Who I WON’T Be Calling Out for Bad Teachings–But I’m Grateful You Are!

by | Mar 4, 2022 | Uncategorized | 28 comments

Merchandise is Here!

This week, as we’ve celebrated one year of The Great Sex Rescue, I’ve received some amazing messages!

The first one in my inbox this morning was this one:

I shared your book with the marriage ministry leaders in our church. They read it, met with their volunteer team, and have decided to remove these dangerous books from their teachings and from the resources they sell. They have also removed them from our church library.

You need to know that you are making a difference! Thank you!

People are speaking up! And it is making a difference. I heard from another woman who had left Great Sex Rescue in view in the living room, and a group of singles on the mission field (she’s overseas) found it and said they had all heard of it and were interested. So they spent the evening thumbing through it and talking about it and loved it!

And I’ve heard so many more.

On Fridays I like to do a round-up of what’s happened this week, and today I want to focus on what OTHER people have been doing–and the influence it’s having. 

I’ve seen people quoting me all over social media, like this Instagram account:

And we’ve  had a bunch more podcasts drop this week, like:


Listen in to them and thank them for having me on!

So the word is spreading, one person at a time, one podcast at a time.

I’ve also been so encouraged to see people pushing back in comments on social media.

I’ve had a number of people send me videos by YouTube influencers, or reels by Instagram influencers, where they spread the obligation sex message or promote Love & Respect. And when I go and look, already multiple people in the comments have mentioned The Great Sex Rescue, or explained why the obligation sex message isn’t a good one.

People are speaking up! And they’re doing so politely and kindly, and that makes me so happy.

But…I’m not going to call those influencers out.

I also get asked by many people, though, to “do something” about these influencers who are spreading harmful messages. Could I call them out?

I don’t mind calling out the powerful at all–those who have written books and have platforms and are seen as experts. One of the biggest things I posted this week was this:

John Piper directions

But when a woman (and it’s usually a woman) is building an Instagram brand and/or a YouTube channel, I feel like it would be beating up on her for me to call her out.

Many of these women believe this stuff because they grew up in toxic cultures too.

They don’t know any better! And like one of the videos that was pointed out to me this week showed, she doesn’t have a good marriage herself. She gives a lot of marriage advice, and recommends Love & Respect and sex on demand for husbands, but she also constantly talks about how much work marriage is. So she’s likely being hurt by these messages herself.

I just think it would be inappropriate for me to call out influencers who aren’t pastors, who aren’t counselors, who are just fellow wives trying to give advice, even if that advice is wrong.

I want to punch UP, not punch DOWN.

But that’s where you all come in!

When these influencers’ listeners and readers and followers start explaining why the message is wrong, and if we do that in enough numbers, we may indeed make a difference.

Here’s also a total mindshift: Remember who your audience is when you leave a comment explaining why the influencer is veering off base.

We can think that what we’re trying to do is to change the influencer’s mind.

Let’s say Sally, or whatever, has made a video telling people that Love & Respect is a great marriage book, and she just needed to understand how much her husband had needs that were different from hers, and stop nagging and give him sex gladly.

Or let’s say that Sally says that she finds that making her body wholly available to her husband at all times results in him cherishing her.

You may think that what you need to do is change Sally’s mind.

But that may never happen–as I have learned far too well. I surveyed 20,000 women. I built an airtight case. And I still have not changed anyone’s mind that we’re actually critiquing.

Do you know what has happened, though? Other people reading the comments have listened. And I’ve changed THEIR minds.

Remember that the audience for speaking up isn’t always the audience you think it is.

You bring it to your church’s pastor or elder’s board, and they ignore you. But an elder’s wife picks up The Great Sex Rescue, and reads it, and realizes she’s a victim of sexual coercion. Or the church adminsitrative assistant reads the book, and it changes the trajectory of her marriage.

You comment about why obligation sex isn’t helpful, and someone reading that comment finally  has words to say to her husband that she’s been trying to work out for years.

You comment that Love & Respect is a bad book, and a woman following the comments who was about to start a study on it starts googling Love & Respect and decides to do a different study instead.

In all cases, it may look like you failed, because you were trying to change the influencer’s minds. But you don’t know who else is reading and listening and paying attention. That’s how I think of it: When I used to comment on The Transformed Wife’s page, for instance, I did so not for Lori, but for others who read Lori. And so many have sent me her recent posts calling me out, but I want to assure you that I have heard from so many women who followed her religiously, and only heard about The Great Sex Rescue because Lori kept talking about me, and it made them check me out.

So change can come where we least expect it! And that’s often how God works.

We’re all in this together, because we are all part of the body of Christ.

And when part of the body hurts, we all hurt. Right now, part of the body is hurting because of bad teachings.

But as the body becomes stronger, even if it’s just a part, we all become stronger too.

We are making a difference! But it takes all of us, because the evangelical machine is big, and it is powerful, and it likes the status quo.

But we have the numbers. So keep speaking up! This has been an encouraging week, and I know that person by person, podcast by podcast, comment by comment, Jesus is expanding the kingdom of God!

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the messages that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these toxic teachings?

It’s time for a Great Sex Rescue.

What’s the best way to engage in comments on social media in a helpful way? What about talking to your church? Let’s talk in the comments!

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. A2bbethany

    I know I frequently recommend you on the mom app, peanut. So many mom’s post about their messed up relationships, and mental load is the most needed! Because they’re usually overwhelmed with a baby and a lazy hubby/boyfriend.
    Or they’re talking about the issue of having sex after birth.

  2. Melissa

    Sheila, thank you for not beating up on “influencers”, bloggers, etc. who are just sharing what they have been taught even if what they were taught is toxic. You are right they likely don’t know better. However, you are also right that when people comment and recommend your book or blog people are finding you and their lives are being changed. We have friends that we haven’t seen in a few years that very much bought into and lived all of the toxic teachings as that was how they were raised. Well, I saw her starting to share your stuff and comment on your stuff and I was shocked. So, I decided to reach out and encourage her and now we are getting together with them regularly. Their marriage hit crisis mode and a comment on a complementarian post recommending TGSR steered her towards your book. Your book/blog, the intervention of God and all the new resources they have (Andrew Bauman, Patrick Weaver, Marg Mowczko, etc.) has put them on a whole new course and God has done miraculous things in their marriage. This is just one story of someone in my own circle that has found you in the exact way you are describing. So, yes, keep commenting in polite and kind ways because it is steering people to the help they need and now they can go and help others.

  3. Laura

    Love this and all your posts! That’s so true about the influencers on social media who are not pastors, teachers, or authors and they’re just mimicking what they’ve been taught all these years. I’m trying to get to a place where I feel comfortable pointing out toxic teachings in the church. I admit I’m afraid to be labeled a heretic or that some may think I have backslid which is so NOT the case for me because I LOVE Jesus! He is the REASON I’ve been deconstructing from the toxic teachings of organized religion. It is also helpful to me that I did not grow up with fundamentalist teachings since my parents pulled us out of organized religion when I was 8 years old.

    I was 17 when I got saved in a charismatic church and I only went to that church because my friend’s uncle was the preacher. Any time I spent the night at her house on a Saturday night, her mother’s rule was that I had to attend church with them on Sunday morning. While I loved the praise and worship music, I was just not keen on his teachings when it came to women. I thought he was a male chauvinist because that’s not what my parents taught. They had an egalitarian marriage which people at church thought was sinful. Those toxic teachings I first heard at 17 caused me to walk away from church for several years. I thought that if the God of the Bible (which I did not read at that time) believed women to be less than men, then I did not want to have anything to do with that God.

    Several years later, I started attending church again because my ex-husband who was my fiance at that time insisted I should go. To get him off my back, I went and loved church but I was still troubled by the marriage teachings in our pre-marriage classes. His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley was the book for our lessons and I found it unbelievably sexist which I told my husband. Since he didn’t read the book as he left all the reading up to me, he didn’t have an opinion about it but insisted the Bible said that I had to obey him (he loved to lord Ephesians 5 and the “do not deprive” verse over me). So, I spent 2.5 years in a marriage where I tried to be a good, submissive wife which led to a lot of sexual coercion on his part and eventually sexual assault.

    Twenty years ago, God gave me the courage to leave my husband and I am so thankful I did. I rededicated my life to God and tried to absolve myself of those marriage teachings and focus on the positive aspects of Christianity: Christ’s teachings. Then I attended women’s Bible studies for a number of years and felt uncomfortable with their teachings on “biblical” womanhood. I would come away from these studies feeling like a failure because I was not the typical Christian woman. I have been single since the age of 26, almost remarried 4 years ago, and still don’t have children. Sure, I’d like to remarry if that’s God’s plan for me, but I realize that I am complete in Christ and His love for me is the same regardless of my relationship status.

    I’m trying to get to a place where I am comfortable calling out those toxic teachings. What I’ve learned is that I can share my experience on how those teachings negatively affected me and that I know God is NOT going to punish me because I believe that He created men and women to be equal image-bearers and have equal domain over the earth.

    Your blog has helped me realize that I am not alone in my beliefs.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so glad you’ve felt safe and welcome here, Laura! And, yes, I think sharing our stories can be the best thing we can do.

  4. Anon

    I find the most helpful way to engage on social media is to avoid direct contradiction, which tends to make people defensive, but instead to produce either an alternative or a question, which is more likely to be received with an open mind. So, for example, if someone else is saying L&R is the best book on the planet, I’ll comment that I was concerned by [insert problem with book] and that, personally, I found [insert name of more helpful resource – usually TLHV website or TGGGTGS or TGSR!] more helpful because…

    Or I’ll ask “what do you think about [insert statement from book]. I would be concerned that this might lead to [insert problem]. What is your view?

    Or “I notice that [author] interprets this Scripture as meaning… How do you think this matches up with [insert Scripture that clearly contradicts author’s claims]?”

    My other ‘tactic’ is that I always pray before posting – and sometimes find myself rewording what I’ve said to make it less harsh as a result! God has promised to give us wisdom if we ask for it – and when I’ve said something I’ve later regretted, it’s usually because I haven’t paused to ask for that wisdom!

    • Nessie

      This is super helpful! Great ideas- thank you!

  5. JC

    I’m gonna start by saying I’m extraordinarily fussy about what theologians I’ll read (I usually wait till they’re dead to see how things pan out) and I despise reading self help books, particularly Christian ones and especially marriage ones. I’m also very, very, VERY cautious about reading books that fly in the face of what is taught in conservative evangelicalism (because on the whole, I think the teachings fall within orthodoxy).

    HOWEVER, I could never place my finger on what or why, but most Christian marriage books didn’t sit right with me when it came to marital sex. So I have up on them and started digging into what scripture said. And I drew a lot of the same conclusions you brought up about what scripture said (and literally a month before your book was published). Then I hemmed and hawed and poked around your blog a while and read your book.

    I’m a bit confused how all these supposed theologians are missing what scripture says about marriage. But I’m really, really grateful somebody said something. I don’t think you’re pulling a heretical position with a “new revelation”, I think you’re trying to call back to scripture.

    Thank you for trying to call back to scripture!

  6. D

    I’m convinced that the Transformed Wife and in some cases smaller scale influencers/bloggers like the attention they may get from male readers by repeating bad teachings from guys like John Piper etc. put out. In some cases it pays off for them and they may get a mention from a big name pastor. When I first stumbled into the online Christian marriage world I was totally baffled—-why did these so called feminine women want to mix it up with men who had such unsavory views of women.

    In other cases I feel sorry for the women when they parrott these odd teachings that actually have nothing to do with Christianity. Sleeping nude when temperatures are subzero—–or telling women they can’t get frustrated when their husbands throw their belongings everywhere—–just truly odd to me.

    I wish some of these “influencers” would look internally when they repeat these messages. What are their true motivations? What are they getting out of talking to fellow women like they are small children—which I feel is the tone some of influnecers.

    • Anon

      I wonder if they get to have a sense of power, control, and influence that they don’t have in their marriages. If that’s the case, it would explain a lot.

      • Nathan

        That could be. For example, children who get bullied often bully a smaller child in turn.

    • CMT

      Yes this is such an odd dynamic. I’ve observed it too. Besides the obvious (maybe these women do sincerely believe this stuff because this is how they’ve been taught to see God and people), some convincing explanations I’ve seen are as follows:

      One, hierarchies reward less privileged individuals for supporting the system. Women in patriarchy generally have influence only insofar as they help prop up the structure. Women are taking the only path they’re given.

      Two, people sometimes respond to cognitive dissonance and emotional pain not by re-evaluating their own beliefs and decisions, but by doubling down and trying to persuade others. I get this vibe from some well-known complementarian women. Ofc I don’t know what’s really in their minds but a lot of times when I hear people like this I hear them trying to convince other women as a way of convincing themselves.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, these two things are well-documented.

        I’d throw in a third: BECAUSE in hierarchical circles a woman’s worth is almost entirely centered around her marriage, she’ll naturally double down on those teachings especially.

  7. Jamie

    I have a friend whose husband recently asked her to read a post by Biblical Gender Roles. Oh my stars! She sent me the link and talk about TOXIC! Have you heard of this website? I was wondering what your view was on this author.

    • Jo

      Jamie, its a horrid, horrid perversion of all things biblical – please don’t give them the clicks/foot traffic or yourself the nightmares. They are the antithesis of Christ’s teachings.

      There is so much I could say about the evil (and I don’t use that word lightly) they teach but won’t for the well being of the other readers & myself – suffice to say prior to meeting Christ, I was in a DV situation and the one time I spent reading that blog (two decades after leaving that relationship & having found Christ) left me shaking and crying with flashbacks and nightmares for months.
      They thrive on people challenging them – absolutely thrive. And it just promotes their poison. They will have to answer to Christ for the harm they have dealt in His name.

      • Jamie

        Thank you for your reply, I felt so yuck when I was checking out what was sent to my friend and the more I read, the more indignant I got! How dare someone teach such poison in the name of biblical teaching and how could people reading it not see the utter perversion of the messages. I have no intention revisiting his site but I feel sorrow for those seeking answers and end up there, or those whose husbands point them to this site to be a biblical wife!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It’s completely toxic. If her friend’s husband thinks this is a good idea, that is a red flag that he is abusive. Can you reach out and make sure your friend is okay?

      • Jamie

        I am staying in touch with her and encouraging her to protect herself and her children.

    • Laura

      I have heard of this website from several YouTubers like Jimmy Snow (Mr. Atheist) and I cannot remember who else. Biblical Gender Roles is very toxic and I tried to read their blog, but I could not finish. It was so appalling! I get the feeling the writer behind this hates women.

    • Lisa M

      She needs her own licensed therapist NOW. She is wildly unsafe married to a man who reads that website. Please, please try to support her

    • Jan

      Jamie, like The Transformed Wife, BGR is not to be taken seriously. Just don’t. Unfortunately, Lori Alexander (TTW) does have a large following of women who have been content to maintain the status quo because they are afraid to explore other ways of thinking. BGR followers are mostly full of men with horribly warped views of women.

  8. CMT

    Wow the “Permission for Pleasure”interview is great. I just asked my husband to listen to it. Hoping for a good conversation 🤞I’m going into her back catalog too and loving it.

  9. Mara R

    Moderators, I seem to have a comment stuck in moderation.
    Pretty sure it’s because I have three links in it. But they are all relevant for making a point.
    It’s under the Feb 28 post.
    Thank you.

  10. Lisa Manske

    I see integrity in every part of your work.

    Thank you. I’m proud to be a patron.


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