Why 20,000 Women Matter

by | Feb 26, 2021 | Uncategorized | 46 comments

Merchandise is Here!

When we follow Jesus, Jesus’ teachings don’t harm us.

That is a foundational principle of the Christian life–Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He hears our cry. He protects us. He loves us. He leads us to still waters.

When we follow Jesus, then, we should grow in health and wholeness. We should be transformed.

We should become more and more who we were meant to be.

But what if, in reading our evangelical sex & marriage books, our marriages are actually made worse?

That’s what our huge research project, that turned into The Great Sex Rescue, which launches on Tuesday, was meant for. And today I thought I’d share an excerpt from the last chapter, where we explain why we did this, and how this whole thing got started in the first place.

This chapter is at the very end of the book, after we’ve already made our case. We’ve shown which evangelical teachings have decreased women’s sexual satisfaction and marital satisfaction and increased sexual pain (teachings that we’ve been sharing on all our latest podcasts!). We’ve made reasoned arguments about what is a more biblical way to look at sex.

And now we explain why we got started in the first place.


 

In reading all of these bestselling Christian sex and marriage books, we found ourselves dumbfounded by how little is being asked of men. Of the thirteen Christian bestsellers we analyzed on our rubric, only three books asked all the following of husbands:

  • stay faithful (without offering caveats)
  • make sex pleasurable for her
  • do not insist or expect sex of any kind when your wife is physically or emotionally unwell
  • seek consent from your wife

Some books asked for one or two, some gave caveats, but only three of the thirteen best-selling Christian marriage and sex books charged men to stay faithful, give their wives good sex, and not rape them. (The average book asked 1.85 of these requirements.)

However, these same books that couldn’t ask the bare minimum of men asked, on average, over five of the following of women (and five books asked all of them):

  • Have intercourse as frequently as the husband would like.
  • Have intercourse even if he is watching porn or has a lust problem.
  • Understand that without intercourse, her husband is more likely to have an affair, and if he does, it will be partly her fault.
  • Help him reach climax in some way even when she is on her period, recovering from postpartum and not sleeping, or during any other problem she may face, since her problems are not reasons to refuse sex.
  • Prevent weight gain to stay attractive.
  • Let her husband feel that he is a good lover (without necessarily any caveat that he should actually be a good lover).
  • Initiate intercourse and be enthusiastic.

We are not saying that all of these requirements are bad (although some clearly are). What is so stark is the contrast between how much is expected of women and how little is expected of men.

I (Sheila) have been writing and speaking about Christian marriage, and specifically sex, for over seventeen years. But until recently, I never read other Christian marriage or sex books because I was afraid I’d inadvertently plagiarize someone. I assumed, though, that because these authors knew Jesus, they must be speaking truth.

So I recommended. I trusted. I endorsed.

Then, after being prompted by a Twitter conversation, I read Love & Respect in the winter of 2019. My whole world fell apart. I was horrified that the sex chapter in Love & Respect is aimed only at women (since, in Eggerichs’s conception, sex is only a man’s need). Here’s my summary of what he says to women about sex:

  • Men need intercourse, while women don’t, and wives must have intercourse or their husbands will feel disrespected and then may cheat.
  • Wives must sympathize with men’s lust problems.
  • A wife must be sympathetic if a husband wants her to lose weight, even if he’s been watching porn.
  • It is a sin to say no to intercourse, regardless of what she is feeling, or even if he is abusive (since you must give him unconditional respect, which includes sex, even if he is scaring you with his “withering rage” to the point that you want to “get away and hide”).

Yet what are men asked to do in the bedroom? Absolutely nothing. There was not even passing reference to making sex good for her too.

As disheartening as reading Love & Respect was, it also changed the course of our work and ministry. Until then, we were working with blinders on as we created helpful resources to improve people’s marriages and sex lives. Once we read it, we realized that we needed to do far more. People could take our courses, read our blog and books, and listen to our podcast to their heart’s content, but if they were still getting this poisonous marriage doctrine, good content alone wouldn’t fully fix the problem. We needed to give people explicit permission to reject the aspects of the evangelical zeitgeist that were holding them back.

We started on a small scale. We compiled a report summarizing hundreds of women’s comments from our blog, including many who found that Love & Respect enabled abuse, and sent it to Focus on the Family, which published the book and still heavily promotes it. I’ve been featured on the Focus on the Family broadcast three times and have been well received. I honestly thought they would listen. But after being presented with hundreds of stories of marriages made worse by this teaching, Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family, issued a statement declaring the book helpful: “Focus on the Family maintains that Love & Respect has a biblically sound, empowering message for husbands and wives.”

We thought that if we presented them with stories of hurt from hundreds of women, there was no way they wouldn’t listen. But they didn’t.

So we decided to go bigger, and that’s where this book got started. We decided to conduct the largest, most scientifically sound research project into Christian women’s experience of sex and marriage that has been done to date, and we recruited twenty thousand women to help us. Several hundred women, apparently, can be ignored. We hope the voices of twenty thousand will make people listen.

The problems we have discussed in this book can be summarized in this woman’s comment:

In our first months of marriage I would beg my husband to slow down, and he never would because he was afraid sex would stop and he would be left hanging. Several years ago, in tearful post-sex frustration, I explained to him that he left me feeling that way every time we have sex. I saw a light- bulb go off, but he quickly put it out, saying, “We’ll just have to work on catching you up,” rolled over, and went to sleep. Nothing ever changed. My husband had multiple partners before marriage and I was a virgin. So he really thinks he’s a great lover and I just don’t appreciate him. I tried to explain his attitude is killing our sex life, but he thinks my lack of interest is killing it. I love my husband and sometimes I do want sex, but when I think about how he’s going to jump straight to intercourse and I’m going to be left disappointed, why put myself through it? How different would my marriage be if the marriage classes we took taught him he’s responsible for making sex feel good for me? Instead he has learned that I owe him sex, our sex life is bad because we don’t have sex every three days, and if he chooses to have an affair, it’s my fault for not giving him enough sex. Oh, and it’s my job to make him believe I enjoy sex even if I don’t. How can a wife even begin to combat all this bad teaching and be heard?

Our call to the evangelical church is that our resources should lead women like this commenter to feel protected, not dismissed, and should lead men like her husband to feel convicted, not validated.


Up until now, the vast majority of evangelical books that taught us about sex mostly wrote from the perspective of the author or pastor.

They didn’t use real research–or, if they did, it was poorly done.

Nobody stopped to ask, “does this advice actually work?” Does this advice make couples happier and healthier?

We want to set the bar higher.

We wanted to conduct the best and biggest survey, and then we peppered research and statistics from literally dozens of other peer reviewed studies throughout our book, so that hopefully the norm in Christian circles will now be: Has this advice been shown to be healthy and true?

And the only way to do that was to actually ask women.

We don’t want books to just be one person’s–and primarily one man’s–opinion.

We want something that should have been happening all along. We want advice that has been shown to be:

Healthy. Evidence-Based. Biblical.

That, we believe, is what we have achieved.

It’s got a ton of fun charts! The Great Sex Rescue has facts and figures. It shows where other books have gone horribly wrong. It shows how we can rescue and reframe things we say all the time in the evangelical world so they reflect healthy teaching instead. It gives a picture of what a healthy, Jesus-centered marriage and sex life look like.

And it’s funny, too.

This book does what I wish all the other good sources would. It tackles toxic and inaccurate teachings head on, shows with real research how they damage intimacy and sexuality, and how they are not, in fact, biblically based. It approaches these difficult subjects with empathy and humor, and a genuine heart to heal. 

Maria

Goodreads Reviewer

After reading this book and excitedly discussing my many breakthroughs with my counselor, he summed it up well when he commented that I *seemed like I had been set free*

Celena

Goodreads Reviewer

If you grew up in the evangelical church, or if you read evangelical books, you’ll find so much of yourself in The Great Sex Rescue!

And we hope you feel validated, seen, inspired, heard, and convicted, all at the same time.

You all matter, my dear readers. And we hope that with this book, you’ll experience real freedom. Real passion. Real intimacy.

Thank you to the almost 600 people who have been part of our launch team and who have been encouraging us all month! Just 4 more days until launch! We’re so excited to see what God does with this book, and we’re humbled by your support.

 

As I read the book I found myself wanting to scream in anger, cry in frustration, and laugh with joy shouting “AMEN, SISTER!!!” “The Great Sex Rescue” will always be part of my freedom song.

Katie Long

Goodreads Reviewer

The Great Sex Rescue

Launches March 2!

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.

Pre-Order Now! (Helps us out a ton)

And if you email your receipt, we’ll send you a special pre-order BONUS

Time to Pre-Order

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Why 20,000 Women Matter: The Great Sex rescue

Any questions about the book? Encouragement for us? Thoughts if you’ve read it already? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

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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46 Comments

  1. Lynn

    “When we follow Jesus, we are not harmed.
    That is a foundational principle of the Christian life”
    That is exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught. He said there would be great hardship, struggle and even death if we followed Him. He said we would have to sacrifice and hurt. He and every disciple except one died horrible deaths after living lives of tremendous and usually painful sacrifice.
    I often wonder if you’ve ever actually read the Bible as you seem to teach almost the exact opposite of it most of the time.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Lynn, there is a huge difference between persecution and actual harm. Jesus said that He will keep us in perfect peace, no matter what happens. Jesus talks about EMOTIONAL and SPIRITUAL health. The whole point of the Christian life is to grow in wholeness, to be transformed into the likeness of His Son, and Jesus is WHOLE. He came to give us life, and to have it to the full. That doesn’t mean we won’t be persecuted, but life will be abundant and big, and what he’s talking about is emotional and spiritual health. I’m sorry that this isn’t better understood in the church.

      Reply
      • Lynn

        No, Jesus said we would have great sacrifice for others and that it would come at great cost. This is not only about persecution.
        Everything those Christian authors state is absolutely true. Now is there some truth in what you say also- sure there is. Sex, whenever it is wanted to be pleasurable for the wife should be. But, having spoken to so many women it’s just not even close to the priority or intensity it is for most men. You seem to not understand nuance and emphasis, that by pointing to one thing you are not subtracting from another.
        Your whole “ministry” is built upon division and disunity while calling for wholeness. You can’t seem to grasp that those books are still snapped up by the millions not because they are the only thing out there but because they resonate with people and make sense of the scriptures to people. And have helped millions.
        You want to help women who want to enjoy sex more- awesome. But throwing other Christians and especially their husbands under the bus on a daily basis is not the answer and I would call works of satan. Any ministry- I use that word gracefully when attached to you- that teaches daily that at almost a near 100% rate that it’s everyone else’s fault and problem and what the other guy is doing wrong is no ministry.
        You’re nothing but a left wing hack promoting you and not Christ. Anyone can sell things to women all day long when you’re telling them it’s not their fault. It’s everyone else.
        Women reading, how would you like your husband reading a site each day that blamed everything on you?

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          “Everything those Christian authors state is absolutely true.”
          “Be like a merciful vial of methadone for your husband when he’s quitting porn.” Every Man’s Battle
          Act of Marriage calls a rapist equally unhappy as a rape victim.
          Sheet Music tells women they have to give their husbands oral sex or a hand job when they are bleeding heavily, in the postpartum phase, or “simply not feeling their best.”
          Love & Respect says that when you are scared of your harsh husband, so much so that you want to get away and hide, that you should give him unconditional respect instead (which includes sex).
          Just pointing out some of the things that are “absolutely true!” And now I’ll bow out.
          Seriously, in the Bible, the norm is that you call out false teachers. The majority of the Old Testament is prophets calling out to the leaders at the time. In the New Testament, they call out false teachers. What I’m doing is biblical.
          You know what’s not biblical? Saying nothing when someone is being hurt.
          Also, if you think it’s mean to men to say, “Hey, guys, you’ve been sold a bill of goods and have had so much shame heaped on you needlessly because you’ve been told that sexual attraction is lust, when it’s not,” then I don’t know what else to say!

          Reply
      • Jo

        Why would anybody, male or female, take advice from someone who thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to put wet towels on a bed?
        I don’t think such a person is qualified to talk about ANY subject, not having yet figured out something even a reasonably mature eight-year-old knows.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Exactly! I wonder that too. And notice that he’s also encouraging his sons to continue to put wet towels on the bed, as well, even though their mother asked them not to.
          Rebecca and I want to do a podcast on this: “Next time you’re reading a marriage book written by a guy, ask yourself, “would I want to be married to him?”” And if not, chances are the advice is terrible!

          Reply
    • Emmy

      To be harmed is something different than hardship.

      Reply
    • Anonymous in TN

      So you’re saying that marriage, one of the earthly relationships that the Bible likens to the relationship the church has with Jesus, should be expected to be a great hardship, a struggle, full of sacrifice and hurt? That sex lives in marriage should be marked by those things? That wives should expect and accept that husbands treat them that way?
      I’m confused because I was always taught that Christians are supposed to be better than that, to endeavor to treat others better than ourselves, to call out sin.
      Asking women to just suffer in silence… is beyond horrible. Who else “should” suffer in silence?

      Reply
      • Anonymous in TN

        This comment is for Lynn not Sheila.

        Reply
    • Char

      There is a significant difference between suffering harm because there is evil in the world and suffering harm because of poor and unhealthy teaching. Jesus also said my yoke is EASY, and my burden is LIGHT. He said he came to free captives and bind up the broken-hearted. He said he came to give people LIFE. I’m so tired of Christians elevating suffering as if it is always more holy to suffer. If a woman is suffering because Christian books have taught men it is OK to demand sex from their wives while they are physically unwell – that is not holy suffering. That’s just facilitating other people’s selfishness. Pick up your cross and follow me does NOT mean suffer needlessly in unhealthy relationship dynamics because your pastors gave you terrible advice about sex.

      Reply
    • Connor Lindenbach

      When you say “having spoken to many women,” how many women are we talking? Was it over 20,000? Because Sheila, Rebecca, and Joanna did.
      And you know what, husbands HAVE been reading books and sites for decades that blame everything on women.
      That is why the Great Sex Rescue was written. It is not about blaming all of women’s problems on men or throwing husbands under the bus. It is blaming the teachings that have caused harm, largely to women. It is about saying to men, ‘You have been given bad toxic teaching for a long time, and we are sorry, but you can be more than what you have been told you are.’ and It’s about saying to women, ‘You have value and worth. You matter as much as your husband, and we are sorry that you have been told otherwise all your life.’ It is about healing and recovering the bonds of intimacy and mutuality that should exist between a wife and husband.
      There will be people who think that sounds unchristlike. And I am genuinely sorry for them.

      Reply
      • M

        What a great comment/explanation… this is when I wish you had a “ like” feature 😊

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          It’s Connor who won’t let me get one. 🙂 He says it will slow down the site, etc.

          Reply
      • L

        Thank you for chiming in ! It gives hurt women hope that there are good men in this world.

        Reply
    • Jane Eyre

      Lynn, you’re being deliberately obtuse. Sheila is not teaching a prosperity gospel; she is reminding us that Christ sets us free from the bondage of sin and following Him brings great peace. Peace and superficial happiness are not the same thing.
      I have been in the position wherein doing what I believe God wanted me to do came at tremendous personal and professional cost. I won’t say it was easy. Yet, there is a lot of peace that comes with it, believing that I made the decisions God wanted me to make and did the things God wanted me to do.
      You are also misinterpreting that passage. Jesus is reminding us that our metric is not how the world reacts to us: look at what the world did to Him and His followers. Our metric is God. He did NOT say that everything that brings you misery is good. Miserable sex is miserable sex, not a sanctifying grace.

      Reply
    • Kya

      “Women reading, how would you like your husband reading a site each day that blamed everything on you?”
      Ironically, reading Sheila’s website (and book!) has shown me that most of the sexual baggage and difficulty in our marriage is attached to me. I am truly married to a wonderful man, in whom I see the love that Christ has for me demonstrated daily. My upbringing in purity culture and the evangelical church, and the unhealthy teachings about sex that I internalized and believed, are the things holding us back. I’m the one with the most work to do.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        SO MANY women in our focus groups told us this, too! Toxic teachings do so much harm, and often our husbands are the best healing force God can use for us.

        Reply
      • Natalie

        You and me both, Kya! And many more, I’m sure.

        Reply
    • Renee

      Sheila is talking about Christian women not being harmed in their marriages. What if we flipped it around? When we [Christian men] follow Jesus, we DO NOT HARM. Jesus did teach that we would suffer and be persecuted for his name, but not at the hands of other believers. Not at the hands of our husbands whom he instructed to love us as their own bodies.
      That is the key with this book. Because of pervasive teachings about sex in Christian circles, husbands are harming their wives. It can only stop if with better teaching.

      Reply
    • Wild Honey

      Persecution is supposed to come from those OUTSIDE the church, not those purportedly within. Jesus told his followers that they’d be known by their love for one another (John 13:35). How does this square with a husband making selfish demands of his wife (or vice versa, for that matter)? This blog simply asks that BOTH spouses be making appropriate, Christ-like sacrifices.

      Reply
    • Em

      Lynn, your assertions border on the ridiculous. You equate false teachings, like those Sheila is exposing, with the Sermon on the Mount? You sound as though you are speaking defensively and throwing insults out of fear. I pray the truth will set you free, too.

      Reply
    • HB

      “Lynn” you don’t happen to be the author of one of the books that has been found to harm so many of us do you? Either way I do pray that your mind and heart are opened to see the false equivalency you are stating. Even more so if you are! The truth sets you free!

      Reply
    • Maria Bernadette

      Lyn, I searched the article and could not find the quote that you seem to be attributing to Sheila.
      This is what she wrote, and I copied and pasted to make sure: “When we follow Jesus, Jesus’ teachings don’t harm us.”
      Jesus’s teachings do not harm us. Good does not cause evil.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        To be fair, originally I had something different, but I changed it because I could see how it was saying I was preaching a prosperity gospel and that’s not what I meant. I originally said, “we aren’t harmed.”

        Reply
    • A

      Lynn you lost all my respect at “You’re nothing but a left wing hack promoting you and not Christ.”
      Name calling and arrogance are definitely not fruits of the Spirit. This must mean there is a trigger here surrounding some bondage in this area. I encourage you to seek out these triggers and find out what has caused your vicious attack on someone who is constantly pointing to Christ and showing humility and teachability.

      Reply
  2. Angie Murphy

    Sheila, I’m so excited to read your book! Thank you so much for caring about hurting women, and for wanting the best for men and marriages as well. I feel like you are caring for me and speaking truth, at a time when I have nobody else in life. I don’t feel as alone or “crazy.”
    Thank you for actually conducting real research! Thank you for loving Jesus and others.
    I know it’s been a hard road for you, I’ve been down it too, though not in such a public fashion. And so I just wanted to encourage you in your perseverance for justice, your hunger and thirst for righteousness. You are following the path of God.

    Reply
  3. Nathan

    There is a huge difference between suffering for a cause versus painful harm just to satisfy somebody else’s selfish desire of the moment.
    Yes, Jesus did say that in this world you will have trouble (just as He did), although harming yourself or allowing others to do that isn’t noble or Holy by any means.
    A large problem with these books isn’t necessarily the advice they give (although some of it’s very bad), it’s that it’s all one sided. These books are full of demands that women serve and sacrifice for their husbands, but virtually NOTHING is demanded of men. In fact, some of them even justify and accept bad behavior on their part by saying that it’s probably the woman’s fault, anyway.

    Reply
  4. K

    Your post today and the resulting discussions brought me back to a big thought point for me lately: as I re-examine what I think is true about a healthy marriage relationship I have to re-examine what I think is true about what God wants in a relationship with Him. For a Christian, I think the way we view one relationship necessarily impacts the way we view the other relationship. And I think that is one of the reason those in power have such a hard time accepting what you have to say – because it also reflects on who they say God is.
    More personally, reading your teaching has begun to help my marriage, but I find myself in a place of questioning so much. I now realize I have been deceived about the nature of relationships and of God I have a basic foundational belief in the core of the gospel left, but I no longer can accept the teachings I grew up with about how that is lived out. On one level I think the questioning is healthy, but it is also so difficult. I’d love if you would address this spiritual aspect of it more. I think it is a very natural outcome for woman who can no longer believe God wanted them to be essentially raped by their husbands, to have to re-think what they believe about God. But where do we go? Who do we trust to teach us and the the same teachers who deceived us on marriage are also telling us what God is like.

    Reply
    • Purplecandy

      I totally understand what you are talking about. The podcasts and blog posts from the last few weeks have sent me on a quest to find truth amidst all the spiritual teachings I have ever been taught, wether about marriage or not.
      This is definitely very transforming and not just a marriage thing.

      Reply
      • Andrea

        A LOT of people are asking these questions. I know many readers of this blog are familiar with Jesus and John Wayne and how that book has upended things; the author (Kristin DuMez) recently tweeted that Sheila’s is about to take that even further.
        But just like Ravi’s crimes (sorry, I know he is part of every discussion on sex in Christianity these days!) do not invalidate the teachings of Jesus, neither do all the pervy male authors of Christian sex manuals! Famous physicists have been accused of sexual assault, but we’re not denying gravity as a result of that. The fact that Every Man’s Battle sold 4 million copies does not tell us anything about Jesus, but it tells us a heluva lot about his American evangelical followers. It also, sadly, tells us a lot about world Christianity as a whole, since missionaries have exported these toxic teachings to other countries, where they merge with local patriarchal systems to only make things worse.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, Andrea, the missionary element! Yes, we’ve seen this overseas too. It’s really sad.

          Reply
      • Katie

        I’m new to this site. Is this a book meant just for women or are men the target audience as well? It feels as though both genders need to hear this message for any real change? Wondering if you have experienced push back from men initially when you challenge the typical evangelical view of sex within marriage (men can’t help their lust, wives need to have sex whenever husband wants it, etc)? Feels like maybe it takes a while for men to unlearn what they have been taught too?

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Hi Katie, the book is meant for women, men, couples, anybody! It has activities for couples at the end of each chapter, but it can also be read alone by anybody who wants to understand more about some of the messed up teachings we’ve received in evangelical circles. Thanks for asking!

          Reply
  5. Purplecandy

    The women requirements you are pointing are exactly those I heard in Africa promoting polygamy or justifying husband’s unfaithfulness. Women would tell me “well at least if he marries another wife he will stop having sex with more other women.”
    Realizing that is just horrifying.
    Can’t wait to read your book as many of those teachings are still rampant even outside of the evangelical world (I didn’t grow up in the church).

    Reply
  6. Andrea

    I cannot get over the prevalence of marital rape (though we rarely call it that) in evangelical marriages. When one of the book’s reviewers says she “would beg” her husband to slow down and he would still “jump straight to intercourse” — outside of the church, this would be considered rape. I know there are readers (and definitely writers!) of this blog who can relate to me when I say that I cannot imagine having to beg; a simple “hold on” or “not yet” or even just a slightly stiffened body response would do. I was so fortunate to have been exposed to a secular sex ethic early enough, which is that “the partner who is getting penetrated is the one who sets the pace.” Now compare that to all the rapey evangelical teachings on how men just can’t stop, etc.
    I know the Penners’ book is one of the good ones and I had a great big belly laugh when I saw them on Focus and the Family because Jim Daily’s eyebrows shot straight up when Joyce told him that “women should lead in the bedroom.” The one getting penetrated is the more vulnerable partner, so it only makes sense that she should lead. Penetrating her when she’s begging you not to is rape, whether you’re married or not.

    Reply
    • L

      Andrea, I’m very late to the conversation. I am the original commenter and I want to be VERY clear my husband has never raped me. When I said “stop” we stopped. Full stop. “Slow down” was my attempt to get him to do just that so I could try to get my body to relax and enjoy the moment. The problem was “slow down” almost always became “stop” simply BECAUSE he wouldn’t slow down. But he has ALWAYS stopped when asked to.

      Reply
  7. M

    This is such a great thread of comments! I hope Lynn and other Christians like her can have their hearts softened and their minds opened to such thoughtful, loving, logical, truthful, biblical and Christlike responses!

    Reply
    • Chris

      M, I am 99% sure “Lynn” is a man. One can tell a lot about a person by their writing style. For example; when I first found this blog I knew within a few posts that Sheila did not grow up with brothers or have a father in the home. None of that is Sheilas fault! Of course not!! But you can tell by the way she writes about men. It’s very subtle but its there. I read later blog posts that confirmed it. In much the same way “Lynn” was writing with words and style that are distinctly male.

      Reply
  8. Nathan

    I was trying to put this in a better way, and I think that Renee and Wild Honey nailed it. Yes, we will have trouble, and yes, we will be persecuted, but we will not (or at least SHOULD not) face this at the hands of other believers, the church itself and/or our spouses. Also, when we accept Jesus, we should no longer deliberately harm others.

    Reply
  9. Andrew Stirling MacDonald

    I had not heard of this upcoming book but I’m excited to read it now. I’ve long found evangelical views on “healthy” sex to be problematic, inconsistent, and unrealistic.
    It’s an area in which I’ve tended not to push back against too much, mainly because when I read those books – Every Man’s Battle in particular, but also Love & Respect and the Tim LaHaye one- the portrayal of what a “man” is didn’t fit me at all. I figured “well, maybe *I* just don’t understand what most men go through, maybe I have a unique blessing in being able to value my own self-control and having a stronger need for consent than I do for sex.”
    Reading this post makes me rethink that stance, and is honestly pretty relieving to me. I’ve had “Every Man’s Battle” shoved down my throat by evangelical fundamentalists for DECADES, and not once have I had my own thoughts and feelings upon reading it echoed until now.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Wow, Andrew. That was such an encouragement! Thank you. And I KNOW there are a lot more honorable guys like you out there. I know you’re likely the majority!

      Reply
      • Andrea

        Statistically speaking, Andrew probably is in the majority, but the thing is that if good men protest these teachings in their accountability groups they are either seen as dishonest (remember, those books tell women their husbands are lying if they claim they don’t imagine women naked all the time) or as gay. In “Addicted to Lust” Samuel Perry writes that the same thing happens to Christian men who say they don’t watch porn. They have to pretend to be lusty perverts in order to confirm their (heterosexual) masculinity.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Yes, this is definitely true. Again–that’s why we simply must change this conversation!

          Reply
      • Meghan

        Andrea, my sensitive husband was teased mercilessly when he was growing up because his peers thought surely he was gay and just denying it. Nope, he just loses his mind over cute stuff, has a soft spot for animals and children, isn’t afraid to cry or show vulnerability, and is highly empathetic. It’s a real shame that these traits are seen as less manly.

        Reply
    • Maria Bernadette

      I would not be surprised if most men could relate to you.
      It’s just that the few who do not, those who wallow in sexual sin, want to blame their vices on their biology, instead of taking responsibility. So if another man says that being male doesn’t mean being a slave to lust they scream him down. Make such a ruckus that to any passerby it seems as if they must outnumber the men who respect themselves and respect women.

      Reply
    • Wild Honey

      My husband has expressed similar sentiments. You are not alone!

      Reply

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