Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Black Friday egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Luxury Beauty Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Holiday Music in CDs & Vinyl Outdoor Deals on HTL
The End of Sexual Identity and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $16.00
  • Save: $1.83 (11%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
The End of Sexual Identit... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Ships Direct From Amazon Warehouse With Tracking.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are Paperback – March 22, 2011

30 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$8.22 $5.38

Deals in Books
$14.17 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are
  • +
  • Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality
Total price: $26.64
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews


With an ironic smile, The End of Sexual Identity attempts to perform reparative therapy on the church, so that she will convert from her cultural orientation back to the biblical one where humans are regarded as just humans-not reduced to their sexual deeds and desires. Paris shows that the sexual identity framework was not dropped on earth by some divine skyhook; we're better off without this newfangled invention. Hers is a prophetic call for the church to get over its heterosexist moral superiority and get on with its business of shepherding all persons toward sexual holiness. (Christopher Benson, Christianity Today Online, July 2012)

"This is a great book . . . Paris uses world history, culture, story, Scripture, thorough research and personal opinion to educate and challenge us to grow in our biblical worldview on sexuality, our compassion for individual differences and struggles, and encourages us to cease using what she calls a "sexual identity framework" to define who we are. She does all this and yet calls us to sexual holiness and repentance. I do hope you will read it!" (Kent Miller, YouthWorker Journal, May/June 2011)

"God gave us genitals, but he didn't stop there. He made us human. What does that mean? And what is love of neighbor? What is a welcoming church? What are strengths of celibacy when supported by Christian community? Not just scholarly but also painfully and hilariously personal, this book shatters stereotypes for the sake of the kingdom." (Miriam Adeney, professor, Seattle Pacific University, and author of Kingdom Without Borders)

"Jenell Paris has produced a provocative and astute diagnosis of our situation in the US: living in 'an oversexualized culture with an undersexualized spirituality.' She refuses to argue in broad generalizations and to remain content with the polarized categories that Christian reflections on sex and sexuality so often produce. As a Christian cultural anthropologist she digs below the surface and brings a sophisticated interpretation of the cultural complexity of our sexual lives. Her most piercing contribution is in challenging the 'sexual identity framework' itself that traps both Christian and non-Christian reflection on sexuality. She exposes just how paralyzed Christians become by the categories borrowed from the cultural waters we swim in, particularly the socially constructed and historically recent categories of 'heterosexual' and 'homosexual.' As someone who describes herself as a 'sex only within marriage between a man and a woman' kind of Christian, Dr. Paris's insights will surprise and challenge readers from seemingly incompatible perspectives on these issues. She is consistently gracious, but definitely not nice." (Jamie Gates, M.Div., Ph.D., cultural anthropologist and director of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation at Point Loma Nazarene University)

"I love Jenell Williams Paris's suggestion that we not stuff anyone into any identity box other than the one for those Jesus calls beloved. It's exceedingly hard to say a fresh word on these matters. Paris has done so with wisdom and gentleness." (Jason Byassee, executive director of leadership education, Duke Divinity School)

"The End of Sexual Identity is a brilliant, bold, personal and biblically grounded work that is destined to become a classic in its field. By exposing the culturally conditioned nature of our modern Western 'sexual identity framework,' Paris completely reframes Christian debates about sexual ethics and thereby helps us (finally!) move effectively in our understanding of what it means to pursue sexual holiness. As a pastor, I have to confess that this is the most helpful, paradigm-changing and stimulating book on this topic I've ever read. I couldn't recommend it more strongly!" (Greg Boyd, senior pastor, Woodland Hills Church)

"This is a singularly important book, about sexuality but also about culture, and it is a model of charity, clarity and creativity. While this is certainly not the last word on Christian sexual ethics, it could be the first word of a better and more honest conversation about holiness and faithfulness amidst our age's sexual confusion." (Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling)

"Jenell Paris does us a great favor by reminding us that God didn't create heterosexuals or homosexuals. People did, and fairly recently, in fact. Paris reveals the church's cultural captivity to Western ideas of sexual identity and orientation--that what we want, sexually speaking, is who we are. Humbug. Paris challenges the church with the words of Paul: don't be captive to the patterns of this world. Both heterosexuality and homosexuality--and the panoply of other possible identities and acronyms--are social constructions that pose problems for a people whose identity is to be found in Christ. Instead, Paris reminds us that God has redeemed us, called us by name and claimed us as his own. That is an identity worth affirming. Paris challenges us to live beyond sexual identity, even as we pursue sexual holiness, and provides us with a vision for what a post-sexual-identity church might look like. This is a rich book, one that is long overdue. It is theologically sound, has deep ramifications for the church and will rattle some quarters. Good." (Mark D. Regnerus, professor of sociology, University of Texas, and author of Forbidden Fruit and Premarital Sex in America)

"Jenell Williams Paris brings a fresh perspective to the subject of sexual identity as she reminds us that we are all just people and far from perfect, 'each of whom is lover and loved.' She invites us to extend and receive grace even as she boldly encourages us to think a bit differently than we might about sexuality. I highly recommend it." (Lisa Graham McMinn, Ph.D., professor of sociology and author of Sexuality and Holy Longing)

"Honest. Smart. Provocative. Helpful. Important. Pitch-perfect. These are only a few of the words that came to mind when I read Jenell Williams Paris's book The End of Sexual Identity. This book is a must-read for engaging the issue of sexuality in our world today. Not only does Jenell call us to a better way to engage with sexuality, she casts a beautiful vision of what sexual wholeness and a post-sexual identity church can be." (Doug Pagitt, pastor, Solomon's Porch, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and author of A Christianity Worth Believing)

"It is exciting to me to read Christian scholars who take their faith and their discipline seriously. As a Christian and an anthropologist, Jenell Williams Paris does just that and applies her understanding to the challenging topic of sexual identity, drawing conclusions that, while controversial, warrant our attention and may lead the way to a more constructive conversation." (Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D., professor of psychology, endowed chair and director of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity, Regent University)

About the Author

Jenell Williams Paris (Ph.D., American University) is professor of anthropology at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. She has written for such publications as Christianity Today, Books & Culture and Christian Scholar's Review. Her books include Birth Control for Christians, Urban Disciples and Introducing Cultural Anthropology: A Christian Perspective.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830838368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830838363
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Professor of anthropology at Messiah College in Grantham, PA. I love to buy books from, love it even more when people buy mine!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Karen on July 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
Paris' goal for her book is admirable. She is concerned about the moral superiority that many straight Christians have that cause them to judge those who are gay. She believes that the categories "heterosexual" and "homosexual" are unhelpful constructs that create unnecessary division between groups of people. Paris proposes an end to sexual identity. By refusing to take on a label of straight or gay, she hopes to level the playing field as each of us consider the other first and foremost as a human being created by God. Thus, Paris says she tells her class that she is not heterosexual--even as she recognizes that her sexual identity is obvious (she is married with children, etc). She argues that she does not want to be heterosexual because she does not want a life of privilege in which other people are marginalized.

Paris' goal is noble. She provides an important message to those Christians who have so alienated LGBT people as completely Other. Her book is well done and I recommend it overall. However there is a fundamental and important problem with her thesis; she takes a "love is color blind" approach. This common phrase was popular awhile back as a way of speaking against racism. However, many came to recognize the significant flaw in that concept. If one has to pretend not to see a person's black skin in order to love her, then how is that love? Rather true love sees a person's skin color and loves him with that skin color. Furthermore, pretending a person is not black does nothing to eliminate the very real embodied existence of people. This is true for gender as well.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Buchanan on June 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the first time I have read anything by Janell Paris, but I have to say I was really pleased with what I read! I happened across this book immediately after having a discussion with a pastor friend concerning sexual identity. As a friend of mine recently "came out" to me, I began wondering how I could possibly ask him to find his identity in Christ rather than in his sexual identity, when I was perfectly comfortable finding my identity in my own heterosexuality. With Paris' help, you will find yourself deconstructing your own sexual identity to discover the beloved individual beneath. One of Paris' main points is that when you find you identity in the love of Christ, you no longer need to find your identity in your sexuality. Rather, individual aspects of your sexual nature can be observed independently and can be adjusted and surrendered with fluidity. The question is now no longer "Can gay people change?" but "Are we each willing to surrender every aspect of our multifaceted sexuality to the will of a loving God?"

After having read this book, I find myself more comfortable "coming out" as a "non-heterosexual." This doesn't mean that I will leave my wife or begin pursuing members of my same sex. Rather, it is my way of disassociating my identity from my sexuality. My identity is as a beloved child of God, not a heterosexual married male. And there is comfort and hope in that for both opposite-sex attracted individuals and same-sex attracted individuals.

The only thing that kept me from giving this book a full 5 stars is that I was really looking for a more straightforward guide to ministering to people with "non-traditional" sexual leaning. But ultimately, it drew me to a deeper (albeit more difficult) place of exploring sexuality, identity, grace, and hope.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By D. Maddalena on July 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Paris' book was very encouraging to me. I've felt dissatisfied with the state of the public dialog around issues of sexuality. It has begun to feel like a gang-war raging outside my door: each side demonizing the other, dismissing them with broad generalizations based on the "colors" they wear. Paris suggests a third way to the thoughtful Christian (and not Christians alone), who hopes to see the question of identity dealt with in a more rational way. Her simple point is that our identity is not determined by our feelings, desires, orientations, hopes, and dreams. God alone is the source of our identity, especially if we name ourselves Christian. So if any human comes to Jesus, if any person is willing to be identified as a follower of Jesus, the question becomes, "how then will they live?". This suggests that a deeper, harder, more honest dialog is in order -- not identifying anyone based on behavior (right, wrong, or in between) but on their willingness to be counted as belonging to Jesus. From that place of solidarity, each person, regardless of how they struggle for purity in the world, has the same task, to face God and to pursue deeper devotion every day.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
42 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Gene B. Chase on April 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
Where do Christians find our identity? Answer: We are adopted into God's family (Eph. 1:5). That summarizes Williams Paris's book in a nutshell. Even non-Christians should take this book to heart, because as St. Paul says, all humans "are God's offspring." (Acts 17:28). The thesis of Williams Paris's book is that both gays and straights should stop playing identity politics, should stop labeling other people, and should find their identity in Jesus Christ.

How to characterize such an original book? Williams Paris is about holiness in a sneaky way. Like C. S. Lewis she agrees that our desires--even our sexual desires--are far too weak, like a child contented playing with "mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea." (Weight of Glory)

The book has a postmodern slant that welcomes ambiguity. Look at the title. By "end" Williams Paris means "doing away with" sexual identity but she also critiques (given the subtitle) the "end" -- the "goal" or "telos"--of sexual identity. Look at those chapter titles with the pesky postmodern parentheses: "Sexual desire is (not) a big deal," and "Having sex is (not) a big deal," and "Celibacy is (not) a big deal." Those chapters argue for both sides. You may not be able to wrap a modernist mind around that.

The book Christianizes and popularizes David Greenberg's The Construction of Homosexuality. Sexual identity--Williams Paris would claim--is like modesty. All Christians admit that the form in which modesty takes is culturally determined, yet all Christians admit that modesty is irreducibly a virtue.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are
This item: The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are
Price: $14.17
Ships from and sold by