Christopher West Questions


It seems to me when reading “Good News about Sex and Marriage”, that there really is bad news for men.

Page 103 looks like an invitation to a living hell, in that he argues that unless a man loves his wife as perfectly as Christ loves the Church, that there should be no sex in marriage.

Don’t think I can ever measure up perfectly, and it seems West would say that the wife is to make the determination. we are doomed! My Dearly departed wife would not agree with West, but I guess a whole lot of Catholic women do because I know a whole lot of great catholic guys who’s sex life is a living hell from this kind of nonsense.

Dr Laura, in “The proper care and feeding of Husbands” seems to respect the natural order. I have heard West speak and I strongly agree with all I heard. My wife lived and loved as he indicated. But his book scares the daylights out of me. I was chaste before marriage, and am chaste now, but I am a passionate man who enjoys all that a truly loving marriage entails. But Puritanical prudery has invaded the Church and seems to have done its worst damage among the devout women, The puritans derived their name from trying to purify the Church of England from any vestige of the Catholic faith. Now they want to purify the marriage bed from any appropriate joy. God loves us passionately. Sex is about the closest most of us will ever get to understanding the way God loves us. Yet Puritans want to banish all joy, and west just plays into their hands. 99.999995 of all men who ever lived could never pass the test west proposes. This proposal sounds like a great recipe for infidelity and divorce.


Can you quote the passage that has you so trouble?

I do not have access to the book at my present location, but I have read it and I cannot remember reading anything in the book like what you are stating.


I read the book as well and don’t remember that either. I know whatever is written, I certainly did not interpret it that way at all.


I would venture to guess that Mr. West was teaching the subtleties of concupiscence and the conjugal act.


1 Corinthians Ch7: says this.

1 Now in regard to the matters about which you wrote: "It is a good thing for a man not to touch a woman,"
2 but because of cases of immorality every man should have his own wife, and every woman her own husband.
3 The husband should fulfill his duty toward his wife, and likewise the wife toward her husband.
4 A wife does not have authority over her own body, but rather her husband, and similarly a husband does not have authority over his own body, but rather his wife.
5 Do not deprive each other, except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, to be free for prayer, but then return to one another, so that Satan may not tempt you through your lack of self-control.

I don’t think Mr. West is writing in opposition to the Bible.

In fact 1ke, pointed me to this years ago when I started hanging out at CAF…:wink:


We do not all have copies of the book lying about the house, those who have read it have most times then passed it on to someone else.

Quote the passage that you do not understand.


I don’t remember that part, it might be just a misreading (I’d hope); but I’ve never really been a big fan of Christopher West. You might be better off reading Gregory Popcak’s book, Holy Sex. He seems to have a healthier overall attitude towards sex.

Good luck!


How interesting, seeing as how Christopher West and Gregory Popcak are good friends and they quote each other in their books.


Page 103 talks about how wives don’t have to “submit” to sex and that men should not just use their wives as a means to an orgasm. Can’t see what the problem is.:shrug:

He talks about the man maturing to a point where he wants the best for both he and his spouse and he should work through prayer etc to order his desires to that end.He reiterates what John Paul 2 said in his book Love and Responsibility about how if your wife is refusing intercourse then you clearly aren’t making her feel loved , secure etc. Men don’t get a pass and say “my wife is frigid” as was popular at the time and get to have affairs etc. They have a responsibility to fix the situation through love and sacrifice for their wives.
When a husband does acts of love and sacrifice she will understand that lovemaking is the spouses making gifts of themselves to each other and not just I have to let my husband do this to me and not enjoy it etc.

That’s what he’s talking about.

I do recommend the Popcak book because he concentrates on the how the spouses get to the point where lovemaking is what it is supposed to be not just the morality of it. He helps both wife and husband make themselves the gift. While West mentions it being a two way street Popcak gives more of a map on how to get to that street.


I have read all 3 of West’s books several times including this one, I have taken the course on TOB (with the Pope’s book not his), I teach TOB for teens, and have facilitated TOB seminars for adults using West’s book and no where have I ever picked up what OP terms prudery regarding conjugal sex. Since OP declines to provide the troublesome quote I won’t comment on it.

Yes, I can see where if you did not love your wife marriage could become a living hell, but how much worse for the wife of such a man.


GreatGuy… Theology of the Body is nothing like you describe. It is a call to surrender our selfish ways to come together as man and woman in greater understanding of Christ’s love for his Church. If you see this a “living hell”…perhaps it is Christ’s message that you have an issue with and not West’s words on marriage. Great love requires great sacrifice and great sacrifice required strong faith. Being a Christian isn’t easy. Period. But when you surrender to God’s will it is better than any earthly attachment. What is really a living hell is the empty way our society views sex. What is really a living hell is the way women are objectified, even inside their own marriage, as a means to a man’ self-serving ends. What is really a living hell is the way we have divorced the procreative aspect of sex from the pleasurable aspect and justified killing the unborn in the process. As far as your charge that West is playing in to the Puritan mindset…West himself says that making sex a “bad” thing is giving the devil too much credit. The devil did not create sex, God did -and to call it bad is to insult God. Don’t you see…we are taking back for God what the devil has tried to claim for himself, this counterfeit version of love and sex.
As far as you saying it is a recipe for divorce and misery for men…by what measure? Do many married men you know who use artificial birth control seem all that happy? Have divorce rates declined since the introduction of contraception and easy access to sex or has the opposite happened? In fact, divorce rates among NFP users is practically non-existant. Compare this to the rest of the population.


Maybe its just a style thing, Christopher West’s book turn me off, I don’t like his writing and I think the “dumbed-down” approach to Theology of the Body misses too many important points. Popcak seems to respect his readers more, and he has a taking style.


“dumbed-down” approach? Which book are you speaking about? The Good news book at topic here is not a Theo of body book. It is practical questions and answers.

If you read “Theo of the body explained”, it isn’t dumbed down and misses no points, seeing as how its a chapter by chapter commentary.


Here’s my take, from personally living what West is talking about. Desire is a sign of our call to communion. When a man feels desire, it is his body reminding him to love his wife, or if he is unmarried, to pursue chaste communion through other means. All of this applies to a woman, too. If the man asks his wife to make love sexually, and she is not willing or able, for whatever reason, he is still called to love her and should love her now in whatever way she is willing and able to accept.

A big problem arises when a person interprets desire as a call to have sex. Now, I know that most men, especially Christians and Catholics, one would hope, understand that sexuality is tangled up with everything else in a woman’s life. But the worst case scenario, which was what played out in my marriage, was that my husband believed that because the wife’s body belongs to her husband (yep, out of context), that I had the obligation to allow myself to be used for his release, even though he was abusive.

That, folks, is what killed my marriage, despite my best efforts. And that sort of thing is what I think West is warning. People used to tell me that no man wanted to have sex with his wife if she didn’t want it, but they were wrong. In a more middle-of-the-road situation, you’ll find, and common sense tells us, that while sex is generally a “deposit” in a man’s “love bank,” it is all too easily a withdrawal for the woman. Woman will provide sex, when really they ought to be insisting on making love. And sometimes men will think that making love to their wives sexually means that they don’t need to make love all day long, in non-sexual ways.


Sorry my word-choice was offensive. What I mean is that Christopher West’s books (including The Good News…) are all coming out of his study of the Theology of the Body, just because The Good News book doesn’t say “from Theology of the Body” doesn’t mean it isn’t based on that theology. But all his books take the concepts of Theology of the Body and try to make them accessible to people who don’t understand Theology - like taking a college 101 class and rewriting it for 5th graders. That’s generally called “dumbing down” especially when its done in a way that looses a lot of the original strength of the message.

I’m not trying to insult Mr. West, but the original poster was not happy with his book, and since I’ve never been happy with his books either, I thought I could recommend something different.


Huh? Are you saying you want to force yourself on your wife when she doesn’t want sex with you?

That’s the thing that creates “living hell”?

It’s really appalling if a lot of men would demand sex knowing their wives weren’t interested, on the road to rape IMO.


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