3 Stories Podcast: A Vaginismus Story; A Christmas Story; and My Story

by | Dec 16, 2021 | Podcasts, Uncategorized | 13 comments

Podcast on Vaginismus
Merchandise is Here!

It’s the last Bare Marriage podcast of 2021!

And thank you for joining us this year! Today on the podcast we hear Rachel Perry’s story of vaginismus, and then I get cozy in my yellow chair where I work and just tell you how I see the Christmas story interacting with our own (and yours!). 

Listen in:

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:


Timeline of the Podcast

1:30 Rachel Joins!
2:45 Growing up in purity culture
6:30 Experiences within the medical field
17:00 Some of the ‘whys’
24:45 Her husband’s journey through it
30:30 Rachel’s experience with TGSR
34:40 Sheila shares her heart from 2021, and her hopes for 2022


Main Segment: The Disease that Must Be Named

Yesterday I shared a bit of my story of vaginismus, and introduced you to Rachel’s story. I invite you to read Rachel’s whole story of vaginismus; she’s written it up beautifully.

She talks here about discovering she had vaginismus and her search for a cure–which took several years. And now, as she looks back, she’s starting to connect the dots as to why she suffered as she did.

Let’s share this and talk about it more. We need to normalize the word “vaginismus”, so that next time a young woman experiences this, she won’t feel like a freak, like she’s the only one or that there’s no name for what she’s going through. We found an incidence rate of 22.6% in the evangelical population, which is HUGE for a condition no one knows about. It’s far more common than erectile dysfunction in couples under the age of 40. And in The Great Sex Rescue, we show you some of the reasons why it’s so much more common in Christian circles than in other ones (and it all stems to our toxic teaching on sex).

When Light and Truth Come, So Does Disruption

I then end the year looking back at some of the things we’ve experienced since The Great Sex Rescue released, and also inviting you to ponder the story of Mary and Joseph anew. Light and Grace and Truth was coming into the world, and yet it created great disruption in their lives. They had to leave their comfort zone. They left their families. They likely felt abandoned by those they knew best. They couldn’t stay in one place, and kept having to find a new home.

Isn’t that what it’s like with us? When God does big things and reveals good things, it often disrupts our relationships; our community; our comfort zone.

That’s what we’ve experienced this year, and I talk about those who have discouraged us and those who have encouraged us, and how we are forging new communities. But it’s been hard–and the encouragement that so many of you have given us has gotten us through it, so thank you.

And check out our amazing merch before it’s too late for Christmas!


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Things Mentioned in This Podcast:


Vaginismus Podcast

Have you ever experienced disruption when you leaned more towards light and truth? Have you had a homeless year? Or what’s your experience with vaginismus? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of 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

Related Posts

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

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

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  1. Jo R

    Not really surprising that the powers that be are ignoring you. They’re having their foundations shown for the sand that they are. They’ve spent decades and centuries as self-appointed arbiters of, well, everything, and they certainly can’t allow anyone to challenge them, let alone a bunch of uppity women.

    It occurred to me this morning that women in the church are being treated and “raised” the way children were a hundred years ago: they ought to be seen and not heard.

    All that keeping women in silence has led to a whole bunch of misery, and not just for women. And not just for that huge percentage affected by a condition that gets dismissed out of hand as “It’s all in your head, dearie.” (Well, yeah, and who put the ideas driving it into women’s heads in the first place, church?) But what men “in charge” have done to women and those men not in charge is, well, beyond the pale. In ten years, or even five, I hope those men will be marginalized to such a degree that no one ever hears another word they say. No more book deals, no more pulpits, no more followers. But that’s probably a forlorn hope, as there will always be ears waiting to be tickled with wrong teaching.

    Well, they can just…buzz off. Christ came to bring freedom for the captives, so the would-be “jailers” can go pound sand.

    • Andrea

      I don’t think it’s a forlorn hope, Jo R, just look at Gary’s newest book sales and Amazon reviews. I don’t think Zondervan (or anyone else) will be giving him another contract any time soon; even with the Christian publishers the money is the bottom line and Gary is no longer raking it in. Especially when you consider that it is mostly women who buy marriage books, we really can divest those men of their platforms (and income! let’s hope they invested wisely) in the next few years.

      I know Sheila doesn’t want to get personal and she is a professional, but I want to join the chorus of people (including some counselors who have publicly written about this) saying that it’s all too obvious that Gary has a “pornographic style of relating.” Porn has been online for about 15 years now, some of us have actually bothered to educate ourselves about it, and we can recognize porn tropes in everyday life. Someone on Facebook mentioned that Gary’s wife Lisa has weighed in to say that he has been through a lot in his life. This to me is another hint, the vague “a lot” instead of a specific struggle. If the “a lot” involved anything not sexual, she would have given the details because her motivation is to garner sympathy in defense of her husband. And I just can’t stop thinking about her, a woman whose bestselling author husband writes about her nipples, chubby short legs, etc. and now she is compelled to defend him from the attacks. Plenty of women suffer from their husbands’ PSR, but Lisa Thomas is forced to live that out in public and I can’t wrap my mind around it.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I hope that’s what will happen too–that those who are trying to silence women will be marginalized.

      Of course, the only way that will happen is if we don’t give these people a platform or power anymore, which may mean leaving toxic churches, and certainly not buying toxic books or speaking up when your church invites a toxic person to speak. It will take time, but the more people’s eyes are opened, the better it will be.

  2. Jo

    “I wish the church would recognize it but ..the powers that be isn’t going to”

    I know you mean church leaderships, certain major church organizations but I smiled when you said this as my spirit quickened within me.

    The church is recognizing it, hearing it.
    We are the church.
    The woman in the kitchen getting tea ready,
    Or the one driving to work listening to your podcast.
    The man trying to learn how to please God and love his wife better.
    The teen looking for answers.
    We are the church.
    And God is working in each of us,
    He is using your work,
    your words,
    your tears,
    your aches,
    your burdens,
    to touch us at our very core
    and call us back to Him.
    He is tearing down the walls of stone
    and allowing us to reach our hands
    out to His heart of flesh,
    so that we can press our hands on it
    and feel the heart beat that he has for us.

    The word has become flesh.
    And you, and others
    who go unrecognized by the worldly powers that be,
    are helping us to come back to that truth,
    that faith
    in His love, grace, and mercy.
    You are lifting burdens,
    even as yours get heavier.
    So I pray for strength, rest and blessings on you, your family, your team.
    And know that
    The Powers that Be recognize your work.
    And are rewarding you a thousand times over
    by unleashing truth and freeing the captives.
    For some,
    It is painful
    And they will lash out,
    But God’s will be done in them,
    They are His to work within.
    Release them to Him
    Dear Ones,
    And snuggle into Him,
    Letting him guard your hearts and your mind
    In Christ Jesus.

    God bless you in your work,
    In your rest.
    And may He bless us,
    The Church
    With a rest and joy that comes from knowing
    “How wide and long
    And high and deep
    Is the love of Christ.”
    Amen & Merry Christmas

  3. Cynthia

    I’m not Christian, and I work as a family and child protection lawyer in a very multicultural area with people of all religions.

    I’ve started to realize that one of the biggest religious differences isn’t about dogma. It is about whether someone uses religion to make them care about people who are suffering and don’t have power, or whether they use it to prop up the existing people with power and condemn anyone who may pose a challenge.

    • Estelle

      So true, Cynthia.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      This is exactly what Rebecca and I were talking about on a walk yesterday! What does it mean to bring the kingdom of God to earth? Exactly.

  4. Estelle

    A thought that came to me while reading Rachel’s story: vaginismus isn’t a sign that the body is broken or defective. It is a sign that the body is working to protect her from an act that is perceived as threatening.

  5. Anon

    I will forever be grateful for you and your blog talking about vaginismus. Your blog was literally the ONLY thing online talking about it! I had thought everything was online but it took weeks (months maybe, I don’t remember) to even come across the word “vaginismus” online. Once I had the word and something to Google I came across your blog and what do you know it is even Christian!

  6. Anonymous305

    I was so impressed with how patient her husband was, and how he was more concerned about her health than his sex drive. I wish that were too normal to be special, but I don’t think it is the norm. While I don’t think abuse is normal, either, I imagine a lot of guys would be in the middle where they aren’t forceful or abusive, but aren’t as patient and loving. Maybe they don’t rape, but they demand to know if she’s trying everything medically possible because they consider it normal to expect sex from of marriage. Maybe they don’t see sex as just physical, but find it hard to have emotional connection without sex, and get stressed and frustrated. I’m happy for her, but skeptical of the norm.

    The part about those in power ignoring you reminds me of a podcast where someone else was talking about you, which was sad and funny at the same time. “Sheila says, ‘they could ignore a few hundred, but they can’t ignore 20,000,’ and the evangelical church says, ‘hold my beer…err, umm…grape juice.’”


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