Baker Academic has a brand new website! Click Here To Visit:

Sex and the iWorld

Rethinking Relationship beyond an Age of Individualism

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase

More Options


"A superb accomplishment. Kuehne breathes new life into Christianity's contribution to the conversation about the fundamental nature of the human person."--Stanton L. Jones, Wheaton College
Politics professor and pastor Dale Kuehne examines current issues pertaining to sexuality and society following the sexual revolution and asks, What kind of world are we creating? Is it a world that is actually harming us more than benefiting us? With an inclusive perspective and a cordial openness to responses from all points of view, Kuehne contrasts the long-established "tWorld," in which traditional morality reigned, with the present-day "iWorld," in which the immediate desires of the individual have been deemed paramount. He maintains that both fail to deliver the benefits of the proposed "rWorld," in which a larger web of healthy and nourishing social relationships provides the most personally fulfilling context for sexuality and relational well-being.

Kuehne surveys popular conclusions about gender and human sexuality drawn from both the natural and the social sciences. He then addresses how postmodernity impacts social policy and issues such as sexual orientation, redefinition of the family, and more. Finally, he retells the story of Christianity through the lens of a relational theology, highlighting its implications for marriage, family, civil partnerships, friendship, and sexual boundaries. In concluding, he maintains that satisfying our lifelong quest for fulfillment centers on relational intimacy.

Sex and the iWorld will be an essential tool for courses on political science, social policy, and Christianity and culture. Most important, the book will help academics, students, church leaders, and laity develop a holistic strategy for engaging the wider society on questions about sexual ethics and public policy.

A Note from the Author: "This is a book about sexuality, society, religion, and politics--all of the things our parents warned us to avoid in conversation. More precisely, it's about the ways that individual and collective choices about sexuality affect us individually and relationally. While writing the book, I've strived to write with an inclusive viewpoint and put grace on every page, but its conclusions still can't be classified as politically correct. Indeed, I've tried to make the best case I can that the biblical teaching that limits sexual relations to a marriage relationship between a man and a woman is actually beneficial to all. What is unique about the book's approach is that it relies not on exegesis but on an argument that the reason these guidelines are there is that our deepest desires for relational intimacy and fulfilment are actually separate from the pursuit of sexual relations. I believe that this message is ultimately good news for us all, as ever-increasing numbers have been seeking to find in a sexual relationship what can only be found elsewhere. The book seeks to help us all from getting lost on a never-ending quest for acceptance, love, and fulfillment while looking in the wrong place."


"With rich historical and cultural insight, Dale Kuehne tells the story of how the sexual revolution emerged. He convincingly demonstrates that the shifts are not inconsequential. Sadly, he is right--our very lives and the well-being of society are at stake. Sex and the iWorld is a great apologetic for God's designs."--Dennis Hollinger, president and professor of Christian ethics, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"This is a very important book--clarifying complex issues, jolting us out of complacency, and demanding action. Biblical Christians must confront this book's stark challenge."--Ronald J. Sider, president, Evangelicals for Social Action

"Dale Kuehne has done a remarkable thing in this book. He has set today's question of homosexual partnerships in the large historical, social, and moral context in which it deserves to be treated. Kuehne's concern is with human love, marriage, family, the care of children, the unfolding generations, the quality of society and political community, and the character of the church. Considered in a broad historical framework and with sensitive Christian understanding, homosexuality and other hotly disputed issues of our day become clearly illuminated. Take the time you need to read and reflect on this book. The payback will be tremendous."--James W. Skillen, president, Center for Public Justice

"Gracious, astute, courageous, authentic--Dale Kuehne's book offers just the kind of biblically formed ethical wisdom our generation desperately needs if it is to be led out of its current sexual darkness and pain into the light and healing of the Creator-Redeemer, whose own deepest desire is the fulfillment of all our deepest human desires."--Jonathan Chaplin, director, Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, Cambridge, UK

"A superb accomplishment. Kuehne brings fresh perspective to our understanding of sexuality, relationships, culture, and public policy through his shrewd sense of cultural analysis and his unique identity as a political philosopher and theologically engaged pastor. The result is not only a compassionate and incisive analysis of past and present but also an intriguing portrait of what could and should be. Kuehne breathes new life into Christianity's contribution to the conversation about the fundamental nature of the human person."--Stanton L. Jones, provost, Wheaton College

"In Sex and the iWorld, Dale Kuehne combines the micro-level sensitivity and spirituality of a pastor with the macro-level range and relevance of a politics professor. The link between these two--and between the traditional tWorld and the (post)modern, individualistic iWorld--is a robust relational theology and sociology. Kuehne offers this relational approach as a way to deal publicly with the most personal issues of identity and sexuality in Western societies. His approach is rooted in the Christian tradition but avoids alienating those not in tune with it by listening sensitively to the wider culture, particularly popular culture. You too may discover the relevance of U2 to the sexual anarchy of our age."--Gordon Preece, ethics consultant and adjunct lecturer, Ridley College, Melbourne

"Erotic longing and its relationship to individual happiness and social stability have been the subject of serious thought at least since Plato wrote twenty-four centuries ago. Dale Kuehne's modern examination of this topic reminds us that many of the great philosopher's insights about the relation of physical sensation and the longing of the human soul to individual happiness are as applicable today as they were in ancient Athens."--Henry Olsen, vice president and director, National Research Initiative, American Enterprise Institute

From the foreword by Jean Bethke Elshtain:
What we require at this point in our society's life is a powerful and compelling narrative. And if we "really believe" that we "have something to add to the argument" about human sexuality, we should say it, knowing others will label us and categorize us in ways we ourselves would not have chosen. Kuehne takes up Christians who disagree with his approach, many of them indebted to psychological theories and models that accept uncritically the assumptions of the iWorld--offering no alternative narrative thereby.

It takes a good bit of faith to enter the lists in behalf of reasoned argument and critique. No "side" will find you an uncritical ally. That is precisely what recommends this challenging, well-written text. Kuehne is deeply immersed in popular culture: he listens to the music, goes to the films. He is utterly free from condescension. Kuehne appreciates that cultural critics are immersed in the culture they criticize. They cannot take up a lofty stance above the fray. As a teacher, a scholar, and a citizen, Kuehne offers in this volume a powerful example of what political theorist Michael Walzer calls "the connected critic." He is both American citizen and Christian. He is both inside and outside. He appreciates and he criticizes. Above all, he displays a stance that combines both compassion and judgment, reminding us thereby that the God Christians worship is a God of judgment and of mercy. All who read this volume will find much in it to engage, to criticize, to savor.

The Author

  1. Dale S. Kuehne

    Dale S. Kuehne

    Dale S. Kuehne (PhD, Georgetown University) is the Richard L. Bready Professor of Ethics, Economics, and the Common Good at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. In addition, he serves as pastor of Emmanuel Covenant Church in Nashua, New...

    Continue reading about Dale S. Kuehne


"The Church needs to be reminded--and needs to make the case--that 'the biblical teaching that limits sexual relations to a marriage relationship between a man and a woman is actually beneficial to all.' And that's exactly what Kuehne does in his book, in a direct, challenging, but ultimately compassionate way. Every human, he says, is on a 'never-ending quest for acceptance, love, and fulfillment.' But these things can never be found in the iWorld--by asking, 'What's in it for me?' So instead of being subsumed by the iWorld culture, the Church has the 'rWorld' to offer. The rWorld understands that God created people for relationships--and that we find our deepest fulfillment in relationship with Him, and in living a life rich in self-giving, not self-satisfying relationships. And that makes Kuehne's book, Sex and the iWorld, a worthy read."--Chuck Colson,

"Very highly recommended. . . . Wise, serious, and important. We are thrilled at the interdisciplinary, ecumenical--and, finally, very, very useful--nature of this wide-ranging book. . . . This is a book about the very nature of the human person--and the ways in which our individualistic culture . . . has deformed our understandings and our practices. We live, sadly, in an iWorld of autonomy and contracts. Kuehne boldly and freshly asks us to think more deeply and live more radically, into a rWorld (relationship world) of mutuality and covenant. . . . Hardly anything could be more urgent."--Byron Borger,

"Sex and the iWorld is neither diatribe nor moral treatise. It's a humble invitation to reason together about how best to find meaning and fulfilment in life. iWorld inhabitants of every persuasion can find illuminating points to ponder in Kuehne's words."--Terrell Clemmons, Salvo

"This challenging textbook succeeds in many ways. With thoughtfulness and inclusive scope, Kuehne posits that during the past 100 years, we've been transitioning from the tWorld, where traditional morality reigned and family was at the hub, to the iWorld, centered on the immediate desires of the individual. . . . Ultimately, he advocates the rWorld, a biblical relational paradigm for sexual and personal fulfillment, with a not-to-miss discussion of 'Sex and the Soul.'. . . Sex and the iWorld is an excellent master's course on modern sexuality and relationships."--Andrea Bailey Willits, YouthWorker Journal

"An important new book."--Ron Sider, Prism

"Discussions on sexuality and sex education can often be difficult in youth ministry circles. With recent reports bemoaning the efficacy of the abstinence only approach it seems we need to broaden the conversation. Kuehne's contribution does just that. As a pastor who teaches politics Kuehne has a unique perspective on how sexuality affects society at large. . . . Kuehne pulls from theology, philosophy . . . history, and the oft neglected but vitally important discipline of sociology to provide a well-rounded and erudite discussion. Kuehne's work will greatly enhance the dialogue on sexuality among any church leaders, particularly youth and college ministers. . . . Kuehne's 'rearticulation' is a breath of fresh air to the sexuality and sex education conversation. His call for our migration to the 'rWorld' should be heeded by all Christians, especially those working with young people."--Casey McCollum, Journal of Youth Ministry