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Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,821 ratings  ·  162 reviews
Sex Splashed across magazine covers, billboards, and computer screens-sex is casual, aggressive, and absolutely everywhere. And everybody's doing it, right? In Real Sex, heralded young author Lauren F. Winner speaks candidly to Christians about the difficulty-and the importance-of sexual chastity. With honesty and wit, she talks about her struggle to live a celibate life. ...more
Paperback, 183 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Brazos Press (first published April 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Kristen
May 18, 2007 Kristen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jean. Just kidding...it's already on her list.
Perhaps the most embarassing book I've ever pulled out on the subway or in an audition line...the cover not only has a large white flower but the blaring "real sex" title with only the tiny subtitle that makes it all okay. That being said, it's a great read and one I would recommend for anyone in the church. I had the delight of meeting Lauren Winner and attending a women's retreat where she spoke on this topic among others. She is a smart, smart woman and I especially love reading her books now ...more
Rachel
Lauren Winner started writing this book before she was engaged but by the time she finished it, she was married. She also confesses that she did have premarital sex with several boyfriends. Her background (and an adult conversion to Christianity from Judaism) lends itself tremendously to keeping this book from being just another preachy text on sex aimed at single people. I particularly enjoyed the author's treatment of the subject: she doesn't take the hard core black & white, right & w ...more
Eddie
I appreciate the Hauerwasian influence that frames sex as an semi-public act done in community, but Hauerwas has a winsome personality and can sell that vision as exciting. Winner, on the other hand, is lecturing me about dressing up for church ("It's God.. that the people are coming for, and helping them dress appropriately may be part of preparing them to meet Him") and claiming that frat houses have swapped porn for the Victoria's Secret catalog ("a rag that actually leaves quite little a sec ...more
Niki
Feb 07, 2008 Niki rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: high school kids in mainstream Church youth groups and their pastors
An interesting book on chastity and why it's important in a Christian context. She makes some excellent points about community and the fallacy that we are as autonomous as we think we are. However, she fails to critique marriage as an institution at all (and I am positive her academic background would have allowed her to do so). Because her stance is so firmly "wait until marriage" this also excludes any discussion of on-heterosexual relationships. She never explicitly states that this is her ha ...more
Victoria
Mar 30, 2012 Victoria rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christian teens going off to college
Recommended to Victoria by: Brooke Mackey
Shelves: christianity
I've wanted to write a review of this book for a while, but I've struggled with what to say about it. Before I read it, I had heard this book strongly criticized by several youth ministers in my family and acquaintance. Their criticisms are valid. This book does not present a hardline position on anything other than the fact that sex is acceptable only within the confines of marriage. It takes a much less hardline stance on topics such as masturbation, or the use of birth control inside or outsi ...more
Cassie
I am so surprised at my response to this book thus far! I have only read a couple chapters, and I think the 2nd half will be much better (which is the practical stuff on practicing chastity). But thus far I am absolutely not compelled by her theological arguments. She's coming from a very "radical orthodoxy" perspective, which I generally find distasteful. She's arguing that Christians shouldn't have sex outside of marriage simply b/c that's the way the Bible says it should be, way back in Genes ...more
Kristen
I hadn’t even finished the preface to Real Sex before I breathed a sigh of relief and thanksgiving that someone had finally written this book. Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity is a book that has been needed for quite some time, and Lauren Winner was up to the task. I read and thoroughly enjoyed her first two books (Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath) and am glad that she used her gifts at bringing the theological, historical, sociological and personal together in a compelling way on the ...more
Ramón
I'd actually give this book 2.5 stars if I could. I normally enjoy Winner's writing, but this book felt like it began wandering early on and never found its rhythm or a final resting place. The tone also seemed a little forced, like several ideas were mashed rather than woven together.

In particular, there seemed to be a fair amount of dissonance between the deeper paradigms dealing with the spirituality of chastity in a holistic, communal way and the seemingly arbitrary assertions about sexuali
...more
Carl
If you're curious about what an articulate student of religious history who entered the Christian church as an adult has to say about Christian sexuality, you cannot do better than this.

One of the most candid, clear and fun books on Christian sexuality that I have read. While Winner has clearly done her theological homework, her writing is full of illustrative anecdotes and personal confession, rather than being heavy on quotation. Where she does reference a theologian (Chrysostom and Augustine
...more
Jeremy
This book is beautiful in every sense of the word. This book is honest, insightful and sprinkled with humor! Even as a married man, I found this book deep and impacting. The reason I found it so profound is that Winner did not approach sexuality as a postmodern "anything goes" writer or as a gnostic anti-body Christian. I found that she took a careful middle ground that was loyal to morality and also affirmed our bodies. I found it especially insightful that Winner made the connection about chas ...more
jennifer
Mar 25, 2007 jennifer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites
absolutely the most hope-giving and liberating treatment of sexandchastity and everything that gets tied in to how we think about sexandchastity (identity, idolatry, value, beauty, community, and on and on). please, please, everyone read this one for all of our sakes.

edit: also, winner affirms singlehood and argues for the single person's place in the Church body as a single person (as opposed to a not-yet-married person), two areas in which we as the Church can do better.
Tristan Marks
In Lauren Winner’s book Real Sex, she claims that chastity is a discipline. The problem?

CHASTITY IS NOT A DISCIPLINE

This idea is self-evidently wrong, as are many of the other things she writes about Christianity, the Bible and sex. While the language she uses to talk about sex is very academic, what she writes is just not logically or textually supported.

At the outset the author seems set to challenge the American evangelical church’s entire “True Love Waits” approach to single sexuality. She
...more
Barbara Falconer Newhall
I can’t say that I go along with the idea that one must be 100 percent sexually chaste before marriage. But I do think that the evangelical Christian culture that holds to this principle has a lot to teach the rest of us.

My Spiritual Writing group at the Glen Workshop in Santa Fe a couple years ago included several evangelical Christians — young ones – for whom, I suspect, chastity before marriage is a hot topic.

A line from a book by our workshop leader, Lauren Winner – "Real Sex: The Naked Trut
...more
Debbie Blane
I finished this book tonight. I had previously read Lauren Winner's Girl Meets God and found that book a tremendous read so I wanted to read some of her others.

Real Sex is well written and solidly based in Biblical principles and good theology while dealing with the very real issues that people in modern America face every day. What I take from this book is that chastity is a way of being as a Christian and that married or not we practice the disciplines of being in community while being first
...more
Kelly Hager
I really wanted to love this book, because I adored Girl Meets God and liked Mudhouse Sabbath a great deal. Instead, I was really disappointed.

1) I felt like Girl Meets God was a conversation and it felt like an afternoon with a friend. This was a lecture.

2) I have had sex. I don't feel like this makes me a bad person, a bad woman or a bad Christian. I'm not even allowed to GET married, so any sex I have will be "premarital." I can honestly say I was in love with every woman I've had sex with
...more
Longfellow
Read the chapter "lies the church tells about sex" the night I bought the book. I was quite interested; I identified with/recognized most of these "lies."

Starting at the beginning, however, I found less engaging, which is surprising considering this is a book on the topic of SEX. The only classes I didn't sleep through in freshman Biology were the ones covering the menstrual cycle! Of course, Winner is focused on moral and social concerns rather than biological ones, but her approach does seem
...more
Elizabeth
Having been unimpressed by Girl Meets God, I had low expectations for this book. They were, I suppose, met.

While I haven't entirely sussed out my own personal sexual ethics, I'm inclined to believe that a Christian sexual ethics should lean heavily on integrity and commitment and suchlike, so I was sympathetic to those portions of her arguments, though I reacted against her ideas and arguments a number of times as well. I found myself strongly wanting to be a better person, whereas Girl Meets Go
...more
Garrett
This is a fantistic book on chastity ... the least liked/understood of them all. Winner's greatest argument in this whole book is that all Christians are a part of the Body of Christ. We live in community there for chastity is a communal ideal. Therefore, the Church needs to reevaluate how it understands 1) the Christian Life, 2) the acquiring of virtues and 3) how we live as one body.

The argument for sex not being a private but a communal act is important to understand. In the same way, no sinf
...more
Kyle Potter
Lauren Winner's book on the Christian understanding of chastity is radical and different because it explores and expounds Christian sexual ethics on the basis of the Christian gospel and casts it as a practice to be lived out in the life of the Church.

Sex is a community concern because sex is an integral part of an individuals formation both as a person and a community member. Winner shuns a shallow ethos of "saving oneself" to make sex "more special" but rather understands it as a way of being
...more
Weston
To be clear, I tend to avoid most Christian books about sex because they can be offensive, awkward, inadequate, or other things. However, I really enjoyed this book! The author is attempting to argue for a distinctly Christian understanding of sex that is healthy and understandable. Now, some readers may be caught off guard by the high vocabulary needed to read this book, but it is a great read nonetheless!
Dave McNeely
Whereas so much of Christian sexuality has fallen into two camps - the via negativa of "Don't do this! Avoid that!" and the cartoonish "Christian married sex is the heavenly!" - Winner charts a positive sexual ethic of chastity (which, she persuasively argues, is NOT to be confused with virginity). In doing so, she restores an understanding of sexuality that is for ALL Christians at ALL times and thoroughly faithful, practical, and hopeful. I used much of the content of her book as a basis for o ...more
Jlnpeacock
This is one of the best books that I have read regarding chastity. I have recommended to all the young people I know. I think that Lauren Winner does an excellent job in showing that it is a myth to think that "it's my life and what I do doesn't hurt anybody but me." She points out that we are in a community with each other and what each of us does has an impact on everyone else. It is not a preachy book either.
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Another book on chastity? What for?!! This book doesn't provide anything new. I never actually liked any of those books written on chastity. Our goal should be union with the Lord and He takes care of the rest, including purity of heart and chastity. The author has an edgy style and I felt like running a mile a minute, trying to keep up with her. Not my type of book by any means.
Laura Prosapio
I read this book for a Psychology of Sexuality course I'm taking this year; I didn't expect to gather as much insight as I did from these pages--probably because I regarded it as "required reading" that I just needed to get through to check off my syllabus. How mistaken I was!

Winner's words are profound, beautiful, truthful, and insightful. She speaks of sexuality from a Biblical perspective, stating with much Scriptural evidence God's intent for how human sexuality was designed--because of His
...more
Annie
Lore Ferguson speaks highly of it, so I'm taking note of this one.
Nicole Pramik
While this book contained good insights and dispelled commonly-held myths the Christian church has regarding sex, I found Winner's tone to be too cold and academic. In my opinion, a topic such as sexuality, especially when approached from a Christian perspective, should be addressed with warmth and gentleness, not in a clinical manner. For me, her views, in at least the first half of the book, read more like a Christian college graduate thesis on human sexuality, not a book genuinely designed to ...more
Hannah Wilkes
Lauren F. Winner literally wrote the book on becoming Episcopalian, so I rather expected this to be an Episcopal book about chastity. It wasn't. I would expect an Episcopal book about chastity, one published in 2005, to talk about, rather than often conflict with, Resolution D039. The Episcopal Church does not require, and has not required since 2000, that sex be restricted to Holy Matrimony between a man and a woman, yet that is what this book by an Episcopalian insists Christian chastity must ...more
Malin Friess
"Legalism fails at one thing it is suppose to do: encourage obedience." Phillip Yancey.

Our pastor had quoted a few portions of "Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity" in a recent sermon serious he presented from Cor. on Chasity.

Lauren Winner (Ph.D) Columbia is fabulous author. A topic often avoided in Christian Circles and winner exposes her own personal sexual history, lies culture says about sex, lies the church says about sex, and chastity as a discipline.


A few interesting portions of this
...more
Alina
I've been preparing for a sermon this weekend, and to help with that, I went back to Lauren Winner's book, Real Sex. It is a useful, thoughtful tool for discussing the Christian sexual ethic, and I'm glad I re-visited it with a little more attentiveness.

At one point in the discussion, she pushes back on some of the cultural cult of escapist romanticized sex, and suggests an alternative:

In a Christian landscape, what’s important about sex is nurtured when we allow sex to be ordinary. This does no
...more
Callie
As the author says in the first chapter, "'True Love Waits' is not that compelling when you're twenty-nine and have been waiting, and wonder what, really, you're waiting for."

Winner explores Christian ethics in relation to sex and the discipline of chastity by breaking down myths both our surrounding culture and many church cultures perpetuate about sex. Her information is based on academic research and biblical references and examples.

For me, this book is more helpful than the others I've gradu
...more
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whatz it about 2 35 Nov 13, 2008 01:52PM  
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Lauren F. Winner is the author of numerous books, including Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath. Her study A Cheerful & Comfortable Faith: Anglican Religious Practice in the Elite Households of Eighteenth-Century Virginia was published in the fall of 2010 by Yale University Press. She has appeared on PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and has written for The New York Times Book Review, The ...more
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