Pulling Back the Shades is written by Dannah Gresh & Dr. Juli Slattery and is a somewhat indirect response to the popularity of the book series Fifty Shades of Grey, and the subsequent explosion of that genre of literature.
When originally contacted to review this book I was very hesitant to agree to read it, as I was sure this was just going to be an under researched, angry, ultraconservative Christian’s response to secular culture, but thankfully I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Dannah Gresh is the founder of Pure Freedom and bestselling author of And the Bride Wore White and What Are You Waiting For?
Dr. Juli Slattery is a clinical psychologist, cofounder of Authentic Intimacy and coauthor of Passion Pursuit.
Right from the start the authors are very open that Gresh has chosen not to read the Fifty Shades of Grey series out of personal conviction, but Dr. Slattery has. Both authors are very open about their own lives and struggles and also incorporate numerous stories of others.
The main focus of the book is the connection between a woman’s spirituality and her sexuality, and how erotica seeks to exploit women based on their natural longings. Although the book is targeted towards women, as a man I found it fascinating to learn how similar pornography aimed at men and erotic books aimed at women are. They are simply different vehicles designed to do the same thing, with the same devastating results. Both of these avenues of escape are a perversion of God’s intended purpose for our sexuality and desire for human and spiritual connection.
“The end result of living in fantasy is disillusionment, dissatisfaction, and ungratefulness in reality. If you desperately desire to have a fulfilling love life, to be alive and satisfied, erotica will not get you there” (p. 37).
“Erotica…is aimed at awakening your physical sexual desire without any connection to emotional, relational, or spiritual reality” (p. 46).
The authors speak very candidly and this is not an ultraconservative discussion on sex. Throughout the book they address numerous questions about sex for both single and married women, and some issues addressed include: pornography, bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism. The shared stories of women who became consumed with fantasy and erotica are both sobering and heartbreaking.
I would highly recommend this book to women, especially if you are in the habit of reading erotica. It does a great job addressing a cultural issue through the eyes of scripture and really seeks to care for women both spiritually and sexually. The book offers hope for those who feel entrapped in fantasy and/or are experiencing unfulfilling sex lives, and even has an added discussion guide at the back for book study groups.
* I received this book through Icon Media Group for my honest review.