Owning Our Fantasies

I, like all of you, having been watching a media firestorm concerning the film, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY.  I have read and heard the shaming and condemnation.  (And yes, when we tell women that what they feel is silly, corrupt, or damaging to the future of all women, we are shaming and/or condemning.)  I have seen the Facebook posts, the boycott petitions, and the open letters to our daughters.  But here’s the thing… this film did not emerge out of nothing.  Millions of women responded to and enjoyed this story.  Given those numbers, I think it is safe to assume that some of those women are people we like, respect, and perhaps even love.  Think about that for a moment.

One of the most important elements of erotic fantasy is that it is a fantasy.  Much of what turns us on in our minds are things that we would never really want to do or are situations that we would never willingly manifest. But hey… isn’t that the point? The beauty of a fantasy is that it is safely locked in our mind away from the judgment of others. Authors who delve into erotica are courageously putting those thoughts in print for those of like mind to enjoy.

For the record, I read the 50 Shades trilogy. The characters annoyed me, so I cannot honestly say that I enjoyed it and for that reason have elected not to see the movie.  However, my opinions of this particular bit of eroticism does not change my opinion that we should NOT try and dictate to others what they should and should not find erotic any more that we should dictate to others who they should and should not be attracted to. Think about that.

Society has been trying to dictate and shame women into molds of sexual acceptability since men and women first collected into groups. And that doesn’t just apply to women.

Raising empowered daughters is important. Ending domestic violence is important. Understanding the meaning of healthy love is important. But so is acknowledging ourselves as sexual beings. Since when did owning our sexuality stop being empowering?

Imagine for a moment that one of the millions of women who loved this story and even fantasized about some of the scenes (perhaps even while having sex with you!) is someone you know, like, respect, and/or love. How do you think she feels right now?

Is it really empowering to make women feel ashamed of how they feel? And before you start to say, “Not my women,” think of the book sales. If you are one of those people doing the judging, I can guarantee that you have just put up a communication and intimacy barrier between you and that person. And here’s the thing. You will never know it exists.

Those women in your life–your friends, colleagues, sisters, mothers, girlfriends, wives, and maybe even daughters–will never have an open dialogue about sexuality with you. But worse than that, you have told them, with your judgment, that they are not okay.

When we post condemnations we are condemning all who fall into that category, even our dear ones who are too embarrassed or furious to admit it to us!  Why?  Because this particular category does not just include the author and the movie studio, this category includes the audience that loved the book and anticipated the movie.  Women.  Millions of women.

You may think that all of your dear women friends and family are above this sort of thing.  But guess what?  You will never know.  Can you guess why?  Because you have closed the door to that communication.  You have made it clear what you think of women who respond favorably to this story and you have made fun of (or worse, passed judgment on) their secret world of thoughts and fantasies.

Fantasies are the most personal thoughts we have, and we will not give them up.  We will simply slip underground where women and our sexuality have been residing for a very a long time.


Feel free to peruse my website for empowering podcasts and blogs.
You can read my debut short story, CALL ME DUMPLING, in Suspense Magazine Best of 2014. Don’t forget the CALL ME DUMPLING story trailer! And if you’re looking for a guide to physical and emotional protection, you can check out the expanded e-book edition of Empowered Living.


2 thoughts on “Owning Our Fantasies

  1. cl263

    This is a very interesting point to make, but leaves the question: what should you do with your fantasies? Keep them alive in your mind? Voice them and give them strength and merit? Repress them for the health of the relationship? This can be dangerous and everyone needs to tread lightly. How would you feel if you knew your husband was fantasizing about other women and that he liked doing so, or couldn’t stop doing so? And told you so, for the sake of open communication, or for sexual empowerment? To avoid his own sexual repression?

    Really, we should not be concerned or pay attention to anyone else’s sexual behavior. It breeds fantasy, coveting, and stirs up a drive that our spouse likely will not respond to in the same way as us.

    Our desire should be to our spouse and no one else. And we should grow together in a way that is private and untainted by anyone else in the world. Our bedroom should be our own little universe that we get to build and create together or not at all. With no one else’s input. It’s hard and takes more effort than probably anything else we’ll do, but it wouldn’t be worth it or grand if we didn’t, would it?
    (Except in cases of abuse and medical necessity).
    Fantasy is too often the result of watching some one else’s private behavior and wanting it for ourselves. That’s jealousy and coveting and too often causes rifts in relationships.

    No,we shouldn’t judge, but we can’t condone either.


    1. torieldridge Post author

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. It sounds like you have a strong marriage and are in sync with your spouse. Awesome! Personally, I think fantasies are natural and can be a safe and healthy expression of our imagination that can enhance our relationships. For me that’s the key: safe, healthy, imagination, enhancing relationships. All story telling, in any form, allows us to journey and explore without having to actually live or embody. For me, that is the magic of art. I think this is especially true of the written storytelling (or comics which visually depict in stylized panels) because it leaves so much to our imagination and personal interpretation. We can linger where we chose or brush on by. We can imagine a scene in a way that appeals to us. Visual storytelling (film, TV) makes that decision for us. Fortunately, trailers can give us an idea of whether or not we might enjoy what’s on the screen. 😉



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