Does the Way We Talk about Women’s Libidos Make Women Have No Libido?

by | Nov 11, 2019 | Libido, Uncategorized | 80 comments

Does the way that Christian marriage books talk about sex kill women's libidos?
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Personally, I think women’s libidos is largely in our heads. As in, what we think about libido determines our libido.

So what is it that we’re told to think?

Well, let’s do a comparison here.

Decades ago, boys took a lot of math and did most of the math jobs.

Now, I’m about to say something controversial here, but I just want to use this as an illustration, and I’m not trying to make a political point. So don’t get too mad, okay?

We do know, from population studies and tests, that males are marginally better at math than females overall (the bell curve for boys and math tends to be wider than for girls, meaning that there are marginally more male math geniuses, but also more male math dunces. But for both sexes, the vast majority fall in the middle). And individual females can certainly be better than individual males (just watch the awesome movie Hidden Figures. Seriously. It’s great.).

Therefore, we know that, if everything were left to pure biology and not to culture, in general men and women would perform pretty much equally at math. While the very few math geniuses would be more likely to be male, both men and women would do well at math, and could certainly have careers in math.

But what happened for decades, even centuries, was that girls were told, “you’re not good at math. You don’t like math.”

And so girls didn’t tend to take math. They took English. They took languages. They studied history and philosophy. And the boys took math.

It wasn’t that the girls weren’t good at math. They just weren’t interested in math. They didn’t see math as important to them. They believed that they couldn’t “get” math. And so they left it alone.

Then we started talking differently about math to girls. We told girls, “you can do math! Math is fun!”

When they came out with a Barbie a few years ago that said, “Math is hard!”, education heads exploded all over the world, and the Barbie was quickly recalled. Girls started to believe, “math is for me, too!” And more and more girls take math today.

What’s the difference?

We stopped talking about math as if it were only for boys, and we started talking about math as if it were for girls, too.

Biologically, that’s the correct message. Sure, there may be marginally more male math super-geniuses, but in general, girls are just as good at math. Yet if we had simply continued to talk about math as if it were only for boys, would girls be taking math today? (I understand there are still more boys than girls in STEM, but it is changing).

UPDATE: Please see addendum at the bottom of this post

Now, let’s leave math for a second and turn back to libido. The overlapping bell curves with libido are more pronounced than with math–men, biologically, do tend to have higher libidos than women. (With math, there’s much closer overlap). However, that doesn’t mean that women don’t have libidos! It just means that in population studies, worldwide, women don’t tend to have as high a libido as men do.

But just because men have higher libidos in general, that doesn’t mean that women don’t have libidos. 

Christian marriage books tend to talk about sex as a man’s need that a wife has to fulfill, because she doesn’t have the same need. What if THAT is part of the problem?

However, how have we talked about libido?

We talk as if it’s all or nothing–men want sex and women don’t. Best-selling marriage books like Love & Respect talk about sex as being only about a husband’s physical release, and don’t even mention a wife wanting sex. Doesn’t even come into play one iota. Women’s libidos are completely ignored.

What is the effect of ignoring of women’s libidos on women’s actual libidos?

Like with math, if women grow up hearing, “Men want sex but women don’t,” how will women tend to think of themselves?

I’m a woman, so I don’t really want sex or like sex. I certainly don’t need sex.

Is it any wonder that many women suffer from low libido?

Does the way that Christian marriage books talk about sex kill women's libidos? Can we stop talking as if women never want sex?

​And what has the response been from those writing about sex and marriage?

They simply reinforce the stereotype, which makes everything worse. 

I was browsing through the book His Needs, Her Needs recently, which has been another best-selling marriage book for almost three decades now. It says, very clearly, that for men sex is a felt need, while for women it is not. It talks about how men just need sex more than women do, and how most women could take it or leave it. In his book, the “first thing she can’t do without” is affection, and the “first thing he can’t do without” is sex. Now, I do believe that for most women, affection is by far the greater felt need than sex, and for most men, sex is the greater felt need. However, to frame sex as being a man’s need, and not a woman’s need, just reinforces this whole problem. That’s why, in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I explained in detail the benefits of sex for the woman, and why we need to make more of an effort–not just for his sake, but for our sake, too!

God made sex to be AWESOME!

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

Feel like something’s missing?

Even though Willard Harley, the author of His Needs, Her Needs, spent a long time telling couples how to make sure she’s physically satisfied, the reason given for this was not even for her benefit! It was for the husband’s benefit. He ends the chapter saying this:

Many women don’t understand their own sexuality well enough to know how to enjoy meeting a husband’s compelling need for sex. In order to satisfy her husband sexually a wife must also feel satisfied.

Willard Harley

His Needs, Her Needs

So her satisfaction is still ultimately about him. Does anyone else find that odd?

Is it healthy to downplay women’s libidos if you want Christian marriages to thrive?

Sure, many women may report that they have no libidos. But we know that biologically there’s no reason that women can’t desire sex, too. Just because men may desire sex more does not mean that women can’t desire sex.

But if libido for women is largely determined by how we think about sex, then how does reinforcing this “men want sex but women don’t” message help marriages?

When educators realized that girls weren’t going into math, despite most girls having great propensity for math, they did something about it. They started talking about math as something that girls could enjoy and master, too. They didn’t reinforce a negative stereotype; they worked to break it.

Why, in the Christian world, do we instead reinforce a stereotype about libido that does nobody any good?

Why don’t we simply talk about sex the way that it was intended–where it would be part of an intimate, passionate relationship that satisfied both people in the marriage?


For more on this:


A guy named Scott left an interesting comment on the blog a while ago. This is part of what he said:

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 Fraser [from the Outlander books] (because I can’t, seriously). Instead, I think the bigger problem is my wife comparing herself to Claire Fraser and assuming herself to be broken/not sexual!

Scott, Commenter on the blog

I think he’s spot on. This is less a comment on Outlander (and it’s not an endorsement of Outlander), but continuing with his thought: in the books, Claire is highly sexual. She wants sex as much as her husband does, and she enjoys sex. Women reading this can feel demoralized in their sex lives–not because their husband isn’t a Scottish 18th century hunk, but because they don’t picture themselves as sexual.

 

Let’s stop reinforcing a stereotype that hurts everyone, and let’s start calling out how God actually created us.

Many women simply think that we aren’t sexual beings, and Christian books and speakers need to stop reinforcing this.

Yes, more men than women consider sex a felt need. Yes, more men than women have higher sex drives. But that does not mean that women aren’t sexual at all, or that we don’t have libidos; and it also doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about the issue in a more biblical, mutual way. And if you’re struggling with this, my Boost Your Libido course can help!

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.

Maybe if we started talking about libido the way that we started talking about math, we’d change things.

Let’s stop reinforcing a stereotype that hurts everyone, and let’s start calling out how God actually created us.

Girls can be good at math just like boys, and women can enjoy sex just like men can. Personally, I think the reason Outlander was such a huge success (again, not an endorsement) is not because Jamie was hunky but because women desperately, desperately want to be like Claire. So let’s show women that they can be! Let’s talk about that as if it’s the norm. Let’s help girls grow up expecting that they will enjoy sex and like sex, rather than talking about sex as being all for men, and men as being all about lust, and women as being all about temptresses. Women aren’t the gatekeepers of men’s sexuality; women have sexuality, too! And if we talked about that, I think we’d do a lot better, for everyone.

What do you think? Is this “men need sex but women don’t” the message you grew up hearing? What effect did that have on you? Have you read other books that reinforced this message? Let’s talk in the comments!


This is going to be post #1 in a 3-part mini-series. I have some other posts I need to run in the meantime, but on Friday I’ll talk about why sex should be a vital part of marriage, and women need to see it that way. And then on Monday we’ll talk about what to do if you just find sex off-putting.

UPDATE: So my husband read this and then shot me a text to say that I was totally wrong about the math stuff! I was basing it on some studies that we learned in university that have since been debunked. He sent me this link to a Quirks and Quarks podcast that he listened to recently talking about women’s brains and science, and how there actually isn’t a difference. And on Twitter and in the comments other people shared his really cool link from NPR about women’s brains. So super cool! That’s really neat that that’s been debunked.

So let’s think this through again. For centuries women WERE just as good as men at math, but they were told they didn’t like math, so they believed it and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. With libido, men tend to have higher felt libidos, but it’s not like the average guy is at 100 and the average woman is at 0. No, the average guy is at 80 and the average woman is at 60. She still has a libido! And many, many women have higher libidos than their husbands! But when we tell women, “you don’t want sex”, we suppress what is natural in them. And it needs to stop.

I was totally wrong about math. But I stand by what I said about libido! 🙂 And thanks for teaching me something today, everybody!

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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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80 Comments

  1. T

    I think it’s partly this but it’s also partly the way sex is framed before marriage for women. In my youth group it was wrong but ‘normal’ that boys would have sex before marriage and that boys would tempt you and entice you and encourage you towards sex before marriage. That is the way it was framed. Wrong but expected they would do it / try to do it.

    For girls it was dirty and shameful. Even if as a women you have a libido it’s hard to turn off the ‘dirty and shameful’ message just because you are married. Sex still seems somehow gross and icky. This is me. I think I do have a decent libido but I find the act of sex yucky and a bit shameful in the light of day. (I’ve been married almost 8 years now, we have two children with another on the way and an ok sex life. Could be better (read: more frequent)).

    So yes women have libidos. But when we are told that bad and shameful for the first (well I was married at 30 so 30 years) of our life then get married. Boom. Overnight it’s magically and beautiful and spiritual? I think not. It’s still yucky and gross and shameful for many women. To this day I still feel gross after sex and the negative feelings I have are I think directly related to how it’s portrayed before marriage.

    So both needs to change. How it’s portrayed libido wise and how it’s portrayed before marriage for BOTH men and women.

    Reply
    • Mora

      I’m not intending to make any assumptions here, but I wanted to address your comment about “overnight it’s magical and beautiful and spiritual” because it reminds me a lot of what I was told and not what I experienced. From a Christian woman in my life, she had sex before she was married and knew it was wrong, and getting married didn’t change those feelings for her. She still felt ashamed. Like you said, it didn’t suddenly become not negative overnight.

      However, for me, I was a virgin on my wedding night. I was fearful, but I trusted my new husband with everything. I expected to feel ashamed. But, as soon as we jumped in, I did NOT feel that way. It wasn’t magical by any means, but I didn’t feel an ounce of shame. Again, no assumption here, because I understand how strong the messages we’re given can be to our feelings behavior. However, if I hadn’t been told that it would feel shameful, then I might’ve been a little more excited. I might’ve spent less time worrying that other people knew we’d leaving the wedding and “do it” and more time feeling free, knowing it was right and good and it didn’t matter what other people thought. Honestly, my non-believing friends were way more excited and happy about the subject, despite disagreeing about it belonging in marriage. They were the ones that made me feel at all excited about it!

      I think this is Sheila’s whole point, and yours too. But, we have to remember that it IS right and good and that’s how we are supposed to feel. I didn’t learn much before I was married about the TRUTH about sex and marriage. It was mixed messages from all sides. Now that I’ve learned to frame it from a biblical perspective, I intend to equip my children and help those in my sphere break the cycle of sexual brokenness.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        That’s wonderful, Mora! I think that’s great that this next generation really is thinking about good ways to do it differently for their kids.

        Reply
    • A.W.

      Yes! Sex was always portrayed as a sin when I was growing up (for girls, of course, boys were expected to lust), and I didn’t even know women could orgasm until I was 20 years old. Pleasurable sex was for men, and it was our duty as wives to give it to them, but we weren’t expected to enjoy it. This (and purity culture) was extremely hard on my marriage. “Sex is wrong” was so drilled into my mind that it took FIVE years for me to be comfortable enough to start enjoying it. I thought I was broken, that something was wrong with me. Turns out there was nothing wrong with me physically, of course, but getting past all the baggage mentally was a huge struggle. Something needs to change.

      Reply
      • Belle Grace

        AW, I listened to an interview of a woman who had left a polygamous sect after 20+yrs, 10+kids yrs later. And the one thing she said that stuck out at me was that they were taught that…intimacy was a sin. But sex for procreation was demanded.

        Intimacy was regarded as sin but forced sex/rape wasn’t.

        How telling is that those males trained their women to deny themselves intimacy. Probably because if women started telling those males what they like & dislike sexually will ruin those males fun.

        Reply
    • Bree

      T,

      I totally agree with you on this. I was taught the same thing and at times still feel this way. I think its easier for me because I am still in my 20s. We have been married 3.5 years and it has caused issues in the first 3 years for sure. Only in the past 6 months have I really been researching and learning. We have 2 small children right now as well so not much time is set aside for exploring love making.

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great thoughts, T! I think it’s because in youth groups girls are told they’re the gatekeepers, really. Boys will push your boundaries, and so you need to be always on guard. But that “always on guard” has ramifications once we’re married. It’s hard to get out of that mindset! We need a better way to talk about how to save sex for marriage than just “Girls, stay hyper vigilant because his hands are going to wander.”

      Reply
      • D

        I certainly feel on guard much of the time. I also feel like there’s no room for my desire to grow. Picture being in a closed space with two clouds and the one takes more than the other and begins to push the other one into the smallest possible space. It’s a bit like being suffocated. I think if I had more space to breathe life into my desire it might actually exist.

        Reply
    • Becky

      I agree, T, though it’s not just a youth group message. I also didn’t marry until I was in my 30s, and over the course of my 20s, I read multiple Christian books marketed towards post-teenage singles. Most of these were geared towards women, and I can’t recall any piece of advice about healthy ways to think about sexuality when you’re unmarried. If it was brought up at all, the clear message was to channel all of that energy and frustration into serving God. So any time I found myself wondering what I was missing out on, or wanting to know what sex felt like, all I knew to do was just to shut those feelings down. Really, I shouldn’t be surprised that my body followed suit, or that I still struggle with getting aroused or even wanting sex at all. There really needs to be better resources for the single women who want to follow God’s plan to wait, without internalizing all of the shame and guilt over even being curious.

      Reply
    • CharitySolvesMostProblems

      I really like how you phrased the way boy’s sexual desire was framed. The “wrong but normal” message is so disgusting and harmful – for boys and girls.
      For boys, it tells them that the “normal” (heard as: the way God made them) is to lust after women and that it is almost inevitable that they will fail to remain pure – but that it’s God’s will that they resist “normal”. They aren’t shown the real normal, natural way that a real man acts: devoted to one wife, loving as Christ was loving, bringing his sinful desires BACK to the natural attraction to his spouse. Instead, the sinful desires are taught as something that is natural and normal, although they are also something that he needs to resist. There’s no teaching that he will eventually be able to master himself and harness his own biological drives with the strength of Christ in him – and that this is true manhood. Boyhood sexuality is taught as a perpetual male struggle.

      On the girls side, this teaching is damaging, too. Girls grow up being taught that all boys naturally want to treat females as primarily sex objects. While this is obviously not true, the pervasive teaching can have the effect of creating a scenario where the young girls think either: all boys are animals and can’t understand love or: boys have this need that is supposed to be evil but is natural for them, so I have to be understanding and supportive. It’s a self-contradicting thought pattern that bypasses God in an effort to fulfill Biblical rules for the sake of legalistic church culture. It certainly has the effect of killing any libido or attraction that Christian girls might feel for boys (and Christian women for men), and it paints boys into a corner where they are told that they are doomed to be self-loathing and evil if they are sexual and almost impotent if they are Christian.
      If a sexual Christian seems like an oxymoron, then something is VERY wrong. I grew up with this, too, and it has taken a lot of work to understand the misuse of scripture. It’s hard for me to not be extremely angry at the adults who taught this mindset to me and my peers when we were kids.

      On a side note: a man who has mastered his own desires is seriously the most attractive guy! I would rank that quality above almost everything else when it comes to attraction. It shows a level of raw strength that is hard to find!

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I love this synopsis! It’s right on.

        Reply
    • Katie

      I distinctly remember feeling like I was shameful because I didn’t fit the normal stereotype for Christian women. I was curious about sex, when I got married I realized I had a higher drive then my friends and even to an extent my husband. I am needed without shamed and thought it was a byproduct of sin in my life. Funny thing was as God freed me from that I found there were a few of my girlfriends that felt the exact same way and pretended to have low drives around other friends so they wouldn’t be perceived as lustful or temptress

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I think this is far more common than we acknowledge!

        Reply
      • Hannah

        So much this. I have always had a really high libido and I was the only one of my friends who would even admit I wanted sex at all (or heck, even thought about sex) for YEARS. It really messed me up, and I thought I was broken for a long, long time.

        And yeah, I need sex. Just like most people. We do women a huge disservice when we try to convince them otherwise.

        Reply
        • Tory

          Me too! I always had a high sex drive but thought I must be weird, and definitely never discussed it with anyone … until I found this blog and discovered I’m not alone! Virtual high-five to the other high-drive wives!

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I’m seriously curious to see if the numbers have shifted in high drive wives since I did my survey in 2010 for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. Be sure to get your voice heard in my new survey!

          • T

            I haven’t come back to this article since I first posted just because I’ve been so busy but I’m glad I’m not alone. The way we talk about sex needs to change.

    • MW

      Yes! Women feeling the need to be amazing (the claire Frazier example) or feeling like they don’t measure up to today’s incredible/ unreachable singers/ movie stars/ influencer standards. Like they are not sexy enough.

      When in reality all it takes is love, enthusiasm and minimal effort to have a good healthy sex life with a husband that is already attracted to you.

      Reply
  2. AJ

    I think we often get hung up on looking at this issue from an individual standpoint instead of considering it from a ‘two become one’ view. It shouldn’t be viewed from men need sex and woman don’t or vice versa. It should be viewed from the standpoint of WE need GREAT sex because it makes every part of OUR marriage relationship better. As a man, I do believe we have a physical need for release that woman don’t have, but sex is far more than a physical release. Nothing any human being can do for me could ever make me feel more loved, wanted and accepted than being intimate with my wife. As my wife and I have grown closer, and I have learned to better understand her libido, I believe sex for her is almost 100% in her head. If we do some flirty texting throughout the day or maybe I leave her a little sexy flirty note somewhere she is sure to find it I can almost guarantee she will be hot to trot sometime that evening. Also, it wasn’t until she was able to disregard all previous negative presuppositions about sex that she started really experiencing the sexual pleasure that her body was designed to experience. Nothing really changed about the physical method in which I help here receive pleasure. It was all about her deciding that sex is and should be pleasurable. This only came through alot of talking and relationship growth which allowed her to fully trust and believe that there is nothing I want more than to help here experience pleasure. Once she experienced maximum sexual pleasure, here desire for sex increased exponentially!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great thoughts, AJ! That’s exactly it. Sex is supposed to be mutual. It’s supposed to be about US. But that also does mean that it has benefits for women–including a greater sense of intimacy. I just didn’t like the way that Harley worded it–that she owed HIM her sexual pleasure. No, it’s about what both of you have together! That counts, too. She’s a part of the equation, and together we experience something amazing that helps both of us.

      Reply
  3. Chris

    Sheila, while I agree that women might indeed be envious of Claire Frasers libido, they might also be thinking “i would have a higher libido too if I had Jamie Fraser”

    Reply
    • Brievel

      I might disagree. I did something the other night while the baby was keeping me up that I never do – I watched a chick flick. It was cute and shallow and idealized, but I found that… I wasn’t at all attracted to the lead male. He checked all the cultural boxes, and he was kind of cute objectively speaking, he just… did not a thing for me. Zilch. Like Sheila said, I found myself comparing myself to Brooke far more than comparing my husband to Cole. (I don’t remember comparing my husband to Cole at all, actually.)

      Reply
  4. Bree

    Yes! I find that so much of what I was taught when I was younger needs to be rewired, retrained, or totally disregarded. This has not helped our marriage but hurt it. Women are taught to suppress their feelings and desires until marriage (especially the catholics) abstain until marriage. So I waited with great anticipation only to be let down. And to realize I need to learn about my body and to let go. That my feelings and desires for sex and intimacy are normal and healthy. For most of my marriage I always thought the guy was supposed to initiate and have the higher sex drive. But slowly i’m learning that I can have a drive as well.

    Reply
    • clb

      I take issue with the statement: “Women are taught to suppress their feelings and desires until marriage (especially the catholics) abstain until marriage”. We’re Catholic, and my wife and my daughters have never been told to suppress their feelings and desires. Of course, refraining from sex until marriage is expected, because sex before marriage is a lie – it’s saying with your bodies (I give myself completely to you, without any reservations or holding anything back) something that cannot be true until you are married. Waiting was hard, but it was also good…and our marriage (and sex life) are better for it.

      Reply
  5. Nathan

    You can see something similar in abusive relationships. A man will tell his wife/girlfriend that she’s stupid, ugly, unloved, etc. until she comes to believe it.

    The same things can happen with love and sex. Being taught from day 1 that “nice girls” don’t like or want sex, people come to believe it. Then, as soon as they get married, they’re supposed to immediately reverse a lifetime of teaching. Not easy to do,

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes. It’s about living up to expectations, and it’s a very common thing in human behaviour. I just can’t figure out why pastors don’t get this?

      Reply
    • A

      Thank you for pointing this out. I came out of an abusive relationship and it took me years to get all of the bad names he called me out of my head.

      On that point, the men have to to have sex as a physical release line is utter nonsense. God didn’t create every man to be married. Are they saying that men have to have sex or else? Well, that creates a big problem for the celibate men (especially if masturbation is an off limits topic).

      But, back to the men have to have sex line, imagine the horror of having to have sex with a man who is abusing you (it’s horrible – rape is an appropriate word). And then add to that the teaching that men have to have sex every ___ days or else. It’s an absolute recipe for disaster for those women who are unfortunately married to monsters.

      Reply
  6. Nathan

    Pastors are like everybody else. They’re part of the chain. Many of them likely grew up in the same culture and mindset and are just passing it along. Overcoming this will take time and work and will likely be a slow process.

    Reply
  7. Mike

    I like this article because I’m hoping it will encourage the female readers to share their experience growing up single and getting married in a church environment. That outpour will be positive and educational.
    My wife and I had the same experience with church…. Premarital intimacy is bad. Married sex is great! So I’m curious about other perspectives.

    Still I have heartburn over the math and TV examples. If ONLY math SAT scores were used for admissions to elite universities, the IVY league would be at least 66% male, rather than 50%. Secondly, the show outlander is basically feminist porn. Some of the women at work watch it and discuss, and I wouldn’t want my wife to view Claire as a wife to emulate or even worse… envy.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Mike, if ONLY the essay portion of the SAT were considered, then the Ivy League would be 66% female. Math is not all that goes into intelligence.

      As I said about Outlander (and again, twice I said this is not a recommendation, and I only brought it up because a commenter did), I think many women do want to be as free sexually as Claire is. From talking to women, it’s less about Jamie and more about Claire. Most women would love higher libidos and to be more responsive sexually, but we have no idea how to get there, and much of that is from teaching (or lack thereof) as the comments show.

      Reply
  8. Belle Grace

    Well society has set men up to not know or appreciate good sex. They’ve pretty much been indoctrinated in the belief that sex is just a physical act for a man to enjoy & if the woman doesn’t…something must be wrong with her. This same society never taught men to question whether their entire sex performance was good or not. The world pretty much set men up for failure if they end up with women who won’t play by the rules to just submit to anything. A man who hasn’t been taught to want mutual sex…won’t ever say that a woman just lying their not enjoying herself has a libido problem.

    The world likes to blame women’s libidos for men’s lack of sex…but won’t hold men accountable for messing their access to sex up. Many women love sex…but their husbands aren’t giving them a reason to just give it up.

    Society paints women as the “gatekeepers” to sex. But the world never asks men…what aren’t you doing as a man to entice the woman to open her gate? It’s not always something medical keeping that gate closed…sometimes it’s the way a is person trying to barge in. Books on sex portray women as fire breathing dragons BLOCKING their gates. Women aren’t blocking their gates…their protecting & waiting for their men to ease the gate open with care.

    It’s not fair to attack & blame the libido’s of women for keeping their gate closed. Most times women don’t have a reason to open their gates…if their men are just trying to force their way & throw rocks at the gate.

    Man & the world purposely portray women as either… trophies, villains or scapegoats.

    All 3 labels are ONLY determined by how that particular man’s desires are or aren’t met.

    If a woman likes sex too much…she’s called a slut…but the man chasing her still gets portrayed as the hero for getting another notch on his belt.

    If a man has to beg & coerce a woman for sex until she gives up…he’s still portrayed as a hero getting the trophy.

    If a man can’t get sex regardless of how rotten he acts…society will call him a victim…& that woman is the villain denying him of his trophy.

    Even if a woman gets raped by a stranger…society will still look for a way to blame the rape victim…because it doesn’t want to hold that man accountable.

    Reply
    • Maria

      Too many times, what you’ve outlined is exactly how it happens. I agree that society in general has abusive attitudes about women and sex. I try to remind myself that good men exist, so that I don’t lose perspective. And it seems to me that society is slowly changing for the better. That does not undo the harm that toxic teachings are doing. Just gives me hope that eventually, society will achieve harmony between women and men.

      Reply
      • Belle Grace

        Maria, I think for society to get better we just need for the good men to start calling out the bad ones for their corrupt behavior. Men respect & take criticism better when it comes from another man. They hold themselves more accountable also. I’d love to see the day when good guys spoke up &…condemned with locker room talk as lies, made sure their sons, bros, friends etc knew that no means no, made sure their sons knew how to treat women right, or husbands talking about how to make their marriages better , etc. Seriously I hate it when the goods guys won’t call out the bs that the bad ones say & do. It really makes you question their integrity.

        Reply
  9. nylse

    To answer the question – NO. Women like men are created with libidos and there should be no guilt in a Christian around satisfying such (now to read the post!)

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      HA!

      Reply
  10. Trisha Moller

    Hi Sheila and gals,
    I totally understand your analogy and agree about nature/nuture both playing a role in how we view our skills. However, as a math professor, I am highly sensitive to how things are worded, especially around mathematics. Just be clear that males are NOT better at math overall, even with a large sample space population taken statistically.

    Here’s a biological and chemical way to look at things: Brain scans don’t lie: The minds of girls and boys are equal in math. Several studies have already debunked the myth that boys are innately better at math than girls, and new brain images offer more proof.
    Read in CNN: https://apple.news/AmvzYAx_oRx2_OM0UmvfzOA

    I know this is totally not your main focus of the article but since you are such a powerful influence and your opinion is highly regarded, I wanted to make sure that you had this information as well.
    Thank you for all that you do!!!!
    Trisha Moller

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Trisha–agree with you for 95% of the population, but aren’t there also more male geniuses and more male dunces? Like that the bell curve is more spread out? It’s like that for women for other things, too. The effects are really only at the margins, so they don’t apply for the vast majority of the population, I thought. And again–doesn’t mean that there aren’t women who are awesome at math.

      Reply
  11. Arwen

    Sheila, i agree with you, how we think does have a huge impact on how we act, the Biblical affirmations in Philippians 4:8, Proverbs 23:7. and others.

    I do have a question for you though. Do you think this type of teaching, that women suppressing their sexual feelings, tend to have a greater impact on women who already have lower libidos? Because i can’t imagine this having any effect on women with high libidos like me. A while back you posted an article on women and porn and the writer said even though she grew up in purity culture it had no effect on her because at the end of the day you can’t ignore your body’s urges.

    I didn’t grow up in purity culture but i did hear the message as an adult that sex always being addressed to men, however, i ignored it because clearly my body was screaming with with desire so i just dismissed the message as being wrong. Basically those teachings and propaganda tend to work on people who are weak or gullible, if i may use those words. It’s like faith healers who tell you your sickness is gone the gullible believe them ignoring their body’s signs while the wise go and seek medication.

    I feel like messages like this only works and affirms people/women who already have low libidos. I just have a difficult time seeing how this is going to work on women who have high sex drives as i’m sure if the message were to flip and men were taught from a young age that sex is only for women there is NO WAY that teaching will work on them, due to their high drive. What’s your thoughts if my question makes any sense.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s a really interesting question, Arwen. I hope in our focus groups for our surveys that maybe we can get to the bottom of that!

      I do think that if you grow up seeped in that culture, it may prevent you from developing what would otherwise be a high libido? I’m not sure. But certainly the percentage of women with higher libidos is different among different cultures, so there must be some cultural factors that can suppress it?

      Reply
  12. Freedom

    When I look at my own growth in sexuality, and being free to be me with my husband, resulting in a high sex drive/frequent sex/and orgasming easily, I see it’s really been freedom gained from seeing the truth about sex how the Creator would want me to. Some of my struggles were due to a wrong view of men, because of not seeing good men in my life. Some of it was from growing up being sexually harassed in high school.
    Some of it was from growing up during the purity culture and bad teaching. Some of it was from marrying a man who didn’t grow up with the love he needed and didn’t know how to be open and to love me well. Thankfully, all of this has changed. God has changed me and my hubby. Today, after 18 yrs of marriage, I see sex in light of how God would want me too (more and more at least), and a lot of it I have learned on this website. I think if you or your wife struggles with libido, freedom comes ultimately from the Lord and seeing sex how He means for it to be.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Isn’t that wonderful? That’s what I want for everyone! To understand passion and vulnerability and intimacy and all of that. I think when we understand why God created sex like He did, it does free us up!

      Reply
  13. Michelle

    Interesting. I’ve never really thought of it this way. I was mostly home schooled growing up, and while my mom had “the talk” with us, we didn’t talk about it farther than the biological, medical book version. I didn’t start attending church until I was in high school (right before I became a Christian), so I wasn’t exposed to the purity culture in the same way as most who grew up in church. After I got married, my husband (who went to public school and grew up in church) was surprised that I actually enjoyed things, because he’d always “known” that women just don’t like it. But I was never told not to like it, or that I should or shouldn’t enjoy it. From my data point of 1, you’re spot on! Also, I like math 😉

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yay for liking math! And yay for having a libido! I think it would be fascinating to do a study one day on both women and men who grew up in church vs. who didn’t grow up in church. Really fascinating!

      I hope some of my survey will get at that. IF YOU HAVEN’T DONE THE SURVEY YET (anyone reading this), please do it! Thank you!

      Reply
  14. Ali

    Is there any effect of this way of thinking/talking on how men perceive women who actually DO have higher libidos? I was raised as a Christian but not in the especially conservative types of communities that preach this message heavily, so I was taught that sex should be reserved for a husband and wife, but that sex is a beautiful, intimate, and enjoyable thing for a husband and wife to share. So for me it never had the negative connotations that so many women seem to struggle with. I’ve found that I’m a very sensual person and genuinely enjoy sex. My husband, however, is the son and grandson of pastors in a very conservative denomination, and while we are too old to have been caught up in the purity culture movement, I know he was raised in a much more conservative culture than I was. He is a very attentive, caring lover, and the sex we have is almost always amazing (both in my own opinion and according to what he tells me on his end). However, in spite of this, he hardly ever wants to have sex. It’s as if we only have sex when he reaches the point where he can’t hold out anymore, but otherwise he refrains. If I try to flirt with him, touch him temptingly, or “test the waters” in any way, I get one of two distinct responses: if he’s already in the mood (which is very rarely), he’ll respond positively, but 80-90% of the time, I get what I think of as his “pearl-clutching response.” He’ll look at me in surprise and act as if he’s shocked and even a little dismayed that I would say/do such a thing. (And I’m not at all crass – even something as simple as “Wow, it’s really cold in this house today…maybe you could help me warm up a little later….” is met with this response.) And then I end up feeling disappointed and demoralized and even dirty, because he acts like I’m being inappropriate for even alluding to having sex with him.

    Do you think that there are men who have been raised with this idea that women shouldn’t have libidos who are put off when they marry a woman who actually does?? I always felt that (at least from a sexual standpoint) I would make some man a very happy husband one day, because I felt confident that I would enjoy sex and would always enjoy having it frequently. I thought my husband would think, “Wow! I know a lot of women don’t enjoy sex so I really lucked out in finding a woman who does!” But that has definitely not been my experience. I’ve always wondered if his upbringing contributes to his lack of desire. The sex is so good when we do have it, and I’ve tried to think of it as “quality over quantity,” but I don’t understand why he wouldn’t want to have more of it if it really is so good.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s a very interesting question. I think this message may definitely affect men, too. Sexual desire on their part is equated with lust which is bad, and which they have to suppress, so they don’t feed their sex drive. And then when a woman has one, it is “pearl clutching”, as you said. I’d love to explore this idea more. One day we’re going to do a survey of men as well, and that’s definitely something I’ll include! (but if you haven’t done our survey for women, you can here!).

      Reply
      • Ali

        Thank you for your response. I’ve tried to ask my husband about his upbringing and get at the root of his feelings on sex, but I haven’t gotten very far. I would be very interested to see a survey of men, particularly men who have been raised in very conservative communities. That would be enlightening, I think. And I’ve already taken your survey, so I’m anxious to see the results!

        Reply
  15. Andrea

    I think we could also say that men’s libido is largely in their heads. Just imagine how women would act if we were told since a young age that we have an uncontrollable sex drive and won’t be able to stop ourselves from lusting even after teenage boys in our church?! That’s the message most men grow up with. (Now that I’ve typed that out, I feel it’s still better to be a woman who’s told that she has not libido than a man who’s taught that he is naturally rape-y).

    This blog post reminded me of studies on how people internalize stereotypes about themselves. One study examined math ability according to gender (men are supposed to be better than women) and race (Asians are supposed to be superior to other races) by giving Asian women math tests. Does the score even out for them? Are they better at math than white women, but worse than Asian men? Well, it turns out that depends on whether they are “primed” to think about their race or gender immediately prior to taking the test. The ones who were asked to identify their gender on top of the paper did worse than the ones who were asked to identify their race. In other words, reminding Asian women that they’re women made them perform worse, but reminding them they’re Asian made them perform better.

    Reply
    • Andrea

      Also, since I brought up race with math, when it comes to sex, let’s not forget that it’s WHITE women who have always been portrayed as being less sexual than men, while both black men and women have historically been depicted as being overly sexual, which has lead to lynchings of the former and rape of the latter.

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Really interesting! I do think that there’s a huge downside for men growing up being told they’re rape-y, as you said. That’s why I’ve made such a big deal about how noticing is not lusting. We do need to free men from stereotypes, too!

      Reply
    • Mike

      Nope. It’s not in our heads.

      I received the same messages about premarital intimacy my whole young single life. Don’t have it!

      Those messages had zero influence on my drive. I wasn’t interested in girls and then I was.

      Puberty is real.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Mike, what you heard were very different messages from what women heard. You heard, “Don’t have it! But you will want it. It will be a big temptation. But don’t have it!”

        Women heard, “Don’t have it! And you will tempt boys. They will stare at your chests. Grown men will look at your figure. You owe it to men to cover up, or they will lust after you.”

        Those are very different messages. Can you just try to imagine for a second the different experiences that women went through? (Sorry commenters who are just joining in now, but it’s been a week trying to talk to Mike about how he may not understand what it is that women experience.)

        Reply
  16. Tory

    Not only does this message hurt women, it hurts men as well. I’ve had many arguments with my husband because I was taught that “men want sex all the time, they will want it no matter what, and it is your job to give it to your husband” — well, my guy doesn’t fit that mold, he is very relational, he’s not interested in sex if our relationship is rocky, sometimes he’s just too tired, he has never really liked quickies or “just for him sex”— but this was unacceptable to me because I thought that guys wanted sex all the time no matter what. And so that led me to feel undesired and like there was something wrong with both of us. And so I think messages that state “all men are like this, and all women are like that” can be very harmful because people are more complex than that.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      So very true! That’s something I’m going to talk about a lot in my new book.

      Reply
      • Anna

        Maybe I’m just weird. But after 33 years of marriage, I am tired of having sex when I really don’t want to. Realky, really tired of it. And sometimes the way this blog talks about sex discourages me a lot. Sex with my husband is fine, it’s almost always enjoyable during, and lack of orgasm is not a problem. Like, I can orgasm 99.9% of the time. I can’t remember the last time we had sex and I didn’t. It bugs me a little that I have to get that personal here, but I know someone will wonder. But even so, I really could go a long time without sex and it wouldn’t bother me. But from hundreds of people who comment here as well as Sheila herself, that must mean there’s something wrong with me. Well, what if there’s not? I mean, doesn’t any other woman just plain get bored with sex and would just prefer to do something else?

        And the overwhelming sense that I get from all the comments here is that there are wives out there who want a lot of sex, and guys who look on having a wife like that as winning some sort of prize. Uck. It’s depressing.

        Reply
    • ThePhilZone

      Tory,
      I don’t want to answer this for your husband but I’m exactly the same way and I’ll tell you why. Don’t ever underestimate the fact that for good men, intimacy is their main way of showing and feeling love. Maybe he has told you this and you don’t believe it or maybe he hasn’t expressed it in meaningful words to you and you didn’t connect the dots. It is true. You said he is very relational, right. Me too. So, see if this makes sense. Say my wife and I are running as fast as we can toward each other and yell “I love you” as we pass each other. Now, imagine we are sitting together, transfixed on each other, saying beautiful things we love about each other, our kids, our life we built together, our future together. The main goal in both cases was to connect through expressing our love for each other. Guess which scenario I would always choose. Yes there is a time and place for a quickie but it’s just not as satisfying. For me, one sided is very connecting and loving on one condition, I can immediately return the favor. Otherwise, I will opt out and wait until we have plenty of time for more. I believe he is paying you a compliment in that he doesn’t want quick or one sided intimacy. I think he values you and your marriage and wants to show you his affections in a meaningful way. Maybe he is the one that is past or like me never even heard of duty sex. So he doesn’t fit the mold. Lucky for you. I honesty believe from your short paragraph that undesired should be the last thought in your head. Sex all the time? No. Super intimate physical, emotional and spiritual closeness with the person you love more then you can even put into words, yes!

      Reply
      • Tory

        That’s an awesome analogy. Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂

        Reply
  17. Nathan

    > > messages that state “all men are like this, and all women are like that” can be very harmful

    Very true, Tory. In general, a “broad brush” is usually a bad idea and often inaccurate. The “all men have a high sex drive and all women have a low sex drive” is another good example. As Sheila has said, in many marriages, it’s actually the woman who has the higher sex drive!

    Reply
  18. Nathan

    > > I think we could also say that men’s libido is largely in their heads

    This one I’m not so sure about. I agree that a constant barrage of “you’re a man. You have a HUGE sex drive, you WILL lust after EVERYBODY” may very well be a self fulfilling prophecy in many ways. However, I do believe that, on average, men have a higher sex drive than women, and that will lead to more thoughts of a certain kind popping into our head. This isn’t always true of everybody, it’s that “bell curve” thing again

    Reply
    • Lea

      I think there is way too much ‘nurture’ in place to say definitively that men or women have a higher overall sex drive. We don’t have a blank slate here. That’s going to result in bad data.

      Women are taught to keep it to ourselves. Shamed for wanting, shamed for showing it.

      Reply
      • Maria

        Environment may also play a role. Men and boys are bombarded by scantily clad and objectified women on billboards and magazine covers everywhere they go.

        Reply
        • Andrea

          Yes! Nobody actually sits a boy down and says “Listen, son, I know women seem as equally human as you are and that you’ve had female teachers, doctors, etc., but just so you know, women were nevertheless created solely for your sexual pleasure, that is their primary purpose.” Nobody actually sits a boy down and spells this out for him, but he is bombarded with that idea by images all around him every day.

          Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Someone else sent that to me, too! So interesting.

      Reply
      • Chris

        I really believe that a lot of the problems with math in school (for both girls and boys) is that we push it on them at too young an age. I was a boy who really struggled with math all the way through high school. Took a year off and started college and found it to be one of my easiest subjects. Its like it all just clicked and after that it was a breeze. But i stuck with it because i knew i wanted to go into the sciences and would need math for that.

        Reply
  19. Learning A New

    Interesting thoughts Sheila and I agree that changing our thought process about libido for men and woman will go a long way in finding liberty to enjoy and experience.

    Something I’ve been thinking on is that we place too much value on biology driving libido. We forget we have choice, and that our thoughts choices drive our daily reality.

    As the author of the woman who struggled with sex for over two decades and having to work through many of the issues talked about by the comments left here I have begun to realise that my libido and that of my husband is driven by how we both choose to think of each other throughout our day.

    I have been wondering if the biology God put in our design was made to support our choices rather than the other way around?

    IF my husband and I choose to daily think well of each other and focus on blessing each other with pleasure then we both enjoy a daily encounter (We both find humour in this because as a 20 something he was convinced that daily sex was a physical impossibility, however in our 50’s we are learning that sex is a choice and our bodies follow our choices).

    However the converse is true too. IF my husband spends his spare time thinking of me and the pleasure he both receives and wants to give he is primed for an encounter however if I have not been focused that way then I am not interested at all and then I have a choice to make and the converse is true too. IF he has not been thinking that way and I have ….

    I think that God placed the physical biology/hormone drive for those times when we forget to focus on our spouse it helps us drive our thoughts back towards each other.

    When I rely on how my hormones drive me then I have very little interest/libido. And now that I’m post-menopausal it’s even less. HOWEVER I have been experimenting and when I choose to think well and choose to daily want to both give and receive then I find the enjoyment both grows with each encounter.

    Our attitude these days is to realize that tomorrow is not promised to either of us. We only have today to love upon each other deeply and well. IF we wait for biology to drive us towards each other then we are going to loose out .

    We need to add that into the conversation. We think that biology drives sex but this is not true. Biology is there to support our choices towards each other.

    Reply
    • Learning A New

      I think that men enjoy sex because the culture gives them permission to think about it. It’s kind of expected that they will and for us as woman we don’t think of ourselves sexually but rather as we need to prevent pregnancy.

      Looking back I now realise that sex-ed for us girls was actually about reproductive biology and not sex education.

      We need to change sex education for girls to be about sex not reproduction. Reproduction is 10% of the story yet in sex ed it’s 100% of the teaching!

      Reply
  20. Lisa Gottman

    To be fair to Harley’s main point he is **starting** with what the people he surveyed said were their current top needs. (Not what it *could* (or should even) be without various different biological and cultural influences)

    More men in his survey had sex as their top needs than women. Vice versa for emotional needs. So that is the starting point not the ending point. His goal as a behavioral psychologist is to teach people how to learn how to meet each other’s needs in a mutual way.

    He is clear imho that includes making sure sex is a great experience wives would enjoy (and not just do to meet the husbands needs) and vice versa for intimate convos.

    At the end of the process the behaviors will change to make sure each person enjoys the marriage including sex. It is all to be agreed upon has good *by both people*. You BOTH need to learn and change.

    PS I agree wholeheartedly that the book would be much better with more nuance and less gender stereotypes. But since there are few Christian marriage books that are egalitarian it’s better than most of the stuff out there imho.

    Reply
    • Lisa Gottman

      Harley’s book imho is similar in concept to Gary Chapman’s Love Language books.

      You often have different “love languages” and that presents a problem if you don’t 1. Understand that and 2. Know how to navigate the differences.

      Although Chapman’s list is not gendered, many men report their top needs are “words of affirmation” and “touch (they mean sex)” women, especially those with kids, often report “acts of service” to reflect what they are missing.

      Imho there are cultural reasons for those answers just as Harley’s list is imho culturally influenced.

      How do you navigate different needs of all kinds in a marriage? That is the point imho.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Hi Lisa,

        Good points. And I wouldn’t have minded it as much except for a few key things in his book (he made a huge issue about women being attractive to their husbands without a similar emphasis on men at least showering, and didn’t really talk about sex as intimacy). I have no problem saying that most men experience more of a felt need for sex. But I have a big problem with the conclusion being that therefore women need to have sex for the husband. Sex is not something that only one person needs. Sex is something that the relationship needs, for so many reasons. When it’s talked about as if it’s only for the guy because he has the felt need, it diminishes sex, intimacy, marriage, everything. It’s better to say something like: He may feel like he needs it, but ladies, so do you! And here are all the reasons. Don’t cheat yourself out of something this wonderful that God has for you! That’s an infinitely better message than just “he needs it, and he needs you to enjoy it, so try to enjoy it for his sake.”

        Reply
        • Lisa Gottman

          Oh I agree Sheila!

          I think what you are saying about sex to be for women too is very important and needed.

          The sad thing is I have read a LOT of marriage books and almost all of the Christian ones are not healthy imho.

          Harley’s book has issues I agree but it’s imho overall so much healthier than Love and Respect that I recommend it as an alternative for those couples who won’t read non Christian books like those from Sue Johnson or John Gottman (no relation to me sadly 😀).

          Perhaps you and your hubby can write a Christian book on marriage someday? 😀

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            In negotiation right now! 🙂

            And our sex one that’s coming out in 2021 is going to be awesome. The Great Sex Rescue with Baker Books! 🙂

            (that would be cool to be related to John Gottman, by the way. )

          • Lisa Gottman

            I only suggest you and hubby because you have such a fun interplay on the podcast.

            And since sadly most Christian men won’t read a book that doesn’t have a male involved.

            To be fair, almost all relationship books are purchased by women so it’s not just a Christian thing but imho it’s exaggerated by the gender role theology in Evangelical churches.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Yep. I think you’re totally right! You need a man’s name on the cover if it can be a “couple” book. Otherwise it’s a women’s book. Women will read books written by men, but generally not vice versa.

          • Lisa Gottman

            Hey that’s great news!

            You are doing important work in critiquing the harmful stuff out there and adding healthy alternative books to read.

  21. Nathan

    Sheila says

    > > Women will read books written by men, but generally not vice versa.

    Yes, very true. That’s why many books and movies for kids often feature a boy as the main character, like Harry Potter. Girls will watch movies about a boy, but often not vice versa. They also often have a girl as a major supporting character (like Hermione), but the official lead character is a boy so that boys will watch it.

    Reply
  22. Janet

    I love your emails! This is the first time I have felt that anyone has covered sex and women in such a holistic way. Even in this day and age, I find that most advice column see women as either virginal, holy, and untouchable or promiscious sexual prostitutes that have to please one or more men. It is so refreshing that on your site you show a more balanced view of sex and women. Sex and Christianity can work together – in fact, I think in order to be a good Christian both men AND women need to learn how to get intimate with each other. I’m one of those women that truly desires my husband in all ways – including sexual (and I’m in my mid-50’s). My ex-husband was very bla bla about sex – never wanted it or intimacy and it destroyed our marriage. My current marriage is the complete opposite. It always amazes me to hear about how so many women have low libidos, don’t take care of themselves and would prefer to do anything other than being intimate with their husband. Women need to STOP doing this. Get more doctor checkups. Take maca, and other herbs to keep your adrenals strong so that you desire healthy sex. I lost a girlfriend over telling her to go see a doctor as she was young and didn’t desire sex with her almost husband. She just really didn’t want to have sex with him due to low libido and from what I can tell, that relationship broke apart (predictably). She ditched our friendship too over telling her it wasn’t normal at her age (30’s) to have no libido (it shows a state of bad health). I just think that if more women really listened to their bodies, did what it took to keep their libido’s up, listened to their husbands, and didn’t see themselves as having to be virginal all the time that there would be a lot less divorce in this world. I was taught by priests, nuns, and family to be so virginal all the time. They forgot to tell me how to transition from viriginal to married and no longer a virgin. I think women need to be taught more about this transition and learn to explore the emotions that are brought up in this transition. It is so rarely talked about. I think you bridge this gap in your emails. I just wanted to tell you how pleasantly surprised I am with your teachings.

    Reply
  23. Lindsey

    Even though I can’t be convinced to like maths 😂 I get your point here…
    I’m so thankful that this is being talked about, and I think a lot of it is bad teaching from Christian authors and the church, etc… I’m not sure where in the bible does it say that men have a higher drive than women.?? Just read Song of Solomon and it’s clearly talking about a woman that is comfortable and desires sex… Also in Corinthians it says “do not deprive one another” it’s refering to both husband and wife, it doesn’t say- just to the wife do not withhold. I think the bible has so much to say on our sexuality and we have come up with our own views in fear of whatever the current culture says.
    I really like what Timothy Keller says in Meaning of Marriage- “Indeed, sex is perhaps the most powerful God-created way to help you give your entire self to another human being. Sex is God’s appointed way for two people to reciprocally say to one another, “I belong completely, permanently, and exclusively to you.” You must not use sex to say anything less.” (225-224)
    That is such a different way of looking at sex than I was ever taught, and what a beautiful picture it is of being accepted and loved.

    Reply
  24. L

    From a male perspective I’ve also found the teaching that women are not really interested in sex to be damaging. As a husband, I have never initiated because I felt that the way to be the most polite and caring for my wife is to never bother her with sex. I now intellectually believe this idea to be wrong, and I believe her when she tells me that it is wrong. But after more than a year of working on it, I still can’t remove the hardwired emotional gut feeling that as an understanding, caring, loving husband the best thing I can do for my wife is to never want sex. This is messed up but so hard to change! We continue to work on it and you have all been helpful!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      L, this is so insightful and so interesting. I’m sorry you feel like this. I really do, and I hope that as you and your wife continue to talk about it, you can start to understand that she does really want intimacy. I’d also point you to 31 Days to Great Sex–it’s only $4.99 right now, and it will help you work through a lot of this. I think you’ll like the first week especially, because it gives you a chance to see and hear what your wife does want (and to see the effect on her).

      Reply
  25. Eric Breaux

    Women talk all the time talk about men they think are sexually attractive and the parts they are most attracted to on men. Men having a greater libido makes no sense. Sexual desire requires seeing or thinking of parts that sexually arouse people. Sexual arousal is one of the most pleasurable feelings anyone can have. There’s so many studies that contradict that women don’t feel sexual arousal as often and intense as men and that it depends on testosterone sensitivity more than estrogen for females. Sexual desire couldn’t be as much of a female quality as male if it needed testosterone because that’s what gives males our unique features. How can people think that’s fair? You find so many articles online and answers on quora saying it’s scientifically proven that males want sex more than females.

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