Thursday, 14 November 2013

First Boyfriend Worries

Being married and childless, I don't have much of an interest in chastity books and related materials. As far as I'm concerned, that's for Single people and worried parents. Of course I dimly recall all kinds of weird physical yearnings when I was a teenager that I wouldn't have talked about even if someone had put lit matches under my toenails. Fortunately my ancient family physician had warned me about the most dramatic evidences of said yearnings, so they didn't scare me to death.

But I have had an email from a reader who is kind of scared because now she has a boyfriend and although the boyfriend is a perfect gentleman, her physical reactions to him, whether he's there are not, are dramatic. So she asked me if there was some Catholic-positive book out there she could read, and I was stumped

Can you readers recommend any good Catholic (or completely non-ideological) books on sexual feelings and reactions? I don't think we're talking about Theology of the Body (or Bawdy, depending on how you feel about C.W.) as much as we are talking a down-to-earth, your body does this because, you feel that way because, sort of book, minus the yucky here's-how-you-insert-a-diaphragm illustrations.

One of the more annoying aspects of life is that chastity arguments sound laughably reasonable and noble, etc., etc., until you are in a mutually agreeable dating relationship. All kinds of absolutely delightful, pious girls go from "I would NEVER..." to "La dee dah, let's change the topic. I don't want to talk about it." I suspect this is because nobody tells us that making out is a gateway drug. MAKING-OUT IS A GATEWAY DRUG. It is not super-innocent like it appears in Archie comics. I don't care if everyone makes out. Everyone who gets the chance probably does make out. (Sudden hypocritical sadness at thought of high school crushes I didn't make out with. oh, now it's gone and I feel a sense of undeserved virtue.) However, making-out is not conducive to chastity. If someone asked ME "How far can we go?", I would say "Cheek-kissing, hugs and holding hands."

Was I that prudent before I got married? No. Am I sorry? Yes. You should all try to be better than me. Save more money, too. And wear sunscreen. And keep in mind that sex can give you cancer.

Anyway, the point of this post is helpful books for my reader. So if you can recommend one, please mention it in the combox.


hmea said...

'Theology of the Bawdy' by Christopher West - brilliant, thank you so much for that! Everyone I know seems to think he's fab. SO GLAD you said that!

I only know of Joshua Harris's 'Boy Meets Girl'. I read it a long time ago, but I seem to remember that I found it helpful - and found it helpful to give my boyfriend too (thankfully it has been translated into French). Passionate (but God-fearing) young Frenchman as he was, I was quite surprised that he could see the sense of it, and even wanted us to try and live up to the kind of behaviour it suggested - and I think there were some good tips for dealing with things practically, because, as you say, all the theory so easily goes flying out of the window when it's no longer just theory.

Sad to say, of course, we didn't always live up to our goals (which we set ourselves after reading the book) but the book was helpful because it gave us a platform for discussing things and becoming more aware of each other's vulnerabilities.

PolishTraveler said...

The best thing about not being in a relationship is having a temporary respite from all that hormonal craziness (and, admittedly, the gateway drug).

I'm really interested in what your readers suggest - most of the Catholic books I read were too lofty to be of help (especially when I was younger). Not sure how old your reader is - but I really like Dawn Eden's "The Thrill of the Chaste." It does go a bit more into how to re-gain chastity - but some of the stories and quotes from it could be helpful in fortifying yourself for the battle and so as not to repeat the mistakes of other people. Honestly, I found her honesty refreshing - but it might be a bit too much for others to handle.

Still, it was thanks to her that I discovered your blog years ago, so I'm ever thankful :)

Anna said...

A friend recently recommended this one to me, but I haven't read it yet.

Seraphic said...

Anna, the one you link to reminds me of "How Far Can We Go",, which I have not read but was co-written by a theologate classmate of mine. I don't think it is in the "this is what your body is doing" camp, but it might be worth a look. The authors of this one are Catholic.

Mary said...

She's not a Catholic, but Toni
Weschler's book, Taking Charge of
Your Fertility, has a very good explanation of the
physiology of female arousal, especially how it relates
to a woman's cycle. I think knowing these feelings and reactions
are normal and natural and understanding why they are
so intense (because from them God can create life!) can give
us a sense of peace about them, and help us not
to worry or dramatize them too much!

MaryJane said...

It's been a long time since I read this, but I remember it being good:

It was written for 'older' young adults, i.e., those not right out of high school or college, although I suppose it could be useful for them too. I don't think it has long discussion of what happens to a woman's body, but I remember it being much more balanced and useful than a lot of chastity books - probably because it was more holistic than just "don't do this" on a date.

Seraphic said...

So far "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" sounds like what I have in mind. But definitely, holistic books are good, too, for getting beyond "Can we do this or that" to "what a well-integrated Christian sexuality looks like and why".

Stella maris said...

Hugs are quite the gateway drug too, if memory serves. Long, snuggly hugs with cuddly, warm men who...what was the question? Ahem.
I suppose I will see how long I hold to my no-hugging rule next time.