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Saving Sex: Sexuality and Salvation in American Evangelicalism 1st Edition

2 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199942251
ISBN-10: 0199942250
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Editorial Reviews

Review

From sexually transmitted demons to father-daughter purity balls to the use of trampolines as sexual props, Amy DeRogatis is a sympathetic, critical, and engaging guide through the world of evangelical sex manuals. She provides a vivid and nuanced account of how evangelicals convert secular sex advice for godly purposes and understand sex as part of salvation. This is an indispensable contribution to studies of evangelicalism and sexuality in America. (Tanya Erzen, author of Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement)

Fascinating from beginning to end, this book adds greatly to the understanding of Evangelical life today. Amy DeRogatis examines the almost overlooked subject of conservative Protestant heterosexuality. Putting sex on the scholarly agenda in a compelling way, she makes a fundamental contribution to the materialization of Religious Studies in general, and of Protestantism in particular. Long dismissed as prudish and disembodied, Protestantism is rediscovered here as sexually engaged and self-aware. (David Morgan, Professor and Department Chair of Religious Studies, Duke University)

Resisting the temptation of a playful romp through evangelical marriage manuals, Amy DeRogatis seriously engages the sexual ambivalences of born-again Christianity, particularly the insistent pursuit of both purity and pleasure. Contemporary evangelicals have been instructed to approach sex as if their salvation-as well as that of the wider culture-depends on its proper performance. Saving Sex is an eye-opening examination of just how extensive and detailed that instruction has been. (Leigh Eric Schmidt, Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor, Washington University in St. Louis)

About the Author


Amy DeRogatis is Associate Professor of Religion and American Culture in the Department of Religious Studies at Michigan State University. She is the author of Moral Geography: Maps, Missionaries, and the American Frontier.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199942250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199942251
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.6 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,002,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Paul Mastin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
It's always interesting to read an outsider's perspective on specific cultures, especially when you're an insider in that culture and you can recognize the outsider's distance. I don't know Amy DeRogatis, and have no idea what sort of church she attends or if she is even a Christian. She is a Harvard Divinity School graduate and a professor of religious studies at Michigan State. In Saving Sex: Sexuality and Salvation in American Evangelicalism, she surveys a variety of evangelical books, web sites, and sermons to examine "the relationship between sexuality and salvation in American evangelicalism." The book is a revision and expansion of two articles published in scholarly journals.

DeRogatis gathered a wide variety of evangelical publications on dating, marriage, and sex to do a sort of sociological analysis of evangelical beliefs and practices. She found common themes that will be unsurprising to evangelicals, primarily "that heterosexual sex is holy and natural, is sanctioned by God, and should be practiced in marriage." DeRogatis's tone of ostensible academic detachment often comes across as arrogant and mocking, especially in her descriptions of purity pledges and the abstinence movement. Yes, some of it sounds silly, especially as she describes it, but what is her alternative? Endorsing sexual activity among teens doesn't seem like a good option.

The mocking continues as she discusses manuals for married couples. She sees them as simplistic, medically insufficient and naive, and too male-oriented. Responding to the claims of the purity movement and the sex manuals, she facetiously asks, "If sex within a sanctified marriage is fabulous, why do evangelicals continue to buy books about sexual technique and practices?
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Format: Hardcover
"Taking the bible as a guide to sexuality" really sounds kind of creepy to me. Which part? Where Lot had sex with his daughters? Where the children of Adam and Eve inevitably had sex with their siblings? Or where God commands the Israelites to exterminate that tribe that inconveniently occupied the land he gave them as a gift, instructing them to keep the female virgins as slaves?

Some books should never be written, and this seems to be one of them in my eyes. I rather take the Rick James Bible than the King James Bible as my guide to sexuality.
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