Theology in the Raw (Really Raw!) Plus More on Frequency

by | Jan 14, 2022 | Libido, Uncategorized | 15 comments

Friday Round Up Theology in the Raw

More podcasts dropped, a dust up on Facebook, and all about the birds and the bees!

It’s been a big week on social media and podcasts. Although, honestly, every Friday as I go to write these round-ups I realize it’s been a big week, and maybe I should just slow down a bit! I had a lovely chat with a mentor yesterday who was saying something similar and suggesting ways I can hand off some work, which I really appreciate.

But in the meantime…

The Frequency Debate moved on to Facebook

I wrote a post on Tuesday commenting on how once again Focus on the Family was insinuating that if you don’t have enough sex your husband may have an affair. But I also wanted to make a bigger point, which is that too often in Christian circles we use frequency as the measure of whether or not a sex life is good.

This spanned several posts and debates on Facebook (see here, here, and here), and culminated in this:

Frequency of Sex law

My issue is simply that. If we’re judging a sex life by how often they have sex (which is often the first question counselors ask), we’re prioritizing his experience and ignoring hers. After all, she could be feeling coerced; in emotional pain; or even just bored. She could have no pleasure at all. She could be in a “sexless marriage in disguise” as we talked about in chapter 10 of The Great Sex Rescue, where she gets nothing positive from sex, but she’s still technically having intercourse. 

We need to start judging the sex life by QUALITY and whether it is mutually satisfying. Because her needs have to matter too. 

The Theology in the Raw podcast dropped this week!

Rebecca and I joined Preston Sprinkle and the podcast just went live yesterday! We’re getting tons of positive feedback already. Sometimes it’s helpful to listen to OTHER PEOPLE’s podcasts with us, because we sum up the whole Great Sex Rescue, which we rarely do on our own podcasts. And you’ll hear more of our story!

Theology in the Raw

I love how Preston gave this podcast his “extra raw” rating! (I think I don’t realize how weird I really am). 

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.

I caused quite a hubbub with my review of Married Sex!

I published it on Wednesday, and followed up with this culmination of the review:

Too many Christian marriage books demand far more of women than they do of men–while framing women as the cause of most of the problems, especially with sex.

Today I wrote a review of Married Sex by Gary Thomas and Debra Fileta on my blog, and here’s the summary: At the end of the book, Gary tells us that sex should feel like a sacrifice at least some of the time.

What should this look like? We should approach sex the way we do feeding babies in the middle of the night.

He then explains that women sacrifice by having more sex that they don’t want; while men sacrifice by having as much sex as they do want, but making sure that she enjoys it too, and making sure that he also talks to her and makes some effort around the house.

Where, exactly, is his sacrifice?

Since when is doing the bare minimum of being a decent human being considered a sacrifice?

That’s the big problem with Married Sex and other books like it. If men do the bare minimum, they’re lauded. But women? In Married Sex, we’re encouraged to sleep naked; cook naked; get aroused giving handjobs postpartum; send naked pictures; adore sex even when burdened by mental load. Ideally we should be sexually available always; never say no (and treat “no” like foreplay); understand that sex is what bolsters his ego.

I hope and pray the next book that is published about sex in the Christian publishing world takes the messages of our study of 20,000 women in The Great Sex Rescue to heart, rather than merely using catchphrases to cover their bases, while continuing to double down on the same harmful tropes that evangelicalism has been teaching for far too long.

To Love, Honor and Vacuum Page


A funny thing happened in my Instagram stories…

Last week my husband Keith had 199 Instagram followers. The only thing he posts is his bird pictures. That’s it. Only birds. And they’re good pictures, too!

So I posted about it in my Instagram stories…and he got so many new followers! But the best was the replies that I got from the post:

Keith Birds Instagram

And a number of people commented that if I wrote about bees, we’d have everything covered. You can follow Keith (@drbirdnerd) on Instagram! But there is seriously only birds. That’s it.

So that was my week! Pray for me write now, because I am about to spend my day doing two things: Recording next week’s podcast where Connor critiqued a big thing Emerson Eggerichs said about having sex when you don’t want to (I haven’t read it, so my reactions will be live), and then I have to read Every Young Man’s Battle for our research for our mother-daughter book. 

Ugh. #ratherbeknitting

Anyone have any thoughts on Every Young Man’s Battle? Anything I should look out for? Let me know in the comments! (or comment on something else too!)

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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  1. Rachel

    I found EYMB on a high shelf in my library a couple months ago. If a young man was pure in thought before he picjed up the book, it would be filled with erotica when he was done. From the auther telling us his favorite spread in the monthly magazine ( p. 9 Girls Next Door, which may have been a form of human trafficking), the gendered-ness (p. 55 Male Tendency #1: We’re rebellious by Nature…yeah, sure, right – all girls are innocent yet easily decieved and need James Dean to teach us to be safe but kinky, which is insinuated on p 35 top paragraph and 4th paragraph), I didn’t get past page 60.
    Have fun & keep chamomile, tea and wine qround for the stress level 😉

    • Rachl

      So I am reconciling bank statements and in my boredom, I keep going back to EYMB. On page 71, he talks about lusting or looking longingly at a woman is stealing. Do you know from whom the guy is stealing? God, her husband or her future husband. Not her. Definitely not her. So every woman belongs to somebody but not herself. It is maddening that lack of autonomy he gives to women.
      And I apologize for the spelling errors above. I really really shouldn’t post from my phone.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, that’s just so gross. So awful. I’ve already made notes about that too. And the way he describes women! IT IS SO OBJECTIFYING!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yep. It was the Girls Next Door thing that got me, and all the different examples he gave of how to find nude photos if you don’t want to look at porn. OH MY GOODNESS. And he has NO idea of authenticity. Or what it means to live with the Holy Spirit. It’s all effort. Effort effort effort. I cried. I’ve never cried at one of these books before (not even Love & Respect), but I cried at this one.

      • Rachel

        The entire book is tragic. But it isn’t without humor. On page 65, right after he tells all men that they are destined to sexual sin by being male he says “We must choose to be more that male. We must choose manhood.” If you have chosen the right voice for the internal narrator, it is worth an LOL. And then later on on the same page, he says “Regarding sexual integrity, God wants you to rise up and get it done.” I am not for certain if he know what he just did there, but…eeks. That is definitely a mixed message.
        And as a Des Moines, Iowa native, it feels me with great sadness that Fred lives there. *sigh*

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I hear you! I’m about 2/3 done now and it’s just so WEIRD. And it still has ALL the horrible quotes we pulled out of Every Man’s Battle. Like the ones we identified as particularly awful? They repeat them here, almost verbatim (except now they’re talking about masturbating to CLASSMATES while sitting in a car in a parking lot).

  2. Jonathan King

    I don’t remember whether my dad and I read through Every Man’s Battle or Every Young Man’s Battle together when I was a teen, but I plan on reading them both to critique them soon (I just have to get some of your toxic teachings hazard stickers first!)

  3. Emily B

    I read EYMB as a teenager, but I don’t remember too many particulars. I do remember waking away feeling a bit disturbed and grossed out, thinking that EVERY boy I talk to at church must be watching a ton of porn and really aware of how I dress. 🥴 As I was a fairly sheltered homeschool kid, I do think I found the book to be rather explicit.

  4. Laura

    As a teenager of the 90’s when purity culture entered the scene (which I was not aware of because I was not a Christian at the time), I put up with the “boys will be boys” mentality as I faced sexual harassment from male classmates in 7th grade and most of the school officials I had to deal with were not much help, except for my male math teacher. In spite of his stern talking to the boys, they still didn’t listen. Thankfully, I moved out of state before 8th grade, but I still dealt with it from other male classmates and just did my best to ignore them. Sometimes a slap to the face was all it took for them to finally leave me alone. It isn’t just the church that still perpetuates the “boys will be boys” mentality. The secular world does it too. Through my teenage experiences, I came away thinking that most males were immature horn dogs who couldn’t control themselves. I never had to read those toxic “Christian” teachings to wonder if all males sexualized me even though I dressed modestly.

    • EOF

      That sounds like my 90s teen experience too. I remember in junior high, the boys would pick up girls from behind so they could cop a feel as they did it. Everyone knew, teachers included, but it was pretty much “boys will be boys.”

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Definitely in the culture too! And I’m so sorry you were subjected to that. We should be better than the culture.

  5. L McCabe

    Recently one of our sons, who is in his 30s now, told me that going through that book with his dad was the most emotionally traumatic event of his teens.

  6. Anonymous305

    On the raw podcast, I love that you explained the difference between cleaning just to get sex and cleaning to be a trustworthy, responsible person because cleaning just for sex feels like prostitution and isn’t exciting.

    Unfortunately, when you add the obligation message, refusing to be a prostitute is even harder than accepting it because if you refuse to be a prostitute, you have to wash the dishes and have to give sex, but if you accept it, you only have to have to give sex.

    Even if the author of Love Languages didn’t intend it, the concept is used to justify transactional sex. “I spoke your love language (cleaning), why didn’t you initiate my love language (sex)?” Like it’s not bad enough that she has to tolerate it, now she has to pretend to want it at the expected time.

    Jokes about unreliable men might be funny if they weren’t so close to the truth. One common example is “if you ask a man to do something, you don’t have to remind him every 6 months.” It makes me mad when it’s true.


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