When my husband and I turned a bedroom in our house into my home office, my biggest request was that we remove the doors from the closet and add bookshelves.
I LOVE this space, of which I have included a photo for your viewing pleasure!
Isn’t it fabulous?!! Props to my beloved for making it a reality. I have a lot of books. Clearly. (The pic just shows the ones on those shelves. I have four other bookcases full as well.)
My husband and I laughed once about whether we could ever live in a tiny house. He coyly asked, “What would you do with all your books?” That rhetorical question ended any entertainment of tiny house living. Wise man.
Maybe it’s the writer in me. Maybe I’m just old school. I know I could read so many books electronically, but I am falling down drunk in love with the feel of an actual book in my hands. My generation is probably the last to feel this way.
If I have the choice between borrowing a book or owning it myself, my default is always to buy it (or beg someone to give it to me). I want the freedom of using a pen and highlighter without restraint, and the library frowns on that sort of thing with the books upon its shelves.
Of my plethora of books, I have quite a few on sex, including many written by Christian authors — well over 60 Christian books on sex are in my possession. (And this may come as a surprise, but there are still more out there that I want to add to my collection).
As Christians, we have oodles of books from which to choose to delve into genuine dialogue and insights about all things related to sex. So. Many. Christian. Sex. Books!
You may wonder what’s the best approach. How should you read a Christian sex book?
Here are 3 things to keep in mind…
1. Accept you won’t agree with everything in a book.
I think this is the number one point to remember as you break open a Christian book on sex. Go into it with the humble expectation that you will NOT agree with everything you read.
Why is this so important?
No surprise here, but Christians have never been able to collectively agree on everything, and nowhere is this probably more true than when it comes to sex in marriage. Some Christians are not against masturbation and some are. Some Christians think anal sex is permissible and some believe it is not. Some Christians think oral sex is unhealthy and unbiblical for a marriage and some believe God gives us the green light on oral sex.
I just offered up three hotly-debated topics among Christians regarding sex in marriage. Given the opportunity, I could list a host of milder topics as well where Christians are not on the same page.
The reason it’s so important to go into a book with the acceptance that you won’t agree with everything in it is so you are not easily tempted to disregard the entire book. Dismissing an entire book because you don’t agree with a few points means you will miss out on the valuable insights that are relevant to your marriage and within your belief framework.
This is the whole “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” argument. If you were to dismiss the Christian books on sex that don’t jive completely with your biblical perspective or marital relationship, you would have to throw them all out. None would survive this scrutiny.
And you would rob yourself and your marriage of the nuggets of gold found within so many Christian sex books. And that would be sad and short sighted.
2. Trust your discernment.
Building on the last point, when you do pick up a Christian book on sex, trust your discernment. Trust your ability to hold what you’re reading up to scripture and up to your situation and determine what is healthy for your marriage and what is not.
This is what we do in all other areas of disagreement, right? It’s why we have so many different Christian denominations — Christians have dug into God’s Word and heart and not always come out standing in the same place on tenets of faith and biblical living. And for the vast majority of Christians, we are fine with this. We are at peace with this.
I’ve yet to hear of any brawl breaking out because one denomination wants to baptize its babies and another denomination wants to immerse those kiddos when they are old enough to proclaim faith on their own. Nope. No one is throwing punches over things like this.
Trust your discernment to read a Christian sex book and glean what applies to your marriage and let go of what you and your spouse know would not be healthy for you.
And respect that another married couple may read the same book and arrive at a different conclusion. This is particularly vital if you are reading in book club format, where two or more couples are going through the same book together and discussing it. Trust your discernment and agree to disagree.
3. Read more than one book.
So many books, so little time, right?! Wouldn’t it be simple if you could just pick up one book, read it, and then close the chapter on any future learning? But alas, lifelong nurturing of sexual intimacy just doesn’t work that way.
My heart encouragement to you is that if you are serious about nurturing sexual intimacy in your marriage, then read more than one Christian book. (And for that matter, visit more than one Christian website on marriage and intimacy. Listen to a few podcasts. Go to a few seminars).
Those of us who are Christian writers on sex bring to the table our individual experiences, viewpoints, values and voice. We have different writing styles and different points we want to emphasize. Sure there is overlap, but I promise you that every single Christian book on sex I have read I have come away with “aha” moments.
While I cannot list all the Christian sex books here, I will say that some of my favorite book authors on the topic (in no particular order) include J. Parker, Sheila Gregoire, Shannon Ethridge, Ruth Buezis, Tom and Debi Walter, Gaye Groover Christmus, Dustin and Bethany Riechmann, Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo, Linda Dillow and Juli Slattery, Dr. Kevin Leman, Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg, John and Anita Renfroe, David and Claudia Arp, Dr. Les and Leslie Parrott, Christopher and Rachel McCluskey, Marla Taviano, Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner, Dr. Douglas Rosenau, Dr. Dan and Linda Wilson, Joy McMillan, Drs. John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman, Dr. Ed and Gaye Wheat and Tim and Beverly LaHaye.
And that’s not even ALL the Christian authors on sex!!
I have networked with and become friends with some of the above authors, and even though we share a deep commitment to helping married couples with sex, we don’t always agree. Within that healthy dialogue and disagreement, we still passionately encourage and uplift each other.
We do it because you — our readers — are worth it! We write and speak on your behalf.
So if you have been thinking of reading a Christian sex book, don’t delay. Make that investment in your marriage today, and maybe even build a library of a variety of books. You definitely have many choices and your marriage will be better for it.
And I have a 5 video series available on building better sex in your marriage. Great way to invest in your marriage! You can find out all about it at this link: Better Sex in Your Christian Marriage.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.