Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity - Lauren F. Winner

Lauren Winner is also the author of Girl Meets God (reviewed a while back by Robyn) in which she talks about her conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity. This book is less autobiographical; she does talk briefly about the fact that since she became a Christian as an adult, she hadn't been concerned about chastity at all, and even for a while after becoming a Christian she still didn't see avoiding sex as all that important. Eventually she started reading books and scripture and thinking about it, and came to see its importance, but also felt that there weren't very many good resources for talking about the whys and hows of chastity.

I haven't actually read too many books about sex and chastity, though I am familiar with movements like "True Love Waits" which encourages high schoolers to promise to save sex for marriage. However, the tone Winner's book does seem different from most of what I've heard before. There are some of the familiar explanations for why sex belongs in marriage, of course, but for the most part Winner avoids going over the things you've probably already heard, and really addresses things that you might not have thought about.

For instance, aside from a chapter on lies our culture tells about sex, she also has a chapter about lies the church tells about sex. The oft-cited explanation that premarital sex will make you feel guilty and horrible, she explains, is not helpful, because it isn't always true. Somebody who has premarital sex and doesn't experience guilt or remorse may then decide that, well, perhaps this isn't wrong after all. For her, the only argument the church should use is that it's God's will for sex to be in marriage; she's not trying to convince the broader culture to "live in a Christian moral universe," but give a better explanation to Christians who want to live in God's will but don't really understand how this whole chastity thing works.

Winner addresses the question: Where do I draw the line before I get married? but does so in a way that is based on a fuller understanding of sex and its role in marriage and society as a whole. And chastity is only an aspect of the larger picture of discipline in a Christian's life. Her chapter on disciplines challenged me, because there are many things (prayer, fasting, solitude) that I feel I was better at in my college days, when I was surrounded by other Christians who encouraged me.

The book does a great job of painting a Biblical picture of sex and its purpose, not only as procreation or even a personal expression of love between a husband and wife, but as something that has a bearing on communities and society as a whole. While it's mostly written for unmarried Christians, there are things that apply to married couples as well, and it's a book that I wish had been written earlier so I could have learned some of its lessons sooner.

Fed to jonathan's brain | September 20, 2005 | Comments (0)


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