Book reviews

Patrick Coffin’s Sex au Naturel: What It Is and Why It’s Good for Your Marriage (Emmaus Road, 2010)

Coffin neatly summarizes the growing opposition to artificial birth control in this 130 page book that can be easily read in about three hours; notetaking would extend the reading to four.

Some memorable items and ideas include the following.  A list of twelve items in a quiz (xviii) and their answers [77ff] will shock contemporary readers who think that contraception was wanted by everybody in all places at all times.  Coffin makes the case that sex which is not burdened by contraception is as “organic” and “green” (xxi) as the social movements that these terms signify.  He cogently argues that contemporary society suffers from “sexual schizophrenia” (48).

Some trenchant quotes include the following.  “Despite sincere protestations, those who accept contraception implicitly accept every other sexual coupling that is shorn from conception” (49).  Natural law, the basis for sex au naturel, is simple and can be defined as “that which rational beings must do in order to perfect their natures” [63].  “The Church has never commanded families to propagate into poverty” (84).  Sex on infertile days is not the same as birth control because God designed the “natural rhythm of fertility and infertility” (114).  The Church never forbade sex on infertile days (115).  Finally, “Rich is the irony that an over-sexualized, anti-baby culture should excel at producing technologies aimed at making babies without sex!” (122).

Couples who sterilized themselves may especially want to reach chapter nine [99ff] for a discussion of how that serious abuse of their sexuality can be overcome.

I recommend this book for young people seeking the sacrament of matrimony, those who have contracepted themselves surgically, and those husbands and wives who think that contraception is necessary when they have sex with their spouses.  Protestant Christians will be especially encouraged to know that many are not only rediscovering what the Reformers said about contraception, but also abandoning the sexual distortions of late twentieth-century theologians on the matter.

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