Purity is Possible: How to live free of the fantasy trap by Helen Thorne
We are inundated with sexual images on screen, online, and in our minds. Yet, we often think that this is just a problem for men, with the figures very high for men who engage in pornography on a regular basis. But is this an issue for women too? Helen Thorne in her new book, Purity is Possible tackles the issue of fantasy life, pornography, and sexuality in a profound and life giving way. By looking at real women with real struggles, Helen does not hold back but gives her readers real wisdom for defeating temptation in the area of sexual struggle.
Helen writes in the opening chapter, “We were designed to be beautiful…We were made for the kind of beauty that starts in the hearts and overflows to every part of our being” (11). Beauty is not to be found only in individuals but also in relationships. The full life that our society puts before us is one of instant gratification, both sexually and personally. Helen encourages women that living a beautiful life means swimming against the tide, not giving into some cheap-sex substitute, but desperately seeking after God (17).
Chapter 2 on fantasy is very good in that Helen lays out the allure of a sexual fantasy life and its enticements while understanding how this kind of life pulls us away from reality. In recreating our one’s own world the “lonely become popular, the ugly become desirable, the curious become enlightened, and the abused become strong” (21). Being in control, not being the punching bag, engaging in this type of fantasy world supposedly helps us find peace, but in fact it only breeds insecurity. Later on in the book, Helen points out that the use of pornography damages relationships with our spouses but also with God. People become so desensitized after viewing pornography that it is very difficult to please an actual person (53).
What is the way forward out of the entanglement of sexual fantasy and sin? “In Jesus, there is forgiveness…There is no sin we do not need him to die for; for there is no sin he has not died for. No matter how low we have sunk, God’s mercy is wide enough, deep enough and wonderful enough to reach us” (62). Helen, however, does not step there, she commends her readers to take off idols by seeing idols, run away from idols, soak oneself in the Scriptures, and connect in healthy relationships that are honest and God-honoring. Purity comes at a cost, and Helen knows that the road to purity is full of repentance.
Chalk full of gospel wisdom, sound research, and applications that hit all of us, this book will really challenge you to live for Christ in a sex-saturated world.
Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews and the good book company for this book in exchange for an honest review.