Fixed It For You! We Fix a Survey Question So It Doesn’t Enable Date Rape

by | Jan 25, 2021 | Abuse, Uncategorized | 32 comments

For Young Women Only: Fixed it for You for Date Rape

When research is poorly done, and then that research is used to “prove” something in Christian circles, everything can go awry.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be telling you some of the things we learned in our survey of 20,000 women last year, leading up to the release of our new book The Great Sex Rescue. 

One of the reasons that we did the survey in the first place is that we were dismayed at the quality of what often passed for research in evangelical resources–and even more dismayed by what was then done with that research.

This week we’re talking about the “gatekeeping” message, that boys will want to push girls’ sexual boundaries. On our podcast last week, Rebecca and I took a look at a section in the book For Young Women Only which told girls that boys had little ability/little responsibility to stop a sexual progression, and so the boys needed their help. Please listen to the podcast–it was an important one. And subscribe to the Bare Marriage podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, so you don’t miss one!

It was such an important point that I wanted to put it in blog form, too, to make it more easily shareable.

So let’s start with the question:

For Young Women Only Rape Culture

Feldhahn & Rice combine the answers like this: 82% say they have little ability/responsibility to stop.

They conclude: “With a guy, if you want to be able to stop it, it’s best to not even start.”

They use words like, “a sizeable minority feel no responsibility to stop.” “Be careful.” “Be cautious.” “Watch out.”

They say, “boys needed the girls’ help” to stop.

What is this telling girls? You are responsible for stopping in a make out situation, because he can’t/won’t. If you go too far, then, it’s your fault, because you know he can’t stop.

The real issue here is that they asked boys about a consensual situation, and then applied the data to non-consensual ones. That is not a valid use of the data.

We’d like to do an exercise today where we look at that survey question and fix the problems with it.

How to Ask Proper Survey Questions that Actually Answer the Relevant Questions

1. Define the question better

They surveyed 400 predominantly non-Christian boys, and said: (a) in a consensual situation where she wants to keep going; (b) what ability do you have to stop?

The problem is that (a) and (b) do not logically go together. What does his ability to stop have to do with her wanting to keep going?

Additionally, even though her question assumes that boys will want to stop, she never actually asked them. Giving boys a leading question (implying they should be wanting to stop) without ascertaining their sexual boundaries just isn’t good practice if you want to get meaningful data about boy’s desire to keep up their own sexual boundaries.

Ironically, the first answer they allow boys to have gets at this issue. They allow boys to answer: “why would I want to stop?”

A proper survey question is clear on what it is asking. In this case, that means splitting this question up into two: first, ascertaining what the boys’ sexual boundaries are, and then asking how they would feel about maintaining those in a consensual sexual encounter:

Regardless of any past sexual experiences, which of the following statements best describes you currently: 

  • I am saving sex for marriage 
  • I do not feel I will be ready to have sex until I’m older 
  • I am not sure if I am ready to have sex now or not 
  • I feel ready to have sex now
  • I am actively having sex/I am actively pursuing a sexual partner

If you were in a make-out situation with a willing partner who does not signal a desire to stop, how likely are you to want to stop that sexual progression before it leads to sex?

  • Very likely – we would not have sex
  • Likely 
  • Somewhat likely 
  • Somewhat unlikely 
  • Unlikely 
  • Very unlikely – we would have sex

These questions tell us whether boys have set sexual boundaries for themselves that they don’t want crossed and also how strong boys perceive their self-control in this area to be. This allows us to make conclusions about what responsibility boys feel to stop, as Feldhahn and Rice did without actually asking boys about if they felt a responsibility to abstain from sex.

2. Ask a separate question to address the non-consensual situation

They extrapolated the results from a consensual situation to imply that boys would not be able to stop if she asked them to (“it’s safer to not even start.”) However, we have absolutely no way of knowing this, because they never actually asked! So let’s add a second question to the survey that actually addresses this:

If you were in a make-out situation and your partner signalled she would like to stop, how likely are you to stop that sexual progression?

  • Very likely 
  • Somewhat likely 
  • Somewhat unlikely 
  • Very unlikely 

This will get at whether or not boys are likely to stop in non-consensual situations, and then we’d be able to make conclusions about boys’ responsibility to stop in those situations, too.

You may ask, “but who would admit it if they wouldn’t stop?” But actually it’s been shown that people tend to be fairly honest about their shortcomings, even major ones, on anonymous surveys, so this isn’t a huge worry–as long as the survey is truly anonymous.

Also, please note: this is the minimum that should be asked to allow the conclusions that Feldhahn and Rice made in their book. Personally, I don’t think they’re sufficient to truly measure what they’re trying to measure. I’d add at least one more question: If your partner signalled she wanted to stop, how likely are you to pressure her to keep going? And I would ask about what types of pressure they may use. But let’s keep going with the minimum that is necessary to make the conclusions they’re trying to make.

Note from Rebecca: You may have read “For Young Women Only” and not gotten the impression that Feldhahn and Rice were talking about non-consensual situations. We don’t think that they meant to talk to girls in date rape situations, but the problem is that they fail to emphasize that these are consensual situations. They fail to mention that these are situations where she wants it as much as he does. Instead, they tell girls to “watch out” and to be afraid of boys who have little ability and feel little responsibility to stop. If a girl were to be date raped, her boyfriend could easily use Shaunti’s own words to prove to her that it was, in fact, her fault without having to look too hard at all. The caveat in the book about rape means nothing when Feldhahn has written an entire chapter grooming girls for rapists and abusers to take advantage of them in the name of “it’s just too tough to stop the fun.”

3. Remove any language that justifies/enables abusive behaviour

Note that in the original question, Feldhahn asked about the boy’s ability to stop. What does that word imply in context? To imply that a boy may not have an ability to stop the sexual progression implies that some boys can’t help but rape (even in a consensual situation, one should still have an “ability” to stop). But she asked this in the same question she’s measuring boys’ desire to stop. In doing so, she conflates desire and ability to stop sex but then talks about them throughout the chapter as if they are one and the same.

We need to be careful in how we craft questions.

Rebecca here for a minute: frankly, it’s bizarre to ask boys who want to have sex (as many non-Christian boys do) if they would have an “ability” to stop consensual sex! Can you imagine if this question were asked of married, Christian men? I’m pretty sure that more than 90% would answer, “Why would I want to stop?” Does that mean that over 90% of Christian married men are marital rapists? Of course not. They’d most likely be answering based on the “want” in the question, not the “able.” Of course we feel out of control during really good sex, but we know that we’re able to stop (I mean, if you were having sex and a raccoon jumped through your window onto the bed, you could stop is all I’m saying.)

However, Shaunti’s use of the word “ability” implies to her female readers that it’s okay for a boy to think that he has no ability to stop once making out has started. But by conflating “wanting” to stop and “being able to” stop and then not emphasizing the consensual nature of the encounter, Feldhahn and her team handed a whole generation of young men a get-out-of-jail-free-date-rape card.

Again, it’s OK to feel out of control in consensual, safe settings where you actually are in control and do have an ability to stop. But it’s not OK to raise young girls to think that if she kisses him for too long it’s only a matter of time until he loses his ability to not push her further. Shaunti could have emphasized that boys do, in fact, have the ability to stop, regardless of what they say they feel. She could have emphasized personal responsibility, and respect. But she didn’t. Because of this, when Shaunti used the word ability, she taught the girls reading her book, “he can’t stop this like you can,” especially when you consider that later she goes on to say that boys NEED girls to help them stop. (OK, Rebecca out.)

Rape is not a matter of inability; rape is a conscious choice. To imply that boys’ crossing girls’ boundaries is a matter of “inability” as Feldhahn and Rice did rather than as a matter of sin and abuse is highly problematic, to put it lightly.

4. Take out emotional language in the response section

It seems as if the researchers were trying to be “cute”, but it’s very bad form to have emotional language in the response options. Note how Feldhahn says, in option 2, “it’s just too tough to stop the fun!”. That makes this response sound “cool” compared to the option in question 4–“I find it easy to stop the sexual progression.” Note the use of the word “fun” in option 2, and the words “sexual progression” in option 4, all refer to the same thing.

5. Make each response straightforward, and do not combine elements in the response section

Let’s take a look at option 3 in this survey. It says:

Some ability, but it would require a massive effort, and I might go further than intended.

Here we have three different elements to this response:

  1. I have some ability
  2. It would require a massive effort
  3. I might go further than intended

If someone picked this, which element are they reacting to? All of them? One of them? We have no way of knowing.

(Rebecca here again. Whenever possible, it’s best to have only one phrase or clause per question or response option. Often this rule needs to be broken, and that does not immediately invalidate the question or the response–not at all! But this response option is particularly problematic because (a) it’s a triple-barreled response option to an already convoluted question, (b) all the response options are incredibly different from one another so this has a higher risk of being a “catch all” for the “not sure” crowd, and (c) the three elements are all measuring completely different constructs. First, ability; second, effort; third, sexual actions.)

6. Include all options in the response section

Note how the responses jump from #3–I have some ability but it requires massive effort–and #4–it’s easy.

What if it’s not easy, but it doesn’t require massive effort? Isn’t there something in between?

And you know what? There’s an easy way around the the problems in #4-6, and it’s standard in surveys: Simply offer what is called a Likert Scale set of responses, like this:

  • Very Likely
  • Likely
  • Somewhat Likely
  • Somewhat Unlikely
  • Unlikely
  • Very Unlikely

You take out all the emotional language; you include all meaningful possiblities; and it’s very straightforward. There’s a reason this is standard practice.

7. Dichotomize the Answers Appropriately

Now let’s get into how we use the results. Feldhahn looked at those results and concluded that 82% of boys had little ability/little responsibility to stop. So she separated the results between options 3 and 4.

However, is this an appropriate way to dichotomize the data?

The question she asked was about the boy’s perceived ability to stop. Then, throughout her book, she talks about boys going too far or crossing girls’ sexual boundaries. It makes more sense, then, to dichotomize the data based on whether boys reported an ability to stop, and whether they didn’t.

In that case, the appropriate way to split the data is between options 2 and 3. Option 3 does say they have the ability to stop. This gives us, instead of an 82/18 difference, a 48/52 difference.

Using a likert scale makes dichotomizing even easier–you simply split it among whether they are at all likely or at all unlikely.

(Rebecca says: Of course, there are lots of reasons you may want to split up the data in different ways than just “yes” or “no.” In our survey, for example, we asked about orgasm frequency. It may make sense in some contexts to talk about all women who have ever orgasmed, regardless of frequency, and others where it makes sense to only talk about women who always orgasm. But it would be wholly inappropriate for us to combine the 88% of women who have ever had an orgasm, regardless of frequency, into one group and use that data to talk about highly orgasmic women when that includes women who orgasm less than half of the time they have sex. Similarly, using data about boys who were able to stop the sexual progression to bolster the claim that boys have little ability to stop sex was a gross misrepresentation of the data.)

8. Ask Girls the Same Questions

Feldhahn and Rice state in their book:

For a guy even more than a girl, making out often starts a physical drive towards sex that requires a major effort to override.

Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa A. Rice

For Young Women Only, p. 148

They are drawing a conclusion from their question that boys find this harder than girls.

But just as we spoke about in our podcast in December about unconditional respect and the problem with Shaunti Feldhahn’s survey data on “men want respect and women want love”, you can’t make a gender comparison without actually asking both genders. And it’s not enough to ask similar questions. You have to ask the same question to both genders. In the love & respect case, they never asked women. When other researchers asked the same question of women, women answered the same as men. No gender difference. And yet a whole doctrine was born because of a faulty survey question.

If you haven’t listened to the Unconditional Respect Isn’t a Thing podcast, you really must!

They are assuming that girls can easily stop the sexual progression, but we have no data that this is true at all. This is what we call a presumption fallacy in the study of logic, and it’s the same fallacy that Shaunti used in her love & respect conclusions.

When we look at what she asked girls, this is the closest question we could find:

Many people joke that boys “only think about one thing.” This question is designed to determine whether girls think about and want that one thing as much as boys do. In your experience, if a girl and her boyfriend make out from time to time, but have not made the move to a sexual relationship, do you think the girl thinks about and physically wants sex with him as much as he probably does with her? {Choose One Answer}

  • [46%] Yes, I think in that situation she’s wanting to go to bed with him as much as he wants it (whether or not she actually does go to bed with him).
  • [42%] No, I think it’s probably the guy that most wants the relationship to progress to actual sex. Most girls would be fine with continuing to make out, without crossing that line.
  • [12%] No, I think it’s probably only the guy that wants the relationship to progress to actual sex, and she actively doesn’t want to cross that line (even if she enjoys making out).

(Note from Rebecca: I have… a lot of thoughts about this question.)

This is not a perfect comparison, but it’s the closest we’ve got. And in this question, 46% of girls say that sex would likely occur. So 46% of girls think that sex would happen, and 48% of boys think that sex would happen.

That’s not a gender difference. 

In an ideal world she would have asked the same question of girls at the same time she did her survey of guys. But she surveyed boys a year before she surveyed girls, wrote a book saying there was a gender difference she herself did not find, did not cite any other research supporting her claim, and then when she did ask girls a similar question it pointed to no gender difference. She had no basis for saying what she did.

To sum up: Here’s how to ask survey questions that would allow Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa Rice to talk about the concepts that they did in their book:

Regardless of any past sexual experiences, which of the following statements best describes you currently:

  • I am saving sex for marriage
  • I do not feel I will be ready to have sex until I’m older
  • I am not sure if I am ready to have sex now or not
  • I feel ready to have sex now
  • I am actively having sex/I am actively pursuing a sexual partner

If you were in a make-out situation with a willing partner who does not signal a desire to stop, how likely are you to want to stop that sexual progression before it leads to sex?

  • Very likely – we would not have sex
  • Likely
  • Somewhat likely
  • Somewhat unlikely
  • Unlikely
  • Very unlikely – we would have sex

If you were in a make-out situation and your partner signaled she would like to stop, how likely are you to stop that sexual progression?

  • Very likely
  • Somewhat likely
  • Somewhat unlikely
  • Very unlikely

And then ask the exact same questions to girls. 

Again, in an ideal world I would ask additional questions about sexually coercive behaviour to flesh this out, but these are the minimum questions necessary to draw conclusions about boys and boundaries. 

(Rebecca note: also, all questions would have to be coded by operational definitions of the research constructs which would be developed during a thorough literature review, the survey would include multiple questions for each construct, we would use previously validated questions whenever possible, the whole thing would be pilot tested, and we would only ask the intended research group, or else make it very clear that our findings could be entirely inaccurate to the people reading the book).

We hope you see now how writing bad questions, writing bad response options, and then interpreting survey questions inappropriately is all too easy to do.

All of us who worked on The Great Sex Rescue did university training in survey development and analysis (Joanna and Rebecca far more than me, but even I remember my courses from 1990 where we learned everything in this post. It was actually quite basic).

But what wounds us and worries us the most is that Feldhahn and Rice used a bad question to tell girls that boys had little ability to stop the sexual progression, and that boys “needed” their help to stop.

If a girl who had been date raped read this book, would she know that she had been assaulted? Or would she blame herself? After all, if you want to stop, it’s better not to start! Guys feel little responsibility or ability to stop. You should watch out. Be cautious. Guys need you to do the right thing.

This is rape culture. It formed the basis for a whole chapter in her book. And it was based on extremely faulty research methods.

Church, we simply must do better. Please. What are we doing to our teenage girls? And who are we expecting our boys to turn into?

We’d like to set the record straight.

We want to set a much higher standard for what passes as research in the Christian world, and we think we’ve done that with The Great Sex Rescue. In that book, we identify what teachings harm women’s sexual satisfaction. If you’ve never been able to reach orgasm; if you have no libido; if your marriage is stale–it might not be your fault! It may simply be that you were taught stuff that has seriously messed you up. And seeing what that “stuff” is can be freeing, validating, liberating! It can help you have the marriage and sex life you’ve always wanted.

The Great Sex Rescue

Now Available!

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the things that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these messages?

Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.

If you’d rather watch than read, or if you want to see our passion for this, here’s the part of the podcast where Rebecca and I looked at this survey:

We really can do better.

For Young Women Only Fixed it for You Date Rape

What do you think? Did anything else stand out to you about that survey question? Have any thoughts about all of this? Let’s talk in the comments!

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

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

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

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32 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    Ugh. Date rape breaks my heart. I was a victim of it (more than once!!). I thought for years it was my fault, that I shouldn’t have even started kissing/etc with the boys because at that point, they can’t stop themselves so you just have to take it (i was told this by a counselor, parent, and Christians!). I didn’t report the incidents ever because i was called many names, and that i got what i asked for. I was drugged and raped by a group of boys (i still don’t know how many) one night and i went and told a Christian teacher about it (i was not a Christian yet, but assumed she was a safe person to tell). She told me that i had a reputation already so nobody would believe i didn’t choose it. She said that i should stay away from boys because they can’t stop themselves so it was partly my fault. After that, i believed that i didn’t have any value as a person and so i became what everyone already thought i was.-i just let guys take advantage of me after that. Thank you for teaching about this subject. It gives people like me hope for the future

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Rebecca, that’s so heartbreaking! I am so, so sorry that you were never believed, or you were told that it was all your fault. That’s so very sad. I am praying that we can change the conversation–that no girl will ever again feel like you did, that she was to blame because she went too far, because “Christian” resources told her that.

      Reply
  2. Kay

    I am another woman who did not learn the definition of consent until I was 32, at which point I put together that I had indeed been sexually assaulted as a teenager, more than once. Even though I had clearly indicated that I wanted to stop, I was ignored, and I blamed myself because “I should have known better that boys can’t help themselves” and because I didn’t try harder to stop them. As if it were *my* job to stop it.
    Here’s one thing that I am confused over: it *was* my experience that guys could not (or would not?) stop when asked, so in that sense their “research” feels accurate. But I guess I wonder if that is because guys were literally taught that about themselves?? And were not taught the definition of consent any more than I was? Then I get confused because if they didn’t know how to identify consent, is that their fault they violated consent or the fault of the crappy teaching?? In any case, my experience demonstrates to me that these kinds of teachings absolutely perpetuate rape culture. I am positive to this day that not one of those guys is aware he had raped me even though I said stop because of teachings like this one.
    This may not be true for everyone, but for me the trauma of **not knowing** I had been assaulted for 16 years and my confusion over my trauma responses to those “sexual encounters” are more difficult to work through than the assaults themselves.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Kay. And again–I’m so, so sorry that this happened to you, and i can only imagine the trauma of having to unravel all of that later in life!
      I think the healthier message to say is this: “Some boys (and some girls) will try to push your sexual boundaries. That is always inappropriate, and is a red flag that something is wrong with the relationship.” I think the key word there is “some”. When we teach girls that all boys do this, then we simultaneously make it so that girls can’t recognize red flags. But more on that tomorrow!

      Reply
  3. Nathan

    It’s very heartbreaking that this happens to so many people, and it’s also a tragedy that so many young women are told things like “Well, you already have a reputation, nobody will believe you, and part of this is your fault”. Rape or assault is always and only the fault of the person who did it, not the victim.
    Now, there are some things that people can do to protect themselves and reduce the chances of this happening, but it’s still not the victim’s fault.
    I like Sheila’s use of the word “some” in this case. Yes, some people (of both sexes) will try and push boundaries, and this is a sign that there is likely a problem with the relationship. People need to be aware of the situations they’re in, but we CANNOT absolve people of assault, or blame the victims, because “they can’t help it”.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Yes, if you are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t respect your boundaries, you get out of that relationship. But if you have been taught that ALL boys/men are like this, then what’s the point of getting out of the relationship? You’ll rationalize that you should settle for him.
      And it’s important to differentiate between wanting to have sex and being able to stop yourself. Frankly, if a parent barged in, I know those teenage boys & girls would stop. I know the parents wouldn’t just stand there and “let him finish” because that’s “just the way God made boys.”. Come on.

      Reply
  4. Nathan

    One more thing. Creative use of questioning is used elsewhere also, in order for the pollsters to get the answer they want in advance.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      YES! This happens so often. But it should never happen in something like this! That’s what was so exasperating.

      Reply
  5. Active Mom

    Bravo! Thank you guys for continuing to go after the faulty teachings. Our young men and women deserve better than what we were taught.

    Reply
  6. Nathan

    I often like to say that I never grew up with the purity culture in my church, but now that I think about it, that may not be true.
    There were many times, in church, at camp, etc. where there would be lectures and talks that were “girls only”, and the girls didn’t talk about it much after the fact. Maybe it was going on, and that’s where it was happening.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It certainly was much more aimed at girls! I do think there were very problematic messages at boys, too (we’ll be talking about that a bit in this Thursday’s podcast!). One of the worst is telling boys that all guys are tempted by porn. That can create a self-fulfilling prophecy! I have talked to a lot of guys who say they got their start at porn in youth group, because the youth pastor was always talking about how exciting it was and how they wouldn’t be able to resist it so they had to be careful.

      Reply
      • Nathan

        > > telling boys that all guys are tempted by porn.
        I think that the potential for temptation is there. I myself looked at porn before meeting Mrs. Nathan, but I haven’t looked at it at all for 20 years, and don’t miss it, although I notice attractive women and thoughts do sometimes pop into my head.
        Even then, though, it was maybe 10 minutes a week. Of course, porn was less available back then.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, absolutely, porn is tempting! But there’s a huge difference between saying, “porn will tempt you all because it’s so exciting, and guys are naturally drawn to it,” and saying, “Porn can be alluring, and many people get sucked in by it. But not all. Many are also able to resist. And porn is not more powerful than God.” It’s just the messaging aspect. It almost sounds like a lot of youth group talks on porn are really advertisements for porn! 🙂

          Reply
  7. Ylva

    Thank you so much!
    Study design and controlling variables is so so important even though it can be quite annoying. Especially if one is an author and not mainly a researcher.
    But that’s why the (just German?) saying goes “never trust a statistic you didn’t manipulate yourself”. If the methodology isn’t made transparent or very biased itself, things like that can happen.

    Reply
  8. K

    Thanks for this! I feel like a fool. I read this book in my early twenties, soon after graduating from a university program that was supposed to teach me critical thinking. But I didn’t approach this book critically at all and believed it all. I remember being pleased that the book was based on “research” rather than just the authors opinion. Thanks for showing how easily “research” can be twisted to make the authors opinion seem valid. Really appreciate your work.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Well, if it’s any consolation, I used to recommend I Kissed Dating Good-bye! I think we’re primed to assume that if a book is published by a Christian publisher, then it’s a good book. Unfortunately, all too often that’s not the case, and what I’ve learned the last two years is that we have to be really discerning!

      Reply
  9. Melissa

    A lot of my books are in storage at the moment but when I get them out and start organizing my library (husband surprised me by having my dad custom build a wall of shelves with a rolling ladder in my home office – yes, I burst into happy tears LOL), I am going to set aside all of the harmful Christian relationship books I own and then use them for kindling. That is how angry I am. Especially when I read stories like the ones above. You all should have been protected and fought for, and the people who should have sought justice for you failed miserably because of all the flawed teaching we were all fed. I want to give you all a big hug.
    Something I have observed over time is that when people in authority fail to protect women, eventually the women will rise up. And it is NOT pretty when it happens. I feel like that’s what’s happening right now in the church. Slowly, but surely, the women are rising up. A reckoning is coming. There will come a day, soon, when our voices are too numerous to shush any more. I believe that.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Melissa! I just texted your last paragraph to Rebecca and Joanna! So true. That’s what we’re feeling as well. Women are waking up. We pray that THIS is what The Great Sex Rescue will do. We’ve got the numbers on how these teachings hurt women’s orgasm rates, arousal rates, libidos, and rates of sexual pain. We do deserve better. And Jesus wants better for us! If we simply taught Jesus-centred theology of marriage, we’d be fine! Women aren’t leaving Jesus; we’re finding Him and realizing that too much of what we’ve been taught isn’t of Him.

      Reply
  10. Chris

    So glad Sheila that you and Rebecca addressed this because it was a very poorly written survey question. You do not want survey questions that are vague and imply things. Most men would have read that question and walked away with a very different interpretation of the events than you and Rebecca did. In the YouTube video, Rebecca says that this was a consensual encounter. And it was. For the moment. But most men would have read it like this : “You are getting hot and heavy with a young woman and she shows no signs of stopping, and then all of a sudden she indicates to stop right now, how do you feel about your ability to stop?” In short many men have been in that situation and would have read the nature of the question itself as waiting for the other shoe to fall. Or else why ask the question? Or otherwise the “why would i want to stop?” Becomes the most logical answer. There is an implication in the question itself that the situation is going to go from consensual to non consensual very quickly. And how as a young man would you react to that. Shaunti Feldman should have worded it more clearly. Because now its possible to deduce from the results of the question that most men would stop a consensual sexual encounter out of some sort of piety i suppose. Which is not what she was trying to ask. Ya, Shaunti choked on that one. This has been bugging me since i watched the podcast on YouTube last week but I am so glad you guys corrected it.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Chris! I really think most guys answering that question would have taken it just like you said–“why would i want to stop?” It’s a very strange question. Why would the stopping even come up? Thanks for your encouragement!

      Reply
      • Chris

        Sheila, exactly. The “stopping” would only come up if the reader perceived that something else was going on……ie. the brakes were about to be put on the sexual progression.

        Reply
  11. Amanda

    It’s also confusing that she asks if they want to stop without specifying it would advance to sex. Maybe everyone just wants to keep kissing!

    Reply
      • Lena

        Ugh, I don’t like her work! Her other book, For Women Only, caused so must mistrust in me for men, and just utter disappointment, that I am still working through 12 years later! I married a great man who doesn’t struggle with everything that she said “ALL” men struggle with, but it was so deeply ingrained in me as “truth” that it’s been hard to get out of viewing all men through her glasses. Would never suggest any of her stuff to anyone!

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          YES! What we found in our survey of 20,000 women is that women who believe that “all men struggle with lust; it’s every man’s battle” are far less likely to be able to trust their husbands, even if we control for husbands who check out other women or who use porn. And the interesting thing about that particular teaching is that the effects are there even if you don’t believe it, but have merely heard it. Like merely reading this book makes your marriage worse. And the weird thing is that she even shared that in her book Through a Man’s Eyes–that women wrote in after reading For Women Only saying they could no longer trust their husbands and their libidos were gone, but the reply was simply, “you just need to understand men.” It was highly problematic. And, again, why we need to make sure people read The Great Sex Rescue! 🙂

          Reply
  12. Runswithdogs

    Id have changed the question to…
    “Your getting hot and heavy when a chainsaw wielding maniac in a hockey mask crashed through the door screaming…. would you be able to stop ?”
    Cause if you can stop then, you can choose to stop any other time….”
    Failure to do so is a choice.
    Then again, This is probably why im not in charge of writing surveys……

    Reply
  13. Lisa

    I bought this book for our oldest and THANK HEAVENS my husband and I read it before giving it to her. I have never seen my husband so ANGRY over a book, ever, in our 20+ years of marriage. And this one question is only one of very many poorly written questions with disgusting advice. We threw this book in the TRASH, where it belongs.
    Other problems with this book include the advice to girls/young women not to make their boyfriend (or boy they want to ask them out) angry. Reason? Men need to feel like you respect them in order for them to like you/ask you out. There are reasons to avoid making a boyfriend angry– if you’re not in a place to safely get away, for example, and you don’t know this person very well (hopefully you wouldn’t let yourself get in that situation but sometimes things happen). But the examples are not like that. They reference Emerson Eggerichs and how men need to feel respected and a guy won’t like you if you don’t puff up his ego.
    Also, they make a point that boys are more likely to ask a girl out if she loses weight. I’m a personal trainer and nutritionist so I am all in favor of physical fitness and eating well. But you do it for your own health and well-being, not so that some guy asks you out.
    Overall, it was a HORRIBLE message to give to young women! It was absolutely disgusting and the exact opposite of what we are teaching all of our children, girls and boys. My husband also was disgusted at the way the survey results were presented as, “Well, this is the way boys are and there’s not a thing they can do about it.” No way, we hold our boys AND our girls to a higher standard.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly, Lisa! Also, the question about how guys prefer virgins. The problem is they never asked girls the same question! So it’s like they tell girls that boys want virgins, but they don’t say anything similar to the boys in the boys’ book. They should have asked both genders the same questions. Instead, they just make all these assumptions that boys and girls are polar opposites, instead of the fact that characteristics exist on a bell curve, and in general, the genders’ bell curves overlap.

      Reply
  14. Lisa M

    It’s so important to keep bringing this up until books like these are dead and buried. Their only legitimate use is education– teaching people what can happen when people spread dangerous opinions as fact. The “research” that went in to “For Young Women Only” is appalling. If it had been turned in during a high school class, I would have had the students start over. The questions were written to prime their desired answers, and their analysis consisted of nothing more than adding up responses. I’d call it 5th grade level research, content aside. I place the blame firmly on the publisher. I’m sure they reject manuscripts every day for having a hollow core, nothing substantive. Why did they publish this one? Money. Scary books sell. Fear mongering sells.

    Reply

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