Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity

Author(s): Lauren F. Winner

Sex & Gender | Single Minded | Liberty Conference

Winner, author of the critically acclaimed memoir Girl Meets God, weaves an intriguing tapestry from sociological, autobiographical, pastoral, and historical threads. She balances a journalistic report of how difficult chastity is for American Christians; a personal account of how she and her friends have approached premarital sex and marital sex; a survey of what the Bible, pastors, and good Christian books say about the topic; and an overview of how chastity has been understood throughout Christian history. The candor with which Winner writes about sex may alarm some Christian readers, but those who follow her arguments to their conclusions will find themselves rewarded with fresh insights about an overdiscussed but still deeply entrenched problem among Christians. Interestingly, some of Winner's best insights are about married sex. . . . Winner places real sex not in the passionate world of one-night stands and dating relationships but in the ordinary, domestic life of married couples. As such, she helpfully and perhaps even radically reframes both the Christian and cultural discussion of chastity and sexuality.--Publishers Weekly

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"[A] carefully presented Christian approach to sexuality. . . . The book gives practical ideas for living a chaste life, portraying chastity as a spiritual discipline. One of the book's strengths is its treatment of singleness and ways in which the church could better incorporate singles into the Body of Christ. . . . Readers will appreciate Winner's intellectual, spiritually sound, and engaging approach."--Joseph Bentz, CBA Marketplace

"With a winsome, direct, and engaging style full of beguiling humor and verve, Winner forcefully argues that chastity is the most unnatural of Christian virtues. The church must teach us who God has created us to be, must inculcate in us the practices and disciplines that we require if we are to be chaste in a world where it seems like everyone is hooking up with everyone else. While much of the current infatuation with 'spiritual practices' is rather thin, in reclaiming chastity as a spiritual discipline Winner gives substance to the notion of practice and thereby gives substance to the notion of church. . . . This book is a great resource for pastors and congregations. Winner defends marriage as a clench-fisted, revolutionary endeavor that is against just about everything we have been taught to believe, and her defense of singleness as the primary vocation of Christians is equally defiant. She also offers practical ideas about what churches can to do support us in our vocations of marriage and singleness. Real Sex is destined to be one of the most useful books for churches to be published this year."--William H. Willimon, Christian Century

"A candid, readable, intelligent, and deeply Christian reflection on the meaning of sexuality and the generally unpopular and misunderstood virtue of chastity. Speaking most specifically to people who are young and single, Lauren Winner is the friendly and informed guide many are looking for in living the Christian alternative in a culture of erotic disorder. Although the author is not a Catholic, there are clear intimations of what Catholics call the theology of the body."--First Things

"According to Lauren Winner, chastity is no walk in the park--not for single or married people. It involves unceasing prayer, diligent discernment and a fierce battle against the lies that our culture and church communicate to us related to sexuality. Real Sex is the fruit of this sometimes-faltering quest in Winner's own life, a continual movement toward wholeness, as well as an ongoing conversation between herself, God and her readers. Real Sex is full of hope--hope that frank discussion will triumph over platitudes, that sexual wholeness can be recovered even after virginity has been lost and that we can all relearn what authentic sexuality is even in the face of cultural mythology."--Jenny Schroedel,

"Lauren Winner exposes the half-truths the church and the world have told us about sex. She then proceeds to help us develop a Christian understanding of sex that is biblical, historical and God-honoring. Real Sex is an invaluable resource for college students who queries cannot be answered by 'True Love Waits, ' Christian communities that desperately long for a return to sexual fidelity and pastors who want to speak a good word about sex into this postmodern context. A remarkable resource!"

"[This book] is a delight. Lots of people can write about sex; some people can write accurately about the value of restraint. How many can do those things in a candid, strikingly insightful and, yes, entertaining fashion? . . . You may not buy into all of Winner's conclusions--indeed, one wonders if she may rethink a couple of the nuances after a few more years of marriage and a child or two--but Real Sex is definitely worth the time."--Alan Cochrum, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"[Winner] bring[s] honesty and integrity to matters concerning sexuality and faith. . . . She shares authentically about a challenging time of life with which many will identify andempathize. . . . Read [Real Sex] to help you engage the immediacy and earthiness of sexuality and spirituality today."--Wayne A. Holst, National Catholic Reporter

"An epidemic of sexual perversion is sweeping through our generation. Lauren Winner tackles this topic with wit and a directive to confront cultural lies about sex and challenge how we talk about it at Church. . . . This book will help [church leaders as they] talk about sex and the issues that surround it with singles who are weighing chastity and married couples who are committed to monogamy."--Relevant Leader

"Winner reached a kind of evangelical stardom with her first book, Girl Meets God, a brazenly honest autobiographical non-autobiography, a mold-breaking story of spiritual pilgrimage. Winner wrote about her own sexual experiences in Girl, and she returns to the topic in a fuller way here. . . . Instead of do's and don'ts, Winner develops a rich theology of the body and of marital sex, and in addition to listing some of the lies that contemporary culture tells about sex, she lists the lies that the church tells about sex. . . . Real Sex is always honest, sometimes profound, and hip enough to give to your teenage daughter. This is a very satisfying book--and not just because it's about sex."--Peter J. Leithart, Touchstone"

[Real Sex] makes a strong case for biblical sexual morality."--Gene Edward Veith, World

"I found Winner's book to be a unique and fresh look at an oft-visited subject. Her approach and honesty about her own past is compelling. As someone who made a name for herself defending a Christian's right to sex outside of marriage, it was powerful to read of her own transformation in thought and rebuttal to her previous beliefs. She systematically works her way through all the arguments, demonstrating God's plan for sexuality in the place of marriage and the beauty of chastity as a spiritual discipline. Rather than simply stating how we are to be, Winner paints a beautiful picture of why God's plan truly is best. As someone who's read way too many books on dating, sex, and chastity, I believe this is one of the best. A must read for those who are single, whether they're 13 or 47."--Matthew McNutt, YouthWorker Journal


Lauren F. Winner (PhD, Columbia University) is the highly acclaimed author of the memoir Girl Meets God. She is assistant professor of Christian spirituality at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina, and has written for the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, Publishers Weekly, Christianity Today, and Christian Century. Visit her website at

General Fields

  • : 9781587431975
  • : Brazos Press
  • : Brazos Press
  • : July 2006
  • : April 2006
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Lauren F. Winner
  • : Paperback
  • : General Adult
  • : 192