Sexual Detox by Tim Challies
Challies, Tim. Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys who are Sick of Porn. Adelphi: Cruciform Press, 2010. 112 pp. $9.99. Purchase at Westminster.
Narrated by Tim Challies. Adelphi: Cruciform Press, 2010. 1.7 hrs. MP3 download: $9.98.
Tim Challies is renown for his review website, Discerning Reader as well as Challies.com. To be reviewing one of his books is a bit daunting since he is “the man” in the Christian book review world. Nonetheless, as a book reviewer, I was asked to review the audio version of Sexual Detox and so I purchased the print book in order to review both.
Sexual Detox is a short, sweet, to the point book that moves from the cultural acceptance to the biblical understanding of human sexuality and the rejection of our perversion of a gift God has given. Divided into six chapters, Challies discusses in a gentle, yet hard-hitting manor, the realities of pornography in the health of a marriage as well as the corrosion of the mental make-up of both men and women.
Written primarily for men, the final two chapters help men steeped in sexual immorality to ‘detox’ from the constant bombardment of sexual immorality. The best line in the book is “You need to stop looking at pornography. And you need to stop masturbating. Right now. As in, this instant. Not tomorrow. Today.” Pretty sound advice if you ask me.
I found the book to be an excellent treatise on the realities of pornography. I also found that his style of writing in this particular area made the exhortation so much more the palatable. So often in books about pornography or sexual immorality the author can come off sounding a bit harsh and judgmental. Not Tim. That was very much appreciative.
There was one area, however, that I disagreed with Tim. On page 63, in the chapter on Detox in the Bedroom, he writes,
Imagine that on a particular occasion a married Christian has no desire for sex. Because of God’s command, that husband or wife should seriously reconsider. In fact, even if neither spouse wants sex for a prolonged time, the couple should still have sex for God’s sake out of obedience to him. (Such a couple also needs to address the larger issue of why the desire for intimacy has slipped away!)
While I agree that there is a need to address the reason(s) for the desire of intimacy to be lacking, I disagree that a couple should have sex “for God’s sake” if they have not had sex in a while. There are many reasons why sexual intimacy is lacking in a marriage. Often times, it is because of the season involving work and/or children that the couple finds themselves in. Other times, it is a medical condition or even a physical ailment that is preventing such intimacy. In many instances, one’s spouse is not capable of having sex and the healthy spouse, out of love and affection, “loses” the desire for sex. My fear with such advice is that sex becomes more of a task to perform rather than a gift given by God for the couple to enjoy.
The heart of 1 Cor. 7:5 is to not deprive one another. In many instances, there is no withholding of sex other than because of the season of life or the physical/medical conditions preventing sexual relations. Now, if one spouse is struggling with immorality, during such a season, then it is up to the couple to find a way to fulfill the command of God in this area and do so in a biblically acceptable manner.
I found the audio book to be well done and extremely conversational in tone which is tough to do when discussing something as taboo as pornography and sexual immorality. The one concern I had was the speed in which Tim read the questions at the end of each chapter. I would have liked a bit more of a pause to be able to reflect somewhat on the questions being asked. Regardless, I found the audio book to be well done and enjoyable to listen to–especially while driving or jogging.
If you are going to purchase one book on sexual immorality to give to a young man, I would recommend giving them Sexual Detox. It is short and will keep the reader’s attention. The message is biblically saturated while offering keen insight into the way in which we are to combat the sexual immorality, specifically, pornography, today. I pray more men will read this book and get serious about killing the snake that is pornography.