By Paul Hokemeyer, PhD, JD
I just finished reading 50 Shades of Grey. For most of you, the book needs no introduction. It’s a hot and steamy novel that’s been a topic of conversation among women of all ages for some time now. Some of you, however, may be late to the game. If you fall into this second category, chances are you’re a woman who’s been in a coma or a man who thinks the book is “silly” and irrelevant to you.
For all the men who think 50 Shades is silly or irrelevant, I challenge your beliefs. There’s an enormous amount you can learn in its 514 pages about yourself as a sexual being and your role as a romantic partner to the woman in your life.
I also have to confess that in regard to the book, I was both late to the game and a skeptic. I’d heard about the book from nearly all of my female friends and was taken by their reaction. Without exception, the women found the book mesmerizing, wildly entertaining and incredibly erotic. What struck me most about this reaction was how it remained consistent among women of all ages, socio-economic classes and even sexual orientations. I overheard 20-year-old women giggling about it on the train, my lesbian colleague couldn’t put it down, and my 50-something-year-old Ivy League educated neighbor described it as “porn” that she found “absolutely delicious.” Finally, after one of my female friends insisted, “Paul you must read this book. It’s full of psychological stuff that you’ll find fascinating,” I decided to take the plunge and see what all the estrogen-fueled hype was about.
After devouring the book over a long weekend, I was pleased with the results of my “psychological study.” Through it, I gained great insight into what women want out of men and how we can be better lovers. For the sake of brevity, I’ve outlined what I learned in the bullet points below:
Women need to feel valued: Men often take their female partners for granted. This is especially true when the couple has been together for a while. Men need to stay attentive to the details of their partner’s lives and consciously value them as human beings.
It’s okay for men to be vulnerable and sensitive: Women love men for their strengths and for their vulnerabilities. By sharing their emotional vulnerabilities, men will strengthen their romantic relationships.
Sex is an important communication tool in a relationship: Sex is not a mechanical act. It’s a way partners communicate their desires for and respect of one another.
Sex is a whole lot more than penetration: Women want romance. Know that the journey is more important than the destination. Slow down and enjoy the scenery along the way.
Intimacy demands trust: At the heart of romantic relationships is an intimacy that is borne of trust. Women must be able to trust their men. This requires their men to be trustworthy.
While 50 Shades has a great sexual content, it also has great insight to enable men to be better partners, lovers and friends to their romantic partners. It’s a book that’s entertaining and enlightening, sexy and stimulating. Most importantly, it’s a book that need not be reserved for women only. Men can learn a great deal from it’s content. I certainly did.