Blogger and writer Dianna E. Anderson would like to give your sex life a makeover.

That’s not actually the stated goal of her new book, Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity. Rather, she writes, “This book aims to develop a Christian ethic that doesn’t center around saying no, but through which we learn how to say a godly yes.”

But Anderson’s idea of a godly yes is very different from what the Christian church, through the ages, has generally understood it to mean.

Anderson grew up in modern evangelical “purity culture,” with all its widely documented problems. “I listened to story after story of being unable to feel close to God because of shame, being kicked out of one’s home, losing friends, separation from one’s faith community,” Anderson writes. “Many grew up being told over and over that their virginity was the most important thing they could give their spouse on their wedding night, only to reach that point and realize that having saved themselves didn’t magically create sexual compatibility or solve their marital issues.”

With Damaged Goods, Anderson wants to provide healing for those who have suffered from faulty teaching, and help for those who want to find a better, more genuinely Christian way to live. Anderson believes that the purity culture taught her to pride herself on living a celibate life and to look down on others who failed to live up to her high standards. Today, she regrets that prideful and contemptuous attitude and feels compassion for those who were hurt by it.

The church benefits from such course-correction and calls for healing in the wake of false teachings and unhealthy emphases in ...

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