Wednesday, January 3, 2007

PFOX-y lady

This week, my book receives praise from an unexpected source: Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays. Thanks to their review, I now know that the word for my sexuality is "everstraight" (though there was a time when I wistfully pondered Woody Allen's observation that bisexuality doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night).

It touches me that the reviewer finds something of his (or her) own experience in my book. He grasps the subtext of my book: that, unlike what the wider culture claims, there is only one healthy way to embody adult sexuality — through chastity, which means being in control of one's sexuality rather than being controlled by it — and that it is possible for someone who embodies sexuality in an unhealthy way to find a place of healing.

The review, which may be read in full on PFOX's Web site, says in part:

Finally, a book on chastity not written for virgins! Dawn Eden, a New York City columnist turned author, has been there and done that. In the Thrill of the Chaste, Ms. Eden relates her past experience as a young single woman on the Manhattan sexual merry-go-round. She also explains why and how she became chaste.

After converting to Christianity, Eden determined that her sexual behavior did not conform to her new religion. She resolved to match her behavior with her religious beliefs and love for her new Savior. But chastity didn’t occur overnight. It took a while for her body to agree with her soul, there were times of resentment over perceived deprivation, and she fell back into her old sexual habits before achieving success in her behavior. Sound familiar? It’s the route many of us in the ex-gay community have traveled. Change didn’t occur for us overnight, and when it finally did occur, it was only after some false starts on a bumpy journey witnessed by incredulous friends who couldn’t understand our new religion or behavior. ...

... Eden writes well and thinks deep thoughts. But best of all, she’s witty, so you won’t fall asleep reading another “don’t do it” chastity book. This is an R-Rated book for X-Rated people striving for a G-Rated life in Christ, so it’s not your typical chastity book for teens.

For example, another excerpt from the book hits so close to home that it almost hurts:
“The other night I had dinner with a male friend, a charming English journalist I would date if he shared my faith (he doesn’t) and if he were interested in getting married (ditto). He peppered me with questions about chastity, even going so far as to suggest that maybe, given that I’d been looking for so long, I might not find the man I was looking for.
‘That’s not true,’ I responded. ‘My chances are better now than they’ve ever been, because before I was chaste, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. It’s only now that I’m truly ready for marriage and have a clear vision of the kind of man I want for my husband.’
’I may be thirty-seven,’ I concluded, ‘but in husband-seeking years, I’m only twenty-two.’”
Every ex-gay man and woman can relate to this experience. We didn’t start having interest in the opposite sex until we were in our 30’s or later. Dating someone whose genitals didn’t match our own was like experiencing puberty all over again at age 35. Marriage was not attainable for us until we finally achieved that clear vision Eden writes about, and that didn’t happen until much later in life. That an everstraight like Dawn Eden can perceive her situation and evaluate it so clearly is remarkable.

Buy The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On at