The name of the book is “The Gift of Sex: A Guide to Sexual Fulfilment” written by Penner C. & Penner J. The book manifests sex to be a gift from God for its best creation, "human". The thesis statement of this book is to access sexual relationship between the married couples according to Biblical perspective. This book review highlights that sex has the potential to bring couples together by getting rid of their abdicative behaviour.
Summary of the book
Marriage is a social institution which is considered to be a covenant agreement that has been developed by God. This book focuses on the responses on sexual fulfilment among couples confining with biblical arrangements of marriage. This book also manifests several positions that could trigger sexual pleasure within the married couples. It has explained statement of Genesis where Adam and Eve were naked and exposed without feeling ashamed. This ensures that marital relationships should not have any boundaries. Penner & Penner (2003) commented that sexual acts should be performed without any barriers. The married couples should enjoy pleasure while having sex. Genesis 1:26-27 stated that God has created gender of any human based on his own image. Therefore, it can be said that gender of any human is merely a manifestation of God’s desire. Sexual functioning of human, as well as functioning within a relationship of a married couple, is the two dimensions of sexuality. As per Hebrew’s view of human sexuality, in sex, not only human body is getting involved but also one’s soul, emotion, intellect, spirits are integrated into this process.
According to biblical assumptions, adultery is a sin as it breaks the institution of marriage as described in Israel’s case where he worshiped other God. Sex symbolises as profound mystery which is used as New Testament. According to Bible, sexual pleasure depicts health compassion among couples. In the next chapter, Penner & Penner (2003) has discussed that body has a significant role to play in sex as each body part is created as per its functioning while having sex. However, in today's society, man and women are dissatisfied with their own as well as spouse’s body image due to negative media representation. Married couples are not satisfied with each other bodily constitution and this triggers conflicts among them. In the next chapter of total experiences, it has been identified that total experience involves obligations, distraction, stress and free flow of demands. Penner & Penner (2003) has mentioned that when, there is sexual dysfunctionality due to lack of knowledge between couple, and it might lead to sexual anxiety. In order to overcome, the difference in sexual intimacy, the couple must indulge God in their marriage bed so that they can have blessing while their sexual experiences.
Analysis and evaluation
The book by Penner & Penner (2003) has critiqued by many scholars in respect to the modern definition of sex where sex is more than God’s gift. This book focuses on the responses on sexual fulfilment among couples confining with biblical arrangements of marriage. According to Penner & Penner (2003), sex involves spirituality that helps to replenish the entire earth. However, Genesis quote has highlighted that sex is only meant for a married couple. Israel’s worship of other God was considered to be adultery. Similarly, premarital sex has also been considered to be a criminal offense. God will judge the actions of whoremonger and adulterers. Based on Biblical perspective, marriage is considered to be honourable. However recent scholars have argued this fact and commented that premarital sex is not any criminal offense. In recent time premarital sex is not considered to be the crime as this comprises the consent of both couples. Sadat, Ghofranipour, Goshtasebi & Azin (2016) mentioned that premarital sex is one's freedom of choice regarding one's body and emotional needs. On the other hand, Penner & Penner (2003) has counter-argued that biblical representation of sex is devoid of any use of pornography, self -gratification and extramarital affair as these are sexual abductive.
The book has also involved the fact that as per biblical representation the beauty of sex is confined in the social institution of marriage. If sex is used in out of the content or act against God’s action plan, these can be seen as a heinous act based on the biblical explanation. Those individuals who have decided to get involved in sexual activity before marriage has disobeyed the ordinances of God. This fact has been supported by Chandler (2015), as instances of rape or any sexual action against the concern of the individual and their family members are considered a crime in this modern world. Thus, this biblical justification is given as per recent relativity. Sex brings connectivity between couples as both of them become passionate about their partner's body. As per Genesis, Solomon connects his manhood with his wife and in return, his wife has the experience of adventurous sexual pleasure.
Penner & Penner (2003) has stated that every body part has a significant role during sex. It is essential for every person to know the functioning of their body parts. During sex, full utilisation of body parts is necessity in order to obtain high means of pleasure. However, in recent time, body image dissatisfaction has been observed as media portrayed desirable body structure for one’s partners. This can lead to sexual dissatisfaction. These trends are mostly visible among men as they become very particular regarding woman’s body structure. Penner & Penner (2003) mentioned that woman becomes sensitive while having sex. However, the author has stated the fact that one must be satisfied enough with their own physical appearance as well as their partner to be free from any complicated sexual relationship.
This statement has supported by Freitas (2015), an aspect of sex can vary from one person to other. Gartner (2017) mentioned that the above-mentioned facts can be used for counselling purpose of the couples. Every individual has their own perspective towards having sex. Hollinger (2009) mentioned that the authors of the concerned have successfully mentioned all forms of sexual experiences including orgasm, puberty, and ejaculations. McCarthy (2015) has agreed with the fact that there are three methods of sexual response to arousal and other sex stimuli which are ISSE (Imagined social situation exercise), unstructured fantasy and erotic story. The authors of the book have also mentioned that all the developmental stages of sexual maturity and sensual response to arousal with an in-depth knowledge and justification.
The concerned book has manifested that marital relationship requires affection without any expectation. It also differentiates between sexual arousal and sexual desire where arousals are considered to be the physical change and design in the sex drive. Ben-Asher (2016) has argued that during sex initiation, male must initiate the sexual activity. However, Penner & Penner (2017) argued and commented that both female and male can initiate sex as per their sexual design, however, need to have clear communication between them. This sort of communication is important during sexual activity in order to attain high level of pleasure. This book also implies that both verbal and nonverbal communication can improve barriers in sexual relationship between couples. Body pheromones have the potential to drive sexual desire among the involved couples. Ingram (2014) supported that the book also provides tips for spicing up one relationship by recreating some old memories something new and unfamiliar ways. Other scholars like Gartner (2017), has supported the fact that rebuilding of old memories can improve the sexual intimacy among married couples.
The book suggested that in a marital relationship, sex does not work due to lack of understanding of arousal and desire. This brings anger between the couple and breaks the couple apart. Fear of failure is one of the reasons for sexual dysfunctioning or dissatisfaction. This statement has been supported by Gartner (2017), couples can come from a different background with different sexual desires and a feeling of failure could lead to relationship fatigue and sexual dysphoria. Penner & Penner (2003) have observed that these differences could be worked on with different approaches to communication. However, this statement has been contradicted by McCarthy (2015), as sexual desires cannot be met by only communication as it needs action. Therefore, during sexual dissatisfaction, separation could be the option for a better future. The authors have generalized sexual desires here in this book.
As per the book, sexual pleasure can be enhanced by inviting God to the bedroom as a blessing so that sexual activity can be performed passionately. As supported by Freitas (2015), meeting sexual requirements of one partner is the sole responsibility of another partner which can be met by staying fit without commenting on each other’s body parts.
The books have presented the fact that God must be worshipped during sexual activity. During sex, this form of prayer will help the involved couples to overcome their difficulties and indulge in sexual pleasure. The author has made their arguments explicit in the way it has compared recent time sexual relationship with the biblical explanation of sex. This structured argument has successfully enabled me to understand the subject of sexual pleasure and sexual fulfilment as God's gift. The stereotyping of sex initiation must be discarded so that both man and women come up with their sexual desire by responding to sexual arousal.
Ben-Asher, N. (2016). The Two Laws of Sex Stereotyping. BCL R,1(2), 29-78. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2024&context=lawfaculty
Chandler, M. (2015). The mingling of souls: God's design for love, marriage, sex, and redemption. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu
Freitas, D. (2015). Sex and the Soul, Updated Edition: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America's College Campuses. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=X5ueBgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=The+Gift+of+Sex:+A+Guide+to+Sexual+Fulfillment&ots=knrz6dAlSE&sig=izRkIwTBP0LMH0IDRhdzrB-NMQk
Gartner, R. B. (Ed.). (2017). Understanding the sexual betrayal of boys and men: The trauma of sexual abuse. Abingdon: Routledge. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=n_0wDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT16&dq=The+Gift+of+Sex:+A+Guide+to+Sexual+Fulfillment&ots=Hcl2bT0zST&sig=BiLCTqw4DH_RIzKI8EzPVwmIo0c#v=onepage&q&f=false
Hollinger, D. P. (2009). The meaning of sex: christian ethics and the moral life. Abingdon: Routledge. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu
Ingram, C. (2014). Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships: God's Prescription for Enhancing Your Love Life. Michigan: Baker Books. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=vCYtBAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT5&dq=sex+as+god%27s+gift&ots=bVDtFU9qVW&sig=cpZFYjKYy7sxSLtZmtppGpdTB8Y
McCarthy, P. A. B. W. (2015). Sex made simple: clinical strategies for sexual issues in therapy. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu
Penner C. & Penner J. (2003). The Gift of Sex: A Guide to Sexual Fulfillment. Thomas Nelson Publisher, Nashville Tennessee. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6fPwDLrOU8IC&oi=fnd&pg=PT7&dq=The+Gift+of+Sex:+A+Guide+to+Sexual+Fulfillment&ots=SaQ5mSDpHk&sig=nPuKzH11TgAGpIVqjgQwk3_b0D8#v=onepage&q=The%20Gift%20of%20Sex%3A%20A%20Guide%20to%20Sexual%20Fulfillment&f=false
Penner, C. L., & Penner, J. J. (2017). The Married Guy's Guide to Great Sex. NavPress. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=kopMDgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT7&dq=The+Gift+of+Sex:+A+Guide+to+Sexual+Fulfillment&ots=jIgRmvOLkq&sig=xF4QqGy_agUNQr1vJ9WrICDaZTI#v=onepage&q=The%20Gift%20of%20Sex%3A%20A%20Guide%20to%20Sexual%20Fulfillment&f=false
Sadat, Z., Ghofranipour, F., Goshtasebi, A., & Azin, S. A. (2016). Sexual knowledge and attitudes among premarital couples: A need for future educational programs. Nurs Midwifery Stud, 5(4), e34469. Retrieved from: https://eprints.kaums.ac.ir/1385/1/Sexual%20Knowledge%20and%20Attitudes.pdf