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Book Review: A Celebration of Sex by Dr. Douglas Rosenau

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A celebration of sex

Whether you’re newly married, several to many years past your vows, or just said “yes” to the big question*, A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy is an invaluable book to have in your reference library. And no, it’s not meant to sit there and be used as often as you use your dictionary (never for some of you?). You and your spouse should take time reading most – if not all – of it but also revisit different sections depending on what season you are in (30-year-olds probably don’t need to read “Sex After 45” for a while).

Your purpose (and the purpose of the book)

One of Dr. Rosenau’s statements in the opening chapter perfectly aligns with the purpose here at Intimate Truths:

“A purpose of this book is to encourage each of us to think carefully and bring our sexuality and lovemaking into accord with God’s truth and sexual [glossary]economy[/glossary]…together we as Christians need to carefully reclaim from distorted worldly values God’s precious gift of sexuality. Let’s create a practical and accurate sexual theology and practice.” pg. 11

Why are you here? Why are you interested in a book about celebrating sex? One guess: because you want to be a better lover. You want to fully realize everything that God promises regarding sexual intimacy with your spouse but need practical instruction as to how to make that come about. Maybe you’ve wondered if the semi-pleasure you’ve experienced in your first 5-10 years of marriage is as good as it gets (it’s not!) or you’ve just made it through your first year of marriage and wonder when you’re going to hit that climax you’ve heard so much about. Or you want to be as prepared as you can to pleasure (and receive pleasure from) your spouse and have made the wonderful and difficult decision to save that part of your relationship for after your wedding.

Every married couple should have a copy of A Celebration of Sex:

a peek into each section

I need this book as much as you do. Just because I write a blog that seeks to address all things intimate doesn’t mean I have it all figured out. Yes, I may feel more free to talk about it because of my background in science and teaching but I am not immune from the many challenges sex brings to a marriage. We were given this book as a wedding present from dear friends who had gotten married just a year and a half before us. They had benefited greatly from going through it together and being very purposeful in the development of their sexual relationship as a married couple.

Section 1: Creating Knowledge

The intimate truth presented here is that sex is more than one body part interacting with another. Sex is emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical. Dr. Rosenau emphasizes this in his discussion of how to be the world’s greatest lover: true sexiness requires a knowledgeable and together person and a great relationship, much more than just knowing a particular position in the bedroom. The rest of the first section does, however, go into the physical aspects of a great sexual relationship, including both his and her [glossary]erogenous[/glossary] zones, the physical arousal cycle, and having sex without the mess (all of which we’ll end up covering here at Intimate Truths).

Section 2: Enhancing Pleasure

This might be the most important section for you and your husband to read. That doesn’t mean you need to beat your husband over the head with it. But since men more easily experience pleasure from sex, it’s imperative that both you and he understand what brings you pleasure during lovemaking besides intercourse. I love the title of the last chapter of this section: Making Love with Clothes On. This, of course, comes after a chapter on sensuous massage, which is especially welcome (and stimulating) for gals after a long day of work in or out of the home.

Section 3: Enjoying Passionate Intimacy

Of all of the things this book addresses, you probably think you are best at this. However, like anyone wanting to become better a particular discipline, continual improvement requires constant study and practice. Consider this section your practice plan. Dr. Rosenau covers mutual pleasuring, intercourse, specific chapters on making love to either the husband or wife, and how to [continue to] be passionate lovers. He emphasizes this commitment to constant work in the following passage:

“Dynamic intimacy and fantastic lovemaking come at a great price and elude most of us, because we are too immature and untrained. A deeply passionate relationship doesn’t just happen because you love each other. Now the good news: specific disciplines can be practiced over time that will help us create mature, exciting intimacy – and if we ask, God will teach us these disciplines (Hebrews 12:11). God’s professional lovers must learn from Him and incorporate His heart of intimacy. Passionate lovers realize a great sex life is based on [the following] disciplines they learn from their Creator.” pg. 179

Section 4: Overcoming Common Hurdles

Sometimes sex is not what you expected. Or you run into something that makes it incredibly difficult. Whatever the case may be, Dr. Rosenau hits on several common issues that face married couples when it comes to difficulties with sex. This is especially true for women, and a huge reason why this website exists. Yes, you need a copy of this book so you can have the take of a license psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and certified sex therapist. But after you’ve read and discussed what Dr. Rosenau has to say about body image/feeling sexy, becoming a more easily orgasmic woman, the issues surrounding sex when you have kiddos or are over a certain age, and the seemingly ever present problem of sexual desire and frequency, I’d encourage you to come back there to Intimate Truths for encouragement to continue pursuing a healthy sexual relationship with your husband, perspectives from other women who’ve been in your situation, and more resources to build on the work you’ve already put in.

Section 5: Resolving Problems

This troubleshooting section hits on several issues that uniquely strain a couple’s sexual (and overall marital) relationship. He provides practical steps to deal with common male malfunctions, common female difficulties, and making love when you or your spouse has a disability. With his professional training in psychology and marriage and family therapy, he also provides valuable steps to take for survivors of sexual abuse. Dr. Rosenau also speaks to the common misconceptions about infertility, seeking answers to questions about infertility, the difficulties surrounding miscarriages, and practical steps couples can take to survive and heal. This is a particularly painful subject for women and one we hope to provide support and resources for here at Intimate Truths.

Another reason this site exists is to provide a place for you to discuss anything related to sex and sexuality, something that Dr. Rosenau emphasizes as vitally important to addressing common female difficulties. I cannot implore you more to follow these instructions of his from this section of the book:

“If you were raised in an environment where sex was never discussed or was considered ‘bad’ or ‘dirty,’ undertake a personal education program [perhaps with the resources here at Intimate Truths!]. Communicating about sex and developing a comfortable language will assist you in becoming more at ease with sexuality as well. Tune in to your self-talk, your fears and inhibitions about sex. On your own, examine your beliefs about your sexuality and the ‘meaning’ you have developed about sex. Do you know how God feels about sex? …He created sex as a wedding gift for you, to be used throughout your married life for unity, for connection, for fun, for comfort. pg. 290

Section 6: Healing Brokenness

Perhaps from your own experience or that of a loved one who has shared their own story, you may be aware of the pain that comes with negative sexual intimacy. Unfortunately, the magnitude to which sex can ruin a relationship can be far greater than the magnitude that quality sexual intimacy can bolster a marriage. Enter what Dr. Rosenau coins God’s sexual emergency room. Does there need to be confession between the two of you? Repentance? Grieving? Where these things abide, so does both forgiveness and restitution. Where other books about sex may ignore the spiritual side of sexual relationships, A Celebration of Sex emphasizes God’s hand in healing hurts between spouses. He adds chapters on extramarital affairs and sexual integrity or sexual addiction (pornography) as well as provides a perspective on homosexuality.

Convinced yet?

A Celebration of Sex is truly a great starting point for enjoying sexual intimacy the way God intended. It’s also a great reminder and refresher for those that have hit a plateau in their marriage. I firmly believe every married couple should have this book so if that’s you and you don’t have a copy, consider forgoing a few lattes and order one. I am 99% confident that if you do decide to take it out of somewhere else in the budget, your husband won’t be mad. If you already have a copy, consider gifting it to a friend or relative for their wedding. Your encouragement for a strong sexual intimacy from their wedding day forward will be an incredible blessing. If you buy this through the links on this page, your purchase helps further the work of Intimate Truths without costing you any extra.

*The banner at the top purposefully cautions you to not read this unless you’re married. However, if you feel it would be valuable to have this extra preparation as an engaged woman, I’d encourage you to have a trusted married girl friend go through selected portions of this book with you. Reading this book with your future spouse, no matter how close the wedding date is, could encourage you to cross lines you had committed to staying behind until you each had rings on your finger. I’d also encourage you to have your fiance do the same with a married guy friend, husband of the girl you went to if possible! There is incredible power in having mentors in marriage, especially in an area as potentially difficult to navigate as sex.

I want you to have a copy of this book in honor of the launch of Intimate Truths. There are two easy entries below plus one where I get to here from you!

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By Rachel Zupke

Rachel is a high school science and health teacher by training with a heart for educating women about the ins and outs of the amazing reproductive system God gave them. Currently at home raising kiddos, she'll someday return to the classroom. She is the heart behind Intimate Truths and hopes to encourage all women to live out their God-given sexuality in a holy, Christ-honoring, and productive way. She also has a personal blog, Mason Jar Values.

6 replies on “Book Review: A Celebration of Sex by Dr. Douglas Rosenau”

I am not sure where I am supposed to comment on a blog post, so i figured I would comment here. To your question of things that I would like see covered at Intimate Truths…I know this is touchy and way in the future probably…but I think eventually it would be important to cover dealing with pornography in intimacy. It does make a difference in intimacy between husband and wife and many women hurt with it, but we can’t talk about it, with it being a “secret” sin. It wouldn’t have to be detailed..just an encouragement to those dealing with it.

I would love to see information about preparing for the wedding night/honeymoon and how to foster open communication about sex/sexuality within engagement/marriage (and what does this look like when the female is more comfortable with their sexuality that the male is with his?).

A first glance I thought we wouldn’t have much need for this book since we already have a copy of “Intended For Pleasure.” But it looks like there are differences between the two, and this would be great to have as well. Thanks for reviewing it!

I would like to see a post that is aimed towards those who are engaged, and how to carefully talk about topics with your fiance that need to be talked about in this area.

I would like to see a post about how to address this area and discuss things with your fiance and also about birth control and related issues.

I would love to see more content about how married couples can prepare for a long journey in fertility struggles. How do you keep passion and sex a priority when dealing with infertility or even preparing for the journey in baby making. So happy you created this website! Wahoo!

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