The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts
by Shannon Ethridge
Publisher:Thomas Nelson Publishers
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Description of The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts by Shannon Ethridge
For years, best-selling author and speaker Shannon Ethridge has counseled women and men on the complexities of marriage and sexuality. During that time she's noticed that most people either fall into one of two camps when it comes to sexual fantasies. They either beat themselves up for every sexual thought they have, heaping guilt and shame upon themselves, or they have gone to the other extreme, following their thoughts and acting out on their desires to unfortunate consequences. Ethridge believes a balance can be found between these two extremes.
In The Fantasy Fallacy, she takes a closer look at the role of sexual fantasy in our hearts and minds, to show what can be learned from these powerful thoughts. Rather than running from them, or ignoring them, there is truth to be found about ourselves and our relationships hiding under the surface. By discovering the meaning behind the lie that your fantasies present, you can face your fears, heal your heart from past wounds, and find spiritual and physical freedom.
|Product:|| The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts|
|Author:|| Shannon Ethridge|
|Foreword by:|| Stephen Arterburn|
|Binding Type:|| Paperback|
|Media Type:|| Book|
|Number of Pages:|| 256|
|Weight:|| 0.5 pounds|
|Length:|| 8.3 inches|
|Width:|| 5.4 inches|
|Height:|| 0.7 inches|
|Publisher:|| Thomas Nelson Publishers|
|Publication Date:|| October 2012|
The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts
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A MUCH needed book!
When Fifty Shades of Grey came out I knew many women that thought the book was great. Many of my friends were outraged and insulted that women would find these books entertaining. I think it just shows the importance of a book like the Fantasy Fallacy! Sex is often times a subject that is difficult to discuss and sexual thoughts are even harder! The Fantasy Fallacy was written to help us understand why we think about sex, what kind of sexual thoughts we have, and how to reconcile that in our lives.
Published 7 months ago by christy_K
Refreshing Realism for Sexuality Today-A Must Read
Shannon has done an amazing job again. Healthy sexual relationships and integrity to God's word for how sexuality should play out in our lives is her forte.
Today's age is bombarded with sexual innuendo and explicitness at every turn. It is becoming more and more extreme, like chasing the dragon, and people are trying to follow it in their bedroom. It is something that is an epidemic in the "real world" but something rarely addressed in the church. With this book Shannon opens the door to an equal playing field for both sides of the line to openly talk about and understand the elephant in the room, our fantasies, and how to deal with them properly.
She has provided very thorough research on the psychology behind our thoughts that is worded for everyone to understand and real life, intimate testimonies that makes the reader know that they aren't the odd man out and not the only one having these thoughts. Shannon encourages us to glean the lessons from facing your past that your fantasies are trying to heal itself from.
This is a highly, highly recommended book for anyone out there. It's something that relates to all!
Published 7 months ago by Jessica Richter
Bring into the Lat That Which is in Darkness
Wow! This book is desperately needed! I grew up in a strong Christian family and sex was never discussed. Of course, neither were fantasies. They weren't discussed in the home; nor were they discussed in church. No wonder we have fantasies and then feel bad about them! If it's not discussed it MUST be taboo; and if it's taboo to discuss, it MUST be bad. Shannon Ethridge begs to differ.
I love that Shannon Ethridge is not judgmental. She takes a look at many fantasies and brings them into the light. The fantasies themselves are not evil; and when exposed to the light, darkness has no hold on them or people who have them. Shannon's research indicates that the fantasies we entertain are not always rooted in the sexual acts themselves and we don't have to act on them. We can control our fantasies instead of allowing our fantasies to control us.
This book touched me personally. There was much within its pages that resonated with my life; either in my history or that of people I love. It is my hope that more people will put aside the Shade-y books, and pick up some truth and support in Shannon Ethridge's Fantasy Fallacy. These are topics that need to be discussed; and this book is a great start.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. The opinion provided here is completely my own.
Published 7 months ago by MamaCre8s
Will Help Many Like No Other Book Out There
This book goes where no other book written from a Christian perspective goes. And THANK GOD, because it's about time!
There are many people - in the Body of Christ, especially - who have been made to feel that the subject of sexual fantasies is wholly evil, and never to even be discussed, and it's been to our collective detriment. Some of us crave understanding about this part of ourselves. We go through life repressing and distressing over thoughts and desires we -don't- want and certainly don't understand, with the sometimes paralyzing fear we are alone. We SUFFER from the lack of honest, compassionate discussion about this issue from a Biblical perspective. Shannon Ethridge (Who also authored "The Sexually Confident Wife: Connecting with Your Husband Mind Body Heart Spirit") has written a book that is not meant to arouse or to Bible-thump or to argue about "Right vs. Wrong" (Plenty of all THAT elsewhere!). It's meant to give us the tools to "connect [our] own dots and make sense of our sexual thoughts" (p. 118) and bring healing at nearly the deepest, most profound level one can get.
About Me, the reviewer: I'm a female in my 30s, joyfully married to a man that rocks my world in every way, we have several young children... yadda, yadda. What you REALLY need to know about me is that I was exposed to porn at the age of 6 or 7. Curiosity (and a need to feel loved and accepted) caused me to allow myself to be used sexually by many boys (all older than me) for several years leading to so much shame and pain that I felt like a slut by the no-longer-tender age of 10. I wanted to die. By God's grace, circumstances in my life changed, and at about age 11 I realized that Jesus loves ME. Despite everything. I've lived and loved Him in grateful shock ever since... but the consequences of my childhood have lingered my entire life. I spent most of my teens acting like nothing happened, yet inwardly I continued to suffer from unwanted sexual addictions that brought me guilt, shame and confusion. In the last 10 years, I've actively sought out books to help me to figure out what to do with the "stuff" that I don't want in my life, yet I still feel tempted by. MOST of the ones I've read have been a re-tread of each other, and not all that helpful, because they never address the "dark" stuff in depth. "The Fantasy Fallacy" dives right into the darkness, and brings the light of truth with it as a guide. It has amazed me, and has resonated in my SOUL like no other book on this subject (and I've read just about every one from a Christian perspective that I could find).
Written in Ethridge's engaging, self-deprecatingly honest and compassionate style. Well cited and thoroughly researched without becoming so clinical as to disengage the reader. This is a FAST read, but by no means unsatisfying. And for those concerned, I was pleased to read the entire book, even the one that covers BDSM fantasies, without feeling I was -burdened- with information that was unnecessary. Ethridge does an AMAZING job of walking the extremely fine line of being explicit enough to HELP, without being SO explicit as to HARM that is presented by this primal and complex subject.
Stephen Arterburn (The author behind the excellent "Every Man's Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time" , opens in the Foreword by making it clear that Ethridge's goal is not to pointlessly bash "Fifty Shades Of Grey", but to "help women and men -- both married and single -- to take a second look at the fantasy world they may be creating through romance novels, pornography, or their own imaginations. It will also help them get out of that fantasy world and back to building real, healthy relationships." (p.xiii) He especially says that if he could urge MEN to make an exception to not reading books written by women (as they typically don't), "let it be this book."
Ethridge's preparatory "Note To The Reader" sets the stage for WHY -this- book, and why NOW, including a recounting of how she became aware of the "Fifty Shades" phenomenon that is both humorous and heartbreaking. She lists additional resources that can be found at her website. She also explains the importance of reading the book as a whole, and in order.(Having read it, I absolutely concur. She builds on themes and intensity of subject matter as she goes.)
The Introduction "Reading Between The Lions" is a fascinating look into Ethridge's own spiritual journey, and gives further foundation as to why this book has less to do with "Fifty Shades" and much more to do with addressing a long-silenced need for understanding on the issue of sexual fantasies. If we can set proper boundaries, and avoid both liberal AND legalistic extremes, then we can learn from them (an argument she supports with scripture). With a last explanation of how the rest of the book is structured, she invites us to dive in.
Quick Note: All chapters are divided into two parts, the first being the primary information, and the second part ("Behind The Curtain") being typically a case-study follow-up that clarifies the issue the chapter covers, or allows for slightly off-topic, but still related and important information.
Chapter 1, "Why Discuss Sexual Fantasies?" A part of me wanted to scream "Because no one else in the Christian community IS!" Well, Shannon agrees. "Too many folks are wandering around in a foreign land, some suspecting -- but most not even realizing -- that they are lost. They have no clear sense of direction. No one they can ask for a road map. Search for one and they may be labeled "one of those kinds of people." (p.2) She proposes that a road map IS available to us... "This road map to understanding both our sexuality and our spirituality is actually composed of our deepest, most intimate personal sexual fantasies." (p.4) She proposes there are 9 distinct "landmarks" we can look for in our fantasies, to show us (metaphorically) where we are, so that we are no longer lost, but can instead figure out how to get back to where we WANT to be - directing (or controlling) our sexual fantasies instead of being directed by them. Through a 10 question "True/False" Q&A, she helps the reader to assess just how much they already understand about sexual fantasy. It's helpful and thorough.
The "Behind The Curtain" (2nd portion of chapter 1), Ethridge talks about how fantasy can be a friend, and gives scenarios and examples where fantasy is healthy and helpful, for anyone that wonders "IS there any GOOD kind of sexual fantasy?"
Chapter 2: "The Benefits of Boundaries" serves the purpose of giving "different spectrums and classifications so that we can determine what types of activities should be considered out-of-bounds and establish a designated safe playing space for our mental sexual activities." (p.26) This spans The Psychology/Theology Spectrum,
The Repression/Expression Spectrum, and defines the "Three Types of Sexual Fantasy" - autoerotic, erotic, and illicit, and she gives a helpful quiz to make sure you understand the differences. She brings all this knowledge down to earth when she addresses any fearful readers, saying, "Perhaps you are wondering, What if some of my own fantasies fall into unsafe or inappropriate categories? What then? Don't panic. The goal of this book isn't to judge you, keep score of your mental activities, or even call out-of-bounds on you. The goal is to help you dive deeper into the rich symbolism behind your fantasies so that you will be better equipped to face them and win rather than feel defeated by them." (p.40) THIS BOOK DOES JUST THAT. She ends with many practical tips and mental exercises on what to do when certain sexual fantasies become more of a burden than a blessing. Some of these I already knew of, but others I definitely hadn't.
"The Faces Behind Sexual Fantasies" (Chapter 3) first explores the Biblical framework for determining what God's original intent for our sexuality was (we were NOT to be ashamed of our bodies or our sexuality), and what happened to it, either via Satan's meddling, or our own sinfulness just wreaking natural consequences. It's well cited, for those wondering how much Ethridge is backing up her ideas with scripture. (Unlike "The Sexually Confident Wife", this book has scripture quoted or cited throughout. But in an explanatory way, not "preachy".) Here is where answers started coming together for me: "At first glance into our fantasy world, if we recognize the face we may panic and wonder, Why would I dream/fantasize about that person? What does this mean? But more than a first glance is needed. We fantasize as a way to fulfill unconscious psychological needs, so the actual identifiable face isn't nearly as important as the role that face is playing in our mental scenario." (p.49) She also shares an insight from her own spiritual experience regarding an allegory about a little girl lost in a grocery store looking for her parent than made me weep from the truth of it, and I saw MYSELF, and my childhood choices in a light I never have before, and the healing affect to that deep wound is part of what has given me the courage to write this review so honestly as I have!
Chapter 4, "Pornography: The Fantasy Factory", was the first of two chapters to blow my mind. First, there was the part I was aware of - the toll that making pornography takes on those who are in it. HEARTBREAKING stuff that will help ANY addict see through the illusion that porn offers. (an excellent ministry, xxxchurch.org, is also a great resource for those in the grips of this type of addiction. Ethridge also recommends them.) For those wondering about the author's stance on porn... "I think it's important that Christians be aware of the bigger picture, especially (a) how we are using and abusing other humans for our own sexual jollies and (b) how it's negatively affecting our ability to experience genuine sexual intimacy in our marriages. So rather than wasting more time or energy focusing on the fruit of sexual fantasies (such as surfing for certain pornographic images), perhaps it's time to consider the roots, starting with the deep reasons we are tempted to peek at porn in the first place." (p.73) AGREED. And man, oh, man, were my eyes OPENED. Details are not necessary, but the information she gives, and the explanation and example at one particular point was like looking in a mirror and seeing myself and my struggles CLEARLY for the first time. It was so EMPOWERING! And freeing.
Chapter 5, "Bartering With Our Bodies", identifies and explores the "four main directions/relationships that humans gravitate toward in search of the love we naturally long for: the mother figure, the father figure, the fountain of youth, and the spiritual idol" (p.89) This is so that "Instead of fantasizing about another person meeting all of our needs and bartering with our bodies for the attention and affection we crave, we're able to pay attention to the genuine needs of others and express affection toward our loved ones in healthy, holy ways." (p.100) My fave bit of this chapter is when Ethridge talks about "the softer side of God".
Chapter 6, "When "One Flesh" Isn't Enough" is the beginning of the chapters than bring light boldly into very dark places that rarely, if EVER, are addressed by other books, or by the Christian community. This one? Fantasies about multiple partners. Ethridge connects scriptures, case studies, scientific findings about the human brain, and more to help readers accurately assess what they -really- desire when confronted with a fantasy about multiple partners. She is careful to say that her list of theories presented are not exhaustive. But I think most will find some answers they've long looked for in this chapter. It's the second one that blew my mind.
Chapter 7, "Grappling With Gay and Lesbian Fantasies". First things that comes to mind? Compassionate, atypical, and (perhaps because of that) perfectly balanced between being Biblical in it's approach without being judgmental. SERIOUS kudos to Ethridge on this chapter. Sometimes heartbreaking, always REAL. This one is going to help a LOT of hopeless-feeling people. I love this exhortation: "Rather than allow our brothers and sisters to grapple with their gay and lesbian fantasies alone, in shame and secrecy, let's give them hope. Let's be safe sounding boards. Let's help them expose the deeper meanings behind their sexual thoughts and show them in both word and deed that the body of Christ does care for them... that -we- care for them." (p.147) AMEN!
Chapter 8, "Our Fascination with Pleasure, Pain, and Power". "We don't always get to choose what fantasies work for us on our journey toward sexual arousal and fulfillment. There are many who absolutely hate the fact that this type of fantasy is such a turn-on for them." (p.164) This chapter covers BDSM, fetishes, and MORE. (you didn't know there WAS more? Oh, THERE'S MORE.) And it is here that Ethridge also addresses the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy directly. Personally, this wasn't a chapter that I needed for myself, but it was enlightening and worth reading none-the-less. I can only think that it would be helpful to those that DO have these types of fantasies. And for the rest of us, to have compassion on them, just as we need for our own selves!
Chapter 9, "Putting Fantasy In It's Place" is the wrap-up, and the hardest to summarize, because it covers a lot, so it's like picking which kid is your favorite (Impossible. I have 4. I know.) It's a beautiful, soul-stirring chapter, that thrills the heart with GOOD fantasies, because for the Christ-follower, THESE healthy fantasies will someday be REALITY: unimaginably perfect union with God. "Spirit skin to spirit skin", as she quotes Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts". (p.189) I can't summarize it adequately for justice's demands.
The Conclusion is where Ethridge finishes telling her personal spiritual story that she began in the Introduction. It's... beyond my words. So GET this book, and READ HERS.
This is a buy-it-for-keeps book, as well as one that you WILL find yourself wanting to tell a LOT of people about.
For those curious, there are some "extras" in the back of the book, including Appendix 1, "Ten Excuses That Turn Fantasies Into Painful Realities"; Appendix 2, "Curing The Sexual Abuse Epidemic"; Appendix 3, "Providing A Spiritual and Sexual Safe Haven", which is aimed at church leaders, and includes a very helpful list of resources for them; Appendix 4, "Twelve steps to recovery" (Yes, those 12 steps) and Appendix 5, "Recommended Resources for Your Church/Home Library".
Published 7 months ago by J. Penar
Topic LONG OVERDUE
Over the years, I have read almost all of Shannon's books as well as Stephen Auterburn. This topic, is essential for today's Christians and churches! It seems that human sexuality is a taboo subject for Christians as well as their families. We are taught to guard our mind and hearts, and to keep our thoughts subject to the will of Christ, but seldom if ever do we talk about HOW to accomplish such a feat! With the onslaught of today's secular culture, we as Christians can be overwhelmed in a subject that is so limited in discussion. Additionally, this book gave me some insight with how to love, cope with and help friends and family members that are now a part of the gay and lesbian society. Marriage, is a difficult relationship at best. Seldom do we realize the baggage that we are carrying into that relationship. This book has been an experience in self realization and self examination in order to be a better, husband, father, and person. I HIGHLY recommend reading this one more than once as doors will begin to open in closets that have been closed for years. Only then, can the healing begin! Thanks Shannon for a GREAT message, ministry and book!
Published 7 months ago by lasersmiledr
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