The issue of purity, especially when it comes to matters of a sexual nature, is not just a problem for men. Women also face the pernicious allure of sexual impurity and the draw of fantasy, whether that is through mental images parading across their thought life, or the plethora of sexualized material available in print and video. With that said, women can become victorious over sexual impurity through the power of Christ. Helen Thorne, in her book Purity is Possible: How to Live Free of the Fantasy Trap, provides the reader with valuable insight, tools, and a biblically based approach to uprooting improper sexual issues within their lives.
At the outset of this helpful book, Thorne states, “Gone are the days when films were just made by men for men. There are now alternatives to the seedy scenarios where blondes swoon at the first glimpse of the photocopier repair-man and give in to his every whim. Now female directors are producing short pieces that are specifically designed to arouse pleasure in women. The material is sensitive, sensual…appealing.” Furthermore, this material is available seemingly everywhere. Long gone are the days when perversion was only available in an adult bookstore. Now such vile trash can be obtained and viewed with the touch of a finger on a smart phone.
Of additional concern is the transformation of what beauty means. Thorne aptly notes that true beauty is not the kind promoted by Cosmo Magazine. Conversely, “[women] were made for the kind of beauty that starts in the heart and overflows into every part of our being. It’s a beauty that is utterly captivating, precious beyond measure, and deep; so deep that it’s foundational to everything we say and do.” Such beauty only comes by understanding that women were made in the image of God.
Moreover, God’s design for proper relationships is not to be found in the pages of Cosmo or the seduction of that cable repair guy who is ringing the doorbell on that video, for reasons far removed from fixing the reception. God’s design for proper relationships is explained by Thorne as being rooted in biblical beauty, namely a daily dose of Jesus, “loving him, knowing we’re loved by him, and seeking to live his way.” Taking that approach, according to Thorne, postures women to understand true beauty and by extension, positions them to engage in God glorifying relationships.
Throughout this book, Thorne addresses a number of key issues from dealing with fantasy, guilt, liberty, and intimacy. While the entire book is quite excellent and will most certainly help the reader understand and deal with sexual issues in their life, one particular chapter was a standout for me: specifically Thorne’s discussion of liberty. Given this is a book focused on that very subject, a biblically-based outline of how victory over sexual issues can be obtained is vitally important. To that end, Thorne is quite successful. She appropriately comments that victory is first understood as taking place when one grasps that we are a new creation. Our identity is found in Christ and not the pages of “smut” or perverted fantasy. I appreciated her declaration that, “Putting on our new self means letting the priorities that God has put in our heart start to ooze out of our being.” When we invest in others by loving God and loving others, there remains little room for “the self-centered fake world we had indulged in.”
One may ask why a man, such as myself, chose to read a book concerning sexual issues for women. As a husband and a father, I feel it is vital to understand what my wife and daughter are dealing with, to be able to grasp how matters of sexuality impact their lives. Having a better understanding of such issues as a husband and a father will in turn enable me to better serve my family. I highly recommend this book first and foremost for women, but also for men, in particular husbands (and fathers) to read.
This article first appeared in the July 2016 issue of Theology for Life. To download this issue please click here.