I don't recall how I "met" Sheila Wray Gregoire. I started blogging about marriage and sexuality in December 2010 and soon after she was on my radar. I followed her blog To Love, Honor and Vacuum and subscribed to her Marriage Daily paper. She has featured Hot, Holy & Humorous posts quite a bit, and I'm thrilled that she has recommended my articles to her readers. We have traded tweets, messages, and emails. She has been a tremendous example and support.
When Sheila announced that she was writing a book called The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex, I was eager to read. I was honored to receive an advance copy (which is especially cool of her because she still only knows me by "J"). I think readers deserve to know whether this book is worth their hard-earned money and the time they could be using to tackle the 16th load of laundry, plan a kitchen renovation, or master that sexual position that involves a ladder and a bean bag. So here's my honest assessment of The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex.
I wholeheartedly endorse the core message of The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex and appreciate Sheila for speaking out so confidently and expertly on the subject of marital intimacy. Sheila Wray Gregoire's wisdom stems from biblical study; personal experience; blogging and writing on marriage and family; speaking at marriage and women's events, including with Family Life Canada; and three surveys she conducted in preparation for the book -- two with women, one with men. She pulls together her knowledge and a godly perspective to speak specifically to wives about how "Good Girls" should approach sexuality in marriage.
Her initial proposition is that the world conveys that "bad girls" are having all the bedroom fun. God's Word and research indicate otherwise. We Christian "Good Girls" -- experiencing sex in the way God intended -- have a whole lot more fun! And if you are a Good Girl who's not . . . well then, Sheila's got some advice for you.
"In this book we are looking at three aspects of great sex: learning how everything works physically, experiencing the deep connection that comes through making love, and creating a great friendship that fuels passion" (p. 142). Consequently, Sheila has sections for physical discovery, spiritual discovery, and relationship discovery.
The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex is comprehensive. Sheila explains God's design for sexuality and what God-honoring sexuality can do for a marriage. She covers practical issues like anatomy, birth control, what's okay and what's not, and much more. She discusses the emotional and relational aspects of intimacy in marriage. She gives advice and concrete suggestions for dealing with problems and improving your sex life. She weaves throughout the spiritual connection that occurs in a God-focused sexual union of spouses. And because Sheila knows we wives don't have time to read a 500-page treatise on the subject, she does it all in 272 pages (several of which are notes).
Throughout the book, Sheila shares quips from the surveys she conducted, sometimes as examples and sometimes as featured quotes called "A Good Girl Speaks." You'll likely relate to what someone else has reported and find encouragement. There are also pull-outs titled "A Good Girl Dare" with snippets for how to spice up your marital intimacy. I jotted down a few creative ideas myself.
I have read quite a few books from the Marriage and Sexuality section of the Christian bookstore. What I find for Christian books about sexuality is that some are rather clinical, some are rather preachy, and few of them are both biblical and practical. Sheila's is both biblical and practical. You will walk away from reading this with increased understanding and pragmatic ideas for improving your sex life. Even as much as I read, research, and write on this subject, my husband and I had several interesting conversations about our sex life based on things I was reading in Sheila's book.
Who is this book good for? Well, Sheila has written to us gals like an experienced and wise but super-fun girlfriend. I think this book would be particularly great for those getting married or recently married. In fact, you can't go wrong by throwing this book with a lace teddy into the gift box for the bride's lingerie shower. But there is also a lot here for those married longer who struggle in their sex life or simply enjoy tips for improving intimacy.
The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex is available now. Here are a few links to find it:
Amazon.com Kindle ebook
Barnes & Noble paperback
Barnes & Noble Nook ebook
Courtesy of Sheila's publisher, Zondervan, I do have one giveaway copy of The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex! Woo-hoo! I will randomly choose a commenter to receive the book. (I originally asked for an email address, but since I don't want to publish your contact information to everyone, just make sure you use a name. I can't award a book to "Anonymous.") Simply answer this question in the comments: What are you looking for in a Christian book about marital sexuality?
And if you missed it, check out Sheila Gregoire's 29 Days to Great Sex blog posts from the month of February. She has a lot of great stuff there (including a guest post from ME about how to orgasm).