The Quest For Perfection: Is The Grass Really Greener or Merely Shades of Grey?

by | Nov 27, 2012

Today\’s society offers no shortage of sexual and erotic material that is easily accessible to interested consumers. More than ever, we are inundated with images, written words, and discussions of what sex is and what sex could be. Sexual fantasies exist in the minds of all of us, but finding avenues to transform fantasy into reality can represent a delicate and precarious journey for those fixated on perfection. Obsessions such as these are easily understood in our media-driven celebrity culture – one that regularly advertises every product under the sun to help us look and feel younger and sexier, as parades of flawless models fill our television screens and magazine pages (and let\’s not forget digital media).

A few myths are routinely perpetuated via mass media, among them:

  • Model-thin women are considered sexy.
  • Abs of steel and bulging pectorals are en vogue for men.
  • A firm backside is a must for everyone!
  • None of us are naturally beautiful; we are all in need of cosmetic enhancement.
  • Confidence, even arrogance, is a huge turn-on for everyone.
  • Models, entertainers and television personalities represent the pinnacle of desirability.

Such sexual propaganda can oftentimes leave partners feeling inferior by comparison. How can we ever live up to these social standards of beauty and sexy? Relationship counseling is frequently and effectively used to assist with such matters, as the following story describes so well:

A recent episode of the Steve Harvey Show featured a segment which offered insight into how these pressures can impact a relationship. A younger man, rather modest and quiet but also handsome, wanted to please his partner by becoming her “fantasy” man, Christian Grey. Like the lead character in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” he desired to be more physically appealing, confident, assertive, dominant, and risqué in his relationship…more sexually attractive, if you will. After all, his fiancée  was a devoted reader of the E.L. James series and found Christian Grey irresistible and extremely desirable; her ideal lover.

Unbeknownst to her, Steve Harvey, at the advice of a professional couples and marriage counselor, sent the resolute man to Christian Grey “school” in order to hone his sex appeal. At the conclusion of the lessons, he had planned a romantic evening with his fiancée, upon which he would meet her at a chic midtown restaurant and seduce her with his new-found “Greyish” qualities (complete with a flawlessly tailored Christian Grey-like suit). She was astonished to see his transformation and even more surprised (and confused) at his behavioral changes. This was most definitely not the man she had been with for the past two years!

Harvey invited the couple on the show a few days after the big date to discuss the experience with the professional therapist and ultimately discover what the young woman thought of her transformed man. She admitted her approval of the new attire, but explained her discomfort with his personality shift. This was not the person with whom she had fallen in love, and she actually admitted to liking that “old” and predictable man much more than the Christian Grey counterpart. He was totally relieved, of course, as that was a performance that he simply could not maintain!

Before parting, Steve Harvey and the guest therapist both smiled at the couple, knowing full well that this was the predictable outcome, and they suggested that the man do the “Christian Grey thing” once or twice a month but be himself the rest of the time. The couple had learned an important lesson, one that holds value for all of us. Adding spice to life and living out our fantasies on occasion can provide fun, and sometimes essential, distractions to our ordinary existences. The most enjoyment, however, usually comes from being true to ourselves and our partners, which forms the essence of profound intimacy.

Instead of hoping that our fantasies become reality, perhaps we should concentrate on making our realities the fantasy we desire. Or, as was the case with the couple described above, come to realize that our reality is better than our fantasy.

Communication is critical to the success of any relationship. Professional couples counseling in Orange County can serve as a vital tool in helping you reach your relationship and life goals with your partner. Your search for answers will only help to empower you over your own life and find the true happiness you deserve.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here:


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