"Real Sex" Creates a Real Buzz: Lauren Winner Tells All about Chastity and Captures the Attention of the Media

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From coverage in "The New York Times" (March 13) to forthcoming appearances on "Good Morning America" and "The OÂ?Reilly Factor," Lauren Winner's "Real Sex" is getting some major exposure.

In a culture that says sex has no consequences and that what I do with my body is none of your business, the church challenges Christians to embrace a radically different story. Yet its support of their attempts to live chastely is lacking, says writer Lauren Winner. In "Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity" (Brazos Press, $17.99, April 2005), she considers the difficulty of sexual chastity—and why Christians should bother.

Writing for a generation that views traditional sexual mores as an anachronism, Winner, 28, understands that the church's teaching about sex can seem irrelevant. Like many aspects of Christian life, chastity doesn't come naturally. It's countercultural, challenging the movies we watch, the magazines we read, and the clothes we wear. "To embrace chastity is to reconstruct a culture, and that doesn't happen overnight," she says.

The church must offer more resources for educating people about chastity, and sustaining them in the midst of it. Instead of romantic myths such as "true love waits," Winner says young people seek concrete guidance. Whenever she speaks to college students or twenty- or thirty-somethings, she finds they want clarity, especially about where to draw the line. "We know there's a wide world between holding hands and having sex," she says, "lots of things our bodies might do that we must think through and pray through, flirt with or run from."

Winner helps readers navigate not just the cultural messages about sex, but the confusing signals from the church. "Cosmo" and "Maxim" aren't the only places spreading wrong ideas about sex—the church often perpetuates false ideas, too, erring on the side of a Gnostic belief that bodily longings are to be stamped out.

The book is informed by her own fumbling toward chastity—candid "unchaste confessions"; an examination of what scripture has to say about sex; and many "good, if embarrassing" conversations with Christian mentors. "Chastity is not always easy or fun," she admits, "but like any spiritual discipline, it gets better with time."

Why is it worth the trouble? "Real" sex, in the Christian view, can only happen between people who are married. Otherwise, it's a distorted imitation of sex. "When we spend too much time in the simulations, we lose the capacity to distinguish between the ersatz and the real," Winner says.

Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity

by Lauren Winner

Brazos Press

ISBN: 1-58743-069-X

$17.99 cloth

PUB DATE: April 2005

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