I Have Become “She Who Must Not Be Named”

by | Oct 5, 2021 | Uncategorized | 169 comments

Gary Thomas Not Citing Great Sex Rescue
Orgasm Course

I’m reeling right now.

I was going to start the sexual confidence series today, and that post is 85% done, but when I got up to finish it this morning I checked my email and now I can’t think straight, and so I’d just like to tell you about it instead.

As I’ve mentioned before, Gary Thomas and I were once very good friends.

He would send his manuscripts to me to ask advice about the parts on female sexuality; he would endorse my books (and Rebecca’s); I would endorse his. We spoke together. We frequently emailed and talked.

At one point, I actually thought he might write the foreword for The Great Sex Rescue, because we had spoken on the phone about the problems with the books that I critique, and he knew they were problematic.

But when I sent him the manuscript last summer, he declined to endorse it, saying he didn’t like our approach of calling out other books (and that he didn’t agree with our take on lust). I was, frankly, shocked and hurt–I thought he understood, I had expected him to love the book. However, I made it clear that this didn’t need to damage our friendship at all because I understood that I was taking a risk by calling out these people so publicly. He also said that he didn’t want to damage our relationship at all, and really respected what I was doing even if he could not publicly endorse.

He has since written Married Sex with counselor Deb Fileta  (which even after he declined to endorse our book, I still offered to help him with, and which I offered to run any stats for that they wanted from our dataset, but they never asked).

Gary put up a blog post advertising his new book that some of our patrons brought to our attention because they thought he had plagiarized me. I read it, and got a funny feeling about the new book. We attained an advanced copy and quickly searched for some key phrases.

It only took a matter of seconds to find our ideas, our research, our message in his book with zero citation attributing it to us.

Ironically, Gary and my friendship started when, in 2013, he sent me an email saying that in a blog post I had used his idea that God is your father-in-law and hadn’t cited him. Although Keith actually said that to me first when we were newlyweds, and that’s where I actually got the idea from, I quickly apologized and added a citation and an amazon link where people could buy his book because I wanted to do the right thing. That was the starting point of our friendship.

And in previous books and articles, Gary has cited me when he used my ideas–even the exact same ideas he failed to cite in his new book. I also found a phrase that was almost identical to one of our big takeaways in The Great Sex Rescue. But one thing was missing: a citation crediting those ideas to our work.

Gary read The Great Sex Rescue, AND he belonged to my mailing list for years, with a 76% open rate on my daily emails with my blog posts. He read all of my stuff. He is very familiar with my wording. He has openly cited me in the past.

But now, now that we have data that calls out some of his friends in high places, now he decided not to follow the ethical and moral standards in publishing and cite where he gets his information. Because we are a tainted source.

I asked him and his publisher to cite me in future printings of his book and in the ebook.

I’ve been involved in a prolonged conversation with publishers, etc. While people agreed it didn’t rise to the level of a lawsuit, it was clear that morally and ethically he had should cite me. He had in the past for the same stuff, and the new phrase was ours. This conversation started before our post about the neuroscience research last Friday, and he had already said no before we started speaking up about the problems in his book.

I just found out this morning that rather than cite us, he has chosen to remove all the offending bits from future printings.

I’m so toxic he doesn’t want me in his footnotes. In fact, he sees us as so problematic he’d rather remove the language in his book that could help marital rape victims than point them to resources that could set them free.

And he’s asked for his endorsement for 31 Days to Great Sex to be rescinded, even though in his mind there is absolutely nothing wrong with that book.

Why am I toxic?

Because I call out other authors, and I hold people to account.

But let’s be clear:

No, it was me who surveyed 20,000 women and decided to listen. And decided that some of my older materials needed to be changed or pulled to match what we know now.

It was me who said that we need to do marriage teaching better in the evangelical church, so that we stop causing harm.

I’m going to end with the top review for The Great Sex Rescue on Amazon:

I am being rescued by this book. I am one of those women whose hang-ups about sex have caused grief in my otherwise really great marriage. And I’m one of those women whose hang-ups have come, pretty much entirely, I think, from the evangelical culture/teachings I’ve absorbed all my life. I am one of those women married to a wonderful man who desires true mutuality and intimacy with me, who values my experience (read: orgasm) and perspective. He is a true partner in all things. (Here we cue the big-time guilt from me, the wife who never really wants to have sex with her wonderful husband… what is wrong with me??). Through tears I have told my husband what a strange experience it is to be “triggered” by the clarity of this message, calling out all the messed-up teaching. I knew something was off with “purity culture” and such, but I didn’t really realize where my aversion to sex was coming from and how much those messages have affected me. I feel like I understand something about myself that I didn’t before, why something deep down inside me has been recoiling against this stuff all along (without even consciously recognizing it). When my husband just wants to be with me, my gut instead has felt that deeply-ingrained duty/obligation sex message that is so icky.

Basically, I realize that I’ve been taught the exact same unhealthy crap that secular culture teaches (everything the #metoo movement has called out: the low expectations for men, men are animals, girls have to enforce boundaries, transactional sex, objectification of women, girls need to put out to keep guys around, etc…) just with the twist of purity culture applied to it and the authority of Scripture (taken out of context and misinterpreted) slapped on for extra force. Which makes it all even uglier and more abhorrent, if we recognize it for what it is. It has been interesting for me to realize how much of Evangelical teaching about sex in marriage comes from a male perspective and with an underlying fear-based message. God, as shown to us by Jesus, is never interested in coercing behavior out of fear.

It is hard to describe how restorative, immensely validating and freeing it is just to have an informed Christian voice saying with clarity, “No. That is wrong. That is not true. This is not acceptable.” I have cried a lot (in a good way). As a young woman growing up with a heart for Jesus and a healthy sex drive, if I had never internalized this stuff I think I would have entered into marriage with an amazing freedom in regard to sex – just two people wanting to love each other, mutually please each other, and connect.

I am so, so thankful for this book! I hope it is a game-changer for Evangelical Christian culture. Let’s get rid of these rotten messages and run toward freedom in Christ (and the great sex in marriage that brings)! 🙂 I’m ready, and I’m thankful for the rescue.

JA Schwartz

Amazon Review

That is what Gary thinks is so toxic that he would rather change his material than have to cite me.

That’s what he thinks is so terrible. (and please read the reviews to see what others are saying).

Interestingly, it does not appear that Gary has chosen to change the inaccurate information about vaginismus and about neuroscience from Married Sex; only the parts where he cites me without crediting me. I have asked for confirmation about this, but as of right now I believe he would rather leave inaccurate medical information in his book than to have to cite The Great Sex Rescue.

When the Christian establishment doesn’t cite me or tries to ostracize me, it’s not really me that they’re rejecting. It’s the 20,000 women’s stories who are in our survey. It’s the people who shared their stories and said uncomfortable things that they don’t want to deal with.

And it’s not just ME, either. I have two co-authors, both the mothers of two babies (well, one baby is coming any day now). The only reason we know that the obligation sex message is harmful is because of Joanna Sawatsky. And yet he put that in his book without citing her, because he doesn’t like me. He used the work of a 30-year-old woman who was running stats while breastfeeding, but he didn’t want to give her credit for it.

He would rather not acknowledge 20,000 women; he would rather ignore the abuse advocates; he would rather not acknowledge young, smart women doing work in this field. And he would rather ignore me, a woman who has called the evangelical marriage industry to account.

It is not wrong to be want to be cited for your work.

Why is this so threatening to everyone? Why is it so bad to ask that we do better in this area?

Anyway, I’m just sad. That’s really all I had to say, and I didn’t think I could coherently write the rest of my post on sexual confidence today.

And if you want to support us–the best way is to buy The Great Sex Rescue! For yourself or a friend.

Or, please, join our Patreon, which helps fund writing up papers for peer-reviewed journals and into new social media channels! They can’t silence us. They can try, but they can’t. 

The Great Sex Rescue

Changing the conversation about sex & marriage in the evangelical church.

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.

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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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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  1. Grace

    Hi Sheila,
    I am one of the people you’ve helped, but I do not like this post. I don’t even want to tell you that you’re right, he should have cited you, because your words today are full of self-righteous indignation. We should call out wrong teachings, but you are here to attack your former friend who hurt you, not correct his misinformation. I’m sorry he hurt you. And I’m sorry that someone you thought was a friend has abandoned and basically denounced you. Please don’t leave this post up. It doesn’t sound like the voice we are familiar with, full of kindness and compassion. It sounds bitter and scornful. I love you and your blog and I hope that God gives you peace today.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      What do you think is the proper response when someone steals your work? And when someone calls abuse survivors venemous?

      • Grace

        Wow, this is why I don’t normally post on the internet ever and I did not communicate what I meant at all, apparently. Please delete my post. I am not wise enough to answer these questions.

      • April W

        Biblically speaking, he is a brother and you should first go to him and try to reconcile before you go to the altar. If trying to handle it within the church realm doesn’t work, you can use secular options like suing for plagiarism. It sounds like he didn’t the percentage required to be called plagiarism. So that leaves a third option. Give it to God, and let Him fight your battle. If you choose to fight it, He will stand back and let you. It will cause frustration, anger, and an emotional roller coaster that won’t be a fun ride. Two wrongs don’t make a right. No matter what, as a daughter of Christ, you have to love and forgive him regardless. This is biblical. Your peace of mind depends on it. And the biggest war you will fight down here, is to say not my will but Yours be done. Everything else is secondary and not eternally focused. Your platform influences many people who need healing. This is your opportunity to demonstrate love and forgiveness for some who might not know how yet. Remember it’s about first His kingdom and not our own. I promise these concepts will change lives in a way that your battle against literature will not. Please don’t forget that you have a ministry that can be used to heal the broken should you allow it. If you give grace, you get grace. Remember to keep the main thing, the main thing! So hard sometimes, I know.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I’m sorry, but why do you assume I haven’t gone to him? I have repeatedly emailed him and talked with him on the phone over the last month.

    • Sarah

      I’m sorry, but this comment is insane. This isn’t about attacking anyone, and how dare you imply that. Sheila us fighting an uphill battle and she is doing it for ALL WOMEN. But according to you, she should suffer injustice in silence, and allow authors like this to go about their unethical behavior unchecked? The mainstream evangelical community may not be ready to support her, but her readers are ready. We are grateful for her work and the pain it takes to create. Frankly, we want to know about snakes like Gary. He did the wrong thing. Sheila has taken every ethical and biblical approach to resolve this. Now it’s time to lean on the community for support in amplifying this problem. His behavior is gross, and typical of abusive men (if you ask me.) He wanted to use her work without supporting her. He thought she would shrink away and allow it. But Sheila is a b@d*ss, and she is not going to shrink away as so many women have been forced to do.

      • Sandy

        I agree with Grace, this post is full of venom and attacking a “friend”. We need to speak the Truth in Love. Do you have word for word proof of plagiarism to show as evidence? I can’t imagine a major publisher (with lawyers reviewing) would let blatant plagiarism be published, and it seems to he’s far stretch to claim most of his ideas are coming from you.

        I’m also concerned that you re taking the giant leap in logic from his refusal to cite you as his rejecting 20000 women and women who has been abused. From all that I have read about him, he seems to be the only male evangelical that is very concerned about women. In addition, his co-author is a licensed therapist who helps women who have dealt with abuse in the past… It seems to me that everyone is trying to do the same thing, help women and help past abuse survivors? I’m not sure why you were attacking them so viciously.

        • Lisa Johns

          You have read about him — but have you read that book? It’s truly gaggable. He may have displayed compassion in the pas, but he really blew it with this book. He needs to withdraw it.

      • Ann

        THANK YOU. Sheila is in the right here.

    • KellyG

      Why shouldn’t she call him out? He REFUSED to endorse her book because it called out other authors using direct quotes from said authors? When one publishes a book, it becomes public information and therefore the ability to be held up to scrutiny! Would you do this to Gary and call him out for his ‘wrongdoing’ in this matter?

      Let’s remember that Jesus left the 99 to go after the 1 as Sheila has mentioned MANY times.

      • Becca

        For some reason it will only let me respond not post alone. Thank you for speaking up Sheila and increasing the reach of the voices of those 20,000 women. Unfortunately, ethical research seems to be the kryptonite of the Evangelia status quo. I have no doubt that the doubling down is to quiet the voices of so many women and the rumbling that have been stirred. Know that we’re talking about this with our friends, and the buggest message I’m hearing is: ” I didn’t know anyone was saying the things I was feeling.”

    • Kathleen

      Did we read the same post? Because I do not see any of things you claim to see in Sheila’s words. Maybe you just aren’t comfortable with a woman speaking up for herself?🤷‍♀️

      • K

        That was my thought too… when a man stands up for himself, we laud him, but when a woman does it, our first instinct is to tell her she is too aggressive and mean. It’s good for women to stand up for themselves, and I think it’s pretty clear from the post that she feels obliged to stand up for all women, not just herself.

    • Jo R

      I have to completely disagree with your assessment that Sheila sounds “bitter and scornful.” For really good examples of bitter and scornful posts, just read MY comments over the last few weeks.

      Sheila sounds sad, disappointed, tired, and frankly RIGHTEOUSLY angry over having her work first plagiarized, then dismissed out of hand.

      As Gary Thomas has both undergraduate and graduate degrees, I’ll assume he’s familiar with the honor system that most universities have requiring students to certify all their assignments as their own work. The honor system doesn’t end when you graduate from college.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Oh, TIRED is right. So very tired. And this is the last day of my vacation too!

      • Meghan

        Agreed. I can almost HEAR her hurt coming through. It’s basically grief.

      • Meghan

        @sheila hopefully they are healing tears from being heard and understood

    • Jenny

      Just curious, do you also the act of removing references rather than attribute them bitter and scornful? Because that behavior seems very bitter and scornful to me.

      If not, can we discuss the double standard?

      Can we also fully, specifically define the difference between bitter/scornful and calling out bad and dangerous teaching that is proven to hurt people in tangible ways?

    • April S.

      I agree with this sentiment. I do feel that your blog and books are valuable. You’ve been called the “Dr. Ruth” for Christians. However, these past few months have been highly focused on fighting Christian authors whom you do not agree with. We have plenty of negativity and I feel like your blog has become focused on negativity and forcing others to change their thinking to the way you think. While I agree with most of your information, your approach only causes division. Our world has too much of that already. Honestly, you cannot change people’s hearts and minds. And you certainly can’t win them over if you aren’t willing to listen to their views and to debate with them rather than bashing them. This is destructive to any relationship. Only God, through the power of prayer, can change our hearts. Don’t forget that He can win battles that you never can. Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. God bless.

      • Tiffany

        I don’t see it that way. I see Sheila trying to point at instances of bad teaching and helping women see how that teaching can be negatively effecting them.

      • Connie

        I call it accountability. I am not going to judge how she went about bringing accountability-I assume she went thru the steps Scripture asks us to take. I do know that she DID go to him weeks ago before she made this post.

        The Bible says that teachers will be judged more strictly. That is BiTble. When one writes a book and releases it publicly it is not wrong to comment, review, and yes, critique that work. It is not wrong to call out things that are harmful, or that are perceived to be harmful. These are discussions that NEED to be had. Whether Sheila is 100 per cent right is not the issue here-although I do happen to agree with her. The issue is that because of the fear of man (I am calling it what it is) this former friend and author is not only hurting Sheila but doing damage to the body of Christ.

        The fact is that work was used and not credited. No matter what the intent in doing so, this is wrong and anyone who writes knows or should know that this is Not Done. This man is free to disagree with Sheila, he is free not to endorse a book but he is NOT free to use her ideas but hide where he got them so he won’t be “tainted” by association.

        I am a 62 year old grandmother who got saved in early adulthood and has seen the damage that these wrong teachings cause. The main issue is not even sex if you think about it. The issue is that men are not challenged by leaders to be real Christian men, to walk in purity and maturity themselves-but instead women are forced to carry a burden that is not only unfair but unrighteous. Women suffer because men are AFRAID to call out OTHER MEN. To hold them accountable when they walk in lust. When they do not treat women as Christ treats the Church. Instead it seems all the teaching is about “women must submit” and put up with behavior that Jesus Himself does not want them putting up with. God has had about enough with men who refuse to walk in Galatians 2:20 and put heavy loads on the women in their lives and in their churches.

        To the men reading this-you are NOT weak. You are ABLE to give your lusts and your immaturity and your selfishness to Christ and you are ABLE to walk in the freedom from sin Jesus gave His life for you to have.

        I’ll stop now. But I could say a heck of a lot more. I am grateful for a husband and a church that know better than this nonsense being taught so broadly in the church. Freedom in Christ is wonderful-healthy marriages where BOTH are treated with respect and love are wonderful-do not settle for ANYTHING LESS.

    • EOF

      Why shouldn’t Sheila call out bad behavior? Or would it be better for women to shut up and just be respectful of all men no matter what they do? What if Sheila acted this way towards Gary? What should HIS response be? Would HE be in the right to speak up for himself because he’s a man?

    • Julia

      I am troubled by your words. Because what I hear you clearly saying is, be nice.
      You have said, I’m so sorry you were hurt. But since you don’t like the direct, confrontational, honest words she speaks, you want her to stop speaking. You want her to smile. And say nice things.
      What “nice” words are appropriate to say to someone who has stolen intellectual property. Is not honest about it. Does not follow Matthew 18, and presents inaccurate information, knowingly, that could mislead and harm women?
      I saw no disrespect in this post. No name calling or defamation of character.
      I saw truth speaking.
      Women are allowed to speak truth. Even when the truth requires confrontation, directness, and hard honest words.

      • Katydid

        Yes!! I feel like these women calling Sheila out are still deeply steeped in evangelical misogyny of “put up and shut up.”

        Sheila has been ready to stop with these kinds of posts 100 times over, but these authors keep hammering, keep spreading bad information, keep doing harm, and keep harming her!

        Sheila has been extremely gracious. If you follow her Facebook she has never resorted to name-calling (unlike Gungor and Thomas). She is always polite.

    • MB

      Agreed, Grace.

    • Leigh

      I felt the same today.

    • Kyle Boone

      I’m sorry Sheila, I also agree with Grace about the tone of your post. In fact, I think it’s been a growing trend. You’ve done a lot of great work and helped many people, but be careful.

      The idea that you are changing the narrative on sex and gender roles, starting a revolution, and rescuing sex will prove fertile breeding ground for hubris and pride. You need to carefully listen to voices that challenge you and not only reinforce you. They may have something to offer you.

      Although you asked “follow-up” questions to Grace’s post, you weren’t really trying to listen. This is a disingenuous questions. “when someone calls abuse survivors venomous?” Did Gary Thomas call abuse survivors venomous, or did you extrapolate this idea? From your post, I did not gather that the issue was Gary Thomas calling abuse survivors venomous.

      Many faithful followers on this blog will defend you no matter what, because of the good work you’ve done. But have a teachable spirit to listen to the soft correction being offered by people who also appreciate your work. People like Grace are not trying to tear you down. They’re trying to help you. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Loving criticism is more valuable than affirmation of the masses.

      Was this not one of Driscoll’s problem? He did much good, but refused to listen to criticism. Doing good work does not justify all your posts, comments, or thoughts. Because you had a positive review on Amazon or 20,000 women were surveyed and helped does not justify all of your ideas and actions.

      Claiming “I’m so toxic” is an emotionally manipulative piece of rhetoric. Did Thomas say you “were so toxic” or merely that He doesn’t agree with the direction of your ideas anymore and therefore does not want to lead people toward your literature? Of course that may be upsetting, but we need to be careful not to put words in people’s mouths that they did not say and then publish them on a very public forum. What are you trying to accomplish with the rhetoric of “I’m so toxic”? This is victim language trying to engender pity for yourself and rage towards Thomas.

      We are to be a people marked by gentleness and forgiveness. Yes, we speak the truth and defend the oppressed. Clearly you and Thomas disagree about the means to help marriages and women. But don’t make the mistake of assuming Thomas doesn’t care about the 20,000 women.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Actually, he says he mostly does agree with my ideas. He just doesn’t like me calling out other authors.

        Being toxic means that you’re someone that a person won’t associate with. He won’t cite us not because he didn’t use our research, but because he’s mad at how we call out other authors and doesn’t want to be seen as agreeing with me.

        That is what he is saying to us.

      • Jo R

        Do you warn male authors, teachers, and pastors with any of the following statements?

        >>> The idea that you are maintaining the narrative on sex and gender roles, preventing a revolution, and keeping sex for strictly male advantage will prove fertile breeding ground for hubris and pride.

        >>> You need to carefully listen to female voices that challenge you and not only reinforce you. They definitely have something to offer you.

        >>> Many faithful followers of your books, teaching, and preaching will defend you no matter what, because of the good work you’ve done. But have a teachable spirit to listen to the so-far-ignored soft correction being offered by people who also appreciate your work. Women are not trying to tear you down. They are trying to help you. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Loving criticism is more valuable than the affirmation of the masses.

        Or do you reserve your cautions and warnings to only women? If you haven’t warned any men about their teaching and their tone, why not?

      • Anonymous

        Kyle, I agree. Very well said.

        Sheila, that’s not what toxic means. People associate with toxic people ALL the time. I’d say it’s more common that people don’t DISassociate themselves with toxic people when they need to. Gary even has book on this (When to Walk Away). Henry Cloud too (Safe People, Necessary Endings). Gary might be following/adhering to his own teaching and disassociating himself with you because your approach of calling others out may be viewed as toxic (or divisive). You have a very good and important message and the women surveyed have valid stories (I suspect men would too, who weren’t surveyed). You don’t like to be called out and neither do other authors.

        Jo R, your argument against Kyle’s words are not that you disagree with what he said, but that he’s saying it to a woman and assuming he wouldn’t do the same to a man. Pure conjecture. Yuck.

      • Jo R

        So a woman merely ASKING a man if he tone-polices men is “yuck” but a man ACTUALLY tone-policing a woman is apparently just dandy fine.

        Got it.

        • Anonymous

          Why are you even asking if he tone-polices men? What does it matter here? Are his points not valid without that information?

          • Jo R

            If he never tone-polices men, only women, then that means that men have complete freedom of expression while women must continue to be deferential to every man on the planet. Neither Jesus nor Paul hesitated to confront error in those who claimed to be teachers, and I can’t say either of those men was exactly polite about it in every public utterance. I recall phrases like “brood of vipers” and “blind guides” and “hypocrites,” and Galatians 2:11, 14 says, “I opposed him to his face…I said to him in front of them all.”

            If you truly believe that all that matters is that the points being made are valid, then again, why the problem with someone’s tone? Which of Sheila’s oft-repeated points here on the blog and in her books are not valid?

            That’s the problem with policing someone’s tone. The focus is removed from the content, which has not been shown to be in error, so the author must now focus on never offending any person at all. Well, guess what? Since we all have different levels of what it takes to offend us, then the author faces an impossible task. Someone will ALWAYS be offended by something.

            If only women are tone-policed, then effectively just one man is all it takes to shut up a woman author. All he has to do is play the “I’m offended by your tone” trump card, and voila. That’s how she has to be deferential to essentially every man on the planet (or, even better, stop talking and writing altogether).

          • Anonymous

            Kyle’s response was actually quite compassionate and kind. Maybe you should read it again. He’s not policing anything. That’s a term you brought into the conversation.

            Anyway, Kyle hasn’t responded, but what if he said “Yes, I do.”?

            You’re responding in complete frustration about something you don’t know to be true rather than responding to the actual points he made. Again, pure conjecture.

          • Jo R

            “rather than responding to the actual points”

            Yes, exactly. So which of Sheila’s ACTUAL POINTS are wrong? That people shouldn’t plagiarize her work? That she shouldn’t call them on it when they do? That women can actually enjoy sex, particularly because they have a body part whose only known function is sexual pleasure? That about 60 percent of women don’t receive enough clitoral stimulation from plain old PIV and need other kinds of stimulation? That too many husbands can’t be bothered to learn how to please their wives sexually?

            Truth hurts. Truth can sometimes be quite insulting. And yes, we don’t always use the best tone. But are we going to allow ourselves to reject truth because we’re offended by someone’s tone or because the truth insults us?

            Sheila is simply asking that men in general recognize certain truths about women in general, particularly in the realm of marriage and sex. And yes, those truths are going to be upsetting to a lot of people, both men and women. Men, because the truth is an indictment of how men have chosen to lead society in general and the church in particular. Women, because we’ve been cheated out of what we ought to have had all this time. Can we please now get past the hurt and do the work of undoing all the lies that have been taught for millennia?

          • Anonymous

            Kyle’s actual name is Kylie, and he’s actually a she.

            If that were the case I bet you wouldn’t have responded to her at all.

            You’re so far into the weeds of responding to so many other things that were not mentioned instead of the actual things Kyle/Kylie was even talking about. No one, Kyle/Kylie nor myself, were ever debating what you are mentioning (nor the validity of Sheila and team’s research or survey results).

            Read the response again with fresh eyes and put down your pitchfork.

          • Jan

            It says Kyle on his original post. Don’t know where you got Kylie from.

    • Conrad

      Thanks Grace for your heartfelt challenge to Sheila’s post.
      I have appreciated this post from the standpoint it was helpful to know Sheila, that there is a Christian sex book written by a man that you would have been willing to be named in, had Gary Thomas chose to do so. I also find many of your posts helpful as a voice for the female gender on what sex is supposed to be in marriage. Thank you.
      I also appreciated the challenges you received in the comments to this post. As for your questions what should you do when you believe someone is plagiarizing your work? Do what you already did – express your concern to him, and a possible recourse for him. And, as Gary is another adult, allow him the freedom to take responsibility for himself. In this case, he chose a perfectly legal course of removing the offending portions. It wasn’t your wish for him to do that. But you are not responsible for him. And he is not responsible for you. Giving each other the gift of adult choice – in marriage or friendship – is a beautiful responsible thing we can do. May that gift blossom in your life and mine. Blessings to you today.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        There’s a much bigger issue going on here. He chose not to cite me BECAUSE of what he thinks about our survey of 20,000 women and how we have tried to warn people about dangerous resources.

        I do believe that needs to be called out publicly. He can do what he wants–but it has consequences.

        • Charley

          20,000 women…that you picked…I don’t eat manure even though some people might believe that 50 billion flies can’t be wrong.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Actually, I didn’t pick them. Over 60% of them were sent here by other bloggers at all ends of the ideological spectrum and by readers contacting their churches.


            1. We have external validation from our frequency stats that our data set was representative (and if you don’t understand what that means, perhaps you shouldn’t be critiquing it?)
            2. The whole point of our study was comparing people who believed one thing with people who didn’t believe it. If we had people who all believed the same way there is no way we could have done our study.
            3. These are the main findings of our survey: We have a huge orgasm gap between men and women; the obligation sex message hurts; telling women to have sex so their husbands don’t watch porn hurts; telling girls to be gatekeepers hurts; and telling both that all men struggle with lust hurts.

            From #3–which finding are you upset at? When people are upset at our survey, I assume it’s because they want to preserve these things. Which things would you like to preserve?

  2. Andrea

    Oh my goodness, I want to buy a 100 of your books and send them to all my unhappily married evangelical friends (including my baby sister, who drank the KoolAid that you have to be a porn star in the bedroom to keep your husband faithful).

    This is heartbreaking, Sheila, but honestly, it doesn’t surprise me. I might have mentioned in a previous comment that there are two men in my extended family who are public Christian figures (frequently described as “great men of God” – yuck), so I know all about white male evangelical academic fragility, which is a sub-sub-set of white male fragility. “Academic” is important here as applied to Gary Thomas, since he’s scared of actual research.

    I’m also one of the commenters who previously advised you to just “dust the sand off your sandals,” which I realize in retrospect is insensitive, and I definitely don’t mean it in relation to someone who was a close friend of yours for over a decade, I know that’s not so easy to do and it hurts like hell, but I have been building my armor against the dismissive men in my family since I was teenager, so in my 40s now I have entire impenetrable fortress around me.

    You know how Beth Alison Barr writes about the “great cloud of female witnesses” in her book (pp. 76, 88, 96, etc.)? We are your mighty cloud, Sheila, we are legion, and the fragile white pseudo-Christian leaders are scared to death, AS THEY SHOULD BE.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Amen! I’m going to read your comment again this afternoon when I try to work through an afternoon prayer liturgy. The mighty cloud of female witnesses!

      (And I do need to dust the sand off my feet. But, also, so much of what I need to do now is raise awareness of what is toxic in the church. That’s the only way things will change. But boy is this TIRING!)

  3. Sara

    Oh Sheila. I’m so sorry for the loss of this friendship and the associated hurt. He clearly wasn’t a genuine friend after all.

    If you have a list of milestones of achievements along your path to success, being shunned by male evangelical authors/leaders should be one of them and today, you can put a gold star ⭐️ next to it.

    (I must admit to disappointment that the legal teams thought there wasn’t “enough” for a plagiarism charge…that’s frustrating! I don’t know enough about that to be able to offer much, but boy was it pounded into our brains in Seminary to ALWAYS cite our sources or risk failure and/or plagiarism charges!)

    You are doing great and important work. Keep on keepin’ on! We are cheering you on!

  4. Christine Torres

    I am so grateful for the truth that you are speaking Sheila and saddened about this decision. It shows that he agrees with your findings and teachings, yet association seems more important to him than sharing the truth. I am not sure what is happening with him or why he seems more concerned about his own standing than the truth that Jesus whats us to have, but I honestly pray that he realizes his misguided decisions are hurting others and himself.

  5. Samantha

    I’ve been a looong time follower of yours Sheila, back from the homeschool circuit and even then, your message has always been kind, consistent and honest. Sheila I’m so sorry this is happening. Not just to you, but all of us. Each time this happens as a result of the truth you elegantly tell, it is happening to all of us. Shut down yet again. Unheard. I’m so grateful for your ongoing work. Thank you for being a voice for so many.

  6. Aleassa J

    Sheila! I’m so sorry! I know how it feels to believe that, surely, godly Christians will not allow evil and abuse to continue once it is brought to their attention, and then be blindsided when they not only side with and support the wrongdoing but also kick you down in the process. It is quite a betrayal and causes you to question everything. I don’t have any advice and I don’t know you personally but just know that there are many of us out here who have been incredibly helped by your work, and are sitting with you in this.

    • Aleassa J.

      Wanted to add to my comment for clarification that I was not speaking as an abused wife (my husband is not abusive), but as a Christian, whose family has experienced spiritual abuse and has also been firsthand witnesses (and reporters) of physical and sexual abuse of minors in which the spiritual authorities in power did nothing but turn a blind eye and shut down the whistleblowers.

  7. Jennifer Logan

    Sheila, I am sorry you, Rebecca, and Johanna are going through this. It’s definitely not right. But please keep up the work you are doing. The more Gary does stuff like this, the more he is cementing and exposing his true evil and ungodly character. Sad, but that is his choice. So many men and woman and marriages are being helped by you three and your research so please keep it up!

  8. Nicole R

    Gary has proven himself to be toxic and untrustworthy. Keep fighting the battle, Sheila!

  9. MaryEllen Bream

    “He would rather not acknowledge 20,000 women; he would rather ignore the abuse advocates; he would rather not acknowledge young, smart women doing work in this field. And he would rather ignore me, a woman who has called the evangelical marriage industry to account.”
    I believe the reason for this is found in the parenthetical note you made towads the top of your post: He doesn’t agree with your take on lust.
    Your take is that men need to SEE women as whole people, made in the image of God.
    If that idea is rejected, and a man concludes that a woman’s body is only an object of temptation to be fought, then the natural progression is that neither will 20,000 women be viewed as whole people when they say they feel like they’re being treated as prostitutes in their own home. They don’t matter. Only their bodies matter, and only to the men. This is devastating.

  10. Wanda

    I can only begin to fathom what publishing in the world of Christian marriage books is like right now. If an author feels the need to distance themselves from another author because of content, it’s certainly understandable… I just hope that (like you have mentioned before) those who teach understand the weight of the platform they’ve been giving. I continue to hope that more Christians listen to the quiet voices of victims rather than upholding the actions of abusers.

  11. Sarah McDugal

    I’m so sorry, Sheila, for this incredibly disappointing lack of professional ethics and integrity from Gary Thomas and Deb Fileta. It’s appalling… yet somehow not shocking. Please don’t stop doing what you’re doing — all three of you!

  12. Dawn

    Shelia, I am so sorry you ladies are going through this. Standing against a tide is difficult, and while you expect people not to agree, there are times you feel blind-sided. I feel like that’s what you are saying, this blind-sided you.
    While I can’t make up for this, I’d Iike to tell you a bit about how your book (and website) have effected my life. I answered your survey, but I probably wasn’t one of your ‘useful’ respondents. But then I pre-bought your book. How I wish I could go back and reanswer some of those questions. I didn’t realize just how many teachings I had absorbed as true and right. I cried over several chapters, occasionally had to put the book down because I needed to deal with emotions that were just too much. And I told others about your book. How much it was helping me, how much I was recognizing what needed to be challenged and changed in my life, my churches, for my daughters. My married daughter bought the book on my recommendation, she bought a 2nd and 3rd copy for friends of hers (one of whom is a councilor). My unmarried daughter decided to wait until her boyfriend and she were more certain of their future. But she bought 2 copies to send to friends. I had my prayer partner read it, her husband (an elder at our church) read it, several people have come to me and mentioned they have read it. All have encouraging things to say. Unfortunately, we have had many people have problems with the book. It seems suggesting mutuality is not seen as ‘Christian’. Yet, it is so clear to many of us.
    Anyway, I want to encourage you ladies today. Please continue to voice the truth. Give tools to facilitate us finding truth for ourselves. To be willing to think and compare authors works to scripture is so very needed. I appreciate and have been blessed by your work.

  13. Chris

    Full disclaimer here: I have not read either book as they do not apply to me.
    Ok, so from where I sit, if Gary used stuff from your book without citing you, that is clearly wrong. At that point, he has two options: he can go back and cite you, or he can remove the material. Both are perfectly ethical options. His choice to rectify the situation by removing the material might not have been the wisest choice in terms of maintaining personal relationships, but was it unethical? No.
    In the last few years I have been listening to a lot of women talk about the Me Too movement and have heard them talk at length about rape culture. And that a lot of women feel that men don’t understand how they (men) come across to women in the things they say and do. I contend that this actually goes both ways. Which leads me to conclude the following about why the “evangelical world” sees you as toxic. (I put that in quotes because to me, the evangelical world is so fragmented that there really isn’t an evangelical world in any unified sense.) Sheila, there is a strong undertone of what I will call “female superiority” in a lot of your writing. Thanks to my Jesuit education of “hearing the whole person” I can get right past that with relative ease. But nearly all men will pick up on it, and most men will likely just be annoyed by it and choose not to read your material anymore. But if it is directed at them, then ya, they will be upset. I guarantee you that this is at least a part of why you are not their favorite person right now. Reading between the lines on all this as an outsider, I think its less the message and more the writing style of the messenger that they are upset with.

    • KellyG

      Well, in the academic world if you paraphrase somebody and those words can be searched online, without being cited within the body of the paper, it is considered plagiarism. I have a masters degree in my field of expertise which is in Nursing.

      Every single paper I wrote in grad school had to undergo a review/search to make sure that I wasn’t plagiarizing anybody( including my own work!). And that’s includied, using ideas that other authors have published. (Which Gary did in this latest book without citing TGSR). You have to cite other authors ideas in the academic world .

      So why isn’t Gary Thomas being held to that same standard??

    • Brock

      You said *if* Gary Thomas used her stuff displaying your presupposition despite Gary Thomas admiring to it and choosing to remove the phrases. You’re stuck assuming Sheila is wrong and Gary is right even though it’s evident to be the opposite.

      Shelia’s undertone is MUTUALITY and never female superiority. This also shows your obvious misogynistic view. Mutuality is not superiority. Thanks for revealing yourself by commenting.

    • Bridger

      “Sheila, there is a strong undertone of what I will call “female superiority” in a lot of your writing.”


      As a married man of 23 years who would happily die for my wife all this site does is make me incredibly frustrated and angry. My blood never boils hotter with the exception of pure evil.

      As someone who works with married couples I have yet to see a man, out of hundreds of couples, have a positive response when your material is brought up.

      As a teacher of Gods Word I believe you’re off the mark as much or more as the people you seem to demonize each day.

      Why is almost all of your time spent teaching against Christians? If you have a message, why does that message have to be THE message.

      Your data is open to interpretation. As we all know whether it is elections or surveys or studies, those who pay for it, those who interpret it, those who count it find the results they want.

      I’m a good willed Christian man who loves my wife more than anything and I think you are DEAD wrong.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Can you tell me what in our “interpretation” is wrong? I’d be happy to discuss specifics with you.

      • A & A

        The word choices in this comment are a dead giveaway for an Eggerich follower. Taking off the Love and Respect colored glasses would help your perspective significantly.

      • Jo R

        Hmm, let’s see. Hundreds of men have yet to have a positive response to several facts that Sheila repeats at length:

        1. Women have a clitoris, whose only known purpose is specifically for women’s sexual pleasure.

        2. Christian men have, by and large, been taught for centuries (millennia??) that sex is only for them, not for their wives, and that wives should get equal pleasure as husbands from simple PIV, even though PIV does not stimulate the clitoris enough for about 60 percent of women to achieve orgasm.

        3. Women have “do not deprive” thrown at them constantly by pastors, authors, and even husbands, yet points 1 and 2 combine to show that there are a whole bunch of Christian women being deprived of the ultimate sexual experience.

        Yeah, I guess men don’t like being called lazy, selfish, incompetent, and uncompassionate in the bedroom.

        As for why Sheila spends so much time on this message, it’s because there’s been an absolute deluge of misinformation and misteaching around women’s sexuality, oh, basically forever. It goes against the “common knowledge” and “received wisdom” of both the church and society at large, and it levels some pretty serious charges against men in general.

        It’s unfortunate that some men are threatened by the truth, but their discomfort doesn’t make that truth false.

      • Worn Out

        Sorry to burst your bubble , dude, but many of us live with men who whole-heartedly subscribe to soul-crushing and misogynistic views of marriage and relationships. That assumption of good will is great, but not realistic. The church and Christian authors have much for which to answer. So many of the ideas taught by the church look nothing like the Jesus I know.

      • Jo R

        Interesting that you think HUNDREDS of men’s opinions and behavior obviously vastly outweigh what TWENTY THOUSAND mostly Christian women report as to their actual experiences of marriage and sex.

      • Bridger

        No ma’am, you’ve proven over the years you don’t want an honest and open debate. You own the comment section and don’t let anything past opening and cursory opposition through.

        You say you want equality but in this thread alone men in general, several Christian teachers, a race and more have been demonized. You take all comers on that side of the isle and allow it and even encourage it. If such things were said about women, yourself or your fellow writers or another race you’d shut it down quick and condemn it.

        You do not want to look the Bible, marriages, Christian books, the church or sex with an honest and fair debate or mind. You want equality while wanting privilege. You want to open things up and have an honest debate where you don’t censor opposing views as long as there is no porn or cussing I’m game. But as it is- not a chance.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I actually don’t delete very many comments, and it takes a lot for me to block people.

          Let me ask again: Can you please give me some specifics of where our data is wrong? You’re throwing out ad hominem arguments right now. I’d be happy to engage, but I need some specifics about the data that you think we interpreted wrong.

      • NM

        So because she makes men angry, she’s wrong. Got it. That right there is the attitude we are all so sick of!

      • R

        I’m intrigued that the lengthy comments and responses of criticism cite no inaccuracies, no scientific evidence, and no biblical evidence. I never knew men were so fragile until reading the comments on this blog. Sheila, my non-fragile husband and I support you and thank you and your team for all of your work!

      • Jo R

        Your last para in your second comment partly says, “You do not want to look the Bible, marriages, Christian books, the church or sex with an honest and fair debate or mind. You want equality while wanting privilege.”

        Sounds like projection from here.

        You must therefore like the status quo, even though North American cultural Christianity has gotten pretty much diametrically opposed to verses like Matthew 20:25–27 “Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave’” and 1 Cor 7:3 “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife.”

        Does the Matthew passage apply in every relationship except marriage, where the husband is free to completely quash his wife’s every action, statement, and even thought? Is her having an orgasm as important as him having one, or not? Or is that an example of a wife wanting “equality” but somehow also wanting “privilege”?

        Interesting that you assume Sheila is also against Christian books in general, as she herself writes Christian books. Or is it that she writes books that are upsetting the apple cart of the aforementioned North American cultural Christianity, which has been assumed to be “right” and “true” and “biblical”?

        I have to admit, this site makes my blood boil too, but for completely opposite reasons than you cited. It’s because men have perpetuated a huge lie on half the population, since men have almost exclusively held power through the ages. So yeah, women are here, and if we don’t say things nicely enough to suit men, well, welcome to the world women have inhabited for, well, forever.

      • Inkling

        If you have yet to see a man have a positive response to Sheila’s material, perhaps it would be a good idea to get curious about whether they are at all chauvinistic or abusive, buying into the lie the church so often teaches that men are worth more and worthy of more than women. It sounds like you don’t get to work with any good guys. That must be a real bummer.

        Also, calling yourself a “good willed Christian man” shows what people have been your teachers and where you have absorbed your own beliefs. You might want to rethink that. Those guys are toxic and dangerous, and I’m saying that of my own accord because I have lasting injuries from their teaching.

        Sheila didn’t start out having to be the school marm calling out every bully on the playground. But she soon discovered that she is the ONLY leader with a platform in the church who consistently champions what is right and healthy in the topic of marriage and sexuality. I’m sure she would love to have colleagues who would carry the same message of health. I’m sure she would love to have colleagues stand up against the current narrative and write a new one.

        But you’re blaming the wrong person. Yet you can’t even see it.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, my goodness, would I ever love it! And as I said before, if even one of these people would apologize, repent, and start teaching something different–I would shout it from the rooftops and support them!

      • Tiffany

        Bridger sounds especially fragile and toxic.

      • Anonymous

        Bridger’s point is proven.

    • Active Mom

      You make some good points. As a man who can get past it though do you understand why it’s hard for women to hear that when for the last several hundred years in churches all we have been taught and in some cases still being taught is male superiority? This is an honest question? Is it that she is speaking with a female superiority tone or is it just that the male way is being challenged? How could the teachings be challenged without coming across that way? It feels a little like “We don’t like your tone.” I know how I have been talked to in church by pastors and elders and it feels as though Sheilas tone is no different. It just has a different target.

      • A

        Yes! I don’t know who it was that said, “for those in power, equality feels like oppression.” Or something like that.
        I do not sense any tone of female superiority in Sheila’s tone, but I do sense a superiority in the tone of many men, and of women who are still wedded to “traditional” evangelical teachings on sex, marriage, and gender roles.
        I think, that in fact, Sheila is trying to call men to a higher standard because men are capable of more.

    • Melissa

      You may think, sir, that you are being part of the solution right now, but you are actually participating in the problem. Why is it that a woman cannot speak up about the issues directly affecting her and ask for equal consideration without being put down and marginalized by men? Shelia has always done her very best to present material in a way that makes clear her goal is MUTUAL fulfillment for BOTH men and women. She has called out how the evangelical establishment’s position on sexuality has harmed BOTH men and women. I predict that if she were only speaking about how men deserve better, she would be praised. But the moment it’s suggested that women deserve better, the person suggesting it is vilified. Do you know how wearying it is for a woman to keep trying to speak up about the issues that directly affect her only to be told again and again how she didn’t present it the “right” way, and thus injured the egos of the men around her? How we try and try to be saccharin sweet but STILL men find offense in our efforts and nothing changes? Being sweet and demure and delicate isn’t working. So, we shall be direct. And if the men of the evangelical establishment have a problem with simple directness, it only shows how problematic the culture has become.

      Through reading Sheila’s work, I have become just as enraged at how the evangelical world has conditioned men as I am about how they have conditioned women. My husband, who is a good and gentle and kind man who wrestled crushing guilt when it came to sexual matters, deserved better than that. My young sons deserve better than that. And guess what? As a woman, I deserve better too. All of us deserve better. That is the point of what Sheila is trying to do. If men want to read further into it and find offense, that says more about them than it does about Sheila’s tone. And perhaps it is those men you should be chastising, instead of Sheila.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Wow, Melissa. Thank you.

        (And I totally agree about your husband and sons. They deserve better, too! So does my grandson, and that’s why Rebecca used her dedication for him).

      • Meghan

        Where’s the fire emoji when you need it? Cause that comment is FIRE!!

    • Anon

      Chris, you start off your comment by saying “I have not read either book as they do not apply to me.” You then go on to say that the reason Sheila’s books are so poorly received by men is that her writing has
      “a strong undertone of what I will call “female superiority” ”

      If you haven’t read her book, how do you know it has that undertone? And is a ‘superior undertone’ really adequate justification for dismissing such detailed and careful research anyway? I would hope that a Christian man who cares for his sisters in Christ as God commands him to do, would not dismiss it, even if he didn’t like the tone in which it was written.

      If someone presented me with research that showed 20,000 Christian men were suffering due to false teaching within the church, I wouldn’t care what ‘tone’ it was presented in – I’d be furious that my brothers in Christ were suffering in this way. Thankfully, it seems that an increasing number of Christian men are becoming equally concerned at the way in which their sisters in Christ are suffering.

      • Chris

        The blog here is the only written work of Sheilas that I have read. So I was making an assumption that the books are written in a similar Sheila style. That’s an assumption. I could of course be wrong. Another commenter remarked “Sheilas undertone is mutualality”. No, thats her stated tone. The undertone is extremely subtle. I think I read 2 or 3 of the posts on this blog before I had the thought “I don’t think this lady has sons” (Note: I am now aware of course as any reader of this blog is about Sheilas deceased son Christopher, but I was not aware of him when I started reading this blog). Then I read another few posts and thought, “I don’t think this lady has any brothers either”. Now I am sure that my coming to those conclusions will be dismissed here by some fellow commenters as being misogynistic. But how did I form those conclusions? Very subtle clues in the use of language. Thats all. (Please also note that I do not feel that the lack of brothers or sons is in anyway Sheilas fault, that’s absurd). Perhaps I should not have used the words “female superiority” but should have said “male ignorant”.

        • Jeanne

          As a woman with a brother, husband, and two teenage sons (no daughters), I have never understood Sheila’s tone to be “male ignorant”. My whole world is men, and I am (hopefully) raising my sons to not only respect women, but to partner with them as capable, valuable, and enjoyable creations of God, whether that be in work, friendship, or marriage. I love when Sheila has her husband on the podcast. When he weighs in, I feel valued and understood. 👍🏻

      • Anon

        Thanks for your reply Chris, but you still haven’t answered my main point – Sheila’s survey of 20,000 women showed that many women are being damaged by false teaching about sex & gender. Is that not something that should be taken seriously, regardless of the ‘tone’ in which it is communicated?

        Women who have brothers and adult sons may well write differently to those who don’t. But when those women are writing about issues that affect women, why is their voice not equally valid regardless of the number of male relatives they have? The statistics from the survey would be the same whether they were communicated by women who had sons & brothers or not!

        (And I’ve read many reviews of Sheila’s books by men and also seen many comments on her blog, also by men, which express appreciation for her work. So it is possible for men to appreciate her work. )

    • R

      There is one particular commenter on this blog who has a strong undertone of what I will call misogyny in a lot of his writing.

      Literally every time I see his name I think, Let’s see what misogynistic statement he’s going to make this time. If I was misogynistic I would see this blog as threatening and “superior” too, because that’s the very essence of misogyny. So the criticisms from misogynists don’t surprise me. But what is curious to me is why misogynists are continuing to read this blog and bothering to comment. At least they show how much the information Sheila provides is needed. Thank you Sheila and team for speaking out.

      • San Francisco Lurker

        Oh, if you were only a man and read the blog posts and comments (or a woman and didn’t read with your rose-colored glasses) you’d see how frequently men are called toxic, misogynistic, fragile, etc.

    • Maria Bernadette

      Sheila does not write with a tone of female superiority, not that I have seen. She responds to the evangelical idea that women are inferior by advocating for equality. Yes, she spends a lot of time saying that women have more dignity and worth than what false teachings would imply. But never has she implied that women are superior.

      From my experience, it looks like false “Christian” teaching leans primarily misogynistic. So on a blog that addresses the harm causes by false teachings about marriage, you can expect the author to stand up for women more often than for men – because misogynistic teachings hurt women more than men.

      And for the record, Sheila stands up for men, too.

    • Jeanne

      Hi Chris, I appreciate that you are sensitive to reading between the lines and can articulate the tone you feel is being conveyed. I can’t help but wonder if the tone of “female superiority” is actually pushback against the messages women have received through the ages of being “less”. Eventually, oppressed people groups find their voice and gain support and momentum. We can see this happening on so many levels in our world today. Could Sheila be gentler in her wording? Maybe. But she is standing up for countless women who have been harmed by the teaching in so many Christian books. I prefer to identify her tone as authoritative, with frustration and a touch of righteous anger.
      I think the fact you can get beyond it to appreciate the message says a lot about your maturity and open-mindedness, and that is a good thing! There ARE so many quality men out there.

  14. Anon

    I don’t understand what Gary’s and other peoples problem is. Why are they so against this message?

    I can’t understand. The calling out other authors is just a lie because Paul did the same. So what is it that they are afraid of? That people will have better marriages and not need them anymore I just don’t get it.

  15. Bethan

    I am so grateful for your ministry Sheila. God bless you and keep up your amazing work.

  16. Lauren

    Having been raised in a super fundamental-legalistic environment, I had so much shame about sex. I was told to read “love and Respect” and His Needs, Her Needs. Those books made me feel like I was going to owe sex to my husband. When I got married, I only knew the mechanics of sex (because of college biology courses). Sex was painful because I felt like I owed sex to my husband. I was told that I wouldn’t like sex (that was about all the information I got about sex outside of my biology courses I mentioned earlier). Sex always hurt and I never had an orgasm. I felt like something was wrong with me. It wasn’t until I stumbled on to your blog that I began to understand how sex works with my body. I purchased “the Great Sex Rescue.” My husband and I went through it together. He didn’t realize how lopsided our view of sex was. It’s helped us so much!

    In regards to this most recent reaction to your work, in my own personal experience, once you deviate away from what religious people considered standard quo, you get ostracized whether you’re right or wrong. Anything that challenges the way things have been done is, more often than not, considered wrong. It’s disheartening that despite your research and the help you’ve provided you have received such backlash.

    With that said, I want it to be known that you’ve been a help to me. I know you’ve been a major help to others too! Keep going girl! I’m a testament to being set free from sexual shame and I’m happier for it! It’s made a difference in my life.

    I know it’s hard, but sometimes the loudest voices stand out the most. I’m certain you’ve helped more people than you’ll ever know and that those people far out number the ones who oppose!!!

  17. KellyG

    Off topic, kinda. I’m an RN. In a hospital setting. There’s a section on the physical assessment area of female reproduction system that asks about female sexual issues. Vaginismus is listed as one of the choices of female sexual issues Sheila Wray Gregoire! I saw this last night and IMMEDIATELY thought of you.

  18. Vanessa

    Telling the flat truth about what has happened and the anger it brings up makes people uncomfortable. Wouldn’t it be nice to just sweep these things under the rug and put on our “nice Christian” faces, and get back to the business of selling Jesus? Except, it’s the truth that sets us free, not glossing things over. The truth is that this is not ok. That it brings up the anger we have all felt as women when our work has been ignored or taken for granted, when our personhood has been trod over, when our faithfulness has been used as a weapon against us. You have stated the facts. You didn’t disparage or call names. You are giving us all a model of what it looks like to speak up for our own boundaries and well-being. I appreciate this modeling more than I can say.

  19. Katie

    So your ideas are somehow only positive if framed as his own yet if those ideas are attributed to you they aren’t worth keeping in the book. 🧐

    A new reformation day is coming….. and you’re on the right side of history.

  20. Kasha

    He sounds like a coward, he’d rather make money and not offend other men instead of standing with a strong woman. This toxic behaviour is extremely disappointing but unfortunately, not surprising.

  21. Katie

    The truth in The Great Sex Rescue might have saved my marriage if it had been written ten years earlier.

    Books like Sacred Marriage, Love and Respect, Every Man’s Battle only reinforced my ex’s bad behavior (habitual lust, propositioning women for sex, and affairs). The latter books conditioned my ex to expect my forgiveness and reconciliation. They made my ex feel normal in his behavior because according to these books, he was made to be sexually deviant. Your book exposes the truth of how common evangelical advice makes sexual intimacy nearly impossible.

    I wonder where my ex and I would be now if we hadn’t absorbed those toxic books and instead had a resource like yours.

    Thank you for being a beacon of hope!

  22. Lauren

    You are doing such important work and I’m so thankful for you! I’m so glad there are women out there that want better for all women!

  23. Autumn

    Just another reason why the modern Christian Church is unsafe for women. When Christian men care more about power and control than they do about the lives of the people they affect…

    • K

      So true. We are experiencing this right now. Power is more important than truth. And some will destroy others to keep it. So sad.

  24. Amy

    Thank you Sheila for continuing to stand strong and to fight for all of us who have been hurt by the evangelical church’s teachings on marriage. I appreciate your work so much and it has been so healing to me 🙂

    And Gary – we know this post will get back to you – shame on you! We thought you were our ally and you sold us out for $$ and reputation.

    • Katrina

      I am so sorry for the way you have been treated. Please know that I and thousands of others stand with you! The Great Sex Rescue has been so healing for me. I’ve read it multiple times and I’ve journaled through it. I have found out through you and your team’s hard work and dedication that these toxic messages have affected me. And I didn’t need more issues in that area of my life! Freedom is only going to come from truth and unfortunately some can’t handle the truth. The fact is these toxic messages have mostly had the opposite effect than what they were going for. The Great Sex Rescue is the absolute best resource that God has put in my hands to help me on this healing journey. Thank you Sheila, Rebecca, and Joanna for all of your work and for hearing our voices! There is an army of women and men standing and fighting with you in prayer. God knew the battle that this would bring and He entrusted this work to you and your team. He will fight these battles for you and will continue to strengthen you. His work will accomplish everything He sent it to accomplish. It seems to me that God is tired of these toxic messages too! Thank you for heeding the call to write this book and I’m so sorry for all that you have endured because of it. You saw me as being worth it and I can’t tell you how much that means to me in my healing journey! I can feel the love and passion that you have to see healing come in this area of our lives, for others to see the beauty of this most wonderful gift God blessed us with. Be blessed and let this bump in the road be another stepping stone in your journey to help others overcome. “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.

  25. Melanie

    I’ve learned so much from you and I thank you for tackling these ridiculous teachings founded only on what a certain few believe. How many marriages have been damaged by advice these people have put out? Who knows! Carry on the fight & continue to call these folks out.

  26. Alex

    Please keep doing what you are doing. For women but ALSO for integrity in the evangelical authoring world. This is a huge problem and it needs to be called out over and over again. So many celebrity pastors and authors are plagiarizing works of others and it has to stop. And it only stops when we the people know about it and call it out or stop supporting those who do it. So sorry this happened, but in an odd twisted way…take it as a compliment. My mother used to say when my brother was copying me that “he just wants to be like you.” Take this as confirmation that you are doing EXACTLY what you should be doing. And that he wants to be like you, even if he will never ever admit it. 🙂 <3

  27. Brandi

    I love everything you are doing! I read to love honor and vacuum when I was struggling in my marriage. I had left before but went back because “God hates divorce”, and I didn’t think I had a “biblical reason” to leave. The worst part is I think it was my own ideals of the roles of men and women that lead to my miserable marriage. He wasn’t a Christian when we met, but easily adopted my ideals of male headship. I read your book and boundaries in marriage which I only found because of you. It lead to so much more study. Finally I decided that God did not damn me to a miserable and emotionally abusive marriage. I also come from an abusive church background and it helped me heal so much from that. God is good and now I am truly happy in my life. My ex-husband and I are actually friends. I see him in New relationships and he’s very much the same in those as he was with me, but he asks my advice a lot and I think one day he’ll figure it out. I am with a man who treats me exactly the way the Bible describes a biblical marriage.

    The mainstream Christian ideals are so damaging to women, men, relationships, and faith. I am so glad that I began the relationship I am in now with a different perspective. I really think we are in a crucial time in the church. So many people from my generation are in a deconstruction phase and so many walk away from their faith. I think a lot of people think that they can either accept these poisonous ideals or walkway all together. People like you are calling attention to the things that have spiritually damaged so many, and calling attention to what the Bible really says, and what God actually wants for us. The church has hurt us, twisted the words of God into something hurtful. Walking away from faith and accepting abuse are not the only options. It hurts my heart to see people walk away from God because the only way they have ever seen Him is the way the church has portrayed Him. People like you are calling attention to the abuse, calling out the actual abusers, and portraying the love of Christ that the church should be portraying in the first place. The comments I see on your Facebook and blog saying that you are too harsh on people really get to me. The people you are calling out are the people who turn others away from Jesus, they create followers that portray Jesus as an abuser. They need to be called out. Thank you for doing what you do ❤

    • Diane Phillips

      Yes this is what I want to highlight too! Our young ppl are turning away from Jesus and the church because of teachings which are hurtful and wrong. Teachings that take away dignity and worth harm us all.

  28. Sally

    I’m so sorry. How devastating! After seeing the comments above about the writing style and subject being distasteful to men I would like to cite my husband who has been a big fan of everything I’ve passed on to him from you. He’ll say “this is why christians get such a bad name and it’s deserved. (Our weird attitudes and teaching about sex) This has to be called out”
    Keep on. We are listening and learning. I bought your book and recommended it to my friends and sisters. It’s so refreshing to see that someone gets it.

  29. Nathan

    > > Why is this so threatening to everyone?
    > > Why is it so bad to ask that we do better in this area?

    The only thing I can think of is that so many are invested in the standard belief of sex and marriage (husband is in charge, sex is for men only, wives should be submissive, etc.) that they react instantly like this to any perceived challenge.

  30. Michelle

    I’ve largely stopped even reading Christian books because I feel like I can’t trust them. I’ve had to eat crow on more than one occasion because I’ve taught from books and resources that were later cited as wholly incorrect in their teaching, some of which cited pamphlets that THEY wrote and published! I’m in a technical field, I use and verify statistics on a daily basis and going back to investigate the books I read right after becoming a Christian was heartbreaking. It wasn’t until I happened upon the TLHV website a few years ago that I started reading evangelical media again. My husband and I had made the conscious decision to stop attending church entirely because we’d been searching so long for a church that actually taught the Bible and couldn’t find one (we did finally find one, rather accidentally, but it took years). You’re the first person I’ve seen that publicly said God cares more about the sheep than the reputation of the shepherd. The world is ready for the church to follow Christ again, and what you’re doing is bold and uncomfortable to many. I don’t like being told I’m wrong, but what really gets under my skin is when I realize I actually am. Confrontation is uncomfortable, but THANK YOU for being willing to do it! Data speaks. I’ve passed your books around to multiple people and I hope I don’t get them back, that they keep going. I know ladies who were miserable, coming out of the purity culture, never feeling like they did everything right and never knowing why, and teaching like yours has turned their lives around, and I’m right there with them. I was disgusted by Christianity for so long because I couldn’t figure out how these people were following the same Jesus I knew; you, your team, and the 20,000 others you surveyed are proof that we’re not crazy, that God loves us more than an analogy about “dirty duct tape” would lead us to believe. Keep fighting the fight! I pray those of us with a smaller reach have the courage to do the same.

  31. Kathleen

    Thank you for your book, my husband and I have both read it and my therapist as well. I had so many of the problematic books in my personal library but they were all thrown in the garbage a couple years ago which is exactly where those toxic ideas belong. I have zero respect for leaders who will not let their ideas be challenged and for so called Christian leaders who choose $$ or their brand over the well being of others.

  32. Em

    No, Gary, why…?

    Do you think this book was written “in response” to your book, or just an unfortunate coincidence that it was already in the works? I read what was available on the Amazon pictures. 🤢

    Why is the message that sex should be mutually enjoyable for the husband and wife so threatening?

    For the record, Sacred Pathways influenced my life deeply. I thought it was cool to see that he supported you. I guess until now…

    • Rachel L.

      To this commenters above who have implied that Sheila has not handled things by the Matthew 18 standard, ID DOES NOT APPLY HERE. how many times must we go over the same darn thing?

      Matt 18 is in regards to PERSONAL relationships.

      For public teachers, it’s actually 1 Timothy 5 that instructs us to “rebuke them in the presence of all,” so that they are made an example. And Paul does this!

      Second, the situation with Gary WAS (attempted) to handle privately. Those of you who have not kept current on the situation should not be commenting. It is your responsibility as the reader to look up the past info and get up to speed. It is not the author’s responsibility to repeat themselves over and over and over. It wastes everyone’s time.

      Third, yes part of this was personal. It was a betrayal of a friend. It was a betrayal of someone previously thought to be an ally. As previously mentioned, the team DID try talking to Gary privately first. Regardless, the fact that he’s rejecting scientific proof that show his assertions in his book to be false is clearly a professionally ethical problem.

      This is actually a 2 Timothy 4:3-4 problem.

      “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine (or science?). Instead, to suit their own desires (platforms?) they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (Emphasis mine).

      No matter the “tone” (which I would argue isn’t “female superiority” but is actually well-earned “authority”) the truth is the truth. Facts are facts. And Gary’s listed assumptions, listed facts, and conclusions are wrong. Period. And that needs to be publicly addressed. And let’s not forget the Jesus himself flipped over tables and got furiously angry with those who were using the temple as a means to profit! Is this not the same???? Gary is using false teachings to profit. He refuses to adjust his rhetoric because it will damage his profits. He refuses good doctrine because the bad publicity will hurt his profits. WE SHOULD ALL BE ANGRY ABOUT THAT. And we would be following Christ’s example in doing so!

      Last, Sheila I totally understand why you’re angry! And frustrated and tired… And mostly, why you’re grieving. There is so much grief in this post and my heart hurts for you. It is so difficult when people show themselves and they become the “enemy” at the other end of the table. But be encouraged that God sees you. He weeps with you and hurts with you. And he has prepared a table for you of all your favorite things, even in the presence of those enemies. And he invites you to sit and rest and and enjoy. Do not allow this cowardly, small man to steal the renewal God planned for your vacation. All the love and hugs to you and yours, lovely. May you return ready to do battle!

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Thank you so much for this whole thing, but especially the last paragraph! I see so seen today. I feel as if my commenters are actually seeing my emotions here, and it is hard.

  33. SLS

    All I can say Shelia is I know how you feel. Growing up I once spoke out about something my pastor said that I believed was wrong and got the full court press about “sowing division” in the church. I know what it’s like to feel ostracized.

    That is one reason why I think you and your research team are doing really important work. The church needs to hear that a lot of it’s teaching on sex has gone astray from God’s design and we need people brave enough to stand up and say it.

    I speak from personal experience when I say that it is easy to become bitter towards the people who hurt you. When I am tempted to think ill of someone I’ll say to myself “for whom Christ died” to remind me to view them as people who need Jesus just as much as I do.

    Praying for you.

  34. Jenni C

    It’s not just that he didn’t listen. He listened, pretended we mattered, and then he spit on us all. He’s like a politician that just parrots whatever party line will give him the most popularity and power. I just purged his books from my shelves last week. So done with him!!

  35. Melissa

    In Genesis 3:15 when God is speaking to the serpent he says “I will place enmity between you and the woman”, and the definition of enmity is “the state of feeling or being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” Notice how God didn’t say that part to the man. Just the woman. Here is where the oppression of women began. Satan has a particular hatred for women. You can see it all throughout world history in how women have been denied basic human rights. The enemy is so clever, so insidious, that he has even made Christian men part of the opposition against women. And in many cases, he has even seduced Christian women into participating in their own oppression. We see it all throughout the Christian world, and we see it particularly in the response (or lack thereof) to work like The Great Sex Rescue.

    It’s time to take the planks out of our own eyes and see all of this for what it is. The enemy’s efforts to divide us.

  36. Sarah

    OH, the irony. He refuses to endorse your book but uses your content to bolster his own. And then chooses to remove that content rather than just cite you.
    Wait, is that irony or narcissism? 🤔

  37. Noel

    I just sent this message on Gary Thomas’ website. I would suggest other people message him as well.
    Mr. Thomas, I am sorry to hear of your declining to respect the work of Sheila Gregoire and her co-authors. I was one of the respondents in her survey; I experienced the negative effects of certain standard “Christian” marriage/intimacy teachings firsthand. They killed my sex-drive and nearly killed my marriage- I am still working to undo the damage. I do not have a “platform” but I do speak out when I hear a friend is planning to read a book that damaged me- out of love for my friends and a desire to protect them. By calling out authors of such materials, Sheila is doing the same thing- trying to protect others. There is little practical use in saying “be careful what you read, some things are bad.” Well, duh. Pointing out what is damaging BY NAME has a great practical use. The reactions of the evangelical world to this and similar topics have caused a lot of doubt and disillusionment for me and other women, who finally felt we were also humans, made in God’s image. Please prayerfully consider us; I pray every day that God would renew His church and bring healing that we might truly serve Him together.

      • Angela

        I’m so sorry, Sheila. How awful when your friends turn on you! This is another very toxic part of our evangelical cancel culture. If I cite someone that is deemed problematic, questionable or heretical, then I will be tainted and no one will listen to me anymore, and I will probably be cancelled.

        I have personally been attacked/rebuked for quoting people others deemed problematic. No one ever engages with the actual content of what I am trying to say; they go off on a tangent of judgement against mcanceled.

        Thank you again for risking everything to bring the truth to bear on our brokenness. While time has shown that you will continue to have a large audience, we feel sad and concerned for those who will refuse to hear the healing truth in this area because of big shot opposition in the conservative camp where it is most needed.

    • Anon

      What a beautiful response Noel! I pray that God will use it to bring about restoration and reconciliation – nothing is too difficult for our God.

  38. Sue R

    This entire situation is so sad on so many levels. I’m sad for the awful teaching that’s been so harmful to so many. I’m sad those who support it refuse to change their view, in the face of actual data. I’m sad that Gary Thomas is taking the path he’s taking. (He has certainly lost a book customer in me.) And I’m really sad that Sheila and crew have to endure this.
    However, I do know that God knows what is right and that what Jesus taught is right, and those who spread these awful messages, especially those in leadership positions, will be held accountable. Perhaps not by the world of Christian publishing, but by the world of Jesus.
    I pray for Sheila and Rebecca and Joanna to remain strong during this time of adversity and continue to do your work, which is the real deal.

  39. Hannah

    So sorry to hear this, Sheila. It’s shocking to hear he’s made this choice.

    In the Bible God has harsh things to say about those who mistreat the sheep. I am so grateful to God that you reflect Jesus’ character and fight for the sheep, at great cost to yourself.

  40. Kay

    I find it so bizarre when people complain about your “tone” being offensive, but the arrogance and condescension that literally drips from
    authors like Eggerichs is embraced. I’m done with all of these guys. Thanks for your work Sheila.

    • R

      Kay, spot on!!

  41. Wild Honey

    You follow in the footsteps of the One Who Flipped Tables in the House of the Religious Establishment.

    He was on the right path. You are, too.

    But sorry that it hurts so much right now. Praying for you.

    • Wild Honey

      PS – Plagiarism is what finally did in Mark Driscoll. It’s not a good look.

  42. NM

    Sheila, even though we’ve never met, I love you so much! Your words have literally changed my life. My husband and I have both grown so much because of your teaching and all the great resources you have written and recommended. We are getting ready to approach our church leadership with how they view women. Don’t be discouraged! You are beating down the gates of hell!

  43. Jen

    Hmmmm . . . Gary has a different take on lust. What exactly is that take? I’ve been pondering how my husband was devastated by “worm theology “ that taught him he was worthless and that his very body was keeping him from Christ. He spent his days trying to control the lust Christian leaders told him he couldn’t escape or conquer. So behavior management and sexual sin became his lifestyle. He was so distracted with managing his pain and the shame of his lust that he neglected me and our sons. Thankfully, he’s being set free by Jesus who is revealing the truth and exposing the lies.

    I think the male Christian community who believe that lust is every man’s battle are engaging in a form of sin leveling. “ If everyone struggles because we’re made to struggle, then it’s more understandable when I fail, even if I’m a pastor or a worship leader or an outwardly appearing ‘good’ man.” It’s a sort of “well, you need to try” attitude, but it’s still the old boys’ club. “Boys will be boys because God made them that way!” Also, they are poisoning the well against Sheila and team. If they all stand firm and stick to the narrative, then maybe the truth won’t get through. It is a form of not seeing or hearing women again because these men have so much to lose if they admit the truth. They would have to stop seeing women as objects( even if they “only” do so when “lusting”) and they would have to be responsible for their own sin. That’s a big ask for these men. It’s too much .

    • Meghan

      I can hear the pain and hurt coming so clearly from you right now. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this, and that a friendship you thought was great went bad so quickly.

      • Meghan

        Sorry Jen, that was supposed to be a stand alone comment. Not sure why mine posted as a reply to yours.

        But hi I guess.

  44. DeDe

    Sheila & Team,
    Your material was the impetus for my deconstruction of what purity culture and all the other Evangelical marriage books had done to me. Life-long beliefs, things I thought were “absolute” and based on the Jesus I love in actuality were toxic, fear based ways to control and abuse. I’m still on my journey. But, I can tell you that I have learned how to set boundaries, how to say “no”, and how to use my voice. I learned how to identify abusive behavior. This new knowledge has cost me my marriage – because I was unwilling to participate in the spin cycles. Holding my husband accountable for his words and actions were too much for him. One thing I learned was to be able to recognize that someone’s response is a reflection of who they are, not on me or my value. Sheila, Gary’s response is a reflection of who he is, not of you or the value of your work. My prayer is that you will not become weary in the good work that you are doing, but that God will continue to give you grace and courage to press on and help bring change to Church.

  45. Katydid

    Sheila, Rebecca, and Joanna, I am so sorry your hard work is being stolen while at the same time you are being ostracized. This is insanity. They think we are putting you up on a pedestal, when really we are holding your fatigued arms up to keep winning the battle.

    I am so sorry that as these battles rage, as you three are being treated horribly, people have the gall to say you are in the wrong. Imagine being told what a bad person you are for hurting the hand of the person who held a gun to your head when you slapped it away. That’s what it amounts to.

    Pilate says he’ll release Jesus (Truth, scientific fact), but these Christian authors are instead saying, “give us Barabas.”

  46. A2bbethany

    I felt like I didn’t need to say anything, because 92 have already commented. And the silent who read but don’t comment.
    I also recently had memories dregged up of my making public, of the actions of my family. They’d said things that were very hurtful and not just in passing. I was wounded too much to explain why, feeling sorry for my abuser wasn’t appropriate behavior. So I just made it public and they had a cow! Not sorry at all, but since I agreed to take it down if they apologized, they delivered one of those…. plastic appologies. And then the conversation turned to pressing me to apologize for posting. I refused and I don’t have anything but cold conversation with them.
    Betrayal from the 2 most trusted people in your life, is unspeakable.

  47. Grant

    By removing Sheila’s content from his book, Gary has admitted to 1 of 2 things.

    1. Shiela’s info is bad, and yet he still included it in his book. Which shows that its possible that he included other hurtful things in the book.

    2. Shiela’s info is good. But he removed it, making his book worse.

    Either way, sounds like the book is bad to me.

  48. Anonymous

    Gary needs to be held legally accountable for this. Here in the US, not citing someone’s sources is considered plagiarism. He could really take the fall for that. As well he should. He lost another book customer in me. I would gather all the citations and put them in as many Facebook pages of his, peer review journals, etc., as you possibly can.

  49. Anthony

    Hey’ woman with a backbone! Love it!! Receive all things with grace and ease.
    What you resist persists. You have a huge amount of love and support!

    Many of us don’t understand that forgiveness is not reconciliation. Forgiveness is a decision And can take two seconds. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we don’t have a backbone and stand and be heard. forgiveness doesn’t mean we don’t leave an unhealthy situation or toxic relationship. Forgiveness is the most natural thing for us to do and it’s mostly for the wounded one and the one that did the wounding may never know they were forgiven and that’s perfectly ok.

  50. Tiffany

    I think you have handled this situation with grace and approached him Biblically. What he does with that is now on him. Your blogs and Facebook posts have healed me deal with a lot over the years. While my marriage is not going to be healed (I signed the divorce filing papers yesterday), you have helped me deal with my feelings after finding out about his affairs, with his dominance that is not Godly, work on better communication, and how to see sex as something that should be mutually beneficial and pleasurable to both husband and wife. I will take all of that into another marriage if I ever do remarry and know I will be a better person for it.

  51. Maria Bernadette

    Sheila, I’m sorry for what you and your family and team are dealing with. It isn’t right. I think a lot of people are mad that you are upsetting the status quo. But it had to be done. The toxic ideas masquerading as Christianity had to be called out.

  52. M B

    The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex really rescued me out of a lot of negative beliefs that were holding me back in my marriage, and for that I will forever be grateful. I have continued to follow Sheila out of interest in her continued research, wisdom, and insights. I do believe I will be unfollowing now. This post has been one too many self-righteous posts about defending yourself and making others look bad. If all you care about was making truth known, you could just state that you feel someone you really care about has plagiarized you and used x,y,z idea from you, but still was rejecting you on the basis of a,b,c and these are the values we really need to be promoting because Christian authors are still missing the point… but getting into all the personal details in public feels like you’re trying to take personal revenge on him. I have a hard time recommending you to others now because I have to caution, “But don’t judge her by her blog because it’s mostly full of anger and tearing people down…”

    • M

      Hi MB. May I suggest a new perspective? One that has helped me. The reason this blog feels ‘off’ to you is because western Christianity has lost the language of lament and a heart for justice. I think this blog echoes the heart of God beating through the whole Bible. Spending more time in the Psalms is helping me see that crying out on behalf of the oppressed can be socially uncomfortable and absolutely correct. There is some balance to strike between personal sanctification (avoiding bitterness, ensuring we forgive) and crying out for justice, but the church has avoided the latter *entirely*, while focusing on niceness as a surrogate marker for the former.

      Sheila, thank you for modelling this. I think you are laying down your life for your friends, and no one has any greater love than that.

      • CMT

        “ western Christianity has lost the language of lament and a heart for justice” This.

        Also, we have forgotten the purpose of righteous anger. We love to hear about Jesus flipping tables in the temple, until they are OUR tables.

  53. Elle Z

    Hi Sheila,

    Thanks for the work you do. I’m sorry that by standing up for what is true you have been blacklisted. This whole thing and the Focus in the Family ‘stuff’ has opened my eyes to the business side of the evangelical world over truth. The ‘who you’re in with being more important than what you say’. You are making a difference and shining a light on something they don’t want us to see. No wonder you’re getting the pushback you are. His work will not flourish and be blessed if this is how he operates.

    Keep doing the good work you know you’re called to. You are making a difference x

    • EOF

      It really has been eye-opening. I never would’ve imagined the Christian publishing industry would be so cut-throat!

  54. Stefanie

    I can’t let that last comment be the last comment. Sheila, and team, you guys have been a lifesaver for my marriage. I’m so incredibly grateful for all the work that you do. I don’t think you could have done it without pointing out specifically all the bad teachings because they are so prevalent they go unnoticed. Like Rachel L said above public teachers need to be corrected publicly. Also, Matthew 10:26 comes to mind. “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” Read the whole chapter. (I can’t quote the whole chapter here.) This is also the chapter where Jesus says, “I have not come to bring peace but a sword.”
    I am not bothered by posts like this. The work is difficult, and you do not need to fight the battle alone. Sharing the struggle does two things: (1) it lets us see the character of a public teacher, and more importantly (2) it lets us know what to pray for.

    Btw my husband told me tonight that he is more excited about sex since we read your book (because I’m more excited about it). Ha! Anyway, that’s all you (plural)! We’ve been married 10 years and I’ve read every Christian marriage book out there, and we go to yearly marriage retreats put on by our church. LITERALLY NO ONE ELSE teaches this stuff, but we’re starting to demand better.

    I’m sorry about the loss of your friend. I’m sorry you were betrayed. Jesus was often at odds with the religious leaders of his day. He was also betrayed by a friend. (I’m not trying to say you are Jesus…in case anyone tries to say I’m blaspheming. I’m just pointing out that you can take comfort in the fact that Jesus understands what you’re going through.)

  55. EL

    So much to say.
    Shiela, I used to read your blog every time you had a new post. Your posts about newlyweds, marriage and first time sex have helped me and so many of my friends start good solid marriages and relationships with our husbands.
    But, I have stopped reading your blog almost entirely the past 2 years. I really do feel like everything you say is said with an air of female superiority.
    I get the sense that you are unteachable, you think you are not capable of ever being wrong.
    I wish Gary would respond. I would love to hear his side of things. But right now all we have is one side with an angry woman spewing bitterness.
    Gary wrote a book with a actual therapist (Sheila, sorry Hun you aren’t a therapist). He used ideas that apparently weren’t actually plagiarism enough to be called plagiarism. Do you really think you’re so special that nobody else has ever thought of the things you’ve thought of before? How do we know that Gary copied you, or maybe he just had his own brain wave (which is why it wouldn’t be word for word)?
    I have to agree with the person who said everytime I come to your blog I feel my blood boil. Why? Because you are such a know it all.
    By the way! I was one of the 20,000 women who filled out your survey. But I guess my opinion won’t count now. So if you please in the future say it was a survey of 19,999 women.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      El, we’ll be talking about this on the podcast next week.

      Gary used to cite me for these ideas. He learned them from me. He made claims in his book that no one has proved except for Joanna with our research. He only stopped citing me once The Great Sex Rescue came out. One sentence he used basically word for word, and he chose to remove it rather than cite us. We are the only ones who have said it that way, and I have said it dozens of times on podcasts.

      He also read my blog for 7 YEARS, with a 76% open rate, which means reading about 24 emails a month from me. He was my MOST engaged reader out of 40,000, pretty much.

      He told me an email that he used our rubric to judge his book.

      So, yes, he used my material.

      Can you please tell me where I’m not teachable? What do you think I need to be taught on?

      And, you’re right, I’m not a counselor. We have, however, done the largest study that has ever been done on Christian women and sexuality, and we did it to academic standards, something never done in the evangelical world of marriage writing before.

      I will not apologize for that. I’m very, very proud of it.

      • D

        However, Sheila, i agree, you sound unteachable. ‘i am proud’ you just said. I have previously commented that i love your original work but don’t love your critical view of just about everyone else. 20 thousand respondents is a big number, but is it representative of the larger evangelical community of woman? Might it even be skewed towards those who have had bad experiences and might it underrepresent those who have not had these issues? As a researcher, I know the dangers of clinging to conclusions that might not be a whole picture. Don’t undo the great stuff you are doing by getting dragged into petty fights. Mud slinging dirties everyone.
        Keep up the good work!

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          D, I don’t think you are aware of the normal size of surveys that are in academic journals. 20,000 is a TREMENDOUS achievement. And our frequency numbers have been externally validated by other surveys, showing that we were quite representative.

          So, yes, I am proud of what I have done. The academic world is very excited about our data set. Unfortunately the Christian world does not want to hear. But, yes, what we did was truly groundbreaking, and I think that’s great.

    • NM

      “Female superiority,” “angry woman spewing bitterness,” “hun.” It sounds like El is just still not comfortable with the idea of a strong Christian woman. We can’t give up until women can speak their minds without being called misogynistic names.

    • Jan

      Why would someone read a blog which ‘makes their blood boil?’ Some people just enjoy looking for trouble.

  56. Chris

    This comment is in response to Anon above but it would not let me reply to the comment: Anon, in your three paragraph response I have no problem whatsoever with the last two paragraphs. I do appreciate Sheilas/Rebeccas/Joannas work or I probably would not have hung around here as long as I have. And I feel for Joanna because I know how exhausting number crunching can get. It can wear you out. But at the end of the first paragraph it states “Is that not something that should be taken seriously, regardless of the ‘tone’ in which it is communicated?” Uh, in a word, no. In this context, about the subject matter at hand, with the inherent sensitivities that surround human sexuality, tone is going to matter a great deal. Sheilas goal here on this blog, I believe because I can’t speak for her is to start a conversation within the church about mutually satisfying married sex. Sex is already a complicated subject tied up with intricate emotions for all involved. So tone is going to matter a great deal. Lest we alienate those we are trying to persuade.

    • Jo R

      When women begin to find out en masse that they have been lied to and manipulated by men who took it upon themselves to teach that women don’t need sex, don’t enjoy sex, and are required ***by God*** to give their husbands sex any and every time the man wants it, and when the lying and manipulation have been going on for centuries, if not millennia, your concern is the TONE of their complaints?

      Care to make any comment on the SUBSTANCE of their complaints?

    • Anon

      Chris, I’m really saddened by the fact that you are unwilling to engage with EVIDENCE because you don’t like the ‘tone’ in which it is presented.

      What ‘tone’ would be acceptable? Would you prefer to hear this information only from a man (which is demeaning to women, since that is basically telling them that they can’t give voice to their own issues).

      Or would you find the evidence more acceptable if it were delivered in a ‘nice, polite, submissive, womanly’ tone, e.g. ‘I realise I’m just a woman and I’ve probably got this all wrong, but I do sometimes feel like woman might be unintentionally harmed by their perception of teaching within the church – of course, I 100% realise that this is the fault of the women for allowing this teaching to affect them in this way, but I wondered, could I respectfully and humbly ask that, if it were at all possible, teachers would consider altering VERY slightly how they present this information, just so that we silly women stop getting the wrong idea.’

      Is that any better?

      Here’s the problem – if women speak ‘nicely, politely and respectfully’ and ‘in a womanly tone’ – they get IGNORED. But when they say ‘enough is enough – we’ve asked nicely and you haven’t listened. This is unacceptable and we need to see change’ – they get told ‘Oh, we might have listened to you if you’d spoken nicely about this, but we don’t like your tone so we’re going to ignore you.’

      • Jo R

        Anon, if—no, WHEN—a woman starts her comments the way you’ve suggested, any man in hearing distance stops listening at “just a woman.”

    • Jo R

      Chris, Anon is 100 percent right. Besides, women have been nice and—let’s use the right word, shall we?—subservient for two millennia, and it’s a large part of the reason society, and especially the church, is in the mess we’re currently in.

      One other question: Do you tone-police men as well, or do you pull up your big-boy pants and let a man tell you some hard truth in whatever manner, with whatever vocabulary, and in whatever tone he chooses?

    • D

      I think it is funny that since Sheila is a woman people will “tone police” her. In Eggerichs books Mothers/Sons, in his videos and in the Love/Respect book his tone has been awful toward women.

  57. Lisa

    I applaud your strength and courage to stand up and speak truth. Please don’t ever stop! ❤️

  58. Lisa M

    Gary Thomas has been “talking out of both sides of his mouth” for as long as he’s been writing books. His latest book is more of the same.

    To everyone who is upset at Sheila– WHEN YOU USE THE RESULTS OF SOMEONE’S RESEARCH, YOU CITE THE RESEARCH. This is not only to give credit, it is also so your reader can look at the research themselves to see if it actually supports what was written. THIS IS IMPORTANT. And, sadly, many people don’t bother to go look at the source. It’s the only way Eggerichs has been able to get away with loosely citing Genesis and Gottman– in five minutes you can tell that both of those citations are improperly used– they don’t support what’s in his book AT ALL.

    Failing to cite resources is not only a legal matter. It’s also an ethical one. Those of you who are complaining, do the ethics of those who put themselves above you as a teacher no longer matter? Then, by all means criticize the woman who is calling out the unethical behavior of a man. . But we all know where your line is– it’s more important to be “nice and quiet” then to call out unethical behavior.

    Remember this is the same man who thought the story from a man who runs a BDSM website was a good “lesson” for wives whose husbands have a porn addiction.

  59. Candace

    My heart hurts for you, Sheila. I don’t understand the aversion to solid research and high academic standards. There seems to be a lack of it within Christian circles because I see many people on social media struggling to use credible sources or they don’t understand what “research” really is. I am in graduate school getting a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and you are a huge part of why I chose to go into counseling. I truly want to help hurting women. Please keep the good work! You have made a difference in my life!

  60. Ingrid

    Oh I’m sorry to hear that this nonsense just never seems to end.

    Recently I began to gingerly attend a Catholic parish. The selling point was John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. If you haven’t heard of it it’s basically a collection of essays that he also had as a lecture series. It’s categorical logic that if we are created by God then so was your body. Therefore, what you do with your body matters and the whole person matters and that the act of sex was originally designed by God as an intimate and vulnerable and beautiful experience. It’s basically the opposite of purity culture.

    Another selling point was when I asked one of the church leaders about child protection measures. She said that everyone is background checked and priests get a 10-hour psych eval in seminary, and the diocese encourages reporting to the authorities and to them if anything goes wrong. This parish/diocese seems to take the idea that they could hurt children seriously and are open about it and have implemented the proper precautions.

    I’m seriously considering membership class since I’m done with protestants who push purity culture and are clueless about child protection, which in my view is not just a Catholic problem but a visible church, as such, problem.

    • Elizabeth

      This. The true antidote to all this harmful teaching is the Theology of the Body. It is the fullest representation of the gospel of Christ that includes the redemption of humankind including sexuality as the highest part of our image-of-God bearing natures. It is truly redemptive and restorative and has been a huge part in saving my marriage with my husband AND my faith, which I very nearly lost due to harmful teaching. Also worth reading is Love and Responsibility, also by JPII.

      • Ingrid

        So glad to hear that this teaching bears good fruit! When I first heard about TOB I was blown away that a religious person said it. As a protestant, I had very little hope for any redemptive view of sex.

  61. Nicole

    The only one who is not subject to reproach is God; every other person on this earth is flawed and deserves to be called out when what they’re teaching is not only hurting others but causing long-term damage. By choosing to side with the other authors and reject your research, Gary is demonstrating that he fails to see the fallacies in their work or any of the damage they’re doing to so many men and women.

    What I love about your work, Sheila, is that you are humbling yourself and editing old posts/books that you no longer agree with. Your research has shown {X, Y, and Z} to be true and you’ve adjusted what you’re sharing with others to reflect that. I want to thank you for all the efforts you’ve made to correct the misinformation on your part. Additionally, you’ve called out other, inherently-flawed humans asking them to consider the research and adjust what they’re teaching. Anyone in the public eye, no matter their “celebrity”, deserves to be called out for misinformation. If people truly knew what’s going on and realized how damaging it is, cancel culture would kick in and they’d lose more of their audience. I don’t wish for them to stop teaching at all; I just wish they’d acknowledge what’s going on and adjust their message accordingly.

    Lastly, I want to thank you for exposing one of the biggest flaws in the other authors’ books: males are mindless lemmings who are slave to their physical urges and can’t be expected to be emotionally mature. I refuse to reduce males to that level and expect that they behave in a way that’s respectful of females (of all ages) no matter what urges they may be having in that moment. Thanks to your content, I feel better equipped to teach my daughter to expect more from males and not settle for misbehavior as if that’s just part of life. She will know that it isn’t her job to be the one to say “no” or have to dress in a way that doesn’t draw unwanted attention. In our home, she will not be blamed if something happens as if she’s solely responsible for how someone else treats her.

    Honestly, if it came down to it, I’d pick your content over theirs because I know what kind of message they want women to believe. I married a man who doesn’t agree with their message but has his own struggles with pornography. He understands that it isn’t my job to help him handle those urges; I’m not “methodone” for him. I hope your content reaches other men and helps them realize that as well. My job is to call him to be a better man, according to what God calls men to be, and TGSR has only proven to be helpful in debunking the misinformation the church has been teaching for decades.

    THANK YOU! Your work is making a difference by changing our family tree. You (all) are so appreciated and I’m saddened to see how you’re being treated. I look forward to hearing more about how your research is changing things thanks to {IUPUI if I remember correctly} and the data becoming searchable via their database.

  62. D

    For those who think Sheila is coming from a place of female superiority–I completely disagree. There have been people disagreeing with the work of Eggerichs for years—leaders in the church and organizations like Focus on the Family refused to hear them. Why is it so hard for women to be granted a voice.

    Here is Thomas talking about hand jobs in his book “when a heavy period, pregnancy or post -birth situation makes penetrative intercourse problematic, Alicia is surprised at how grateful Aaron always seems” when given a hand job. This is why these books need a strong female editor with free rein. If you really don’t get that a woman needs to rest and not feel pressure during the post birth period(or a heavy period)—you are not really wanting to write about a mutually satisfying sex life.

    Thomas just seems to want to normalize a lot of themes I have seen elsewhere—pressure for the woman to quickly be meeting her husband’s needs after childbirth. Then he talks about sleeping nude several times—why can’t people go to bed in whatever manner they feel comfortable. I personally don’t want to freeze in the winter–so I will be wearing PJs.

    Then he also talks about sending risque photos via text, wearing crotchless panties, thongs, Brazilian waxes etc. If you want to do all these things fine—-but I don’t really get so many Christians pushing these things as the minimum baseline for the Christian wife. Can you imagine the average Christian man having a Brazilian and wearing a thong—-lol–they would never do something that interfered with their comfort.

    I read a few good things by Thomas before–now I can’t take him seriously after some of what I read in his book.

  63. Mel

    Sheila, I’m so sorry you’re hurting so much. Again. For telling the Truth. And not confusing the Gospel with stuff like biblical man/womanhood. For the record, my husband and I have benefitted immensely from your ministry over 9 years. (I begin a lot of conversations with, “So Sheila wrote this week…” Or “On my (Bare) Marriage podcast this week…”)

    Sheila, you are the reason why my husband and I were able to recognize abuse in a friend’s marriage in 2018, and believe her when she was finally able to get away and get safe from her husband, and advocate for her to our church. Don’t grow weary in doing well! You are reaping a harvest, God is using you! And Rebecca and Joanna!!

    By the way, I know it’s not 100% the same, but if it helps, we are becoming familiar with the author Aimee Byrd, who has been writing excellent books like “Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood,” in the last few years, and she has also been on the receiving end of horrible Christian attacks online and demonizing. (In fact, I told my husband this week, “Sheila is getting the Aimee Byrd treatment again…”) 🙁 You’re not alone! Praying for you and standing with you and Jesus.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, that’s so great that you could help your friend! That’s really encouraging. Thank you.

  64. Daniel

    Wow. Just…wow. My wife was a subscriber prior to this thread. Key word *was.* She read “a good girl’s guide” two years ago. Great stuff. This though?

    All I see is vindictive pride and mean-spirited, hateful rhetoric. You might have a great deal of support in this echo chamber, but look at the comments. You’ve fostered a deeply divisive atmosphere. Seeing the comments, I’m certainly not alone here. You’ve been writing to women that aren’t attracted to their husbands, but in that pursuit, you’ve engaged in outright feminist rhetoric. No wonder people are distancing themselves from you.

    This thread (and your replies to comments) isn’t about Jesus and biblical marriage; this is all about you. That’s fine, make it about you, just don’t disguise it as anything else. I miss reading your content (my wife used to share it with me) before you became so full of yourself.

    Remember, it was my wife’s decision to unsubscribe, not mine.

    • Jan

      Daniel, you will find the comments section on Sheila’s blog have never resembled an ‘echo chamber’. If that were the case, then your comment wouldn’t be here, would it? No, in fact all of the commenters agreeimg with her are her supporters which I am sure she is thankful for, when you look at how many of her fellow bloggers have closed ranks against her. Don’t be discouraged Sheila, so many of us are praying for you.

  65. Emily

    Men do not want to embrace your work, because it will upset the power dynamic they benefit from. I’ve been reading recently about sexual abuse and how it spreads, and power is a huge component. Abuse is a way to keep a power imbalance stable.

    Unfortunately, evangelical teaching relies heavily on power and control: men are in charge, only men can be pastors, heads of households, the person to whom women submit. If women are equals, the power and control men have will be lost. Sex is just one tool that men use to make sure their wives stay in line, and they don’t want to lose that.

    Sheila, you hit the nail on the head when you wrote that men like Gary don’t want to help women–it isn’t about you, but about making sure that abused and submissive women do not find the help they need, because it might jeapordize the power men have in the church.

    On the bright side, we are finding out their true motives, so in that way your book is doing so much good. Keep speaking out about your experiences!


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