PODCAST: The ABCs of Arousal and the Sexual Response Cycle

by | Feb 10, 2022 | Libido, Podcasts | 52 comments

Sexual Response Cycle Podcast
Merchandise is Here!

Too many people don’t understand the sexual response cycle–so let’s spell it out and figure out why this lack of info has become so prevalent in evangelicalism!

It’s time for a new podcast, and today’s podcast summarizes yesterday’s post on the sexual response cycle. 

What prompted this? Three weeks ago we analyzed one of Emerson Eggerichs’ podcasts, and I spit my tea when Connor told me that you can’t really tell if a woman is turned on. And then Eggerichs proceeded to teach that women get turned on when you vacuum, so if you want to turn her on, don’t try turning her on. 

He was equating “willingness to have sex” with arousal–and they are such totally different things. 

So let’s talk about how we got to this point, and then explain the sexual response cycle and see how it relates to two reader questions.

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:


Timeline of the Podcast

0:10 Announcements
3:15 Rebecca’s thoughts on sexy vacuuming
10:55 Dunning/Krueger Effect
23:00 Knowing you know nothing
31:00 What is really being misunderstood?
37:00 Consider looking at the money
42:00 The Sexual Response Cycle
46:45 RQ: My husband won’t initiate!
59:10 Encouragement

Thank you to our sponsor: The Intimately Us App

This is so much more than just a foreplay app–though it is that. It’s an app to help you learn about the entire sexual response cycle–how you grow desire (the wanting to have sex, not just the willingness to have sex); what gets you each excited; how to build arousal; and how to move towards orgasm!

Plus it’s super fun and helps get you out of that rut! And it’s not about making you do things you’re not comfortable with at all. Instead it’s about helping you each learn what you’re comfortable with, and what your spouse is comfortable with, and learn what makes each other tick.

It’s the app I would have made, if I had made an app!

Main Segment: The Dunning Krueger Effect and Knowledge of the Sexual Response Cycle

Rebecca gets her chance to respond to the podcast we analyzed (she wasn’t there when we initially talked about it), and we share Keith’s theory that this is evidence of the Dunning-Kruger effect:

Dunning Kruger Effect

Basically, when you start to learn a little bit about something, your confidence goes way up and you think you know everything. That’s the Peak of Mount Stupid. But as you learn a little more, you realize you actually know nothing (that’s the Valley of Despair). Then, as you gradually learn more, your confidence starts to grow again.

So our question is: when it comes to giving marriage and sex advice in the evangelical church, is there an incentive for teachers to remain on the Peak of Mount Stupid? Because we live in both a celebrity culture church and a hierarchical church where power is in the top (and that power is always in the hands of men) perhaps there isn’t any self-correction mechanism?

Reader Questions: My Husband Won’t Initiate

Keith and I then explained the sexual response cycle, and looked at two reader questions where it looks like lack of understanding of the cycle is playing a role.

I have never said no to my husband. I was told never to say no, and in over a decade of marriage I might have said the word once. For the last 3yrs(?), my husband has not been initiating. When we have sex it’s because I initiate. Talking to my husband, he says he doesn’t initiate because he feels like what’s the point of sex if it’s not good for me and he’s not into duty sex.

I have been the only one to initiate sex. Even if I do initiate it he barely touches me or now even kisses me . He seems to only be interested in how great I make his body feel. The thing is that even if I get him so excited he is going to burst he will NOT make a move. It has to be me if intercourse is going to happen.. It’s like he is paralyzed to do anything. On the few occasions he ever tried to touch me during sex then he dives right in for the clitoris. No foreplay, no kissing. I have tried to express that I need him to touch me and turn me on but he says if I have to tell him what to do its as if he is being ordered around and that makes him a failure. He was exposed to pornography (playboy) when he was around 6 or 7 by an older brother. I have done all the paying attention to his body, wants and needs during sex and am hurting so much inside.

When we don’t understand the sexual response cycle, we can think that the wife isn’t sexual or is rejecting him because she’s not straight at arousal the way he often is. That’s why we need to understand that we all work differently, and work WITH our bodies!

Keith and I go into this in great detail in both The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex and The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex! They’re both out March 15, and if you pre-order them now, you can get access to them right away, plus join our launch team and have an exclusive Facebook group!

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Launch March 15!

Imagine building a great sex life–from the ground up!

What would it look like to build a picture of sex that was MUTUAL, INTIMATE, and PLEASURABLE FOR BOTH–with no harmful messages?

Welcome to the The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex and the ALL NEW Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.

Pre-Order Now! (Helps us out a ton)

And if you email your receipt, we’ll send you a special pre-order BONUS

Things Mentioned in This Podcast:

Sexual Response Cycle Bare Marriage Podcast
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

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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. Phil

    I thought it was Ken and Shelly LOL

  2. MC

    As a man, and a husband, I find it so sad that so many women have such a hard time telling their husbands what they need and want in their sexual relationships. I don’t know if most men are like I am, but if my wife were to tell me that she got turned on by seeing me stand on my head wearing a clown suit, I’d own at least 3 or 4 clown suits, and a special pillow to use for standing on my head. I have certainly had no problem expressing my sexual desires…well, I may have a few kinks that I keep to myself, but nothing gross, I don’t believe, just possibly embarrassing. I appreciate the differences between men and women generally, and this has served me well. My wife frequently orgasms twice or more when we make love. I don’t think I’m God’s gift to women, I just know for sure that I’m God’s gift to my wife. We have a traditional marriage, where I earned the income, and she takes care of our home – and ME. My word in our household and relationship is LAW. But I’m not a dictator, and she knows that every decision I make is for her safety and long term happiness, and that I defer to her preferences a LOT. Having said all that, I’m not sure you really understand the scope of the sexual problems in the world, and I’m not sure you’re doing any favors for the women I read about here who end up divorced because they asserted their rights. Sometimes, this blog seems like the biggest man-bashing “Christian marriage” drivel I’ve ever read. God luck trying to convince men that their sexual desires are easily controlled, though. I have proof they aren’t. [Editor’s note: Link removed. Not helpful.]

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Why do I teach what I do? Because we’ve surveyed over 32,000 people now, and our research lines up with peer reviewed research about what is emotionally healthy and successful.

      Not getting divorced is a very poor metric for marital success. Marital happiness and emotional health is far better. Lots of abusive marriages never divorce. Are they successful?

      And I’m very glad that your marriage works for both of you. I am. However, research clearly finds that when husbands make the final decision (when their word is LAW, as you said), even if they consult with their wives first, the chance of divorce increases 7.4 times. What you are experiencing is an aberration, not the norm, and I would rather teach people the path that is the most likely to get them to a successful marriage–and the path that Jesus calls us to, of mutual servanthood and love as we both seek after Him first and foremost. A Jesus-centered marriage, in other words.

      • CMT

        This type of calm, focused response is why it’s good you have this platform and not, well, somebody like me.

        Because I’m just over here wondering why someone would pat themselves on the back for how well they listen to another grown adult’s preferences when they make laws (!) for said adult to follow for her own safety and happiness. Or why one party in a relationship wanting their rights respected would necessarily lead to the end of said relationship.

        Also, glad y’all decided not to post the link. Don’t think I want to know what would constitute “proof” in this instance 😧😣

    • Phil

      Your comment is just a drive by. In addition it is apparent who lacks self control by your words of LAW and admission to lack of self control over your sex drive. Thanks for stopping by and enforcing our message. I for one love this place – here is where I find Trust, community, words of wisdom about all kinds of subjects from marriage to sex and even board games. Most of all I get JESUS from this blog. No convincing needed.

    • Keith Gregoire

      Let me start by acknowledging that you are not alone in feeling the way you do about controlling one’s sexual desires. In my interactions with many evangelical I have heard the same things said. I have also heard them agree with your other points. Let me list them all:
      1. The husband’s word should be LAW
      2. The wife exists to care for HIM
      3. Men cannot control their sexual urges.
      Let me humbly suggest that perhaps these three thoughts are linked. I suspect it is true because I do not hear about how uncontrollable sexual urges are when I am speaking with Christians from other traditions, nor with my friends who come other religions or are atheists. I only hear it from (some) evangelical Christians. But whenever I bring this up and say, “maybe that’s your problem; maybe the husband’s word shouldn’t be law”, they just say I am in flagrant violation of the Scripture.

      I find this strange considering that in Colossians 3:5 Paul said, “put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, lust, evil desires…” Consider that when people make the assertion that men cannot control their sexual desires they are in effect saying Paul doesn’t know what he is talking about! To me that is a clear violation of Scripture.

      It is clear to me that these struggles with sexual desire flow directly from this “husband-centred marriage” mentality in the evangelical church. Otherwise how would non-believers or non-evangelical Christians have an easier time with sexual desires than evangelicals?

      If anyone out there has a more traditionalist view and disagrees with me that is fine, but let me humbly suggest you stop spending time debating with me about how the husband’s word SHOULD be law and that sexual urges ARE uncontrollable and instead spend more time figuring out why it seems to be such a problem for people who believe like you do. And maybe fix your own backyard before you start coming over here to help me with mine.

      • Melissa W

        That was so awesome Keith! I so wish I could high five you right now.

  3. Cynthia

    You guys gave me a good giggle today! I knew about the Dunning Kruger effect, but loved the explanation of “Peak of Mount Stupid”. It seems to explain SO much. [Not just in marriage advice either – my husband had to take a break from Facebook after too many friends who knew nothing about science told him, a physician, that he needed to “educate” himself about masks, vaccines, etc. by watching whatever Bitchute video they sent him.]

    • CMT

      Ah, yes. Mountain climbing has become a really popular pastime during the pandemic! If only it were the sort that involved physical exercise, then it might actually improve people’s health.

  4. Mark Hansen

    Thank you for your work. Regarding power structures and pastors. I am one by the way.

    But, the hierarchical model of church comes into question here.

    Ephesians 4 shows us the 5 fold ministry of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. Though I don’t assume to say how exactly churches should function, it seems to me that it is clear they should be led by a teamwork model.

    I refer you to Alan Hirsch’s work

    Granted this may be a bit far afield of the scope of this podcast, but what you are seeing and saying is touching on this bigger issue in the church.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think this is a huge issue, Mark. It was never meant to be one person at the top. The whole point was different gifts, all ministering together. We don’t have one person with all of the gifts!

      • Mark


  5. Blue

    I’m getting the feeling that teaching young people about the sexual response cycle and possible differences between men and women might be important. By the time they need this information they’ll probably be at the point where they don’t want to hear it from mom. Perhaps I should just do the “unschooling” thing where you leave the relevant books around the house, haha. I’d probably want them to know this before they leave the house….

  6. Jo R

    Keith’s point that men don’t want to get worked up sexually and then maybe get shut down in the middle… Well, holy crap, Ketih, thank you for SO succinctly describing the sex lives of millions of Christian “I came so that they may have life and have it abundantly” wives.

    Husbands want enthusiasm from their wives. Well, guess what, fellas? If you’re giving us NOTHING to be enthusiastic about, because all you care about is YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE, how long do you think it takes your wife to catch on that you’re only doing it for yourself? If you think your wife is too slow or otherwise sexually defective, because what turns her on is different from what turns you on and because her timing doesn’t exactly match yours, do you honestly think she won’t pick up on that subconscious attitude? Do you think that attitude HELPS her be enthusiastic?

    If men want sex partners who have the same reactions to the same stimulation in the same amount of time, then frankly, men should be marrying other men.

    If men want to continue marrying women, then men—grown-up, adult males—need to be willing to learn, period. Unless, of course, a man truly does desire a marriage characterized by his wife’s slow decline of interest in sex. If a man is too afraid to learn from his wife about what SHE finds pleasing and arousing, because it somehow diminishes him as a man, how in the world does any male human EVER learn ANY new skill? Or do they simply stop learning after, say, puberty, so that their man-ness never winds up being threatened by—horror!!!—a lack of perfect knowledge in a new skill they now need to learn? Men are willing to get better in their jobs, in their hobbies, in other things that interest them, but they balk at learning to please their clitoris-bearing wives sexually? How selfish are men, anyway? You’re willing to die for her (theoretically) the way Christ died for the church, but God forbid (!) you learn to arouse your wife and allow her to share the orgasm you find so easy to achieve yourself.

    Grow up! And while you’re busy being willing to die for her, why don’t you do something that appears to be much harder, by washing a dish or changing a diaper or running a kid through the bedtime routine? 🙄🙄🙄

    • Jim

      I hear the hurt and anger in your post and this is not the first time that I have seen this.

      I am wondering how belittling men for not understanding women’s responses and having different biology is helpful?

      Aren’t we supposed to work together to help both men and women to understand each other?

      This highlights an issue that I do not think is mentioned here. It is the assumption that women understand how men feel. I have seen multiple posts telling men how women feel, but rarely are women informed about how men feel, at least in a positive way.

      • Jo R

        The whole point of all this “teaching” is that women are exquisitely well-informed what men think and want. Every “marriage” book gives the wife nothing but advice about how to make marriage better for her husband, but even the parts supposedly to husbands are typically couched in a way that makes women responsible for those parts too. Like His Needs, Her Needs, in the section about her #1 need for connection and conversation, puts the advice—purportedly to the husbands—in terms of how the WIFE can make talking easier for the HUSBAND by mainly only talking about subjects that interest HIM. Uh, what????

        And yeah, I’m mad. I followed these books and these sermons for three and a half decades, and they essentially led me to waste three and a half decades of what could have been a totally awesome marriage. It’s so-so, which is obviously better than abusive, but my husband and I have missed out on a very great deal because I was trying so hard to be the “good Christian wife” that these books all describe in lockstep. And guess what? Since we were unable to conceive, I basically lost all purpose in my own home and in my church community. Well, only half, I guess, since I did manage to get married and at least become a wife.

        Yeah, I’m mad, and I’m hurt, and I really do wonder if I can ever be healed. At least in this life. I can’t fix by myself all the effects these false teachings have had on my marriage, and if my husband is too tired to put in an effort, then I’m really out of luck. Yes, I can get myself healthy but my marriage will still be in the same place. If he doesn’t want to talk about things, or try to improve things, then I’ll just be beating my head against the wall like I have for thirty-five years. Except that now it’s even worse, because we both know we’ve been doing things wrong, and yet I can’t be the only one to start doing things right. There’s only so much I can do by myself, and frankly, that mountain looks way too high from this deep valley I find myself in.

      • CMT

        I don’t think JoR is “ belittling men for not understanding women’s responses and having different biology.” I think she’s reacting to the reader questions in the podcast which described men REFUSING to learn about women’s responses and biology. That’s a very different matter.

        I’m curious what you mean about women not being told about how men feel.

        “Men need to feel respected.”

        “Ladies, why would you refuse your husband something that doesn’t take long and makes him so happy?”

        “Men get angry. That’s why they walk away, because that’s the honorable thing to do.”

        “Men can’t help but lust when they see women wearing _____.”

        And on and on. It’s not just L&R, either. It’s all over the evangelical subculture. Women are bombarded with messages about how men feel and what they (the women!) should do about those feelings.

        • Jane Eyre

          Yeah, at some point, lack of understanding is a choice. No one is saying that a new husband ought to whip off his wedding tux and turn his new bride into a puddle of ecstasy, but when your marriage is counted in years and your husband refuses to learn how your body works, resentment will be through the roof.

      • Jo R

        Women have been ignored, used, abused, treated like invisible but necessary breeding stock, denigrated, and even in some societies murdered by their husbands with zero repercussions to the men, but now that we have safe places to process how much the CHURCH has failed us for two thousand years, women are STILL supposed to consider men’s feelings above all else.

        Got it.

        • Jim

          I am not asking to that men’s feelings be considered above all. I am asking that we, men and women, have equal consideration.

          I understand the hurt and pain that you have expressed here and I can empathize. My wife and I have talked about how we have been affected by hurtful teachings of the Church and wider culture. I have felt terrible and guilty that my wife has made substantially more money than me for the entirety of our 20 year relationship. I felt that I was failing to be a provider for our family. It got worse whenever I become unemployed. I felt that I was being unfair to her, but I now see that it was an immense blessing since I was able to care of our kids while I was unemployed and she was able to support us while I looked for work.

          We have been affected by the obligation sex message and we still struggle with it. When I initiate, I am often afraid that she is saying yes to make me happy. That is not what I want, and any man that does is selfish and not a good husband. We still fight about it occasionally when I don’t feel that she is being authentic and I tell her that she can say no and that I will respect her boundaries.

          As a Christ follower, I am called to be willing to give up my life for my wife, that includes all of my desires. Jesus gave up his desire not to suffer and die for us. How can I then act as if my responsibility is any less for my wife.

          • Jo R

            But part of the entire %@#^$* problem is that women BY DEFINITION are not accorded equal consideration in these books and teachings.

            Women are to always defer to men, in the home, in our marriages, in our churches. We are not to speak up, because we might accidentally be disrespectful, or teach a man something, even something he desperately needs to know. We are to make our husbands feel competent even in areas where they’re not very competent, because, again, it would be wrong for us to offer a suggestion that might come across as “teaching a man.”

            And in the bedroom particularly, we are told that our husbands will have their feelings hurt if we dare to suggest that maybe their technique, timing, and other aspects could use some improvement. So instead WOMEN suffer hurt feelings (and way worse problems) because our husbands don’t have a clue and don’t even seem to want to get one. Men tend to only notice things that affect their comfort, convenience, and desires, so if he enjoys sex, then he assumes she does too. So women are supposed to make men feel like great lovers—that’s what at least one book says explicitly—but where are the instructions to MEN to actually BE good in bed? The people who could help them most—their own wives—are literally taught to stroke their husbands’, er, egos (and tangible body parts while SHE’S suffering during her period or postpartum), rather than help them learn to be objectively better and improve their skills.

            Heads husbands win, tails wives lose. Not much equal consideration there.

        • CMT

          Oof Jo I think that was more than ol’ Jim bargained for haha.

          The comment about men’s feelings reminds me of the “but not all men____” thing. And the thing is, okay, dude, we do know that you are not personally responsible for the misogyny experienced by women you don’t even know.

          Yes, we are aware that the horse puckey we were taught about men’s “feelings” isn’t any more representative or healthy than the stuff we were taught about ourselves. But we were taught it. It did mold our lives and it did hurt us to some degree or another. It sounds like you experienced a lot more pain from this for a lot more years than I have, Jo, and I’m really sorry for that. I have a dad and a husband who want nothing to do with this toxicity, and IMO that makes a huge difference.

          Jim-if you’re still following this conversation here’s my two cents. If you care about this issue, don’t bother arguing about men’s feelings with internet randos. Instead, make sure your daughters and your wife and your sisters know you see them as whole people, and be vulnerable with them so they can see you the same way. When you hear those toxic messages I mentioned, speak up and say, “That’s not me, and that’s not what I believe.”

          • CMT

            To be clear- I am NOT saying that Jim or other guys shouldn’t share their opinions and thoughts. I’m more saying, hey, if it bothers you that women feel this way, well, it should. If you want women to hear positive, healthy things about men’s feelings then get out there and start saying the things!

          • Jim

            Thank you CMT. I am doing the best that I can.

          • Keith Gregoire

            I, like you, am still learning and doing the best I can.
            some words of advice I would give you if I may:
            1. Don’t be offended on behalf of all men when women criticize the behaviour of some men. We agree the behaviour is bad. We should say so. Defending “men” comes across as defending the behaviour/teaching. Yes, past wounding may make people (both men and women) sometimes paint with a broader brush than we personally would like but that is a different issue. Let’s not make that issue the focus. Let’s keep the issue they actually brought up the focus.
            2. The simple fact is that men don’t listen to women. I wish I was wrong and if I am PLEASE show me. But studies have shown that both men and women see men as more authoritative and both men and women tend to discount women’s opinions. Women have been trying to tell men these things for years and we simply did not listen. That has built up a LOT of resentment. Now the floodgates have opened and we men need to expect a little blow back. Unless comments are uncivil or un-Christlike, I try to have grace for angry women as I think they are angry for a reason.
            3. If we men called out the bad apples among us more often I think women would feel safer that they could turn the volume down a couple of notches. Our silence speaks volumes. I think you are the kind of guy who wants to contribute positively to the conversation and I encourage you to keep doing so even if it is risky. Just remember that these women are not attacking you they are attacking ideas – ideas I suspect you don’t even believe in.

          • Jo R

            Points 2 and 3 dovetail very nicely, Keith, thank you for that clarity.

            Resentment, floodgates, check and check.

            Thank you for your understanding. 😢😢😢

          • CMT

            Well said. Thank you.

          • Jim

            I understand where you are coming from. I know that many of the ladies here are speaking from a place of deep pain.

            However, I honestly don’t think that most of the ladies here want to hear what I have to say. So I have a hard time believing that I, or any man, is welcome here.

          • Keith Gregoire

            You are welcome here

          • CMT

            Hmm. For the record my earlier comment was written before you responded about your own experiences, but it posted after. So it may look as though I was telling you to shut up but that wasn’t the intent.

            We can all agree it’s not right for a decent guy to have to worry whether his wife’s yes is authentic or not, or to feel guilty for being home with his kids while his wife is at work. If more men shared honestly what this is like then we might not be where we’re at. Or at least certain people would’ve had a harder time selling some awful books.

            This is a conversation worth having. The fact that someone was trying to have a different one doesn’t mean men aren’t welcome.

          • Phil

            Jim – I have been here a for somewhere close to 5 years – I have lost count. I have never felt not welcome. I have had a few exchanges with women here that were challenging but we actually worked it out and understand each other. Some of those women are still here today and I still engage with them from time to time. Men are welcome here. There is no question about that. Men who want to understand women and help them with the old age problem of mistreatment of women and Hierarchy, submission, unequal thinking are even more welcome here. I suggest you hang around and listen a bit and try to understand where these women are coming from. Look at yourself and learn. Hang around and have some conversations. To discouraged. You are welcome here.

          • Phil

            Supposed to read dont be discouraged.

          • Jim

            Thank you Phil,

            I am glad that you have felt welcomed here. I wish I had a similar experience.

            I want to learn and to understand where the ladies are coming from. I would hope that the ladies would also want to understand where we are coming from. That’s why I am here and I ask questions. I would hope we would all want a civil discussion and exchange of ideas.

            However, trying to engage and, *gasp*, ask questions seems to trigger people and I get my head bit off by multiple people and accused of things that I did not do nor endorse. Then, everyone defends them and I am told to continue to be involved in what feels like verbally abusive discussions and I need to defend myself against baseless attacks on my character.

            Does anyone see how I came to the conclusion that this is an unwelcoming and toxic environment?

          • Phil

            Jim – honestly I have not studied the exchanges you have had here – in particular though I did not see any personal attacks on you but rather some generalizations made towards men that in many cases of history are true. You seem to be taking the responses personally. Maybe re-read what Keith wrote? In addition to this specific thread there is even a woman here offering an olive branch informing you she did not mean to offend you. Seems fair to me. All that beings said Jim – truly look at yourself and the history of mankind. Why are you offended? Well maybe because there is truth in what is being shared? THE ONLY TOXICITY PRESENT IN THIS BLOG IS THE TOXICITY IN OURSELVES BOTH WOMEN AND MEN. I look at myself Jim – For me – my past is an example that I have participated in the behavior that has hurt so many women including my own wife. For me – I dont want to participate in that anymore. For me – I am not only here to gain help with marriage, sex, parenting and a whole entire list of other things but I am here to also support women to help them not only recover from damaging messages towards women but to learn with them healthy ways to live out our marriages and our lives through TRUTH and JESUS. AGAIN! NO TOXICITY HERE JIM – NOPE NOT HAVIN IT. People who are hurting? Yes, people who need to work on themselves? YES that includes ALL women and and men who come here and our example comes through the Authors of this blog who if you watch its not even that hard to see – admits their faults and goes backs and changes it for the better of ALL – both women and men. I REPEAT – NO TOXICITY HERE – JUST EXAMPLES OF HOW TO LOOK LIKE JESUS.

          • CMT

            Thanks for this. These issues are so personal and difficult to talk about, and it’s worse because everything in our culture, inside and outside the church, sets it up to be a knock down drag out conflict between the genders.

            I’m not sure it helps to say “No toxicity here! Not ever!” because maybe we don’t all mean the same thing when using that language?

          • CMT

            Attacks on your character? What??

            I refer you back to Keith’s reply, especially point 1 and 3.

            Disagreement, even heated disagreement, is not verbal abuse.

          • Phil

            CMT – I had given some thought to some different language since my post. The blog itself is not toxic and I will stand firm on that point. The teachings here by the authors are certainly not toxic. Here in the comments however, unhealthy views are sometimes expressed. I for one have shared unhealthy stuff and or demonstrated unhealthy boundaries for example – I do not justify myself here – it is just what it is and for me to learn from – for me maybe it was sharing too much personal info that has been unhealthy – but I could also say as an example that I have witnessed here could be woman who where this is one of the first places they have come and seen the truth and need validation for the way they feel due to mistreatment or damaging messages that have destroyed their marriage or their overall well being etc etc…and honestly they just need a safe place to vent – that venting may not exactly be healthy views or healthy interactions with others for that matter but at the same time I or we can look past that in hopes that we can all work together to come to a healthy result. I agree it is not black and white – but to suggest this is a toxic place even at times is just too much of a stretch for me. This is a safe place where we can express ourselves and learn from each other – sometimes there is fall out from our stuff that might be unhealthy. Most of the time (for me it is like 99%) this is safe and awesome place to learn and have community in effort to find truth and Jesus.

          • Jim

            I’m just going to reframe from commenting. It is easier and I don’t want to dominate the comments section.

          • Lisa

            Jim, here’s what I wonder if you understand:
            Most christian marriage advice platforms, books, sermons, conferences etc are very focused on men’s needs. Let’s say that 80% of Christian marriage advice focuses on men’s needs most of the time. When they focus on women’s needs, they have it mostly wrong. Now then, this blog is part of the 20% of Christian marriage advice that doesn’t cater heavily towards men’s needs. Let’s say that this blog focuses on women’s needs 70% of the time. Do the math, it’s still a drop in the ocean of marriage advice! And then a man comes into the comment field of this blog and says that “men’s needs should be given equal consideration to women’s needs.” Do you not see how people can take offense at this? In the large scope of things, men’s needs are still given much more consideration.

            I would like to see men flock to the male centered blogs, articles, sermons, books etc and say “women’s needs should be given equal consideration to men’s needs”. But no, all I see is men demanding absolute equality when women speak up about their needs, but forget about equality when the conversation is centered on men’s needs.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            This is the problem in a nutshell! “all I see is men demanding absolute equality when women speak up about their needs, but forget about equality when the conversation is centered on men’s needs.”. I just want to say that many of the male commenters on this blog are really good at recognizing when things are going lopsided towards men and calling it out! I really appreciate that.

          • Jim

            Lisa and Sheila,

            Thank you for confirming that the best that I should do is leave. I want to try and understand but I guess that is asking too much for some consideration that I haven’t lived as you have.

            God bless.

          • Jo R

            You are of course free to do as you choose, since we’re all strangers.

            But your disengagement is more or less illustrative of at least part of the problem. Men, and particularly a woman’s own husband, don’t understand or don’t like what what women generally, and his own wife in particular, are saying, so they, or he, just back away.

            Where is the engagement, the effort to put oneself in someone else’s shoes, to make an attempt to understand what someone else is going through, how the world is not the same to you and to someone else? Too many men make little or no attempt to try to see how the world, and especially the church, has been treating women for literally millennia, and without that understanding, how can men be part of changing the larger society and the church in particular? If a man doesn’t see or understand what women have been and still are going through, how can he speak up when he sees more of the same old same old? How can a man, frankly, call out other men on their unacceptable behavior and attitudes when he himself is unaware and doesn’t see it?

            As Keith pointed out above, men generally listen only to other men, so if a concerned man doesn’t educate himself and speak up, it will simply take that much longer for things to change.

          • Jim

            I have listened to what you and other people on this forum have to say. I see and hear the hurt and pain that is expressed and I grieve for all of you. I apologize if I did not make that clear before.

            I know that the past can hurt. But to quote Rafiki from the Lion King, ‘Yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it.’

            Each of us can only ultimately control ourselves. We can’t change the past. There are things that I wish that I could take back. Things I have said and did, but I can’t. The only thing that I can do is to try to make amends and learn from my mistakes.

            I have no problem making changes in my spheres and I have been. My wife and I have 3 sons (possibly 4, we are expecting again) that we are raising to respect all people because we are all image bearers of God. I make sure that they know that I will always take my wife’s side and that they will respect her, listen to her and obey her. I serve as a deacon at my church. I am friends with our pastor and I am encouraged by his teachings about marriage, that it is a partnership and that men and women are of equal worth. His wife is a licensed counselor and has talked about how important tending to one’s mental health is and I see that it is being encouraged which is fantastic.

            All I ask is that we attempt to focus on what we as individuals can do. Focusing on the past makes us live in the past and not in the present. I have struggled with clinical depression for over 25 years. I have good days and bad days. I know what it feels like to beat yourself up for mistakes that you have made or dwell on things that have been done to you. It does not make things better. In fact, it does the opposite.

            What has helped me is when I lay it at Jesus feet and say, ‘I can’t carry this load anymore, I surrender it to you.’ It isn’t easy, but it has helped.

            I don’t know if this helps clarify my position, but I again apologize for any offense that I have caused. I can only ask for forgiveness and hope that I can be welcome here. If not, please let me know and I will step aside.

          • Jo R

            Thank you, Jim. I’m sorry if I sounded like I was attacking you personally. I was not, and I apologize that it sounded like that.

            If it weren’t a breach of internet protocol, I’d ask where you go to church, as it sounds healthy! As I look back, I don’t think I’ve been in healthy churches for the entire thirty-five years I’ve been a believer, so I’m trying to undo all that (hopefully inadvertent) damage. Oh, they’ve meant well and done good things, but the emphasis on women being subordinate (not merely one-sidedly submissive) has been incredibly damaging not just to my daily life but to my image of who I am in Christ. Lots of unlearning to do.

            If I may, I’d like to at least partially challenge your statement that “Focusing on the past makes us live in the past and not in the present.” Part of the problem I’ve had in my marriage is that I could not accurately review what had happened in the past so that I could choose to do different. Instead, I just kept trying harder, but I was trying harder to do the wrong things. So looking to the past to find errors and mistakes has to be done so that you can diagnose properly before you can do better and take steps to achieve true healing.

            Over the weekend I figured out a good way to describe how I feel. Imagine you have a really bad sunburn on your back. It’s so bad that you absolutely cannot lie on your back to sleep, you cannot bear to sit against the back of a chair, you can hardly stand to wear clothes, and if you’re at home where to can choose to not wear a shirt, you can’t even stand to have a breeze blowing against your back. That’s where I find myself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I just feel rubbed absolutely raw and EVERYTHING hurts.

            So again, thank you for your patience under what I now see seemed to you like a personal attack, which of course was truly undeserved.

          • Jim

            I love your sunburn analogy. I does help to give an idea as to how difficult it has been for you. I have had a sunburn like that before, I had blisters on my face and back, so the description is excellent.

            To clarify, there is a difference between focusing on the past and learning from it. What would often cause a depression episode for me was when I would re-run scenarios in my mind on how I could have handled a situation better. It would literally drive me crazy.

            Some of the exchanges here actually triggered that and that is why I needed to back away for a bit to get myself re-centered. I need to do that to keep myself from spiraling.

            I am glad that we have come to an understanding.
            I hope and pray for healing for you and your husband and that you will find a church community were you will find the support that you need.

    • G.G.

      They can learn a new skill or how to be better at their job as long as it’s a man teaching them because a woman can’t teach a man. If she were telling him what to do to please her, she would be the authority and that would be unbiblical. (That is their belief, not mine.) This is where their wrong teachings can lead to.

      • Jo R

        This concept would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

        Fred needs to learn how to sexually please Wilma, and the most natural person to help Fred learn is Wilma. Except that Wilma is a woman, so she is by definition debarred from even making a suggestion to Fred, let alone giving explicit ideas and instructions.

        So how exactly is Fred supposed to learn? Only from another man? Will this man have PERSONAL knowledge of what Wilma likes (and acquired how exactly? Experimentation?)? Or will this second man, let’s call him Barney, just give general advice as to what most or even some women like? So general advice from Barney, or specific advice from Wilma, the person most directly affected, even though Wilma is a woman?

        I guess a female-authored sex book would also be unacceptable to a man in desperate need of knowledge, as it would again be a woman teaching a man? Even though a woman might well have a depth and breadth of knowledge on this particular topic? You know, speaking as a woman and all.

        Sorry for the snark, but I’m tired, I’m hurt, I’m just completely empty and have nothing left to give.

  7. Nathan

    > > Lots of abusive marriages never divorce. Are they successful?

    Sadly, there are some who would say yes. I’ve heard people say things like “Yes, I was abused for 30 years, but I STAYED IN THE MARRIAGE”. I hope that we can change that way of thinking.

  8. Codec

    Do I as a man feel welcome here? Honestly where else would I or should I be learning about women but here?

    Folks dont think its weird that I am genuinly curious about menstual cycles or sexual psychology or The Song of Songs or communication or negotiation or any of that here.

    I see all kinds of problems out there. Catfishing, ghosting, emotional abuse, gaslighting, addiction, all kinds of stuff. Here I see a married woman and her husband trying to show people that mutuality and an agape understanding of love are vital to get things working properly.

    I admit as a man it is hard constantly hearing about men doing bad things. I dont want to be a bad guy


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