psychology,sexuality,spirituality

more than an act (my first book excerpt)

This past week an “IVPress” package arrived on my doorstep. I squealed (really, there is no other word for it), and my 3 year old daughter promptly starting squealing too. Because when an adult squeals, it can only mean good things for a kid, right?

As I held the box in my hands and got ready to tear into it, I felt her chubby little arms sneak around my neck. “Is it happy, Momma?”

Wow. Those are the moments that stop me in my tracks. And so instead of opening it myself, I let my little girl rip open the box with glee. I watched with big happy tears as she gasped when she saw my picture on the back cover, “It’s you, Momma!” Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so proud.

So today, with genuine pride and joy, I want to share a brief excerpt from the book’s second chapter (titled “More Than An Act”) and a bit of my passion for restoring a healthy, whole sexuality for women and men alike. As always, thanks for reading and joining me on this journey!

And if you haven’t gotten a chance to order my book yet, IVP is allowing me to share a code with ALL readers to get the book for only $9! More info on that at the end of this post.


So here goes: my first ever excerpt from Things Your Mother Never Told You…

After getting my kids to bed and collapsing onto the couch last week, I grabbed the remote to wind down after a long day of managing sibling tiffs and power struggles. A familiar sitcom with sexually charged banter and dialogue flashed onto the screen. A man in his 20s, speaking to a buddy about a mutual female friend, stated confidently, “I’d do her!” This phrase gave me pause. How many times have I heard folks, men and women alike, reduce God’s gift of sexual union to a mere behavioral release: “doing it,” or the even more dehumanizing, “doing her” or “doing him?”

Lately, I have been struck by how folks are tossing around the word, “sexy.” Instead of this word being relegated to descriptions of men and women who are dressed or behaving in particularly erotic ways, it is being applied to a wide range of activities or objects. Ariel Levy notes this pattern in her book, Female Chauvinist Pigs, in which she challenges ways that women have internalized the culture’s hypersexualization: “For something to be noteworthy it must be ‘sexy,’” Levy writes. “Sexiness is no longer just about being arousing or alluring, it’s about being worthwhile.”[1]

I have heard church pastors apologize that their church activities are “not very sexy.” I have listened to academics discuss certain research topics as more “sexy” than others. I have overheard techies talking about how one computer operating system is “sexier” than another operating system. When did the word “sexy” get co-opted by the general public to mean something that has seemingly little to do with sex? It appears that in our current day and age, the word “sexy” is synonymous with cool, interesting and worthwhile.

This has broad implications for how we think and feel about sex. If sexy = something that is valuable or worthwhile, then sex = value or worth. What does it mean for us if we equate the value and worth of objects, people and activities with their “sex appeal”?

Sex sells in American culture, and like all American women, I am assaulted on a daily basis by verbal and physical depictions of women in subservient physical and sexual positions. Like the sitcom I stumbled upon, degrading images of female sexuality are everywhere – in magazines and movies, on the Internet, at the shopping mall, at the grocery store with my kids, or walking around town with my husband.  The dehumanizing language and images that we are surrounded by teach important things about sexuality in general and female sexuality in particular.

Too often in our culture sex is depicted through language and imagery that has little to do with beauty, love and intimacy; rather, sex is presented as a depersonalized and even desexualized act of self-pleasuring involving some other person or even thing. Sexuality becomes simply appetite, friction, desire, or even demand. Hypersexualized advertisements and pornography depict women not as human persons, but as long legs or large breasts – objects of fantasy or pleasure. But this is not the way it’s supposed to be! This is a counterfeit of sexuality as God designed it. We live in a broken world, which has far-reaching effects on our physical bodies, as well as our ideas about sex and gender. We can, however, live out our sexuality in redemptive ways. Living differently, however, begins with transforming the way we think and talk about sex.

Taken from Things Your Mother Never Told You by Kim Eckert. Copyright (c) 2014 by Kim Gaines Eckert. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove  IL 60515-1426.
http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=4309

[1] (2005). Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. New York: Free Press, p.31.

To Order Things Your Mother Never Told You for only $9…

Click here and enter code 506-371 at checkout. This code is only good through January, and you have to order $25 to get free shipping, so order a few copies or pick up some great IVP titles (like Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton or Refuse to Do Nothing by Shayne Moore…)
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