Book Critique: Lauren Winner’s Real Sex

real-sex book coverLauren Winner is brave. Writing a book about her struggles with sex and choosing chastity as a Christian (and the failures of it) is somewhat of a taboo subject – even in this sexually active and mostly accepted cultural standard. She has an accurate understanding of sex and society, especially in Christianity. The research is intriguing and a little disturbing. The idea of chastity in this era is laughable at best and a social leprosy at worst.  lauren-winner pic

Lauren Winner discusses the clear contradiction between common Christian beliefs, the lack of commitment to some of those beliefs and the culture that defies those beliefs. She embraces this subject and uses her life as an example of how both Christianity and the secular world clash. It’s uncomfortable and somewhat difficult to swallow – truth is hard. Her willingness to tackle a difficult subject is admirable.

Lauren Winner spends a chunk of the book discussing sex, what she calls straight talk. She lays out the differences between Christianity’s stand on sex within marriage, the secular worlds view, and lies that both tell. She doesn’t pull any punches. She is honest and direct.  Comparing Lauren winner’s writing style with that of Anne Lamott, Lauren is much more straight forward in a serious way. While Anne Lamott is open, she is like talking to your best friend; Lauren Winner is more like talking to a counselor. Both are open. Both are direct. But the tone of each is very different.

Lauren Winner teaches me as a writer to not be afraid of tough subjects. If it is something that I’m passionate about, something that has impacted my life, it is an important story to tell. Both writer’s teach me that I have to be willing to lay it all out, to stand proverbially naked and accept the chastisement and judgment that will come. People react to what they agree with passionately, and are more aggressive in opinion when it offends them or touches on something they would rather not bring to light – the whole ostrich with its head in the sand thing. If I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. I hate that attitude because it always does more harm than good. By taking a cue from both writers I can address what matter’s and hopefully do good with it.

 

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