Can We Reclaim the Word “Sexy”? Plus More Podcast Extras

by | Aug 1, 2019 | Podcasts | 51 comments

Podcast: Can we bring sexy back?
Orgasm Course

What does the word sexy mean to you?

For many of us it has a negative connotation–as if it’s synonymous with “slutty”. And I hope in this podcast I can start the discussion where we can reclaim that word!

A new episode of the Bare Marriage podcast is up. 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: Can We Reclaim Sexy?

We need to stop thinking of sexy as being dependent on what anonymous strangers think of us, and instead think of sexy as reveling in experiencing things with our senses (being in the moment); feeling inherently desirable because we appreciate our bodies; feeling female; and even wanting to be taken, to be joined.

I talked about how one of the problems with how we think of sexy is that we feel like women can’t have any sexuality or enjoy our bodies, in and of themselves. It’s why we struggle with the idea that single people should have sexuality at all, and I invite you all to comment on that! I want to start thinking about this more.

And then I gave some tips for feeling more connected to your body from my post last week on how to sync your libidos. The bit on enjoying being naked is important!


Are you TIRED of always being too tired for sex?

Do you yearn to actually WANT to make love–and figure out what all the fuss is about?

There is a way! And in this 10-module course I take you through what libido is (it may surprise you!), what affects libido, and how we can reclaim the excitement that God made us for.

Millennial Marriage: What does “sexy” lingerie mean to us?

Rebecca and I jumped in with this conversation about how we need to find that middle ground for lingerie. Too often we think of lingerie as this tiny piece of material that we wear on special occasions, like anniversaries or birthdays, and immediately comes off. It’s not practical or comfortable. If you tried to sleep in it you’d be uncomfortable, or all your body parts would fall out. It’s only for one purpose. And that means that we’re far less likely to wear it, because it takes extra work.

What if instead we could focus on having nice pajamas that are flattering but you can wear on a regular basis? No more letting t-shirts with holes in them “graduate” to pajama status! Let’s actually get some nice ones that we wear all the time. What do you think?

Reader Question: It’s way too hard to meet Christian men!

Our reader sent this question:


The problem I have with your advice,is what if you belong to a particular religious denomination that comes with some pretty specific lifestyle choices that make dating outside your denomination difficult. Then, if there aren’t eligible bachelors in your church or the churches in your area, or no one with whom you have a mutual attraction, how do you ever get married? Don’t just say online, it doesn’t work for everyone. A lot of the advise I’ve been given/read says to church-hop, go on ya-oriented mission trips, Bible conferences, etc. But my experience has been that either there isn’t time to connect with someone or people stick with their group of friends. 

My generation just seems so disconnected after college. Last year, I attended a large church with over 20 people near my age, but getting them to show up, even for young adult-oriented events, was a challenge. Also, it’s been my experience that there are 3 single girls regularly attending church for every single guy. 

I keep hearing that that either 1. I need to try harder to meet someone or 2. That I need to be patient and wait on God’s timing. Am I missing something crucial? 

Next  time you tell your subscribers to “let this one go” or that there’s “plenty of guys out there”. I think maybe you have an unrealistic perception of the prevalence of eligible, Godly men under the age of 40.

I honestly feel so badly for women who are single who don’t want to be single. I can only imagine how lonely that is, and I wish I had some magic formula to fix it, but I don’t.

To respond to this, though, I don’t think I’ve ever said that there are “plenty of guys out there”. In fact, I think I’ve said the opposite, repeatedly. There absolutely are more single Christian women than single Christian men. It’s tough. And we need to be aware of that as women, and if marriage is a priority to us, then it’s a good idea to be open to relationships in college and to keep yourself in a good social group throughout your 20s.

As for the question she’s asking, I’d say that if your denomination (whatever it is) makes it hard to date outside of it, then you have a choice. Do you want to get married or do you want your denomination? What I’ve found is that there are people who genuinely love Jesus, who understand salvation, who know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, who read their Bibles, in so many different denominations. If you’re committed to one particular one that is making marriage impossible, then realize that’s a consequence of your choice, and I’m sorry if that seems harsh. My advice, though, would be to start being open to Christians in other churches, because you may find that your own views change, and that’s okay.

Then I would just say: grow your social group. Invest in people. Invite people to dinner. Even if they’re married couples or even if you’re not interested in them as a potential partner. Most people marry from their social group, so the larger your social group gets, the more likely you are to meet someone to marry.

Comment: I don’t actually like Supernanny!

Every week I like to focus on a comment that came into the blog, and this week’s came from long-term commenter Lydia who was writing after our post on Tuesday about 5 weird shows to watch as a family:

I watched quite a few of the Supernanny episodes after your blogpost about it… and honestly I didn’t like her approach to discipline at all.

She had some good stuff like routines and doing fun stuff with the kids – to make sure you give them positive attention. But the naughty chair and reward charts are behavior modification techniques that might appear to work but I would caution against those being the foundation for discipline especially as Christians. For us discipline is linked to discipleship and to walk alongside our kids and showing them God’s character through our own actions and behavior towards them.

The rewards system and the praise when overdone or done thoughtlessly is actually counterproductive to intrinsic motivation (which is something we should protect for our kids).

I think the main issue I have with the show is that it shows extreme messed up family dynamics and fixes those which looks quite different then raising kids from the start with a proper focus on meeting their needs and nurturing them which will prevent many of the disruptive behavior from the show from the beginning.


I actually totally agree with Lydia here. When you do raise kids from the beginning and you’re focusing more on building the relationship, spending time with them, and talking with them and teaching, you don’t need all these behaviour modification techniques. But Supernanny’s great if your kids are out of control!

Like Rebecca found in her research for Why I Didn’t Rebel, when you asked young adults who didn’t rebel what rules they had as teens, one of the surprising things she learned was that they couldn’t name anything specific. They’d hem and haw and say, “maybe we had a curfew?” But the kids who did rebel? A ton of rules! The kids who didn’t rebel largely grew up in a family where, from the beginning, growing an authentic relationship was the focus, and by the time they were teens, they had so internalized godly values that they made good choices.

That’s also why it’s good to read Why I Didn’t Rebel BEFORE your kids are teens, so that you can set the stage right earlier!

What if I told you that not all teenagers rebel?

And what if I told you that a lot of typical parenting advice makes rebellion more likely?

I interviewed 25 young adults, trying to figure out what made them rebel or not.

So that’s it for the podcast this week!

I ran into so much trouble recording it because everyone in our block was mowing their lawn at the same time and making a great racket, and then I had two flies loose in the room I was recording and they were buzzing like crazy and I just couldn’t catch them. But we finally got it done!

So let me know: how do we reclaim the word sexy? Is meeting guys difficult in your denomination? Or did anything else stand out to you this week? 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. Bethany

    My “sexy pose” is one that makes me feel sexy! However to anyone else, I look like a failed yoga student. It’s become a thing to do when I want to signal sexual interest, and make us both laugh because of how un-attractive it actually is. But really I guess that how you enjoy sexual pureness… inside jokes!
    About the “why I didn’t rebel” : I’m not sure if I had heard of it before your blog or not. My family has an interesting mix of rebel teenager and well set up independent ones. Same basic rules, with a lot of room for learning Independence. I guess for some people, they are just determined to have a rebellious youth. One thing I think might’ve made an impact; some mistake(s) made by older siblings, have been hushed up. Which I think is missing a teaching moment. The reason given, was that the younger children wouldn’t ever forgive them. I disagree strongly! I think honesty in mistakes is the healthiest way to raise a child. It takes care of the confusions that pop up.

  2. anonymous

    I just read Why I didn’t rebel this week!!! It made so much sense!

    I 100% recommend it!! It was very informative, well-written and researched!!

    I have 2 pre-teen boys. There were A LOT of amazing things I had never thought of earlier. If fact, I just took one son out for a “date” and we discussed how to make good internet choices (YouTube videos mainly) and how he has the guidance of the Holy Spirit just as much as I do.

    I am going to ask my library to purchase this book!!!

    And I am just a regular person. I was not paid for a review of this book. 😉 Lol.

    But I highly suggest reading it. Total game-changer for me!!

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Thank you so much for the kind words about my book! I am so glad that it was a helpful tool for you and your family, and thanks for asking your library to purchase it! You have no idea how much that helps. 🙂

  3. Noel Lokaychuk

    I haven’t read “Why I Didn’t Rebel” yet, it’s not in this year’s budget. So I am not commenting on that exactly, but I am wondering what your take is on my mother’s theory that kids need to rebel, and if they don’t do it sooner, they will do it later (i.e., Josh Harris at 42.)
    I did watch an episode of SuperNanny, and while she is obviously using behavior modification tools, she is also stressing consistency and respect for one another- I think those are both very important.

    • Gemma

      I haven’t read the book either but I think it’s important to make a distinction between rebelling and having questions and doubt.
      I never rebelled in my teen years but in my early twenties I’ve had lots of questions and doubts. I haven’t lost my faith and I don’t behave in ways associated with teenage rebellion (getting drunk etc.) but I perhaps have explored views and beliefs that might be considered heretical to Christian orthodoxy. For me (and I don’t think for everyone) this has felt necessary and mostly healthy. It doesn’t mean I’m “falling away”. I can’t speak for everyone but I do think it’s dangerous to prevent this kind of “rebellion” which I don’t think is actually rebellious because it will probably come back with a vengence and be more destructive and harder to deal with if it’s repressed. I’m no expert so it’s just an opinion but I do think it’s healthier to allow people to explore their faith and beliefs in a safe environment.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I completely agree, Gemma. People have been disagreeing over what constitutes orthodox faith for 2000 years. To assume that we have everything right is awfully ahistorical. This year I’ve been challenging myself to stick with the gospels–just look at Jesus and try to get away from what other people tell me Jesus is like. So much is actually quite surprising!

  4. Jess

    I wanted to chime in on the whole Super Nanny and discipline conversation. I read the original commenters comment on the post the other day and I also agree to a certain extent. We are definitely called as Christian parents to parent in such a way that models the love and correction of God our father.

    But I guess I struggle as a mom of 4 kids 6 years and under. I try my best to parent them with grace and truth and teaching them biblical concepts, lots of open conversations, asking for forgiveness, apologizing, and forgiving, etc.

    But I get a little frustrated when the majority of discipline advice and techniques nowadays say that you can no longer spank, give time outs, or really any consequences whatsoever. I feel like the opinion today in both Christian and non-Christian circles alike is that you should only talk with your kids. Talk about their feelings, talk about why what they did was unkind, talk all day long. And believe me, I agree that this is hugely important and parenting is very much about the relationship you are developing with your kids. But when you have strong-willed children (which 2 of mine definitely fall into that category), all of the talking and explaining, and loving and listening, and talking about their feelings with them doesn’t work. Sometimes they continue to yell at or take a toy from their sibling or shout no at me when I tell them to do something or whatever the case may be. Sometimes I need an option besides talking because my 6 and 3-year-olds really don’t care to listen to what I have to say or to tell me about their feelings. They just want what they want and they don’t always possess the ability to talk it through or reason. So when my child is behaving in a disrespctful or unkind manner, what is a loving Christian mama supposed to do?

    How am I supposed to discipline them and let them know that I expect them to be respectful and kind and obedient without “behavior modification techniques” or “consequences”?

    I feel like the discussion on discipline in today’s world leaves a lot of very well-meaning, loving parents feeling stuck and feeling like we are awful parents because lovingly talking with and listening to our children doesn’t help in the trenches of normal child misbehavior. I pray that the work I do with them day in and day out will stir their hearts to want to be loving and kind followers of Jesus, but where does that leave me in the meantime? I get that the long term goal is to build an open and loving relationship with them but how do I manage the short term, the day-to-day?

    I hope this makes sense and maybe resonates with some other mama’s like me who feel a little stuck.

    • Kayla

      I have a little knowledge of the book / tactics called “Parenting with Love and Logic.”. I use some of the tools like giving 2 choices that I want to accomplish. Do you want to clean up now or in two minutes? Do it yourself or have help?

      Consequences are an energy drain (chore / kind action to help the adult or victim of offense regain energy), room time to help calm down, or natural consequences (cold feet if not wearing shoes).

      Saying enforceable phrases like “I give treats to children who try one bite of each food on their plate.”
      “I am happy to help children when they say please and ask in a kind voice.”

      I don’t know or use all the techniques, but it’s worth checking out! There’s a Facebook group, books, and online resources!

      Hope this helps.

      • Jess

        Thanks Kayla! I am familiar with the book but have not read it. I’ll have to check it out. I think mostly I just need to work on my own confidence as a mom and stop listening to all of the voices telling me I’m failing or doing it wrong (my own voice included). I use a lot of these more positive techniques too and people tell me my kids are really good kids so I need to just trust that God is empowering me to be the mom my kids need and that He shows me Grace when I do mess up!

        • Arwen

          I don’t think physically disciplining your children is wrong. The Bible even tells us God physically disciplines us and for some there will be a worse physical punishment on judgment day. When i was growing up in my country when we misbehaved we stretched out our hands and got a few strikes, If we were really BAD then we flipped our hands and got strikes there. Spanking children on their butts was considered inappropriate and i didn’t even know people did that till i came to America.

          I’ll continue that with my children. A lot of people learn through pain that’s why we punish people physically in the larger society. If my future children refuse to listen to my words then out comes those hands. My neighbor who’s not a believer has a 6 year old who is the MOST rebellious child i have ever come across! He’s been kicked out of school for calling the teachers b***ches, hes called me b****, he has a foul mouth, has chocked children on the playground, and she does absolutely nothing other than talking to him because “hitting” is abuse.

          I have told her if she doesn’t discipline this boy the police will be waiting to discipline him at 16. Especially since he’s black. Why do you think kids in developing countries are far more respectful, patient, kind, and not on medications compared to Western children? It’s astonishing to see kids in the West call teachers names, throw things at them ,talk back, etc. all because they know you can’t lift a finger.

          The Bible says there will come a time when children will rule over their parents, that time is here. Just look around and observe. A few strikes on the hands and a conversation will not hurt them.

    • Becky

      The struggle is so real, Jess! My kids are 2 and 4, and the toddler especially is already a pro at flat out ignoring me when I simply tell him to stop doing something. I spend a lot of my days having to physically remove him from hitting his brother/ whatever piece of furniture he’s climbing on/ etc, and putting him in time out until he’s ready to play nice again. Simply talking just doesn’t work.

      Thanks for the book recommendation, Kayla, I’ll have to check that out!

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Hi there, Jess–

      As someone who was never spanked but had a LOT of consequences for her behaviour growing up, it is definitely possible. Plus, psychology research on parenting and family relationships shows that spanking is not the only consequence-based parenting tool. Plus, it’s really been proven to not actually be the most effective parenting strategy. But other consequences are good!

      Overall, enforcing natural consequences seems to be the best option. E.g., if your kid hits another kid they leave the play area and then have to apologize to their friend when they are calmed down. They sit somewhere else and watch everyone else have fun, and it is explained that because they hit, they don’t get to be a part of the playing.

      But beyond that, communication-based parenting techniques are not just about “talking”–it’s about having conversations that get to the heart of the problem and then offer alternative solutions. So back to the kid who hits–the first thing you do is take them away from the situation because hitting is inappropriate and they need to know there are consequences (you don’t get to have fun and instead need to sit here and watch everyone else play). Then, once they’ve calmed down, you have a conversation about why it’s wrong and then ask them why they hit. If their friend had taken away a toy and they got angry, you talk about what to do when you get angry and try some of those techniques together. Then, they go over and apologize with a warning that if it happens again they’ll be right back there.

      Natural consequences are a really powerful tool. Don’t want to eat your dinner? Well you don’t get dessert, and if you’re hungry, that same plate of food comes right out of the fridge until it’s eaten or else you have to wait until breakfast. Don’t clean your room when you’re asked? Well now you’ve taken time away from someone else in the family because mom had to pick it up while you were at school so when you get home from school you need to do some chores for mom so she can have some of that time back that you took from her by not listening and being selfish instead.

      Also, my professors have emphasized that with quite little kids much bad behaviour can be avoided simply by giving them an environment where it’s easy to behave well. If you’re at a restaurant, bringing colouring books and activities so they’re not bored; on car rides, putting on music they can sing along to or having games you play as a family while in the car; if mornings are hectic, getting into a routine with enough time for the kids to have a bit of leeway so mom and dad aren’t always yelling at them to hurry up–to be honest, a lot of little kids’ bad behaviour can be avoided by just keeping them entertained.

      That’s what I’ve learned from interviews with people and also talking to psychologists working in the field, anyway! Hope that helped a little!

      • Jess

        That definitely helps, thank you. It actually makes me feel a lot better because a lot of what you mentioned are things that we already do in our home. We especially try to let them experience the natural consequences of their actions and try to assign consequences that match and make sense with the unwanted behavior. We all thrive on routine and try to set up environments where they can thrive as well. And we have very rarely used spankings so this isn’t even really a matter of debating whether it’s ok or beneficial to spank because I have not really tried to use that as a form of discipline.

        I think there are just situations that come up where it seems like there aren’t good options. And no matter what you do to try to prevent them, they still come up. Like in your example of them having to do extra chores for mom because they took some of mom’s time for being selfish. That’s a great natural consequence. But what happens when I tell them “You are going to do extra chores for mom because ________. Here is the cleaning stuff. Go wipe down the bathroom.” And in return, I get them lying on the floor crying saying, “no, I don’t want to clean the bathroom.” Then I can either get into an argument with them about why they need to do what I tell them to do, l can assign another consequence because they are continuing to disobey, I can ignore their tantrum and then tell them again to clean the bathroom. But in any of those situations, I will usually be met with more whining and crying and refusal to do what I ask.

        I hope I am not making it sound like my kids are out of control. They are actually very good kids and the majority of the time they are respectful and obedient, but they are still very young kids and these situations do come up when I just wonder what I am supposed to do.

        Thanks for everyone’s replies. It helps to discuss this.

        • Rebecca Lindenbach

          You are definitely not making it sound like your kids are out of control, don’t worry 🙂

          But honestly, whenever I did something like throw a tantrum because of a consequence, the tantrum just got ignored until I did what was asked. If you have a kid in the bathroom throwing a fit, they stay in the bathroom until the cleaning is done. If they throw things around the bathroom, they need to fix what they messed up during their fit, too. Them screaming for longer actually naturally punishes them MORE because at the end you can discuss everything they missed out on. “Your siblings got to play outside for a while tonight but because you took so long to clean the bathroom, you missed your outside play time. Next time, let’s get this done quickly and listen the first time you’re asked so you don’t miss out on the fun.”

          I don’t think they’d necessarily need another consequence because feeding into the fight is also reinforcing in a way or else it becomes unnecessarily punitive. Kids getting angry about consequences kinda just shows that the consequence is working–it’s unpleasant and something they want to avoid. So I would just let them scream and check in periodically and ask, “How’s the bathroom coming along?” until it’s done. I remember my mom doing something similar with me and my sister. 🙂 I highly doubt she loved the screaming, but we got the picture: screaming doesn’t make mom change her mind. And eventually, it became less and less.

          But the cool, collected and logical conversations later about how, “You were very silly there screaming for 30 minutes when your sister got to watch TV when you could have done the chore in 5 minutes and not missed the TV show at all!” really gets the point across. Because then you, the kid, didn’t “win”–you just made yourself lose more. Mom’s fine, mom’s OK if you scream there for hours. But you, as the kid, have the choice to make it worse for yourself or not.

          I just remember a very very specific time that I had an inappropriate emotional outburst around a friend (I think I was 5/6?) and then was told to calm down in my room for a few minutes and I just went absolutely ballistic. So I got brought up to my room kicking and screaming and my mom checked in on me every few minutes and remind me that when I was ready to behave like a good friend and calm down, I was free to come back to craft time. I HATED it. And I must have screamed for well over 30 minutes because when I was eventually calmed down craft time was over and we only had 10 minutes left to play before she had to leave. But mom told me, “Well, because you were not being nice but your sister and your friend were behaving nicely they had a wonderful time making pictures with glitter and you were upstairs screaming. If you want to be able to have fun with friends, you have to learn to control your anger. So next time, go upstairs and take some big breaths and you can be back downstairs in no time.”

          I don’t remember ever screaming to that extent when a friend was over again–I definitely still had outbursts (emotions were hard for me), but I just dealt with them much better because I learned mom was NOT going to budge and missing out on all that fun was not an option in my mind again. Just a funny story to show what I mean and also hopefully encourage you that a lot of kids just have their “thing” that makes them difficult at times!

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            You actually remember that? I remember that VIVIDLY. I was so mad at you because of how you were treating your friend! (was it Paige? Jessica?) But you never did do that again. 🙂

          • Jess

            Thanks Rebecca. I love that story and that is pretty much the way things go in this house. Mommy never backs down or gives in to their tantrums. And I’m not afraid to let them miss out and feel the consequences of their actions. And then we do talk it through later. But then they do the same thing again the next day…and the day after that…and the day after that. I guess that’s where the strong will comes in. GOD, give me patience and endurance. 🙂

    • Blessed Wife

      Blessings on you, Jess! I have three in the same range as your kids, a strong-willed daughter who was absolutely born angry and defiant, a strong-willed son with ADHD, and a toddler. It is a struggle!

      Yes, disciple parenting. Yes, talk to them, reason, and give them acceptable choices. Yes, naughty spot time-outs (1 minute per year of age). And yes, there are times when none of those things work. At those times, it is absolutely okay to spank them! Corporal punishment is the only kind ever mentioned in the Bible, and it is recommended repeatedly for the foolish and rebellious. My kids are the type that will get themselves or someone else seriously hurt if they don’t have a real fear that I will get hold of them and tear their behinds up. I have the full support of their pediatricians, therapists, and local law enforcement.

      Jess, you sound like someone who is devoting a lot of energy and attention to doing what’s best for your kids. Good for you! I’m sure you’re doing a great job. On the days where your house is in shambles and you feel like you’ve been in an all-day bar fight, remember that you are not alone, you’re giving it your best, and your kids will almost certainly outlive your mistakes.🤗

      • Jess

        Thanks for your encouraging words!

  5. Nathan

    My church does this a bit. On the one hand, they’re very good with understanding that “wives submit to your husband” phrase is part of a larger thought that shows us that wives and husbands should submit to each other equally.

    On the other hand, they stumble with two things. First, they’re big on “women dress very conservatively, because if you don’t, men will lust and it will be your fault”. Also, they tell us “don’t tell your wife that she’s sexy, because that’s disrespectful. Tell her that she’s beautiful instead”.

    Well, my wife is both, and I let her know that a lot!

    • Kayla

      I definitely need and want to hear both from my hubby!

      Sexy is more intimate, something only between us, it defines me as a wife. The down side is that if I’m not in the mood for intimacy, it can feel objectifying. That’s really more on me than him, because he doesn’t mean it that way.

      Being called beautiful is more about me as a person / woman than a wife. It has a more tender aspect.

      • Madeline

        Yes!! As a Christian wife I totally want to hear both from my husband too!

  6. Arwen

    Did i just get mentioned on Sheila’s podcast? I’m famous! I can die in peace now. loool……i’m joking….i’m joking.

    The topic about how you dress really resonated with me because i have many girlfriends who dress for the sole purpose of getting sexual attention using their bodies instead of their character. I saw a lady at the Church i attend wearing bootie shorts one Sunday! I couldn’t believe she even had the courage to leave the house like that. She never wore it since that day because i think the ladies had a talk with her. But i see it a lot around me. The fair is in town and you can just imagine the dress code around here. It’s very unfortunate it’s women who are pressured to dress provocatively while the men walk around looking “normal.”

    Society declares a woman’s worth is found in her body so they women feel like they have no choice but to emphasis their bodies. As a follower of Christ i’m glad to know my worth is found in baring in His image and not the image of fallen humans. We are free in Christ indeed!

    • Samantha

      Arwen, I totally agree with what you are saying about how women dress these days. I will say though that I think we need to be very careful not to make it seem like women aren’t fully responsible for their wardrobe choices. Social pressure is not the reason women dress the way they do. Women simply want their beauty to be appreciated and an awful lot of women these days decide that they are willing to go to extreme lengths to get that attention and often from as many men as possible. Plus, I don’t think they allow themselves to realize that they are getting the wrong kind of attention and are also actively attempting to steal sexual attention away from other women’s husbands and boyfriends. And I do believe there are also women who are fully aware that that is their motive and they just don’t care about anyone else but themselves and getting attention. And yes, those men are 100% responsible for their choice to look and lust or not. However, those women are 100% responsible for attempting to get men to lust after them. Women are fully aware of the reactions and the kind of attention they will get based on their clothing choices. Some have just become so numb to the feelings of others that they truly don’t consider anyone else’s feelings but their own when they step out of the house wearing their bootie shorts or whatever other “trendy” attire their have selected.

    • Samantha

      I think there is something to the fact that men all seem to dress “normal” or at least in a pretty uniform manner while it’s the women who seem to be in constant competition with one another. My husband and I were watching My Fair Lady recently and I made the comment to my husband that it seems funny that when dressing up men have always tried to look the same and it’s the women who are constantly trying to outshine one another. And I believe it’s true across the board whether you’re at a ball, at the beach, at church, or just going to Walmart. Yes, there are women who don’t want to run that rat race. But even when we decide not to compete in that race, we can still end up feeling trampled over and like we are in last place at times. I also think some women are in denial that they are trying to outshine others. I think these tend to be the women who wear the super form fitting or revealing outfits and then try to claim they wore it for “themselves”. I’m not saying all women are doing this by the way. I’m just saying that I think a lot more of it goes on than a lot of women are willing to admit. I don’t think the pressure to compete comes from men either. I think women probably started doing it all by themselves and men (not all but I’m speaking about the ones who do)just decided to stand back and enjoy the show and “reap the benefits”.

    • Samantha

      Frankly, I think it would be hilarious if there was a big “woman meeting” where we all got together and decided to dress in a pretty uniform manner the way that almost all men do. “In the summer we’ll all wear t-shirts and shorts that are this length. All our dresses will be this length. We’ll stick to these styles and cuts. No cleavage. No butt cheeks. Any questions?” We would all agree that the styles were modest, feminine, AND universally flattering. We’d come up with different ways to put our own style and flare into the existing styles without “compromising the classy”. It sounds impossible doesn’t it? However, I don’t think men would get nearly so bent out of shape if you told them they couldn’t show their butt cheeks or cleavage. Lol

  7. Misty S

    Dear Jess, i got a lot of help for dealing with my strong-willed daughter from “You Can’t Make Me…” by Cynthia Tobias. I understand, I also dealt with 4 children under 7

    • Jess

      Thanks Misty, I will check it out!

      • Misty S

        And hang in there with lots of prayer. My daughter is 12 now, and looking back I can see the improvement.

  8. Letha

    “Reclaim Sexy” unfortunately me and sexy don’t even belong in the same sentence together. I am so embarrassed, timid, frightened, ashamed to be anywhere remotely naked in front of my husband I would probably cry. I avoid full length mirrors at all costs and will always make sure there is a large towel handy that I can wrap up in BEFORE I step out of the shower.

    Not sure why I feel so self conscience… well, maybe I do. My husband and I have been married for just over 30 years. We have 3 beautiful daughters. He was into porn (and outside sexual encounters) for most of our marriage. 15 years into our marriage I found out he had been having an affair for 7 years. And… into the counseling with our church the focus was mainly on what I might have done to contribute to my husband acting out with porn and and long term affair the way he did. Here is the clincher… at the time I was absolutely oblivious to the affair, I felt sexy, I loved sex and being with him, but he just didn’t seem to want me or sex, I couldn’t figured it out until I found out about the affair. Talk about the perfect way to strip a woman of “sexy”.

    All that being said, we have survived what in all accounts should have been a failed marriage. I know he loves me dearly, and he has recommitted his life and focus on Jesus. I trust him whole heartedly. The past is something he doesn’t want to talk about. It’s over and done, and we have moved on. I agree. I don’t want to re-visit the past either. Meanwhile, the very rare times I happen to glance at my body in a mirror, all I can think is how small I am, how wrinkly I’ve become and those nasty little pooches around my tummy and hips. Blah! Being in the middle of menopause doesn’t exactly help either. Why in the world would my husband want this nasty old, wrinkly body. He had my young 21 year old body 30 years ago, and it just wasn’t doing anything for him then, Now Im left with a old wrinkly, flat chested, little 50+ body. Why would he want that? I can’t even stand to look at myself in the mirror I certainly wouldn’t want him to have to look at me naked.

    He never tells me I’m pretty. My girls tell me I’m pretty all the time. Even others might complement me on my hair, my smile, or my eyes. He feels very uncomfortable holding my hand in public, and would never never never put his arm around me in public. No way!

    Hmmm. Ok now I am digging a bigger hole. I’m gonna have to leave it here, and re-think sexy. I’m wondering if I start seeing myself as sexy, maybe my husband will to.? Well, thanks for letting me get my thoughts, hurts, and feelings into words.

    Love you Sheila. You have been my rock and I always look forward to your words of kindness, love and wisdom. God bless.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Letha, my heart hurts for you! I’m so sorry that your church counseled you like that. You were in trauma recovery, and they just heaped on more trauma. That is just tragic, and I am so, so sorry.

      I’m going to think about adding a post to my series on reclaiming sexy that addresses what you’re talking about here. I think one of the things I want to talk about, too, is that our sexual confidence should not be based only on our husbands. It has to be based on US–on what we believe about us, because of the truth that we believe from God. We can feel that, regardless of what our husbands think or do. It may then impact how they see us, certainly, but our husbands do not hold the truth about our identity. God ultimately does!

    • Nathan

      Letha, I am so sorry that these things have happened to you. My heart is breaking, and I’m praying for your healing.

      It’s very sad that so many churches will take the “What did the wife do to cause the problem” with porn and/or affairs. When a married person cheats or looks at porn, it’s THEIR choice and fault. There may be other problems in the marriage, and one or the other spouse may be the cause, but we each make our own choices. You NEVER forced him down those paths.

      Also, this is another myth buster. When I first arrived on this site (to help a friend in nearly the same situation), I always thought that the main reason that most men watched porn was because their wives had lost interest in sex and they turned to porn out of desperation. While this situation happens sometimes, the vast majority of porn watchers have a good sex life and turn to porn or affairs anyway, or maybe they were already addicted.

      Letha, I hope that you can fully heal from this and that your connection to your husband becomes stronger. You need to know that you ARE a good and beautiful person and hopefully that will soon shine through again.

  9. Ina

    As a teen, I took SO much pride in how not sexy I was. I purposely dressed super frumpy because I didn’t want to be, ” like those shallow girls.” It’s honestly been so much fun changing my style and learning to feel beautiful. Though now I just feel like a beached whale and every postpartum brings some body hatred to work through. I’ve told my husband that I’m going to start exploring lingerie a little after this baby is born more for my own sake than his!

    One thing that I do find is that being naked is very comfortable for me. My mom is Scandinavian and I spent a good portion of my toddler years running naked around our home without any shaming. I truly think it was good for me!

    • Blessed Wife

      During one of my pregnancies, I got an open-front lace babydoll set that showcased my pregnant belly. One day when I have abs again, it will showcase those, too. Pregnancy is usually a time when you’re going to have to do some bra shopping anyway, so it’s a good time to get some pretty bra-and-panty sets.

      Point is, you don’t have to wait to start seeing yourself as a sexy woman, or to treat yourself like one. God created you to be beautiful in Him, and sexuality is part of His vision for you! He wants you to embrace and enjoy that part of yourself fully, within the parameters he has set for that. Congratulations, and good luck with your pregnancy!

      • Natalie

        Amen! I’ve been all about the Hotmilk – ProjectMe bras lately. 👌🏼 FINALLY!!! Some nursing bras that make me feel sexy again and not totally frumpy!

  10. Yulia

    A huge reason I don’t feel
    Sexy is because I can’t help but wonder if he (subconsciously) compares my body to other women’s bodies that are everywhere (movies, public, past experiences etc. ) I have small breasts and wonder if he secretly wishes they were bigger. Maybe I feel like since my body isn’t “perfect” I’m not allowed to feel
    Sexy. Also before we got married he went to strip clubs a few times, got lap dances etc. and was sexual with other girlfriends yet I was “pure” (yep! part of the lovely purity culture!) so I had “saved” myself JUST for him. (Yet he hadn’t for me) I know it’s irrational because he is a very good husband and this is not fair to him, but I just can’t seem to tap into my sexuality. 😭😭😭 I was 19 when I got married and was very I’m mature and not emotionally ready. 13 years and 4 kiddos later really
    Want to think about this and figure it out!

  11. Becky

    I actually found the lingerie chat quite interesting! Though my perspective is probably different, since I sew and don’t have to limit myself to store availability. I did spend quite a bit of my sewing time last year making some new, nicer clothes to sleep in, since the old ones had gotten so ratty. (I get that the nightgowns are probably sexier, but with little boys around who like to crawl between my legs and pull on my skirts, I’m much more comfortable with wearing shorts or pants! Though I am wondering if I should add some non-flannel pants to the queue for winter sleepwear now.

    (Of course, ironically, I was listening to this while wearing grungy knit shorts and an awful, huge, holey tee, because that’s all I have that fits over the almost 9 month bump! 😂)

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Oh that’s so cool you can sew your own pieces! 🙂 And as someone with a 7-month bump, there are definitely seasons when it comes to what clothes we can wear, that’s for sure!!

      • Misty S

        Learning to sew, or finding someone who sews, and making custom-made clothes can be a big help to feeling gorgeous (for me that’s a word that up there next to sexy but doesn’t have to stay in the bedroom), feeling good about the way you look. There is a wealth of information available on internet and books in public libraries about making clothes fit. There’s even a company (Elizabeth Lee Designs) that has patterns of beautiful clothes for nursing mothers – I made a dress for a wedding reception using one, and was only “out of style” because I prefer long skirts and long sleeves, not from being in cotton when everyone’s in silk or something like that. Something that I enjoy was learning to make ’50’s style bullet bras. I find them very comfortable for my figure, and I can make them out of red or black satin and lace to be sexy in the bedroom. (A joke is that I “match” my husband when I put on the bra I made with scraps from making him a shirt! I borrowed the shirt one day, and he said it looked good. He likes the bra, too haha ) If your clothes don’t fit right, it’s hard to feel attractive, and plenty of us have hard-to-fit figures. For women who sew for “therapy” or “play,” like my mother and I, it’s a pleasure to help others, as well as ourselver, get clothes that fit right and so look good.

  12. Lindsey

    I enjoyed this podcast yesterday, and I walked around the rest of the day feeling more present and…yes…sexier! So, thanks for that. I am overweight and normally walk with my head down. The heavier I’ve gotten the more I’ve retreated into myself. I am working on losing weight and improving my health, but yesterday I had done my makeup and was in town for my exams and I noticed that just a shift in my focus, posture, and attitude (I felt fairly glowing and truly *alive*) really did change the way that I felt about myself, and the way I thought other people must be perceiving me.

    As a side note, there is normally a good availability of soft, cheeky-booty shorts for sleeping in. Pair those with a nice, brushed cotton, deep-v neck shirt and you’ve got comfy, sexy PJS.

  13. Misty S

    Sorry for making several comments about these topics, but they have all been close to home for me. I notice that no one has said anything about the singles in the church, and I want to say something about that.
    1. It’s SO important for the single person to realise that being single really in their choice. (Just for the record, I got married at 30, and I still have 4 close single friends; we’re all 40+ now.) It’s easy to protest, “No one’s available! No one’s interested!” but the truth is, I’m making choices about how far I’ll go to “catch a guy.” For example, when I was 25, I had a proposal from a 50-something-year-old man from the church. He asked me to lunch one Sunday, and sometime during the meal he said, “While I was recovering from my broken leg, I realised I’ve got money and a business and all that, but no heir. Will you marry me?” Talk about a surprise, and when I told a good friend about it, her response was, “Well, why didn’t you say yes? You want to get married, he’s a good guy, etc.” That brought it home to me that singleness is a choice. Later I got tired of the choice of only looking in the church and started to go out with a group from work, dancing and such, and I can only thank God that the guy I wanted from that group dumped me instead of marrying me.
    2. I started attending a different church after that dumping, for reasons I won’t explain here, basically because of two attitudes of the new church. One was that forgiveness and full restoration was possible with repentance, no matter what the sin; the other was that if you became interested in a guy or girl who was not a Christian, at work or college or wherever, instead of just trying to fight the attraction, invite the person to church. If he or she was willing to attend, introduce him to the pastor or one of the elders, and leave them to talk about the gospel. You might be the drawing point for him or her to hear the gospel and believe, and if so, go ahead and enjoy the relationship, see where it goes. In fact, shortly after starting to attend that church, I met my husband at a party. He was willing to attend with me, became a Christian, and almost 14 years later we’re still going strong in the faith and in love. Of course, if the person doesn’t want to attend church, or attends but won’t listen to the gospel, you have to make the hard choice of letting go. But at least you aren’t limited to the limited (or nonexistent) options in your church.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Interesting, Misty! (and I don’t know what I would have said to the 50-year-old. Eeewwww. That’s weird).

    • A regular reader

      I have two “collections” of sleepwear, one my kids can see that is made up of buttery-soft body-hugging LLR leggings paired with form-fitting thin/soft but opaque v-neck tees, and one of overtly sexy lingerie that is for my husband’s eyes only. I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing the first type outside the family, and it’s sexy enough to put both my husband and I in the mood (I am in very good physical shape and wear my clothes confidently), but I feel it helps normalize the female body and female sexuality in a wholesome sort of way for my kids who are still at home. I hope this doesn’t sound weird. I used to dress overly modestly, and I feel it made our older (now adult) kids more uncomfortable with female sexuality. As I have grown more confident with my physical self, including weightlifting, running, and surgery to repair the wreckage left behind by a dozen pregnancies, including twins, and am now wearing things like shorts, sport capris and sport tanks, etc, I’ve noticed my middle and younger kids taking my less conservative wardrobe for granted, whereas the older kids register some level of noticing and discomfort. There’s so much I wish we’d known 25 to 30 years ago, but I don’t believe in regrets. We’re having the conversations, making the changes, and grateful for the good things that are happening now.

      • A regular reader

        I’m going to go ahead and add here that my surgery was breast implants due to having been left with empty skin flaps stretched over a bony chest after breastfeeding many babies over many years. My surgeon said I had as little breast tissue as a cancer patient. I was ugly right where a woman wants to feel most pretty, feminine, and alluring. It was impossible to wear lingerie without looking utterly ridiculous and unsightly, and in order to make love, we were in complete darkness. The implants were one of the best investments we have ever made for our marriage. They look normal for my frame and build and feel to me as natural as my breasts did when they were swollen with milk during the breastfeeding years. They gave me my sexual confidence back.

  14. Nathan

    > > It’s SO important for the single person to realize that being single really is their choice. It’s easy to protest, “No one’s available! No one’s interested!”

    This may be true for many women, but not always true for the man. In our culture, despite being in the enlightened 21st century, men are still often the pursuers. As you say, then, if a man pursues you and you say “no”, that’s your choice. But if a man pursues a women, and she says “no”, that’s NOT his choice. There are some men out there who women are just NOT interested in, and there’s nothing they can really do about it.

  15. Karen

    I appreciated the section on lingerie. The idea of having pretty and comfortable items is so important. When you’re comfortable you feel sexier and when you have a wardrobe of pretty and comfortable your mindset is intimacy (emotional and physical), not just “special occasions”. I am certainly in favor of special occasions, but a daily attitude of intimacy is so much better!

  16. Bound_By_Love

    late commenter, but as a male I also resonate with the discussion about needing to feel a bit sexy. I’ve never been into the “he man” thing, so I’ve often felt somewhat androgynous, almost like a tomboy girl in a mans body. Throw in some mild gynocomastia, lots of scar tissue on back from acne, weird body hair patterns and being rather skinny, I sometimes I need to feel a bit more alive and in touch (Literally and metaphorically) with my body. So yeah, I have found that going for a bath instead of the shower, and ditching the plain white fruit of the looms for something a bit more flattering really does help with the self image.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Excellent! I really should do a post for guys, too, on how they can feel better. I love it!

      • Bound_By_Love

        Sidenote: I’m in an LDR and still unmarried, but still want to be able to engage those desires in a constructive manner. I know you don’t really agree with masturbation in some aspects, having been through that whole internal mental struggle and scripture searching and needless guilt, I’ll agree to disagree, but with a whole bunch of caveats for myself, and also a refusal make my word gospel for everyone. To each their own spiritual convictions. Even so though, just those feelings of “Wow, I love this sexual body God gave me”, even without acting out sexually, it still is a confidence booster.

  17. Mark

    Hi Sheila
    I have been listening to your podcasts, mostly whilst out going for my morning run, since my wife introduced me to your blog.
    I listened to this one today and heard your plea for comments – so here goes with my first comment.

    I have really enjoyed the balanced way you deal with issues. You are often specific which is great and you’re handling things that I think a lot of people who are “churched” avoid. It’s refreshing to hear your fun and open minded approach to talking about these issues that are so central to our being and sexual fulfillment.
    Thank you for an awesome podcast and blog – it gets me going and has given me (and us) a lot to think about and discuss.
    We’re currently working through ”31 Days”.
    Be blessed

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Awesome, Mark! Thank you so much for the comment. I really appreciate it! And I’m glad you find it balanced, too.


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