Friday, December 5, 2014

Chastity is for Lovers by Arleen Spenceley

Chastity Is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a VirginChastity Is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin by Arleen Spenceley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For some people, the chaste life can raise a daunting question — a question a friend and fellow blogger brought up once in an interview: “Do you ever worry that one day you’ll wake up and discover you are forty-five, still single, and past your sexual prime?”

I don’t. In order to worry about that, I would need to believe the purpose of sex is pleasure and that we all better get some while the gettin’ is good. I don’t believe either of those things. I believe that whether a person ever has sex isn’t that important. What’s more important is why a person has sex, and in what context. But because I don’t worry about passing my sexual prime doesn’t mean I don’t worry at all. I do worry sometimes, but what I worry about is whether I write about this stuff with enough clarity. If I don’t, and a couple of decades from now I’m still a virgin, I’d guess many people who’ve read what I’ve written will call my single life “proof” that the chaste lifestyle doesn’t work. But the goal of saving sex isn’t marriage. The goal of saving sex is saving sex (not putting it off, but redeeming it). Some people who save sex get married and some don’t.
I'm not the target market for this book but I know lots of young women who are. That's what made me flip through the book. I kept coming across sections that caught my attention and made me want to know the rest of the story. I finally realized that I was going to have to read this book even if it wasn't aimed at me. Which says a lot about how personable this author is. And, let's face it, if I knew people in the target market then I needed to know what this author's saying because it could come up in conversation. Such are the times in which we live.

This point was underlined just a week later when I was at a big party. A friend and I began talking about our daughters, which led naturally to discussing their dating and marriage prospects. A Catholic mother, she confided that one of her daughter's biggest struggles was that she was a 29-year-old who continually was being embarrassed or annoyed by having to defend her decision to remain a virgin until marriage.

"Say no more," I told her. "I will bring you a book that she's going to love."

That made me move from flipping through to reading with interest before I passed the book on. It was just as good as I'd thought. It was funny, interesting, sensible, and written with clarity and grace. I'd also say that you don't have to be Catholic to like it. Most of it is going to be something that any Christian interested in chastity is going to relate to.

Definitely recommended.

Read Sarah Reinhard's interview with Arleen Spenceley at the National Catholic Register.

This was a free review book. I read it in spite of that. Liked it (a lot) anyway.

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