SEX QUESTIONS SERIES: Who’s the REAL Sex Expert for Your Questions?

by | Jul 6, 2020 | Sex | 14 comments

You are the real sex expert in your marriage.

 When you have questions about sex, or you want to improve your sex life, where’s the best place to go?

This month, as 31 Days to Great Sex launches again, our series will be on Sex Questions You Can’t Ask Your Pastor. I want to tackle a bunch of reader questions that have come in, and give people a chance to ask me some at my webinar on Thursday! (And if you sign up, you’ll also get a FREE copy of 31 Days to Great Sex AND my 24 Sexy Dares).
But a funny thing happened last week on Facebook. I announced my webinar and referenced the name–Sex Questions You Can’t Ask Your Pastor. Many commenters took to defending pastors, worrying I was maligning them.
In truth, I was just trying to be funny, but maybe I missed the boat somehow!
But I think it speaks to a bigger issue in the Christian community: where do we go when we need help? Is the pastor the best resource? So let’s start our series with where I think  you SHOULDN’T go for help–and then talk about the best sex expert you have!

So let’s start: Who is the best sex expert you have?

All of us have questions about sex, and we certainly need safe places to ask questions!
But a lot of us don’t have those places. And when we don’t have a place to ask a question, the pastor is often framed as the go-to person (which is why I targeted pastors in my series title!).
When it comes to sex–is that really what we want? Do we want to be in a pastor’s office asking about orgasms or erectile dysfunction or vaginismus or female ejaculation?
I think most of us would say no–indeed I hope most of us would say no! And I think most pastors would actually agree.

We need to stop assuming that pastors should be the go-to for everything

We’re part of the body of Christ, and different parts are useful for different things. Pastors should be there to shepherd you spiritually, absolutely (although I’d argue that pastors can’t carry the whole congregation). But in other areas of our lives we may need extra help.

It is not appropriate to expect pastors to be experts in areas where they don’t have extensive experience or expertise

Most pastors have a four year undergraduate degree and then a two year Master’s degree, if that. Most take one course on counseling, and it isn’t extensive. To assume that your pastor can guide you when it comes to finances or marriage or parenting your special needs child or dealing with a terminal ill mother or dealing with sexual abuse in your past isn’t really fair to either you or your pastor–unless your pastor actually is an expert in one of those things. Chances are for all of those things, someone else in your congregation is better equipped.
Just because someone has a Masters of Divinity doesn’t mean that they know a ton about marriage or finance or business or abuse. When it comes to marriage and sex, most pastors only have their own marriage to judge from, and pastors often assume “everyone is like me.” (I think that’s one reason why higher drive wives often feel so left out!)
Before we accept help for complex problems like sex, make sure that they have expertise either through extensive education; working specifically in the field of sexuality; or conducting research in it and staying abreast of current research. Most pastors just haven’t done this (and nor should they. That’s not their main job). And so we should stop expecting them to be experts.

It is not appropriate for male pastors to speak one on one to congregants (especially women) about sex

I would hope this would go without saying, but women should not be speaking one-on-one with a male pastor about intimate details of her sex life–and most pastors would prefer not to be put in this situation.  And if the pastor wants to do so, honestly, that’s a huge red flag!

It is not appropriate to expect pastors to be able to address sex in its entirety from the pulpit.

I actually get quite upset when people blame pastors for the fact that the church doesn’t teach well on sex, because how is the pastor supposed to do that? I don’t think it’s appropriate to preach in the kind of detail that would be required because teens and children are in the audience (as a very sex-positive mom, I still would have been incensed if my pastor had said the sort of thing I do in this blog). What churches need to do instead is offer book studies, resources, or extra events that fill in these gaps!

So where do you go for help when it comes to sex?

Well, first and foremost, I’m glad you’re here! And this month, in our series and in our podcasts, we’re going to tackle a ton of different sex questions! And, of course, this blog has so much information about how to make sex feel good or how to spice things up.

But I’m not the only one! I know lots of blogs where people fit this bill. When we did our research for The Great Sex Rescue, our book coming out next spring, the Christian book by far that I thought was the best about the physical aspects of sex was The Gift of Sex by the Penners. And, of course, just check out my books and courses for more!

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But here’s what I’d really like to suggest.

Who is ultimately the biggest expert about sex in your marriage?

That’s right. You.
You can read all the books you want, all the blog posts you want, work through all the courses. But ultimately only YOU know what advice is applicable to your situation. Only YOU know what you’re really feeling, and what needs to change. Only YOU know what feels good, or what you want.
Other resources can help you uncover deep rooted issues, or put you on the journey to healing and discovery. But only YOU have the answers, because sex is deeply personal and unique to each of us.

And that’s why I believe that the key to improving your sex life is learning how to communicate openly with your spouse about sex.

Now, communication alone isn’t what you need, because many of us have shame that we need to deal with, or we have misperceptions that we need to correct, or we have a lack of information in general. And we do need help (and that’s why I’m here!).
But once you do have that information; once you do have an inkling what the problem might be; once you do have an idea of what can help–then you have to talk to your spouse about it.
All the advice and information in the world doesn’t do much if you don’t put it into practice or don’t figure out how to apply it.
This month, as we talk about sex questions you can’t ask your pastor (and please sign up for the webinar!), I’ll try to give you very practical help so that you can put what I suggest into practice. I’ll try to give you ways to talk to your spouse about it.

And honestly, talking to your spouse about sex is really what 31 Days to Great Sex is all about.

The new, super improved 31 Days to Great Sex launches on July 14, and that’s why I’m dedicating this month to answering your sex questions and trying to get practical about helping!
But what people who have worked through 31 Days to Great Sex have told me is that the most helpful part of it was not learning how to make her feel good; it wasn’t getting more comfortable with body image issues or spicing things up or trying new positions. It wasn’t even dealing with past baggage (although all of this was helpful).
It was simply having an easy way to talk about sex.
The breakthroughs came when they were finally about to talk about their sex lives. 
Often he has the higher libido, and he doesn’t understand that it’s not that she doesn’t want sex; it’s that she has so many things going on in her head it’s hard for her to get in the mood! Or she thinks he only wants sexual release, where what he really wants is to feel connected.
We just don’t understand each other, and it can lead to so much hurt. I hope this month, we can get over some of those misunderstandings, and bridge some gaps. And I do believe that 31 Days to Great Sex can help you do that!
So sign up for the webinar this Thursday, and you’ll get a free copy of the book!
And remember: YOU really are the expert about your sex life. You know more than you think. You know what makes you tick. You know what information will work for you, and what isn’t right. Trust yourself. You’re not broken. And then let’s practice talking to our spouses about this, too! 

Do you find it difficult to speak to your spouse about sex? Let’s talk in the comments!

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

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

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  1. Laurel B

    Thanks again for the great advice, Sheila! We are conservative Christian newlyweds who both read your “Good Girl’s Guide” book before our wedding, and are so glad we did. We were virgins when we married, and I give your teaching a lot of credit for the mutually enjoyable sex life we’ve had so far. I’m such a fan and listen to/read all your stuff.
    And yep, I want sex just as much as he does! 😉 I can’t imagine feeling uncomfortable discussing sex with my husband, and I am very thankful for the freedom I feel with that. Your faithful instruction on this topic is a blessing! Keep it up!

    • Anon

      That’s encouraging to hear Laurel – I’m getting married in 2 days time (our wedding got postponed due to Covid but restrictions have just lifted to allow basic ceremonies to take place – yay!) – already found the Good Girls’ Guide very helpful and will be taking it with me on honeymoon, so it’s good to hear how helpful it’s been to someone else in the same situation.

  2. Lindsey S

    I just registered for the webinar, but I’m not sure that I’ll be able to listen live. Will there be a recording? Also, how long can we expect it to take to recieve the paperback book? Hoping it’s here by the time my husband has finished convalescing from his vasectomy. 😉

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Absolutely you can listen afterwards! No problem at all. We’ll send a link around to the recording. The book launches on July 14, so they’ll be mailed out that day. Hope that’s soon enough!

      • Lindsey S

        Should be perfect timing. He will be cleared to resume intimacy on the 17. Can’t wait!

  3. Angela Laverdi

    I come from the other spectrum where MY drive is so much higher than his. Its hard to find other people, especially other women, who relate to this (at least not out loud) because we feel shamed that HE doesn’t WANT us. We dont feel feminine, or attractive, even if we are. I would HATE to have to speak to a male pastor ( who is most lukely the high drive spouse) about this.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly, Angela. And you’re NOT alone. Around 20-25% of women say that they’re the higher drive spouse, and another 20-25% say that their libidos are roughly the same. So the idea of the high drive husband-low drive wife isn’t true in all cases at all. It’s only a very slight majority. I hope that I’m doing my part to change this misperception! That’s one thing I try to do in 31 Days to Great Sex–keep it gender neutral when we’re talking about libido, or else at least make it clear that it can go the other way.

    • Ali

      @Angela Laverdi – I am in the exact same boat as you, and I totally agree. Our culture gives us this constant message that men always want as much sex as they can get, and it’s so demoralizing and humiliating to feel unwanted that way. It’s comforting to me to see someone else in the same situation, but I’m sorry you’re experiencing this, too. You’re definitely not the only one.

  4. Boone

    This subject reminded me of our premarital counseling just over 30 years ago.
    Both my wife and I grew up in small town Baptist churches 500 miles apart. We met after she had taken an upper middle management job in the hospital over at the county seat. I was building a law practice and farming. We planned to get married in her home church but distance meant counseling with her old pastor wasn’t going to work. She was going to a large church near where she worked and lived and suggested that we contact the pastor there. I agreed and we made an appointment. At the start of our first session he told us that he really didn’t have time to do this and gave us a couple of workbooks. He told us that if we had any questions we could call him. He then shooed us out explaining that he hat to be somewhere. Well, we sat down at her condo and opened the book. I made it through two chapters before I hesitatingly asked if this seemed a little elementary. Wife replied that it would be great if you were about 16. We trashed the books.
    I suggested that we call my pastor. Now, he was about 75 and looking to retire at the end of the summer. He agreed to meet with us and he was really a gold mine of information concerning everyday life. Well, the big night came for the session on sex. We walked in and there he sat with his wife. We were both a little surprised at this. He explained that she was going to talk to my soon to be wife in another room and he was going to talk to me. Mrs. Pastor and wife left and he told me about my duties, her duties, etc. He then told me that I would be tempted to get her to engage in vile acts concerning mouths and strange positions. It was my duty as leader of the family to curb those unnatural affections.
    Meanwhile next door: the pastor’s wife is informing my soon to be wife that she is my last bastion of defense against lust and adultery. She’s all that stands against my succumbing to a life ruined by whiskey and women. She should never turn down my advances. Now, if I wanted any of that unnatural stuff with mouths or weird positions she should ask nicely to be excused but if I insisted she should go ahead and do her duty all the while praying for my deliverance.
    When we four were back together again after our separate meetings he said a very sweet and meaningful prayer over us for our future. I tried to pay him for his time conducting our sessions. He adamantly refused but suggested that the church cemetery fund could use a little help. Since 150 years worth of ancestors are buried back there I readily agreed.
    The wife and I got to the truck with a straight face . We managed to get in, get it started and get off of the property. We looked at each other and both lost it.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Boone, that’s too funny! I don’t know how you all looked at the couple with a straight face afterwards.

      • Emmy

        That was such a funny story, Boone! 😀
        What’s not so funny, is that there are people who get similar kind of advice as you did and DO buy it.

  5. Ashley

    As a sexual abuse survivor, I recommend talking to a pastor about those things only when you’re ready to push into the spiritual component of it. I’d read plenty of Christian and non-Christian books on healing, but there were questions I had that I found easier to ask a person rather than a book. There are not any available licensed Christian counselors where I live (unless I want to drive 3 hours round trip), so for spiritual advice on abuse I went to my pastor. He acknowledged right off the bat that he is no abuse expert or licensed counselor but was more than willing to lead me spiritually and answer any questions I had. And while I was skeptical at first, it really is great and has done wonders for me. I think the key here is that I’ve done other counseling work in the past, I was ready to engage in the spiritual components of my abuse, and the pastor is humble and teachable. Just know why, to the best of your ability, you’re going in for counseling and choose someone that you’re compatible with, whether it’s the pastor, and older wiser lady, or the 10th counselor you’ve tried!


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