Here’s a review of two books about se x …
[My blog software filters out inappropriate words so I’ve misspelt or split words throughout this review.]
The title and premise of this book is a play on the word ‘crazy’. It highlights the crazy (= stupid) ideas that people have about se x in order to help couples have crazy (= fantastic) sex. And so it takes on six common myths about sex.
- Myth 1: Men Want More Se x Than Women Do
- Myth 2: Se x with the Same Person Gets Boring
- Myth 3: Pom Is Not Addictive
- Myth 4: Size Matters
- Myth 5: The Bible Is Very Clear on Masturb ation
- Myth 6: My Se x Drive Is Too Powerful to Control
Parrott’s position on each issue is essentially as follows:
1. Women are not aroused as quickly as men, but show them the right kind of emotional care and attention and your se x drives can come into sync.
2. All the evidence shows married couples have the best se x – despite the prevalence of the opposite idea within our culture.
3. Yes, it is.
4. No, it doesn’t. Men exaggerate the average size of men’s pe nis (if you want to know the average size of men’s pe nises then all the details are here!) and women don’t care.
5. Christians disagree and the Bible isn’t exp licit so it’s okay as long as it’s not lustful, compulsive or a substitute for real sex.
6. No, it isn’t.
There’s a lot of helpful advice and information here. If you’re making, for example, a case for s ex within marriage then there’s lots here that you’ll find useful. And it should certainly put to bed any worries you have about size!
But I have two concerns.
1. The book assumes your primary goal to get crazy good se x. There is nothing on se x as a pointer to God’s relationship with his people. There is nothing on the way se x can function as an idol within marriage. This approach is most obvious in the first chapter. The focus is not loving your wife as Christ loved the church. The focus is treating her right so she will give great se x. It’s not that the advice is faulty; it just feels inadequate. The advice for ‘hot monogamy’ is change your position, schedule, location. Nothing wrong with that advice, but what is distinctly Christian about it? Hot monogamy begins with sacrificial love and repenting of the idols we pursue in and through our marriages.
2. Probably because this kind of analysis is missing, there is not much gospel in this book. We are given advice. We are called to self-control. But, however ‘true’ they may be, advice and reprimand are not good news. I am called to bring my se x drive, but not told how the gospel offers me much greater, longer lasting satisfaction in Christ. I’m told I shouldn’t be impure, but I’m not told that I needn’t be impure because God offers more.
Finally, I’m not sure I’m entirely persuaded by the argument allowing mas turbation. I agree the Bible doesn’t address the issue exp licitly and so there may be circumstances in which it is okay (mutually mas turbation when penetra tion is not possible, for example). But I’m not sure how realistic it is to say that mas turbation is okay as long as it’s not lustful, compulsive or a substitute for real sex. What other kinds of mas turbation are there?!
Craig Gross and Mike Foster’s book Questions You Can’t Ask Your Mama About Se x is aimed at teenagers. It takes the form of a Q&A with the authors addressing head on questions that teenagers ask. I think they’re to be commended for this. I read recently that the average at which children are first exposed to hardc ore pom is now eight! Perhaps fifty years ago we could encourage teenagers to think about se x by talking about it, but those days are long gone. They are already surrounded by it and urgently needed a Christian vision of se xuality.
The advice Gross and Foster give is sound and biblical. (Unlike Parrott they come out against masturbation.)(One interesting aside. The authors state, ‘The Bible does not say, “Thou shalt not get a tattoo”‘ . Not strictly true. Leviticus 19:28 says: ‘Do not … put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.’ I realise this raises some hermeneutic issues, but let’s discuss those rather than make erroneous claims.)
It’s all packaged in what I assume is a style American teenagers can relate to you (I’m not the best person to judge this!). The Q&A format mean it’s a bit repetitive at times.
But their book suffers from the same problem as Parrott’s – not enough gospel. Sure, they remind there is forgiveness for those who sin. But what I mean is that they fail Oliver O’Donovan’s criteria for evangelical ethics: that it must be good news. Here’s what O’Donovan says in Resurrection and Moral Order :
The foundations of Christian ethics must be evangelical foundations; or, to put it more simply, Christian ethics must arise from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Otherwise it could not be Christian ethics … A belief in Christian ethics is a belief that certain ethical and moral judgments belong to the gospel itself; a belief, in other words, that the church can be committed to ethics without moderating the tone of its voice as a bearer of glad tidings. (11-12)
Christian morality is not an attempt to walk a middle way between law and license – that is, to oscillate between two sub-Christian forms of life. Christianity takes a different path altogether: ‘the path of integrally evangelical ethics which rejoices the heart and gives light to the eyes because it springs from God’s gift to humanity in Jesus Christ.’ (12)
What Questions You Can’t Ask Your Mama About Se x lacks is a strong Christian vision for sexual ethics and satisfaction in Christ that sounds like a better alternative than the se x-obsessed culture of the world around us. Calling people to abstinence is never going to work on its own. Given a choice between a life with se x and a life without se x (yet) the appeal of a ‘without’ life is never going to be strong!