The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Founder, Well Women Ministries

Best-selling author, her latest' The Fantasy Fallacy (2012)

Author of numerous books

Certified life coach through American Association of Christian Counselors

Former youth pastor and abstinence educator

Guest Bio

Author Shannon Ethridge's Response to 'Fifty Shades of Grey' IT’S NOT GREY; IT’S BLACK AND WHITE                  

Since 2012, the series, Fifty Shades of Grey, has topped the all-time best selling list with over 100 million copies sold.  The trilogy has been dubbed “mommy porn” because of its immense popularity with millions of moms, homemakers and their daughters, including large numbers of Christian women, around the world. 

This series is graphic fiction with dark sexual themes that sends a message of embracing sex outside of marriage and accepting abusive relationships. Christian Grey, the main character, who was abused as a child, lives his adult life based on his past experiences and recreates scenes with his lover Anastasia in an effort to win back control in his life by being the abuser.

  Shannon says interest in the books is partly due to the curiosity factor.  “We’re all fascinated,” says Shannon.  “Women can’t enjoy a sexual relationship with their husbands because for so long, they were told, ‘good girls don’t.’” Then after marriage, Shannon says it’s difficult to mentally go from “good girls don’t” to “good girls do” which is why she believes the 50 Shades series generated worldwide interest. The movie premieres in theaters February 14.

Everyone has fantasies.  Not all fantasies are bad.  Shannon believes when fantasies are pushed beyond what is socially or spiritually acceptable, they are more than likely rooted in childhood trauma or unresolved pain. “Fantasies are just the brain’s way of healing itself,” says Shannon.  She believes fantasies are not a reliable roadmap to future fulfillment; they’re actually rocky road maps from the past.  “We as the church need to understand what fantasy is and how we can control our fantasies, instead of the other way around,” says Shannon.  She says when fantasies are healthy they cause us to feel cherished, loved, celebrated and stimulated.  When they are overly active and uncontrolled, they lead to the wrong direction. 

Shannon believes there are three categories for classifying our fantasies: auto-erotic (random sexual thoughts that occur naturally without stimulation and should not be cause for guilt); erotic (fantasy intended to arouse yourself or your marriage partner and should not be cause for guilt as long as activity is approved by both spouses); and illicit (sexual thoughts that would not be approved by your spouse or God because of the context of the relationship). 

It is important for church leaders to make women feel safe and to be able to communicate about this difficult subject. This will eliminate the need for women to look outside the church for information.  Shannon says many Christian women are divorcing their husbands because the men don’t want to participate in the fantasies.  “It concerns me that the young women are falling for this,” she says.  “We need to dive into the deeper meaning of sexual fantasy and what role healthy sexual fantasy can play in a marriage.” 

Many pastors are unclear how to help people with their sexual thoughts.  Open communication has proved that people are released, healed and set free by doing the research on healthy fantasy and understanding why God wired us this way.  “Ideally I would think Christian women would know better than to watch the movie, 50 Shades of Grey.  But I’m not naïve to think they won’t,” says Shannon.  “My hope is that it will be a conversation starter and that we, as a church, can dive into the deeper meaning of sexual fantasy and what role healthy fantasy can play in a marriage.”

Shannon grew up in church but never felt deeply connected to her parents, especially her father.  As a single, Shannon looked for love in the arms of different men and was fairly promiscuous.  In 1990, she married Greg then started to compare him to other men. 

Shannon had five emotional extramarital affairs but did not have physical intercourse with any of them.  Greg was aware of these attractions because Shannon was honest with her feelings.  “I wanted him to help me be accountable,” she says. 

One day she was feeling emotionally empty.  Shannon cried out to Greg, “You just don’t meet my emotional needs!”  Greg replied, “You have a Grand Canyon of emotional needs.  If every man stood outside your door, they still couldn’t meet your needs! You need to seek your fulfillment from God.” Through her struggles, Shannon understands that sexual and emotional integrity is a battle every woman fights. 

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