PODCAST: How Our Bodies Work, Sexual Health, and More!

by | Feb 21, 2019 | Podcasts | 15 comments

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This is a bit of a DIFFERENT version of the Bare Marriage podcast!

We’re getting a little bit more technical in terms of how to make sex feel great. I hope you all will listen, but if you don’t have time, I’ll have some links and rabbit trails below so you can read all you want as well!

And consider this podcast “extras”. If you want to go deeper into what I talked about in the podcast, here are some more things to help you.

But first, here’s the podcast:

Main Segment: Women’s Pleasure is Not “Extra”!

We’ve been talking this month about some specific ways to help her receive more pleasure from sex, including these two posts:

I think, though, that we have several things working against us when it comes to feeling really good during sex.

We don’t think it’s actually that necessary

A lot of us truly feel like it’s more godly to not want sex or to not think that sex is that important. There’s this pervasive feeling like sex is somehow bad, and so it’s holier to not really care about orgasm.

When you do that, though, you’re rejecting a gift that God gave to you, as I explain at length in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex:

God made sex to be AWESOME!

It’s supposed to be great physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Feel like something’s missing?

Biologically, women’s pleasure isn’t necessary

The other issue is that we start to think that sex = men’s arousal, intercourse, men’s climax. She’s kind of extra, and if she’s going to experience pleasure, she should catch up to him. So we feel guilty if we ask for him to make us feel good.

But this should never be the case! Think about it this way:

God made it so that most women experience orgasm primarily through clitoral stimulation. That means that God deliberately made women’s bodies so that we would receive pleasure through something that does not give men direct pleasure–so that men would have to be giving!

It’s not selfish to want to feel good, and if orgasm in general has been a problem for you, I’ll share these posts again (though remember, there are lots of tips in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and challenges in 31 Days to Great Sex):
Also, I promised to share this post which has a hilarious video in it by Amanda Gore to help husbands understand foreplay and how women need to be touched differently. You’ll love it!

Millennial Marriage: How can you really find community?

On an earlier podcast Rebecca and I were talking about what millennials really need from church–and that’s community. Then last week I ran a post on how to build a marriage support system, and so many of you commented on that and sent me messages, because that’s not what you have. Small groups don’t work for you.

So I thought Rebecca and I could continue this conversation a bit.

The big takeaway:

Community should be natural.

You can’t join a small group and “force” community or accountability (though many churches may try, and this borders on abusive, in my opinion. You should not be required to confess sins or temptations to groups of people you don’t know. Not all small groups are set up like this, of course, but I have heard of some like this at Sovereign Grace churches, for example).

You need to grow friendships organically. Some of that will come from small groups, but don’t be afraid to ask people over for lunch or dinner to get to know them better. And do volunteer! The best inter-generational friendships are often found when we volunteer together.

Reader Question: My husband waited years to take testosterone, and now he’s changed. But I’m bitter.

A reader writes in about her situation–she’s been married for about a decade and a half, and it was mostly a sexless marriage. She finally made her husband get his testosterone checked, but it was low. He did nothing about it until she gave him an ultimatum. Now he’s a changed man, but how does she get over years of neglect?

It’s a great question. And it totally drums in something that’s been the theme of the blog this week and of the podcast this week: If you’re having sexual problems, get help! So many are just medical, and there’s a quick fix. Why live like this if you don’t have to? It just causes layer upon layer of pain.

Beyond that, though, I’d say that, for her healing, he needs to hear and acknowledge the pain she’s caused.

But then there’s a point where you have to let it go. You finally have what you’ve been praying for for so long, and you’ll never build an intimate marriage if you’re still stuck in bitterness.

I’ve written a lot about the dynamics of forgiveness, and here are two posts that discuss it. In this case, I think the first is more relevant, but some of you may need the second as well:

Comment: How a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Can Help!

This week I ran two posts on how important a pelvic floor physiotherapist can be to help you with vaginismus and sexual pain, prolapse, incontinence, and more. You don’t have to suffer alone!


I had so many positive comments on that post reiterating how much a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help, so please, if you need help, get it!

I read some comments in the podcast that reiterated this. One was from an older woman who found tremendous help with her incontinence and bladder control.

If you’re in Canada, Pelvic Floor solutions is a great resource.

Another woman wrote that pelvic floor exercises that she learned from Mommastrong had really helped her (and her husband even noticed during sex! 🙂 ). So I promised to share that link.

That’s it for the podcast today!

Remember to rate the podcast 5 star on whatever platform you use, and leave a review to help other people see it!

Remember to register for the Intimacy after Kids webinar I’m doing with Blossoming Mom and Baby! It’s at 8:30 pm EST TONIGHT, and you can register for free here

Anything in particular strike you today in the podcast? Let’s talk about it!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Natalie

    11 minutes or so in:
    You make excellent points about how a lot of women (myself included) feel like our husbands have to do something “extra” to turn us on and bring us to orgasm. I feel like for me at least, a good amount of those sentiments I have not only stem from the Love & Respect philosophy that is so prevalent in Christian culture (& was long before that book was written, in my opinion) but also come from a place of me feeling like I already am so demanding and nagging of my husband (which I also think is a stereotype wives are given by our culture as a whole). Perhaps for me, that’s because I saw how my stay-at-home mother tried to make our home as comfortable and peaceful a place as possible for my father to come home to each night, and how she literally did all the childcare, cooking and chores (except for the lawn maintenance since he enjoys yard work). Even though I’m also now a SAHM, my husband still does a lot (by my standard) around the house: changes almost all of the baby’s diapers when he’s not at work, does the dishes most of the time after I cook dinner, takes out the trash and scrubs the toilets since I hate doing those tasks, etc. I feel like there’s already so much my husband does in addition to being the sole breadwinner. Especially as a Millennial, I think a part of me almost feels guilty for just staying home with the kids… like I’m not doing enough compared to most other mom’s these days, almost like I’m lazy. So when my husband comes home from a work trip and it’s already 10pm and we’re both tired and he starts to go down on me (since he/we have been making a point to make sure I’m always sufficiently stimulated now during every single sexual encounter we have in our attempts to make me climax), I feel guilty for taking more than 5 minutes to get aroused. I just need to rewire my brain to value my husband bringing me to orgasm as equally important as other high priority things we have in our lives. That’s proving to be a very hard task due to how engrained my misconception about my own sexual satisfaction is in my mind.

    It’s not that I feel like I don’t deserve to orgasm cuz I know I do and that I’m physically capable of doing so. But when it’s late on a work night and we both have to get up early the next morning, I feel like it’s not my place to take 45-60 minutes for him to “work on me”, even though he may be willing to do that because he knows he’s been getting sexual pleasure for the past 5 years while I’ve been always giving but getting 0 and he also feels guilty about that and like he has a lot of making up to do to me. Ugh, what a tangled web we’ve weaved! All the more reason for newlyweds to hear the message in this podcast and on your blog as a whole before they get years-deep into a marriage that’s 100% one-sided sexually!!

    • Natalie

      Also, a comment on “the baby years” as you also mentioned:
      I’m currently pregnant with our second (the end is finally in sight! Woo! I’m so looking forward to losing this belly!), and while I know every woman experiences pregnancy different, some of the things I’ve read online have been very beneficial to our sex life during pregnancy. Not only has my libido been way up (same as it was when I was pregnant with our 1st… maybe something to do with all the extra testosterone that comes with carrying baby boys? Idk), but due to all the added blood supply and blood flow to the pelvic region, I’ve found I’m much more sensitive than I usually am when not pregnant. It’s like I’m as easily aroused and sensitive as I usually am when I’m ovulating, except there’s no risk of getting pregnant again… score!

      I think saying to women who have difficulty orgasming that it’ll probably take years and that the best sex usually happens after 10-15+ years of marriage is probably true for many or even most, but also sells short all the sexual possibilities of experimenting when you’re pregnant. I mean, I never came anywhere near orgasming – didn’t even know remotely what it felt like – in the 5 years we’ve been married having PIV sex regularly or the 3 years before that when we were touching each other / trying to be as intimate as we could be without actually having “sex” (another lie / misconception that circulated around my Christian friends circles in high school and college. I know now that sex is so much more than PIV sex which is why I felt guilty doing all that touching before marriage and started forming those negative mental pathways about sex even before I was married, but I digress). But since we’ve been experimenting more during pregnancy, I feel like we’ve been making the biggest leaps closer to me orgasming, and it’s all been during this time of having a young toddler and another one growing. I just want to encourage other non-orgasmic women in their childbearing years to not let pregnancy and motherhood be an excuse to not try to work your way towards orgasm. If anything, with all the changes that go on in your body like increased genital blood flow and quantity (assuming you’re having a healthy pregnancy and your energy levels are good), I’d say this is one of the best times in your life to experiment. And from what I’ve been told, pregnancy orgasms are some of the best for that very reason, but I can’t really speak to that from personal experience.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        That’s so true about pregnancy, Natalie! Absolutely.

        And I likely didn’t explain myself well about orgasms. I don’t think that it should take that long to reach orgasm in marriage. I really don’t. And that’s why I have posts like the ones I’ve done this week, to hopefully speed up the process. But research says that it does tend to take that long, so I just wanted to give some hope to some women who have been married for years and who have never had it happen. But i likely should have explained better!

        Congratulations with your pregnancy, by the way! That’s awesome.

        • Andrea

          Regarding how long it takes to orgasm, women are just as fast as men (2 minutes average) when they do it themselves. I know Sheila has mentioned this on previous blogs, though not to endorse solitary masturbation, which people disagree on. I am bringing it up to say that if you teach him to rub your clitoris the way you do it yourself, although he’ll never be able to copy it 100% exactly, he should be able to bring you to orgasm almost as quickly as you can bring yourself. So, even if it takes twice as long, that’s 4 minutes average, lol. This also brings me to the topic of quickies and how — again, if you teach him to touch you the way you would do it yourself — I don’t understand why they have to imply that it’s only for him.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      So true, Natalie! Thank you for that.

  2. Lea Joy

    My marriage has been for the most part sexless and lonely. Not only does my husband withhold sex, I find him cold and distant and accusatory. When I confronted him about his porn usage that was suddenly my fault as I was not sexy or good enough in bed. He never tried to talk things through but he says now I should have known what was wrong with me or the marriage. He said all women know that being sexually attractive is very very important to a man. But he did not want a divorce. Recently I discovered he had an affair and he said that was because I was cold and distant. When I suggested divorce again, he said to reconcile but he is his usual self and has done nothing to improve the relationship. I have been so tempted to find someone else to combat the loneliness but I was too scared to.

    I am so weary of living with him. I am 56 years and am still working to make ends meet. My husband lost his job 18 years ago and he never worked since then. He tells me to continue working and says that many work even in their seventies. I think he likes my pay more than me. I am just shocked that a Christian man can be like this and I have really struggled with God because of what happened. I don’t blame God now as I chose to marry him but he was so different when we were courting. It was not easy to see red flags as he manipulative and deceived me. I can’t leave him either due to the expectations of my culture and traditions. My family thinks that a sexless marriage is hardly a good reason to separate or divorce. I wish I knew God’s views on this. I feel I am too old to start over at my age.


    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Lea, I’m so sorry.

      But can I say something? You’re married to a man who won’t work and isn’t responsible. He watches porn and blames it on you. And he has an affair.

      To me, that doesn’t sound like a Christian. That sounds like someone who knows how to talk the talk, but is actually quite an evil, selfish person. And you do not have to enable selfishness. He is watching porn and having affairs while you are out there working supporting him. If you don’t mind me saying so, Lea, it’s time for you to find your boundaries and start saying, “no more.” I’d really suggest reading the book Boundaries, or my book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, and pay attention to thoughts 4-7. It’s time to make a change, and that will only happen if you start putting your foot down!

  3. Kate

    Both Sheila and Rebeccas, thanks you for the tips on getting involved in small groups. As a single woman this is the step i plan on taking next month. I’ll be attending a church that has a large young people (married, singles, etc.) than my previous church where i was the ONLY single person there. I plan to invest in it, like Sheila said rather than sitting back and waiting to be catered to. i’m always the one to reach out in relationships anyways, it’s my personality type. So it shouldn’t be to difficult.

    I love the pastor’s sermons, i have listened to them online, and the church is part of Acts29 church planting organization (you know Matt Chandler), so their theology is sound and their concern for the marginals/minorities in our society sealed the deal for me. A couple years ago they moved downtown because their congregation grew! I have never been so excited for a Church than i have for this one.

    I have spent days reading your articles and other sites about community and how to get involved, etc. What you invest (sow) is what you reap, right? I don’t think we should depend like children on other people to make us feel welcome, after all we are strangers to them like they are strangers to us. Unless of course it’s truly a toxic place then don’t give up so easily. I attended my previous Church for 8 years! But i knew the longer i stayed the longer i remained single, and when i turned 28 and saw no single man in sight, i knew then it was time to make some adjustments.

    I’m leaving them with a heavy heart, they understand, they were my first church family when i moved out of family’s house. But a girl has desires for marriage/family of her own, unfortunately, my church couldn’t offer that to me. They fed me spiritually but physically they couldn’t. I’m not saying i’ll find a husband at this new church either, i’m not putting all my eggs in one basket (still doing online dating), however my chances are greater here which at least has some single young men compared to the other place which had none!

    All that to say, thank you for your podcast, Sheila. I always learn and glean something new from it every time you upload.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Kate, I think that’s a great move to find a church with more singles! And do invest. Invite people over for board game nights. Those are awesome! And lots of people love them. One thing, though. Don’t ignore married people. I know married people tend to ignore singles, but if you’re having a bunch of people over for a board game night, it’s okay to have some married people, too. You often meet a future spouse through friends, so the more friends you have, the better. And married people often love setting up other people! 🙂

      Just my thoughts anyway. 🙂

    • Natalie

      Yay Kate!! I’m glad you’ll be in a setting with more dating possibilities! Praying that God sends someone your way. Keep us posted! And yes, do be friends with married people. I find that even once you’re married, especially if you move or are unestablished in an area or church, it is still quite possible to be very lonely and have no friends except for your husband. So branch out and meet as many fellow young people as you can.

  4. jo

    I guess I struggle with how I can consider my sexual pleasure “necessary” when I’m not sure mutuality will ever take place in my marriage. I would love it, I wouldn’t feel the least little bit guilty! Honestly, I expected it when I got married. But if I’m 10+ years in, and I doubt things will change anytime soon. To me, the greater spiritual struggle is with self-pity and feeling like I’m being deprived of something I’m entitled to. Hearing that my pleasure is “necessary” just makes it harder to resist the temptation to feel sorry for myself. At this point, I feel like I need to focus on what I do have rather than what I don’t have.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Jo, I’m sorry! I assume this means that he’s not interested in making you feel good at all? We’ll be talking about that later in March, but I honestly think that it is okay to take a stand on this. Sex should be mutual; if he just will not make an effort to make it feel good for you, then he is the one depriving you. He is the one sinning. And it’s okay to say,

      “I would love to have an exciting sex life with you. I want to make love frequently. But I am no longer willing to do that if you do not consider my experience to be important. Sex is supposed to be about both of us, not just you. If you don’t want to make me feel good, then I’m going to have to step back sexually for a while. Again, I am more than willing and eager to make love. But it can no longer be just about you if our marriage is going to be strong.” If he just won’t listen, then insist that you see a counsellor. But this is not right, and it does need to be addressed.

      I think many men are honestly clueless and don’t realize that their wives need more than just quick intercourse. Other guys honestly don’t care, but most are just clueless. And sometimes you need to be very clear for them to understand. Most, of course, truly do want to please their wives, but some just don’t get it. That’s when it’s to speak up.

      • jo

        So I typed this really long detailed reply, prayed about it — and my phone erased it. I guess God doesn’t want me airing the details in this way 🙂

        Just wanted to say– I appreciate your concern. I agree that it’s a question more of cluelessness than ill will or just not caring; the problem lies in communication and openness to putting effort in rather than doing “what comes naturally.” Yes, part of the problem is selfishness, but part is just a deep fear and (stubborn!) reluctance to acknowledge any problem in this area or to communicate about it.

        In our case, I disagree in the strategy of throwing down the gauntlet and withholding sex in an attempt to bring about change and healing. I think that approach would only cause him to withdraw totally. Right now, the door of communication about intimacy is barely cracked open– I believe that I need to be patient, tolerant, and affirming. If I start making demands or withholding sex, it will be slammed shut and maybe locked forever. If we were in a different situation, maybe I’d think it was worth the risk. But I’m not sure that it is.

        The risk that I’m taking now is that maybe sex will never be mutual. And that possibility makes me very sad, as do the years that have already gone by. But I can choose to dwell on it and get even sadder, or I can choose to focus on the positive and all the ways I have been blessed non-sexually. So that’s where I don’t agree that mutuality is “necessary” for me. If I asked for it (many times) and the answer is “no,” then my choice lies in my attitude more than anything.

  5. RNmom

    I love your blog and read it often, the information continues to help me in my marriage and I am so grateful, but might I may a suggestion? I see a lot of podcast and videos which are great but any chance you could also offer a transcript or a written copy of these? I am a full time mom at home, I home-school and work part time so I am short on time and find myself reading your blog in places I cannot listen or watch without making it obvious what I am listening to or watching and it’s probably not the best thing to listen to waiting for kids to come out of youth group or while my little one reads a book:)

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Hey, RNmom! I’m Sheila’s daughter, and I work a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff on the blog. 🙂

      I totally get your situation. The reason we don’t do a transcript is because, frankly, it takes a LOT of time to create. And we currently don’t have that capacity. That’s why we post all of the articles we talk about, blog posts that relate to what we speak on in the podcasts/in any videos, and also add some commentary written out. So if you can’t watch the video or listen to the podcast, you might not get to hear the exact same thing as others but you are still pointed towards some interesting materials to digest.

      We’re hoping in the future to be able to do something like what you’re suggesting, but it may not be for a while. And I hope that the additional material suffices in the meantime! 🙂


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