Holy Sex!--Prelude

Ever since I read Frank of "Letters to the Catholic Right"'s brilliant walkthrough of J. Budziszewski's On the Meaning of Sex, I've been itching to try my hand at an extended book review.  The key to making something like that work is that you need the right book.  I kicked around the idea of doing George Weigel's Evangelical Catholicism, but I thought that spending that much time in Weigel-land would be bad for my health.  So, I was on the look out for something good.

Like many good things, inspiration came from an unexpected place.  I was wasting time looking through Amazon a couple of days ago, and I saw a link to a book entitled Holy Sex! by Dr. Gregory K. Popcak, Ph.D.  The subtitle of the book is, and I quote, "A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving."  It took me about ten nanoseconds to hammer the "purchase now" button--an impulse buy, but an impulse buy of the best possible kind.  Obviously, this was the book to review.  The title alone is too good to pass up.

So, before we get into the review, I figured I would discuss some preliminary matters.

First, I have not read the book ahead of time--it was waiting for me as I came home from work today.  My plan is to post reviews of chapters or other sections as I read them.  I considered waiting until I had read the whole thing before writing anything, but I figured that would reduce the sense of discovery, the frisson if you will, of writing as we go along.  The danger of this approach is that the book may not be interesting enough to review--I have no way of knowing at this point.  On the other hand, the book is called "Holy Sex!"--there are bound to be some talking points.

Second, a bit about Dr. Popcak.  He appears to be the primary proprietor of an organization called "Pastoral Solutions Institute," which appears to be focused on marriage and family therapy, with a strong Catholic orientation.  He has a blog, and he does a great deal of radio and TV, again with a strong Catholic orientation.  It is not clear to me, from reading his biographies, what his Ph.D. is in.  This listing I found on "Catholic Therapist.com" lists his "Credentials/Training/Qualifications" as an MSW (Masters of Social Work).  The bio on the Pastoral Solutions Institute website says he teaches in the departments of sociology and theology at Franciscan University in Steubenville (OH), as well as serving on the faculty of an online school--Capella University--in the "doctor of social work" program.  So, who knows.

Third, it appears from reading the back cover and the reviews on Amazon that at least a portion of the book deals with specific sexual activities.  For example, a pull quote from a Janet E. Smith of Sacred Heart Major Seminary says readers "may even be shocked at what Dr. Popcak reveals to be compatible with Catholic teaching."  I can only interpret the "what" to mean "what kinds of stuff we can do."  As a result, these reviews may turn into "Sound of Sheer Silence After Dark."  Fair warning.

Finally, along the same lines, I suppose I should engage in full disclosure.  As I have mentioned before, I am not married, nor have I ever been married.  However, and here is the full disclosure part, I have had sex before, so I am personally familiar with the, shall we say, "technical" aspects of sex.  To the extent I will be commenting on what Dr. Popcak says about the nitty-gritty of sex, I may do so on the basis of my own experiences, as well as whatever information is relevant.  Again, fair warning.

OK--now off to read the book!  Updates to come soon.


Frank said…
Looking forward to this series, Michael!

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