The Bad Sex In Nonfiction Awards?

(Apologies to the annual “Bad Sex In Fiction Award” in Literary Review)

Mark Driscoll has written a new tome, this one is about marriage and, well, based on what I’ve read about it, it seems to be exactly what one might expect from a Driscoll marriage book. Complementarianism! Manly Men! Driscoll *sees* things you can’t! And yes, sex.

It’s kind of dreary and predictable to review anything that Driscoll writes, because you know where he’s going with most of his material. For the most part people either seem to find him inspiring or repulsive with not much middle ground. Based on what I’ve read, there are some truly, um, weird parts to this book, including a discussion of marital unfaithfulness in Driscoll’s own marriage. I do not how useful this is, though it’s the sort of thing that would strike me as embarrassing to his wife and children – I thought a good, complementarian macho man would protect his family from this kind of thing.

What seems to get the most attention though is a chapter that discusses in apparently explicit detail what sex acts are permissible for Christian couples. This just strikes me as bizarre, that there are some things that are perhaps best negotiated between couples only under the general rubric of mutual love, respect, and fidelity. Here though Denny Burk’s review perhaps takes the “Bad Sex In Nonfiction” title away from Driscoll as he decries that some of what Driscoll permits may not be glorifying to God. Sometimes his complaints are practical (don’t take compromising pictures of each other, they will¬†make it onto the internet) but overall¬†I get the impression that Burk wants to invoke some kind of natural law argument about what sex acts are godly, but he can’t quite do so. That way lies church leaders commanding missionary-position sex to the exclusion of anything else and only for procreation.

If you need a pastor to tell about sex in a marriage, maybe meet one face-to-face to discuss whatever is specifically bothering you and your spouse. Seems more promising to me than reading Driscoll and his critics set down competing rules for all couples.