The Great Sex Rescue: Our Not-So-Normal (And Quite Amazing!) Book

by | Mar 2, 2021 | Sex | 27 comments

It's Launch Day for The Great Sex Rescue!

Today The Great Sex Rescue launches.

I have had many books launch before, and I will have many books launch again. But this one is different. This one is special.

Can I take a minute and tell you why?

The Great Sex Rescue, we pray fervently with everything in us, may actually change the way the evangelical world talks about sex.

For years the majority of our best-selling marriage and sex books were written by pastors or authors who had little understanding or training specifically in sexuality. They were written primarily from that pastor or author’s point of view.

Now, that didn’t necessarily turn out badly (several of our best-sellers are actually quite healthy!). But in all too many cases it did.

And in all too many cases, messages were shared that are actually harmful.

Things like,

  • “Have sex so he won’t watch porn”
  • “A wife is obligated to have sex when her husband wants it”
  • “All men struggle with lust; it’s every man’s battle”
  • “A husband needs sex while a wife really doesn’t”
  • “If you don’t give him regular sexual release, he’s likely to have an affair”

and so much more! These things were presented as if they were gospel truth; absolutely apparent; the state of the world; common sense.

But what if they were wrong? What if these things actually aren’t true–or are actually bad advice because following these things would result in worse marriages?

You see, for years I’ve been writing about healthy sex and healthy marriages. But with this book, we’re not just telling you what’s healthy (though we are doing lots of that!).

We’re also tearing down what’s unhealthy.

It’s like The Emperor Has No Clothes, on a giant evangelical scale.

We’re saying: “Hey, too much of what we’ve been teaching doesn’t work and actually hurts.”

And many are listening, because there’s a hunger. People know that something isn’t right.


We did something radical. We actually asked women.

20,000 women in fact. We decided that if all of this advice was going to be given to women (since women are the main purchasers and readers of these books), then it was about time somebody asked women to see whether what was being said was true, and whether what was being said actually helped or harmed.

We’re setting the bar higher for what passes as research in the evangelical world–and for what claims authors can make without research.

I hope people truly understand what a big deal our survey was.

For most studies, an n=1000 is sufficient (meaning that most surveys and polls have about 1000 people). Very few surveys, even in peer review journals, have as many respondents as ours.

And we didn’t just get a lot of respondents. We got a lot who then went on to answer at least 130 questions (more if they had been married before, etc.).

And our survey was done to the highest academic standards. We just passed ethics review so we can apply to peer-reviewed journals, and we’re hoping to have some articles out soon.

We want it to be NORMAL that, when authors are writing about marriage and sex, that they use research to back it up–either their own or others. It can no longer be enough for one person to write about their own opinions. They need to look at what peer-reviewed data actually says. So many of the most harmful books we found were written by one person with no research, and little appeal to any outside studies.

You can find more information about our methodology here.

We did it all while we were super hormonal.

Joanna almost died from a life-threatening miscarriage while we were doing our original lit review to inform our survey questions. Rebecca signed off on the last of the survey questions while she was two days postpartum. Joanna signed off on the last of the stats two days BEFORE she delivered Talitha. And me? I hit menopause and was hot flashing through the whole thing.

Yep. Three hormonal, breastfeeding, pregnant, or menopausal women took on the whole evangelical establishment!

And I did it from my yellow chair.

We didn’t have a huge budget. I don’t have a huge staff. I don’t have donations. I just sit in this chair and type all day–or sometimes I sit at my kitchen island. And from this little corner of small town Ontario, Canada, and from the arctic where Joanna lives (literally; she’s up in Iqaluit), we’re taking on the world.

Sometimes we think we’re too small to make a difference. But when God gives you a dream and a message, you spread it, and you’re faithful, and I believe that’s what we’ve done.

I’ve been talking to you a lot lately about what The Great Sex Rescue is.

I’ve been telling you how we share our survey findings about which evangelical teachings hurt sex for women, and how we can reframe these teachings to fit a healthy, biblical sexual ethic.

I’ve been telling you how we point to real freedom.

How we show that women have needs, too.

How we show what real intimacy looks like.

But for the rest of this post I’d like to turn it over to our endorsers and our launch team, where over 500 people have been reading the book for the last few weeks. You can see all their reviews on Goodreads (Amazon will be slowly populating with reviews over the next few days), but here are a few:

This book is a groundbreaking look into what true, sacred Biblical sexuality is intended to be, and the root causes and ideas that damage a couple’s intimacy in marriage. Going straight to Scripture, the authors dig deep into ideologies that draw couples away from God-designed intimacy, and seek to construct a framework for sexuality that truly rooted in Scripture and God’s beautiful design, elevating sexuality and marriage to the glory and sacredness it was intended to have. This is a must-read.

Rachael Denhollander

Lawyer, Victim Advocate, and author,, What Is a Girl Worth?

If you’ve ever read a Christian book on sex and marriage, you owe it to yourself to read this one. Armed with extensive survey data and equipped with compassion and common sense, the authors dismantle the devastating myths long promoted by Christian leaders that have caused untold damage to generations of Christian women. Equal parts distressing and liberating, this book is desperately needed in this moment.

Kristin Kobes du Mez

Author, Jesus and John Wayne

Just thinking about the impact this book is going to have on the lives of desperately hurting women makes me emotional. This is the information we have always known in our hearts but denied in our heads. To those women who have suffered in silence for so long I say do not delay, pick up a copy, grab some tissues, and let the hot tears of validation and healing flow. The Great Sex Rescue will change the way you view sex forever, and, more importantly, enable you to start to trust your instincts again.

Rosie Makinney

Author, Fight for Love

And here’s a longer review from a long-time reader of the blog:

I devoured this entire book in one day and WOW, it’s the best book I’ve ever read describing what a healthy, Biblical, marital sex life actually looks like. My husband has read several chapters as well and was very impressed, too.

This is not just another author’s opinion on the subject, but rather, Shelia, Rebecca, and Joanna surveyed 20,000 married women and took that massive amount of data collected and compiled in into a beautiful resource for everyone to benefit from — whether single or married, male or female, completely satisfied in the bedroom or in desperate need of rescuing.

This book debunks the most commonly held beliefs in the Church regarding mutual pleasure, obligation sex, lust, porn addition, male/female sex drive, intimacy vs sex, and so much more.

I loved the many personal stories shared, as well. Some heartbreaking, but many heart-warming. The last few chapters in particular are very encouraging, give hope to the spouses yearning for a safer, more fulfilling sex life, and a call to action to leaders in the faith community to take a stand against dangerous teaching.

My favorite part of this book is how every few pages they include a few thought-provoking questions to ask yourself or your spouse. And then at the end of each chapter they give practical tips and recommendations to help strengthen your sexual relationship. I really enjoyed reading this book out loud with my husband because we got the chance to dive deep into personal discussion through the prompts and it made the book far more “personal” to us rather than just reading it through straight.

I’ve followed Shelia’s blog for two years now and I believe this is her best work yet. I can’t recommend it enough!!

Emily J.

Plus a few more (and I’m not meaning offence if I’m not including yours! There were just so many great ones!):

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. 


This is the book I needed 15 years ago! I hope this becomes the new Christian best selling marriage books. I have read the majority of the marriage books the authors discuss in this book. And I can confirm from personal experience that their messages are harmful. What I love is how In The Great Sex Rescue they don’t just point out what other authors do wrong but also point to a new message that is good. They show the problem and provide the solution. I really liked the “check in” parts of the book that give you questions to pass and reflect on. And the better phrasing’s are the end of each chapter. In reading the book I can tell they truly care about men AND women, believe that God is good and loving, and believe that sex can be good and intimate for both genders. This will be my new favorite wedding gift to give to other!

Erin H.

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*


This is a life-changing book, and trust me when I say I am not overstating this. Get it, read it, give to a friend. This message needs to be shared as far and wide as possible!

Michelle S.

The only thing that could make this book better is if I would have had it in my hands years ago.

Katrina B.

"A groundbreaking look into what true, sacred biblical sexuality is intended to be. A must-read." - Rachael Denhollander

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

What if the messages that you've been taught have messed things up--and what if there's a way to escape these toxic teachings?

It's time for a Great Sex Rescue.

Great Sex Rescue

I’ll end with these two that show both sides of what we’re aiming for: one from Andrew Bauman, a frequent guest on our podcast, and one from a reader:

I cannot think of a more important book (okay, outside of the Bible) that you must read. This book is the authentic gut punch that the Evangelical community needs. This exposes our historic dismal handling of sexuality and gives us a clear path forward to sexual maturity, wholeness and health. I already want to read it again and will surely be telling my network to purchase this vital guide. Thank you for such a seminal work!

Andrew Bauman

Director, Christian Counseling Center for Sexual Health and Trauma

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

The “authentic gut punch” the evangelical church needs. The “freedom song” for Katie.

We hope that’s what this book is: the gut punch for the church, and the freedom song for you.

May this book be a blessing!

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Good Fruit Faith is an initiative of the Bosko nonprofit. Bosko will provide tax receipts for U.S. donations as the law allows.

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

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

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  1. Phil

    Sheila and Team – just want to say congratulations to you and ALL. I am glad to have been a part of watching this happen. I feel like I am part of history. Way awesome for you – you should be proud. As I like to say around here: I cant wait to see what happens next!

  2. Chris

    Sheila, how many copies are being printed? I can’t wait to see how long it takes to do a second printing.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Actually, we heard yesterday they’re on their third printing already! So it’s really exciting!

      • Chris

        Whoa! That’s awesome! Deep respect for anyone in the printing trade. Its dirty work, its an art, and everything has to come put looking perfect. Deep respect.

  3. Melissa W

    Congratulations Sheila and team on the launch of this book. I typically don’t buy or read Christian books on marriage or sex for all of the reasons you are probably pointing to in this book. So, I will be buying this one and referring friends to it and giving it as wedding gifts. I have given the Good Girls Guide to Great Sex as a gift to an engaged friend but am excited that there is finally a Christian marriage and sex resource that can be widely given to people of any gender and at any stage of life. I can’t wait to see what God does through you and this book. This awakening is long overdue!

    • Poppa Bear

      It’s a pity you don’t have enough integrity to provide quotes without taking them completely out of context or providing the information as to what book and author you are quoting.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        What are you talking about? What quotes are being taken out of context? Are you talking about our book? Everything is footnoted and cited so that people can see for themselves. And the books that we use “bad” quotes from are also the books that we found were filled with harmful teachings–and those teachings were discovered both on our survey of 20,000 women and from a thorough literature review.
        On the other hand, the books that scored well on our rubric (and there were many) don’t have harmful quotes to quote–because they didn’t include harmful teachings. It’s really quite simple. Just don’t teach stuff that harms.

  4. Nathan

    Very happy that the day is finally here. Way to go, Sheila and team!

  5. Jane Eyre

    I really hope that you set a new standard for books on marriage and faith. Jesus taught us in a way that leads to flourishing, not destruction. (Ever contemplate what the world would look like if everyone did better at following Him?) Husband and wife should not be locking horns in the bedroom of all places.
    Years before I married, I read books like “For Women Only” and found the chapters about sex to be empty and depressing. To the extent they were uplifting, they made me feel a lot better about not being married.
    My husband was promised that sex would be easy and mind blowing for both of us. I was promised that even if it didn’t feel good, it would be “bonding” and bring us closer together. (The Catholic Church assumes that every act of marital intimacy is unitive.) Now that he finally understands just how bad it is for me, physically and emotionally, we both feel like failures.
    Bang up job, traditional faith leaders.
    IMHO, if the real message is complex, deliver it. Even teenagers can handle nuance.
    Anyway, excited to read it and very thankful that you backed this up with a LOT of data and are submitting it for peer review.

    • Jo

      Jane, ***SO*** excited he finally understands!
      As for both of you feeling like failures, I think that pretty much describes everybody negatively affected by these “evangelical” books Sheila deconstructs. YOU are not the failure! These people we trusted to help us with our marriages and our sex lives are the ones who failed, over and over again, even in the face of being told that their “counsel” and “advice” was hurting people.
      Like I commented on the “not making sex weird” podcast post, “Because, according to these books, we were already doing what we were ‘supposed’ to be doing, me being the dutiful, submitting wife and he being the respected head. What was wrong with us that the prescribed treatment wasn’t working??? Never occurred to us that maybe, just maybe, the prescription was the problem.”

  6. EOF

    Happy release day!
    I’m so excited this day is finally here!

    • Jo

      Goodness, am I the only one who saw this and laughed my head off????
      Was the pun intended??????? 😛 :-O
      (Since these horrible books focus so heavily on men’s “release”…)

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Okay, I didn’t see it until you typed that! But, yeah. 🙂 Happy release day!

  7. Wild Honey

    You know, women are placed under the burden of unrealistic expectations and standards ALL the time because of fear of what other people will think or pride or other people’s sin and laziness or just whatever. Like, it’s your job to keep all men from lusting. Or, maintain an impeccable house and impeccable appearance and impeccable children, etc.
    All that to say, I think you three have shown the exceptional things REAL women can ACTUALLY accomplish in REAL life with the RIGHT motivation and the RIGHT support.
    Bravas to you all!
    Praying for you and your families as the you-know-what hits the evangelical ceiling fan.

  8. Melinda

    Thank you, Sheila, for the work you do! My sister is on your launch team, and she has been telling me about your book. She recommends it wholeheartedly. I ordered a copy of your book. Based on my sister’s recommendation and the fact that Rachael Denhollander endorsed the book, I’m sure I will like it as well.

  9. Cheralyn P

    Happy launch day!! My copy arrived in the mail this afternoon, so now I’m really celebrating with you! Here’s to freedom!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yay! Glad so many are receiving theirs! Looking forward to seeing what you all think!

  10. Kelly K

    What a day!! So exciting! It’s a great book that packs a punch! Got my copy today. Thanks for allowing me to be in the launch team!!

  11. Blake

    how do we email our receipt to get the bonus gift?

  12. Natalie

    Just got mine in the mail today!!! 🎉🎉🎉 I’ve already skimmed all the parts pertaining to me, 😋 but this book goes DEEP!!! I’m gonna have to spend a lot more time slowly reading so I can take it all in. Well done Sheila and team!!! Finally, a Christian marriage sex book that’s actually healthy and encouraging and affirming of female sexuality! 🥰

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Natalie! Your story really let us shape one of the chapters (only saying that publicly since you outed yourself here! 🙂 ).

  13. Amy

    Wonderful book. I just finished chapter 10. As a domestic violence and marital rape survivor, I have found this book to be not only safe, but healing. I was divorced for two years before someone helped me connect the sexual experiences in my marriage to the word rape. So, so very thankful you are bringing this evil out in the open!!


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