Can We Talk about Comments Being Hijacked When (Some) Men Want to Talk About Themselves?

by | Nov 13, 2020 | Uncategorized | 122 comments

Men Hijacking Comments Sections
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Sometimes, when I write a post about how women should handle it if their husbands do something wrong, the comments go all squirrelly when some male commenters try to make it about themselves.

The topic of the blog post may be women being hurt and misunderstood, but often (some) men turn it around to, “but women need to understand men!”

This is a dynamic I’ve watched in the comments section and tried to moderate and tried to find a good balance, but it can be difficult.

Recently, I shared something about this on Facebook, and then, in the comments to that post, a really interesting discussion occurred that I’d like to share today.

Before I do so, a big disclaimer:

I really value my male readers. About 25% of the people reading this blog are male. Most are here to get help, and to learn, and many wonderful male commenters encourage other people and ask genuine questions in the comments.

However, when things do go off base in the comments section, it often is because of a small number of predominantly male commenters. So let me share what I wrote, and what other women said in return.

Here’s what I said on Facebook:

Should men’s feelings be our primary consideration when it comes to sex?

For the last two months on the blog, I’ve been highlighting the orgasm gap: How men orgasm about 95% of the time, while women only reliably orgasm 48% of the time. A lot of women never orgasm at all.

I’ve been encouraging women to speak up. I’ve been sharing studies that show that SOME men (not all) can be quite clueless about what brings women pleasure.

And in response, almost all men commenting have said, “well, men don’t mean to do these things. You have to be careful of men’s feelings.”

May I suggest that this is actually THE PROBLEM?

We’re putting the finishing touches on our Orgasm Course, which launches on Monday!

(UPDATE: The Orgasm Course is now live!)

But let me tell you–after doing a ton of research on this, and after looking at our survey results of 20,000 women, we had to spend a lot of the course telling women that THEIR EXPERIENCE MATTERS, despite what your husband is feeling.

In fact, your pleasure matters more than your husband’s ego. That doesn’t mean you should belittle or be harsh or mean; but it does mean that you’re allowed to speak up!

So many evangelical books have told women: “your husband needs to know you enjoy sex. He can’t enjoy if you don’t show him you enjoy it!” But they put no onus on men to make it pleasurable for women. And then they tell women that men need sex in a way that women will never, ever understand.

So women go into sex assuming that men’s need for orgasm exceeds their own; that men’s route to orgasm (intercourse) is what they’re required to do, while women’s best routes to orgasm (foreplay and other sexual play) are optional. We’re told that we shouldn’t speak up, or we may affect his ego.

As I said to a commenter just this morning:

“I don’t think the orgasm gap will ever be closed until men’s feelings stops being the primary go-to issue that men jump to when things like this are brought up, and until the injustice of so many women’s sexual experience in marriage is given the importance it deserves.

If the main message women are hearing is–“but remember men’s feelings!!!!” then how are women ever going to feel that they will be able to speak up assertively about their own pleasure?

Remember that one of the main things keeping women back from orgasm is feeling as if their pleasure is secondary to what their husbands are feeling.

I think the primary message here should be: You deserve pleasure; Please speak up if your husband has been ignoring your pleasure. It is not okay to be treated that way. And when you speak up–chances are you BOTH want to find a solution!

Let’s give women’s feelings in this case the main emphasis, and maybe we’d see some change actually happen.”

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Facebook Post

An interesting discussion broke out in general, but one thread in particular had several women expressing how frustrated they were at the comments section on this blog.

I’ll post some of their comments, and some of my replies:

Sheila, honestly, it’s the only annoying thing about your blog…all the super-long male comments defending their own feelings. And, if I may humbly suggest, you’re wasting your energy that is otherwise so well spent on reforming the Christian world when you answer these men. They aren’t looking to learn anything, only to hijack the conversation and when we engage, we allow them to do that. They do serve a purpose in the sense that they illustrate your point for you about the male ego and they have the right to express their opinion on these public forums just like anyone else, but we don’t have to reply,

Reader #1

I then popped in and explained how we think about the comments behind the scenes:

This is actually a big debate behind the scenes–do we cut them off and ban them (believe me, we have banned SO MANY commenters; you should see the stuff that comes in) or do we keep engaging? And there are some that I just don’t let through for a while, but then start again. What we’ve decided (and I’m not sure this is the right answer, but this is what we’ve come to) is that because so much of what I talk about is “evangelical teaching too often says X, and really we should think Y”, then having someone in the comments defending X shows that there is, indeed, a reason why this post needed to be written. When I stopped letting male commenters in for a while a few years ago people kept telling me I was talking about stuff that wasn’t necessary. And especially with our book coming out in the spring, we do want to show that this is, indeed, a widespread problem in the church. The other issue is that by allowing dissenting viewpoints and engaging with them, we show women how they can handle it when they hear dissenting things from their husbands and pastors, and we show them how to identify faulty arguments. I’m still not sure that’s the right strategy, but it’s what we’ve come to right now. Rebecca is far stricter on this than me; she’d ban everyone in a heartbeat! She is telling me I need to limit people to a certain number of comments per post, and she’s likely right. So just know that we do think about this behind the scenes, too, and pray that we’ll make the right decision! 

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Facebook Post

And then others shared their thoughts! (And I’m going to combine comments to make this shorter). 

It is so discouraging to have a post about how we wrongly hear men’s needs are the focus that counts AND then have the comments allowed to focus on how women need to consider men’s needs. WHY is this allowed when it *can* be focused on women as the post teaches?

…I totally agree that men need to be part of the discussion! The dilemma is how to do that without women’s needs being sidelined.

Imho one of the main reasons church relationship books prioritize male centric sex and men’s needs for “respect” is because they won’t engage unless the couples relationship blueprint ensures they “won’t be set up to not be treated fairly”

They won’t “play a game they can’t win” is something men often say.  Anyway thanks for being open to the feedback! Appreciate all your hard work!

Reader #2

Maybe it’s less about letting through a number of comments and more about the number of threads (or maybe that’s what you meant)? If most of the threads are having to defend the post, it can be frustrating. But letting through one or two threads does demonstrate the problem. At first I was honestly pretty surprised by the lack of awareness from many of the men who comment…like, you do realize you’re just proving the point she tried to address, right? But I agree it’s really useful to have those quotes for later posts to demonstrate that this is still an issue. So who knows. Maybe we all just decide to comment – “thanks for proving her point” and leave it at that.

Reader #3

After much discussion, one commenter summed up everything with this observation/suggestion:

It’s worth publishing on your blog, at least once, to all commenters: if your reply to a post is “not all men are that way,” then you ought to rethink your response.

If that’s the point they are trying to make, you have very likely already said something in your post about “most men” or “some men.” …The rest of the Christian world is brow beating wives about male emotional needs. It does not need to be mentioned more than once on a thread. Once reminds us the need is still there. More than once and the conversation becomes about big, strong, male fragility and our duty as meek, frail, feminine wives to protect it no matter what it costs us. 

Reader #2

So what do you think about the comments section?

Personally, I value discussion, and I really value our male commenters. 

But I also want this blog to be a safe space–both for women, and for men who are honestly seeking to grow. 

I don’t want this blog to be a safe space for emotionally immature men, though, who are blaming women for their problems, and I have no desire to make the blog a safe space for them.

My own take, as I said above, is that I like to be able to  have some back and forth so that people see that (a) I’m not making up this problem, it really is out there! and (b) here’s how you can respond in real life when someone makes this argument. 

Rebecca would let through less; I would let through maybe a bit more.

We have had men on this blog who have really transformed.

I think of Phil, whom I love and value dearly, who came here not perfect and never claimed to be perfect, but who always engages and listens. And I think of Nathan who is here to encourage. 

I want to keep that. But I also want this primarily to be a safe community for women, too. So let me know–do you avoid the comments section? Do you refrain from commenting because of the fear of what other commenters may reply? I’d really love to hear your thoughts.

Men Hijacking Comments Section

I don’t have all the answers on this one, but I’d love to know what you think.

What’s the balance? Allow two comments per person per post? Allow one male-centered thread, but only one? Allow MORE comments because everyone should have the right to speak?

Let me know–in the comments!

(And by the way, I’m so sorry that you can’t reply to other people’s comments right now–or at least, when you do, it doesn’t show up as a reply to them. We know about the problem and we’re trying to fix it, but Connor, my tech person, is taking a few days off because his mom is visiting.)

 

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of 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

Related Posts

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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122 Comments

  1. Anon

    I think allowing a range of views in the comments is so important. Sometimes, it’s not enough just to agree with a viewpoint – you have to realise that other people disagree, and to be prepared to challenge wrong views on that topic. And you can’t do that if dissenting voices are silenced.
    Someone could read your blog and think ‘well, of course Sheila’s right, but it’s obvious – there can’t be many people who would think differently, so I don’t see why she has to keep writing about it’. To use a personal example, my husband is a very caring individual who values men and women as equals and who is adamant that sex should be equally good for both marriage partners, but he assumed every other Christian man would hold the same views, because it was so ‘obviously right’. It’s only since meeting me, and hearing me share some of the teaching I’ve heard and the treatment I’ve experienced from Christian men in the past, that his eyes have been opened to the fact that not all Christian guys view women the way he does!
    I think you moderate the comments very well – a couple of times I’ve seen something that I felt was too much, and the next time I’ve visited the comments section, it’s been removed. I’ve found some of the positive comments very helpful on a personal level, so I’d be sorry to see the option to comment being removed. If a discussion gets too heated or triggering for me, I just stop reading the comments.
    And completely irrelevant, but I did chuckle at the irony of a blog post asking for comments in the week that your comments section is playing up so much (-;

    Reply
  2. Maria

    I like all the comments. I think the bad comments and more importantly your responses to them are the best teaching tool. Let more in and correct the faulty claims.

    Reply
  3. Laurel B

    I like your policy of allowing some of the male commenters but countering their perspective if they’re incorrect.
    On one blog post recently, a commenter said that he had observed that women who needed clitoral stimulation to orgasm (rather than just vaginal) were that way because they had a history of masturbation. At the time, you hadn’t responded to it yet, and I spent several hours feeling a bit guilty & ashamed that I needed clitoral stimulation to orgasm. 😔 When I went back to the post later, you and several other women had come on and corrected him, and I was reassured.
    So… Maybe make sure to counter their incorrect points, so the truth is still promoted, but allow some just for perspective? And then start blocking their posts when they’re really bull headed and won’t stop? 🤷

    Reply
  4. Anon

    Laurel B, I remember that guy! His comment made me laugh so much because so far, we’ve only managed orgasm by clitoral stimulation, which according to him meant I’ve masturbated loads pre-marriage – but I was so ignorant, that when we got married, my husband had to explain to me what masturbation was because I didn’t know! And when he did explain, I was ‘that’s just weird, why would anyone want to do that?’!!!!!

    Reply
  5. L

    Completely different reason, but I like seeing some of the terrible men comments because it reminds me that even though my husband is less than perfect, he’s far better than some men out there. & I know it’s terrible to compare, but occasionally it is a nice reminder 😬

    Reply
  6. Chris (ya THAT Chris)

    I am afraid that I am a big part of this problem. With that in mind I would like to apologize to the following specifically:
    Sheila. I will start with you as this is your blog. I am sorry for contributing to the pain I have inflicted on the comments section here on the blog. I hope that you can find it within your heart to forgive me for causing you any undue stress. Or for forcing you and your team to have to expend the mental energy figuring out what to do with the comments section.
    Rebecca. I am sorry for what I said the other day. It was inappropriate and wrong and I sincerely apologize. I hope I did not hurt your feelings too badly. I struggle greatly with saying the first thing that comes into my head and have battled this my whole life.
    Laurel B. (Commenter above). It was my comment that you were referring to. I think my experience with women that caused me to say what I said there is rather unique. And I in no way meant to make anyone feel guilty. I hope you can forgive me.
    Lastly to all the rest of the commenters both male and female (but this is mostly targeted at the ladies out there) I am sorry if any thing I have ever said here offended or hurt or shamed anyone. I apologize to all of you and respectfully ask for your forgiveness.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Chris, this is lovely. Thank you. Truly. I’ll make sure Rebecca sees it (she’s offline for the rest of the week visiting family).

      Reply
  7. Jeff

    As a guy, I read this to encourage myself that there is hope for my wife, who mostly refuses to allow herself to enjoy sex. I would give anything for her to enjoy sex and foreplay.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m glad you’re here, Jeff. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Truly. I hope your wife will one day read. I WAS your wife once.

      Reply
  8. Recovering from abuse

    I have a suggestion that might help you, Sheila, and Rebecca. I’ve been thinking about it since I read the dialogue about the photo permission question in the comments this week. My suggestion is to engage a little less.
    Many times the commenters seem to be engaging in verbally destructive tactics. When you engage them in a long discourse, you feed into their tactics. Sometimes these tactics are probably intentional and other times they are most likely immaturity or learned responses. I would encourage you both to read (if you haven’t already) The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans. When engaging with a foolish or immature person, you are not going to win because they don’t discuss fairly or wisely. Evans suggests dialoging with those who use the tactics with BIFF- be brief, informative, factual, and friendly.
    If the commenter is truly wanting information, they can ask follow up questions. If they are wanting to argue, that will be obvious in their response. By responding with brevity, you will often be able to tease out the motivation. Also, asking a couple of wisely chosen questions can show their motivation rather than a long discourse on what you believe is their motivation. That would be even more of an example to the readers- to hear it in their own words rather than in yours. In other words, let the commenters who want to stir up trouble shoot themselves in the foot. They will if given the opportunity most of the time I believe.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great thoughts! Thank you. I’ll bring that up in a staff meeting! (Which really means a family walk out with my grandson & Becca & Connor).

      Reply
  9. Recovering from abuse

    Responding to Chris:
    Your apology is humble, specific, and kind. Excellent!
    I’m recovering from talking before thinking as well. Intentionality is a hard skill to learn especially when it wasn’t modeled for me. But it is possible to learn and it looks like you desire to do so.
    One thing I’ve tried is to write out my comments in another place first. If it’s a blog, I’ll write it in a notes app first. If it’s an email I’m responding to, I may put it in a document first. But doing this in a place that doesn’t have a send button gives me some more time to think if it is what I want to say. When I’m responding to my emotionally abusive husband (we only discuss things in writing), I make it a policy to not respond the same day on anything that I’m emotionally charged about. I also often have trusted friends who will read my posts and emails first to be sure that I’m coming across how I intend to. And if it’s a difficult issue, I try to ask questions rather than make statements.
    Those are things I try to do. I’m not always successful. Speaking wisely and thinking first is a learned skill and takes time. Press on- you will get there!

    Reply
  10. Phil

    Uh Well of course I am going to weigh in here….I just didn’t want to be the first commenter which was one of my things at one point….not sure where to start except to say that I am probably the MOST guilty of hijacking this blog. Maybe not so recently but definitely in years past. So I took a little bit here to ponder why I did what I did around here. Here is what I came up with: I shared here recently what took place here about 3-4 years ago. I found this blog because I was having trouble with sex in my marriage just like many others. I read intently for about 5 months and I then commented on a post about sex addiction. Long story short through that comment, I was challenged about my identity in Christ. I chose to investigate exactly what was meant by that. I said a prayer not too long after that challenge asking God to show me more. I knew there was more. And boy did God show me. Between my Pastor at my church blowing me out of the pews every Sunday and Sheila some how watering my garden via this blog all the way from Canada, I found JESUS…. and God was talking to me and I was on the ride of my life. It went on for probably about a year and half. What a ride. So yeah – I was excited! I still am….but not in euphoria like I was. I have shared here I am a recovering sex addict. Guess what? When you show an addict Jesus and you have a ride like I had – YOU WANT MORE. MORE JESUS. I have been taught through my 12 step program that the work you put in is the work you get out. I was here (and a lot of others places) baring my soul and probably doing it wrong A LOT but I was excited and I wanted everyone to know I found JESUS and don’t forget us addicts WANT MORE. And I simply wanted more. The more that happened the more I did….I just simply didn’t want my ride to be over. Well it’s most certainly not over but I am not on that ride anymore..Here is the thing: I could bring up some of the past comments and stuff that has happened around here. I don’t have to. Why? Because my intentions were to be a better person. And as I found out…I didn’t’t even know this at the time….I was really seeking to be more like Jesus. God is most certainly capable of anything. He does not need this blog to do his work. HOWEVER – God chose to use this blog and ALL OF YOU in part through comments to deliver his message. For that I am immensely grateful. I am good for super long comments, changing the subject around here, going on rants, and cheering Shiela and the TLHV Team on. I have even gotten into some not so nice situations here and yep ME TOO – I have had my comments deleted. LOL. Maybe about half dozen or so? Let me say this about the comments. THANK YOU> Here is my comment for the week – Thank you Sheila for bringing up Romans 8:29 not once this week but twice. It just confirms so much what this blog is really about. Romans 8:29 (NIV) For those GOD foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brothers and sisters. <—— THATS AWESOME.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Phil, we have all so appreciated watching you from afar over these last few years! I don’t know that we’ve ever interacted with a more humble and teachable person, and it’s been a joy, and you’ve taught me and encouraged me, too. Thank you for that! It’s good to hear from you again, too.

      Reply
  11. mtKatie

    If it was possible to add a like and dislike button next to the reply button for each comment I think you would have a chance too see how much the comment section is appreciated by your readers. It may also give the people not brave enough to write something themselves a way to feel part of the conversation.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’ve thought of that! And others have suggested it, too. The problem is I’m scared because every so often some really terrible men’s blogs link to stuff and I get a barrage of negative comments, and then I’m afraid they’d mark as negative some of my favourite commenters. Maybe we could try it for a bit and see what happened? And if it got ugly I could turn it off? I’ll have to see. I also have to run it by Connor because he’s very, very strict about not letting me add many more plugins to the blog because of page speed!

      Reply
  12. Lois

    I think allow one thread and delete the others. Don’t waste your time arguing. God has called you to something big, so don’t waste your time (see Gary Thomas’ toxic people book!)

    Reply
  13. Jamie

    I read this comment by “Reader #2”
    “The rest of the Christian world is brow beating wives about male emotional needs. It does not need to be mentioned more than once on a thread. Once reminds us the need is still there. More than once and the conversation becomes about big, strong, male fragility and our duty as meek, frail, feminine wives to protect it no matter what it costs us.”
    This is something I struggle with. We can hear a very, very long discussion where many points are re-made numerous times from all sorts of “angles” showing women’s views. I guess it’s hard for me to imagine that we can sometimes only touch on a man’s view very briefly, and all is good. I guess I figured largely equal analysis for the different views should be something that wouldn’t bother anyone.
    I DO need to remember that this is a blog largely for women and largely by women. Not all of men’s viewpoints are necessary for women to know and understand completely.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I hear you. I also think that one of the benefits of men reading the blog is that they can understand what women are thinking better. I mean, the felt need of most men who wind up here is that their wives don’t want sex. I hope that men may see that if they can listen to women talk about why sex is difficult, they may end up further ahead than if they frequently express frustration at their wives’ lack of libido. It’s not that they shouldn’t be frustrated; but it seems to me that a more productive solution may be understanding what is going on in women’s heads. I do hope that I’m able to articulate that a bit better, because I honestly want to help BOTH men and women have great sex lives (and great marriages!)

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      (From Lisa, aka Reader #2, in reply to Jamie. She left this below but I’m copying it to nest it here).
      “Jamie –
      I wrote the comment you are responding to. I was suggesting that the rest of the world (and the church in particular) is focused on the man’s point-of-view in a marriage. Women are told ad-nauseum in marriage classes, retreats, and books to consider the man’s point-of-view and it’s repeatedly explained from the pulpit as well. If a woman has made any effort to improve her marriage by seeking out Christian resources she has received the male point-of-view almost exclusively.
      It’s frustrating that on a blog about marriage written by a woman to wives the comments section devolves from the interesting topic shared to (what feels like) telling wives to consider their husbands feelings (AKA: it’s not worth rocking the boat if it will upset him – better you continue to drown). At what point does a wife get to consider her own feelings? Why must the starting point for every discussion wives have (even without their husbands present) be to consider his feelings? I’m not against men chiming in on the conversation, I’m just against the topic being changed to “consider his feelings” again.”

      Reply
    • Terri

      I would suggest from life-long experience and observation that if a discussion of sex among Christians did have equal airtime between men and women, it would represent a HUGE increase in hearing the woman’s viewpoint.
      Women already get the male viewpoint, as others have pointed out, almost exclusively, from girlhood on up. This is not a viewpoint that is going begging or needs help to be heard on equal footing.
      In general, it is women’s viewpoint that isn’t being heard and needs to be heard. I’m pleased that this blog is one particular place that fills that desperate need. It’s good that men are here to hear that viewpoint, keeping in mind that we have been hearing their POV our entire lives already.
      If you are a man here and your wife doesn’t seem to be enjoying sex or feeling interested in it, no amount of equal airtime of your POV is going to help with this problem. Only listening to your wife will help, and while you’re here, asking questions for information and listening women.
      Thanks for being here. I hope it’s helpful to you.

      Reply
  14. Nathan

    > > And I think of Nathan who is here to encourage.
    I try my best. 🙂
    I know I’m not perfect (although none of my imperfections are caused by Mrs. Nathan), and this site has helped me learn a great deal.
    Based on my experience it’s natural for many men to get defensive and try to make it about their feelings. I hope that we can all get to a place where we all value each others feelings, ours as well as others.
    But the attitude of “men’s feelings and egos come first, and women exist to serve and protect those things” needs to end. I’ve done it at times, and I’m not proud of it, but I always try to improve myself.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’d like to do a podcast on defensiveness, actually. Maybe I’ll talk about it next week! I think in my marriage, I’m actually the one who’s more prone to defensiveness than Keith, so it’s certainly not entirely a male thing or anything. But we do see it in the comments.
      Appreciate you, Nathan!

      Reply
  15. Melissa W

    I’ve been thinking about this and I really think you strike a good balance. You typically delete or ban the really off base, offensive, just here to attack and be nasty comments. The other male commenters often seem to really just be expressing their point of view, hurt, confusion, etc. It seems they really do want to learn, engage and grow for the most part. I also think of Phil, who we have seen transformed before our eyes in large part because of engagement in the comments. Only Phil can answer this but I wonder how much change he would have experienced if he had not been able to express his point of view or current way of thinking and then be challenged on it and urged to consider another point of view. Just like women need the time and space to change negative thoughts, teachings, etc. about sex, men also need the time, space and discussion to change their bad ways of thinking. We can’t argue that women’s experience and feelings matter by turning around and silencing men’s experiences and feelings. We need to be able to engage with one another in all of our flaws and short comings and grow together through thoughtful discussion, dialogue and even disagreement. I think you do this beautifully as we can see real change happening in people’s lives!

    Reply
  16. Anonymous Husband

    This was good to read, so thank you. As a man whose marriage just about ended eight years ago, I can say I am very thankful for your blog. It’s helped us immensely. I’d hate to see male comments censored out, but I understand why that would be considered.
    If someone is on this blog, most likely they’re struggling. And people who are in pain oftentimes have a difficult time expressing that in a way that is open and understanding of others’ feelings. The nerves are all very raw. I know I have struggled with that. That’s not an excuse, just an observation.
    Maybe just punt anyone who can’t keep it in line! Keep up the great work.

    Reply
  17. Doug Hoyle

    I will be honest here. there have been a number of times that I have considered leaving entirely, so when I read this, I was tempted to post one more comment as a goodbye.
    The thing is, I know there have been a number of times that I was guilty of doing just what this post talked about. I may be the worst offender. I know that when I don’t feel I am being heard, I tend to escalate. I am neither defending that nor excusing it, but I do have a pretty good idea where it is rooted. It may be that the only way I can stop it entirely is to avoid those situations.
    I know that on occasion I have been accused of putting mens feelings first. I wish to assure everyone that is not the case. On the other hand, I strongly believe that if you wish to influence them and improve behavior, instead of just highlighting their faults, then the first step is to acknowledge their feelings. I will say this. My behavior really started to change when I first acknowledged where I was wrong, and developing some understanding of where some of my responses were rooted. My marriage started to change as well during that time, but it really grew when I worked to truly understand my wife and how she responded was often rooted in her past. What initially drew me to sites such as that was the desire to know and understand better. You said that 25 percent of your readership is men. I would say that a large percentage of them were drawn for the same reason as I was.
    You said something that caught my eye a day or so, when talking about marriage books. You said that the majority of women who read them are trying to fix things that are broken in their marriage. I absolutely agree with that. I suspect that the same thing could be said about men who are here. Most are just trying to improve things. At the same time, most probably carry a lot of hurt with them.
    I really don’t know if this is a goodbye for me. When I read the post, It seemed a timely opportunity to bow out with some grace, but so many of the comments were really encouraging. For the record, you have never said anything to make me feel unwelcome, so it isn’t about that. It just may be something I need to do for my own growth, because I probably use it a a crutch in some ways.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Doug,
      Thanks for being so transparent and humble here. I’m glad that I always made you feel heard.
      I think the issue for many women is not that men are hurting; we can all understand that. It’s what can seem as an insistence that men’s feelings be considered first, even when women have legitimate grievances.
      I know men are hurting, but many women who are here are hurting, too. You can just look at the comments to this post and see it.
      The question when there’s pain, I think, is what are you going to do about it? That’s a question I know you’ve wrestled with. And I think for many people the way out of that pain is to start listening to what others are saying. I love Phil’s comments about growth, for instance. And I think Kay’s comment below also has some relevance here.
      I do hope that you can find some healing, Doug, because I do want that for you and I’ve prayed that for you again today.

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Doug, this one’s from Tory. I can thread comments on the back end, but it’s not working on the front end. But Tory wanted to say this to you:
      @Doug, I read your comments frequently, and while I sometimes disagree, I’m not offended by your perspective, in fact I frequently see your point, and you seem like a good guy wrestling with some stuff. 🙂

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Doug, here’s another one, from Lisa, below:
      “Doug – I will fully admit to having been put off by your comments in the past. Often to the point of not joining the discussion or withdrawing from it. Your humility and grace here is touching. Don’t bow out.
      To me, your comments came across as, “yeah, women, you might have some grievances, but just imagine on your poor husband must feel!” I do choose to believe the hijacking was accidental and stems from hurt in your own marriage. It just feels like the more interesting the topic Sheila posts on, the more likely the discussion is to be re-routed to the emotional well being of husbands (and not solely by you!).
      So, learn from your mistakes. But do lend a male perspective.”

      Reply
  18. Holly

    I generally value discussion and dissenting opinions, but since sex in marriage is such a raw place for me, I don’t usually comment because I fear invalidating responses, and I get enough of that as it is. I will comment on things related to purity culture because that’s not as personally painful.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I understand, Holly. I’m sorry you’re in such pain. Have you read Rachel Joy Welcher’s Talking Back to Purity Culture that was published this week? You may really enjoy that. And i’m sure you’ll really appreciate The Great Sex Rescue when it’s released in March!

      Reply
  19. Susanna

    I appreciate the comments that help prove your points. I feel they make the posts more relatable in real life.

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    I came to your blog a few years ago after seeing the games post on Pinterest. I stayed for the rest of the content (also, thank you for posting an updated games post this year, found a few new favorites!)
    Because of certain men’s comments, I went from enthusiastically sharing your blog, to hesitantly sharing it and telling people to watch out for the comments, to now not sharing it. I think there is so much value in most of the posts, but the bad ones are really bad. After the disgusting comments on the Chrissy Tiegen post, and then followed up a few days later with a tantrum on the 5 things orgasm post, with a guy saying women should retract their comments, it just doesn’t seem safe to share with hurting women anymore, and definitely not to comment.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you for that perspective, Anonymoous. I appreciate your honesty. We’ll take this to heart! It’s so hard to find a good balance.

      Reply
  21. Kay

    In light of this post and the emotional maturity stuff, I kind of want you to read Terrance Real’s book, The New Rules of Marriage (or something like that). He is a marriage therapist who basically starts counseling by listening only to the wives, because he believes that women have been disempowered to consider the feelings of men above all else, so she has a more accurate picture of what is really going on while the husband was allowed to live in emotional immaturity and denial. Of course, the husbands throw a fit when their wives start stating plainly everything that is wrong in their marriage, so Real finally asks them, “But is she wrong?” Nope. Almost never.
    Especially in the church, I was trained from a very young age to tiptoe around the egos of men. I think back even to an earlier post of yours about how men judge “bad sex” on how much pleasure they experienced, but women judge “bad sex” based on their level of pain. We’ve been programmed to believe that his pleasure is more important than our own pain. This is so not okay. Whether it’s physical pain or emotional. It needs to stop. The church has created several generations of emotionally immature men in particular, and that time is up. It is time for women to embrace the fact that their needs matter just as much. And if anything, our needs may need to matter MORE for a while to try to correct this imbalance.
    A wise man will learn from the wisdom of the women in his life, because we often see things more clearly than the men. Imagine what would happen if we were actually listened to and prioritized.
    (Please note: The women he counseled also had excellent insight into their *own* short-comings and areas for growth. It wasn’t about men bashing. It was about how she could see more accurately what *both* of their issues are than he could because of how they both had been trained to move in the world. I find this to be even more true in patriarchal churches.)

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Kay! I love your book suggestions, so I’ll check this one out, too.
      That whole “the price of men’s pleasure is women’s pain” is a big part of The Great Sex Rescue. We really double down on that one, because it is awful.
      Because it tends to be men’s experiences that are elevated and talked about in churches, women are often quite aware of how men think, what men think, and why. But because women’s voices are rarely talked about in the same way, often men just aren’t as familiar with women’s perspectives as women are of men’s. And women have been taught to defer, while men have not, so men often live in a much smaller echo chamber than men for sure.

      Reply
  22. Violet Anonymous

    I came to comment and looked back over previous ones for reference and figured that others had said what I was thinking and they said it well. If it’s alright I’ll just put in a repeat of what they said!
    In regards to Rebecca and Chris’ interaction the other day and responses in general:
    “If the commenter is truly wanting information, they can ask follow up questions. If they are wanting to argue, that will be obvious in their response. By responding with brevity, you will often be able to tease out the motivation. Also, asking a couple of wisely chosen questions can show their motivation rather than a long discourse on what you believe is their motivation. That would be even more of an example to the readers- to hear it in their own words rather than in yours.” – Recovering from abuse
    And from Melissa W. regarding which comments to let through:
    “I’ve been thinking about this and I really think you strike a good balance. You typically delete or ban the really off base, offensive, just here to attack and be nasty comments. The other male commenters often seem to really just be expressing their point of view, hurt, confusion, etc. It seems they really do want to learn, engage and grow for the most part….Just like women need the time and space to change negative thoughts, teachings, etc. about sex, men also need the time, space and discussion to change their bad ways of thinking. We can’t argue that women’s experience and feelings matter by turning around and silencing men’s experiences and feelings. We need to be able to engage with one another in all of our flaws and short comings and grow together through thoughtful discussion, dialogue and even disagreement.” -Melissa B.

    Reply
  23. Jane Eyre

    Despite being very firm in my own opinions, I dislike echo chambers and therefore, appreciate the male perspective.
    Your comments section is still heavily female, which is, I think, necessary: too many men and even the most forthright of women won’t want to engage. (The few times I read J’s blog, it seemed very male-centric.)
    The specific problem with “what about men’s feelings” is that there’s no way to communicate that sex is lousy or he continues to do awkward, painful, or unsatisfying things while giving him the warm fuzzies. You can reduce the emotional pain, maybe, or not deliberately add to it, but “what about men’s feelings” is, in effect, a trump card that tells women to shut up.
    I wish men who have been on the receiving end of those conversations would talk about what made it go well or what made it go badly. It’s never going to be a rocking good time to hear that your wife dislikes what you do to her in bed. Yet, it would be very helpful to know if there are certain approaches that are more painful than others.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I firmly second what you’ve said at the end here, Jane! It would be very helpful if more men could speak up and say what helped them truly hear their wives when something important was at stake.

      Reply
    • Lisa

      Jane-
      “The specific problem with “what about men’s feelings” is that there’s no way to communicate that sex is lousy or he continues to do awkward, painful, or unsatisfying things while giving him the warm fuzzies. You can reduce the emotional pain, maybe, or not deliberately add to it, but “what about men’s feelings” is, in effect, a trump card that tells women to shut up.”
      YES! I think you completely nailed it. I love reading your comments, by the way!

      Reply
  24. EOF

    I really appreciate the care you take in moderating and responding to the comments. It’s certainly a balancing act on your part!
    I enjoy reading the comments by the encouraging men and I also get a lot out of reading your responses to the argumentative ones. You’re right that it’s good to have some there as an example proving your point but also, as you pointed out, for us have an example of how to speak with those people in our lives. Since I grew up in a home where conflict was handled horribly (and therefore I never learned to stand up for myself and eventually my internal agony led to serious health problems), I appreciate good examples where I can get them.
    Thanks for all you do.

    Reply
  25. Misty S

    This is your blog, your space to share what you want. Honestly there is no “right” for anyone to comment. You allow that because of your heart to help people. That’s a beautiful thing. I don’t think setting boundaries for comments is a bad thing. You like boundaries after all. 🙂 Maybe after one back and forth with someone you comment that you or your staff will contact them privately to finish the conversation then block them from public comments? Then you can decide privately when enough is enough with a particular person. That’s just my opinion.

    Reply
  26. Tory

    The very occasional unpleasant comment from a male reader doesn’t bother me; I think I, as well as most of your readers, can see past a rude or dissenting comment, and keep scrolling. I often see a grain of truth in those “rude” comments, and while I may disagree, I’m rarely offended. Isn’t there a bible verse in proverbs that says something to the effect of letting a fool speak, so that he may be known by his folly? I think you can continue to let the comments through and not censor too much, unless it is REALLY out of line or inappropriate.

    Reply
  27. Michelle

    Whew, well said! I do love the comments section, both good and bad, for a variety of reasons.
    Since I wasn’t raised in a “typical” Christian household, but was somehow injected with the purity culture, I really love reading what others have to say, and their experiences. It’s grounding for me, and has really helped in my Bible reading times when thinking of different perspectives on an issue. That being said, I stopped frequently commenting a couple years ago. I realized I said things that were normal to me, but were potentially triggering for others, and I do not want to cause someone pain when they are usually here for strengthening and healing.
    Thank you all for what you do! And to the commenters / readers who bring honesty and openness in their walk with God and clawing away from their strongholds, I see you! You are not alone! And seeing you has helped me see that I am not alone, either. This is a neat little community, isn’t it?

    Reply
  28. Anonymous in TN

    I greatly appreciate your blog and read it almost daily. I also appreciate most of the comments – it keeps things well rounded. The ones I HAVEN’T liked are the men who want to give sex tips. The idea of a (likely married!) man giving THAT kind of thought to a couple’s issues, and wanting to give a (likely married!) woman sex advice is downright icky and has been a turnoff to me.
    I also love the idea of a like button! 😁

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, TN! I will tell Connor to investigate the like button…
      You don’t think it would become a popularity contest, though, do you? What happens if some regular commenters don’t get as many likes as others? Would that matter? (seriously, I think I worry too much about how other people feel!)

      Reply
      • Lisa

        I love the IDEA of a like button – but if you find you’re getting fewer comments (or fewer commenters) consider ditching it.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Ack! It’s working! You replied to me and it nested properly! I wonder if someone’s working on it behind the scenes? And I will look into the like button.

          Reply
      • Lisa

        Not to burst your bubble, I just figured out that if I right clicked on the “reply” button and opened the link in a new tab, I could type out my reply and it will nest properly. It adds to the bottom if I left click on reply.

        Reply
  29. Sheila Wray Gregoire

    Thanks, Tory! Always appreciate you, too.
    (And I took your comment you left for Doug and threaded it for Doug to see. I can do that on the back end!)

    Reply
  30. Jess

    Sheila, I am glad you put so much thought and care into your blog. I agree that it is a hard balancing act and one I think you do well!
    It’s funny, I almost emailed you yesterday to ask why you don’t just block a certain commenter who I find to pretty much always be argumentative/condescending/beside the point. It infuriates me when I read his comments because I feel like he frequently discredits women and their experiences. Part of this is probably triggered by personal experience of people I know well trying to emotionally manipulate and invalidate feelings and experiences. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine when people are closed-minded and when they read or comment based solely on their personal experiences/hurts/past without regard for how other people may have a different perspective.
    That being said, you answer with way more patience and tact then I think I ever could and I do think that commenter (and the others like him) do a wonderful job of proving the points you are making. I’m not sure anything needs to change comments-wise, but I have noticed what you are bringing up and I appreciate what you do to open conversation and try to educate.
    I am much less patient though and I may feel more like Rebecca…ban them all!!! 🤣

    Reply
  31. Sue R

    I agree with the many thoughtful comments here and am so grateful for Sheila and her team for tackling such tough topics. I would like to add just one thing. We’re all aware that most men would like more sex in their marriage. Likewise, we’re aware that one of the biggest reasons that women don’t want more sex is because we long for more of an emotional connection with our husbands first. Because many men don’t seem to be natural communicators, I would hate to see comments from the men who are willing to communicate respectfully (as we all should be) disallowed. We may not agree, and there may need to be some limits (for all of us) on length, number of posts, etc, but I wouldn’t want to discourage or shut down communication by men. (Look at how popular Keith’s posts are.) Most women want to understand how men feel, and we want men to want to understand how we feel, too. I wish my husband would communicate to even a fraction of what some of the men do here. I also appreciate the bravery and willingness on the part of all the commenters to be so honest and vulnerable. This is my first comment – LOL!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Welcome to your first comment! Thanks, Sue. And I’ll pass that along to Keith as well!

      Reply
  32. Lisa

    (Editor’s Note: Lisa’s comment here was for Doug, above. I’ve copied Lisa’s comment and nested it below Doug’s, above. Thanks, Lisa! Sorry the nesting isn’t working!)

    Reply
  33. Phil

    Yeah I am here – thanks Melissa – yesterday I was thinking about my more recent lack of activity here on the blog. More recently it is mostly due to me getting a new job and my focus has changed and well…I am actually working lol and well….sorry to tell many of you but for the past year and a half I have committed to not driving and reading and or especially replying in the comments – some of my best work/comments here were done while driving 🙃 EEEK. Anyway that being said: what I determined was the lack of my activity here on the blog besides the change in job and distracted driving issue was lack of engagement. I need engagement from others. Community really is what it is. I have not had the time to keep up with the comments so much. I read all the posts and listen to all the podcasts but I am having trouble keeping up with the comments. Somedays yes and some days not. I didnt miss the excitement this week though…. Often that is what drives me is the comments. I guess I am stumbling on the question….to answer directly – had I not been engaged here in the comments by Sheila and or others some of that change would have had to come from somewhere else or may not have happened. Here is something for everyone to see too if you haven’t picked up on it. Sheila isn’t afraid of taking a topic or issue brought up by someone in the comments and turning it into a post. She has done it -how do I say this- for me and or with my thoughts – not sure how to say that without sounding like an ego dude…but I have seen her do it A LOT for people around here. If your paying attention that is your moment to grow. Then when people comment on it – it just multiplies the opportunities for you. So yes I absolutely value the comments section and it has played a huge part of how I have changed. I know Sheila struggles with it and this isnt the first post or I think I recall a bulk email asking for feedback some years ago…she has dedicated to discussion about comments. I just think it is so important to be able to engage with Sheila/Becca/TLHV Team and all of you as to make this as real a community it can be given the platform. Reading is one way to induce change. Engaging is practice and practice forms habit and habit forms strength. As for the garbage that spills out – I am so sorry that this comes with the territory. I remember a while back Sheila posted about how she was so excited because there were no negative comments for a whole week. So sad…I wish could I change that. Besides the normal run of the mill normal disagreements between people there are trolls here too. I cant imagine the garbage that gets filtered. Let me close by just saying I am so appreciative of having this safe place to come, read, learn and grow. I dont know what the future holds at TLHV but I do know that God has provided for me and us to this point. I am grateful for that.

    Reply
  34. Lisa

    (Editor’s note: Lisa, aka Reader #2, left a comment in reply to Jamie, above, and I’ve copied it and nested it below Jamie’s!)

    Reply
  35. We're all better with more perspective

    As a guy, I personally like to see the variety of thought, along with the responses. Push back on faulty thinking is good also. Seeing it play out in the blog is healthy.
    Cut out those that are rude, but if there is honest opinion, let it through . . . and let the response to the folly thinking shed light on the folly thinking. I’m with Sheila.

    Reply
  36. Lisa

    Thanks Shiela! I tried replying (reply button directly below their comments) from both my phone and laptop and couldn’t make it work!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Not your fault. The comments are malfunctioning! I’m hoping our tech guy can figure it out next week.

      Reply
  37. E.W.

    My vote, since you asked for opinions:
    1) Don’t silence anyone’s voice (unless they’re abusive or vulgar, of course).
    2) An environment in which only certain views are allowed to be expressed is NOT a “safe space.”
    3) I know you’re fighting against wrong teachings regarding women’s feelings and experiences not being given enough consideration, and that’s good. However, men are people, too. Their feelings DO matter. I actually see a lot more discounting of men and their emotions/preferences/viewpoints than the other way around, to be honest. And we wonder why so many men feel lonely. 🙁
    4) We women really need to be strong enough to be okay with someone in the room having a different opinion. Or having a strong emotion. We shouldn’t be sensitive little flowers who need a “safe space” where no one is allowed to hurt our feelings. We’re stronger than that. That’s part of emotional maturity.

    Reply
  38. Andrea

    In case this doesn’t thread correctly, it is a reply to Kay (and Sheila’s) discussion of how women are aware of how men think, but not vice versa. I wonder if the author of that book is the same psychologist who says women talk about their marriage completely differently when men leave the room (because with her husband in the room, the wife will prioritize his ego over her reality).
    But there is another point I want to make, that of “double consciousness,” developed by Harvard’s first African American Ph.D. (in Sociology), W.E.B. DuBois. He applied it to racial inequality, but it can be extended to any relationship of unequal power. The disadvantaged person NEEDS to know what the other is thinking for their own survival, whereas the person in power has no need to know what the other is thinking because it doesn’t affect them. This was more pronounced between men and women when women were (more) financially dependent on men, but it’s still there. The wife has the “double consciousness,” she knows her own mind as well as her husband’s. The husband only has his own single consciousness.
    However – not to make excuses here for the powerful, but! – how much can you blame a person who’s view has always been THE view for being ignorant of that fact that other people may experience the world differently? Think about what men hear in churches, in society, the sex they see in movies, the number of medical journal articles there are on E.D. (a completely common occurrence with age, just like failing eye sight and hearing, but we have managed to “cure” it clinically) compared to the number of articles on vaginismus (an unnatural occurrence that can cause PTSD-like symptoms similar to rape victims). If you are a women, you really cannot imagine what that’s like, to have your experience of the world presented as the mainstream reality. All we can do is keep talking on platforms like this…

    Reply
  39. B.R.M.

    E.W. said this so Well, so I second that comment!! And others who have said similar things. There MUST be open dialogue.
    AND people learn best from having seeing there views expressed (by them or someone else) and them challenged where it’s incorrect–it’s not just enough to tell them what’s “right”–they need to understand it in the context of what they think and feel. If one man is thinking something and willing to comment it, then guaranteed, MANY men also think the same thing but aren’t saying it.
    People NEED to be able to be wrong out loud in order to discover where they’re wrong and what is right! It is difficult for internally held beliefs to actually get challenged until they become external.
    And lastly, if a man is going to open their mouth and prove the very things that you’re expounding in the blog post, then by all means, let them. It actually helps to make your point, and keeps this from being an echo-chamber wherein everyone agrees and reinforces each others’ ideas.
    Even if those men are wrong, they’re experience is still real to them, and the worst thing we can do is say, “this is not a place where you’re allowed to be wrong”–they’ll just go find other places to say those things where people do, unfortunately agree with them.
    Fight the good fight, it’s hard work, but what you’re doing is so necessary!

    Reply
  40. Kay

    My comment is a little off-base, but I’ll just say that I’m surprised sometimes by the negative male reactions here. You have always been so intentional about telling women that sex is important and that a husband’s expectation for sex is reasonable (if pursued in a respectful manner). You once said you initially viewed your husband’s need for sex as “infantile.” I realized that had been my viewpoint as well. I’ve learned, entirely through your blog, how wrong and demeaning this has been to my husband. I’ve realized that being Christlike towards my husband actually involves having satisfying sex with him!! That still seems a little bizarre to me but I’m convinced that it’s true! What I’m trying to say is that I think you’re a friend to (well-meaning) husbands just as much as you are to their wives. Keep it up!

    Reply
  41. Kay

    The author would definitely agree with what you’ve written here, Andrea! That due to the societal power differentials between genders, it’s kind of a survival mechanism. (Not literally, but our bodies don’t always know that.) It is a form of privilege that most men don’t even realize they possess because just what you said, their experience is presented as the standard or the norm and prioritized over others.
    This is a societal failure, not a moral failure of men; I want to make that abundantly clear. Again, this is not intended to be male bashing. They genuinely were not taught the same skills that most women were because they didn’t *need* them in the same way. So I genuinely don’t mean this to mean that men’s feelings *don’t* count. They do. But let’s be honest, it is painful to have someone point out your hidden privilege and the skills you are lacking as a result of that privilege. This process hurts. There is no other way to grow in this. And it is something that honestly needs the cooperation of men to remedy.
    I just think it would be really cool if the Church would lead the charge here, but that has not been my experience.

    Reply
  42. Sheila Wray Gregoire

    Shoot. I thought it was fixed. Oh, well! We’ll still work at it. 🙂 That’s good to know, though. I’ll tell my tech guy that it works if you do that, because that may help him understand what’s happening.

    Reply
  43. Natalie

    I’m personally a fan of keeping all posts visible. What those men are saying is the standard Christian message many of us women were taught growing up (or are still told/reinforced today), and I think reading your replies is really helpful and beneficial. In my mind (assuming the comment isn’t lewd or inappropriate), deleting comments is something people like The Transformed Wife does because she has an invalid, small minded argument (ie “everything bad in life can be blamed on feminism”, etc). Your message and the points you make are far more valid and beneficial, and the more variations of conversations your readers can see with you making those points, the better for everyone. Just my two cents.

    Reply
  44. Em

    I think you do a great job moderating comments; it is totally up to you though how much you interact. A person only has so much mental and emotional energy to expend in a day! Overall I appreciate seeing the men’s comments but they are LONG and I usually skip them.
    Personally I do NOT support the idea of a “like” button. It could be my aversion to anything related to social media…to me it would not add anything to the blog and even detract from the value of the comments. Please don’t add a “like” function.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s kind of what I’ve always thought, too. I can see both sides to this, but I also know the comments we have to delete because they’re gross, and I’m afraid a like button could blow up badly. I also don’t want my really valuable commenters to get a “dislike”. I guess if we ONLY had like and no dislike…

      Reply
  45. Doug Hoyle

    “It would be very helpful if more men could speak up and say what helped them truly hear their wives when something important was at stake.”
    That would seem to be a great topic for a post. If you write it, I can promise at least one more comment.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I don’t know that I can write it, though! I need other women to give me stories. I hope some do!

      Reply
  46. Scott

    I think you should allow a range of commenters, even those that you don’t necessarily agree with.
    I will say first that TLHV and several of the other women-run Christian intimacy blogs provide one thing for me more than anything else. Hope.
    I’m a man that has been reading for several years and generally in agreement with most of what you have to say, and I could see things that I needed to work on and things my wife needed to work on, were she willing to read and listen.
    And then you went on the book review kick.
    I understand why you’re so concerned, I generally agreed with what you had to say when I could get past the emotion. But for the longest time I debated never listening to you again, because the message I got was that I’m all broken and it’s all my fault, when in reality I believe I’m one of the good guys trying to love my wife the best I can, and now any hope is gone because if I’m that far from where I need to be, then I might as well give up.
    Obviously I didn’t stop all together, and did start listening again during the emotional load topics.
    The feelings of your male listeners are important, and for any topic there’s got to be a balance of challenging us guy to do better, but also hold our wive’s feet to the fire when that’s where the blame belongs. For example, if a husband does take the emotional load message to heard and starts making some real changes, then the message needs to change to “wives, you need to do your work too.”

    Reply
  47. Em

    I don’t think anyone needs another to continuously check to see how many “likes” their comment has. Just my opinion though. 🙂 I’ll keep reading regardless.

    Reply
  48. Jacqueline Orosco

    I avoid the comment section almost entirely. Between being a woman who has come from a shame-based church background, to being a sexual sin struggler myself, to then also having my marriage nearly implode because of my husband’s extracurricular sexual activities, it is often very triggering to me to have to wade through the male backlash and ignorance (that occasionally comes from both men AND women) to get to the genuinely helpful or encouraging dialogue. I love love LOVE reading your articles, but if I ever tip-toe into the comments, I often find myself in a worse state of mind than I was in before. I DEFINITELY understand that some needs to be let through so we can “see it to believe it”, but soooooo much of it is just pettiness and narcissism and inflated male ego. Thanks for asking us to weigh in- I appreciate your work and hope God continues to offer clarity to y’all on the subject!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Jacqueline! And I’m sorry for the hurt you’ve been through.

      Reply
  49. Elizabeth Weinschreider

    I actually agree with Rebecca here. In fact, I’ll take it a step further and say that I’m fairly new to this blog, but right from the start, I’d have to say that there doesn’t appear to be much content strictly directed to guys: number of posts written with guys in mind, the style of the graphics… it’s very much pink. I think if you know for certain that God is directing your ministry to reach both men and women, it might be time to retool a few things to thrive in that position. Selfish moment: it would be much easier for me to share a post with my husband if it didn’t feel like he is a secondary audience. 🙂 Whichever is your core mission, lean hard into it, and your moderating choices, content, and all other decisions will be easier to make. Nothing but love for what you guys are making here <3

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      We’ve actually thought of changing the pink–but we decided not to because we want to keep women as the primary audience. Men are welcome to come, and I hope they do. But if we make it gender neutral, then I think the problems we have in the comments would get even worse. At least now we can say, “Look, this is primarily a woman’s blog, and you’re visiting here, so be polite.” But if we make it gender neutral, then I think that would be harder to do. Does that make sense?

      Reply
  50. Lindsey

    I would encourage you to keep things as they are – nothing turns me off to a blog faster than reading a post then seeing that all the comments agree and praise the other – like one enormous echo chamber. Transformed wife’s blog is that way, and it’s just so fake.
    It might be aggravating or discouraging at times – but at least it’s real. People should be able to hear or read something they disagree with and not feel personally threatened or excessively distressed.
    Maybe we could just have a button to click that posted a meme saying “Thank you for proofing Sheila’s point!”

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I love that idea of a meme. 🙂 I wonder if that’s possible? 🙂

      Reply
  51. Ben Tebbens

    I just want to say thank you all so much. Your podcasts bring such healing and enlightenment and joy to my soul…and yes, even heartache at times but it means so much to know that folks are now being taught the truth, in such love and humble honesty. I’m not sure if anyone has ever mentioned it before but I always cringe when you have to remind us of those mostly terrible “books” apparently so many used to try to use to try and have the Godly marriage we desire and pray for. I like to share your podcasts with my church and probably more so, non-church friends and I so often decide unfortunately not to do so knowing the “world” will see how unfortunately messed up the church is or at least has been, what a sad state. Thank you for being here for us, thank you everyone…in front of the mic and behind. This is an incredible ministry. Hopefully one day so much of the damage from these books will be long forgotten. Keep healing my friends and giving us a little space to share 🙂

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Ben, thanks for your thoughts, but can I push back a little? I think that the urge to have “the world” see Christians as people who have it all together isn’t a good evangelism strategy. What our team has found is that when we share with others this huge project we’re working on–looking at the harmful teachings in evangelical books that have hurt sex for women, and how we can get back to what is biblical–they love it! And they don’t love it because we’re proving that the church is wrong. They love it because they already know the church is wrong on these things, but they’re delighted to hear that people are pushing back, and they’re so interested in what we’re finding. And they’re os thrilled that people are pushing back.
      The world already knows that the sex and marriage advice Christians get is often messed up. They do. But when they hear that not all Christians believe this, it helps them see Christians in a different light. When they hear that Christians believe that women’s sexual experience matters too, it helps them to have better conversations about what the Bible’s message for sex and marriage really is, and it leads to the most fruitful discussions.
      Honestly, we’ve been able to get in better discussions with non-Christians, including family members, about God’s design for marriage and sex and how God loves us this year than ever before.
      We don’t need to protect the church’s reputation. We need to speak up for Jesus. Where the church is wrong, pointing that out only helps our witness; it doesn’t harm it. The world already sees it. When they see us also making it right, it helps tremendously.

      Reply
  52. Anne Michele

    Maybe it doesn’t have to be either or? Maybe Sheila can allow what she is comfortable with, but Rebecca can delete what she wants when she is monitoring. Or after 1 or 2 negative male comments, all the rest are deleted on that post? Or maybe sometimes you don’t allow any at all when you need a break from dealing with it? I do see some value in allowing some inappropriate comments, but it does seem exhausting. If you completely get rid of them, then it’s easy to forget how common that thinking is. I think those comments fit with the Love and Respect culture – “her needs make him feel bad, so therefore they are optional.” Then he calls it disrespect when she objects. I think a lot of men want their egos fed and disguise it as wanting respect. I have read enough of your writing to know that you don’t agree with these types of comments, so it doesn’t upset me. I find it refreshing when you push back. In that regard, I would hate to see the comments go away because it also helps us women to know how to push back biblically. Allowing the comments in a limited way is necessary to showcase the problem and to show us someone pushing back and standing up for us. It’s your page, so you get to decide what you put up with. If you have had enough for a while, take a break. Or allow more at other times. I don’t think it necessarily has to be a hard and fast rule.

    Reply
  53. T

    TBH, there’s a part of me that loves conflict and discussing/debating different ideas, so for some of those dissenting comments, I’m breaking out the popcorn and settling in to watch what happens. But that may not be healthy! It’s honest, though, and probably why advice columns where people bring really hairy problems are just so darn entertaining.
    I’d say let at least some of them through so we can see how you respond. Maybe don’t let the really nasty/damaging ones through until you are able to post a response with it immediately.

    Reply
  54. Old Man Winter

    As a victim of sexual assault, I sometimes overreact when it comes to anything that feels as if I am being told I am bad because I am male. I know I went a bit off the rails, and that was not my intention. I hope you can forgive me, and continue to post on how men can help their wives. Too many women have blamed me for the issues in my wife’s and my intimate life. Some are her issues, some are mine, and some are due to the healing I need over my assault. Thank you for being balanced.

    Reply
  55. Wifeofasexaddict

    Reader #2 references that men often feel set up to not be treated fairly in spaces like this, and that men won’t play a game they can’t win. But. Everything in the world has been set up in men’s favor for centuries. Millenia even. And they has gotten better for women the last few decades, but it still isn’t a level playing field. And— women WILL play a game they can’t win. We don’t have the privilege of opting out of every relationship where we sense we are at a disadvantage. So most teaching on marriage in churches is slanted toward the male point of view. This is also because the great majority of pastors and teachers are still men.
    This is my experience: my (soon to be ex) husband was convinced I didn’t care about his feelings. Nothing I said or did could persuade him that I did. I’m an extremely empathetic person– even to my own detriment. But he was convinced I didn’t care about his feelings. In reality, his “feelings” were his desires. And it’s true that I didn’t turn myself into a porn star to meet that “need” of his. (Thanks His Needs Her Needs) Never mind my need to be acknowledged as a separate person with desires and wishes and thoughts and opinions.
    So I guess I said all that to say: what men portray as feelings may actually be their desires or wishes, and that men are more likely to center themselves than women. They are used to being centered. I’d rather see this be a safe place for women than men. They have tons of safe places.

    Reply
  56. Anon

    Just a thought on the ‘like/dislike button’ idea – I’ve seen another blog that has the opportunity for readers to mark a comment ‘helpful’ – but there is no alternative to mark it ‘unhelpful’, only to report it if you really feel it is so unhelpful that it should be deleted. Perhaps a ‘helpful’ button would be better than a ‘like/dislike’ one? I often read comments that have been really helpful to me, but feel that commenting ‘thank you’ on each one would make the comments section very lengthy! So it would be nice to have a way of letting that person know they have helped me without having to comment.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, that’s what I was thinking. If I were to do it, it would have to only be a positive button.

      Reply
  57. A Wife

    I understand not letting gross comment through, that’s a given. But it’s important to hear both sides of a debate. How will you know you’re always “right” if you only let comments through that agree with you and ask no hard questions? Thats entirely one sided and I would be less likely to trust the teaching here. As soon as you silence people you don’t agree with, that becomes a HUGE red flag. Reading both sides actually helps me come to a better conclusion. I often learn more through the comments than the original post. I would never take one person’s word for something and suddenly change my mind about a topic without hearing different perspectives, even ones I disagree with.
    Also, there are a lot of posts where something is said to men and I think to myself “if we said this exact phrase from Sheila to a woman, there would be an outrage.” I don’t think the views here are always fair or thoughtul towards men, especially the good ones. I would assume that it’s because you typically teach towards worst case scenarios. And I get that. However, not everyone is in a worst case scenario. I wonder if it might help the comments section to give a shoutout to men in good marriages and highlight what they’re doing well instead of always telling men what they have wrong. There are actually good husbands who get it right and I wonder if, in general, the good gets overlooked because of the bad.

    Reply
  58. Lisa Johnson Scott

    As one of the readers quoted in the post let me add additional thoughts.
    I know you all work hard and are busy but can I tell it straight?
    If you don’t have time to moderate (or find alternatives like volunteers) the comments on your posts should be turned off.
    Allowing your posts messages to be diluted by so many people who spew the same garbage you are writing against sends a message that you don’t really value the idea.
    How is moderating not a priority? Or turning off the comments if you truly don’t have time? Or perhaps a middle ground of allowing comments on one place (posts, Facebook, Instagram etc) so only one source of comments is necessary to monitor?
    That’s my take – I know you are a straight shooter about Love and Respect etc when they get it wrong which I love. So I thought I would give you the respect of a straight difficult answer.
    I love and respect you are asking for feedback 😀

    Reply
  59. Lisa Johnson Scott

    I am Team Rebecca for more moderation.
    It is not about not wanting to hear “both sides” or not wanting men to comment or wanting it to be a safe space for women etc.
    *It’s about not diluting and confusing your IDEA, your message in the post*.
    It is not about protecting “women” or “men” it is about protecting the radical (for many Christians) IDEA that you are trying to present.
    Allowing so many comments that dilute your message inhibits the change you seek –
    especially among those who have been told for years the Bible favors the current idea you are trying to change

    Reply
    • Matt

      I disagree with Lisa, for the exact reason that she wants more moderation: I want the IDEAs Sheila et al are putting forward to gain wide dissemination, traction, and acceptance. I think the strength of those ideas is shown in well-resolved conflict. When some guys squawk, and Sheila answers deftly, it truly shows how powerful they are.
      Having said that, if a guy is just complaining, or restating the same point because you didn’t cave in, go ahead and moderate away; nothing is being added then.

      Reply
  60. Lisa

    I agree! New people might be coming to the blog all the time, and while you’ve done well to assist those who have some learning to do all these years, it will still be needed going forward. Reading comments that are sincere (yet flawed) helps me to learn how some people think and where they’ve gotten their ( sometimes faulty) reasoning.
    It’s not always an easy road to navigate, but we really do want to engage and help everyone to grow.

    Reply
  61. Lisa

    As a wife of a wonderfully loving and caring husband (for 25 years), I agree!

    Reply
  62. Lisa

    Great post!

    Reply
  63. Anon

    A Wife, you mentioned that “it might help the comments section to give a shoutout to men in good marriages and highlight what they’re doing well instead of always telling men what they have wrong. There are actually good husbands who get it right and I wonder if, in general, the good gets overlooked because of the bad.”
    I think if you read many of the comments, you will see that there are a lot of women giving shoutouts to their husbands for being great! Me for one. But at the same time, the majority of people reading this blog are likely to be here because their marriages aren’t that great, so it’s not surprising if the majority comments are describing difficult marriage situations. And that’s ok. In a church culture where so many people (especially women) are pressured to keep quiet about marriage problems, it’s important to have a safe space to share.

    Reply
  64. Elsie

    I agree with many others that different views should be allowed as long as they aren’t abusive but that too many comments on a thread aren’t good. Some people just want to keep endlessly arguing even when you have given a reasonable response and that’s not helpful for the rest of the community. I think it also depends on how much emotional energy you and your team have to invest.
    I also wanted to say that I’ve been so impressed by how civil the dialogue on this blog is compared to most of my other experiences on the internet. This is one of the very few websites I ever comment on. I’ve also been impressed, Sheila, by how kind you are to commentators and how generous you have been by ministering to the men who come here as well as the women. But I do think it’s important for men coming here to understand that this blog is focused on ministry to women. I always find it so odd when men complain that this blog for women isn’t focused enough on men.
    My main point is thank you for the work you do here and for your ministry

    Reply
  65. Maria Bernadette

    For the record, you and your team do a great job of keeping abusive comments off the discussion thread. I’m comparing abusive and off-topic below because clearly dilineating between the two might help.
    Abusive comments can be banned because of their content. Just reading it will let you know if you should allow it or not. Off-topic AND abusive should, of course, be banned as abusive. The ones that are just off-topic need a holistic approach, in my opinion. By asking what kind of an affect it would have on the discussion.
    There’s been some talk about how off-topic comments can challenge one’s viewpoint. Yes, but so can on-topic ones. Because people can talk about the actual blog-post while disagreeing with it.
    Imagine going to a science exhibit, and having a discussion with someone who thinks the exhibit is not an accurate representation, while you think it is. That discussion would challenge you, right? Now compare that to someone wanting a discussion about 18th century poetry. The conversation would expand your mind, but you went to the science fair for science. And it’s not close-minded to focus on that while at said fair.

    Reply
    • Nessie

      I know this is way late to the convo, but I agree that you do a good job of filtering the comments while allowing varying opinions to be heard. Perhaps there could be a disclaimer on certain posts that are more sensitive or triggering topics, that you will not allow more “heated” male (and sometimes female) comments through?
      I don’t know computers well, and it’d likely be too much work, but what about making any comments that go too long or too back and forth to have a link elsewhere? Readers can see the first sentence(s), then click to read the rest elsewhere. Kind of a (read more…).

      Reply
  66. Becky

    I’ve always thought that your team does a good job with the comment section overall. Maybe it’s because I’m currently often reading a day later, but I haven’t seen much in the way of vulgar or abusive comments. And on the one occasion that I did butt heads with a male commenter, it was resolved peacefully. You also do well at stating when a discussion is getting unproductive and ending that thread. Our society has a huge problem with being unable to discuss opposing viewpoints in a way that allows for growth or even civility, as evidenced by this disaster of an election cycle in the US. But not allowing the opportunity to discuss is also unhealthy. Most of the male commenters that I regularly see on here have handled correction with grace, and their perspectives have been helpful to me in understanding my own husband’s perspective.
    I can understand your hesitation in adding a like button. I have often wished for something like an email notification for replies, though, since I often don’t see replies to my comments until several posts later, when the conversation has moved on.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great suggestion, Becky! I know we used to have one, but we did a bit plugin purge to try to speed up the site. I’ll talk to Connor about that one.

      Reply
  67. almadecolor

    I’m open to either option. Of course, I value the safety and respectfulness of the environment, and think it the adult thing to do to be able to disagree even vehemently with someone about a major topic, but not demean, belittle, or call into question his/or intelligence or value because of differences in experience/opinion/beliefs. So, because I believe it’s okay to disagree, and try very hard to not take ignorant/offensive comments personally, even if they may hit close to a wound in my life, I also am pretty open to allowing a fair amount of “uncensored” responses here. I do rather like the idea of limiting the repeated negative ones, to allow y’all to respond and redirect/correct, though, if only to allow for the sincere, helpful ones to make it through to the spotlight a bit easier, so readers who do decide to tread the comment waters can actually make it to the positive, encouraging content, rather than lose hope scrolling through a bunch of arguments and garbage they are most likely trying to find a better way through in their own relationships. I found this blog close to its inception through a friend, but honestly lost touch for a bit…until disaster hit my first marriage…THAT’s when I found my way back…I didn’t need to have to slog through a bunch of negatives…I was living far too many of my own. I loved the straightforward, Jesus-based, real-life (not just church theory) advice and shared experience I found here. It was very healing. So, recognizing the sheer mental load that your team has to deal with on a regular basis…I think it’s something y’all want to discuss, pray about, and decide how either filtering more or filtering less will add life and healthy boundaries for the direction you feel God is calling your blog to and do that…whatever “that” may look like. Yes, we love comments, but neither option will satisfy every one of your readers, so I think the bigger picture would be if you have enough time and space to focus on the priorities of your team’s mission. Hope that makes sense! Blessings on you all!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you. That’s actually really touching that you would focus on the mental toll on us. It actually is quite the toll! And there are some weeks where I’ve deleted much more liberally because I just can’t handle one more thing right now. Thank you!

      Reply
  68. Rachel

    Wow, I couldn’t get through all the comments here! So many people chiming in!
    I like the way the comments have been. I like that there are some from men, and I appreciate your responses to any men who are perhaps disagreeing etc, because it helps me to process more, think deeper, learn, etc. However, I do like that comments are predominantly female.
    My other thought is, that, there are surely other blogs/resources etc that are predominantly for men which would be great places for more men to turn to learn and grow, and comment. Men are welcome here of course, but I know it can also be helpful to have a source predominantly for your own gender.
    Thank you Sheila and team!

    Reply
  69. Barb H

    Those type of people are keyboard cowboys and not really interested in an intelligent dialogue, so treat them like bots… delete, delete, delete. Don’t waste your time & mental energy on them.

    Reply
  70. Jamie

    I understand. Thank you for your clarification. Thank you.
    It’s interesting to think that most of the Bible’s characters are men. There are just a few women in comparison. I was listening to a podcast where a teaching for men was done with Ester as the example. It began with something like this, “now you men will know just a little bit how it feels to have someone of the opposite sex continually be the example for you.”
    I am just starting to see that this really is a “man’s” world. Through and through. It’s hard to see it that way as a man, but being put in a woman’s place for only a moment, really can open one’s eyes if he is open to it.

    Reply
  71. Matt

    This reminds me so much of the scene in Zoolander where Will Farrell says “I feel like I’m taking CRAZY pills!”
    It astounds me that so many men who seem to take a patriarchal world view are such soft ninnies. To be fair, I’m hurting myself…our marriage has been sex-starved for almost all of our 3 decades, and I’m hurt/frustrated/confused/nutso/angry from day to day by my inability to help make progress. But I would never put my wants (ok, “emotional” needs, but sex isn’t really a foundational on Maslow’s hierarchy, like oxygen) for sex above my wife’s comfort, or ever do anything to cause her pain.
    In Ephesian 5, Paul says “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. How does a man look at that and ask his wife to do something painful, just to get a release? It’s completely childish. Actually, most children wouldn’t hurt someone.
    I’ll put on my own patriarchal hat: “Guys, you need to MAN UP. If you’re in that much pain, buy some vagisil for yourself.”

    Reply
  72. Lisa M

    I can only imagine how difficult it is to find a balance. I think the discussion is important even though I almost never participate. But for those that have the time and mental energy, it’s good to discuss.
    I think that if you go with your gut instinct and filter the responses that are nothing but argumentative, that is a good plan.
    I am having a little giggle here, though, at all the talk about a husband’s FEELINGS. I am firmly aware that men are very emotional beings. But I just got Love & Respect from the library to show my husband some of the awful sections of that book and now I’m really laughing at Eggerich’s insistence that men are NOT emotional–but, at the same time, we have to be SO VERY CAREFUL not to hurt the FEELINGS of these unemotional people.
    This is not a jab at men. I love men and I love it when men feel free to embrace all aspects of their personhood, including emotional health. This is a jab at the absurdity of the “men are not emotional” teaching.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly! They’re not emotional–they’re just really, really fragile. It’s crazy!

      Reply
  73. Bob

    I would like nothing better than to please my wife sexually. The problem is she does not want sex at all.

    Reply

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