The Round-Up: He’s a Dad, not a Babysitter

by | Nov 12, 2021 | Uncategorized | 15 comments

Friday Round Up Dads Babysitters
Merchandise is Here!

When SHOULD we talk about gender; what I regret from church; and what pastors need to say in premarital counseling.

It’s our Friday round-up, where I share what’s been happening on social media this week–because often the big stuff in our community doesn’t happen on the blog!

(And the BEST stuff actually happens in our private Patreon group! People who give as little as $5 a month to support our research get access to a private group and unfiltered podcasts!)

But here’s what happened this week!

First, we have a new granddaughter.

We introduced her on both Instagram and Facebook! She entered the world via Emergency c-section, and it was a little bit scary for a minute, but Vivian Louise is here. Her name means Lively Warrior, and during the C-section Rebecca, who was nervous and trying to keep calm, sang Come Thou Fount rather loudly, which everyone thought was funny and cool. 

Everyone is doing well. She’s sleeping good stretches at night, and Rebecca’s finding this recovery easier than last time!

What do pastors need to include in premarital counseling? 

One of my big missions in life is to make the term “vaginismus” as well known as the term “erectile dysfunction.” So many women don’t get help because they don’t know sexual pain is treatable and isn’t something you just need to endure. 

So I put a post up this week telling pastors what people need to know in premarital counseling!

Vaginismus is a serious problem affecting evangelical women especially. Here’s what pastors should make sure couples know:

1. Vaginismus affects just over 20% of evangelical women
2. We can reduce the risk by taking our time getting used to sex
3. We can reduce the risk by focusing on her arousal before we focus on intercourse
4. If it occurs anyway, there’s help through pelvic floor physiotherapists.

To elaborate: Vaginismus is a physiological condition where the muscles of the vaginal wall contract (tighten), making penetration painful if not impossible. It has psychological and/or physical roots, and conservative Christians suffer at twice the rate of the general population.

The bad news: Our survey of 20,000 women for our book The Great Sex Rescue found that roughly 22% of women experienced vaginismus, and 7% to the extent that intercourse was impossible.

The good news: If you prepare for marriage properly, you reduce the risk. And there is help!

A little discomfort at first intercourse is normal. A lot of pain is not. If pain lasts more than a week, or intercourse is just impossible, seek help.

There’s a difference between a stinging sensation when things stretch or the hymen breaks, and muscle pain.

The two biggest contributors to evangelical women’s increased risk of vaginismus are her feeling as if she doesn’t have a choice and must have sex; and having sex when she’s not aroused.

So tell couples: Don’t plan on intercourse on the wedding night. Don’t rush things. Relax.

  • Aim for: Comfort being naked together.
  • Then arousal (getting comfortable being sexual).
  • Then potentially orgasm through other routes. And THEN intercourse.

If this takes a few days, or even a few weeks, that’s okay. You have a lifetime ahead of you! It’s better to do things in the right order than to rush through something when she’s not aroused and when she feels cornered, trapped, or obligated.

Vaginismus affects three times as many couples as erectile dysfunction, and can be even more devastating, but most don’t know the word.

Let’s empower couples. Teach them the word so they seek help from a pelvic floor physiotherapist and licensed counselor if it occurs. Don’t let couples suffer in silence anymore.

For more on what causes increased vaginismus rates among Christians, please see our book The Great Sex Rescue, with all our survey results!

Facebook Post

Feel free to share so that other pastors see this!

When SHOULD advice be gendered?

We talked on the podcast this week about how science was often misused to make it sound like men and women are completely different species. I don’t think talking in gendered terms is appropriate for a lot of things when it comes to sex, because we  have overlapping bell curves. Yes, men tend to have higher libidos than women. But some women have higher libidos than some men! So let’s talk instead in terms of principles of navigating libido differences, instead of making it gendered.

But there are times when things SHOULD be gendered, simply because our bodies work differently. I talked about it in this Instagram live, which is kind of like a whole other podcast!

Here’s what I regret NOT doing in church…

Then a super quick video (or reel) I put up on Instagram about an incident I still regret. Maybe we can all decide to stand up, walk out, speak up, from now on? And not stay silent?

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.

Finally, I’ll end with a Fixed It For You!

Here’s a new one that just went up last night. 

He’s not a baby-sitter. He doesn’t help. He’s a dad. And the kids aren’t hers; they’re theirs. Language does matter!

Fixed It for You Dad Isn't a Babysitter

That’s it for me this week! I spent a large part of the week doing the final-final line edits on The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex (coming out in March!) And now I’m heading out on a knitting retreat with my mom. It’s the first big social thing I’ve done since COVID, and I’m looking forward to it!

Let me know: how has your week been? Did you have any big revelations? Anything here spark something you want to discuss? Leave a comment and let’s talk!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

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

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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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15 Comments

  1. Cynthia

    Congratulations to Rebecca, Conner, Sheila, Keith and the whole family! She’s precious.

    Love the last “Fixed It For You”. As a family lawyer, I still see a lot of this attitude. I had some recent cases where a mom needing to go to work to pay basic expenses when dad wasn’t paying anything, or a child crying because the mom was getting clean clothes from the laundry in the basement while the father was also home, was somehow seen as “evidence” of bad mothering. Yes, the judges today are more likely to realize that this is absurd, but there is a tremendous amount of stress and damage done by the time it reaches that point.

    Reply
  2. Laura

    I cannot recall how many times I’ve wanted to walk out during a sermon that focused on what wives are supposed to do. There was one church where a lot of the pastor’s teachings seemed to be directed toward wives. This pastor also said he didn’t allow his wife to wear jeans because he thought they were too revealing on a woman.

    What’s also troubling for me is when WOMEN preach this type of message in women’s Bible studies. The leader will tell other women to just “do what your husband says even if you disagree with him, because by doing that you are honoring God.” So, this meant that one woman was no longer allowed to see her doctor in spite of dealing with chronic pain and another woman was not allowed to drive or go anywhere without her husband’s permission. Basically, the Bible study leader was enabling these women to put up with abuse. This is why I no longer want to participate in women’s Bible studies.

    Reply
    • Phil

      Laura – can I encourage you to not stop participating in women’s bible studies but rather find one that isn’t toxic! My story is I was groomed and molested by a man from my church when I was 13ish -15ish. So just imagine the messages I got from my church..and there were other things too…but that was just the church culture of that time for my home church. That is not the church culture of that church today as my previous Pastor who returned after that horrible time lead an incredible ministry and his successor is a former Vicar and Assistant Pastor of our church who has returned as Senior Pastor to deliver just as good of a leadership in my home church. My mom should have pulled us out of that church during that time of toxicity – but that is another story. My point is this: We talk about toxic church environments and really bad messages around here a lot. Sometimes I even think too much…because…There are LOTS of great church’s – sure they may have issues…my current church does and I can tell you about them..but the key for me is that my Pastor and the overall message of my church is TOTALLY BIBLICAL and further more awesome and so loving and caring and balanced….but may folks wouldn’t be able to tolerate my Pastor. He is direct and unafraid to approach ANY subject from the pulpit. (we actually don’t have a pulpit lol). I love my church and so should you. They exist…because if I can find one so can you. 🙂

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Laura, that’s so tragic about that Bible study! I just want to encourage you that it’s okay to speak up. You may be the only voice those poor women hear. But also, I know you have a lot of issues with what your church chooses to promote. Is there a way to think about joining a different church? It doesn’t sound really healthy where you are.

      Reply
      • Laura

        Thankfully, I left that particular church years ago. I just wish those feelings didn’t stay with me and at times, they still come up. I’ve spoken up before in these Bible studies, but have been met with silence or worse, been told that I need to get alone with God and learn how to be more submissive.

        The women’s Bible study at my current church is okay, just nothing interesting to me anymore. The study is mainly from a random book and sometimes I wonder why they’re even called Bible studies when we’re not doing much Bible reading.

        Reply
        • Nessie

          I don’t know if this will help but when I was unable to find a strong bible study at my church of the past 4+ years, I reached out to a friend via text (we are about 18 hours apart by car, ha) and we are going through scripture together. We read the same chapter/passage (going through Psalms now) and use a free-style journal to record what we read, characteristics of God displayed in that passage, what we learned or felt, and then 3 things we are thankful for. We decided to check in each Monday with a pic of our notes and can pray for one another, discuss how we saw the passage differently and why, encourage each other, etc.

          It’s not the same as a traditional bible study but it does help with accountability and knowing I have someone with whom I can discuss God’s Word. It also feels a bit safer because I know her heart, and it is just us two so we can fully clarify and hash out any differences in viewpoint if we so choose without other people interjecting. Maybe a smaller-scale thing like that would help you transition into a place of greater trust/desire in studying with other women? I understand having similar issues, as I left my previous church due to a narcissistic preacher and scripturally abusive advice/preaching. Doing this has been helpful to me.

          Reply
  3. Phil

    I think using the word perform when talking about oral sex is a negative when discussing it with a woman. I guess I am using my personal experience…applying a response from my wife with regard to a discussion from our past. The point was made during a conversation
    in some sort of manner to the effect “that I am not here to perform”. While perform does mean completing an act the word also is the root to performance which is to put on a show in many folks mind…maybe its just a personal interpretation but I think the word enact would make it more mechanical and less negative? Just thoughts…

    Reply
  4. A2bbethany

    I find it greatly comforting to hear about her singing during the C-section. I’ve always been terrified of needing one, since seeing one performed on “reality tv” live recorded. It scarred me for life as a young child.
    So thank you so much for sharing that, as it gives me ideas. Ways i could get through it if necessary.

    Reply
  5. Jen

    Thanks for including the work you’ve done on other platforms. I am not on anything but Facebook, and it was nice to have access to the other posts.

    I’ve been pondering how so much of the Church’s faulty teaching made me view other women as my enemy. If lust is “every man’s battle” that he can’t help, then how can I not see other women as threats? If, according to the teachings, the root of the problem isn’t in my husband (and I’d already blamed myself), then the major problem must be other women, so how can I not be on guard around anyone who I know my husband would find visually “tempting”? I know you’ve talked about the idea of making women take the blame for a man’s sin; in addition, this mentality also makes women hate other women, so then our one resource of community (since we can “never understand” the woes of men) is also removed as an option for support. Isolation keeps this cycle spinning.

    Also, I’d love to hear your thoughts on healthy healing inside marriage. The husband in this week’s podcast (neuro divergence section) perfectly verbalized what I’ve been feeling as my husband and I recover from his extreme childhood abuse that led to emotional anorexia and betrayal (he takes full responsibility for his actions). The husband in the podcast talked about being able to see how his wife was affected by his way of being. Obviously, neuro divergence is not a sin, and my husband’s behaviors were, but the aspect of understanding that the wife had developed an expectation and a (perhaps) defensive stance to her husband’s way of being if a key to healing, I think. My husband and I are healing and moving into a new era, but this requires seeing and releasing the poor coping skills I developed while living with an addicted, deceived, traumatized, and emotionally anorexic man. This is big-time stuff, and walking through just the childhood trauma with him would have be difficult enough, but adding in betrayal is a lot. We are getting therapy, etc. I guess what I’m asking you for is ideas on how to keep afloat while we do this work – building joy, giving each other room to grow/change, supporting the other while being in pain yourself, etc.

    Thank you for all you do!!

    Reply
    • Lindsey

      Hey Jen,

      I am so sorry for all that you both have suffered. I hope that you’re both able to pursue individual counseling to help you do your own work to become as healthy as possible.

      One thing that makes a big difference in my marriage during those challenging times is to prioritize having fun together. Infusing some levity into my relationship really helps situations from seeming and feeling hopeless.

      One thing that helps me with forgiveness – and I know this will sound strange – is to look (I actually stare) at my husband’s chest/heart area and imaging that “little boy husband” is still in there, feeling all those same feelings he lived with – still going through the trauma. It makes discussing my hurts from a place of empathy and support so much easier.

      I don’t know if Thales are helpful – but I do pray that your marriage will find healing swiftly.

      Have a wonderful weekend.

      Reply
    • Naomi

      Hey Jen, I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through. Trauma does beget trauma and stopping/healing the cycle is a huge but worthy fight. It’s part of my story too, and a book I’ve found enormously helpful is Try Softer by Aundi Kolber. It could be a complement to the therapy you’re getting and/or you can work through it with your therapist. She just published a workbook to go with it; I just got it and I’m about to start it. Another book I’d recommend if you’re a reader is The Soul of Shame by Curt Thompson. There is hope and healing for us!

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Jen! Yes, women seeing other women as threats is a huge outcome of purity culture. We can’t blame the men, so we blame each other, and it causes big rifts. It’s a real problem.

      Reply
  6. CMT

    Congrats to Rebecca, Connor and the rest of the family!

    Speaking up… love it. All my life I have had a fear of sounding stupid or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, but I have come to the same conclusion. I do not want the regret of not speaking up when it matters. So if I blurt something out that doesn’t come out quite right, oh well!

    Reply
  7. Lisa M

    Congratulations!

    I’m still fuming over that “Erica has four kids . . . she calls it a 24-hours a day job . . . ” as if it isn’t ACTUALLY a 24-hours a day job, she just calls it that so we’ll humor her.

    I don’t think Erica picked up 4 kids at the grocery store and brought them home like free puppies. I think it’s safe to say that they both decided they wanted children. There is a huge difference between a dad and an uncle. An uncle helps out. A dad should be a parent, not a helper.

    Reply
    • S

      I thought of that too. Because it IS a 24hour job! I say that all the time about my own 2 kids. I can’t imagine my work being double. Yes, I do it because they are my kids and I love them, but it’s still a never ending exhausting job that I don’t get paid for, while hired caregivers do.

      My inlaws help out when they take them for a weekend or a full week, which is very nice, refreshing and a highlight for me.

      It took my husband years to realize he needed to do things around the house like the dishes and laundry. I’ve tried explaining to him plenty that I needed general help and that he lives here too and that while his own job in the office is stressful, he still gets a peaceful drive to work and back, he still gets personal space in the bathroom and lunch break etc., I hardly even get that, although it gets better as they get older. I don’t know if he fully “gets it” yet, but maybe he’s getting there, I hope.

      Sorry for the rant. I just feel like stay at home wives/moms are a bit invisible and misunderstood greatly by their husbands who haven’t been in their shoes, except for the ones who have great husbands. I know they are out there.

      Side note that I find laughable. One thing my husband said to me was that if I cleaned the house 2 hours a day I could keep it clean. I think he should try out my job first before making claims like that.

      Reply

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