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The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On
Dawn Eden
W Publishing, 224 pages, $13.99

Popular blogger and columnist Dawn Eden has written a refreshing call to chastity. A single woman in her 30s, Eden has logged many years in New York and has had plenty of experience "using sex in the hope of landing a commitment." This habit left her cynical and dissatisfied, and pushed her to explore chastity, a discipline that involves "seeing your sexual nature as part of a three-way relationship … between you, your husband—or, if you're not married, your future husband—and God." If you have sex without one corner of that triangle in place, she writes, "[T]he act becomes disconnected from its purpose."

Eden's intended audience is fellow single women, and she is frank in writing about her struggles with chastity:

When I look back on those two years [of practicing chastity] … I can remember only two stages:
1. The "I'm fine, really; I've got so much going on in my life, and God is good—he's taken away my longing, which is something I couldn't do for myself" stage; and
2. The "climbing the walls" stage.

On a more serious note, one of Eden's most important decisions in this book is to draw on Pope John Paul II's theology of the body, stressing the unfashionable notion that the body has a spiritual purpose. Eden underscores that chastity is a lifelong discipline—not just a tough thing that single Christians have to deal with, but also a call to embodied holiness in controlling one's sexual appetite that every Christian must submit to. (Do the details of that submission differ depending on whether one is married or single? Sure. But a Christian vocabulary for sexuality might lead ...

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March 2007

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