I am a book reviewer for Mind and Media books. They do not pay me to review books, but they do give me books for free to review. If you are interested, you can read more about it HERE or follow the link in the right column of my blog.

Shortly before Christmas I recieved the book “Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships” by Robert W. Firestone, Lisa A. Firestone, and Joyce Catlett. (ISBN 1591472865). When I got it, I was a bit concerned that it was going to be a boring text book style catalog of case studies similiar to what I had to read years ago in my undergraduate work. While it fits in size and shape, the similarities end there. I was suprized by the readable approach employed by this book. I discovered early on that while it is not written in a heady hard to read style that so many clinical texts are, it nontheless required me to read it in digestible chunks. I could read 2-3 chapters in a sitting at most, because there was so much coming at me through this book.

The book is grouped into 4 key categories:
1) Exploring Sexuality and Love
2) Factors Influencing Sexual Develpment and Adult Sexual Functioning
3) The Defensive Process and Sexuality
4) Therapeutic Approaches to Problems in Sexual Relating

I found the first and the fourth chapters the most helpful, though all four are done quite well. As I read through this, I was able to see an enormous amount of practical application points as a pastor. While I suspect some of it may never come up, it’s nice to know more, and know more about the tools available to help couples through their relational and sexual issues. This is not a Christian orientated reader unfortunately. It has places where it could have upheld or affirmed a Christian view on sexuality and did not. It is a great tool to help people understand their dysfunctions and begin to help them work to bringing themselves back into a healthy place in that area of their relationship, but not a tool to help one understand sexuality in the context of a Christian worldview. It does go to the underlying problems instead of treating surface issues. I think in general terms I would shy away from this type/category of book, but having read this I would recommend this for your personal understanding and your library, but only read along with the knowledge of God’s teachings of/on sexuality. As a person generally not interested in psychology, I found the authors language very approachable, not burying me with terminology specific to their field. This is a book for adults though, as the content and subject matter are very indepth and/or graphic at times.

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