Takeaway: Most sex books are either Puritan or Pornographic. This book tries to show the Christian view is neither.
In general I am not a fan of Christian sex books. Most books either hold people to an impossibly high (and usually non-biblical) standard (a man should be able to train himself to never look at a woman or all dating is wrong, etc.) or promise a ‘mind-blowing’ sex if you just follow the book’s directions. While this book occasionally veers into the ‘mind blowing sex’ territory, I think it is good at trying to understand the biblical standards and then leave everything else open. (By the way, I picked this up free from Amazon on kindle. When I first bought it that it was the James Dobson book “What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Women” and almost did not get it. It is not that book. It was published in 2007 and is very current in language and references.)
Honestly, there is not much new info here. While authors are all psychologists that specialize in couple’s therapy, the advice is fairly run of the mill (woo your wife all day, she is more turned on by cleaning the house than roses, etc). There is a short section on biology but most of the book is on relationships. The advice does not really need to be new (and probably is more helpful because it is not new). Sometimes we just need a reminder.
I just finished a fiction book that veered into the romance genre. I kept thinking throughout that book, that people in love often do stupid things. (Mark Gungor says the reason people should not have sex before marriage is that sex makes people stupid and God made us that way. Inside of marriage it is good for people to be stupid about the other person. Outside of marriage, it is not good to be stupid about the other person.)
Here is how I think this book is helpful. 1) It is ok to be a man. Men think about sex differently than women. Being a man does not make you an animal or wrong. 2) Men need to spend time with other men. They have a good little section on why, and it includes the fact that there are actual bio-chemical changes (primarily testosterone) when men spend time with other men. 3) This book has realistic and biblical suggestions about what is appropriate in the bedroom. It actually encourages people to experiment more (but this is where it might veer into the ‘mind blowing sex’ problem.) 4) They attempt to be biblical in their use of Song of Solomon and why it is not primarily (or even secondarily) a metaphor about Christ and the Church. 5) The book encourages people to seek a language to talk about sex that is not either clinical or pornographic. People will always use euphemisms, and some euphemisms are better than others. The authors spend about 5 or 10 pages showing how graphic scripture can be and that it is ok to use graphic euphemisms about sex. I appreciate that the book is straight forward, direct and a bit funny. 6) It is also very good on forgiveness within marriage. It says you should not confess first to your wife if you are having an affair or addicted to porn. Instead you need to find another man, confess to him, deal with the problem and then figure out when and if to confess. It also has a good section on guilt about sex prior to marriage. 7) It is good that the book focuses on what the Husband’s role is. With sex (and pretty much any other relationship issue), it is easy to focus on what the other person could do in the situation. This book focuses on what the guy should do. It does not claim that the guy is 100 percent responsible, just that he can do things to help make their sex life better.
On the negative side, there was not much of a female voice here. All of the authors are male. They reference their wives and quote them, but I think a fourth, female author would have been good. I also think the intro was pretty bad. It was the worst about the ‘mind blowing sex’ problem. Just because people are Christians, did not have sex before marriage and work hard on their marriage does not mean that they will have ‘mind blowing’ sex.
Overall, it was a good read. I think it is important to remind myself to pay attention and focus on my marriage. I am pretty internal in my processing, so I need to read books like this to remind myself how I can be doing better (even if there isn’t much info that is new.)
By the way, the Puritans were not actually puritanical about sex. They were fairly open and were pretty healthy in their views of sex. It was the Victorians of the mid to late 19th century that really had the views about sex that we associate with the Puritans. Small point, but it is worth noting.