Let’s talk power, science, and statistics!
They say that 68% of statistics are made up on the spot–and unfortunately, when you look at the way many of us evangelicals handle stats, it would be easy to believe it.
Today we’re taking a bit of a romp on the podcast, starting with introducing our new series–sex advice through the ages! Then we’re going to look at how our views of power can cause people to ignore data and slant statistics to show a particular viewpoint. This one’s going to be a wild ride!
Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:
Timeline of the Podcast
0:42 NEW SERIES! Sex advice through the ages
5:02 Why Sex ISN’T about Power w/ Keith
8:15 Why Keith doesn’t believe in hierarchy in marriage
14:23 Is there an agenda with gender difference emphases?
17:36 How we NEED to handle research better w/ Becca & Connor
23:10 Basic stats 101 session (this should be obvious!)
29:30 Can we PLEASE raise the bar for research?
35:30 How we see stats being portrayed without intellectual honesty
39:30 Umm, you can’t just throw out survey results you don’t like?!
49:53 RQ: *TW* Rape in marriage situation
53:45 RQ: Healing after being used only as a sexual release vessel
1:00:20 Our patreon!
1:01:20 Positive endings!
Let’s Talk Power
Keith and I open the podcast looking at how in antiquity, power dynamics during sex seemed to matter as much, if not more, than gender dynamics.
Then Keith really shared his heart about how the “power” conversation when it comes to marriage seriously bothers him. It’s like all we look at is Ephesians 5:22, ignoring Ephesians 5:21 (submit to one another) and even the Golden rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you!). And maybe one of the reasons that we stress gender dichotomies so much is that if men can see women as “other”, then it’s easier to treat women in a way that the men wouldn’t want to be treated, and ignore the Golden Rule, because, after all, they’re women. They’re different. They’re not like us.
That’s where things go wrong!
Let’s Talk Statistics
From there Connor, Rebecca and I moved into a discussion of statistics, looking at something that a number of readers brought up in relation to last week’s podcast on Emerson Eggerichs’ sermons and how he treated abuse. The problem? This claim:
According to John Gottman’s extensive research, 85 percent of husbands eventually stonewall their wives during conflict.
He makes it repeatedly in different places, including this podcast clip we highlighted last week:
(these clips are super short; like 10 seconds long)
But let’s listen to what John Gottman actually says:
Do you notice a difference?
In this blog post, Eggerichs actually presents the statistics both ways!
For example, as a researcher I later learned that 85% of those who withdraw and stonewall during marital conflict are the husband……
(several paragraphs down)
Back to the research that found 85% of men withdrew and stonewall during conflict. I am part of the 85% and Sarah felt unloved when I did this and she certainly did not feel respect for me.
Hopefully you’ll pick up on the problem! If not, listen in to the podcast!
We also go over some of the issues with Shaunti Feldhahn trying to show gender dichotomies (men are one way; women are the other) when her own research did not find it.
Seriously, I find this so depressing. Why did no one see this sooner? Why did no one speak up and say, “ummmm…you’ve got that stat backwards.” Why is the evangelical church doing this so badly. We simply have to set the bar higher. We simply have to change the conversation. This isn’t okay.
Let’s Talk Power in the Bedroom
Finally, we answered two reader questions that were inspired by our treatment of the obligation sex message and the consent message in our book The Great Sex Rescue.
Recently I was relaxing and enjoying a bath and a couple of alcoholic drinks at home. I think I drank too much, too fast. Anyway, I wasn’t feeling well and unable to walk. My husband helped me to the bed and that’s the last I remember before waking up the next morning. When I woke up, my lower abdomen was achy. I soon realized he had sex with me. I ask him questions about what happened. He responded with, “I took advantage of you.” He was very proud of it. He’s my husband, so I don’t want to call this something that it’s not. However, I feel very hurt and violated. I don’t know how to feel about it. He did apologize later, but I just don’t know how to move forward. Why would he do this to me and be proud of it?
As we talked about in The Great Sex Rescue, marital rape is a thing. It’s okay to name it. And too often our evangelical resources don’t talk about this properly.
We also talked about this reader question:
I’ve worked through the orgasm gap and sex as an obligation with my husband, but recovering from the pain and betrayal of being used this way has rocked my core. How do we heal and come back together? It hurts. Badly.
And we ended with a wonderful testimonial from a guy for whom The Great Sex Rescue and the recent podcasts have totally changed how he sees his wife and totally transformed his marriage. I posted it on Facebook and it got a ton of traction! Here it is–it’s long but worth it.
My wife and I grew up hearing that teaching you describe in your podcasts and vlogs. My wife came to me one day and told me , “I feel like your prostitute that you just get to use.” I was so taken back by this. We love the Lord; we were doing everything we could to have a great marriage. We were taught that in order to have a great marriage we need to have sex, a lot of sex.
And my wife, bless her, never said no to me. She made herself available to me in the middle of the day sometimes while the kids were all occupied. I never really took into consideration how this would make her feel. I thought it really was all about my release. I am crying as I write this because of the heartache I now feel for my wife. It was never about her. It was never her wishes or her pleasure. We were marching to the beat of my sex drive that never once seemed to be content.
We would have intercourse on Monday but if she needed time to herself Tuesday, I reacted as though she did not love me. I would get angry, I would use mean words (I’m in tears still), I would accuse her. We were on the hidden sexless marriage path and didn’t even know it. And I was soon to graduate into a sexless marriage for myself.
I regret to confess that even when she was on her period or recovering post-partum, I would use the advice from Sheet Music and request stimulation for my release. This was so wrong of me. I thought that my wife was here sent by God as a reward for my faithfulness to Him and that He sent her to me so that I could be happy. I never realized how awful this must be to live with. I never thought that she can love me, and I can love her, and she can take 3 months to recover from a baby and that’s ok. I thought that any, ‘no’ was in essence a rejection of me and our marriage.
I can see all these things now because one day a year or so ago my wife stumbled on your Facebook page. We read your letter to Focus on the Family (and at the time I was in a statistics class for college) and saw that you didn’t have data, you had DATA! A lot of it. And they were simply ignoring you. This was a big concern to us because we spent most of our engagement listening to podcasts at a cafe and talking about them. This was in an effort to remain pure in our relationship and we learned a lot. As we followed along, I began to see we have a problem.
Then a couple of months ago as the Lord as softening my heart my wife said those words to me, “I feel like your prostitute”. I prayed about it and asked the Lord to help me. Then a beam of light came through to me in the form of a vlog called “Duty Sex isn’t Sexy”. That impacted me so deeply because it was that one that I realized ‘oh my God my wife is not enjoying sex!’ This, of course, was a big problem for me. My wife and I have been listening to all vlogs and podcasts about orgasms and sex that we can. One thing we wish that we would have heard more of in our pre-marital counseling is how she can be stimulated instead of ‘well just go stick it in there and that consummates the marriage’. Not the exact words but the essence of it. We reflected recently on our honeymoon and realized that my wife, who was raised on purity culture, dealt with vaginismus and we were not able to have sex for a couple of days into our honeymoon.
I have been doing a lot of reflecting and came to this conclusion: I feel that your family and the work you are doing saved my marriage. I cannot thank you enough. I feel so fortunate to have the Lord correct me through your work, your daughter’s rants (LOL), and your husband’s gentleness. Please don’t ever stop your work. Husbands, especially christian husbands who were raised on the purity message, need to hear this. There is SO MUCH wrong with how conservative christianity has approached sex and pleasure for women. So, thank you Sheila. Thank you for showing me what it means to be a good husband. I realize now that I am more attentitive to my wife in the bedroom, I am more attentive to her overall. I cannot stop crying because of how fortunate and thankful I feel for this. My children get to grow up now in an environment where mom and dad really do like each other and like being around each other.
The Great Sex Rescue
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.
Things Mentioned in This Podcast:
- Our Patreon! Support us getting our research into peer-reviewed journals and getting on new social media channels
- The Great Sex Rescue! And remember to rate and review!
- Last week’s long post on Emerson Eggerichs gaslighting abuse victims–and the podcast that went with it
- The blog post where Emerson Eggerichs uses the stat both correctly & incorrectly at the same time
- 10 reasons rushing forgiveness ruins intimacy
- Our Open Letter to Focus on the Family (that our letter writer referred to)
- The Duty Sex Isn’t Sexy podcast (that our letter writer referred to)
- Why Unconditional Respect Isn’t A Thing (where we looked in detail at Shaunti Feldhahn’s survey question regarding respect)
Did you see the problem with the stonewalling statistics? Why do you think evangelicals get stats wrong so much? What do you think about power and marriage? Let’s talk in the comments!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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