PODCAST: How Many Christian Men Are Safe? Plus What Masculinity Is!

by | Mar 31, 2022 | Men's Corner, Podcasts | 26 comments

How Many Christian Men Are Sexually Safe?
Merchandise is Here!

It’s time to talk to the guys today–and look at what masculinity really is!

On the last Thursday of every month I like to aim the podcasts more at men (though of course women can get a lot of them too!).

And today we tackled safe masculinity, or what true masculinity is.

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:

 

Timeline of the Podcast

1:30 What are safe men, and how many are there?
10:30 Habits go in pockets
13:20 Keith’s article on the ‘Effeminacy of Christianity”
22:45 Consent vs Power
27:30 ‘The Tie-Breaker’
34:35 The myth of the masculine Christ
42:20 Feminization of the church

How Many Christian Men Are Safe?

We talked about the findings from our survey, as described in this post last week on how many Christian guys are sexually safe. 

The criteria was:

  • Doesn’t watch porn
  • Doesn’t lust in any of the scenarios we gave them on our survey
  • Doesn’t believe the obligation sex message
  • Does make his wife’s pleasure a priority

One of the big things I wanted to talk about was how habits tend to go in pockets–not every church has that many guys who use porn. It’s more like 80% in some churches and 20% in others (this is just my theory; our survey couldn’t show that). So I’d advise getting to a church that IS healthy, because we did find that porn use tends to correlate with certain beliefs, so if you go to a church that rejects those beliefs, you’ll find less porn!

What is Real Masculinity?

Keith shared his awesome post on true masculinity, and it’s quite powerful to see him speaking it into the camera (or hearing him read it!)

Then Connor, Keith and I talked for a bit about how a guy shared a Facebook post of mine this week, introducing it by saying that I’m in authority and power over Keith. So we all laughed about that, because it seems as if people who believe men have to be in charge can’t picture a relationship where two people honestly function as equals. They assume that if HE isn’t in charge, then SHE must be.

Nope. You can actually function really well without a tie-breaker

After that, Keith and Connor discussed his article and what real masculinity means. 

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Things Mentioned in This Podcast:

How Many Christian Men Are Sexually Safe?

What do you think? How can we change the conversation about masculinity in the church? How do we fight back against the charge that we’re saying men are bad? 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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26 Comments

  1. Jo R

    Sheila, can you clarify a bit what the numbers mean re 33.7 percent of 50 percent? Are you saying that one-third of men who don’t use porn are safe (because half the men are unsafe and therefore excluded since their disqualifier is that they use porn), which means that only 16.85 percent of ALL men are safe? Or something else? Maybe you could show the percentages of men who are unsafe because of each thing that makes them unsafe? (Completely making up numbers here: 50 percent use porn, 45 percent choose a lustful option, 36 percent believe in obligation sex, 58 percent don’t make their wives’ pleasure a priority.)

    Keith accurately summarizes with insightful, and incisive, brilliance: “The way that men are is the way men are, and women need to adjust.”

    Well.

    Let me rephrase, after reminding all of us what lots of Christians have been teaching explicitly for decades: women don’t like sex and women don’t need sex. Generations of women have internalized that message for themselves and passed it on to their daughters, who passed it on to their daughters. Now for the rephrasing:

    “The way that women are is the way women are, and men need to adjust.”

    I wonder how much overlap there is between (1) the one-third of husbands who are safe according to your study and (2) Gottman’s one-third (-ish, the actual number is 35 percent) of husbands who accept influence from their wives. 🤔🤔🤔

    “Being in charge and being the power in the relationship is more important than the health of the relationship.” Actually, such men would probably define the health of the relationship AS being in charge and being the power. 🙄🙄🙄

    How in the world do these men function on elder boards that require unanimity to make decisions? Or do these manly men simply roll over and submit to the pastor, since the pastor is above the elders in the hierarchy? 😱😱😱 Is the pastor–elder board relationship in those churches actually “complementarian”? 🤣🤣🤣

    Thank you, Keith, for pointing out the logical end that the tie-breaker mentality will eventually lead to the situation where the husband can simply adjudicate the “rules” of marriage in his own favor, since the husband both plays the game AND acts as referee.

    “Men must be strong warriors who defeat their enemies…” Well, now, Keith, unless that enemy is lust, in which case men are taught to embrace it as part of who they are. 🙄🙄🙄

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      JoR, sorry I wasn’t clear! So it’s 33.7% out of 100 men. BUT if we take out the porn people–who are 50%, and who automatically get a 0, then we’re really only dealing with 50% who could possibly be safe (because 50% have already disqualified themselves). So of the rmeaining 50% who don’t use porn, 33.7 out of 50 are safe, or 2/3 of men who don’t use porn. Does that make sense?

      Reply
      • Jo R

        🤯🤯🤯

        Phew, yeah, thanks!

        Reply
  2. A2bbethany

    As far as tie breaker: we were still learning how to do communication and he was desperate to just “give me anything I wanted, if physically possible”. Coming out of a fear that I’d leave him or something.
    That lead to us living in that 3rd floor apartment that we both quickly grew to hate! And when we were close to getting out, he sat me down and apologized. That was his lesson in, don’t say yes, unless you really think it’s best for both of us! Because by giving in, he put us in a bad place. And my own lessons in that, did similar things….put us in career crisis that might’ve been avoided.

    We have now learned to talk through every angle we can think of, before agreeing together. Mistakes are still made, but rarely and there’s no resentment in them.
    After 4 years, I think he’s gotten a used to me staying and not leaving. (Messed up childhood had him expecting to be left)

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Love that, Bethany! And it’s really true–it’s not just women who can give in too fast, but men too. That’s why it’s important to agree together!

      Reply
    • Cynthia

      The tie breaker mentally really is harmful.

      I’m a divorce lawyer, so by definition I’m dealing with relationships that are broken and often high-conflict. Right now, I’m in the middle of doing a lot of Collaborative Practice training and it is exciting and also challenging a lot of my previous assumptions. Basically, the idea is that with a lot of help from a team, we get even high-conflict couples to really dig down to discuss what their real interests and needs are, to work through the areas of conflict and to work cooperatively to come up with solutions that meet everyone’s needs. Nobody is forced or railroaded, and the process isn’t rushed to get an agreement on the surface. The idea is that while the marriage might be ending, relationships still exist if the couple have children together and we want the conflict and power struggle to end. I’m thinking about all of my cases where getting something in court was simply Round 1 of an ongoing dispute.

      So, having a tie breaker doesn’t work well even in broken relationships. Imagine how much more so for marriages that are still supposed to be intact!

      Reply
  3. Katy Didd

    One Sunday in my former church I looked around the congregation and counted the women present who I knew were being abused in some way (whether their husbands attended or not). It was almost all of them. And then I realized how long they’ve been in,that church, unhelped, and how many did have husbands present who were never confronted.

    Glad I left!

    Reply
  4. Codec

    I think you did a good job with this one.

    Reply
  5. Martha

    What do you think about this concept – the Church is feminine / feminized because She is the Bride of Christ, the Bridegroom..?

    Reply
  6. Healing

    I honestly don’t get why some Christian men NEED all the POWER/control in the household.

    I STILL can’t get over a pastor’s 1-star review on Amazon for “The Great Sex Rescue”. He says, “These authors have drunk deeply from the American culture of independence, feminism, and egalitarianism. An example: God’s Word says, “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior,” (Ephesians 5:23). In pages 31-33, they flat out reject this concept, and instead argue for the “equal” home of shared power.”

    Like, are these Christian boys told, “Someday Timmy, you’re going to get married and get to be in charge of your wife and kids. Regardless of her opinions on anything, you’ll get the final say, which means you’ll get your way EVERY TIME. You’ll also get sex whenever and however you want… she literally can’t say no! Be sure to throw some Bible verses at her if she ‘isn’t in the mood.’ That works every time! Basically, you’ll be king of your castle. It’s going to be glorious. Best of all, you can just say this is God’s plan and no one can argue it. GOD WANTS YOU, THE MAN, TO HAVE ALL THE POWER.”

    Does shared “power” make men feel less MANLY? Is it a sin for a man to not be head of the household? Is it a sin to have shared control? At no point in my marriage did I feel like my husband had all the “power”. We shared decision making. If we were going to buy a new vehicle, we discussed it and came to an agreement. It would seem in a male hierarchy marriage, the vehicle purchase could still be discussed with the wife but ultimately, if the man wanted to buy a brand new $60,000 truck and the wife thinks a used $15,000 truck fits their budget, the man could just get the $60k truck. It seems like it would be pointless for a wife to even state her opinion because regardless, the man can choose to do what he wants.

    It’s so hard to wrap my brain around that even if it’s been proven that this male hierarchy marriage philosophy is harmful to marriages (in more ways than one), these men would rather fight for their “God-given right” than agree to a healthier and happier shared-power marriage.

    Reply
    • Mara R

      Healing: “I honestly don’t get why some Christian men NEED all the POWER/control in the household.”

      It’s because of fear.

      They are afraid. But society doesn’t give them space to be afraid. A fearful man is to be utterly despised, not even worthy of pity.

      And because they can never, ever, ever show fear, they must hide the fear behind anger and domineering bravado. And in order to overcome fear and keep it in check, they MUST be in control.

      Their hearts are wounded, broken, full of infection. But rather than allowing themselves or being allowed to open up to healing in a safe place, they make a religion that makes everything about certain enemies like women and the feminization of the church.

      I’ve linked this here before, probably more that once. But it is the best understanding of this problem.
      http://frombitterwaterstosweet.blogspot.com/2011/05/jock-strap-religion.html

      Reply
      • Mara R

        I just realized that my last sentence of the above comment was missing some words.

        It should have said, “But it is the best understanding THAT I HAVE of this problem.”

        The original sentence makes it sound like I have the best understanding. I know I don’t. I’m just doing the best I can trying to under stand this along with other females.

        Sorry for sounding like I thought I knew better than anyone. My bad.

        Reply
      • Healing

        Mara R: I read what you linked and discussed with my husband and even he asked, “ok, they act this way out of fear but what are these men actually afraid of?”

        Fear of their brokenness? Fear of their insecurities? Fear of being vulnerable?

        I did a Google search to find out more “Why do men fear women?” It gave me more examples, though, I am not sure they are exactly what Christian men fear or men in general.

        An interesting thing is, when women were asked ”Why do you fear men?” According to some of the articles I read, their answer typically was “I fear being sexually assaulted or physically hurt.” ISN’T THIS EXACTLY WHAT MANY OF THESE EVANGELICALS HUSBANDS ARE DOING TO THEIR WIVES… APPARENTLY IN RESPONSE TO THEIR OWN FEARS?!? Yet, ok… maybe all these men aren’t necessarily raping their wives (tho many are) but sexual coercion is still abuse and can cause trauma and fear in women. It’s almost like they’re just transferring their fear to women?

        (I love hearing perspectives from men, especially Keith and Connor on these podcasts. Especially since Keith admits to going into marriage with the (toxic) Evangelical way of thinking but fortunately he realized how bad that way of thinking is and changed.)

        Reply
        • Mara R

          These are really good questions.
          Being a tall female rather than male of any sort, I have a better understanding of what its like being on the receiving end of the fear than on the side that is feeling that kind of fear or knowing what fuels it.

          http://frombitterwaterstosweet.blogspot.com/2011/04/small-men-make-me-nervous.html

          Perhaps many men don’t know what fuels their fears.

          Perhaps they need a place like this of their own where they can explore the deep recesses of male fear without female onlookers to make them feel embarrassed. I don’t know.

          I do know that I want men to be healed just as much as I want women to be healed.

          Reply
    • Laura

      When I was married to my ex, he would throw out Bible verses to me if I said “no” to sex or disagreed with him about something. That’s why he became an ex.

      Reply
      • Healing

        Laura, I’m sorry you had to go through that.

        My husband would bring up Bible verses in the past as well. My response was always, “Is throwing that in my face supposed to turn me on?” It actually would make me question my faith… like, why would God want me to feel used? Why would He allow men to treat their wives like this and we’re supposed to be ok with it? Why would sex be considered a “gift from God” if it’s only for the man’s pleasure and the husband could just have it whenever he wants? What does the wife get out of this “gift”???

        I just kept reassuring myself that God doesn’t hate women. That He WOULDN’T want me to feel used so my husband felt good. That maybe something was “off” because sex SHOULD feel like a gift to BOTH spouses…

        We feel so fortunate to have discovered Sheila and her book “The Great Sex Rescue” when we did. I was getting to the point where the only solution I could see was to get divorced. I was sick of fighting about sex and I didn’t know how much more I could take. I can’t even begin to express the changes my husband has made since the book. Last night we were up ‘til 11:30pm just talking. He is disgusted by the man he used to be. Even looking at photos of us on the wall. He said he sees us smiling in them but he knows how much I was hurting on the inside and he feel ashamed he acted the way he did.

        God is good! I’m sorry you and your ex couldn’t work it out. Do you ever wonder if you discovered Sheila and her book when you were with your ex, if it would have changed anything?

        Reply
        • Laura

          Healing,

          I am so glad you and your husband have a success story. My divorce happened nearly 20 years ago and I honestly don’t know if a book (even TGSR) would have convicted my ex. He expected me to do ALL of the work in our marriage because everything that went wrong was all on me. His bad moods were always my fault even if I didn’t see him all day. I think it was his personality and the way he was raised that made him a toxic person. His mother was dominating and his father was passive, so my ex was determined to be nothing like his father. Growing up in church also didn’t help because he believed that in marriage the husbands were supposed to be in charge. We were both in our 20s when we married so we were naive.

          Reply
  7. Mara R

    Okay, I don’t know if I should do this. But I like these guys and their YouTube channel “Cinema Therapy”.

    And in this linked video, they take on “Fight Club” and Men’s Mental Health and what it means to be a man.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWDeRcXevic&t=274s

    It’s a pretty good video.
    I like it particularly because they discuss this Movie in a way healthier way that Mark Driscoll’s dismal take on it.

    The above link is to part one of their discussion.
    Part two, concerns “Fight Club” and Toxic Masculinity.

    I believe what I told Healing above. It is hard for some men to know how to be men in our culture. It is hard for them to know how to find and accept mental health care if they need it.

    Reply
      • Mara R

        Nice!

        And it just so happens that these “Fight Club” videos are only a few days old, almost like you, Keith, Connor, and the Cinema Therapy guys were coordinating on the side.

        Reply
        • Nessie

          Yes! I got the Fight Club notification by Cinema Therapy and thought how well it aligned with the healthy teachings here on TLHV. Perfect, godly timing.

          My hubs has been in therapy for 1.5 years now, prompted by me moving out of our bedroom. Despite the many setbacks and lack of progress at times, I can tell he finally realizes how wrong the thinking was that therapy voids his “man-card.” We have a long way to go to heal us (he has so much to overcome from his upbringing plus other factors before we can really get far in marital healing) but at least he is working on it now and admitting he didn’t have it all together, which is far more manly than what these guys are platforming. They truly do think of themselves as “gods” of their homes/churches which is so evil.

          We left an SBC church a couple years before quarantine began and are still looking for a church home. It is hard in an area that is predominantly SBC or the extreme polar opposite. Sad as it is to have so little community, we are still better off not absorbing more toxic teachings. Grateful for the community/teachings here to help fill the void until we can find a safe church home.

          Reply
  8. SL

    Actually Keith, unfortunately someone does believe that at 34 mins of the podcast. Me. It’s been eating away and tearing me down for years of our marriage. My husband is a great guy. Goes with the flow, loving, compassionate husband. I’ve told him many of times that I wish that he’d be more demanding so that I would even have an opportunity to “bless” him in being able to love him the way he deserves by me respecting him by the way of submission. But that is not his personality or belief. I have always struggled with how our marriage is not an hierarchy, so how can I be good wife? Hearing you guys teach on this….WOW, you guys continue to give me such a clearer picture of who Jesus is! I’ve always struggled with my self worth.

    Thank you once again for helping hurting souls like mine find freedom in Jesus!

    Reply
      • SL

        I’m always so grateful when you give me words to what harmful beliefs I am believing. I’m not one that is able to piece them together on my own until I hear it explained out so simply. It’s like a light bulb goes off in my mind, I have to back up relisten, then process it for awhile.

        Reply
  9. Jim

    Still don’t know what ‘true masculinity’ is. No one seems to be able to describe it.

    Reply

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