Normally, these blog entries flow easily. Honestly, I hesitated before even agreeing to do this one. The idea of talking to Christian moms about romance novels and erotica seemed questionable at best. Then I remembered my teen years. A friend at school introduced me to romance novels. Pretty innocent seeming ones, especially compared to 50 Shades of Gray (which I haven’t read).
Over time though, I realized they were creating an image of the perfect man, one which didn’t exist. I was subconsciously comparing the men portrayed in these books to the actual men I encountered. Not surprisingly, the real men weren’t nearly as intuitive and romantic as these fictional men.
Eventually, I stopped reading romance novels and met and married my husband. I thought it was interesting that after I met my husband, I wasn’t even tempted to read a romance novel. I always thought it was strange until I read the book Pulling Back the Shades by Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery.
Gresh and Slattery make a powerful case for Biblical sexuality and how erotica is tainting the dating and marriage relationships of Christian women. Be warned, these women don’t pull any punches. They use the book 50 Shades of Gray to give examples of the lies erotica promote. And don’t expect them to suggest boring marital relations as the solution. They are very specific about acts which promote or harm marriages, yet in a very respectful and, I think, godly fashion.
The authors take a serious look at how God wired women sexually and how feminism has made us reject many of these God given desires as demeaning in some way. Yet, the popularity of romance novels and erotica amongst even Christian women demonstrates these desires have only been pushed down and not extinguished.
The authors give us a glimpse at not only the goals of the author of the 50 Shades books but the industry in general. I was somewhat surprised to find romance novel authors are encouraged to follow a set formula. This formula produces the “fantasy” fulfillment of God given desires, but in ways which are unrealistic and often ungodly. This lack of realism sets women up for bad relationships and mediocre sex lives. Only by embracing God’s plan for relationships and sex can women truly be fulfilled in their relationships.
Gresh and Slattery write in different fonts to make the back and forth of their discussion less awkward. Each makes a strong case from their personal experiences, psychological studies and scripture for re-thinking godly sex for women. It is obvious they have spent much time in prayer and Bible study struggling with the subject.
I appreciate that struggle and the insights the authors share. Unfortunately, I am afraid they are correct and just like a few years ago when Christians realized pornography was a challenge for many Christian men, we will find many Christian women struggle with erotica. Erotica is so much more acceptable in even “polite” society than porn. I doubt many of us would even question why someone read erotica. Yet, Christian women are suffering in ways they don’t really understand from exposing themselves to Satan’s lies when all they think they are doing is escaping a hum-drum existence.
I encourage all women to read this book. Whether or not you agree with the authors, I think this is an important discussion we need to have as women in the Church. It is also a conversation we need to have with our daughters. Helping them avoid erotica may improve their future dating and marital relationships in ways we can only begin to understand.
This giveaway is now closed. The publishers have offered to give one copy of Pulling Back the Shades free to a reader of Parenting Like Hannah. I promise to make no assumptions if you enter the drawing for this book. In fact, I encourage women who do not struggle with this issue to read the book and equip themselves to help their sisters in Christ who do struggle with the issue. If you wish to enter for a chance to win a copy, take one or more of the actions in the box below. Each action will give you additional entries in the drawing. (Please note if you read Parenting Like Hannah in your email, you will need to go to the website to enter the drawing.) Entries will be accepted until midnight April 1. The winner will be notified by April 2.
This book was provided to me for free in exchange for my honest review. I think it introduces Christian women to an important conversation we need to being having with each other.