In this direct, eloquent, unabashed argument on behalf of sexual fidelity--its meaning, its blessing, its rewards, its necessity--Catherine Wallace addresses a major concern of our time.
At a time when emotional commitments are increasingly nervous, fragile, and short-lived, Wallace's vision of faithful lovers--with its aura of warmth, calm, and emotional continuity--is almost shockingly attractive.
Speaking to heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, she reminds us how deeply the powerful physical tempest that is sexual desire is connected to heart and soul, how immediately and profoundly it spirals to the core of our very identity; how reductive casual sex can be, how easily it can mute, indeed injure, the capacity for ultimate sexual happiness that exists only within the full development of true intimacy--intimacy that arises as fidelity is established and a promise is kept.
What's the difference between fidelity and repression or mere sexual exclusivity? How can people stay faithfully married for decades, while continuing to grow--and to change--as individuals? How do we help our sons and daughters sort through the conflicting messages about sexuality with which they are bombarded from childhood? The author's responses to these and other questions powerfully suggest to us that honor and courage, commitment and kindness to self and others, are indeed within our reach.
Catherine Wallace's gentle, moving, and persuasive argument for fidelity as the core of an entire way of being again and again draws assent from the reader--and provides, at last, a mode of talking with our children about a subject crucial to their success in achieving the fulfilled lives we so fervently wish for them.
In this collection of essays, some of which were previously published as Episcopalian tracts, Wallace, a cultural critic based in Illinois, argues for monogamy as intrinsic to a happy marriage. Defining marriage as a committed union between two heterosexuals or homosexuals that may or may not be legally contracted, she argues that the fullest realization of sexuality takes place only within such a partnership. She bases her conception of fidelity on a Christian interpretation of morality as reflected in poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge's theory of the imagination and on scriptural passages from the Bible. According to Wallace, casual sexual encounters are ethically wrong because such encounters are mutually exploitative rather than reciprocal, and they denigrate the sexual experience as purely physical. She recommends that parents teach their children the value of fidelity by encouraging their moral development from an early age. This will be of interest primarily to those who share Wallace's philosophical and religious orientation.