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The Gift of Sex was written by Dr, Cliff Penner and his wife Joyce Penner. This book tackles the various issues facing most people when it comes to their sexual life. It highlights the problems that we encounter regarding our sex lives, offers a solution to these problems, as well as give advice on how to have a healthy sex life. Sex was given to man by God as a gift. Much as its soul purpose was for pro creation, the ultimate enjoyment and the intimate emotions that are evoked during intercourse are meant to be fulfilling to the body's desire. This book discusses how to get oneself to that position that they can experience this ultimate gift, and this is done in five major topics discussed under 35 chapters (Penner, 2003). The 5 topics are:

  1. The physical dimension
  2. The total experience
  3. Moving past sexual barriers
  4. Resolving difficulties
  5. Finding help

Topic 1: The Physical Dimension

This first chapter focuses on the fulfilment in intimacy. According to Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner, most married couples always have a difficulty in getting the fulfilment for a passionate physical intimacy. This is not usually due to their age, their fitness physically or their marital status. To achieve this passion, the two couples have got some basic responsibilities to cover. Like any other contributor of strengthening the relationship, the physical intimacy of two couples has got its influence to the relationship.  This influence depends on if the couple take it to be a way of expressing their feelings for one another, or if it is simply an avenue for pro creation. The difference between these two factors is normally determined on just how committed the couple is in improving their physical life.

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Most people are yet to realise that sex is a gift that was bestowed on us by God (King James Bible, Genesis). Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner explain in this chapter the essence of couples believing in this idea. In the Bible, it is clearly stated that, God gave humanity sexuality as a gift. It was part of His plan for pro creation as much as it was also for physical intimacy. Dr. Penner explains that sex is nothing to be ashamed of when it is done for the right purposes between a man and a woman. This chapter sheds a light on how sexual pleasure should be experienced within marriage. When two people get married, it is expected by both parties that there is going to be an active sex life between them. Sex between the two should be able to unify them as one.

In marriage, the Dr. Penner explains how the there should be a feeling of mutual interest when it comes to sex. In the bible it is stressed in the new testament that for every sexual relationship a couple have, both parties should be comfortable with it before engaging. Most couples always have a problem when it comes to having sex because of lack of mutual interest. When one party is in the mood for it and the other is not, Dr. Penner insists that the two should mot engage in the sex. This is because, whether it is the man or the woman who is not in the mood for it, nobody should be forced into engaging in an activity that the body is not willing to. The bible clearly states that, to the eyes of God, the man and woman are equal and they both have mutual obligations and rights.


The body of a human being is susceptible to any damage due to injuries and sickness

However, if these physical problems can be dealt with, they should not be allowed to be an excuse for not having a desired sexual relationship. It is our duty to take care of our bodies whenever we feel that we are not in our healthy state. In this chapter, Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner insist that couples should be able to resolve the issues either of them has when it comes to body image. Body image has got a lot to do with when it comes to a sexual relationship. Each couple has got the challenge to bring with them to the bedroom a healthy looking body. This will help improve the sexual relationship.

In this chapter, Dr. Penner seeks to expand on the importance of having a healthy body. Sex life requires one to be of greatest health in order to deliver. Understanding how our bodies work will go a long way in helping us know how we can take care of them. Most people do not take the time to visit the doctor regularly to be advised on how to stay healthy. Dr. Penner advises on the benefits that are there when we take time to visit the physicians in order to understand our bodies. This will enable us to know what affects our sex drive and as a result get to raise the standards of the physical intimacy we have with our partners. Examples given in this chapter are very relevant in explaining the content.

In this chapter, the debate of how much time couples should spend together is tackled

Many couples take the time they spend together for granted. Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner (Penner, 2003) insist that this time always plays a very big role when it comes to how the sex part will turn out to be. To the normal individual it may look like a very basic thing, but research has shown that most of the spouses always ignore this part of the relationship. However, it is not an easy thing to do as most of the couples who already have got children always find it so difficult to create time for the two of them. The bible clearly explains that, marriage is meant for companionship too. Much as they have a family to take care of, in this chapter couples are advised to also have some alone time too. This has an impact on their active sexual lives.

In this chapter, examples of the previous chapter are outlined. Dr. Penner insists on the need to create quality time between the two spouses. The examples he gives in this chapter are able to prove to the couples that quality time is indeed an important factor. This will help them bond and they will be able to talk about the various issues that they face and also how they would wish for their relationship to be improved. Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner insist that couples ought to create alone time for themselves.

Conservation of energy in a relationship is very important

When talking about this issue in this chapter of the book, Dr. Penner is not referring to electric form of energy. Rather, this refers to body energy.  We normally show our desire for sex by how we portray our drive for it. If the energy that is meant for our sex drive is thus being spent on other activities like work and none is being saved, it may influence our sex lives. Saving some of our strength for our spouses is advised in order to give that total satisfaction that is expected from us by our partners. 

Distractions while having sex is another let down that most couples usually have. In this chapter, the advice given by the Dr is that the couples should engage in sex with their minds free of any issues that may cause distraction (Penner C, 2003). Very few people are able to multi task during sex. As a result, we always fall victims of our own mistakes. Eliminate all those issues that are causing you stress in your relationship by solving them, and when you get to the sex part, it will be a smooth affair. With this two issues taken care of, Cliff and Joyce Penner assure a much improved sexual relationship.

Every time a couple has got issues about sexual dysfunction, most of them find it difficult to express them openly to their spouses or partners. These sexual dysfunctions lead to the sex life having problems and neither party is normally willing to accept and take up the responsibility.  In this book, the authors clearly lay it down that unless you can be open to each other about your sex related issues, the two of you will find it very hard. Honesty is the only way that can bring two couples together to experience that full intimacy as it should be.

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 Above all these advices, the authors give more edge to the fun part of any sexual relationship. If you cannot have fun while having sex, then maybe you are not aware of its full capabilities. Cliff and Joyce Penner insist that we are supposed to have fun and enjoy sex. God created sex so that it will be a way of enjoyment for every man and woman who are in marriages.

Topic 2: The Total Experience

According to the authors of this book, there is nothing wrong with two couples engaging in sex. Sex is deemed to be a gift that was given to mankind by God. All the exciting sensations that we normally get from engaging in sex were given to us for a purpose.  When bestowing this feeling on us, God meant for us to enjoy it. However, this should be at the right time and with the right people. Some individuals always feel that the lord does not want them to have fun by restricting sex.

In this chapter, Dr. Penner explains that the lord wants us to experience this. Before we start engaging ourselves in sex, the lord wants every boy to get to meet that special girl that he will settle down with as a companion in marriage (Bible, Corinthians). With this one person in mind, the Lord knows that each of the partners will be able to have a taste of what he sought out to create. This is the ultimate experience in that comes with evoking the deep feelings of pleasure during intimate sex.

Most people do not get to experience this feeling as God would want it. People always have the notion in them that, abstaining from the moral guidelines and turning a blind eye on the will deliver them from not having confused senses when having sex. They believe that these moral guidelines always block their way to intimacy. The complete opposite of this idea is what is solely true when it comes to what the lord intended. The Lord intended for us to abide by this moral guidelines so that when that time comes and we have settled down, we are going to experience the ultimate sex, with the right partner.

There are many risks of having sex when one is not yet mature

This has been the case for most people who have got to now deal with their sexual experiences. A good example of this is abortion. Most people do not know how to protect themselves and end up with unwanted pregnancies. This makes them get the idea of having an abortion, the thing with abortion is, once u have had it, you cannot undo it. This process also goes a long way as it can affect the sexual relationship that one has.  Contracting AIDS is another form of danger. The author advises that before engaging in a sexual experience, both couples need to get tested for the HIV virus. This will go a long way in protecting their sexual lives.  STDs that accompany sexual intercourses that are no safe are also dangerous. In their book, Cliff and Joyce Penner advice that in as much as we want to have that sexual experience, it is very important that we take into consideration our health.

In the bible, it is stressed that one must protect their virginity until that time of marriage. The honeymoon experience for virgins is always a unique one. An individual can only experience this kind of feeling once in their lifetime when losing their virginity.  In the bible, the stress on waiting for this moment is so that all can be able to feel what god intended. For the sexually experienced, they do not get to witness this during their night. To them, the honeymoon is simply another awesome vacation.

Most people deem God to be strict and also very severe. However, the bible insists God is not that way. In the book "The Songs of Solomon", the idea about a good erotic love is let out. It is not wrong, as this book clearly shows it is an account of the way it was meant to be a lovely thing according to the lord.  In the book of Hebrews, the bible shows that sex was meant to be for married people.

The experience of sexual desire by the human being is something that the bible recognizes. In dealing with this issue, it gives us marriage as the solution to this problem.  In Corinthians, the bible states that, "But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband". This shows that there are expectations of us to be committed to relationships, which are marriages, before engaging in sex. 

Topic 3: Resolving Difficulties

In this chapter, Dr. Penner argues that research has shown that in most marriages, the problems normally start to arise immediately the couple start living together. Sex has been in the frontline when it comes to this issue being tackled. Most of the couples opt to remain mute about this issue as they do not know how to handle it. According to Dr. Penner, couples that rarely discuss this issue are normally the ones who get hurt so easily in the sexual relationship. Having good sex is always as a result of having a good relationship that is stress free.

Different levels of libido between couples result in one party having a greater desire for it compared to the other party. This conflict in the levels of interest between this two is a major huddle in any relationship, and this is backed up by the examples given in this chapter. Dr. Penner states that the sexual difficulties being encountered need to be dealt with. Communication is the vital weapon in this kind of problem. When having difficulties in ones sexual relationship, we are advised to speak and discuss them out.

In this chapter of the book, the importance of overcoming the challenges in sex are clearly laid down. Overcoming these difficulties will make one have full confidence when engaging in sex. Sex is supposed to be an interesting thing and not something that one goes into scared. Dr. Penner says, it is important to get help in form of counselling or going for check up if it is a medical difficulty. This chapter seeks to give an introduction to the main issues that are further discussed in relation to challenges experienced. The follow up of examples and citations from research are very educative.

This chapter deals with some of the physical issues. A physical issue like erectile dysfunction for the men is a very common problem. Most men feel like this will be an embarrassing thing if they are to go see a doctor about this.  However, this is a common health problem like any other as explained in this chapter. It should sink into our mind that, all parts of our bodies are as important as the other. Taking care of health problems affecting our genital organs is very vital because, for one to feel the real passion and emotions that accompany a sexual intercourse, this is one thing that they must deal with. Dr. Penner suggests in this chapter that, couples should not overlook their difficulties in sex, because ignoring is not going to solve anything.

This chapter seeks to encourage that, for one to fully appreciate God's gift of sex to the human being, we must overcome what stands in our way and that passionate feeling.  We need to have a sound mind, a sound body and be free of stress in order have good sex. Overcoming our shortcoming whether it is a result of our character, or our bodies are not healthy, will help us have a good sexual life. This chapter summarises the way we can overcome this difficulties and Dr. Penner is very helpful on the advice given to this issue.  

Topic 4: Moving from Past Sexual Barriers

Couples struggle a lot to get over sexual barriers that .they may have experienced in their past romantic life. This issue does not only affect people who are married but will also affect individuals during their courtship period.  It is quite clear that once people get into marriage they feel obliged to perform sexual duties with their partners. Some people take this as a sought of debt towards their partners which is not necessarily right.  From the bible, we learn that there is the feeling of mutual indebtedness that is realized in marriage. It is further stated that through God, there is always a debt of love that one owes their spouse when they get into the marriage institution.  

The husband and wife in that marriage institution also have the sole responsibility of making sure that they fulfill all that is expected of them by God who is the giver of love and the great gift of sex (Beam, 2006). This chapter explains that, in the marriage institution, there should be that feeling of mutuality where each partner is expected to reciprocate the love shown by either partner. It is this feeling of indebtedness that makes people participate in sex without enjoying any part of it just because they feel that it is their responsibility to do so. 

This chapter highlights how sex is supposed to be free of guilt or fear

Sex in marriage doesn't have to feel like a burden to any partner(Beam 2006). It defeats logic because in any case people who decide to get married usually do that as a sign of love for each other. Dr. Penner in his book urges the married couples to ensure that they move from their past sexual experiences. It is those past experiences that lead to people not enjoying sex in marriage. It denies people the chance to fulfill their obligations in marriage and making sex seem as a burden to them.

In the physical life, there are many barriers that people may experience that hinder them from enjoying sex or intimacy for example.  A case study for men for example reveals that in case a person tried to get intimate with a lady for example, and during the process tried to kiss the lady and she refused; the man fails to connect with the lady intimately and may fail to make love with them. From this single experience, the man may develop a mentality and fail to make love with a woman n the event that she refuses to kiss them. This is a simple example but barriers to sex may be of much larger magnitude from one person to another depending on the kind of experience they have had in the past.

The human mind is made in such a way that when one experiences something, they tend to hold on to what they experienced and don't move on properly from it. Cases like rape in the case of women may lead to them also not being able to enjoy sex with people they love. Past experiences always linger in people's mind people who manage to get past them are the only ones who are able to enjoy their life after that.

People in a marriage should always learn to be able to get past any barriers that hinder them from enjoying the gift of sex with their partners. Dr. Penner tries to encourage couples to learn to get past these barriers for them to fulfill their obligations in marriage (Penner, 2003). People should not let what happened to them in the past stand in the way of their happiness. It is only after being able to learn to let go of what happened do we get the chance to enjoy love.

 This chapter majors on the argument that, for anyone to be able to love, they also have to be in a good position to be able to receive that love. If one channel is closed, then it means there is no love. When we give and receive love in return we become happy. Dr. Penner goes ahead to explain that any marriage which lacks the means by which love is reciprocated lacks happiness.  It becomes very difficult in life for love to be experienced in an isolated state. As the bible urges people in marriage to enjoy love making together as a gift, people have to ensure that any barrier that may hinder them is broken. Sex is a gift from God for married people and it should be enjoyed by both couples (Beam, 2006).

In this chapter Dr. Penner concludes his advises on how couples can be able to overcome all that hinders their sexual lives. Overcoming sexual problems or barriers is one of the msjor achievements ant couple can have. Research has shown that, the people who have got no issues, hindrances or barriers in their sexual lives always are the happiest when they get into bed with their partners. God intended us to have enjoyable sexual lives an d to also have it in a healthy way. Dr. Penner in his book takes the time to show us how we can achieve this, by offering guidance to the reader in this chapter.

Topic 5: Finding Help

In concluding their book, Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner encourage couples to seek help regarding sex in marriage. It is very clear that many couples suffer in silence and this problem is bigger than it really seems. Sex is a holy because it was created by god and should therefore be enjoyed by all married couples (Beam, 2006). In this chapter, couples are given a deeper look of what their relationships would suffer should they not be careful. Dr. Penner goes into explaining that if one party is uncomfortable in the sex life, they should talk to the other partner. If the two cannot resolve the issue, this is where professional help comes handy.

Dr. Penner and his wife acknowledge the fact that there are people who still struggle with the idea of sex in marriage. Even though the two are already married, there is a sense of not being sure if they are free to have sex as much as they want. It should be noted that because God created sex, this makes it a gracious gift for everyone in the marriage institution. Nobody should be left to suffer in silence. Married people are encouraged to seek help to be able to talk about their sex life in marriage. Sex in marriage should not be looked at as a burden to any couple but as a sign of love. It should be enjoyed.

This chapter advises on seeking help from professional marriage and sex counselors who can help them get over their problems. In the Bible, Christians are also encouraged to turn to God through prayer to help them get over there problems about sex. There are very many issues that hinder people from enjoying sex and they should not be afraid to seek help. Dr. Penner insists on how professional help is highly advisable as issues that may arise from past experience can be professionally handled. It is very important for people to be helped to differentiate between the present and the past.

People should not be afraid to seek help because this is the only way they can be able to realize the great gift that God made for them. In this chapter, Dr. Penner seeks to advice that people should also seek help and learn more about how previous couples have handled their issues, and how it has improved their marriages. Couples should always seek to know the issues affecting them and be counseled on the way forward on how they can resolve them. Examples given in this chapter are relevant in showing that marital issues are normal to any couple out there, and couples always get past them.

This chapter goes on to look at how Sex education in general is very important

According to Dr. Penner, there are very many issues about sexuality that many people in the society don't know about. Sex education therefore comes in handy to help resolve some problems about sex. Sex education can help erase some negative perceptions about sex that people may be holding due to misinformation. There are people who are not used to physical intimacy and can be helped through counseling. Sex is indeed as God given gift to all married couples and should not be a source of sorrow to anyone.

The Gift of Sex is an informative book that can be of very good use to the married couples. It offers some of the best advice in one of the most contentious issues that most of the couples normally have. Dr. Cliff Penner and his wife Joyce Penner are very well informed about the gift that God bestowed on us and offer very knowledgeable advice on every chapter in the book.

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