BOOK REVIEW: The hype for this book exceeds the content …

When I read the initial information provided to me about “The Passion Principles,” written by Shannon Ethridge (published by W Publishing Group, an imprint of Thomas Nelson), I was excited about reviewing it.

The sub-title proclaimed this book to be about “Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage.” The endorsements inside the front cover lead you to believe it’s a great book on the topic of sexuality for couples. And the other information contained on the book would cause you to assume their would be some significant content of a more profound nature that could greatly benefit the sexual relationship of couples.

Unfortunately, the hype and promotion of this book exceeds the actual content.

Having served as a minister and a clinical counselor for close to three decades, and having counseled thousands of couples (including in the area of sexuality), I have read some great works for couples on the topic of sexuality. This is not one of them.

To be fair, let me state there is some good information in this book, just not as good as it is represented to be.

Let’s start with the title, “The Passion Principles.” Nowhere in the book are there any kind of clearly delineated “principles” for the sexual relationship of husbands and wives. My best guess of what these “principles” are comes from the back cover of the book where it states, “Divided into four sections, The Passion Principles helps couples celebrate the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical dimensions of sexuality.” The book is then vaguely divided into these four sections, but the content is made up of an odd and confusing format comprised of 40 broadly varying questions and answers to them. Some of the questions are of a more significant nature, but some are not. The questions range from, “Why does God say we have to be married to have sex?” or “Why is the Song of Solomon even in the Bible?” to “Why do humans think about sex so much?” and “What is the secret to staying together forever?”

The result of this random question format is disjointed and disconnected content that fails to congeal into a whole school of thought since there isn’t any rational developmental flow of fully interconnected sub-topics.

Thus, the content is very inconsistent. Some questions are addressed with depth and useful information, while other questions are addressed in a far more elementary fashion. This could be because the author is identified as being a certified life coach, not as a clinical expert on a topic as significant as human sexuality. There are some stories in the book that can capture the attention of readers, but I don’t think it could be said the book is uniformly written in a compelling manner.

I found there to be a lot of author opinion in providing the answers to some of the questions offered, and sometimes the answers to the questions are too light on providing scriptural substantiation for the spiritual matters raised. For example, on pages 57-59, Ethridge writes about a question posed to her, and things she contemplated, and stated spiritual answers without a single Bible verse to validate her positions. This book is theologically light, even though at times I found the writer’s tone to be a little preachy.

If you’re looking for something somewhat on the topic of sexuality that is more wandering and mediocre in substance, you may find some things you like in this book. But if you’re looking for something with significant content that dives deep into sexuality in both a compelling and comprehensive manner, this is not the book for you. Either way, it’s not a book I would recommend.


I received this book free from HarperCollins Christian Publishing as part of
their BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not
required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed
are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal
Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use
of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”