Top 10 Things Female Bloggers Think Pastors are Missing about Marriage & Sex

by | Aug 13, 2019 | Sex | 71 comments

What female Christian sex bloggers want pastors to understand about sex
Orgasm Course

Women have a unique perspective on marriage and sex–because we have unique experiences!

Yet sometimes women are missing from the conversation, because most pastors and big name marriage authors are male. So I invited six of the best female marriage & sex bloggers to join me today to talk about the 10 things we believe are missing from the conversation. And please do check these wonderful women out! They write great stuff, too.

And men–this isn’t meant to be a criticism. This is just all of us, collectively, asking you to listen to women’s voices, too, because when it comes to sex, we need both perspectives included! We appreciate you. We know you have a tough job, especially from the pulpit. But we ask humbly that you consider these things as well.

1. Sex is not just physical.

Likely the #1 thing that I would love it if male bloggers, authors, and pastors would talk about more is that sex was designed to be more than physical. When the conversation always revolves around how much men need sex, and how sexually frustrated many husbands are, it sounds as if sex is mostly a physical thing. And many teachers frame it that way–men need physical release!

Now, sex totally is physical. But what I found in my research for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex is that the couples who felt more spiritually connected also had wives who were more sexually responsive. Yesterday in my Ask Sheila video I was talking about a man who wanted sex everyday, and just used his wife for sex, like a receptacle. I guess I would want pastors to ask themselves, “Would women in my congregation know that this is not what God intended, based on what I say? Would men know that?” Because this woman thought that it was normal, and I think the reason she did is that sex is almost always talked about in terms of a man getting his sexual frustration relieved.

2. We need to stop saying men have high libidos and women have low libidos – because that’s not always the case!

You’ve read it in books, heard it in conversation, watched it in TV shows: Unless something is seriously wrong with a man, he wants sex more than his wife does. That perception’s so widespread, it’s gotta be true. Right?

But it’s not!

Nothing in Scripture says a wife can’t or won’t be as interested in sexual intimacy as her husband, and for 15-30% of couples the wife has greater sexual interest. My Facebook group of 600 higher-drive wives are real-life examples. Unfortunately, these women regularly feel left out of the conversation, and I can only imagine how lower-drive husbands feel.

These husbands are not just low-T guys but, like lower-drive wives, have various reasons why they’re not as eager as their spouses. We do these marriages a disservice when we don’t acknowledge their existence and challenges.

No, it’s not the majority situation. But it’s a large minority of millions of couples. Let that sink in and influence how we as Christians address the overall topic of mismatched sex drives.

J. Parker

Hot, Holy and Humorous

I love how dedicated J is to this topic! She wrote a post for me a while back, too, on what to do when the wife has the higher sex drive, and it was great.

3. Women are more likely to be the ones who are sexually deprived.

Often pastors and writers use the “do not deprive” verses from 1 Corinthians 7 to talk about how women need to make sure that their husbands are not sexually deprived by giving them sex often.

However, my surveys for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex found that only 18% of women have an orgasm every time they have sex, whereas pretty close to 100% of men do. Combine this with J’s point that up to 30% of women have the higher sex drive, and you have a whole host of women who are sexually deprived.

It is women who are not the sexually satisfied ones in our pews, and many don’t even realize it because they don’t know that they’re supposed to feel pleasure! We need to let both men and women know that women’s pleasure should be a top priority.

4. Women don’t respond sexually the same way men do–but we’re still completely normal

Women’s sexual responses, although often very different from men’s, are completely normal. These differences simply reflect the way God designed her mind and body.

So when you’re talking or teaching about sexuality, here are some things you need to know:

Women’s sexual interest tends to be responsive.
Most women don’t fall into bed at night, ready for sex. Instead, they need to transition into feeling aroused and interested, which is why touch, conversation, and foreplay are so important. This is normal.

Women rarely orgasm through intercourse.
Men almost always orgasm through intercourse, but that’s not typical for women. In most cases, thrusting doesn’t do the trick, and most women will need clitoral stimulation in order to reach orgasm.

It takes time for women to reach orgasm.
Most men can thrust for a few minutes and boom – orgasm. But that’s rarely the case for women, who may need 20 or more minutes of stimulation. So husbands who want to enjoy a great sex life are going to have to invest some time and effort into her orgasm.

These are just 3 of the many differences between men and women. They aren’t good or bad, they’re just different. So encourage husbands to learn about their wife’s sexual response, to recognize that differences are normal, and to make changes that will enhance their marriages.

Gaye Christmus

Calm Healthy Sexy

Exactly! So often we take the man’s experience of sex as “normal” and figure that women just need to catch up so that we’re like men. Nope. We were made differently, and that’s okay! So any talk about sex has to take these differences into account, not just assume that women need to change to become more responsive like men, or more quick to orgasm like men.

5. Men don’t automatically know how to please a woman.

There is a myth still lingering out there that keeps taking a toll on marriages. It’s this idea that a man automatically knows how to please a woman sexually simply because he’s a man. Whether it comes from inflated locker room banter or inaccurate message perpetuated in media, a man is often led to believe he carries all the responsibility to make a sexual experience great not only for himself, but also for his wife.  She may have bought into the myth too and is “waiting” for him to take the lead sexually. Poor guy is left trying to navigate the female body with no input.  He feels insecure but can’t admit it, because society has told him that as the man, he should intuitively know more about sex. A better approach? A husband and a wife BOTH should embrace a humble willingness to communicate, learn, and offer and receive feedback. Let go of the myth. Speak up. Show each other what feels good sexually. Your marriage will be better for it!

Julie Sibert

Intimacy in Marriage

6. Please talk more about quality of sex over quantity!

I can sum up the last few points in one here: please, pastors and authors, talk more about quality of sex than quantity! When the main focus of conversation about sex is stopping a husband from feeling sexually frustrated by having sex a lot, then it seems as if what God really cares about is that women “give” their husbands sex a lot.

But is quantity the main thing? I think if we talked more about quality of sex–meaning that it’s for both of you, and that she should feel good, too–the quantity problem may take care of itself. But when sex is always presented as something that a wife “has” to do frequently, then neither understands that sex is supposed to be mutual. And that’s why it becomes a duty that she doesn’t really want.

7. Sex should not be a bartering tool

“Keep your husband happy inside the bedroom, and he’ll keep you happy outside it” is a typical one-liner given to couples on their wedding day or premarital counseling. 

Serving each other is a gift that can keep on giving, but when a remark such as above is doled out without explanation, the newlywed wife hears; sex is something you barter – you fix your husband’s base need, and he fixes yours. Sexual enjoyment is not for you, sorry. Oh, and when “you do your part,” your husband will automatically know to do his.

But here’s the truth newlyweds should hear – and perhaps a way to tidy-up our clichés. Intimacy in marriage takes two; it’s not intimacy if only one part of the marriage is enjoying it. Sex is the most vulnerable area of a couples life and great sex, and consequently deepening intimacy is not instinctive, it’s a  journey.

Ngina Otiende


I love this! I don’t think that many pastors and writers realize that the cliches they make about how the sexual relationship works really makes women feel instinctively that they’re not sexual beings. We need to change and challenge our cliches.

8. Women struggle with porn – ACTUAL porn too.

One thing I see missing from the conversation about women and sex is the fact that more and more Christian women are struggling with pornography. For years, we’ve followed a ‘script’ that says women struggle with romance and fantasy while men struggle with porn, and it’s simply not true. Women can and do struggle with hardcore pornography, sometimes even violent or homosexual content. There is so much shame surrounding it because there’s so much silence. When we constantly brand pornography as a man’s problem or something that women turn to only when they’ve experienced trauma, we alienate and shame the pastor wives, teachers, worship leaders, student group leaders, and other women who actively struggle with it. They feel shame for their struggles and even their sex drives. We have to recognize women are sexual beings too and, as such, are subject to the same sexual temptations as men. That’s the only way we can start the conversation to help them experience grace, freedom, and sex as God intended.

Jessica Harris

A Beggar's Daughter

I love that Jessica writes so well about this! Every time I talk on pornography, I always mention that women struggle with porn, too, and I always pray at the end of the night for the women that are in bondage. I think over the next 10 years it will become a more normal conversation, but right now it’s shrouded in secrecy, and that’s too bad. That secrecy can also stop teenage girls from getting help when they start down that road as well. They figure there’s something wrong with them.

9. Sexual trauma and sexual problems don’t heal overnight–

But just because it takes time doesn’t mean she’s not trying or that she’s not committed to change!

Many women who carry past trauma or even baggage of their own making struggle with sex in their marriages. We should always encourage hurting women to pursue healing for their own sake—and their marriages are likely to benefit, too!

Here’s the thing: healing is a process that takes time. A woman may be genuinely committed to her healing. She may put in serious and persistent effort to pursue that healing. Her progress may be slow, and it might not even be visible, especially at first.

Sadly, sometimes we expect significant visible progress, practically overnight. I’ve heard from husbands who expect sexual problems to be fixed only one month after their wives begin counseling. We can’t expect women to put their healing on a speedy schedule. When we do that, we add pressure and stress to the equation, which makes it take even longer for her to heal.

Chris Taylor

The Forgiven Wife

Yep! Our sexuality is so close to our identity that wounds there are deeper than other wounds. The length of the healing process bears very little correlation to the woman’s commitment to healing.

10. Noticing is Not Lusting

Finally, I’ve been on a rampage to try to change our conversation about lust in the church. Too often it’s presented that if a man notices that a woman is beautiful, he may start imagining her sexually. And that’s a sin. And so it’s better not to notice by “bouncing your eyes”. Men are told so much that noticing is lusting that it makes it impossible for teen boys especially to go through life without feeling sinful.

But a guy can’t help noticing. If he feels like he’s sinning just by living, and there’s nothing he can do about that, then one who has to change is the woman. All the responsibility for curing his lust problem falls on her. That’s just wrong. It’s so much better to teach teens and men to treat women with respect not by ignoring them or separating from them because they’re dangerous, but by seeing them as whole people. It is possible to talk with a woman who is beautiful and not lust after her, and I’ve got 12 suggestions for churches on how to help the men in their congregation beat lust. And not one of those suggestions has to do with men “bouncing their eyes”, because that doesn’t work. Plus it’s highly demeaning to women.

UPDATE: I’ve just thought of two more really important points about what pastors need to understand about sex, which I should have included! So here are two bonus thoughts:

11. Wives refusing sex don’t cause most porn addictions, and wives having more sex won’t cure them, either.

Most porn addictions today have nothing to do with the marriage. To say they do misunderstands both the effects of porn on a guy’s brain, and the dynamics of a marriage where porn is a factor. Most guys start addictions to porn in their teens, long before they’re married, and porn rewires what they find arousing. Most men highly addicted to porn also have low libidos for their wives. Thus, a wife did not cause her husband’s porn addiction.

My personal theory is that pastors misunderstand this because pastors who AREN’T addicted to porn still feel tempted by it, and that temptation is worse when they’re getting less sex at home. So they extrapolate from their own experiences to the guys in their congregation. But a true porn addiction is caused by something different and changes what men find alluring and attractive, and the porn needs to be dealt with before the sexual side of the marriage can be rebuilt.

12. Consent matters, even in marriage

When pastors preach on the “do not deprive” verses as if Paul wrote “do not refuse”, intimating that a wife must never say no to sex, they give women the impression that their own experiences and desires are completely irrelevant. The husband must be allowed to “use” his wife’s body whether or not she wants it. That’s actually the opposite of what that passage says, since that passage makes sex entirely into something that is mutual. But when women hear, over and over again, that men need sex and that she must not refuse, it makes us feel like objects. That makes sex into something very distasteful, demeaning, and objectifying. It makes us feel used.

Sex is supposed to be a deep “knowing”, where two people are completely joined. Making it a one-sided obligation where she doesn’t matter eradicates God’s design for sex. So, please, be careful that you don’t make it sound like women are objects. Yes, marital rape can occur. And yes, there are legitimate reasons that women may say no to sex (and here are 10 of them!). Let’s keep the focus on real intimacy, not just on men’s ejaculation (which is sometimes what it sounds like).

Okay, now that’s really it!

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There you go! 10 things that we all want pastors and authors to know, so that when they talk about sex they can do it in a way that acknowledges and validates women’s experiences, too. When we only talk about men’s experiences, then sex isn’t going to end up being very good in the relationship.

But now I want to know: Did we miss one? What would #11 be? (or I guess it’s now #13, since the update!) Or is there one that surprised you? Let’s talk in the comments!

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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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. Nathan

    Good list, and it covers just about everything.

    One thing that really isn’t mentioned on its own, but appears in a few items here and there, is the idea that “sex is exclusively for the pleasure of men. Women are supposed to give their husbands sex any time he wants it, but are supposed to derive no pleasure from it themselves”.

    And Number 5 is a good one. I wasn’t filled with inborn knowledge about how to please women. My wife and I have talked and she’s helped me learn how to be better at things.

  2. Jane Eyre

    Great list! I especially like #5, because men who feel like they should know how to please their wives, but struggle, might just throw in the towel instead of trying to figure it out.

    Only thing I would add: except for extremely rare cases, sex isn’t bad for men. It’s not even “meh” in any real sense; it’s almost always orgasmic. But sex, even with one’s beloved husband, can be physically painful, doesn’t feel very good, and emotionally wretching for women. (I love my husband so I try for his sake and the sake of our marriage, but I would rather read a book or even do chores.)

    Men don’t really understand that their line – “sex is like pizza: even when it’s bad it’s still pretty good” doesn’t apply to women.

    Oh, one more: hormonal changes. We aren’t trying to be jerks or play hide-the-ball, but pain, pleasure, and desire fluctuate with our cycles, our state in life (pregnancy, menopause, etc.), ect., and the couple needs to work together to figure things out again.

    • Becky

      Yes to all of what you said, Jane! Maybe sushi would be a better metaphor for us, since bad sushi can give you food poisoning and leave you in a world of hurt. 🙄

      • Diana

        Thanks for affirming that it’s not all about the man! Really great article!

    • Jim

      I would care to reword your wording. I know many men where sex isn’t described as orgasmic. Yes they ejaculate and if you simply go by that definition then yes. But orgasmic has the connotation of amazing. Many men in men’s groups I’ve attended, including myself, get a relief but it’s not great a lot of the time. Funny thing is the difference between emasculating and “orgasmic” to many men has less to do with intercourse aspect and more to do with a desire/lust to want us. Hence why porn is so attractive to men. They show that desire wether fake or real and we can imagine it’s toward us.

      In fact with the marital issues that me and my wife have been going through, I feel worse emotionally after sex. I get a needed release, but given our emotional distance the flooding of hormones that should make me feel closer just instead show the reality of the distance we have. And many times, no, I don’t have sex to release, I have sex because it’s a way she feels close to me.

      If one didn’t know, men actually have a physiological reaction to PMS. It’s been researched more and more lately. Please don’t think this is to pile on top of “guys need it”, but more of a dwell in knowledge as the Bible tells us. Not as drastic, but definitely presents itself. This timing coincides with sexual release. This happens 72-96 hours after his previous time. It’s not uncontrollable etc. but it is a very real thing.

      • Arwen

        Jim, I agree with you. I’m a single woman with a very high sex drive. When I was addicted to porn, yes I had orgasm every single time. But it was never pleasurable. I always felt hallow, empty, sad, and frustrated afterwards. I suppose that’s what husbands feel when wives just “allow” them to have sex with them without DESIRING them.

        Sex was never designed to be one sided. Even though ejaculation/orgasm can be achieved through one sided friction of a sexual organ, that doesn’t translate to true sexual satisfaction, closeness, oneness. I truly think, there are many men who have orgasms but very few men who have sexual intimacy. I had a lot of orgasms in my porn days, but there was zero intimacy.

        If couple’s don’t discuss this, then the wife leaves feeling robbed because she assumes her husband is always sexually satisfied since he always orgasm, and the husband feels robbed that she doesn’t understand orgasm doesn’t mean intimacy has been achieved. Both couple’s need to open up, but especially men since they rarely do. That way both can understand and help each other.

      • Jane Eyre

        Jim, many women, myself included, have never had an orgasm. I’m a married woman in my 30s.

        I kinda get what you think you’re trying to say, but you’re showing how deeply you are missing my point.

        • Jim

          Umm you literally said unless I’m extremely rare circumstances: “it’s not even meh”.

          I’m telling you that phrase is not “extremely rare”. Many men I have talked to in groups at many different churches agree afterward it’s meh.

          I never even hinted at what you are going through without ever orgasming. Nor made lights of that. All I was addressing is this portion of what you’d said.

          I meant what I said and the above poster tried to put it in female perspectives. I think you need to understand to separate a thought process many fall into. That ejaculating or a female orgasming does NOT mean it’s “orgasmic” in the sense it’s great.

          In fact I’d honestly say some of the most intimate, pleasurable times with my wife was when I didn’t even orgasm. Yes. I honestly mean that. In these times I would describe this as more orgasmic to myself than many times I ejaculated.

          That being said, I really didn’t mean to demean your trial. I couldn’t imagine not orgasming nor my wife not. I truly hope that God can change that

    • Kayla

      Yes, so much this! Hormones, stress, and tiredness affect me much more than my hubby. Sometimes I really want sex, but even in the middle of it, nothing feels particularly good. Then I get frustrated or distracted because I have to concentrate so hard to feel more aroused and reach orgasm.

      Certain positions can be irritating (too much friction) or hurt the next day. I’ve had a few UTI’s, too.

      I / we have learned so much about what works since we got married 12 years ago. But I’ll be honest, I’m often jealous of how easy it is for hubby to have pleasure, and how he rarely/never has momentary or lasting pain.

      God is working to teach me something, I guess. Makes the good/great times stand out, and I appreciate it more.

    • Doug

      I totally disagree with the idea that sex can’t be bad for men just because they orgasm. That flies straight into the face of many men who receive only duty sex. It is just wrong thinking to believe that if you are physically present and sex is happening that it is automatically good. A man will seldom turn down duty sex tho I have on occasion, but when that is all it is, it satisfies in the physical sense, but can leave you feeling very empty and unloved.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, that’s very true, Doug. What so many men are on this blog for is because their wives “give” them sex, but they aren’t into it at all, and it feels very empty. That creates a void, too.

        • Phil

          Yes Sheila agreed. And you know what I figured out today? Its not just sex either. Today my wife dropped me off to pick up my car at the mechanic. She parked as far away as you could really…so in my playful manner I joked about parking farther away to make me walk further. While I was walking into the garage she drove over to the building and yelled out “Hey Phil and waved while she laughed” It was awfully funny. See? I just want to play. Be it in our relationship emotionally or be it physically with sex. I even want to play spiritually. That playfulness is a form of lovingness and exciting and fun and joyful. AKA she was into it and therefore I felt validated and non void.

      • Jane Eyre

        Okay, Doug, how does that compare with the worst sex women have? And if your wife is so not into it that it’s a chore for her, what does that say about her own level of satisfaction?

        • Doug

          Jayne, I don’t want to get into a debate about what is worse. I don’t think that is helpful, and neither of us has walked in the others shoes.

          I will say that my wife had much to be dissatisfied with, but the way I acted in bed was never one of them. There was never a time I refused her, and almost never a time that I put my orgasm before hers, If she wanted one. Usually she refused to let me give her one.

          I will be honest. That is behind us now, and sex is technically better than ever. It isn’t quite as exciting as when we were newlyweds, but it is close. We are better at it now, even tho our bodies are much older, and we try to make it as good for each other as possible.

          Your point is well taken tho. As I said, she had a lot to be dissatisfied with. There was no intimacy anywhere else in our marriage, so it is not surprising it was missing in our bed.

          It was not a one sided situation. we were both to blame.

        • Jim

          Jane, It seems you must be coming from an extreme place of hurting. I can’t say I understand because I don’t.

          I’m not a woman nor have been in your situation.

          All me and Doug were pointing out is there are two sides to this.

          I’m a man very willing and ready to please God in my marriage bed. But my wife has little interest in doing more than her dutiful portion almost all the time. If she does want it then she wants me to please her (I don’t fault her for this as I would like the same).

          I could list of our past but I’ve forgiven them. I only say this because you seem to bring everything into your own experience. Which I’m truly compassionate of, but there are situations not like your own where a husband IS trying, praying and doing what he can. We both just said that an absent wife with dutiful sex may fulfill the physical side , but still leaves us empty.

          Many don’t understand that males have a legit physical need to release semen when it builds up. This can happen without sex (wet dreams many use as term). It’s not always because of us thinking sexual thoughts while dreaming. It’s because it is a physical necessity.

          Likewise physiologically 72-96 hours after last ejaculation men’s bodies are physically affected as the semen builds in the testes, the effect is somewhat like PMS. It doesn’t mean we HAVE to get off, but it affects us behaviorally and emotionally. During these times for myself I am much more prone to want to lust, just as I’m told that a woman PMSing is much more likely to break her diet due to hormone fluctuations. Yes I get one is much worse than the other, just trying to speak relate it in probably a horrible way. And just like PMS will subside so will the effects of the build up of semen.

          Ejaculation is also the only time men’s hormones correlated with closeness and bonding even come close to women’s.

          In this way men have a dichotomy to sex much more than women.

          Many good men that want to connect intimately don’t deny dutiful sex because it is a physical aspect of us put there by God. When dutiful sex is given it releases those hormones from built up semen but leaves us feeling even more empty of the emotional aspect. Because at that point we have a flood of hormones that are supposed to promote bonding yet it’s when we feel our relational distance the most. It hurts deeply.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Jim, I think that’s really well explained. I may even read it into a podcast one day!

            I think that both men and women have unique issues, and certainly many men are hurting in the bedroom. I think what Jane is bringing up is also valid, which is that for many women bad sex isn’t only emotionally or relationally bad; it’s actually physically harmful and painful, and quite often degrading and objectifying in a way that it isn’t for men. I think each sex needs to be conscious of the pain of the other; women need to understand that men don’t only want release, but actually want enthusiasm and closeness (if they’re good men; all too many men do only care about release). What men need to understand is how profoundly hurt many women are in this area of our lives, and how, for many women, sex can be just plain awful. And men need to do whatever they can to make sure that it is NOT awful, even to the point of being patient when she’s healing from something.

          • Jane Eyre

            [Editor’s Note: I’ve just deleted a comment. I don’t mind debate about things, and even disagreements, but I’d prefer that commenters didn’t specifically accuse other commenters of different sins. Let’s just try to keep the comments as impersonal as possible–debate issues, ask clarifying questions, but don’t accuse people of things, okay?]

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Totally agree, Jane! Sometimes sex is just plain bad for women, especially those who deal with pain. I did a survey of my newsletter list last week and asked people what they wanted me to talk about more. 15% of the respondents (of which only about 75% were female) wanted me to talk about pain during sex. That means a full 20% of women struggle with this. That number is HUGE. I never would have expected it to be that high. I knew it was a problem (I dealt with it for years myself) but this is really an issue. I don’t think most men understand that.

      By the way, if anybody else wants to be on my email list–you can sign up here!

    • AJ

      Just because sex is “orgasmic” (ejaculatory) for a man does not mean it’s good. In fact it can be quite bad. The worst thing is to have sex with my wife when it’s obvious she’s not that interested. As a man, to be sexually satisfied, is for my wife to long for my touch and the pleasure I give her. Having sex just to ejaculate is miserable. I know most woman think sex is purely physical for a man but it’s not. I would argue it’s the most emotional thing a man can experience. Nothing says I Love you, need you, accept you and want you like having great sex with my wife where we are both equally pleasured. One sided sex where all I do is ejaculate feels like deep rejection.

      • Tyree Alexander

        Thank you for staying my exact feelings. Sex for men is not just the physical release. Nor does the release constitute “good sex” , the level of rejection that sometimes happens within marriage due to dutiful sex can be devastating. Yes we connect physically, but men are emotional creatures as well. The emotional toll can cause massive sorrow, in a man. We too want to feel loved, respected and cared for outside the bedroom . If the wife believes well I have sex with him I’ve done my job. No it’s not a job, you don’t get to clock out and neither do we. It is a position of mutual ministry, that should be held, I minister to her she ministers to me and God gets the glory even in our sexlife.

  3. Jim

    Thank you for being a distinctive voice of women.

    I objectively do have some things that seem to be dominant on one side than also acknowledging the other from the above. But this could be because the context was to show an error rather than give both sides.

    Things like cliches. I here happy wife happy life more than any other cliche. Both for in the bedroom and out. Her happiness is not tied to me. That is to rest in God. Yet guys constantly hear this and many play it out only to make things worse by having no harm to go to their wife. Giving a false dependency on their husband rather than God. I’ve seen many a marriage crushed.

    Also bartering tool works the opposite way also. Too many marriages I’ve seen where husband or wife restrict sex and closeness to get what they want. Again maybe wasn’t included as you’re trying to debunk common issues.

    Also quality over quantity. This works so much both ways. It’s the one thing that I constantly talk to people who ask for advice. Many issues you see in sex would be non existent usually if you focus on quality. And not just YOUR quality but think of it as quality of the relationships sexual aspects as a whole. She’ll usually want it more if she feels loved and cherished (or at least more willing and WANT to give herself if she just doesn’t have the drive at that moment) and I’ll tell you from personal experience, when you have a quality experience you’ll usually want it less often or I should say at least be alright with it less often.

    • Daniel

      Jim: To add to what you said “And not just YOUR quality but think of it as quality of the relationships sexual aspects as a whole.”… This concept is for ALL aspects of the marriage relationship. If you treat your wife poorly in normal everyday situations (call her names, joke harshly, ignore her needs and desires, and many other degrading things that too many husbands practice), it won’t matter how well you treat your wife sexually. You can’t… not normally… have a content, happy, sexually fulfilled wife, if she isn’t treated properly outside the marriage bed. If a wife feels like she is there to clean the house, take care of the kids, and give her husband sex… she most likely won’t be a enthusiastic sexual partner.

      Don’t misunderstand… We don’t treat our wife well so she will give enthusiastic sex! Husbands should treat their wife well because they am called by God to treat her well. The enthusiastic sex is just delicious icing on the proverbial cake… yum.

      And to the fact that sex isn’t always amazing even though we orgasm virtually every time, that’s true. Sometimes my orgasm is just ‘so so’. And that is sometimes after some really great times of intimacy. Some of my most powerful orgasms have been at times where my wife needs sex to be very shallow, due to menstrual cramping, and I have to be very mindful of her comfort/pain. Pain is not normal for us, but I have to be very mindful of her comfort at all times. Not every husband does that… and not every wife let’s her husband know there is pain.

      • Jim

        Exactly. Too many men fall into the aspect of well if I treat her well in bed then she’ll treat me well in it. We’re different. Their sex drive isn’t tied to the sensual like ours is. So we cannot expect women (used generally as I know there are exceptions) to respond to us like we would. Nor should women think that we need to respond like they would.

        If a man feels loved through intimacy, a woman should understand and know how to. If a woman feels loved trough chores then get the mop bucket out and speak her language!

        A great book is the five love languages by Gary chapman. I now get it for any of my friends before they get married. It wouldn’t matter to me if my wife said the most grace filled wonderful uplifting thing to me if it was in another language as I wouldn’t understand it one bit. At the moment for all I know is she could have been saying “you want pizza tonight?”

        • Daniel

          Jim: The book we started buying is Sheila’s book; 31 days to great sex ( It’s a wonderful book, and captures the essence of this blog perfectly. I think we own the one you’re talking about, but I’m not sure if I’ve read it. I’ll have to take a look.

    • Matilda

      For the men commenting and reading this. Think, what would sex be like for you if it was physically painful? Like it actually hurt a lot… Would you want it more or less? What would you do?

  4. Samantha

    Sheila, I know you’re probably sick of me at this point, but due to a recent situation at my church, I’d honestly like to hear your take on the matter. You have been talking a lot about noticing is not lusting and how men shouldn’t feel ashamed about noticing and finding a woman beautiful. You also talk about the fact that men need to simply respect women. And you say that bouncing the eyes is demeaning to women. Well, what if the woman is demeaning herself by the way she is dressing and the man is simply giving respect back to the girl or woman and choosing to respect God and his own sexual purity by choosing to look away from her immodest CHOICE of clothing? The outright demeaning way she is presenting herself to the world. And frankly in these situations, I would think a heck of a lot more of the man who chose to look away out of respect than I would for the man who says, “whelp, it’s not wrong to notice and appreciate as long as I don’t think about having sex with her.” Here’s the thing that can’t be ignored, Sheila. Women are pretty horrible at dressing themselves in a respectable way these days. Want an example? This last week at my church there was a teen girl who came to church wearing a dress with a slit the whole way up the front of the dress. Underneath was a pair of matching “shorts” (underwear). The top exposed A LOT OF cleavage. This girl is not the only female I’ve seen dress inappropriately for church, but that was the most extreme example I have seen yet. Are you honestly telling me that it would be totally acceptable for boys and men to go about looking at her and telling themselves that it is normal to notice her because they simply can’t help but notice? Or do you agree that the respectable way to handle the situation is to look away as soon as they notice the way she is dressed in the same manner that they would immediately look away from an image in a porn magazine? I don’t think it is wise to tell men that it is perfectly normal to notice and appreciate all women out in public because the fact of the matter is that there are an awful lot of women out there who are dressing for the sole purpose to gain sexual attention from the opposite sex. Seeing a normally dressed women who happens to be attractive and acknowledging that she is attractive is a far cry from continuing to look and notice women when they are blatantly dressing for sexual attention.

    • Samantha

      I do think men need to guard themselves from certain women and the Bible gives many examples that instruct men to do exactly that. It isn’t wrong for a man to be discerning enough to realize or suspect when a woman is actively attempting to drag him into sinning. Still his choice whether or not he does sin, but a woman can attempt to tempt a man to sin. It isn’t wrong for a man to choose to not give women like that the time of day other than to pray that God speaks to the woman’s heart on the matter. I don’t think men need to fear women. I DO think CERTAIN women should be avoided by men. Just like women should be discerning about certain types of men and avoid them. We should pray these types of women and men, however it isn’t always safe or healthy to treat them as though they are harmless. I think you need to tread carefully on this particular topic.

      • Rebecca Lindenbach

        I think we actually agree on more than we disagree, Samantha, but I think you’re seeing this as an “either-or” situation when really it’s a “both-and.”

        The “every man’s battle” mentality that we’re fighting against by saying not all men lust says that you can’t even look at a woman who’s dressed immodestly because you’ll automatically lust. Women are dangerous; women are potential landmines and you need to be on your guard.

        That’s not true. And if it is true, there’s a problem with the man, not the woman, because there are men all over the world who are able to have professional, respectful, friendly conversations with women dressed scantily without reducing them to a sex object.

        What we ARE saying is that if you notice someone is attractive, that’s fine! But then do the right thing and don’t ogle her. Don’t stare at her. Don’t fantasize about her. If you are looking around and see a woman who’s attractive, you can choose to just leave it at that. You don’t need to actively avoid her, you don’t need to be scared she’s going to cause you to sin, you can just move on.

        I’m pregnant with a little boy right now and I am going to raise him to know first and foremost that women are people, not potential threats. I don’t want him to be scared to look at women in case they cause him to sin. I don’t want him to feel guilty every time he finds a woman attractive because he feels he’s “taken” something from her. I just want him to be able to treat everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of their attractiveness, regardless of their gender, regardless of what they’re wearing. And if I”m going to teach him how to do that, I can’t also teach him that women are dangerous because their bodies may cause him to sin. The two are antithetical to each other.

        Again, we’re not saying that men should openly indulge in their attractions and meditate on how beautiful women are. But it’s not wrong to think someone is beautiful. But Christian teachings often say as soon as you think someone is attractive you WILL lust after them. And what we’re saying is “If you think someone is attractive, move on in your mind. It doesn’t have to turn into lust.”

        • Arwen

          Oh my word! Congratulations on the baby being a boy, Rebecca! When I read that I immediately thought of Sheila’s son. The Lord has given her a grandSON now. Awww….yay!

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I’m just really excited for Keith, too. 🙂 Although I don’t know what to do with boys. It will be fun finding out!

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Yes, that’s exactly it! I love how you explained it, Becca.

        • Becky

          Congrats, Rebecca! I was definitely worried when I found out that my oldest was a boy– and again when we found out about his little brother, lol– because I’d always pictured having a daughter and wasn’t sure what I’d do with boys. But they’re fun. (I am getting the girl this time, though!)

          I also love how you put it about raising your son to see women as people, rather than potential sin minefields. How to raise the boys to see and treat women is something I’ve thought about a lot, and you summed it up beautifully.

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            Oh congrats on the little girl, Becky! I didn’t have a brother growing up, but I babysat a ton of little boys growing up and had an absolute blast with them, so I’m definitely looking forward to being a mom of a boy 🙂

        • Madeline

          Wow, that’s a beautiful explanation Rebecca! That may be one of the best responses to the lust dilemma I’ve ever read.

      • Jim

        I think Sheila would definitely agree that some women should be avoided. If not she would go against Biblical principals in Proverbs 7 speaking of a man void of understanding.

        Also the woman in proverbs 7 new exactly what she was doing. She wasn’t just wearing the clothes of an harlot, she had the mentality to match it.

        Be careful of too quickly falling into a trap in seeing clothing and immediately going to they should know better. It tells the older women to teach the younger to adorn themselves in modest apparel. This means 2 things:

        1) it’s not natural. If it was it wouldn’t need to be taught. If it was natural then it would be picked up on naturally

        2)it needs a teacher.

        Sometimes these women just aren’t taught by mature Christian women (note it says women not men). Without being taught Biblically then they are taught worldly. Virtually always in the Bible the further you are from God the less clothes you have on (when Moses came down to the people at Mt Sinai they were naked etc) and vice versa.

        This plays out verbatim with the possessed man. He was naked, cutting himself, running about and wailing in the tombs. When he met Jesus it specifically states he was sitting, clothed and in his right mind.

        Maybe they have heard and just don’t care. Well that’s no different then when I sin. So I simply pray to see them as God does. I try to never just say I’m not going to look. The Bible is clear that we don’t overcome evil by getting rid of it, we overcome evil with good. So if I’m not going to look then I pray for myself and sometimes for her. Not in a she needs to get right way, but a God this woman is your child, if you see something wrong then put someone as a Nathan in her life to call her out and then mentor her in love. For she bears your name and I want to believe she wants to praise you in all she does. It’s much harder to sin when bringing yourself before the light of a Holy God.

        I don’t know this woman’s heart, but God does. And he knows mine. He’ll show me my faults.

    • Jim

      I do have an semi issue with how Sheila presents her points on noticing vs lusting. I kind of feel she goes a slight bit overboard because a lot of churches go overboard the other way. Almost a tug of war mentality. Because one pulls so hard she has to pull that much harder back.

      I, as a 35 year old married man, have to avert my eyes many times a day. I don’t fault myself to see a woman as beautiful. I can talk to many beautiful women without lusting. When I must avert my eyes is when I want to look back at a specific part of them. This is my fault and my responsibility. This is where my continuance in prayer happens. I just ask to cleanse my thought process to see her as Gods creation rather than objectify her, rather she chooses to wear things to objectify herself or not.

      Where I place the Onus on women is when they wear items to specifically draw my eye to areas. Low cut, short dresses, high slits, etc. Many woman go too far one way or another in who’s responsibility it is. It’s both of our responsibility.

      Side rant: women please understand Yoga pants are EXTREMELY sexual to guys. We see everything. Even my wife has bought in so much that they are just comfy and why can’t she because it technically doesn’t show skin. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard unsolicited from unsaved and sadly saved guy that they enjoy the yoga pants trend. What you do with that info is up to you, just telling it from a guys perspective.

      But sadly much of our society (even we’ll meaning Christians) have bought into the flaunt it if you got it. Yeah Christians usually don’t use those terms they use terms like it fits my body well or I don’t make them lust they choose to or the Bible is out of date, the Bible was a societal thing or a bevy of others.

      The fact is many throw the portion of the Bible out where it tells the older (with connotation of a more mature Christian woman) ladies to teach the younger how to dress modestly. Our youth continue to find excuses to wear whatever they want like they’re out of date or it’s a different world etc etc.

      • Arwen

        Jim, go to the search engine and type in, modesty. And read every single article Sheila has written on this topic. You will see a perspective that you have never seen before. In these cases it’s the women who are the weaker brother on modesty issues. She breaks it down brilliantly. Check them out.

        • Jim

          Thank you for the comment

          I’ve read many of them. I was merely commenting on how she phrased it above. Like I said in another post, it could simply be due to her tackling the issues that aren’t being addressed properly. Meaning she is sort of only telling one side due to this fact and that she has limited space.

          But if I came in and only read a couple articles like this one and her one on tips to have guys not lust, it sounds overly laying the guilt on the guy and not the woman. This same debate was used by her when she read the focus on the family blurb on their new book.

          That if read in a nutshell it largely went too far the opposite way. Basically I see her very quick to link and teach about how men are able to not lust. And less quick to point out what “mainstream” points out in women’s responsibility.

          Like I said I don’t fault her. There is a huge tug on putting most of the blame on women while barely speaking of the males responsibility. She is rightfully standing up to that. Just noticing she seems to be very quick to remind people of the males responsibility and less quick to also link the woman’s.

          I’m open to also thinking, Maybe that’s just me though. Does anyone else see this?

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Jim, in talking about how guys shouldn’t lust, I’m actually trying to FREE guys from guilt by saying that noticing is not lusting! I think men have been sold a bill of goods from pastors and writers for eons and it’s made so many of them feel helpless and desperate. Noticing someone is beautiful is not lusting. If anything, I think that’s a pro-male comment. Am I missing the context here?

      • Tom Hillson

        “Yes!” about yoga pants. Is there anything, I repeat – ANYTHING – that guys regularly wear which is as titillating to women as yoga pants are to men? I say no.

        • Rebecca Lindenbach

          Honestly? Suits.

          A really well-tailored suit on an attractive man I would say is easily as tempting to women as yoga pants are to men.

          That’s the problem with saying “This is really difficult for people to control their thoughts around–so you need to stop doing it.” Back when skirts went above the knee for the first time, that was that generation’s “yoga pants.” But we all agree now that skirts at the knee are perfectly acceptable and are actually modest.

          Men shouldn’t have to stop wearing suits so that women don’t get tempted to lust. Women should not be told “don’t wear yoga pants” because men find them too attractive.

          If anyone doesn’t think that suits is an appropriate comparison, I have heard MANY women say things like “I want to tear that off of him” and know that MANY women get actually sexually aroused simply by the sight of a man in a suit. It’s a real thing.

          Let’s get back to the heart of the issue: we each need to learn to control our impulses. We each need to learn to see others as human beings first and foremost. And in our attire decisions, we can definitely dress in a respectful way. But no individual item is necessarily wrong in every circumstance–there are generational, cultural, and individual differences we simply cannot account for. And at some point, people need to learn and adapt.

          Missionaries all over the world throughout history have gone to preach the gospel to tribes where the women are topless. The goal isn’t to tell those women to put on a shirt before they get preached to–it’s the missionary’s responsibility to see them not as sexual objects even if they find them attractive. So that’s why I don’t think the conversation around what particular items of clothing are permitted and what should be banned is helpful: because it’s a social construct. And it’s one we need to learn to deal with on our own.

          If I’m going to see my 20-year-old male personal trainer at my gym, I”m expecting that if I show up in tight shorts and a workout t-shirt (which is perfectly acceptable attire for the kind of exercise I do), he won’t be checking out my butt. I’m going to get a prenatal massage this weekend. My masseuse is a man. I’m expecting that he’s going to be professional and not sexually objectify me.

          Why do we expect less of Christian men than we do of non-Christians? It’s sad to me that I feel more comfortable as a woman around non-Christian professionals than I do among many Christian men sitting in pews on a Sunday morning. And it comes down to how we’re taught as children and what we’re conditioned to believe. Non-Christians, these days, are taught that someone else’s boobs, butts, and body parts aren’t really any of your concern. Christians, on the other hand, are told that you need to police what other people are doing with their bodies. And it’s leading to these very damaging belief systems in a lot of churches that you simply don’t see as often outside of it.

          • EM

            I love this! I’m sure you could add to the list…jeans & cowboy boots, men in uniform, etc…Most women have something they get turned on by! I never thought about it from that angle though. Nobody says men shouldn’t wear certain things because women will notice. And we do notice!

          • Jim

            I would liken a well tailored suit to a well tailored dress.

            I get what you are meaning though. Who determines what is modest.

            My question would simply be, who is the one that determines what is acceptable?

            You said sociably acceptable. As Christians were we not to be set apart from the world? Why then would we determine what would be through society?

            Sociably, naked women are acceptable in countries as you so pointed out. Why would Adam and Eve hide because they were naked after eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

            Sociably is relative. It will change until the end days in which the world will be like the days of Noah. Where it was said the worlds thoughts were only continuously evil before the Lord.

            I’m likewise opposed to tight fitting pants in men that display there package and butt. I don’t only see society’s fashion wrong in females. Clothing that enhances Beauty is different than clothing that enhances sexuality. I see a great tailored dress or suit enhancing the beauty/handsomeness of the person.

            What I AM telling you is that revealing clothing does what it’s name states, reveals. I am telling you as hearing it from men that Yoga pants are sensual. They show every tiny curve of your body that’s undeniable.

            I work out and wear knee length shorts. Is it possible that you work out in those? Not asking if you would prefer it, asking if it would be comfortably possible.

            I could be wrong but I see many woman do that at my gym.

            If it’s comfortably possible to wear more modest clothes, The question then becomes, why? Why do you feel the need to dress that way? Because society does? When does the line between a man being in control of himself and where a woman is responsible to not be a stumbling block occurs?

            Each person will draw the line where they will, but I hope that God is a part of it.

            The questions above are more rhetorical. I’m sure this could be debated for a long time.

          • Arwen

            Yes! Suits or any type of uniform, i.e. cops, military, firefighters, doctors, etc. But especially suits on men is most definitely attractive to most women. BBC did a very interesting documentary on the history of the suite. And why it’s the most worn male outfit across the world. Every women concluded a man in suite is iresistible! And I say, we, we!

          • Tom Hillson


            I figured when I asked the question that I was going to hear that answer: suits. But it’s really not the same.

            How are women sexually aroused by something that covers up the ENTIRE body of a man, plus hides much of his physique?? Only a guy’s face and hands are visible in a suit – that’s it! No other skin is showing. Now the same can be said of a woman wearing yoga pants and some sort of torso-hugging shirt – no skin is showing. BUT there’s still a vast difference, because her shape is easily discernable. With yoga pants, guys know the shape of her butt, and can often make out other things (which I won’t mention to keep this G-rated). With a suit, oftentimes you can’t tell for example the shape of a guy’s butt, because first he has pants that are often on the loose side (compared to any woman’s jeans or yoga pants) and secondly, the bottom of his jacket back hides his butt! Yoga pants are SO much more sexual than a man’s suit.

            Now if you still want to argue that a man’s suit is titillating, it is mainly because of what it signifies. It signifies status, intelligence, wealth, power, responsibility, ambition, etc. What these women you know are so excited about, but what they’re not consciously aware of, is the linking of these non-sexual attributes with sexual attractiveness. Women have been shaped by millions of years of evolution to be attracted to status, power, resources, etc. in a man. This is a big part of why a man in a suit can be so attractive to them. If it were purely SEXUAL, a shirtless attractive man would be more attractive, or a man in a tight workout body suit, for instance. Women constantly confuse and conflate non-sexual attributes with sexual ones. Another reason I know this: ask a woman at what age a man is VISUALLY most physically appealing, then step back and watch her think and squirm to come up with an answer. Ask a man, of any age, and nearly universally he will say, and say quickly, 21 (+/- 5 years). (This is documented truth.)

            As Jim wrote, you can not draw the line as “women can wear WHATEVER and guys should have no visible reaction to what they’re wearing”. You also can’t say “women must wear sack cloth”. There really IS a happy medium. The difficulty is finding it.

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            Ok, this is actually a PERFECT comment showing how many men simply disregard women’s sexuality as “not right” because it doesn’t look like men’s sexuality.

            Who cares if the suit is attractive because of the body or because of what it signifies? Many women are sexually aroused by them. Just because women’s sexuality isn’t as physically based as men’s doesn’t mean it’s less valid than men’s sexuality.

            I think this is why so many men don’t understand how to please women–they go straight to the physical and forget everything else. Many forget the emotional, relational, and practical sides of life that are required for a women’s sexuality to truly flourish.

            I just love so much how perfectly this comment shows exactly how many men respond to women’s sexuality the exact wrong way. And that leads to women never truly understanding their own sexuality because it was never given the ability to flourish. SO many women try to force their sexuality to look like men’s sexual responses, and it simply doesn’t. And that’s actually a good thing, because we need both.

            I honestly found this really funny–I literally said, “Women are sexually attracted to X” and you said “Women aren’t SEXUALLY attracted to X because it isn’t sexual to men.” I don’t mean to laugh, but I just found that really really funny. Perhaps instead of saying, “Your experience isn’t the same as mine so it’s wrong,” you should ask yourself, “Do I maybe not understand the other sex’s experience as well as I thought I did?”

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            Here’s an analogy that shows what happened:

            Deer: “Wow, I love birch bark. It’s my favourite snack.”
            Coyote: “Silly, you don’t love birch bark as a snack because it’s not actually a snack. Snacks don’t grow on trees! Rabbit meat is the best snack. You’re wrong.”

            But at this point, we’re cutting off the modesty discussion on this post because it’s not the focus of the post. If you want to go to some of the older poss we have on modesty and lust, feel free to do so. You can find them here:

            Why Every Man’s Battle Backfires: We Should Expect Men Not to Lust
            Men are Visual: But Does That Mean That All Men Lust?
            My 40% Modesty Rule: A Better Way to Look at How to Dress
            Why “Don’t Be a Stumbling Block” is A Really Bad Modesty Message

            So thank you everyone for participating, but we’re going to try to steer the comments back to the original point of the post again. 🙂

          • Madeline

            This!! Christian men should be the MOST trustworthy in this area! But when we spend so much time demonizing any one trend, like yoga pants, they become even *more* noticeable than if everyone just decided to have self control. I don’t even wear yoga pants myself but I think the point of the matter is that its better to teach young boys and to expect our husbands to develop self-control than to try to regulate what every single woman we come across wears!

          • Connor Lindenbach

            Yes, as a man, I am far more sexually attracted to myself when I am wearing a suit than when I am wearing yoga pants.

          • Daniel

            Rebecca: The response you made is so perfect; “I think this is why so many men don’t understand how to please women–they go straight to the physical and forget everything else. Many forget the emotional, relational, and practical sides of life that are required for a women’s sexuality to truly flourish. ”

            Tom does not seem to understand this idea at all. Does this mean that ALL men are turned on by yoga pants on all women? I’m sure it doesn’t, just as all men aren’t turned on by cleavage. Sexual preference is just that; preference of that person.

            We must remember that men and women are different. I know that tv shows and movies tell us that women act exactly the same as men in bed, and are turned on merely by physical acts, but it just isn’t true in most cases. Women value much more than physical contact, and the ones that don’t are certainly missing out on what intimacy is all about.

      • Susanna

        I don’t recall a verse in which the Bible instructs older women to teach younger women about modesty. Also, when “modest attire” is mentioned, it is referring to not flaunting wealth and social status, not skin coverage.

        • Jim

          In Titus 2 it tells the old to teach the young. One of the words it uses that need to be taught is hag-nos. It has the connotation of a holy setting apart in modesty.

          When in Timothy it talks about modest apparel you need to continue on where it with shamefacedness and sobriety (KJV). The word for shamefacedness means to have reverence, a regard for others. It does continue on with the ornate. The reason for the ornate was to draw attention to ones self. Which fits in line with what I believe telling women to wear modest apparel doesn’t just mean gaudy, but means apparel that doesn’t draw unneeded attention to themselves.

          I understand that no matter what I say there will be those opposed to it. Nor am I the end all be all of discerning scripture. I’m no where near that

          I’m not expecting women to dress in sack cloth. But there has to be a line that’s drawn at some point. Shouldn’t we search what God wants and not just go with what the world is doing?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Samantha, no, I’m not sick of you, don’t worry! 🙂

      I will say this about this girl. I’ve had similar girls in churches, and I know it can be awkward. But I want you to ask yourself this question: If Jesus were in the sanctuary, how would he want that girl to feel? Would he want her to feel condemned? Would He want her to feel like church was a safe place? Would He want her to feel like she was being treated like a WHOLE person, like people were taking interest in her mind and not her body? Would He want people in church to treat her differently enough from the world that she would start respecting herself and seeing herself differently, so that she may make different choices? Because if everybody at that church avoids her or looks at her as if she is a leper, then she is not going to feel safe. And she is also going to feel like she is being sexualized.

      I think it’s wrong to assume that she’s TRYING to get men to notice her, too. She could simply be trying to be pretty! Girls who are on Instagram see people dressed like this, and they think this is what it means to be fashionable and grown up. Sure, some may be trying to get that kind of attention from men, but it honestly may not be deliberate. (It could be, but we don’t know). Even if it is deliberate, do you know what in her background could have brought her to that point? Maybe she’s a victim of sexual abuse. Maybe this is the only way she knows to get attention.

      The point is that Jesus would have looked past all that and just saw THE GIRL. And that is what He’s asking us to do–to minister to her and show her her value, which can only happen when we treat her like a whole person, not a sexualized teen who is sinning. In this case, SHE is the “weaker brother”. She doesn’t need to be taught that she is a stumbling block; she needs to be lifted up. We’re forgetting that she is a teen who is still trying to figure out her faith, and asking her to change herself so that mature men who should know better don’t sin is getting the weaker brother argument backwards, as I explained here in my post on being a stumbling block.

      Now, if I were a youth leader and I had a prior relationship with her, yes, I would talk to her about how to respect herself. But if she’s just part of the congregation? Love her. Talk to her like she’s a real person. Ask if she’s looking forward to school this year, or what her favourite subject is. Ask what she’s nervous about and how you can pray for her. Say hi to her and learn her name. Just treat her like a whole person, and care for her, because that’s what Jesus would have done.

      • Samantha

        You honestly don’t think Jesus would want someone to speak to that girl about the way she was dressing and the possible sexual motives she could have for dressing in that way? Because I tend to think he would. I don’t think he would take the, “just ignore the way she is dressing and treat her like she isn’t doing anything harmful to herself or to others,” approach. At the well Jesus boldly, and lovingly, pointed out the sins of the woman. He didn’t pretend they didn’t exist and just talk to her about the weather or her favorite foods so she would think, “ah finally! A man who treats me like a human being! I suddenly feel inspired to change my whole life and stop living in sin!” No. He got right to the point. He also showed understanding that she was living that way because she was trying to fill a very real “thirst” and need in her life and then lovingly told her what would truly satisfy that thirst. I think the approach you are taking here is dangerously close to the approach that a lot of churches take when dealing with issues such as homosexuality. “Don’t talk about how wrong homosexuality is because you’ll offend people and scare them off! Just ignore that topic, treat them lovingly and maybe they’ll start to realize that it is wrong on their own.” You did suggest that if you were involved in the youth ministry you would say something, but how well do you honestly think that would go over? I tend to think the girl and possibly her parents would scream, “body shaming!” and you would be forced to resign from your ministry position.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Samantha, no, I don’t think Jesus would want that to be done in that kind of environment. I think Jesus would want someone to get to know her so that they had the RIGHT to say something like that.

          Let me ask you this, Samantha. You’re obviously concerned about this situation, but have you taken time to get to know her? Do you know her name, or what’s going on in her life, or whether she’s a regular at church? Does she feel comfortable there? Is she a seeker? Does she have family there? Does she feel welcome? Is she in high school? Working?

          I think there’s more to know about someone than what they are wearing. And to think of someone solely in terms of their clothing is very problematic. We had several teen girls at our church who dressed rather provocatively. I simply started working with the youth in the church so that I’d have more influence on them, and I got to know them as people. Perhaps that’s a good starting point?

      • Samantha

        Having said that though, I think if a young boy or teenaged boy (not a grown man) had been caught staring at that girl, he would have been taken aside and spoken to about what he was doing wrong and how he needed to respect that girl no matter how she chose to dress. Which is what SHOULD happen. But, I SEVERELY doubt anyone would actually speak to the girl about her absolutely ridiculous dress. No one has the kind of courage these days to be stupid enough to approach a young girl or woman about the way she is dressing. They know all too well what will happen to them if they do. I think women and girls are truly beginning to think of themselves as beyond reproach when it comes to the way they dress and in other areas as well. Women don’t want to be told they are doing anything wrong by other women and ESPECIALLY not by men. Women want men to respect all women perfectly and women have no intention of trying to be worthy of that perfect respect. Things have gotten very one-sided when it comes to this particular issue. I want to suggest a video to you. It is secular so it has some language and some sexualized images of women used to prove the point of the video. I think it is a video all women need to watch though to understand just how out of hand this matter has gotten. Look up Bettina Arndt on the Politics of Cleavage. I won’t say anything else on this matter because I know it isn’t what the post was about. I just think women, especially Christian women, need to stop burying their heads in the sand when it comes to this topic. I don’t want to be disrespectful either. I just think this is a really important topic and I wish it was discussed more often and taken more seriously. I won’t say anything else. Just please watch that video with an open mind.

        • Madeline

          Samantha..I obviously don’t know you, but sometimes your comments seem like unless everyone comes down on women *really hard* on women for how they dress you won’t be happy with people’s answers..

          I get that this is really important to you and obviously I agree that Christian women should be mindful of how they dress but to put *so* much emphasis on how wrong these women are for dressing immodestly is not even how Jesus handled the situation. He told the disciples to pluck out their own eyes if need be, for goodness’ sake! It just seems from your comments (on this post and others) that when the modesty issue arises you aren’t happy as long as an equally harsh approach to women isn’t being presented.

  5. Hopeful Wife

    In regards to #11…What are the steps to rebuilding a sex life after a spouse’s porn addiction has been dealt with properly? My spouse and I struggle to move forward because of the emtional pain and bad habits that still linger. Forgiveness is not an issue…Just, where to go from here? And how? in the rebuilding process. Would love insight in this area.

    • Noel Lokaychuk

      Our former pastor asked the congregation once what they would do if someone walked into the church seeking God- stark naked. It was horrifying the number of people who said they would send the person away. The pastor suggested that in that situation, you might invite them to sit next to you, and offer them your coat. The old women were scandalized- what business did anyone have seeking God unless they were dressed?!
      Obviously, an unlikely situation- but it makes you think.

      • Jim

        This played out in a semi well known church. Not naked.

        During the beginning portion of the service, A young homeless man walked in off the street. Filthy, stinking and covered in grime. He couldn’t find a chair (and no one was really trying to create room) so the homeless man sat right down in the aisle to listen to the service.

        Hesitant, every started to murmur. An usher was waved for. People started to quietly talk about what was going to happen. Some speculated he was going to be asked to leave, some assumed he would be asked to get out if he aisle while some thought he would admonish the congregation and force them to move over.

        An elderly deacon stood up and slowly walked to the man. As the deacon got closer the murmuring died down and a hush fell over the congregation. The elderly deacon stooped down, introduced himself and asked the man his name.

        To the amazement of the congregation, the deacon held out his hand to introduce and greet the young man. The young man reached back and shook that deacons hand. The deacons hand now visibly filthy from whatever grime and grit was on the young mans hand then asked if it was alright if he sat with him.

        He then takes that old arthritic body and plops down next to this young man.

        The pastor then resumed his message on Gods love coming to a filthy wretched sinner. During invitation he came to greet the young man in the aisle and help the old deacon up. He then admitted to the whole congregation that deacon preached a better sermon on God’s love than he could have ever preached that day.

        The deacon didn’t admonish those that didn’t show love by making room, which he probably had a right to. He didn’t try to fix what others deemed a problem. Nor did he address a legitimate concern in an aisle being blocked. He saw a soul that needed love and went to that soul to show him God’s love.

        I love that story. It reminds me that I’m not against seeking wise counsel nor am I against speaking openly to others about what we believe the Bible says. But too many get caught up in everything else, yet overlook what Jesus told his disciples. That others would know us by the love we show one to another

        • Arwen

          Jim, the story of the homeless man you just share can also be applied to the immodest women you spoke about earlier. Instead of telling them to cover, why not reach out to them to see why they dress the way they do. Why not see their heart, their background, their story? You enjoyed what the pastor did for the homeless man. Instead of telling him to clean up first before reaching out to him, do like wise to the women. Reach out to them first before telling them to cover up. That way she knows you’re treating her as an image bearer instead of walking body parts. That’s what Jesus did.

          Who cares what the beaten man did to get himself in that situation. What mattered was how the Samaritan handled the issue before him. Who cares that the women are dressed like that, figure out the WHY and HOW you can get them off the road and get them the help they need.

          • Jim

            I did actually say that in a different reply above.

            I only can put 400 words into one reply. If you missed it earlier this is what I said

            “Be careful of too quickly falling into a trap in seeing clothing and immediately going to they should know better. It tells the older women to teach the younger to adorn themselves in modest apparel. This means 2 things:
            1) it’s not natural. If it was it wouldn’t need to be taught. If it was natural then it would be picked up on naturally
            2)it needs a teacher.
            Sometimes these women just aren’t taught by mature Christian women (note it says women not men). Without being taught Biblically then they are taught worldly. Virtually always in the Bible the further you are from God the less clothes you have on (when Moses came down to the people at Mt Sinai they were naked etc) and vice versa.
            This plays out verbatim with the possessed man. He was naked, cutting himself, running about and wailing in the tombs. When he met Jesus it specifically states he was sitting, clothed and in his right mind.
            Maybe they have heard and just don’t care. Well that’s no different then when I sin. So I simply pray to see them as God does. I try to never just say I’m not going to look. The Bible is clear that we don’t overcome evil by getting rid of it, we overcome evil with good. So if I’m not going to look then I pray for myself and sometimes for her. Not in a she needs to get right way, but a God this woman is your child, if you see something wrong then put someone as a Nathan in her life to call her out and then mentor her in love. For she bears your name and I want to believe she wants to praise you in all she does. It’s much harder to sin when bringing yourself before the light of a Holy God.
            I don’t know this woman’s heart, but God does. And he knows mine. He’ll show me my faults. And if he needs to He’ll

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            I would be careful to say “the further you are from God the less clothes you have on” considering when David stripped down to his underwear to worship God and that was seen as a GOOD thing because it humbled him. He didn’t just put on clothes from a lower class so he was still covered–he got naked pretty much. As well, let’s remember that nakedness was a GOOD thing in the garden of Eden until we twisted it. Furthermore, many of the people who are farthest from God in the Bible are shown to be dressed incredibly well (rich men who flaunt their wealth, the religious leaders with their tassels, etc.). It’s not quite as cut-and-dry in the Bible as you are making it out to be.

            Nakedness in the passsages you are referring to often has pagan associations, yes, due to the practices at the time (at Sinai they were engaging in pagan worship, which I would argue was the problem more than the nakedness, and with the possessed man the demons were causing him to be so terrifying to others that he had was forced into isolation, but again I don’t think the nakedness was what made him far from God–it was a tool the demons were using to harm this man). But nakedness is not always a sign of sin in the Bible. And that is an important distinction to make, I think.

          • Jim

            @rebecca I do understand your perspective of being careful, this subject is a two edged sword. I am not saying that dressing in what would deemed modest attire makes you holy in any way. The most scathing words Jesus ever used were to the religious elite, who were obviously dressed in the most modest of attire.

            I did say almost always as there is one time that the Bible talks of David dancing with only a linen Ephod on. You took this as almost naked, I do find a different meaning that is scriptural backed in OTHER passages. So question then is what is a linen Ephod. While many refer to this as underwear, there are many instances in the Bible that a linen ephod is used as priestly attire. In fact Aaron and his subsequent lineage of high priests were instructed to wear a eleborate ephod. So if an ephod was merely underwear then I don’t believe God would make a priest wear that. Many times is the linen ephod used in a Godly sense in accordance to priests (see Samuel). Would a man dressed only in his underwear be becoming to a priest while the Bible tells us he is ministering to a person? Why was Michal then appalled by David wearing a linen Ephod? Why did people mock David for wearing one?

            I believe it was because it was not becoming to a King to lay aside his crown and robe to worship God in what a priest would wear. Liken to our president walking out to a state of the union wearing a Budweiser t shirt and shorts. It’s un-becoming of his position to SOCIETY. In other words David, in humility, laid down what society thought he should be wearing to wear what a priest would and praise God.

            You do however have to admit that there IS a definitive correlation of straying from God and the revealing of more skin. It is seen too often in the Bible to deny it. Like you said it was pagan, meaning not Godly. When people were veering from God and/or possessed by a demon there was less clothing.

            Nakedness before sin was fine. After sin entered it wasn’t. This isn’t debatable as God was the one that clothed them. Why? Can only be one reason for this as clearly shown in Garden of Eden account, sin.

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            That is an interesting point, Jim. But I still don’t think that what you’re concluding is biblical overall–reveling in flat-out nakedness through pagan rituals or demon posession is very different than someone wearing yoga pants. Because by saying “there is a definitive correlation of straying from God and the revealing of more skin,” what you’re saying is some cultures are inherently further from God simply because they show more skin. I do not think that is the case at all. I believe that you are conflating two different things. I think you’re committing a logical fallacy by attributing the wrong thing to the fact that people were far from God. Also, we actually CAN’T say there’s a correlation because we don’t have points along the scatterplot: we only hear about people in clothes and in no clothes. If you had multiple verses about people who showed a bit of cleavage, or a bit too much leg, we could say that there may be a correlation. But instead, it seems like there’s two distinct groups here, not a continuum, when it comes to biblical stories.

            As well, even if we agree that nakedness = far from God, that still does not make it correct to say “If someone is less modest they are further from God.” Because we don’t actually have any basis for that, and it makes for a very legalistic view of these things that are not quite so cut-and-dry.

            Our clothing choices do not dictate how much we love Jesus. I do believe that often our clothing choices often change as we get to know Jesus and find our worth and identity in Him, but we don’t suddenly become farther from Jesus if we wear revealing clothes or closer to him if we start wearing modest ones. So it’s an unhelpful conversation that, in my opinion, only serves to blame women and create a religious elitist view of clothing that serves to puff oneself up. Because it doesn’t ACTUALLY tell us about the person’s heart–it just gives us a way to label them according to human standards.

            Like I said on my reply to Tom, though, we’ve decided to stop the conversation about modesty on this post. I left your comment up because I thought it was interesting and important because it finished off a conversation, but if anyone wants to keep talking about this you can always check out the other posts on the website more directly related to this topic! 🙂

  6. Stuart Tutt

    Well done ladies! I completely agree with everything you have mentioned!

    Now let’s see if we can get husbands to realize that foreplay is not just four minutes long…and that it incorporates more than oral stimulation.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great #13 Stuart!

    • Daniel

      Stuart: Indeed… if more men understood this, there would be a lot less sex starved, or sexually frustrated wives. Like a book I read says: “Sex starts in the kitchen”. Sex is more than just sensuality, it’s about a deep relationship with your wife or husband.

  7. J. Parker

    Thanks for including me in the conversation, Sheila! Great points here that I hope all Christians will attend to, since it’s not just pastors but also friend circles within the church where we intentionally or unintentionally teach about sex.

  8. Iva

    I really like your list. The one that really stood out to me most as a woman who has been married for 22 years is that quantity is not the same as quality. Several years ago, my husband got hurt and as a result is disabled. While I am very much attracted to him, I don’t initiate sex because I know he’s in pain for several days after sex. (He on the other hand, tells me that he’ll hurt regardless and this would be a good reason to hurt 🙂 ). Still, after 22 years, I am not a selfish lover and hate the thought of my pleasure bringing him pain. We’ve attempted several positions to ease his back pain, but Sheila (or any of your readers, for that matter!) have any suggestions, I’m all ears!

    I love your blog!

    • Jim N

      I am unsure of the area he is hurting from. I have moderate to severe arthritis is my lower back going into my l to s region.

      I am young enough and praise God healthy enough to keep active and keep inflammation down. It’s a constant pain but people learn to deal with constant pain. I have had an ablation surgery where they burn the nerves to lessen the pain. It worked very well, but since I am so young when I got my first one (28) they warned me that the nerves will most likely regenerate and quicker than most that get this surgery which are 40+.

      They were correct. I had about 3 months of no pain followed by 3 months of lessened pain. Then back to normal.

      I say this because I understand what he means when he said “I’ll feel bad either way, at least this is a good reason”. At times I have had to tell my wife after she initiated that I want to be intimate with her, but my back is hurting. I tell her that I do not know if I will get off but I would like her to. When this happens I tell her to not wait for me or sometimes just pleasure her orally to climax instead of just as foreplay.

      I don’t know either of your dynamic, but I know my wife enjoys for us both to climax together. Two fold, because it is intimate for both of us to be at same point but also because after she climax’s she normally doesn’t want to do anything but yet wants to get my pleasure also. That moment when you want to just lay down and enjoy the moment of being spent yet feel the necessity to help your partner finish. She and so both have learned she enjoys that moment so much that I usually get off first or we get of together.

      When my back is bad enough, I take much longer than her and if I do climax it’s very weak. So I tell her exactly that from the get go. Focus on herself. If I get there then great, if not then I’ll be alright without climax because my back hurts that bad. She enjoys climax orally more than PiV, but still is the same feelings above. When my back is hurting this bad and I tell her, we’ve learned this is a perfect time for us to do exactly that. It takes away some of her guilt (not sure if guilt would be the correct term but I think you know what I mean) of me focusing on her.

      I guess kind of the reverse of a woman giving oral because that time of the month. It can be freeing and more pleasurable when the partner allows the other to focus only on their own pleasure without thinking of the other.

      But I would definitely say, if your man is willing to hurt then accept that he made that choice and not feel bad.

      What has always been great after a time when we had sex when my back hurt was my wife simply offering to get me some water and some IB profen. It sounds like such a small gesture, but it means quite a bit in that moment.

      I hope something in there may help.


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