Jeremy Pierre has a critical review of Real Marriage in Credo magazine, and like many reviewers he takes issue with chapter 10. Pierre is a pastor and biblical counselor, and he has a section that I think is particularly insightful. He writes,
It is precisely the Driscolls’ apparent desire to stand against a sexualized culture that makes Chapter 10 “Can We ____?” so frustrating to read…
Driscoll allows for a broad range of sexual expression… Many things could be said in response, but perhaps most helpful would be to point out that Driscoll frequently answers the question Is it Helpful? affirmatively based on the dangerous assumption that novelty of the sexual experience is the avenue to greater pleasure, that variety gives that edge of intrigue that keeps sex exciting. Driscoll says that [sodomy] can be helpful “for the variety” (187), role-playing can be helpful to keep things from getting “sexually predictable” (190), sex toys “heighten the pleasure” of sex (191), and cosmetic surgery can “make us more attractive to our spouse” (197).
I have spent many hours counseling couples, undermining this very assumption. A pornographic culture teaches that greater sexual satisfaction comes from hotter methods and better bodies…
Such an assumption is by it’s very nature enslaving, for it seeks the pleasure of sex not in the abiding appreciation of a spouse’s body, but the more instantaneous thrill of novel experiences. There is enough variety and newness to the marital sexual relationship without adopting modes of sex largely developed in a sexualized culture. Relational engagement with your spouse offers thousands of moods, emotions, mindsets, locations, timeframes, etc. Sex is sometimes tepid, sometimes passionate, sometimes quiet, sometimes comforting, depending on the dynamic state of the relationship, not on the physical mode.
I would make a personal appeal to the author to reconsider this chapter. The previous chapters on sex were helpful because they sought to undermine the false assumptions of a sexualized culture. This chapter gives into many of them, particularly the one pointed out above. I believe that Driscoll sincerely wants to be a missionary to a highly sexualized culture and not shy away from their concerns (175). But there is something to learn from old school Christians who may be scandalized by the conclusions of this chapter. By not being immersed as deeply in a sexualized world, they may have the better cultural vantage point to see its errors. And maybe this is a better way to bring clarity to sexually confused people.
Read the rest here.