Spanning from the deep edges of black to the translucent edges of white are many shades of grey. Some hues are dark and easy to discern, others nearly white and invisible. As it is with grey, so it is with our sexuality. In their newest book, “Pulling Back the Shades; Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart,” Dr. Julie Slattery and Dannah Gresh address the spectrum of women’s sexual longings and why we have them.
Originally written as a rebuttal and answer to the popular series “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E L James, Pulling Back the Shades goes deeper and answers the question why women (Christian women too) are attracted to and reading the newly termed genre of “erotica” (romantic fantasy). Quickly becoming an emotional version of pornography, erotica’s lead seller, The Fifty Shades of Gray series has sold more than a million copies world wide. Pulling Back the Shades addresses why the series went viral, as well as why women are attracted to watching and reading romantic fantasy. The book also covers the positive and negative sides to erotica.
When I was given “Pulling Back the Shades” to review from Moody Publishers, I was excited as I respect both Gresh and Slattery’s work. When they decided to write a book together I was thrilled. Only I had never read the Fifty Shades of Gray series, so I wasn’t sure if the book would be interesting or apply to me at all.
In deciding to write a book that would address the growing obsession for erotica, Gresh decided to not read the Fifty Shades of Gray series, while Slattery did. One of the reasons I really enjoyed the book was that both women brought two entirely different experiences and perspectives to the table. The book is written in alternating fonts as each woman shared her perspectives on the different issues they address. It’s probably one of the most balanced books that I’ve read that addresses a specific issue (Fifty Shades of Gray) and a general topic (erotica).
This book is a great resource for anyone wanting to be able to converse with fellow believers and the world on our sexuality. Erotica is a growing phenomenon within the church – witnessed by the number of Christian romance novels. Are these books wrong? Probably not in and of themselves, but why do we have the need to keep reading them? What drives our longings? Dannah and Julie take an honest, real approach to answering these questions and more.
“The fantasy of erotica inspires one thing – the longing for more . . .You will never reach contentment reading something that is intended to make you long for more”. Pg. 36-37
Our longings were given to us for reasons, good, healthy reasons, but they won’t be satisfied in the pages of erotica, or viewed before us on a screen. Gresh and Slattery do an excellent job of addressing some of the dangers of erotica, while still conveying the excitement and joy of healthy, godly sexuality. This is not a “how to” or legalistic book that comes down on sexuality in any way. It’s balanced, thought provoking, and filled with grace. “Pulling Back the Shades” dives bravely and deeply into areas of a women’s heart that the church really needs to be talking about.
This book is for you if you:
- Have read “Fifty Shades of Gray,
- Are curious about cultural trends
- Work with women and teen girls
- Or you want to know more about your own longings.
If you have not read “Fifty Shades of Gray” like myself, or the co- author, Dannah, this book is still very applicable and challenging. We all have longings, but do we know why? Or know what to do with them? – Pick up a copy of “Pulling Back the Shades” and find out!
In Short Review: Dannah Gresh’s book “Get Lost – Your Guide to Finding True Love”, is a great practical, book that beautifully and tangibly looks at how to have our longings fulfilled in Christ. I would recommended it as a follow up to “Pulling Back the Shades” or “What are You Waiting For“. In short, Get Lost, is the practical application to Dannah’s other books!