Start Your Engines: Our Men’s Podcast Is Here (And it’s Libido 101)!

by | Sep 26, 2019 | Uncategorized | 33 comments

Merchandise is Here!

You asked for it, and we thought it was time. Our men’s marriage podcast has launched!

Well, it’s not only for men. But the last Thursday of every month we’ll be talking primarily to the guys. I’ve had so many emails saying things to me like:


I love what you say, but I really need my husband to get it. Can you do a podcast for men, too? He won’t read the blog, but he does listen to podcasts!

And we thought it over and decided it was time. The podcasts aren’t JUST for men. Women can get a lot out of them, too! But we’ll be explaining to men how women think about sex and what women tend to need, and then going into questions that men primarily ask on the blog. There’s such a lack of healthy sex help in the Christian world that’s focused on anything beyond “have sex a lot or he’ll be tempted”, and I’m on a mission to fix that!

And since we crossed 100,000 listens to the podcast in the last few weeks, we decided to celebrate to launch it!

So I brought Keith on our inaugural men’s “Start Your Engines” podcast with me this week.

Main Segment: Understanding Female Libido

The majority of men are raring to go BEFORE they even start to make love. The majority of women, however, are not turned on at all until AFTER they start making love. The desire and arousal cycle is actually opposite for men and women.

In general, of course. It doesn’t work this way always. But since the majority of men who come to this blog are higher drive men with lower drive wives, that’s what I’m focusing on. If you’re in a marriage where the husband has the lower sex drive and the wife the higher sex drive, check out these series instead:

But here’s the big problem that we keep coming back to throughout this episode:

Marriage Podcast: How Libido Differences Can Leave a Couple Frustrated

Because men’s sexual response is more automatic, we tend to see it as the “default”, as what is supposed to happen.

When she works differently, then, too often husbands can think that she isn’t sexual at all, or assume that the problem is that she doesn’t work like he does. That can leave him feeling rejected, while also trying to coax her along to be like him.

At the same time, though, she can also feel like something’s wrong with her. She assumes she’s not sexual, and that she’s somehow frigid. This makes her feel like a failure, and often makes her run away from sex. 

I spend a lot of time on this blog trying to explain how our sex drives were made and why they were made that way, why our bodies respond the way they do (and why they don’t respond in other ways), and how to make sex work well.

But I think the first step to all of this is recognizing that while we don’t tend to approach sex in the same way, that does not mean that we are not sexual. And understanding the differences can help make sex great! So listen in as we explain this.

Reader Question: How Do I Get My Wife to Have More Sex?

Usually on podcasts I take a reader question and try to answer it, but today we thought we’d take the generic version of the most common reader question I get from men, which is simply that: Why doesn’t my wife want sex, and what do I do about it?

Now, the answer obviously varies depending on your situation. But Keith and I outlined three things that she needs to enjoy sex: safety, intimacy, and pleasure. We talk about each one in detail, and how they relate to emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and physical intimacy–the three types of intimacy that sex encompasses. Understanding these things can help repair a sex life that’s missing something vital.

If your sex life is missing something, 31 Days to Great Sex is an excellent resource–and the ebook version is only $4.99!


Do you find it hard to talk about SEX?

31 Days to Great Sex guides you through exercises so that you can talk about libido, frequency, intimacy, in a low-stress, easy way.

No blaming. Just solutions–and a whole lot of fun!

Millennial Marriage: Do We Assume Women’s Sexuality is Somehow “Off”?

In a recent article I wrote about noticing vs. lusting, we got into the typical modesty debate about yoga pants. And in that hubbub, a man left a really interesting comment that Rebecca and I wanted to discuss. After talking at length about clothing that can be attractive to the genders, Rebecca chimed in and said that suits were often sexually attractive for women. He then replied with this:

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 discernible. 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! 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. 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.)

We focused on one of his sentences in the millennial marriage segment: “Women constantly confuse and conflate non-sexual attributes with sexual ones.” Tune in to see what we said!

And thank you to the Get Your Marriage On app for sponsoring this podcast.

Get Your Marriage On! The Marriage Counseling App that is Fast, Fun and NEVER BORING! Frankly, we could all use a tune up time to time. But it’s more than just counseling. It’s for any couple that’s looking to connect with their spouse better.

And I have to tell you, I was so impressed with the teaching in its resolving conflict module. If you’re having a decision that you just can’t make, or if you just can’t see eye to eye, Get Your Marriage On can help walk you through it.

They have sections on resolving conflict, feeling close and spending time together, of course sex!, and even starting marriage meetings so that you have a fun and natural time to talk about the things that come up over the course of the week. Your marriage is worth being amazing! And when you sign up, use the code TLHV to unlock 70 of my own conversation starters, many of which have never even appeared on this blog!

It’s so much resource in one small app, and it can give you new tools to communicate and see eye to eye. You can even write notes to each other and sync the apps together!

So thanks for joining us for our first Start Your Engines men’s podcast, which will now be a feature the last Thursday of the month (but again–women will enjoy it, too!). And if there are specific things you want us to cover, let me know in the comments!

As we said in the podcast, too, I’ll be giving away one copy of 31 Days to Great Sex and one of our Sexy Dares to two new subscribers to our email list this week, and I’ll announce it on next week’s podcast. So if you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so right here!

What questions do you have for us? Let’s talk in the comments!

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. Jeff

    Any chance you could have the transcripts of your pod casts published on line? I have 5 minutes to read but not 40 minutes to listen.


    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I get a number of people asking that, but it’s just not affordable right now! However, if you follow the links in the podcast to the other posts I’ve written, you’ll find what we covered in the podcast in much greater detail. I hope that helps!

    • Ben

      I’m confused, you say you don’t have time to read, 5 minutes that is but 40 minutes to listen but you would like a written transcript. That just seem to make sense and would just be more work for Sheila, 🤔

  2. AspenP

    Great podcast Sheila! I appreciate that you don’t man-bash in this and see men’s intentions in the best possible light. It makes it so shareable.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you!

  3. Phil

    Sheila – Thanks for directing some more stuff towards men and yes…I really did come here to talk about sex….but got so much more…and one of the many reasons I stick around is because I want to understand my wife better so I learn from you women talking about what to do wad what not to do. Today Grace listened in a bit and I got some feedback…so very helpful…and maybe this is repettive but it i pretty clear to me that both many men and women hold false beliefs not only how to get sex started but based on how sex should go once your there… very helpful today from both perspectives. Thanks again. Us guys who hang here appreciate it. BTW Keith… said at one point you were wondering why guys came here and hung out and you understand it now……Glad you made the party – now you are here LOL.

    • Nathan

      You got that right, Phil. I also stick around to better understand my wife, and this site helps a lot. Originally I showed up researching help for my buddy who was caught watching porn by his wife. On the plus side, I learned about Covenant Eyes and the concept of an “accountability partner”.

      While that part goes slow (overcoming a porn addiction doesn’t happen overnight),I stay here to help become a better hubby to the wife.

      So I’ll add a big thanks to Sheila and family and other posters! You all make a HUGE difference!

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Thanks for the encouragement, Nathan!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Keith actually had a lot of fun doing these podcasts with me over the last two weeks. We’re going to try to record more at night when he’s home!

      • Bethany

        You guys are so cute together! I love hearing you talk to each other. 🙂

        • Lydia Purple

          I really loved the podcasts you did with Keith. You guys are amazing together, and Keith’s voice is a treat to listen to, there is a gentle touch to his voice. I hope that doesn’t sound creepy or anything…

  4. Scott

    Thanks Shiela, Kieth, and Becca for doing this. I’m sure it will be helpful to many men.

    Personally, I’ve poured a ton of time reading this blog and similar ones to try to understand my wife. Though I’ve learned a lot and we’ve made much progress (particularly in non-physical areas), I’m still trying to solve the enigma that is her. As such, this intro podcast didn’t really introduce anything new for me, but I was glad to hear most of the bases covered and am looking forward to more specific topics in the future.

    I agree with Aspen above that the lack of man bashing is much appreciated.

    I also want to make a comment regarding “media” portrayal of women’s drives (as spontaneous and powerful). Although “in books” was mentioned (by Becca?) with respect to media, I hope you expand upon this in the future (for either women or men). I honestly have wondered if the dark-horse #1 problem with erotica isn’t its usage to arouse with impossible men, but instead the portrayal of the protagonist woman’s sex drive. My wife has read a ton of “romance novels”, and for a while I just assumed the problem was that I can’t compete against the likes of Jamie Frazier (because I can’t, seriously). Instead, I think the bigger problem is my wife comparing herself to Claire Frazier and assuming herself to be broken/not sexual! My wife openly admits that Jamie is an impossible man, but I’ve never heard her say that Claire has an unrealistic (or at least rare) sex drive. Maybe you’ve covered that in the past, as I haven’t read all your work on erotica, but I thought I should mention it.


    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That is a REALLY interesting point about Outlander, Scott. I’ve got to think about that one! That would definitely warrant a post. I think you’re right–the problem is not Jamie; it’s Claire, who obviously enjoys sex whenever and wherever, and it’s always amazing. It’s easy to think that we’re broken when we’re not Claire. Great point!

  5. Natalie

    Yay! I’m so glad you’re doing a men’s episode! And love having Keith on with you! (He has such a kind, soothing, nurturing, caring voice. I’m sure he’s excellent at his job, since those are key characteristics of someone who works with children).

    Looking back on my sexual history, I’m 100% certain that the reason I was “never” in the mood for sex and never felt like I was making the ascent towards orgasm when my husband stalemated me manually or orally is because I had totally, 100% turned off my sexuality mentally. I just didn’t allow my mind to go there. And that wasn’t something I intentionally did when I was with my husband either. That’s something that just came naturally when we started being sexual together. I blame decades of church indoctrination that sex was wrong; that’s a hard concept to let go of. (Even if the context was that it’s wrong before marriage, it’s SUPER easy for that important “before marriage” qualifier to get lost when it comes to what’s instilled in a child’s mind). It is AMAZING how much more receptive I am of his touches and sex in general now that I’ve come to terms with sex being okay and good in my mind. My husband doesn’t touch me or do anything differently. It’s my mindset that is different. IT CANNOT BE OVERSTATED TO GUYS HOW IMPORTANT A WOMAN’S MINDSET IS TO HER SEXUALITY (and thus libido).

    If you married a Christian woman and she’s either apprehensive about having sex )(or having sex as frequently as you want it or in the way you want it), don’t get angry at her. My guess would be (& obviously this doesn’t apply to all, but I’d wager it does to the majority, especially for Millennials/purity culture peeps) she’s just a good Christian girl who is trying to live her life as in-line with what she’s been taught a Christian woman and wife is. She needs to learn that duty/pity sex isn’t a virtue; she shouldn’t have to be a martyr in the marriage & playing that role doesn’t make her any more holy in God’s eyes. She needs to learn that sex is GOOD and beautiful and was made for her to enjoy to. I think the best thing a husband can do in this situation is be loving and empathetic and have genuine, curiosity-based conversations with her (note: NOT accusatory or whiny conversations) about her sexuality, her sexual history, and most importantly how she views sex and what she was taught about it.

    • Natalie

      lol, “stimulated” not stalemated. Haha, that’s a funny autocorrect. Many marriages can turn to stalemates in the bedroom – eek!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      So great, Natalie! It’s really cool to watch your journey from afar, too!

    • Scott

      Natalie (or any other woman with similar past mindset),

      Quick question on your comment. You said that your mind went 100% elsewhere with manual/oral, but was that also true of PIV?

      The reason I ask is that my wife and I went >12 yr without getting her an O until recently with the help of a marital aid (vibe) during PIV. We’ve been very successful since then, getting her one every time but once. However, we haven’t tried the aid without simultaneous PIV, and she is somewhat loathe to. I’m just wondering if this may be a non-PIV sex hookup that may have been a big contributing factor to our struggles in the past with oral/manual. For reference, my wife had O’d in her sleep during all four pregnancies before this, so her body is clearly capable, as evidenced by the wild success of PIV+aid.

      Thanks, and I understand if you consider this too personal to answer.


      • Natalie

        Your wife sounds a lot like me. I’ve never orgasmed from PIV, manual or oral. The only way I’ve ever orgasmed is with a vibrator. And orgasms come extremely easily for me too while pregnant, so it’s not like my body can’t do it.

        For me, when I say I mentally went elsewhere, I’m talking more of a “shut down” rooted in my spiritual beliefs/teachings: I consciously knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong since I was married, but my body didn’t seem to realize this. The only thing I can equate this to (without trying to detract from the suffering these women experience) is how one can mentally goes elsewhere during sexual abuse (or at least I’ve read that that can happen in abuse cases). It was like I just mentally checked out. And I wasn’t trying to do it either; that’s the thing! I wanted SOOO SOOO badly to orgasm and tried my hardest to force it. But obviously a mental state can’t be forced.

        From what I’ve gathered so far, the reason I’m still not orgasming (without a vibrator, that is) is due to inadequate stimulation & lack of foreplay. I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old, I’m breastfeeding full-time so my sex hormones are a little depressed (even though I do still want sex, which some breastfeeding moms don’t even want), my husband isn’t big on reading about new techniques and is hard for me to direct while in bed, he’s also working on improving his “game” (i.e. learning how to foreplay cuz I guess that doesn’t come naturally to some men… he’s in that group), and while my husband has been losing weight, he’s still severely obese which I 1) don’t find visually stimulating / can actually be very distracting during sex and 2) his belly/thighs make it difficult for either of us to reach my clit during PIV in most positions. So I know those are our issues. Once those are addressed or resolve on their own (like the kids growing up a little and not needing me so much), I’m sure me orgasming without a vibrator will be easier & we’ll have more time to practice. As it is, right now in life especially since we live in the middle of nowhere with no friends or family around to watch the kids for a night, I’m just using the vibrator to get my orgasms. My husband actually prefers it, since he doesn’t like orgasming on his own. I’m looking forward to when the time comes that we can dedicate more time to exploring & learning my body & how to make me orgasm.

        • Scott

          Hi Natalie,

          Thanks for responding. Congrats on the baby. Our youngest is a little older than yours and was about the age of yours when my wife became “touched out” and didn’t want to be near me, which led to me re-inventing our intimacy paradigm pretty much from the ground up (which is why I’m on these blogs!) She still is repulsed by kissing and any stroking touch (unless highly aroused), but she’s improving!

          Interesting description on the “go elsewhere mentally”. I’ve had to do that intentionally in order to last long enough for my wife to climax, and one time I couldn’t come back from it, leading to first-ever performance issues. We’re still trying to get things figured out… But wow, the concept of always being stuck there must’ve been nightmarish.

          Oh, and you probably know this already, but if you want extra stimulation during PIV but can’t reach, you might try a hands-free vibe like the Eva 2. We haven’t tried one ourselves. My wife and I were just both amazed to see surveys saying 20-30% of women have never O’d during PIV even with extra stimulation since that’s the only way she has (these surveys had 93+% orgasm success overall).

          To keep from getting too distracted from the original post, I did want to make suggestions for your husband… If you think he’s open to it, you should “suggest” he read a male- or neutral-focused Christian marriage blog. They’ve done wonders for me. My favorite is Uncovering Intimacy, but there are several others. If he wants something quick, The Generous Husband is great (1- or 2-min articles). And if he (or you) want something maybe a little more spicy or risqué, Married Christian Sex might be the ticket. That last one is often beyond anything I’m interested in right now, but it can be fun to read, LOL.

          Thanks again,


          • MidwestWife

            Scott- if your wife is breastfeeding it could very likely be due to that. I’ve never struggled with a sex drive prior to giving birth but had ZERO drive after. My husband and I had a rough one year after our daughter was born. Probably the worst of our 8 years of marriage. Our daughter is 18 months now and as such as been weaned down to breastfeeding a few times a day to the point hormones have regulated and this has been a game changer. Also I’m sure the lack of sleep further contributed to a decreased libido. All this to say postpartum is a beast, we women don’t even know how much it effects us until we are out of the thick of it. For my husband and I, it just required really honest, real communication.

          • Scott

            Midwest Wife,

            Thanks for your response. Yes, breastfeeding was certainly a big part of it. Her “touched out” state came in the last month or two of her breastfeeding our fourth, but even in the months since then she’s not wanting to be touched much. I wish it was more widely known/disseminated that these things can happen and are normal!

            We’re hoping that now that we’re done having kids (probably) her hormones will balance out and she can get back in shape. In the last ten years, there’s only been one 12-month window where she was more than a year past breastfeeding before getting pregnant again. She got into the best shape of her life, had a much better self image, and was far more sexually responsive then, so we’re hoping we can replicate that even though we’ll be 7 yr older now.


      • Jane Eyre


        Just a thought: it can be hard for people (maybe women in particular) to accept non-reciprocal sexual pleasure. If you’re having intercourse and using a vibrator to stimulate her, she knows she’s not being selfish – you’re getting sex! But it can be really, really hard to let the person you love best in the world do that for you and not give him anything in return.

        It’s a really crummy feeling to be physical and not enjoy it, or enjoy it far less than your husband. That can then make it hard (perhaps counterintuitively) to let him bring you pleasure without doing anything in return (at the moment). It just feels so selfish and you know how crummy it feels to be on the other side and have no desire to make him feel that way.

        One theory.

        • Scott

          Hi Jane,

          Thanks for the idea. I can certainly understand where you’re coming from, as I never O’d myself from oral back when my wife would do it and only managed once from her manually stimulating me. And I thoroughly enjoyed both but just couldn’t go!

          I just wish she’d be “selfish” sometime, because seeing her go (after being best friends for almost 14 yr and married for more than 12 yr without it) is really pleasurable for me! I’ll work on bringing it up, but she is much less sex positive than I am, so it may be a struggle for her to talk about openly.


          • Natalie

            I agree with Jane. Those selfish vs unselfish dynamics in the bedroom can be really difficult to get through.

            To answer your suggestions above, he’s not a big reader. And he’s not the kind of guy who would listen to a podcast on his own unless he’s in the car with me and I turn it on. He’s just not motivated to do stuff like that. I’d say I’m the more “high drive” spouse concerning self-improvement and always questioning “could ___ in my life be better?”. That’s just the way things are. I can make suggestions to him, but it sounds like they’ll be about as effective as you making sex suggestions to your wife. Just like your wife has to become more sex positive on her own and experience that journey for herself, my husband has to want to improve himself and his state in life for himself. That’s a concept I’ve finally come to terms with after trying to fight it and help him (or “change him”, some could argue) for a decade. Now I just give little suggestions here and there and give the rest to God.

          • Scott

            Hi Natalie,

            Thanks for the additional feedback. I just wanted to end by encouraging you not to think that your husband won’t go reading the resources you suggest. My wife surprised me one day by just casually saying “Today I read on Jay Dee’s blog…”. I about fell over and then thanked her profusely. While she IS a reader, I thought the likelihood of her reading a marriage blog was as high as you describe your husband’s. Maybe one difference is that my wife used to be much more into sex, and I know she “wants to want to” currently.


          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            That’s great that your wife is taking more of an interest!

  6. Active Mom

    Great post. I liked the millennial marriage part of the podcast. I have a question for you regarding how the commentator questioned the visual aspect of sexual attraction in men vs. women. I understand that men are wired to be more visually stimulated than women ( on average) but is this exaggerated by our messed up Christian teachings on human sexuality? In many churches it is preached that men are visual and will lust etc etc because they are wired that way. However, when I am out with girlfriends and we are getting coffee or lunch my non Christian friends will comment on men who walk by or are inside the building. They notice physical attributes. I wonder if it isn’t that women aren’t visually attracted but rather Christian women have been taught that anything sexual is wrong and a sin so they don’t express it. So, when studies are done, women raised in the church may or may not be honest or even recognize the physical attraction they had to a good looking man that walked by. Just curious. 🙂

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      I think that’s a really interesting question. In general, even outside the church, psychological studies have shown that purely physical attributes have lesser sexual value to women than they do to men. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value, it’s just that on average it’s going to matter more to men than it does to women. But I completely think it’s possible that teachings have made that gap even wider within the church, especially when you consider the kinds of things young girls are taught from as early as 10 or 11 about how boys can’t be trusted and they need to be the gatekeepers of sex.

      • Lisa Gottman

        Hi Rebecca,

        I loved your comments on the podcast responding to the guy who dismissed women’s self reported sexual responses to suits!

        Regarding differences in visual responses this new meta study may interest you. It states that reports of big differences are not correct but we’re based on subjective views of specific content. Perhaps they should have had more pictures of suits ha ha?

        “In conclusion, the present study provides comprehensive metaanalytic evidence that the neurocircuitries associated with sexual arousal do not differ in men and women independent of their sexual orientation.

        Visual sexual stimuli induce activation in the same cortical and subcortical regions in both men and women, while the limited sex differences that have been found and reported previously refer to subjective rating of the content.

        Therefore, our study contributes to the evidence-based characterization of sexual behavior and improves our understanding of neurobiological processes underlying response to sexual stimuli and arousal.“

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Lisa, I saw that study earlier this week and bookmarked it, too! It’s going to be in our next book. Really interesting stuff!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Absolutely it’s exaggerated. Research is even showing now that the idea that women are not visually stimulated is more culturally based. Women who are culturally taught that they aren’t visually stimulated often aren’t, but biologically, there’s not the basis that women aren’t that way naturally. Men still are MORE, but women are definitely visually stimulated.

      • EM

        Yep. I actually read Song of Solomon yesterday, and the beloved spends most of the book talking about how much she enjoys the way her lover looks.

        • EM

          But I still would rather look at my husband in a suit than in spandex 😂


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