Grey Effects

By Kelly Orgill, NCSE Intern

With over 100 million copies of the book sold and box office projections of over $45 million over the movie’s first four opening days, “Fifty Shades of Grey” will continue to impact readers and viewers across the globe. However, the erotic best seller has produced negative effects on many of its readers, encouraging acceptance toward sexual violence, promotion of eating disorders and destruction of sexual realities.

Acceptance toward sexual violence

Michigan University professor, Dr. Amy Bonomi, whose doctorate research specializes in health services, led a team to conduct research on the book series’ effects. The study observed more than 650 women from ages 18 to 24.

E.L. James, author of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” stated that her intention of writing the series was to redefine morality. What I wanted to demonstrate is that I do not look at the world in terms of black and white — and I find people who do rather scary. I think it’s all shades of grey.” This ethical blur can change readers’ opinions about what kinds of violent acts are acceptable within relationships. Bonomi’s study found those who had read the book were “25 percent more likely to have a partner who yelled or swore at them [and] 34 percent more likely to have a partner who demonstrated stalking tendencies.”

Promotion of Eating Disorders

“Fifty Shades of Grey” focuses on instant gratification, turning women into sex objects, which results in altering their normal habits in order to obtain sex.

In Bonomi’s study, more than 75 percent of women who had read from the series were more likely to have fasted more than 24 hours or used diet aids. The study also found that 65 percent of readers were more likely to binge drink than non-readers.

Grey Effects

Destruction of Sexual Realities

Juli Slattery from FaithStreet wrote an article explaining how “Fifty Shades of Grey” promotes erotica, which leads to false intimacy, promotes selfish sex and denies sexual realities.

Slattery said that books like “Fifty Shades of Grey” lead to an insatiable desire and just as other forms of pornography, will ultimately leave its readers to become less satisfied in their own relationships.

“Being emotionally naked makes you extremely vulnerable,” Slattery said. “Both you and your partner have to feel completely safe to let go, to share thoughts, desires and physical sensations. The journey toward authentic intimacy is one of creating the safest environment possible so that you can explore together without fear of betrayal or humiliation.”

Intimacy is a process that requires communication, while erotica and porn are selfish and provide a false sense of relationships with one-dimensional characters. “Research consistently demonstrates that pornographic material decreases your sexual pleasure in real relationships,” Slattery said.

Slattery shared an email on her site from a mother who decided to invest in reading the series, “Last year, I stepped into this ‘Fifty Shades’ trap. I couldn’t stop reading. When I finished the first book, I borrowed money to buy the other two. In the evening I would tell my husband every detail of what I read that day. My life literally revolved around ‘Fifty Shades.’ I also expected my husband to ‘be’ Christian Grey. Suddenly our sex lives thrived! We tried new things. We went wild. And just as suddenly we hit rock bottom. We were constantly fighting; in my eyes my husband couldn’t do anything right. We grew apart. I defended the book and said there’s nothing wrong with it. But to be honest, it almost destroyed my marriage.”

Pornography can destroy relationships by diminishing users satisfaction with their own partners, affection, appearance, curiosity and performance. Bonomi’s study found that readers of the series were 63 percent more likely to have five or more intercourse partners during their lifetime due to decreased satisfaction.

Protect your relationships, by joining us in choosing to boycott “Fifty Shades of Grey.

CLICK HERE to LEARN MORE about the “Fifty Shades of Grey Project”

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



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