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What Are You Waiting For?: The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex Paperback – January 18, 2011

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Editorial Reviews Review

A Q&A with Author Dannah Gresh
Q: Describe how your new book will break new ground on the topic of sexuality and purity?

A: And the Bride Wore White (a book I wrote over 10 years ago) has really transformed the way young women have chosen to live their lives. Over 20,000 churches have used it as a curriculum with their youth groups or in teen Sunday school classes. For that reason, I really want my readers who trust me to know that my new book What Are You Waiting For? will be grittier in substance. But the grittiness has a purpose. This book is needed, and the language that teens use about sexuality has changed. I’m not going to shy away from topics like masturbation or words like orgasm, because I believe that teens know the words, and I think they need a biblical filter system to really sift through them, to define value to them and to figure out how their understanding of sexuality fits into their relationship with God as well as their relationship with their future spouse.

There’s one more unique difference in this book. In the last five years, science has drastically advanced our knowledge of how the body responds to sexuality. One of the biggest breakthroughs has been advanced brain scanning and chemical analysis that has provided a more complete picture of sexual brokenness. Whether you have a biblical view of sexuality or whether you have a view as an atheist, what we know now is that there is incredible brokenness in a young woman when she has a sexual partner and then breaks that relationship off.

Here’s what we know: When a young woman has sex, her brain is covered with a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine, if you will, is an addiction drug. When the body experiences any kind of pleasure, whether it’s from working out and getting a good sweat or from using cocaine, it washes the brain in dopamine. Now, it’s a value-neutral drug so the brain doesn’t determine “this was a good thing for my body” or “This was a bad thing for my body.” The activity raises the chemical level in your brain and creates a literal addiction to the source of the dopamine.

What does that do for a young woman who is in a sexual relationship with someone? She becomes addicted to that person.

So, we know a lot more about sex than we did 10 years ago when I wrote my first book, and I would like young women to be equipped with that information-- to look at everything sexual through God’s eyes and through an intelligent understanding of sexuality.

Q: What have you heard from young women that confirms their eagerness and need for the insights they will find inside What Are You Waiting For?

A: Their response to one other critical finding clearly demonstrates their hunger for this information. I’ve taken the opportunity to trace God’s word for the Hebrew word for sex through the Bible. Starting with Genesis 4: 1 where we first see it, I follow it all the way through to the book of Revelations. The word is “yada.”

In looking at this word yada, we can see what God’s heart really is on the subject of sex. We can even see it in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Every time I talk about this word, teens and college students come to me and say “that’s it.” It’s kind of this “eureka moment” in which young women realize “that’s it…that’s why it’s so sacred, that’s why I’m so sex crazed, that’s why it’s so painful when I use it casually, that’s why it’s worth the wait.” Everyone that’s ever heard me talk about yada has this moment.

This one amazing word-- I guess when you hear one word from God, it’s big and it’s powerful.

I’m excited to take it to print now after several years of teaching on it.

Q: What truth do you expect or hope will live on in readers’ hearts long after they’ve finished the book?

A: I hope that they will take away the greater significance of the word yada because it’s used in many important ways. For instance, the word is first used in Genesis 4:1-- “Adam lay with his wife Eve”-- that is “Adam yada his wife Eve and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.”

But then it is also used in verses like, “Be still and know (yada) that I am God.”

It’s amazing to me that the word God uses to describe the holy intimate sexual relationship between a man and a woman is the same word that God uses to describe the nakedness and the intimacy that He wants to have in a relationship with us. It’s mind blowing.

As I traced this word from Genesis into the New Testament, it is also used in terms of the sacrifice of Christ where Jesus himself said that a marriage relationship is really just a picture of a deeper love that He has for his bride, the church.

That’s where the “aha” moment lies.

There’s a G.K. Chesterton quote that I hope will be a catalyst to the “aha” moment: “Everyone who knocks on the door of a brothel is really looking for God.”

When you think about it, that’s so true: everyone, whether they are looking at porn on the internet, or struggling with same-sex attraction, or involved in multiple sexual relationships--under it all, they are probably really looking for God.

I hope that seeing this quote in the context of understanding yada, readers will be able to see the potential that their marriage relationship has to be a picture of Christ, and that they will be motivated to protect that picture. Because if our sexuality really is a picture of Christ in the church, how motivated do you think Satan is to destroy that picture?

I want my readers to be deeply motivated to protect and experience sex as a really holy and deeply satisfying gift from God.


Praise for What Are You Waiting For?

“Dannah Gresh has hit on a simple yet undiscovered truth that puts seemingly random questions of sexuality in context. I love the way Dannah doesn’t shy away from or water down the tough issues, yet she never compromises God’s best for you! This is a must-read for any single Christian woman.”
—Dr. Juli Slattery, clinical psychologist, Focus on the Family, and author of No More Headaches

“Dannah Gresh has totally nailed it with this pertinent and hugely needed book. Written honestly and compellingly, this is a must-read for all teenage girls—wait, this is a must-read for everyone, especially teenage guys! I am so grateful for this important resource and plan to recommend it to all my young adult readers.”
—Melody Carlson, author of Diary of a Teenage Girl series and the TrueColor series

“Dannah Gresh hits another home run! What Are You Waiting For? is refreshingly real and relevant—definitely a timely message for today’s generation of young women!”
—Shannon Ethridge, international speaker and best-selling author of Every Young Woman’s Battle

“This is hands-down the best book about sexual fidelity I have ever read—informative, entertaining, and very inspiring. Dannah Gresh tackles the trickiest of topics with astonishing grace. Her explanation of the sacred power of sex is unblushing and revelatory. I know this is a book for girls, but every Christian guy should read it too. I’m already reading it for the second time.”
—Nate Larkin, founder of the Samson Society and author of Samson and the Pirate Monks: Calling Men to Authentic Brotherhood

“If you are looking for the gospel truth on the very real issue of sex and sexuality that all singles face, this is the book for you. Dannah Gresh talks to singles where they really live. Not only is it refreshing, it is liberating—as truth always is. Dannah does not dance around the issues but addresses them with in-your-face clarity that is sorely needed. Sharing the spiritual implications while balancing the reality of the natural world we live in, Dannah practically addresses how singles can be victorious in the battle between the flesh and the spirit.”
—Michelle McKinney Hammond, author of What Women Don’t Know and Men Don’t Tell You

“All I can say is wow! My assistant’s teenage daughter agreed to flip through this book for me as a favor and ended up absorbed in the entire thing! As she rightly put it, What Are You Waiting For? brings ‘amazing insight into what no one tells you about sex—and it really can strengthen the relationship you have with God and your future spouse.’ This book is a fantastic read. Dannah Gresh has such a special way of taking an important subject and making it appealing, practical, and accessible to everyone.”
—Shaunti Feldhahn, best-selling author of For Women Only and For Young Women Only

“In an age where sex is perverted and belittled—when it appears to be a tool in the hands of the Enemy rather than the God who created it—Dannah has shown us God’s pure intention for sexuality. Through an in-depth study of Scripture and confirmation in life experiences, she highlights the honest-to-goodness biblical truth behind one of life’s most precious and beautiful mysteries. Women young and old will read this book and find the inspiration and tools they need to treat God’s gift of sexuality with the respect and protection it deserves.”
—Julie Hiramine, founder of Generations of Virtue and author of Beautifully Made

What Are You Waiting For? is a well-written study of the sexual culture our teens are immersed in today and offers a culturally relevant perspective that aligns itself with the Word of God. Dannah has managed to walk the fine line of approaching this difficult subject in a way that will inspire teens to live holy lives and inspire parents to broach this delicate topic with their kids. This book is not for the faint of heart; however, neither is raising teenagers in our current society.”
—Ron Luce, founder and president of Teen Mania Ministries

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601423314
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601423313
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Dannah Gresh is a best-selling author of several faith-based books on the subject such as What Are You Waiting For, Get Lost, and And The Bride Wore White. She has long been at the forefront of a movement to encourage healthy sexual choices and is often called upon to use social science and medical research to defend a conservative position on relationships and gender in news media like USA Today,,, Chicago Tribune and Women's Wear Daily. As a resident of the hometown of Penn State, Gresh coaches college students seeking to define their sexual and relationship theology. She was honored to deliver a TED Talk entitled "The Walk of Fame vs The Walk of Shame." Learn more about her at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Modish Pursuit on August 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
What Are You Waiting For: The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex by Dannah Gresh, is the author's newest book in her campaign to encourage women to maintain sexual purity until marriage. Gresh covers a variety of topics relating to sex and sexuality in sixteen chapters and 178 pages. Several of the chapter titles seem particularly riveting including "The Lesbian Question", "Friends With Benefits" and chapters designated for topics including pornography and masturbation. Gresh claims that her book holds the secret to fulfilling sex and the reason that women should hold sex as sacred and reserved for their husbands.

In this book Gresh adequately answers some relevant questions about sex and aids readers in navigating issues complicated by pop culture and media. Her conversation regarding the effect of pornography on love and marriage illustrates that a brain addicted to porn can lose it's sensitivity and capability to love because it is overcome by lust. She uses scientific explanations to describe how the porn addicted brain is desensitized to love and becomes hooked on the need for pornographic stimulus. Gresh also gives readers advice concerning relationships in which pornography is an established problem.

The author gives useful advice to young women seeking to maintain their sexual purity and helps readers to not cross "the line" into premarital sex. She discusses kissing, fondling, and the burning question of whether or not oral sex is really sex. She offers readers helpful advice for refraining from situations in which their intentions could be compromised by physical desires. She also urges young girls to practice modesty in their clothing choices to avoid creating situations in which sexual temptation is more difficult to resist.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Susan M. Weibel on January 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'll be frank right off the bat and say this is a review written by one who has known and worked with Dannah for over ten years. I was with Dannah as the secrets of this book began to germinate in her heart, have been entrusted to share this message with audiences in her absence, and my two teenage daughters have sat under her teachings throughout their years of high school. As such, when the advance copy of "What Are You Waiting For" appeared on our coffee table, each of my daughters picked up the book, flipped quickly through it, and announced, "Yeah, she's been teaching this stuff in our small groups for a while now. We've heard this."

But I knew better. I insisted we keep the book in a central place where anyone who wanted to read it could readily find it. I came home one day to find that my 19 year old had devoured it in one sitting. She announced that she had written Dannah a note to let her know how important she thought the book would be. My 18 year old spent several days pilfering the book for her bubble bath reading after basketball practice. This child has two book reading speeds - the second of which is 'you can talk to me, but I won't hear a word you are saying.' It was with this intensity that she devoured the information she believed she had 'heard before'.

Trust me in this: Whether you are a student, a parent, a youth leader, a health teacher... you have not heard all of this before. This is the most frank and relevant discussion of cultural sexuality from a biblical perspective on the market today. It is instructive for sure, but it is also comforting to the reader. You're not alone. You're not the only one struggling with these thoughts, these behaviors. You're not the only parent grieving for your injured daughter.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By smiling_m on January 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
Dannah hits the nail on the head with her latest book. Being a college student, I hear the words and ideas of sex thrown around in everyday conversation. But, it's rarely talked about in a Biblical and edifying way. It was both refreshing and informative to hear what the Bible REALLY says about this topic. She doesn't hesitate to ask the questions that you're really thinking about, but are, in most cases, too scared to ask. If you have questions or are simply looking for a Biblical approach to relationships/sex, this book is definitely for you!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jamie J. Schulz on April 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I just finished Dannah Gresh's book What are you waiting for? about sexual intimacy. As someone who talks to young women about things like sex fairly often, I am always interested in good resources. From watching her interview on Fox, her book seemed like something I would like. And I did, but I didn't.

Lets start with what I liked. As you might guess, the book is a case on why you should wait to engage in sexual activity until you are married. Gresh has some great content from extensive research about how sex affects the brain and long term relationships. She also paints a pretty good picture of intimacy, the plan of God for a man and a woman, and how sex outside of marriage and with multiple partners affects the exclusivity of intimacy. The book addresses almost everything you can think of from masturbation to pornography to what types of lines you should draw in forming boundaries in a physical relationship prior to marriage. There are a lot of stories of young women that Gresh has encountered that keep the book feeling more conversational than classroom teaching.

My criticism of the book is that I had a hard time tracking with Gresh's writing. Sometimes she totally lost me and I had to go back and try to retrace my steps to understand the point. I especially had a difficult time reading the portions that seemed like they were trying hard to communicate in relevant, perhaps trendy, terminology. It felt forced and hard to follow.

I also didn't like the picture of romance that Gresh uses as a bait for her readers. She paints the image of marriage and romance more like something out of Hollywood than anything from real life. I love my marriage, my husband and my sex life but my husband and I don't write each other love letters everyday.
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