Pros: Frank talk in a market where there isn't much
Cons: Four big problems. See review for more
This is a Very Sordid Book Review. The contents will likely be offensive. You have been warned!
I've committed the greatest sordid mistake one can do in Epinions -- I'm late with a write off entry..
How I got Acquainted with this book
Almost eight years ago this month, soon-to-be hubby and I were sitting in pre-marital counseling in Taipei, Taiwan. We were both committed to Christian marriage so our pastor at Taipei International Church lent us Intended for Pleasure by Ed Wheat, M.D. and his wife Gaye Wheat. We took it to our apartments and each read it.
I remember it had good advice for soon-to-be married couples. We never bought ourselves our own copy and returned it before the wedding.
However, since then when buying gifts for bridal showers (especially Lingerie parties) Intended for Pleasure: Sex Techniques & Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriages
became my gift of choice just based on those memories.
When gracef mentioned that this book was in need of reviews, I thought it was about time I bought hubby and I our own copy and reread it.
Okay, I never talk about the cover in a book. This time I have to. Luckily the hardcover book has a removable dust jacket. The cover title is found on the dust jacket in large letters that can be seen miles away. I reread this book mainly in doctor's waiting rooms and just felt odd advertising my reading material and didn't want to have to hide it behind a comic book. So I took the dust cover off and the name of the book was plainly written on the spine -- in colors that made it hard to read.
The book is divided into 17 well-written matter of fact chapters. One thing I love about the book is it can be read in order or you can just choose the chapters you are interested in.
1. Intended for Pleasure
(God created sex, so it is good and don't be ashamed)
2. Finding God's Design
(advice for engaged couples on the honeymoon; sex is more than physical)
3. Choosing to Love
(Love is not just an emotion, it's a choice. Jesus demonstrated Agape love (unconditional and irrevocable). That's what we need in our marriages)
4. Understand the Basics
(Sex Ed 101. Male and Female reproductive system, Menstrual cycles. Vasectomy. Conception and Pregnancy. Stretching the hymen before the honeymoon to cause less pain) Missed it at school or if you fell asleep, here it is again)
5. One Flesh
(Sex Ed 201. Details the four steps to lovemaking: Arousal, Time of Increasing Excitement, Orgasm, and Relaxation)
6. Solutions to Common problems
(Covers premature Ejaculation, Strengthening the Pubococcygeus Muscles (for her))
7. For the Preorgasmic Wife
(for woman who seldom or never reach orgasm -- solutions to physical and psychological reasons)
8. For the Impotent Husband
(discusses causes and treatments)
9. The Power of Sexual Intimacy
(Intimacy is more than sex -- other problems in marriage affect a couple's love making including anger and resentment, anxiety about one's physical appears, and lack of trust)
10. The "Perfect" Wife (written by Gaye Wheat)
(Mentioning my least favorite chapter in the Bible, she discusses the Proverbs 31 wife as well as the Christian ideal wife. Good advice for making a virgin wife comfortable on the honeymoon.)
11. Planning and Achieving Parenthood
(advantages and disadvantages of different contraceptives, Low tech ideas to try to defeat infertility)
12. Sex during Pregnancy
(Techniques are described and guidelines for communication are given)
13. Sex after 60..70..80...
(If you keep at it, you can keep having sex; section on health problems)
14. Sexually Transmitted Diseases
(Starting off that sometimes even Christians stray and can make unwise decisions that can affect the health of his/her spouse. Different STDs are discussed)
15. Answers to Your Questions
(Q&A sections to questions ranging from "What do people do with the secretions that come out after intercourse?" to "What is the place of erotic pictures and movies in increasing sexual desire?" and "Can you get pregnant from heavy petting?". A detailed picture of breast self examination is also included)
16. All Love, All Liking, All Delight
(Essay on the realizing marriage relationship changes -- as does the lovemaking)
17. Your Marriage
(Keep your marriage secure and stable with Jesus as the head)
All pictures included are pencil drawn illustrations. There are no illustrations of sexual acts however they are described in great detail.
My thoughts today
It's amazing to me that in the world today different branches of Christianity have the largest families but to hear most couples talk they sleep in separate rooms. With that in mind, I enjoy the Wheats' frank discussion of sexual relationship in marriage.
The Wheats do an excellent job of describing sexual acts in a way that is useful but not bringing down the sexual act to the sewer level like you'll find in Penthouse.
From page 210:
The husband sits comfortably in an armless chair with his wife sitting on his lap, facing him, with a leg on each side of his body. This leaves his hands completely free for manual stimulation. the head of the penis may be placed just within the vaginal opening, so that penetration is very shallow. This can be sufficient depth for mutual sexual stimulation and can be practiced even during the final weeks of pregnancy when deeper penetration may otherwise be prohibited.
To me it was refreshing to read that Christians might have sex somewhere else than the bedroom and even while the wife was "with child"
I loved some of their advice on preparing for honeymoon and feel some of it can even be used for couples who have been married eight, ten or twenty years. Things like "be sure to take a shower together" is an important reminder for couples in any stage of marriage.
Not growing up with sisters and a Victorian mother, hubby had no clue about the workings of the woman's body. He really felt that he learned a lot about the physical changes and what to expect from me during certain times of the month. It was refreshing too to read a male Christian not call PMS a defect but admitting that it was normal. Since labeling body parts was the extent of sex ed in junior high, I know I appreciated the update on the male anatomy.
I think newly engaged couples (especially those who are both virgins) would benefit from this book (and enjoy it the most). However, as noted in the contents there are sections for people much more in the marriage.
One area that I thought was lacking was dealing with sexual baggage from previous relationships or rape -- he ignored the fact that not all people are virgins on their wedding night.
Things I object
Even though I enjoyed the wealth of information in the book, four major things jumped out at me.
In the chapter on Infertility, the Wheats seemed focused on low-tech solutions. They seem to feel strongly that advanced medical infertility procedures take away the personal intimacy of sex and makes the couple like robots while having sex. If a couple can not get pregnant with low-tech means they encouraged adoption or a book called Childless is Not Less by Vicki Love. I have never suffered with infertility so I don't understand first hand the grief involved with not being able to have a child of my own. However, I've talked to numerous ladies (and a few husbands) in different bible studies who are going through that grief. The act of going to specialists is a personal one. And one that most folks don't take lightly. Under no circumstances do they need a book telling them not to try because it will lessen marriage intimacy. It seems to go counter to everything else in the book saying that sexual intimacy is more than the actual sex act.
The Wheats are against oral sex calling it a short cut and not the way "God would have designed" it in part because it "limits the amount of loving verbal communication that husband and wife can have as they make love." The Karma Sutra and other books are full of different ways couples can have sex. There is no reason any couple should be limited in the variety of sexual positions they jointly would like to try.
The Wheats basically have narrowed down sexual positions to "male-above, female-above, lateral and male-behind" positions. They recommend the male behind position for late pregnancy only. Different couples may find different positions exciting at any time and there is enough time before and after the act to communicate. Oral sex shouldn't be thrown away from a couple?s list of tricks.
Okay, I have no troubles with submitting to my husband because I've read the rest of Ephesians 5 (NIV) that reads:
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
However, the Wheats never bring this up. I can see unenlightened males pointing to this section of scriptures without reading the rest. Women are only given one line of scripture and the men the bulk. It really bothers me when that gets ignored. (And no, hubby doesn't ignore that)
Lastly, in the chapter on the perfect wife it mentions "If you want to stay beautiful for your husband, you'll be careful not to let yourself go as you get older." Hmm, that is never told to the husband. It goes on about not even gaining ten pounds - like woman need "christian" counseling to add to weight problems and causing anorexia. As for me I was on Depo as birth control long enough to gain 50 lbs. which is slowly disappearing. I've got a wonderful hubby who says I look good in a "potato sack" and am beautiful to him on a regular basis (not that I always believe him). But what about wives who don't have husbands that supportive. They don't need to get "worldly" advice from the Christian community too!!
Explaining my wishy-washy three stars rating
Okay, I'm wishy-washy. I love the frank talk and the book's organization. So I should rate this five stars right?
But the four points I'm against, I'm strongly against so I should rate it one star.
But I go for the middle, why?
Well, I still haven't found a sex book aimed at Christians (no photos of other couples having sex, scriptural references) that discuss this aspect of marriage as well as this book. However, I just want folks to go into this book with their eyes open. It is NOT scripture. There is no book Intended for Pleasure found after Revelations in the Bible. So like anything that is not-scripture take what you want, leave what is wrong. Use your brain and discern.
I would even think that Sordid-1 would agree with me on that point. He seems to pounce on folks when they accept everything they read without using their brain. So if you get this book, don't be a brainless goat -- discern!
For reviews of other Very Sordid books (or at least ones that sound that way), please check out the reviews from these brave souls:
erinrounds, gracef, Hypotenuse, james23, jankp, jenb123, jgibson2, jnbmoore, LatteChick, Lisa_J, lyagushka, miselainis, quasar, Redlass, sleeper54, tiffy0380, xiphoid
Special thanks to Petra for arranging this suspicious salute to one of Epinions' most interesting personalities