Monday, April 19, 2010

Book Review: Sex au Naturel

Patrick Coffin's Sex au Naturel: What It Is and Why It's Good For Your Marriage, is a power packed book that gives you a concise explanation of why the Catholic Church teaches against contraception.   This important Church teaching is a tough pill for many Catholics to swallow.  In the book's first chapter  Coffin remarks that "anecdotal evidence suggest it's somewhere near ninety precent" of Catholics who reject the Church's teaching against contraception.  That's a staggering number, but I can't say I'm surprised given the culture of death worldview that is held by many these days.   Couple that with the poor catechesis many of us likely received  on the subject during marriage prep and the silence many parish priests keep on this issue and it's not surprising at all.  I know of many people who hold the view that the Church's teachings on sexuality are too archaic and out of line with the times.  Many of these people also think the Church pulled these teachings out of nowhere.  For those people, there's an interesting little pop quiz in the first chapter.  The answers, which will may surprise many of the dissenters are contained in a chapter later in the book.

So who is the target audience of this book?  Is this book for the dissenters or those who are faithful to the Church's teachings on contraception?  The answer is both.  No matter what your stance is on this issue, there's is something in this book for you.

If you're already in the minority of those who live their lives in accordance with what is taught in Humanae Vitae, then you'll find good apologetics in this book to back you up when you encounter those dissenting friends and family members.  If you aren't really sure why the Church teaches what she does, but you follow along anyway, this book will give you a nice explanation of why contraception is morally evil.  You'll even be able to succinctly explain to those who like to say that natural family planning (NFP) and ABC are essentially the same by pointing out precisely how they are different.

 If you're in the dissenter's camp, you'll get a non-preachy explanation of the Church's timeless teaching.  After reading this book, you'll understand that this isn't some arbitrary Church teaching dreamed up by celibate men to take the fun out of your sex life.  And, you'll understand that this is a teaching that isn't going to go away.  Patrick Coffin shows you where in the Bible it teaches against contraception.  He defuses the myths of overpopulation, and points out the undesirable and unpleasant side effects of ABC and sterilization that are habitually downplayed by the medical community.  Reading this book may not change your mind overnight, but it will put you on the road to a properly formed conscience in the area of this teaching.  It can be a tough teaching to accept.  I know, I've been on the dissenting side and it was a process to bring myself to understand and accept what the Church teaches.

In addition to arguments against contraception, Coffin also addresses the issues of IVF, surrogacy, and artificial insemination.  He explains what infertility treatments are permissible and which are not and why.

The appendix of this book lists many helpful resources where readers can get more information on NFP, Theology of the Body, Catholic teaching on sex and marriage, as well as places where you can find counseling and support for your marriage.

I felt this book was very well written.  It's a relatively short book at 130 pages, but it packs a nice punch. Coffin's arguments are well laid out and written in a very approachable manner.  I would highly recommend this book to all engaged couples and any married couples who aren't necessarily clear on what the Church teaches about contraception.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program for The Catholic Company.  Visit The Catholic Company for more information on Sex au Naturel.  As a reviewer for The Catholic Company Book Reviewer program, I was supplied with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...