In a culture that includes sex in everything from advertising to climbing the corporate ladder, it's easy to feel fuzzy about the true purpose and place of sexuality.
In this book philosopher and ethicist Caroline J. Simon identifies six "lenses" through which people understand sex and sexuality: covenantal, procreative, expressive, romantic, power and "plain sex." Guided by a virtue ethic, she applies those lenses to a variety of sexual scenarios, from flirtation and desire to marital sexuality, helping us to see what filters we run issues of sexuality through and how, properly ordered and weighted, they can help us achieve sexual integrity.
Here is a book for anyone interested in developing a holistic, biblical sexual ethic that brings into focus the bewildering array of cultural sexual presentations we're surrounded by every day.
"The skeptic would argue that the Bible was written in a time and culture so different from ours that its prescriptions are no longer valid or relevant for us. But truth be told, the New Testament world was characterized by as much sexual freedom as we have today. In our age of 'whatever floats your boat,' Caroline Simon makes the virtuous life appealing, worth pursuing and ultimately profoundly satisfying."
"Caroline Simon presents a balanced philosophical approach to the orthodox Christian ethics of sex for a whole new generation of wonderers. Bringing Sex into Focus is well worth your time."
"In this fine book Caroline Simon delivers marvelously on what she promises: philosophically informed insight into the complexities of human sexuality. Not that she stays on the level of theory. There is much practical wisdom here on the 'ordinary' interactions of our highly sexualized culture: flirtation, seduction, 'hook-ups,' and much more!"
"Caroline Simon defends sexual integrity, but that's not her sole intention. With clarity and care Simon describes cultural lenses used to determine what we believe about flirting, premarital sex, prostitution and other sexual behaviors. She challenges readers to avoid simplistic explanations of perspectives other than their own as she helps us understand how each leads to consistent beliefs about sexual behaviors. Simon's readable, philosophical study of sex makes an important contribution to the field."
"Bringing Sex into Focus delivers on the promise of its title: clarifying the meaning of sex and sexual faithfulness. Caroline Simon describes multiple lenses--both Christian and secular--used to interpret human sexuality, and fairly brings them into dialogue with one another. The book promotes civility and fairness for Christians engaging diverse sexual views and also upholds Christian ideals. Readers will be challenged to sharpen their vision, supported by this well-researched and lucidly presented book."
"In this thought-provoking book, philosopher and college teacher Caroline Simon seeks to bring clarity to our culture's sexual confusion. She uses helpful metaphor, optics, as a way to talk about six different lenses through which people view sex. . . . The book, written with the non-philosopher in mind, will be particularly useful for young adults searching for a way to think through sexual issues and discern the perspectives that shape media and culture."
"I found this to be a very readable book. The author considers a number of interesting topics from flirting and seduction to pornography and prostitution to hooking up and casual sex. One of the values of this book is it helps one to consider the extent to which someone is functioning within an alternative view with integrity. . . . These virtue distinctions are presented by the author in such a way as to help others be more honest about their sexual struggles."
Part I: Basic Equipment
1. Six Sexual Lenses
Part II: Christian Ideals--How Christians See and Are Seen
2. Marital Sexuality
3. Chastity and Virginity
Part III: Complications--Where Clarity Is a Challenge
4. Flirtation and Seduction
Part IV: Convolutions--A World Shaped by Deficient Visions
6. Casual Sex
7. Sex as a Commodity
Conclusion: Toward Sexual Integrity