Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Fantasy Fallacy by Shannon Ethridge

The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts
Author: Shannon Ethridge
Publication: October 16, 2012
By: Thomas Nelson Publishers/Booksneeze
A Great Resource!


This is one of those books I wish I could get into the hands of everyone I know because the information Shannon Ethridge shares is upfront, honest and informative. Having a background in counseling/human relations, she knows her stuff and she presents the material in a way that is neither condemning nor judgemental which I appreciated and I am a Christian.  I read 50 Shades a few months ago, not because I wanted to but because I felt led to. So many in my social and church circles (surprisingly) were huge fans of the trilogy and I didn't really understand all the controversy surrounding it.  I chose to "take one for the team" so to speak and I wish I'd had The Fantasy Fallacy to read immediately following it.  

Shannon shares her thoughts concerning 50 Shades in the beginning of her book and one of the quotes that jumped out at me was this one...
"My heart broke for the naive twenty-one-year-old girl in the story who, after knowing him less than one week, gives her virginity away to a man who wants her to sign a domination/submission contract that will allow him to ritualistically beat her anytime he wants in the name of sexual pleasure." xvii   

I couldn't agree more!  When I finished the books I thought of all the women I know with daughters who'd read it and wanted to ask them, "Is this really the message you want to send to your daughters?" My intention is not to be a judgy mcjudgypants but there are times when we need someone else to help us open our eyes and see things for what they really are and The Fantasy Fallacy does just that.

This book addresses anything and everything concerning sex and the world of fantasy surrounding it; the pros and cons, what's acceptable (biblically speaking) as well as real life stories from people she's talked with.  Shannon also explains the difference between sexual fantasy and lust because they aren't the same. In a nutshell, there's nothing wrong with sexual fantasy when it involves your spouse and doesn't include pressuring or coercing them to do anything that could cause them harm either physically or emotionally. Sexual fantasy is OK as long as you're fantasizing about what's already yours. Lust is craving something that doesn't belong to you.  It's when you find yourself combing these two aspects, sexual fantasy and lust, that you enter the danger zone. 

Addiction to porn is just as much a problem in the Christian life as it is in the secular and it can leave women feeling inferior and hurt. But here's the thing, those perfect, gorgeous men in erotic novels who always say and do the right thing, satisfying the woman's every need ALL THE TIME?  They're no different than the women in porn films and magazines. Both are an unattainable illusion.  Men who are addicted to porn want the women in their real lives to be like the women in porn, and women who read erotic novels expect the same of the men in their lives.  It's a lose-lose situation.

Stephen Arterburn, who wrote the foreword, puts it this way...
"But the truth is these erotic books are dragging readers into a world of fantasy in a way very similar to how pornography hooks male viewers.  No man can create a sexual experience that parallels those in the books.  No man can be viewed as adequate when compared to the erotic excitement found in these novels.  The fantasy world that a woman enters will leave her very dissatisfied with the reality of her man and her marriage." xiii

God gave us the gifts of imagination and sex and but they quickly turn into burdens when not used wisely. 

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