Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Review of “Sex au Naturel: What it is and Why it’s Good for your Marriage” by Patrick Coffin

Leave it to a well-informed Catholic to be able to write for 134 pages about sex without being “sexy”. Despite the romantic cover, this book is actually a rather technical and philosophical treatise explaining the true meaning and reasoning behind Humanae Vitae and other church documents pertaining to human sexuality and marriage.

“Sex au Naturel: What it is and Why it’s Good for your Marriage” by Patrick Coffin was written primarily for practicing Catholics but all Christians may benefit from it. Whether the reader believes whole-heartedly in the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding sexuality, dissents, or is confused either about what the catechism teaches or how he or she feels about it, this book offers rational clarification. One may disagree at the end, but with a better understanding of many different facets of the issues.

Coffin first explains the basics of the 1968 papal encyclical “Humanae Vitae” (“On the Regulation of Human Life”) and the world’s reaction to it, in the context of the 1960’s, the introduction of the Pill and the Sexual Revolution, and the Second Vatican Council. Other little known encyclicals are referenced.

The author explains the mistaken view of conscience that powers the movement of dissent against the Church’s sexual ethics. Then he delves into the scriptural basis for these teachings and the logic of natural law that coincides with the same. He explains how Protestant churches originally reached the same conclusions and why they diverged from them.

What does the marital act have to do with the Trinity? This section is mind-blowing in its comparisons of pro-creative sex with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The argument for “Sex au Naturel” from here on gets more and more powerful.

Proceed from there to the explanation of how contraception contradicts natural law. Coffin also goes into how exactly contraception is different, both physically and spiritually, from natural family planning, and how couples who have been sterilized can get a “second chance” in following Catholic teaching in their marriage. He also explains how reproductive technologies go against the grain of Christian teaching when marital love is taken out of procreation.

The appendix includes many informational references on Natural Family Planning, Theology of the Body, Catholic Teaching on Sex and Marriage, Educational Organizations, Sexual Addiction, and Marriage Counseling and Support.

This book is excellent reading for anyone who wants to be better informed about Catholic teaching on sex and marriage. It would be a great complement to marriage preparation classes or marriage counseling sessions.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. I was sent the book for free in exchange for my honest review. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Sex au Naturel .

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