Sex, the Church, and Erotica or a Peek into Pulling Back the Shades

Sex, erotica, mommy porn, BDSM, intimacy, kinky sex, and fantasies.  If you consider yourself a Christian, you probably are blushing.  These topics are generally not discussed in many church settings.  Growing up in a mainline denomination, my church seemed pretty silent on sex and any surrounding topic, except the one sex rule - "don't do it".  Not up for discussion or conversation or even explanation, it was pretty much a forbidden topic.  Nevermind anything kinky.  

It's apparent that the church still isn't talking enough about sex or erotica, because when the "mommy porn" book series, Fifty Shades of Grey came out, over 70 million copies were sold in the first year, making it the fastest selling books of all time.  Many who partook in the reading surely identified themselves as Christian women, whether they were teens to moms and even grandmas.  When no one is talking in church circles about "how to better your sex life", how to get your sex life going at all, or whether kinky or BDSM sex is okay, many look for answers and discussions elsewhere, like in popular erotica books like Fifty Shades of Grey.  
Authors Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery have written a much needed book to speak into the church silence on this very intimate and yet very popular subject, sex and intimacy, and erotica.  Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy and the Longings of a Woman's Heart was released early this month, and it's a book that you really want to get your hands on.  Pulling Back the Shades gives an amazing answer and resource for women within the church to dealing with whether to read Fifty Shades of Grey or not and topics of how to handle the black, white, and grey areas of sex.  

Juli read the series, Dannah didn't, and from their different vantage points, they dish the truth on sensitive sexual subjects, while tearing through the idea that sexuality and spirituality cannot coexist in a Christian woman.  While many women say that reading erotica spices up their sex life, Juli and Dannah deal bluntly with the damage that reading erotica will cause to your marriage and your sex life in the long run.  
"While erotica might originally heighten sexual feelings, over the long haul it erodes something much more important - intimacy.  Whether you are married or single, you are looking for more than sex.  Your body, your mind, and your spirit were created to crave intimacy...  Sexual activity by itself is an empty substitute for true intimacy, and will never be enough."  Pulling Back the Shades, page 91
Questions about BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism) brought up by the popular Shades of Grey series are answered honestly and tactfully.  They discuss what God says in the bible on the absolute rights and wrongs about sex, and they answer questions on the grey from a biblical view point.  They also include and speak to many reader's stories of addiction to erotica and porn, dissatisfaction with sex in marriage and even in life after being sucked in by the fantasy of erotica.  If you have had questions or struggles in any sexual grey area, this book is a must read.  

This book also has an entire section of questions about each chapter that are geared for group discussion, making this a great book to use as a talking point for women in your life who are interested in sex, intimacy and the role of erotica.  And what amazing book would be complete without a bunch of really practical suggestions for both single and married women on how to deepen intimacy and avoid potential pitfalls or temptations in their own lives?!  

One of the ideas that I found most interesting in what Dannah and Juli discussed, was the fact that erotica is fantasy.  I'm sure most women, when asked, would agree.  What makes this interesting, is that in most fantasy, like Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia, it's easy to see that the laws of nature and physics have changed, when you read of animal or monster like creatures with human characteristics and super human abilities.  The rules of the fantasy world are understood to be different than the rules and laws in our world.  Now in the fantasyland of erotica, the laws of nature have changed also.  The laws of sex and relationship and morality and the heart are different, but we very likely won't recognize that fact.  It's easy then to develop false expectations (sometimes without even realizing it) that our own relationships and sex lives will play out like scenes from erotic fantasy, and we are set up for disappointment and failure.  It's an interesting fact that really spoke volumes to me about the dangers of erotica to my own marriage and sex life.

This book was awesome overall, and I highly suggest that you get over to Amazon to read the first chapter (for free!) right away.  It's available in paperback from Amazon and Barnes and Noble or in an electronic version delivered wirelessly to your Kindle or other e-reader - immediately!   Know where you stand on this issue.  Whether you agree with Dannah and Juli or not, you owe it to yourself and your husband or future husband to read about the pitfalls and dangers of erotica.  Read this book, and guard your marriage from erotica, and the subtle lies that it's not really a big deal.  It is, and this book will show you over and again just how important it is to guard your life, heart and marriage against the pitfalls present in the grey (and black!) areas of your sex life.      


And just in case you needed any more reasons to read this book, here are a few more awesome quotes from Pulling Back the Shades:

"We want to be very clear: your sexual desire is not wrong.  God created you to be sexual.  Your body and your mind are wired to long for sexual pleasure and intimacy.  Unfortunately, many religious messages separate being a sexual woman from being a spiritual woman.  pg 25

"Sex has been dragged through the mud so thoroughly that most people can't even comprehend that it is intended to be something holy.  Sex trafficking, pornography, friends with benefits, sexual perversions, and addictions - they all paint an animalistic and degrading picture of something that was created to be a glorious expression of human and divine love." pg 45 


  1. Thanks for posting this, Alayna! I haven't read it yet but I admire Ms. Gresh and I totally agree that the church in general has not done a great job of preparing anyone (especially women) for a healthy, fulfilling, and God-honoring sex life. In fact, most people (myself included) simply thought that meant waiting to have sex until marriage. Even if you are able to do that...what next? There's not much guidance for actual, healthy married sex - which of course leads to shame, fear, fantasies, and confusion, not to mention unrealistic expectations for both husbands and wives. I'm looking forward to reading this soon.

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