On the Meaning of Sex - Intercollegiate Studies Institute

On the Meaning of Sex

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“Rarely have I read in so few pages a book as thought-provoking and compelling . . . Magnificent.” —Chronicles

Our society is obsessed with sex—and yet we don’t understand it at all. Acclaimed philosopher J. Budziszewski remedies the problem in this wise, gracefully written book about the nature, meaning, and mysteries of sexuality.

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What is the meaning of sex?

Everyone in every time and place is interested in sex. Our own time is obsessed by it. One would think that a society obsessed by sex would understand it very well. But the truth is that obsession drives out understanding. We no longer understand even the common sense of sexuality, the things that were common knowledge in supposedly less enlightened times.

Acclaimed philosopher J. Budziszewski remedies this problem. His wise, gracefully written book about the nature, meaning, and mysteries of sexuality restores lost wisdom, raising and answering such questions as:

  • Does sex have to mean anything at all?
  • What is the meaning of the sexual powers, of sexual differences, of sexual love, of sexual beauty, of sexual purity?
  • Is sexuality “all about sex”?
  • Why does sexuality stir up such transcendent longings for something more than sex?

On the Meaning of Sex corrects the most prevalent errors about sex, particularly the errors of the sexual revolution, which by mistaking pleasure for a good in itself has caused untold pain and suffering. In restoring the meaning and purpose of sex, the author reclaims what Dante calls “the intelligence of love.”

“Looking out over the sexual landscape of our time,” Budziszewski writes, “I see a terrain of unutterable sweetness, despoiled by unmentionable pain. Yet who knows? Perhaps it is not too late to redeem the unutterable sweetness. Shall we try to find out?”

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“J. Bud (as we, his faithful readers, refer to him) serenely avoids the usual pitfalls in this lucid and blessedly concise overview. No forced jocularity here, no prissiness, no muddle.” —Christianity Today

 “With this magnificent book on the most confused and misunderstood issue of our age, J. Budziszewski enters the pantheon of living Christian writers.” —Chronicles

 “Charmingly simple and simply charming . . . An elegant, passionate book . . . A welcome clarion call to return to a more purposeful and intelligent way of understanding.”—Choice

“I teach a course on ‘Philosophy of Human Sexuality,’ and I must have read fifty to a hundred books on the topic. On the Meaning of Sex is, quite simply, num­ber one.” —Peter Kreeft, Boston College, coauthor of Handbook of Christian Apologetics

 “Budziszewski’s logic is flawless. . . . An eminently readable and powerful testament to unchanging truth.” —Anthony Esolen, author of Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child

 “An eloquent, engaging description of the beauty of men, women, and sexuality . . . It hands on the wisdom of our forebears with care and winsomeness.” —Public Discourse

 “Engaging, illuminating . . . Read it and rediscover the mystery, beauty, and grandeur of human sexuality.” —Colleen Carroll Campbell, EWTN

“One needs to recommend this book with a warning: If you do not want to know what sex really is, if you do not want to act with truth in your soul about what is, do not read this book. It will only give you an unsettled soul, which is, indeed, probably what you need. Most of all, you need to read it.” —James V. Schall, SJ, Georgetown University, author of Another Sort of Learning

“In a style of argument reminiscent of C. S. Lewis, Budziszewski articulates the thoughts that so many young men and women begin to discern but seldom develop.” —Mark Regnerus, author of Forbidden Fruit

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