Book Review: The Fantasy Fallacy by Shannon Ethridge

The Fantasy Fallacy: 

Exposing The Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts

by @ShannonEthridge
Thomas Nelson Publishers 2012
226 pp

As a recovering sex addict who lived in fantasy for most of her life, I couldn’t be more excited about The Fantasy Fallacy! I’m always looking for supportive material to help reach women who struggle with sexual issues. Having read and recommended many of Shannon’s books I wasn’t disappointed… Shannon Ethridge has done it again! 

I’ve read numerous Christian books on sex addiction and never encountered this approach. A breath of fresh air, badly needed especially in the Christian community where the topic of fantasy is a no no! As a former fantasy addict, there was no fantasy covered I was unfamiliar with. But surprisingly I learned something about myself and found new freedom in regards to healthy, safe, ‘legal” fantasy. 

During my eight years of sexual sobriety I have put myself under a rigid “no fantasy allowed” rule. In The Fantasy Fallacy Shannon teaches us there are fantasies that even as a married Christian, are not only safe, but can energize our marriage bed.

Extremely well researched, with gripping personal stories, The Fantasy Fallacy goes behind the veil of every possible fantasy imaginable. Not only discussing the hard truths of fantasy in all walks of life, but helping us understand the root causes so we can overcome the guilt, shame and condemnation. Once the causes are unveiled we are able to understand ourselves and find the sexual freedom God wants us to enjoy.

The Fantasy Fallacy is one of the most relevant books I’ve read this year! My new fav! Way to go Shannon!

BONUS BOOK REVIEW: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography

A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography:

It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem (Kindle Edition)

by Shelley Hitz and S’ambrosia Curtis

Body and Soul Publishing 2012
I like how social media makes it so easy to get connected to new people, especially those who are working toward the same goals!  A few days ago, I was introduced, by way of Twitter, to Shelley Hitz. After we contacted each other, Shelley told me about her new book and asked if I could read it and post a review on my blog. I’m happy to support a fellow sister who has struggled with the same issues I have and is striving to help other women with their struggles, too. 
Shelley and S’ambrosia have done an excellent job. By sharing personal stories in a delicate but transparent fashion, readers see they are not alone in this addiction. But the most important thing A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography is exactly what it’s title says… a guide that explains the problem of pornography addiction and then takes us step by step to the freedom found only in Jesus Chris. 
These ladies have done their homework and I know because I’ve read nearly everything they reference. Shelley and S’ambrosia have filled this book with an incredible amount of research material explaining scientifically how harmful pornography is and what it does to our brain. But they don’t stop there, they lovingly give us answers to our pain and struggle.
If you or someone you know struggles with pornography, please don’t hesitate to get this book. In fact, every woman should read it, because chances are a woman you know is addicted to pornography. I’m excited to find Shelley Hitz and her ministry and am proud to partner with her in the fight against pornography and helping women who have been affected by it. 

Is Chastity Possible in the New Millennium?

Since I’m a married woman, you may be wondering…

“Tamara, why are you writing on chastity?”

I’m reading an excellent book by John Michael Talbot – The Lessons of St. Francis-How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality into Your Daily Life, where Talbot discusses how to apply the spiritual disciplines taught by St. Francis in our modern world and relationships.

As I was reading the chapter on chastity I was prompted to write a blog that relates chastity to the challenges sex addicts face today.

With the hyper-sexualized media that’s thrown at us today, many are desensitized. From fashion magazine at the grocery checkout, to billboards on the freeway, to commercials on TV. It’s almost impossible to avoid the near naked images of provocatively posed models vying for our eyes and pocketbooks.

For some of us, this is a serious battle, continuously waged; always careful to look away, preventing possible triggers from being set off. Sober now 5 years from sexual addiction, Praise God today these images are not a big problem; not that I dare let my guard down.

Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman [or man] lustfully has already committed adultery in his [her] heart.”-Matt. 5:28

I take these words very seriously, because I know it only takes one look to lead to… a fantasy, which, if meditated on long enough, can easily be acted out on.

Chastity, along with celibacy, is usually seen as something only practiced by men and women who’ve made specific vows to God.

I’d like to challenge that thinking with the idea of celibacy and chastity to heal or improve sex in a marriage relationship.

Celibacy is critical in the very early days of sex addiction recovery. It’s important the sex addict refrain from all sexual stimulation for a period of 3-6 months, this may vary by individual. (includes sex in the marriage and self-sex). For an addict beginning recovery this is very difficult, but crucial to recovery.

Chastity in a marriage can be as simple as cherishing your sexuality as a gift from God, using it in appropriate holy ways that respect God and your mate, resisting any temptation, no matter how small, when they come your way.

Our marriage relationships are tender gardens that need to be cared for. If we’re not careful, the weeds of fantasy and comparison can easily tear down any healthy growth, if not kill it completely.

Talbot writes from an interesting perspective on sexuality:

“I’ve personally lived through at least three completely different approaches to sex: the freewheeling sensuality readily available to a rock musician; the cleansing fire and spiritual passion of repentance and sexual abstinence; and the rejuvenating joy of marriage, a union through which the church has long honored sex as a sacrament, and which helps me see sexuality as sacred and God-given.”

Talbot further notes that many people don’t remain faithful in their marriages because they never learned the value of sexual control.

I heartily agree with this last statement and will even go further to say, when you make a covenant with your eyes, to not look at another person with lust, examining them like they were the roast about to be served up for lunch, you’ll have more desire for the mate God has given you.

If marriage was respected as the sacred covenant that it is, with its vows taken as seriously as our brothers and sisters who take a vow of celibacy, we’d have much healthier sexual relationships.

Similar to Talbot, I’ve lived through three different worldviews of sexuality:

  • Relational sex is part of a loving relationship; without commitment to marriage
  • Recreationalsex is purely for pleasure; dispenses with romance and spirituality
  • Traditionalsex is exclusive with mutual respect; emphasizes lifelong commitment

For most of my life I used sex to substitute unmet emotional and spiritual needs.

After trying all the world has to offer, sexually speaking, I tell you today, without a doubt, sex kept simply between a husband and wife, with no toys, no fantasies, no porn; is better than any orgy, better than being hyped up on drugs using every toy one can imagine.

If you would’ve asked me 5 years ago:

“Is ‘Meth sex’ possible without the Meth?” I would’ve said, “NO WAY!”

Today, I tell you it is! Because with God, ALL THINGS are possible!!

By God’s grace and mercy, practicing the discipline of chastity in mind, soul and body, God has not only restored my marriage but continues to renew our desires in ways we could never have imagined before sexual sobriety.

If you struggle with sexual sin or are just playing with the idea of it, I want you to know first of all you are not alone.

Millions of women struggle with sexual sin even in the church.

Find someone you trust and share your struggle with them; that’s the first step to freedom.

Whether you’re single or married; one who struggles with sex or not; I encourage you to make a covenant of purity with your eyes, your heart and your mind.

It will change your life!

Question: What’s your world view of sex? How important is chastity to you? What are you doing to maintain a pure heart and mind?


PORN NATION: Conquering Americas’ #1 Addiction
by Michael Leahy
One of the most important books to read today!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware of the escalating problem of pornography addiction in our world today; and with increasing availability the problem will only get worse.

THE CRACK COCAINE OF SEX ADDICTION – porn/sex-related sites make up nearly 60% of web traffic.
20 million Americans spend hours on porn; maybe it’s even in your home after the family’s in bed
30% of Christian women admit to the use of pornography
50% of pastors say they struggle with porn
This book is not just for sex addicts but should be read by everyone!
· Women: they themselves may be teetering on the brink of sexual addiction or may be married to a man like Michael Leahy who hid his addiction from his wife their entire marriage.
· Men: based on statistics today, there’s a good chance they’re in denial of their own addiction or be surprised to find they’re married to a closet sex addict themselves.
· Every parent: should be aware of the potential dangers their children face each day.
· Teens and college students: it’s likely they’re being exposed to pornography on a regular basis and don’t see the trap that’s being set for them.
A poignant story of a 30 year battle with pornography, the loss of a marriage and children because of addiction; but more than that it’s the story of America – our porn nation. How porn’s affecting all of us, how we see ourselves and others and what can be done about it.
For those concerned about the sensitivity of the subject matter, not to worry, the author is a Christian man and gets his points across without graphic details.
Leahy covers all sides of the porn story.
The addict’s perspective: how easy it is to get addicted to pornography and the difficulty getting free and staying free from it.
The big picture: the hyper-sexualized media, and the increasing availability of pornography especially to young children.
The reader who may be an addict: to one hiding in shame and denial, much needed words of encouragement and excellent resources to aid those seeking freedom from pornography’s grasp.
“I believe when it comes down to really understanding how far our sociosexual pathology has taken us, you needn’t look much further than our own personal experiences, our current attitudes, and the people around us. Think of how your own sexual viewpoints, beliefs, and behaviors have changed in the past ten to twenty year. When I talk with college students and share what junior high and high school students are doing sexually, most of them are shocked. The lines of decency and sexual integrity have shifted, and old values are constantly replaced by new ones. But at what price? How far can the boundaries be pushed before someone gets hurt?”Michael Leahy, PORN NATION
As a recovering sex addict I highly recommend this book. In fact, I’ll go a step further and tell you if you don’t read PORN NATION there’s a good chance you’ll be ignorant to one of the worst epidemics this country has ever seen.
With sex addiction statistics as they are, even in the church, it’s almost certain someone you know, maybe even you or a member of your family struggle with this issue.
There’s so much shame linked to this particular addiction for women, that it’s nearly impossible for them to reach out for help. If you read this book maybe you’ll be able to spot specific behaviors and help them before pornography destroys their lives.