Book Review: Shannon Ethridge’s The Fantasy Fallacy

If you are highly uncomfortable with topics of a sexual nature then I will go ahead and forewarn veering out of this post. That is a disclaimer. I’m going to be going into some graphic topics that I’ve been wanting to discuss, but found no good reason to. 

 I’m going to take this to a whole new level that Shannon Etheridge wouldn’t touch. I believe that if you’re going to write about sexual topics then you need a full perspective of why, and how people biologically work. Etheridge had a really great opportunity to hit one some stuff that Christianity has suppressed, but instead she forgets that everyone isn’t married, and that penis’s don’t have an off switch, nor does a vulva for that matter. You can’t say “go away boner!”, and poof it’s gone. I’ve had men even tell me that they’ve walked outside felt a breeze, and gotten a boner. Is there anything sexual about a breeze? No, though maybe there is in the sensations it causes.Anyways, I appreciate that Ethridge wants to start a discussion about sexuality within Christianity, but I think she forgets that just as we need to eat sometimes we need to orgasm. That doesn’t make lusting right, but it doesn’t take away the necessary functions of our body.

There is a difference between reacting on your fantasies, and knowing  what pleases you. 
To begin lightly this is a point I agree with Ethridge on. It’s okay to know you have fantasies, but you have to determine as a Christian whether your fantasies are conducive to the faith you have. Many Christians may be aroused at the thought of threesomes, and orgies, but I think most of us can conclude that we shouldn’t go out and have threesomes, and orgies. Biblical evidence suggest we are a one person type of relationship. Now on the other hand I think if you would like to tie someone up, or masturbate by yourself I don’t think there is any evidence to suggest you shouldn’t. I think most kinky interests are something to be embraced and talked about as long as they don’t go spiritually against my beliefs I think it’s up for exploration.

Ethridge’s candidness about her own sexual thoughts toward a neighbor were quite brave. I think it’s great she was able to be honest about that with her husband, and be offered help by him through that.

Lusting and masturbating are two different topics that got meshed into one. I will admit if you masturbate you’re going to have a struggle not lusting. I do believe that is possible to masturbate without lusting, but I won’t deny it’s slim you won’t. If you don’t masturbate, especially males, it can be unhealthy. Men will ejaculate without the aid of masturbation at some point if they are not having someone else help them out.  Usually through the means of nocturnal emissions if they call it. I don’t think anyone could be blamed for ejaculating in their sleep. I’ve always wonder how men who get erections, and ejaculate feel about themselves after having it shoved on them that they’ve sinned if either of those things happen outside of marriage. Either way eventually semen has to leave the body as it’s continually produced. This doesn’t mean I condone the use of pornography, or lusting, but masturbating is healthy, and does have benefits.

Now women on the other hand are completely different. Obviously we don’t release semen, while some women do ejaculate. Some women do have a time of the month that their sex drive kicks into overdrive though. This doesn’t mean she is viewing porn, or dating a really attractive guy. Naturally after her menstrual cycle, there will be a time she ovulates. When she ovulates her sex drive is increased by testosterone. You’re going to have a really horny woman however long she ovulates. Not that women can’t be horny while not ovulating, but it’s tripled during this time. If a woman is on hormonal birth control then the outcome will be different as hormonal birth control suppresses the cycle. A woman may need to masturbate to release the tension of her sex drive.

You’re wondering how all this relates back to the book? Ethridge acts like if you take up a painting class, or find a hobby outside of work that it will distract you from your sex drive. I highly disagree with this. Eventually you will settle down from your activities, and those hormones will clearly remind you they are there.   Even if you’re out doing hobbies or taking care of business you will feel that longing to go home, and get rid of that buzzing need to have a release. It can be so insanely distracting until it is gone. Like seriously, it has nothing to do with lusting at some points. Sometimes it’s just simply your body needs to release. I think it’s very easy to tell that Ethridge doesn’t condone masturbating. I understand where her view point comes from, but I don’t think anything is inherently wrong, or selfish about touching yourself. Is eating selfish? No. Is giving your body the release it needs at certain intervals selfish? No. You are helping your body something it needs to do to function, and anyone who hasn’t a basic understanding of the biological workings of your body knows that sometimes fantasies, and lusting is not what illicit an erection, or arousal in women. Sometimes it’s simply the fact your body is ready to release just as you need to urinate.

And on top of all this information I believe there is something empowering about knowing yourself, and having control of your own body. Don’t become obsessive about the need for someone else because someone in your faith has told you that you must wait on marriage to feel release. Whenever you marry you will be able to guide that person, and enjoy yourself through the confidence you already have in knowing yourself.

I do agree with Ethridge on this matter. Porn is highly destructive to individuals wanting a monogamous relationship unless they are both into voyeuristic activities. While I don’t agree with voyeurism there are people who do enjoy it together. Porn can be a really dirty industry, and one that I’m sure if people knew more about they wouldn’t want to support. If you make it a dependency to view porn to orgasm then it’s going to be a difficult one to break. She gives a lot of insightful facts about the porn industry that sheds light that just make the whole industry not worth giving it the time of day. I have witnessed people with fully active porn addictions and it dictates their mindset so much more than you can imagine. The insight she provides on to how women are treated during filming is terrifyingly insightful. The porn industry is abusive on women, and while you can say they chose that it doesn’t make it right to have someone subjected to thirteen hours of having sex to the point where things are being ripped.

Final thoughts
I appreciate Ethridge wants to open up a discussion about sexuality. It needs to happen in the church. I think sometimes Ethridge applies the reason women do things to why men do things though. Most men I know do have sexual ideas they want to try, but they certainly don’t fantasize like women. Men look at pictures, and images that are pretty straightforward graphic, whereas women usually have very romance driven, graphically charged images to look at. She doesn’t ever take this leap, or explore that there is a difference. While I agree with a couple of her points, there are some major ones like masturbation that I just disagree with. She doesn’t look at the biological need for it at all, and lumps it in with pornography, and lusting. Though that is probably what it gets done with 90% of the time, maybe we should inform people that it is possible to know there bodies without destroying others.

 She has a great point about how most fantasies stem from some reasoning, but just because you like bondage doesn’t mean you’ve been abused in your past. I have talked to some people, and many have realized that from childhood they had these sexual interest before even puberty. That is a whole different topic I think would be interesting to explore.

2 of 5.

This book was provided by Booksneeze in exchange for a review.

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