On Bloopers, New Books, and Standing up to Creepy Guys at Church

by | Dec 17, 2021 | Pornography, Uncategorized | 30 comments

Merchandise is Here!

I’ve had a very strange week of defending myself from attacks I didn’t know were coming. 

I shared a little bit about this in yesterday’s podcast at the end (my little devotional, or whatever you want to call it), but this was a very emotionally draining week.

To explain, let me share this reel from Instagram, where Keith opened the advance reader copies of our new book The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex

(On Fridays, I like to share round-ups from social media, so here goes with the story!)

It will be here on March 15, along with the new and completely revised Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex!

By the way, when you preorder…

You help us tremendously! Amazon places its orders based on preorder numbers. It helps us move up the rankings, which means other people see the book. Amazon puts it on sale the more people pre-order, anywhere from 10-40% off (the more the better). And bookstores often buy books based on Amazon rankings, and magazines decide which books to review based on rankings. So pre-ordering helps!

Plus when you pre-order, you’re guaranteed the lowest price. And you get the chance to join our launch team (more on that in late January!)

So here’s the Guy’s Guide and here’s the Girl’s Guide!

Anyway, about that controversy…

I’ve been talking on podcasts about how our survey found that not every man lusts. In fact, only about half really struggle with porn and lust. We found that 49% of married men use porn right now, with most of them using it in intermittent binges or rarely.

I had thought that was good news and bad news. Bad news that it was that high (half is still really high!), but good news in that it’s not 70-80% like we often hear.

But some members of the abuse community are very upset at us, telling us we’re going to hurt that community if we advertise numbers that low. (Many in the abuse community have also been rallying to our side and have been very encouraging). We believe that our study aligns with peer reviewed research like Samuel Perry’s, and we’re fairly confident in the numbers. Most studies that say 70-80% are not peer reviewed, or they’re not of married Christian men, or they look at lifetime porn use, or they look at exposure to porn versus seeking out porn. Those will all yield different results.

Nevertheless, we spent much of the week trying to deal with a lot of anger from some people, and I’ve been sent some DMs and emails that are quite harsh (and some that are just warning us not to publish), and it’s been demoralizing.

it feels like people will latch on to our research when it supports what they believe, but then they start saying on social media that we don’t know what we’re doing and we don’t know how to do research when it doesn’t support what they say. That’s been hard for Joanna and Rebecca especially. We’re really trying to do this well.

So that’s what’s been happening. I do believe that in The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex we give an accurate, nuanced view of porn use. it’s always wrong. It has disastrous consequences (we proved this definitively). It makes you a selfish lover. It means you’re more likely to feel sexually entitled. It puts marital satisfaction in the drain. But at the same time, it has a dose response effect. The more you use it, the younger you were when you started, and the longer you use it for, the worse the effects are. We did find many men used it for a time and quit, and were able to move on with their lives. That is good news.

I know our numbers won’t make everyone happy, and we’re always happy to answer questions about them. But that was what we found. I hope we can continue to talk about this in a healthy way. It’s a vital conversation because porn is so destructive. But we can’t go against what our survey found.

And now for something funny…the bloopers.

I don’t know why, but I just think this is so funny.

Here’s a blooper reel that Katie made from last week’s podcast.  (Again, we filmed this on Rebecca’s due date last month).

(If anyone’s wondering, the reason my tab said “oral sex” was because I was listening to Gary Thomas and Deb Fileta’s podcast on oral sex. After listening, I wrote this post on why we actually need a lopsided discussion on oral sex).

Are pastors telling on themselves?

Here’s my latest graphic that went huge!

Pastors Telling on Themselves with Lust

As I said on Instagram:

Yes, many people struggle with lust. But not ALL.
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And saying “all” normalizes it. Excuses it. Makes it sound like it’s really not that big a deal.
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God made men this way. So the objectification of women and masculinity become one and the same.
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But they’re not. The Bible says that we can expect those who have the Holy Spirit to put lust to death.
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This should be the expectation.
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And we women are seriously sick of not feeling safe in church.
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Pastors and authors, when you tell us that “all men lust”, you’re saying YOU DO. That makes us feel very uncomfortable around you.
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Women would just simply like to feel safe in church–instead of feeling that everyone, INCLUDING THE PASTOR, is undressing us in his mind.
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We have the right to feel safe. And if male pastors and authors keep putting the burden for men defeating lust on women changing, I think you’ll find women fleeing church even faster than we already are.
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Because even if we didn’t fight for better for ourselves…we will fight for it for our daughters.

(For more on how the “all men struggle with lust” message affects women and couples, please see The Great Sex Rescue, with the results of our survey of 20,000 women! HINT: It’s not pretty.)

Sheila Gregoire

Instagram

That opened up a bunch more conversations on Facebook, including one about men saying you were being a stumbling block if you breastfed in public. And it led to the last thing I want to share!

I shared all over social media that results of my quick poll that more women have felt sexually harassed at church than at work.

I talked about this in Tuesday’s post, and there was much discussion everywhere.

But someone shared this one anecdote that I just have to leave here, because it’s so great.

My sister old me about a creepy guy at her church and to not let him hug you because he would squeeze your boob. Mind you hed been doing this for weeks. Months. Who knows. So instead of the church saying to him KNOCK IT OFF YOU CREEPY PERV, all the women were warning each other and trying to stay “meek and quiet”. So I took one for the team when I was visiting – when he tried to half hug me I stopped and loudly but not yelling held my hand into his chest and said, “Usually I love hugs but you are known to grab all the women’s breasts when you give hugs so I need you to keep your pervie hands to yourself.” Literally everyone within ten pews in a circle around us could hear us – I used my theatre projection voice. He flopped his mouth around like a fish a little bit, stammered a “nice to meet you” His wife said “um is there a problem here?” And I said “No because I stopped him before he squeezed my breast otherwise I would have called the police to report his sexual assault. “ Thej I turned to him to make direct eye contact with him “You do realize that when you do that to women it IS sexual assault right? Maybe you didn’t know. Or did you just not CARE that you were sexually assaulting women at church every week? I suggest you find new hunting grounds before you die and answer to God for hunting his sheep.” Then I turned to my sister and in a super sweet voice was like “when does music service start?” Completely ignoring every one else. No one else introduced themselves. The pastor didn’t. My sister said the man never hugged another woman at church again. We need to start standing up to these predators and calling it what it is.
Angela E.

Facebook

Can you imagine a world where we all just said, “no more”? Wow!

I’m having my family Christmas this Sunday, and then on Tuesday is my 30th anniversary.

I’ve got my posts planned for next week, but it’s hopefully going to be a lovely family week, when I can rest from some of the controversy online.

Just wanted to say that I appreciate all of you so much! And may you all find rest and relaxation this Christmas season too.

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

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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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30 Comments

  1. Kat

    I pre-ordered both new books (Good Girl’s Guide and Good Guy’s Guide) in November at the price of $12.49 each from christian book.com! I bought the original Good Girl’s Guide a few years ago prior to getting married and bought the Great Sex Rescue last year. Really looking forward to the new books! Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary from someone who has only ever commented about 3-4 times but has read your blog almost daily for the last 4-5 years!!!!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you so much! And that’s so cool! I love hearing from people who read everyday but may not comment that much. It’s good to know there are people like you out there!

      Reply
  2. Kristine C

    Thanks for all your hard work! You guys are awesome! Saw your FB live yesterday with Sarah. I can help administratively if you need it?

    Reply
  3. Boone

    One thing folks need to understand is that the church survives on crisis. Without barbarians at the gates the followers lose their zeal and go on with their lives. The worse the impending disaster the easier it is to whip the flock into a defensive frenzy. Your porn research has shown that the bear isn’t nearly as big or as mean as we’ve been led to believe. It’s also called into question the credibility and wisdom of those who have promoted this view.What’s worse is you’ve started people asking questions. What about all of the rest of the pending disasters that we’re facing?How many of them are really minor in scope? This erodes the power base of the big dogs and they just can’t have that. After all the fate of civilization depends on them and them alone.

    Reply
    • Kay

      I’m feeling this lately. Wondering how many problems the church pretends to offer the sole cure… when they were the ones who poisoned the water to begin with. And then they blame shift while continuing to poison the water even after people warn them it’s poisoned, with a particular fondness for accusing the whistle-blowers of being poisonous instead.

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      This is really interesting, Boone. I’m thinking of some of the huge organizations and names that have perpetuated the 70% and 80% numbers without any real peer-reviewed backing. Yes.

      Reply
    • Ruru

      The fact that its nearly half is disturbing. Going the other way and saying “the bear isn’t that big” diminishes the seriousness. What if we were talking about abuse within the church? If I said “oh only 5% of people are affected by abuse within the church so its not that big of a problem and we need to focus on other issues” you’d think I was crazy or sick. Its not the percent that should cause alarm, its that it happens at all. Porn/Sexual immorality
      destroys families, can lead to abuse and affects the witness of the church. Even if the numbers showed just 1% of Christians used porn, it would be worthy of great concern. It IS a big deal.

      Reply
  4. Nathan

    > > it feels like people will latch on to our research when it
    > > supports what they believe, but then they start saying
    > > on social media that we don’t know what we’re doing
    > > and we don’t know how to do research when it
    > > doesn’t support what they say.

    This happens in politics and science, too, on all sides of the aisle. Don’t let it get you down, just keep voicing it!

    Reply
  5. Anon

    Angela E, can I please send you an enormous THANK YOU and also a huge cyber-hug for doing what so many of us have not had the nerve to do. Your bravery has made that church a safer place for dozens, maybe hundreds of women, and I salute you. I only wish I had had the courage to follow your example on many occasions in the past, instead of just taking evasive action. You should get some kind of public service award (-:

    Reply
    • Angela England

      Thank you I’m glad it spoke to you. Don’t let past moments of silence get you down – choose to think in your mind about how you could potentially handle situations in the future. If it helps pretend you are a friend you know who is more bold and direct in their approach. I have a couple friends who “channel their inner Angela” when needed. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Shanda

    Just read the anecdote in here to my sister and she’s like, “Yeah! Exactly!!!”
    I’m praying for you, Rebecca and Joanna and your families!! I hope you have a really good Christmas holiday!!! ❤️

    Thank you all for all that you do.

    Reply
  7. A2bbethany

    Honestly sometimes women feel like, because they’ve gone through certain traumatizing situations, their opinion is always valuable. And that can be complicated to deal with, because you don’t want to be mean. Their experience was sad and hurtful and they are right to seek health and healing, but they also need to sometimes not follow the conversation.
    Example: since I’ve lived childhood abuse, I’ve learned to completely avoid the topic. I’m so glad there’s charities and ministries pointed at helping with the problem, but I can’t be a part. Because it re traumatizes me and I need to let others deal with that monster. I’ve just added it my list of topics that, whether or not I enjoyed them, they take me back to my dark place.

    And I feel like some of the women I’ve seen posting here, on your list/porn articles are experiencing that. Ultimately for their own good, they have to decide not read that post. It’s not really something you can do much for, except for those trigger warnings.

    Reply
    • Shannon

      Yes! I think we all need to recognize that we see the world through a lense of our own experiences, and while our experiences are real and our feelings valid, we can’t project that on to everybody else.

      And sometimes we need to heal before we become a voice of advocacy. And there isn’t anything wrong with stepping out of a conversation (and it doesn’t invalidate your experiences).

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Some women have certainly just gone through such awful things, and it does mean that their experience hearing some things will be very different from other people’s. And sometimes it is best to avoid it. I’m so sorry about your past abuse, but I’m glad you’re in another place now!

      Reply
  8. Eliza

    I have to say that as a mom of teenagers who has been hearing these evangelical porn scare tactics since I was a teen myself, even a 50% rate (with much of that intermittent or rare) is pretty reassuring. Because there was always the impression that if your son ever saw porn, even once, he was scarred for life and would turn into a horrible person. (I remember vividly a Focus on the Family thing that blamed Ted Bundy on porn exposure.)

    As kids get older, it quickly becomes evident that there is no way to prevent tech-savvy teens from looking at something if they really want to, without turning into a helicopter parent (which I don’t have time or energy for even if I wanted to). But I reflect that in almost every case I know of where porn was actually a permanent, serious problem, it was rooted in being an unhealthy coping pattern for abuse, emotional neglect, untreated mental illness, or something of that nature. And I *can* work on building emotionally healthy relationships, healthy coping mechanisms, respect and ease interacting with the opposite sex, and a respectful but not uptight attitude around sex without standing over their shoulders 24/7.

    Reply
    • Chris

      Eliza, it was actually Ted Bundy himself who blamed his use of porn for him becoming a serial killer. Now, he made that admission in an interview he granted with Dr. Dobson shortly before he was executed which may be why you associate it with Focus on the Family. But I really don’t think if you see porn once you are destined to become a serial killer.

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      This is really the message we want to get out, Eliza! Keep healthy relationships with your teens. Teach them healthy emotional coping patterns. So often porn becomes cemented because it becomes the way to deal with unpleasant emotions. Most people see porn, yes, but it does not become a horrible addiction for at least a large minority, if not a very slight majority.

      Reply
  9. Christine

    I said this earlier today on a comment on the original live that you did with Sarah, but if people are looking at the numbers to diminish someone’s experience with spousal betrayal to porn then they are looking at the wrong thing. Lower numbers do not mean lesser effects for those who experience it. And even if the percentage of Christian men using porn was 2%, someone still has to be in that 2% category and the results from that porn use for them and their spouses are very harsh and very real. If someone tries to use the numbers then we should be addressing those people who are using incorrect information (as in not looking at the true effect) to back up what they want to believe.

    Reply
  10. Lyndall Cave

    In scientific circles I often hear “correlation does not equal causation”. Does the new research you’ve done definitively prove that porn use causes “disastrous consequences. . . It makes you a selfish lover. It means you’re more likely to feel sexually entitled. It puts marital satisfaction in the drain”, or does the research establish an undeniable strong correlation between porn use and detrimental effects?

    If it’s the former (proving that porn causes disastrous consequences), would you be able to explain the methodology you used to establish that?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’ll have to have Joanna on to talk about that! It’s very likely that the causation goes in one direction because for so many porn began so young. So it wasn’t that men who have wives who don’t orgasm turn to porn; it’s that men who have watched porn for years and then get married tend to have wives who don’t orgasm. I think it’s the timeline thing that we can see–one definitely comes first.

      Reply
  11. Anna

    I hardly know what to say, but I know that my experience being married to a porn user has made me cynical. I know that about myself. I think maybe one of the strengths of the Perry research is that, from what I understand, he himself is not an evangelical, or conservative Protestant, as he calls them. Much better if you can separate your emotions from what you’re researching.

    Reply
  12. Lynne'

    I LOVE the creepy guy story! We need to call this out!!!! Why should we always be the ones to cover up someone elses sin? No no more! Gandalf “You. Shall not. Pass!” Staff *boom*

    I am sorry people are being critical! I already preordered the new book partly because I think it will be healing for my husband who actually has never been tempted with porn. But he said the way youth groups and men’s groups talked about lust and porn was so bad that it made him feel bothered that he was born male. He has depression and has since he was a kid, he deals with it well, but there is an issue for people who already struggle to think well of themselves (as in, a healthy view of themselves as loved and made in God’s image and worthy of dignity and care) — all the descriptions of “Biblical Masculinity” stuff were what he never wanted to become. He is very kind and patient and the best father for daughters (we have 3 girls❤) — When I read the fruits of the Spirit or what love is (Patient, kind, does not envy, etc..) and the example that Jesus gave my husband fits those qualities! But for years he heard the message that being a man was this awful thing he didn’t want to be. I am looking forward to reading your new book for guys with him!

    Just a thought, I wonder how the “Biblical gender” teachings are noe backfiring as boys and girls have more often these days said they want to change genders or identify as the other gender. It makes a lot of sense to me why a girl for instance wouldn’t want to be a girl anymore if she is told that her body is making guys sin and it is her responsibility. Or guys who are naturally more kind or interested in art or something being told they aren’t masculine enough. Genders are different of course, but the complete oposite type teaching, I don’t believe is Biblical (though it is taught that way)… we really don’t need cultural pink/blue norms to define who we are as individuals. We are made in Gods image, male and female. There are more differences (wider range) in height of all women and more differences in the heights of all men (for instance) than the difference between the average height of men and the average height of women. Yet people have this thing about saying certain men are more manly or certain women are more womanly. We really need to not define that based on sins, but rather the way God actually created us to be. ❤

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Love these thoughts about real manhood and womanhood, Lynne! There’s so much variation, and we should just be focusing on acting like Christ.

      Reply
    • Anon

      I think you are spot on with the gender transition thing – I’m so glad it wasn’t so widely talked about/encouraged when I was a teen, because otherwise, I’m sure some well meaning person would have tried to ‘help me transition’. I regularly said I hated being a girl/wanted to be a boy etc. But if I look at the reasons behind it, what I hated was the sterotypes I was expected to conform to (younger girls love playing mummys and daddys or nursing dollies, older girls love makeup and pretty dresses and NO nice girl likes climbing trees, building forts or playing with railway sets/construction sets or being ‘loud’ and ‘unladylike’) and my discomfort over the way adults reacted to my changing body (commenting audibly on the breast size of young teen girls was common). I’m actually really happy in the body I have – I’m just not happy with other people’s expectations of it!

      Reply
  13. Bethany

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with peace and joy and time with your family!
    I watched the video you dud with Sarah and I just felt for you so much as you were patiently answering a lot of difficult questions from many people who sounded quite upset with thd study results you presented.
    I thought you and Rebecca handled it with such grace! I have great compassion for the women who have suffered such abuse – many times from men addicted to porn…I also think though that what your recent study found is such encouraging news!!
    It encourages my heart as I think about my own children’s futures and what they will face! I will not accept defeat for them and will do everything I can to equip them with the truth that can set them free, no matter what they may face!
    Unfortunately there are pockets in churches and communities where every man probably does use porn and objectify women…but it’s NOT like that everywhere!!
    We must not normalize this kind of behavior and have to call it what it is – sin! A sin that has the potential to destroy all in its path.
    We have to start seeing the pattern of teachings and beliefs that are causing such problems and call them out!
    I think about which groups of people appear to have the biggest problems in the areas of porn use, rape, objectification and more, and it’s always among those who do not respect women in their teachings, beliefs, and thinking, and who hold to certain doctrines that are actively harming both men and women in these areas.

    You are a bright light shining in the darkness and we need your voice!! Please, take the rest and breaks you need but don’t quit! You and Rebecca and Joanna are changing lives and shaking the foundations of these toxic, long-held religious beliefs that have destroyed so many lives and relationships!
    Don’t listen to those opposing you! You have SO many who stand with you and are eternally grateful for the truth you have and are bringing to light!
    When I listen to you share and answer questions people bring I keep thinking how you feel like a friend, even though we’ve never met!
    I love Rebecca’s spunk and how you both just tell it like it is! If I were close to you guys I would so love to meet you and share with you personally how you have affected my life in such a positive way!
    I pray for encouragement to wash over each of you like a flood – silencing the voices that would seek to tear down, and bringing strength to your hearts!
    My Mom shared this quote with me at a time when I wondering if my voice was even making a difference…and it so encouraged me:
    “Courage is contagious. When a brave man (or woman) takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.”

    Your courage is contagious!!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you so much, Bethany! I really appreciate that. We have such a busy new year ahead of us, and I do think it’s going to be emotionally draining, so I hope we’re able to get some rest this Christmas. I know our results are difficult for some to swallow, but I think they’re still very, very high.

      Reply
  14. Jess

    99% is obviously impossible, far higher then those with the ability to access it. Frankly it’s as sexist as claiming 99% of women are a stereotype. Nor do I understand those adamant against the idea that God could make a measurable difference in people lives.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I know, Jess. I know it comes from a place of deep pain, but it is sad.

      Reply

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