It’s Not Just You: Freeing Women to Talk about Sexual Sin and Fight It Well – Ashley Chestnut

It's Not Just You: Freeing Women to Talk about Sexual Sin and Fight It Well by Ashley Chesnut
Published by B & H Publishing on August 3, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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There's no way other women are struggling sexually like I am. Who could I even talk to about this? Isn't this a guy's issue?

For too long, Christian women have assumed they’re outliers in their sexual struggles. This assumption (along with shame) often keeps them silent, leaving them to face the battle all by themselves. But if any of this sounds familiar, you’re not the only one. Whether your struggles take the form of masturbation, pornography, same sex attraction, or sexual fantasies, it’s not just you. These temptations are common not only for men in the church, but many women, too.     So how do we fight against sexual sin as women? What do we do when there’s a disconnect between what the Bible says and how we live and feel? Or, if we lead a woman struggling in this way, how do we aid her in the battle? Written from the trenches of ministering to young women, young adult minister Ashley Chesnut explores why sexual sin is “sin” in the first place, what sex really is, and how Scripture speaks into topics like masturbation, oral sex, and sex robots—even when those words aren’t found in the Bible.   God has already won the war against sin, and as you examine His Word along with Ashley, you’ll be equipped to battle against sexual sin and to aid other sisters in the fight.   No, it’s not just you. And yes, you can take steps toward victory. Right now.  

In this book’s introduction, Ashley Chestnut shares some of her story of how she first became invested in understanding women’s experiences with sexual sin. This all started within her discipleship circles, as girls that she mentored began to open up and share with her about sins they were struggling with in secret. Even though Chestnut felt very unprepared to respond to some of these first disclosures, she began to study the issues involved and went back to school to get a counseling degree. This book is the culmination of her studies and personal experience with young women, and she writes with deep sensitivity, strong arguments from Scripture, and love and concern for women struggling with sins that the church often views as a male problem.

In the first part of the book, Chestnut addresses the reality of our sexual brokenness and some of the reasons behind it, and in the second part, she explores God’s design for sex, focusing on the different elements of God’s design and how various behaviors and desires fall outside of the parameters God has set. She addresses a wide range of different issues and moral quandaries, and because she focuses on articulating a biblical view of sexuality first, she is able to direct various ethical questions into this framework, rather than approaching them from an anecdotal perspective or based on her background alone. She often addresses the varying convictions that other Christians have about some of these issues, and even though she does not engage with all of the counterarguments that progressive Christians would pose against her traditional ethics, she clearly articulates her views based on the Bible, not subcultural assumptions.

In the third part of the book, she focuses on strategies for dealing with sexual sin, ways to pursue holistic emotional and spiritual health, and how to see God’s healing in the midst of our brokenness. She also includes a chapter specifically designed for counselors and helpers, where she writes about ways that they can maintain their own health and well-being while caring for others and dealing with the secondhand effects of others’ trauma. She writes more about trauma in the appendices at the end of the book, and also addresses the dynamics of sex addiction. Overall, this book is incredibly thorough, clearly organized, and well-written, and Chestnut articulates her biblical perspective with great compassion, love, and concern for the whole person.

It’s Not Just You: Freeing Women to Talk about Sexual Sin and Fight It Well is a fantastic, in-depth resource for struggling women and the people who counsel them. Ashley Chestnut addresses a variety of different concerns for both single and married women, and covers a range of different sin struggles and trauma experiences that influence women’s lives. This book will be a wonderful blessing to women who frequently read male-focused books about sexual sin and need one with a female focus, and I would highly recommend it to counselors and mentors who want to become better equipped to engage in well-informed, loving conversations with women who are dealing with these sensitive issues.