr. Grossman!

  190. Brooke - reply

    First of all, I would like to point out that it is possible to be in a committed relationship without being married. Putting a ring on a finger does not automatically suggest that you will be faithful.

    And secondly if you have read the trilogy, you may think differently. At first it is about dominant and submissive, but as the book unravels unravels, they develop an unconditional love for each other. Women do not necessarily read this book because they want a relationship like that, they read it for the pure romance “hearts and flowers ” that develops in an unusual way.

    I can understand how someone can perceive it like described as above, but there is more than meets the eye.

  191. Anastasia - reply

    Have any of you actually read it?!? First of all a BDSM relationship is not bad. Pepole have thing called SAFE WORDS to you know, KEEP THEM SAFE!
    I’m discussed that pepole would call this abuse! Do you even know what abuse is!? I’m ELEVEN and I know more about this than any of you! Also is the main character (Anna) did not love him she would have left but she happily married him! So please do your research about the book and what BDSM actually is.

  192. Anastasia - reply

    So… I found a few exaggerations
    1. Anna is not weak, she frequently stands up to him. And ya I’m not an idiot, she likes the spanking. It says it in the book. And it is normal from some people to WANT that it’s called BDSM (ya it’s a real thing)
    2. Anna singed a VERY detailed contract that she can change at any time. Also they do love each other, so she can just say “caning is not okay”
    3. This book could never have ended with him in jail! As I said before MANY REAL people do this and love it.
    4. If children are not comfortable with the topics
    A. They would probably just stop reading it
    B. The responsible parents can talk to them and have a discussion
    5. The point of this book was Christian learning to love and Anna teaching him about a traditional relationship
    So please look up the facts
    And yes this dose have heavy things but that dose not make it evil

  193. Diana - reply

    Thanks for sharing Your thoughts. Remarque once said that every women even the strongest ones are seeking a strong man, not because they want their freedom to be restricted but because they want to be given a priviledge of being weak.

  194. Sibel Fraser - reply

    What absurd letter!!! The most absurd thing is to write a prejudice, sexually repressive letter and sign it as a phychiatrist!!! You should be a very poor therapist indeed to do what is contrary to all practice of phycology or phychiatric in western medicine. You even justified one of your points using a misquote of Neuroscience. I will not get into the rights or wrongs of a film based on a book that is fiction and came from a writer minds. What I DO will mention is that in any SERIOUS medical research about human relationship one conclusion is unanimous THERE IS NO NORMMALITY !!!
    You Sir wrote only about your personal bigoted opinion. I find much more hurtful to pass this absurd and dated idea that girls should think about weddings and princess dresses. That they should think about sexual experiences only within the marriage. That marriage is the ‘normal’ and health thing to do. IT IS NOT!!!!! BE DIFFERENT IS NORMAL!!!!!
    That should be your medical opinion. And if any girl is reading this what I would say is DO explore your sexually, and if you ever what to explore the BDSM do go to clubs dedicated to that and DO sign the contracts. They are made to protect you against any physical abuse. You can try what you want and if you don’t like it, there will be people to help you get out of situations without you getting hurt. EXPLORE YOUR SEXUALITY, THAT IS NORMAL!!!!

  195. hind - reply

    Thx Doc so much.its rarely to find someone telling the truth about a wellknown book and movie.very interesting.ive just done a talk bout this subject.n when i gave fifty shades as an example i was really chocked to find young people aware bout this

  196. Claire Kennedy - reply

    I’ve been looking for a resource like this that sums up my thoughts on this book. Thank for for your beautiful articulation of what I’ve been thinking. I didn’t make it through the first book. My stomach turned at all the ‘romantic’ parts. At first I thought there was something wrong with me. It wasn’t until much later I began reading about others who felt the same and saw the truth exposed in the books. I want to see the movie, just to see if they covered up any of the emotional abuse, manipulation, or coerced consent. But I won’t give them my money.

    There is a book called “Fifty Shades of Abuse.” It’s a true story about a young women who met a wealthy lawyer (in Seattle oddly enough), who wanted a unique type of relationship as well. Although it didn’t end with the woman saving the messed up sociopath. It ended just like they do in the real world. Another great resource for people who can’t see the romantized violence in 50 Shades. Scary to think what this series is doing to our culture. Or is it just a symptom?

    Fifty Shades of Abuse can be found on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00KPGQVZM/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&sr=&qid=

  197. zoe - reply

    I find it fascinating that there are absolutely no comments disagreeing with your opinion on this blog.

    Fifty Shades of Grey aside, BDSM relationships may be the most sane, safe, and consensual sex there is. The submissive is the one with the power. Ana does tell Christian to stop.

    And I love it when my husband hits me with a belt, because he only starts when I ask him to, and he stops when I tell him to. And it’s arousing as f—. But I suppose that’s too obscene of a word for you to tolerate.

    You are narrow-minded.

  198. Don - reply

    Wow, I find myself to be amazed at not just many of the comments posted regarding this movie and these books. As much as I disagree with both, a person does have the right to go see the movie at a theater or to even wait and rent the movie to watch at home.
    My complaint here is that our local library wants to show the movie as a night out for adults. Since when did local libraries become the go-to place for pornography, nudity and sexual perversion?
    And yes, let’s call it what it is.
    I am amazed that in today’s society, it’s apparently the young lady who looks forward to her wedding day in a beautiful wedding gown is the poster girl for dull, boring and living in the dark ages. How did we come to this conclusion?
    Since when did just living together become the norm? Call it what you want. But the bottom line is, living together outside of marriage is biblically wrong but equally so, it shows an inability to make a lasting commitment, or at least a fear of considering one. Otherwise, why not go ahead and get married?
    As for the S&M stuff, I don’t think that sex between a couple has to be the same old thing every time, but there are limits to which even committed couples should go. Enjoying the pleasures of sex is one thing, but it appears that everyone seems to be talking about things they allow to be done to them because it enhances the feelings of erotica. Or, the things that a one partner enjoys doing to another partner and the pleasure that he or she is getting from the experience.
    Sex is about more than a physical experience. Yes, it should be about pleasing one’s partner rather than thinking about one’s self all the time. However, it’s really about two people coming together as one, in a joint relationship, a personal experience that should be between just the two of them. It’s not about power and bondage. It’s about love and commitment. Let’s face it, a real relationship is formed outside the bedroom. Marriage and/or commitment is about much more than just what happens behind closed doors. It’s about learning about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, each one’s dreams and goals. It’s about learning to love one’s spouse in a way that, should the ability to perform for one reason or another in the bedroom, the love and commitment doesn’t suddenly end.
    It’s about two people learning other ways to please one another within the bounds of their relationship because of the love they possess for one another.
    Movies like this confuse sex for love and sends a message that young people who are looking for what real love is don’t need to read, hear or see.
    And to show it in a local, public, tax-supported library as if it’s normal behavior on the part of everyone in today’s society is completely out of line.

  199. Joyce - reply

    Gosh, i guess I’m just lucky, straight sex for me is AMAZING with my husband of 26 years! Why seek out bells and whistles when the original act is both satisfying and contented?

    I actually feel bad for people who aren’t sated with good ole regular genital sex. Seeking out more irregular forms of sexual satisfaction would feel base and demeaning. Once you start down that path nothing is ever enough and you will forever be seeking out different and “more exciting” methods of achieving an orgasm.

    Surely I’m not the only woman on earth with this kind of luck.

  200. Gregory - reply

    Dr. Grossman,

    I sincerely hope you have read the replies above and seen that even in the population of people who read your blogs and presumably are of a mind to accept your counsel, the number of people who disagree in whole or in part with your writing seems to be far greater than those agreeing with you.

    There is a reason for this and it needs to be belabored so you will be motivated to act on it and correct your thinking and therefore your ability to counsel on matters of human psycho-sexual behavior.

    You have conflated a personal religious belief with your degree and that is a huge mistake! The degree you hold was conferred by a professional body in the expectation of your relying on peer reviewed science to counsel and assist people as the governing body expects. Your behavior as written here constitutes a betrayal of that trust and I hope the governing body addresses this matter with you. The damage you do to your patients and that which you attempted to do to impressionable young people with the writings in this blog is quite severe and could be irreparable under some circumstances.

    The DSM 5 is a carefully constructed document which is at the core of the science upon which your degree is based. To blatantly disregard it and speak from your degreed position in direct contradiction of what the degree stands as an argument from authority but without substantial peer reviewed science supporting your argument, is for is grounds for serious action.

    I believe that you need to take this matter to heart and decide whether you wish to be a counselor or a minister and notify the professional regulators of your decision. I can only hope that some young person with BDSM fantasies and the confusion of youthful sexual development has not read your drivel and been harmed by it.

    A retraction and apology to all those affected , especially your patients, is in order, as is a promise to immediately stop this unprofessional behavior made to your colleagues who were betrayed by your shameful disregard of the science of human psychology.

    I hope you have the wisdom to understand that I am correct in this assessment and also hope you have the courage to act accordingly!

  201. Orville - reply

    Interesting piece and I learned a lot from it, so thank you. I am probably the most secretively intrusive parents in the world. I have all the passwords, I can even scan my daughters phone for content by remote. When I detect something that could be a problem, I find a way to bring it out without anyone ever knowing how or why. I never betray her trust and I let her live in the universe she has created for herself and her friends. I am surprised at how cool they really are at 15 and 16. Mind you, I have a tight reign. I am firm, but fair. I am surprised how much like me they are when I was 15.
    During my many forays into her universe and privacy, I discovered that while she is not sexually active at this time, she’s viewed her share of porn. Lots of it. Nasty stuff too. I’m talking full on hard core stuff. I didn’t have access to that quantity (or quality) or porn in my day.
    One day we watched a movie together that had some very soft porn scenes and that was my opportunity to bring it up. We had a solid talk. She had a solid answer.
    After admitting that she watched porn on her computer, she said that she understands that all the moaning and groaning are coming from paid actors who are professionals and do that for a living. But she also said that sex education in school is a joke; she would rather see the action than have some authority figure saying taboo, dirty, no, stop, can’t etc. to something that will, in time, come naturally. The education system does not (and should not) get into the actual sex act in graphic detail, but that’s what they want to know about. “How do you ‘do’ it?”
    So the cat IS out of the bag whether we like it or not. So now on to the message of the movie: she will need to have a firm understanding of the story and the message, which is where the real danger lies. If you think your kid has not seen almost as much porn as you have, you are sadly mistaken. Perhaps they’ve seen more. They have a need (and a right) to know.
    So while I loved the piece above, I would have to encourage parents to have their own class with their kid about it and then watch it with them. That’s what we’re here for, to guide them. They will see a pirated copy anyway and probably with their friends who won’t be able to set their head straight on what it’s all about.
    Keeping it from them makes them want it even more. Better to have you there when they watch. We are no longer living in a “no,” “can’t,” “stop,” “don’t” society. Growing up and being adults is something they have to WANT to do, it’s better to have positive reinforcement than deprivation at this very tender time.
    That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

  202. Elizabeth - reply

    Great article Miriam. I have never read the books and I cannot see the attraction . Billions of dollars and clever marketing create obsessions and trends, but people seem to miss this fact and behave as if there is some great meaning or depth to this rubbish when its just manipulation of the marketplace.

  203. Christina - reply

    Thank you for the article.
    Soooo, Anyone notice his name is “Christian” which speaks for itself and her name is “Anastasia” which is a Christian name and is greek for resurrection! OK
    So let’s start there….
    If you fight or argue my comment your words will not affect me, they are just letters written on a screen, the real person you are fighting with is God. That being said….
    Women and men complain all the time about the divorce rate and why dating doesn’t work… It’s because our society has it backwards. See, they meet , fall in love, have sex , get married and get divorced, then try to be friends. Doesn’t it make more sense to do the opposite?
    Be friends, love each other (sacrificial love), get married, then be intimate and stay faithful. That’s the way God designed it. People don’t understand that marriage is a covenant and a promise. It is a representation of Christ and the church. The reason opposite sexes don’t respect each other is because they’re not respecting themselves or their Maker.
    50 Shades of Grey just adds to the perversion and sick generation that we currently live in. We need not get angry with our world but we can be the light in the darkness.

    • Orville - reply

      Gosh. Where to begin. First, God did not write your comment, you did. Can we agree on that? It’s not dating that doesn’t work, it’s marriage. Young people are being asked to make a decision about the rest of their lives at a time when they are the least qualified to do so, hence failed marriages. At the earliest of ages, children are being forced to study religion in school at a time when 90% of the wars, the killing, the slaughter has as it’s basis religious think. I know of no math or science wars out there, no bombing the science labs, or slaughtering math professors. Gerography, biology, history, they are pretty safe subjects. What has your religion done to improve the horrible presentation of these subjects in schools? Society had nothing “backwards” until turning over destiny to divine intervention became the thing to hide behind, by people who choose not to make life go right on their own. It will take generations to untangle that mess. Sex and sexuality have a history that spans many lifetimes before ours; it’s nothing new. For generations, kids could not have open conversations about sex and sexuality with their parents or any other adult. All this while mom and dad were busy tying each other up in the back room. Respect has never played a major role in sex or sexuality and even less so today when, lacking guidance, they tumble into the territory on their own; this is the “hook up” generation and none of it has to do with your god, whoever that might be. So stop with the great fantasy, and give kids a dose of the real world, the one we live in. Give them facts, give them an educational experience. Give them a reason to want to have someone in their life. You are doing more to set the problem back than to advance it.

  204. Gregory - reply

    Well said Orville!

    Also Dr. Grossman you indicated you wished to speak with me personally after removing my last post from your site. I replied to your message a week ago but have heard no response back.

    You have my contact info and I am awaiting your call. I hope you contact Dr’s Moser, Nagy and Grenci as I suggested, to acquaint yourself with facts from professionals that are aware of the medical realities of the BDSM lifestyle and the research behind the DSM-5.

    I stand by my comment as to the damage you do to those who come to you for treatment if they have BDSM related fantasies.

    The DSM 5 only suggests treatment if the person suffers anxiety from their fantasies not related to social acceptance but to the characteristics of the fantasy itself. In simple terms if they dream of being tied up, giving up control and having mild pain inflicted to release neuropeptides and induce euphoria without suffering injury or harm that is not cause for treatment and is in fact perfectly normal behavior for a certain segment of the populace. In fact it is HEALTHY behavior in sexually adventurist people and is a whole lot of fun to boot!
    By instilling self loathing with your misdirected writing you actually contribute to the creation of the pathology you then “cure” with whatever treatment you actually use. Tell me, in a person without pathology as described in the DSM 5 as cause for treatment, but with BDSM fantasies, what do you do for therapy? How does one treat a clinically non-existent pathology? Remember treating healthy people as if they are ill is not condoned and in fact is cause for review of your practice.

    The DSM 5 clearly indicates that if they fantasize about doing tangible harm, playing with an unwilling partner or killing or being killed then the fantasy is pathological and needs treatment. Otherwise it is normal human sexual behavior and is not clinical.

    You seem to disagree with this rational approach and the reason baffles me considering you have a degree conferred to you based on your understanding of the science reflected in the DSM 5 and in opposition to your stated position.

    Anyway I await your call and hope you do your homework on this important issue!

    Also please have the courage to leave this post up. I have been respectful and scientifically factual and there is no reason to edit it out.

  205. Gregory - reply

    Also I notified Dr. Moser’s office you might call and he is reviewing your blog in preparation of your communication. He participated in the peer reviewed study and the creation of the latest DSM standard for Sadomasochism and associated treatment requirements and was one of the contributors to the DSM5 segments on S&M paraphilia’s and separating them from treatable conditions.

    Perhaps you should discuss your treatment practices with him before seeing any BDSM related cases. He is a well respected source of knowledge on this subject.

  206. Christina - reply

    1) God did write that because He lives in me.
    2) I’m not religious I am a Christ follower please research the difference.
    3) If it’s Gods plan for people to have children it’s their responsibility to protect them from the evil in this world as well as being educated and aware.

    I’ll add that there is a such thing as home schooling so that children are less likely to partake in those things mentioned in a school environment. Churches actually do a lot in ministry to help all the pain and bad things of this world. Also, the reason the generation is the way it is, is because The Bible said it would be a fallen world. This world is not our home. Wars, violence, lust, etc. are to be expected here on Earth.

    I hope and pray people could research the Bible (and it’s historical / hard facts) as much as they research all this secular entertainment and science.

    This world needs a Savior more than ever.

    • Orville - reply

      If you are standing on the bible as a foundation for hard facts then you are on very shaky ground. It is one of the most violent and perverted publications ever. Your belief in the supernatural, instead of the real world, has cut you off from the fruits of observation and clouded your judgment such that it prevents you from taking responsibility to the degree necessary, in order to make a meaningful difference in anyone’s life. Holding the future mental health of a child in your hands, you fell to fantasy and fairy tales out of a book that is so riddled with misinformation, that results are clearly visible in the bloodshed around the world. You are a Christ follower? Do you follow Christ religiously or not? You need to look that up. Then you need to retreat with your fantasies and let the real world take care of real world problems.

  207. Gregory - reply

    Dr. Grossman,

    Thank you for returning my previously deleted post to your site; your honesty is much appreciated. The thread above is once again accurate. I await your call.

    Gregory

  208. Christina - reply

    You may have the last words on here, just remember God has the final judgement.

  209. Gregory - reply

    Christina,

    With all due respect it is arrogant to proclaim a fate that cannot be conclusively proven and boils down to your interpretation of a proverb. It is an attempt at intimidation and is not appreciated by those trying to have a rational discussion about matters on the temporal plane.

    If you can prove god exists and also prove his imperatives are actually as you claim without referring to a 2000 year old serially translated and abridged novella then we are all ears, otherwise please argue the facts of human nature rather than a personally held unprovable belief. Mixing the science of human psychology and religion is a huge mistake! Please argue the realities!

  210. SAJM - reply

    What I consider imperative is for, not only young people, but everybody to educate themselves. Investigate, go to the root of things that intrigue you. Do not take what people give as thruth, do not after you’ve done a good strong research and have found coinciding facts about the topic. Many experts consider some things right, but a whole other bunch of experts many differ from those and vice versa. So, at the end it will be what fit you the best, as long as you don’t hurt, damage, afffect negatively others.

    P.s. READ THE BOOKS. THINGS “CHANGE”. DO NOT BASE ON MOVIES ONLY.

    (Not defending any point of view, just sharing an opinion.)

  211. Finn - reply

    Good on the author of this article.

  212. Eve - reply

    Some people actually like BDSM lifestyle. Also the movie fifty shades of grey is nothing like the books. If you read the books you will see that in fifty shades darker Ana actually begs to be spanked by Christian Grey. She doesn’t want a boring relationship with no kinkiness to it. He let’s her in to his world. Also to be honest most if not all men could learn how to please a woman and a lot of ways to keep sex fresh in a relationship. These men have no idea what a woman want .

  213. Nick - reply

    Great letter. Why did more women than men read the books and go to see the movie?

  214. John Stefanyszyn - reply

    Miriam,
    Thursday July 9, I heard a ‘Family Talk’ interview in which you discussed the serious issue of sexual disease in young people.
    During the discussion , you were asked what you believed to be the cause of this ‘call it plague’.
    The interviewer was implying that it was promiscuity, but you stated a reason that caught my attention.
    You stated that the underlying and core reason for this ‘sexual plague’ was that of the young people’s arrogant belief that it is their RIGHT and FREEDOM to live their sexual life as they desired.

    Yes, this is the true spiritual reason for this ‘plague’.

    The spirit of FREEDOM, ( i.e. freedom of self-rights, freedom of sexual lifestyle, etc) is the way that is confessed by the leader of the free world and leaders (political, social, and religious) to be the way of LIGHT and man’s righteousness.
    This self-claimed FREEDOM justifies fornication, adultery, and homosexuality, etc.

    This self-claimed FREEDOM also justifies the belief that it is RIGHT ,a right, to be free to worship ANY ‘god /belief’ as per one’s self-justified desires.

    But the One Creator said that man is to worship ONLY Him…that man is not to worship any ‘other gods’….in other words that man is NOT FREE to worship other ‘gods’….for if man were to do so, the judgement and punishment would be death.

    The Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the One Creator, also said that we are to worship ONLY the One Lord your Creator God and Him Alone to SERVE in obedience and love, love for Him first and foremost and love for, to do GOOD in the Eyes of the One Truth to, the fellow man.

    Fornication is not doing good to the fellowman…it is as Cain arrogantly exclaimed “am I my brother’s keeper??!!”

    And the plague of sexual disease is upon young people because they reject the Will of the One Creator…and so the One God has allowed this sickness to be upon them and to suffer the consequences of their belief to do what is right in their own eyes.

    The mark of this SELF-FREEDOM is upon all mankind’s forehead and hand and they all embrace its name ( character) and its number (values).

    Very soon, the Lord Jesus Christ will return to rule the earth in obedience and power as the One King according to the Will of ‘I AM’ and NOT according to man’s first love for “his freedom”, for his desire to serve and magnify oneself (XES).
    …and man will weep and clench his teeth in intense anger when “his freedom” will be no more.

    I hope that you will continue to bring this One Truth to light…because people will go against you for they all love “their freedom” first and foremost.

    John Stefanyszyn
    …a bondman of the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the One Creator God.

  215. Hitesh - reply

    I read the book in a big hurry , catching the characters of the book and i exactly ended up with the same review , what you have put down over here and discarded the book.

    But Surprisingly, the book is much much popular among the females , maybe it was wildly marketed as an erotica. But also , not many could make it to the last page or even middle of the book, as the narration is so disturbing.

    I always believe as a Book reader , that not everything that is happening in the world is put by the author, but i also believe , that each and every character of the book, enacts a certain trait of the author himself.

    To sum , up the book is just a yellow book of erotica , which could find it’s place in Nancy Friday’s Collection Of Fantasies.

    Thanks for The Wonderful Review, I really want this to reach to young women who get carried away by the rosy picture the author paints for them for their future lives.

  216. Lara - reply

    Hello Miriam:
    I’ve seen the movie and I liked . Analyze and wanted to have their own opinion about it. But your article helped me to go further. I thank you for clarifying certain aspects of that doubt .

    Thank you again. Everything you said it´s true. It´s unhealthy relationship . He needs help and her love it´s not enough . I thought so, but is too great and is not real .

    Thank you
    A hug,
    Lara

  217. Fans of “Fifty Shades of Grey” loudly protested on the Internet
    and elsewhere about Hunnam and Dakota Johnson getting the starring roles of Christian Grey and
    Anastasia “Ana” Steele in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie.
    James have been clamoring for news of her next books.

    s hard to imagine a minor character as interesting as Boo Radley from
    To Kill a Mockingbird.

  218. Janet - reply

    Never read the book, but I have treated sexual offenders, and am considered an expert witness in these matters in the court system. I have treated many people who engage in these acts and have suffered greatly from them, or caused undo suffering on others. These acts are not clinically labeled a lifestyle. That handle is a justification for the abnormal behavior–and it is abnormal not in the context of “society” but in the context of the emotional and physical well being of an individual. Consider how many innocent people get caught up in this “lifestyle” without attending the “workshops.” I’ve treated many young women who were manipulated by true sadists who trolled the internet for willing individuals seeking “safe partners.”
    The “safety words” were useless.
    And I’ve also treated children whose mom or dad were involved in this “lifestyle” and became unwilling victims.

  219. Leule - reply

    We’ll said , but women don’t like good guy I don’t mean they like bad guy but they definitely like the mean one’s so the move has it’s point and make it Film that’s what ty do
    And STD ??? Seriously ????

  220. Gregory - reply

    Janet,

    In over three decades in the kink community I have not seen any of the things you claim. Also if you are a psychiatric professional how could you call BDSM abnormal overall when the DSM5 vehemently disagrees? What is your degree in? What qualifies you ?

  221. NellyJ - reply

    I never watched nor did I ever read the Fifty shades of Grey. Some people still follow their instincts and when I first heard about a guy who is successful and rich and that he can get any woman he wants and that all woman fall for his tricks – it just sounded like it wasn’t romantic at all. Of course, I have been asking for my friends opinions on the movie, they were a bit confused and they said the ending was quick and had no meaning. True, it wasn’t romantic or for anything else, just the money.

  222. Roxana - reply

    I used to be suggested this website through my cousin. I’m no longer
    certain whether this submit is written by means of him
    as no one else understand such exact about my problem.
    You are wonderful! Thanks!

  223. bupe - reply

    I find your letter very uninformed. I highly doubt you read the books. What choices you make based on media are up to you. If we all practiced what we saw, most o us would have been murderers. As a therapist, aern’t you suppose to help people not make them feel like {expletive deleted} for leading the lifestyle they do

  224. Jack - reply

    Interesting thoughts in your essay on this film. I am not trained in psychiatry; although I am fascinated with the subject; and psychology; and human emotions; and here’s what I took away from the film.

    I believe; even after reading your article, that the most dangerous aspect of the film is it further perpetuates Hollywood and Fashion’s message to 99.9% of the youth of today that you will be granted those kinds of adventures in life; and two, it sets them up for inevitable downfall, which will only be realized years later after the wrinkles start to set in that: You are no entitled.

    In the film, Christian doesnt really “abuse” Anastasia. Not in any real harmful way. It’s fairly playful. Really; most couples out there tease and toy with eachother; I’m not talking BDSM, but what guy hasnt spanked his girl or wife once or twice jokingly in bed. Love making is not pure vanilla. Passion involves pain, and pain doesnt always mean abuse. There are many shades of pain.

    A girl for example, kissing my neck, breathing in my ear, and then biting my earlobe. It might hurt a bit, but does it really “hurt”. I mean, there’s hitting your thumb with a hammer and your girlfriend biting your lip or earlobe. I’d take the latter, and likely like it. (Once in a while).

    I was raised in a healthy family. Never abused. I’m in my early 30s. I’ve had only long term monogamous relationships which I consider healthy. Small acts of pain infliction – both ways – have always been both infrequent – and suprisingly fun.

    A girl I dated for a bit; we were just kissing; and when it got a bit heated; she literally grabbed my hair, pulled my head back (fairly hard); and I’ll tell, you, it might have hurt a bit; but I was like; “whoa ok”. It made me laugh.

    But back to my original point. The youth generation of today has been brainwashed into thinking they are entitled to have everything they see on television, and in Hollywood Films. This entitled generation has grown up with a constant feed of “this is what you don’t have but will” by watching “MTV Cribs”; and countless other shows where the rich and famous flaunt their wealth.

    I watched Fifty Shades of Grey and thought to myself… I’d be Gay for Christian (jokingly). My point is… wait; a guy wants to play a push pull game of love during the first stages of courting (ok who doesnt play that game). But he’ll take me up in his private helicopter… on a glider ride just a random afternoon, and oh heck, set me up with everything I’d ever want. Sure, ok, sign me up. He can have an xbox or a leather whip in his game room for all I care. It would beat most ordinary lives any day of the week.

    The sex depictions in the films were toned down. He didnt rape her. And lastly; there was in fact character growth. She was “too good” of a girl, and needed to find herself. He was damaged, and began by the films end that perhaps he too can heal and learn to love in a healthy way. Their arcs did cross and there was a change of character from the begining to the end.

    But really; what girl will ever have a series of events like that; happen to her.

  225. eric - reply

    It amazes me that the need exists to write an article like this. My response is something like: “Truth”! or maybe sarcastic “Wow! A real shocker?!” or maybe I’ll just get down to it “Only morons don’t know this.” Was that mean? Probably, but it’s true. I’m not watching 50 Shades not because of its detrimental effect but because I demand at least $50 an hour to sit there & be bored to death. Not to belittle this Dr. but what he says is so correct how do people not know this except out of severe stupidity. The incurable kind… choosing what to watch is like choosing food, don’t eat krazy glue, or drink brake fluid, try to avoid eating out of garbage bins. For people who don’t know how dumb 50 Shades is I doubt you can help them. Be like explaining “tooth paste, use it to brush your teeth” or “soap is good wash yourself” if a so called adult doesn’t know this, it’s too late for them. Don’t hit yourself in the head with a hammer & 50 Shades of Grey isn’t realistic are about as equally obvious.

  226. soma - reply

    The entire observations presented here were made with all sincerity by every individual, The film is in many ways absurd, in fact it is a half told BDSM Movie,.The Director must be an introvert not willing to make the subject evidentlyBDSM oriented. Ultimately he is not conveying anything to any one . May be with his little understanding of the subject he didnt make it wholesome.
    Parents allover the world are making a big hue and cry about the BDSM tinge found in the film.Half of them are ignorant and do not understand BDSM and the other half are hypocrites who are already practicing gleefully,discretely and reverently.
    BDSM is a special privilege given by Creator or nature to very few individuals,
    Not everyone can enjoy the ecstacy involved in it. It is a wonderful aphrodisiac that doesnt harm health. A much respected and accepted power sharing .process between the man and the woman which makes sex making a wonderful. creative and democratic experience. I am in it for more than 20 years out of natural urge. I am a much loved, well mannered intellectual in my society,(ofcourse.. my frinds dont know that secret.

  227. jyotik khatri - reply

    Thanku very much for that..
    I think todays youth is too much driven by the negative facts and figures especially as a student when i see other student around me like the are at a age of maturity but sense to it is zero and i am afraid that they are gonna become my country’s future!!!
    Can you suggest me how can i help to change thier views and believes.. Please
    Mail me at [email protected]
    I will be eagerly waiting for ur mail thanku.

  228. Diya Gill - reply

    The movie is disturbing and truly does not make any sense at all.. Youngsters just wanna watch it for all the hype about the sex scenes, never was I interested to see it.. Always heard about it from everyone just like all other young people.. Even if anybody watches it, should be mature enough to understand that it is just a movie and they are only using the cinematic liberty.. Mr. Grey seemed like a psychopath to me.. It does not happen in the real world and there are many things that do not happen in the real world that are shown in films.. If filmmakers decided to make a movie, that does not mean they wanna cheat the movie goers or something.. One just needs to keep in mind that it is just a movie and that’s all.. We see superheroes jumping off the buildings and flying in the sky, that’s not true either.. The movie is disturbing and is seriously meant to be for people who are mature enough to understand the fact that its just cinema.. Though there is nothing watchable in it.. Besides, the screenplay is poor and overall it is a boring film.. Just to talk of it as a movie – 1 out of 10 is all it is about.. No wonder the ratings for the film are so poor.. Its only for poor people who wanna watch dirty sex scenes and nothing else… Even a huge movie buff like me should not waste time on watching it.. Only good thing is the soundtrack of the film.. The actors are not that great either… No sensible person can like this film…

    • xabedgj - reply

      Let me tell you: a book, a fiction book was written by E L James and then the movie comes out. How funny it is, they say ‘its wrong watching sex stuff in 50 shades of grey’ but they happily watch ‘game of thrones’. you be freaking sensible.

  229. WilliamMat - reply

    Appreciate you sharing, great forum post.Really looking forward to read more.

  230. Eliza - reply

    Even though you’re a psychologist it doesn’t mean, you can understand the actual plight people go through because you don’t know what it’s like to have someone hurt you Constantly and violate you and honestly not give the smallest damn. This film is actually good as firstly it educates people’s on domestic violence as a psychologist, you should encourage young people to be able to understand the signs and effects of it, So they can leave bad relationships. Secondly it’s really good as it shows the mental breakdown of the victim who may later end up being an abuser. People don’t want to acknowledge that people who have been abused can, not, will, but can turn out to be abusers themselves because that person didn’t care for them, people are so quick to judge like they know everything but they don’t understand how messed up your mind becomes because you just go crazy over what happened to you, and why they did it and if it was a parent why couldn’t they love you instead. For survivors it’s a hard thing to be able to actually not do to others what was done to you. Because you feel so much pain that everyone thinks they identify with but they don’t understand what it’s like for someone to hurt you repeatedly so deeply and not care once ounce. So when dumb psychologists come up here making comments like this it’s just frustrating. The film doesn’t show that a woman has to be meek, it’s patronising to call her immature she’s a woman in her own right and was mature enough to know how to stand up to him when he first started being controlling. Don’t assume u know just because you spend 4 years in uni learning what life is like for people like us, that you actually understand any of it, because evidently you’re don’t. This film isn’t romantic to me it’s more just freeing because I see Christian as someone I can partly identify with as I’ve been messed up because of things done to me and I’ve hurt others (not sexually) because I couldn’t handle it, I’m sorry to all those people but don’t jump to conclusions and call him a monster because psychology itself says you learn from your environment and he learnt isolation, coldness, emotionlessness and hardness from the abuse he experienced from an adult, so now all he can do is replicate it and ana just happened to be hurt.

  231. Heather Tzogas - reply

    Re: “A woman dreams of wedding gowns, not handcuffs.”

    No, Doctor, a woman does not “dream of wedding gowns” until that desire is also planted in her head by the SAME Hollywood that also functions as an arm of the Wedding Industrial Complex. If you want to encourage “health” in women, please try to acknowledge other messages in this system that underwrite poor self-esteem in women.

    Including messages coming directly from the psychiatric community itself.

    Thank you.

  232. Heather Tzogas - reply

    The power differential between these two fictional characters hinges on additional factors such as age, status, and wealth – but neither these factors, nor their exploitative potential, are taken into account; nor their generally unequal distribution between the sexes worldwide.

    Instead, like most everybody else, you task women with ending their own abuse – but if I am to oblige you in this, I must invite you to consider that scolding women is not the way to empower them. I hold you to a higher standard as a mental health professional, who also arguably wields some greater measure of power and influence than the rest of the bandwagon you are parroting.

    “There’s no room for doubt; an intimate relationship that includes violence, consensual or not, is unacceptable.”

    Yeah. Apparently there’s no room for the other half of this dynamic, either.
    You are a trained professional…and the women of whom you speak are not being attacked by invisible elves.

    I implore you, Dr., to look more deeply and reflectively at this issue.

    Thank you.

  233. Heather Tzogas - reply

    Dear Dr. Grossman;

    And finally, I will quote the commenter above me:

    “I’m sorry to all those people but don’t jump to conclusions and call him a monster because psychology itself says you learn from your environment and he learnt isolation, coldness, emotionlessness and hardness from the abuse he experienced from an adult, so now all he can do is replicate it and ana just happened to be hurt.”

    “…psychology itself says you learn from your environment.”

    This is an encapsulation of the ways in which society seeks to rationalize, mitigate, and ultimately excuse/pardon male violence, particularly as in this instance when it is directed towards women.

    Whereas their (female) victims’ responses are framed as if they were happening in a vacuum.

    I hope this provides you with some clue as to how your letter has contributed to the stasis of this situation.

    Again, many thanks.

    P.S. I am not trying to completely discredit you, as it were; rather, I am challenging you towards a different perspective.

  234. Toby - reply

    Thanks for that. I think it’s interesting…perhaps as a young and immature woman, I was totally enraptured by guys like Christian, and easily manipulated. But I think as I get older, the more I realize that good relationships are not complicated. It’s simple: someone that loves you treats you well and is kind with you. End of story! If you want something else…there is a problem, issues you haven’t worked out yet or unhealthy relationship dynamics. You have schemas. I was happy to finally be able to wholeheartedly agree with your blog! I’m on the right track!

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