Sunday, May 13, 2007

Gilbert magazine gets The Thrill

"Part memoir, part self-help guide, The Thrill of the Chaste provides a joyous rebuttal to a culture obsessed with sex. ...

"The autobiographical scenes are beautifully and humorously written, inspiring sympathy and admiration. Some of the best pars of the book are the scenes that discuss heart-wrenching breakups with unflinching irony, coupled with musings on how Eden uses these unpleasant experiences to determine what she truly wants out of a relationship. ... Passages that focus on her adoption of Christian sexual ethics draw heavily on personal experience, allowing her defense of chastity to be more heartfelt than preachy as she sets about demolishing Helen Gurley Brown's legacy.

"This book is geared for adults, but parents will find it an invaluable resource for teaching their children about the emotional dangers of sex. ... An effective argument for chastity has to explain why, whatever feelings of pleasure unsanctified intercourse might provide, these are far outweighed by the damage that the 'it's just sex' mentality inflicts, leaving people bereft and unfulfilled.

"One of the biggest hurdles toward advancing the virtues of a chaste lifestyle is the widely accepted dichotomy between the notion that people who engage in wanton sex are mentally healthy and 'sexually liberated,' and the idea that people who abstein are 'sexually repressed' and only refrain due to some unresolved neurosis. Eden brilliantly illustrates how what is commonly defined as 'liberation' is really a kind of enslavement, since in order to participate in this lifestyle, one has to set up all sorts of emotional and psychological barricades, the likes of which, she reports from experience, are very difficult to overcome. Similarly, by presenting the happiness and self-respect gained from chastity, she punctures the lie that abstinence is unnatural and unhealthy."

Christopher Chan reviews The Thrill of the Chaste for Gilbert, the American Chesterton Society magazine (review is not online). Come see me next month at the Chesterton Society conference in St. Paul, Minn.

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