Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart: Discovering the Beauty and Freedom of God-Defined Sexuality by Kristen Clark & Bethany Beal
My Personal Review ~ 5 stars
Another phenomenal read and awesome resource from sisters, Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal! I had the privilege of being on the launch team for Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart, and let me tell you, it is not a book that you want to miss! I was stunned and blessed. This is a message I’m so excited for! It is simply, beautifully another tool in helping us women discover the freedom of living out our sexuality God’s way.
I think one of the reasons I was so excited to read Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart is because we as the Church don’t talk much about lust being a girl’s problem … or about our sexuality in general! And as a result, I believe Satan has a foothold in many a woman’s life. Our idea of sex is twisted and we struggle with fear, shame, and secret sexual sin.
Kristen and Bethany don’t shy away from the raw, tough questions and shameful topics. They dive right in. They share their own stories of sexual sin and of finding forgiveness and freedom. They share hope. They get to the heart of the issue, and give practical tips to avoid temptation.
Reading this book could seriously be life-changing for some girl. I read a book that tackled the topic of sexual sin (Every Young Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge) when I was a young teen, and it changed the course of my life. And I believe Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart is an even more precious book on this topic because it is so centered on Christ, and it is so personal, honest, hopeful, and empathetic.
And holistic, if that’s the right word. We’re not just talking about how to avoid sexual sin. We’re talking about our design as human beings … how God created us as sexual beings in the beginning. And how that sexuality is good! How our sexual design can point us to God. Yes, sexual intimacy was created exclusively for marriage, but we are sexual beings whether we’re married or not, and so understanding God’s design for our sexuality is vital. It is an intricate part of our lives!
Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart talks about the universal sexual brokenness. It talks about same-sex attraction, and the truth that male, female, and marriage were created specifically and purposefully by God. It speaks on being made for intimacy, imperfect purity, battling temptation, and real freedom. Again and again, we are reminded that our sexual longings point to an even deeper need – the need for Jesus Christ. He can truly satisfy our souls.
Something that I enjoyed about this book was how it quoted renowned Christian authors and speakers such as John Piper, Dannah Gresh, Dr. Juli Slattery, Jackie Hill Perry, Joshua Harris, and more. And, of course, the Holy Bible! Scripture is what we must always line up our ideas against and see if they match. Because God’s Word is our absolute truth.
I love reading about God’s design for marriage and sex. It is truly beautiful! And the way it points to Christ and the Church … the Creator and our relationship with Him … is magnificent. When we realize the amazing design and purpose of sex, we dare not tarnish its beauty. It is too good to fool around with!
I hope you all will give this book a chance, even if you don’t normally read nonfiction. It flows along well and is easy to read. Kristen and Bethany help us to recognize God’s awesome design for sex and intimacy as laid out in the holy Scriptures. They show that the hold that sexual sin has on you can be broken! You can find forgiveness, new beginnings, and glorious beauty as you turn to Him and use your sexuality as God designed!
Our brilliant, loving Creator’s plan for sexuality is obviously the very best. It was His design in the first place! We can trust that. We don’t have to live in sexual brokenness and depravity. By His strength, we can rise up to beautiful heights of purity, holiness, blissful joy, and freedom.
I’m so glad this book was written! Dear women, read this book. I think it will help you to understand your sexuality and the desires that come with that. It will help you to honor marriage and sexual intimacy. And find your deepest satisfaction and hope in Christ!
This book includes discussion questions at the back of the book for each chapter. I can’t wait to go through it with a group of women!
I received a complimentary copy of Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart from Baker Books Publishers and the authors. This review is honest and all my own.
***Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life on April 30th, 2019***
10 thoughts on “Book Review: Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart by Kristen Clark & Bethany Beal”
As a daughter of purity movement teachings, I was utterly misinformed about sexuality to the point I didn’t know what sex was, only that it was wrong, dirty, and make me unwanted trash. Fear, guilt, and shame haunted me, and the threat of eternal damnation hanging over me was a heavy burden. I couldn’t reconcile faith and sex and I doubt books reinforcing purity doctrine would do any good. Read “Scarlet Virgins” by Rebecca Lemke to learn about the damage purity teachings can unleash.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Evalyn! However, I have to wonder if you actually read my review, because shame, fear, and dirtiness is not at all what “Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart” is about! 🙂 I would encourage you to read this book before disregarding it … you may be really surprised by its message. ❤
Just because you were exposed to twisted teaching on purity (I’m so sad to hear that, by the way!) doesn’t mean that purity in and of itself is bad. Kristen and Bethany never say sex is wrong and dirty … in fact, they talk about how wrong that mindset is. Sex is amazing! Beautiful! God created sex in the beginning for a magnificent purpose. For pleasure. For pro-creation. To bind a husband and wife together. But when we abuse God’s incredible design for sex, we end up with all kinds of pain and baggage … that’s why we have the purity message – WAIT until you find a man who gives all of himself to you and commits to loving you for the rest of your life before giving him your body. Before engaging in the most vulnerable, sacred, soul-binding act of sex. God telling us to abstain from sex until marriage is FOR OUR GOOD AND HAPPINESS!
The authors also talk about how we are sexual beings (even while we’re single!), and there is nothing dirty about that. God created us as sexual beings. Yes, we have sexual longings. And this is good. As long as we remember that sex is created perfectly for marriage, and we JOYFULLY commit to honoring the marriage bed. As I said in my review: “When we realize the amazing design and purpose of sex, we dare not tarnish its beauty. It is TOO GOOD to fool around with!”
And authors Bethany and Kristen say that: “Sex is an amazing and life-giving gift from God”! ❤
Evalyn, I truly hope that you are healing from the harmful messages that you were told about sex, purity, and yourself. God’s design truly is AWESOME and BEAUTIFUL. And it is so freeing for you and for me! I pray that you find beauty and freedom in truth.
Half of purity culture’s problem is the unwritten rules. “X is pure” (y is impure), “X is honorable” (y is shameful), “X is beautiful” (y is disgusting). What people do say often points to what they aren’t saying – doubly so in purity culture. When I was taught that Good Christian Girls were modest, it went unsaid that worldly sluts were immodest. Hence my problem with the way it was twisted from day one. As for me, I love sex. I know I’ll love it when I get married because of how much fun it is while I’m not married. Am I going to raise my kids to wait? Nope! I wish my upbringing hadn’t messed me up as long as it did, but I’m free now.
There has to be a standard. There has to be absolutes. It’s the only way things make sense. Some things are pure, some things are impure. Rape, incest, sexual acts with children? Is there no right or wrong when it comes to these kinds of sexual activity? Of course there is! There is a wrong way to engage in sex/use your sexuality. If not, then everyone can do whatever they want – including hurting other people for their own pleasure. There has to be boundaries.
I don’t think I can change your mind, Evalyn. 🙂 But I do want to say that there are scientific statistics that prove that people who do things the way God designed when it comes to sex are the happiest and most secure. God’s design is for us, not against us.
Christ gives freedom and love beyond what you can imagine … I pray that you find that.
God’s way? Or the way of 1st Century Ancient Near East cultural norms in a slave-holding patriarchal society? The standards in the Bible are a little odd. Like the rules prohibiting women from speaking and requiring them to wear head-coverings. Incest was permitted in the scriptures for a time. And they married their daughters off really young to older men – kid’s ages to our culture’s understanding. Thanks to the scriptures, marital rape went unchecked for centuries because “I do” apparently is a 24/7 “yes”. If these standards are for us yet can be poisoned and twisted to hurt people, what good are they? My own experience with sexual disfunction taught me that systems neglected too long don’t always function properly when finally unchained. Thankfully, having dealt with purity culture inspired fear, shame, misinformation, and accepting my nature as a sexual being ironed out that wrinkle. I have all the Fantastic Married Sex© just without married part and that’s in the deck for later on, just not in the hand I was dealt.
I believe that the Bible is God’s living Word. And I believe that God is the Creator of the world … and if He created us … and sex and marriage and all the things … then He knows what’s best.
Anything can be twisted and used for harm. Unfortunately, there are a lot of “religious” people out there who claim God and the Bible, but they definitely don’t know God or truly follow the Bible.
We have to remember that some of the content in the Bible is descriptive, not prescriptive. Multiple wives, marrying siblings, slaves, and so on … The Bible is describing what went on, not necessarily prescribing what God wants cultures & people to look/act like.
I assume you’re talking about 1 Corinthians 11 & 1 Timothy 2 with the head coverings and women not speaking. The thing is, you have to dig deeper than that. You have to take the whole Bible into account, and also the culture, history, specific issues of the time, and God’s character. You can’t just cherry-pick … take a few verses out of the entire Bible and use them to say Christianity abuses women. You’re disregarding all of the verses and stories that point to the VALUE of women.
When I read through the Bible, I see that God highly values women – He made them in His image, to reflect Him!
Like, what about these verses?
COLOSSIANS 3:19: Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
GENESIS 1:27-28: So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
GENESIS 2:24: Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
EPHESIANS 5:28-29: So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
MALACHI 2:16: “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty.
So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.
JUDGES 4:4-5: Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
1 PETER 3:7-9: Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing,
PROVERBS 31:24-31: She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.
JOB 42:15: In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.
ACTS 18:26: So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
PROVERBS 14:1: The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
MATTHEW 19:8: He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
ROMANS 16:1-5: I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
That doesn’t sound to me at all like the Scriptures encourage men to lord over women, let alone rape their wives!
Like I said, anything can be twisted – and people do twist the words of the Bible to suit their own selfish & evil desires.
But if one lives out God’s TRUE design, I believe the result is beautiful. Because, honestly, why would our ideas work better than the immortal Creator’s? ❤
I was taught deborah was a curse because no man was worthy and God was shaming israel. Likewise, women teaching would be a curse as they are easily decieved. So they must submit to male headship authority. God’s design is about roles, and women exist to help men
Also, I live a life of incredible freedom, beauty, and joy, and I’ve never experienced sex. I’m not pure and perfect, but neither do I live in shame or fear of damnation, because I’m assured that Jesus Christ paid the price for my rebellion & sin and He holds me secure! ❤
Do I desire to experience marriage and sexual intimacy someday? Of course! But until a man promises to keep me and love me for always, I'm honestly and freely committed to honoring and upholding sex as a beautiful, sacred gift to married couples.
Yes! I am currently reading this book! I’ve read their other two (Girl Defined & Love Defined) books, and am always encouraged and uplifted by them. And these books are SO Christ-centered as you said! Thanks for the review! You’re echoing my thoughts as I’m reading it XD . It would be so life-changing if more women felt empowered enough to come forward and speak up on these issues, and I’m sure this book will be used mightily to do just that ❤ .
Aw, thanks for your comment, Emmaline! I’m so glad that you are reading and being encouraged by “Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart”! ❤ I'm so excited about the work God is doing through Kristen and Bethany's books and ministry!
Yes, I agree! May you and I be some of the women who God empowers to go out and speak truth on topics such as these!
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