PODCAST: New Research Blows Away the Evangelical Idea about Lust

by | Mar 17, 2022 | Libido, Podcasts, Pornography | 16 comments

Podcast Evangelical View of Lust
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Is lust really every man’s battle? And how do we handle different libidos?

It’s launch week for The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex and The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, and I wanted to save some of our most important findings from our men’s survey for this special podcast!

I invited Andrew Bauman, a licensed counselor and author of the new book How Not to Be an *ss, and Carl Thomas, who runs xxxchurch.com, on to talk about our new stats. And then Keith and I tackled two reader questions about libido issues!

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:

Timeline of the Podcast:

0:10 We’ve launched!
2:05 Andrew and Carl join in!
4:00 Defining porn
9:45 What men vs women believe
15:30 But what is lust?
22:15 Where is the hope?
31:45 What is a normal man?
38:00 RQs: Libido differences and sexual bad habits
54:30 Encouragement

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Main Segment: Let’s talk about our porn and lust stats!

We shared the stats I mentioned yesterday about lust, but also looked at our porn stats–how many guys watch porn now; how many have watched it in the past; how many consider it a problem. We looked at the obligation sex message and the other harmful teachings we measured to see how many guys believed it. And we looked at how these things impact marital and sexual satisfaction.

All of these are based on our survey of men for The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex–which is now available!

And joining me to react were:

Andrew Bauman, Co-Director of the Christian Counseling Center for Sexual Addiction and Trauma. He’s a licensed counselor with specialties in sexual addiction, and he’s been a frequent guest on the podcast. He’s written several books, including The Psychology of Porn, and his most recent book is a collection of essays around abuse, entitled How Not To Be an *ss.

Carl Thomas, founder of Live Free and Director of XXXChurch.com. Carl recently acquired XXXChurch, and has transformed it into a community for people battling sexual compulsions. He has a Masters in Theological Studies, and is dedicated to helping the church defeat shame. His most recent book is When Shame Gets Real: A New Way to Talk About Sex, Porn and Masturbation.

How Do We Deal with Differences in the Bedroom?

Then Keith and I tackled two reader questions that feature quite prominently in both The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex and The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex–dealing with libido differences, plus what to do if she doesn’t reach orgasm!

One woman writes:

My husband is very attentive to my needs, and always makes sure I have an orgasm, but my libido is still low. An ongoing issue in our [multi-decade] marriage is him feeling upset that I rarely initiate. He takes it personally, especially because he tries so hard to make it enjoyable for me….which then leads me to feel guilt, anxiety, stress, and obligation. Like he is saying, “here, I worked really hard to make you this awesome chocolate cake!” and I still don’t want it. We have had many conversations about it and I always communicate that it’s not about him. But I just need/want it far less frequently than he does. Whenever he asks or initiates, I oblige, but I still rarely initiate. In all honesty, (and I don’t want to hurt my husbands feelings, or insult him in any way) I would typically rather sleep.

And the next wrote: 

My husband and I did have sex before we were married. It was fast, and I rarely orgasmed (though I can in about 15-20 minutes, so I don’t take that long), but I didn’t want to say anything because we weren’t supposed to be having sex anyway.

Fast forward to the honeymoon. We had sex daily. And yet, I was left hanging 90% of the time. This left me pretty resentful. I know e loves me and is very attracted to me and he gets so excited he forgets sometimes. I do believe him when he says this-so I have been asking him to slow down and be more intentional. It has gotten better, but I am SO hung up on the hurts from the honeymoon and also conversations that took place after, where he said that I am too much work and he doesn’t want to engage in that. I know that some of what he said was out of hurt and frustration because of this topic, so I don’t know how much weight to put on his words in those moments since I honestly do have an issue with bringing up these heavier topics up at not the best time.

I have such a hard time balancing speaking up for myself and prioritizing BOTH of our pleasure while not feeling resentful. He stated once he would prefer to have sex daily, and honestly so would I! But then it doesn’t happen and it leaves me confused. And I believe it’s because he doesn’t want to engage with me and “do the work”… (I do try to initiate as well, that area is pretty balanced). He also frequently mentions that he is inexperienced in this area (which I am grateful for honestly because he stopped viewing porn in high school, we are 26 and 27), but the issue is the HEART behind it and his desire to truly know/care about me in this area or not.

Listen in on our answers–and again, I do believe the two new books would help with both of these scenarios quite a bit!

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Things Mentioned in This Podcast:


Podcast on Evangelical View of Lust with New Research

What would you say to our two readers asking questions? Or do you have a take on some of our new stats? 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. Codec

    Good job.

  2. Jo R

    The husband in the second reader question sounds like a real… well, I won’t say it, but I’m thinking it pretty hard. The wife should be asking herself some serious questions about their future life. If he thinks spending fifteen or twenty minutes focused on her sexual pleasure is “a lot of work,” how willing is he going to be to do ANYTHING kid-related, for example? If he finds manual or oral stimulation that results in her orgasm to be unpleasant, then where will he get the fortitude to change a diaper or ten, or do a bath, or supervise homework, or do ANYTHING ELSE that does not bring him personal pleasure?

    Thank you, Keith, for being the one to point out that since SHE isn’t getting any pleasure out of intercourse, then she should tell HIM that she’s not doing it anymore, because it’s just too much work for her.

    • J

      Yes, exactly. When they read the second reader question, I heard serious red flags about the husband. If he considers caring for her pleasure and showing love to her in that way “too much work”, then to put it bluntly & without the expletives I’d like to use, he’s telling on himself how utterly self-absorbed, self-centered, & narcissistic he is. If he supposedly wants sex daily, but doesn’t want to take the time to connect with her & value what she needs to make the experience pleasurable, then he’s saying in his very actions, that sex is solely about him, and his pleasure- i.e. he love himself more than he loves her. If he can’t even be bothered to spend an extra 15-20 minutes for her, I think that’s a serious red flag that this relationship is going to be one-sided, with her investing time & energy, and him doing all the receiving & none of the giving…which can only ever end up as toxic. I found that even with the small bit of information given in the email, it was clear that this is not a healthy relationship, as shown in his attitude about her sexual pleasure.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, this could easily bleed over into other areas of their life, too, and could be a sign that there are some major character issues as well.

      I will just say, though, that given the absolute abysmal teaching about sex, I’ve had so many women write to me saying that their husbands are GREAT in every area EXCEPT sex. So while I would agree with you that this is definitely a red flag and is often a problem, I’d just say that it isn’t always a wider problem. (But how can a guy honestly think that? I just don’t get it. I know our books are abysmal, but still…)

    • CMT

      I haven’t listened yet but I read that anecdote and I really feel for that young couple. Reading the woman’s words I was struck by the fact she seemed apologetic about being “hung up” on her husband saying that pleasing her was too much work. Girl, you are right to be hung up! I’d have been crushed if I’d heard that as a newlywed. And she doesn’t say whether or not he ever apologized for it.

      I don’t want to pile on the man. He’s twenty something, sounds like his only prior “experience” was teenage porn use and rushed sex. So, especially if he thinks porn portrays “normal” female sexuality, he may think something is wrong that she doesn’t O immediately. If he doesn’t know what to do and is insecure about that, and she feels guilty for having needs and feelings of her own… man they are just missing each other completely.

      I lived a version of this too. It’s really sad that we seem to think this is a perfectly ok thing to do to young couples. Like it’s better for people to be ignorant till they get married and then “you’ll have your whole lives to figure it out!” Bah. We’ve been married 10+ years and we’re still peeling away the layers of hurt and miscommunication.

  3. Blue

    You nailed the sleep bit! A lot of it is also child-induced sleep deprivation. Some of which is inevitable for infants, but fixable with older kids. It’s hard to even want to take the time when the kids are going to be up early in the morning. But I’m a big fan of getting kids in their own beds, reasonable nighttime boundaries, and eliminating sleep associations, which is more controversial than vaccines, masks, and everyone’s former favorite American president, so that’s all I’ll say about that!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m a big advocate for helping kids sleep well, too! I’m not talking about the Ezzos or anything. There are gentle parenting ways to teach kids to sleep well too! And it’s so much easier if you start earlier. but it definitely can be done!

  4. Laura

    It was so refreshing to hear about the results of your survey for the men. I didn’t think men were as perverted as Every Man’s Battle made them out to be. Masturbating in his car while watching a mother get her toddler in or out of the car seat? Seriously, that is so gross! Maybe the men who wrote that book are the real perverts here and they wanted to project their beliefs onto other men so they wouldn’t feel so bad about themselves?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Honestly, reading the things they considered normal does make you wonder…

  5. Nessie

    Some thoughts.
    Responsive libido: Lots of times, I just don’t feel like going to bible study or church activities initially. More often than not once I am there and get into it, I am glad I did it. I think sex is often a bit like that for the responsive libido partner.

    Intercourse: Intercourse happens in both making love and in rape. Extreme thought? Yes, but please hear my heart. Rape is usually about power, control. The obligation sex message thrives on power and control dynamics as well since the wife must submit to the husband (or for any men whose wives use the “do not deprive” verse on them.) Do you want to be a partner that pushes your loved one off the fence closer to darkness or closer to light? Sex is a beautiful gift created and given by God. Please treat it as such.

    As for the husband in the second letter: trust me, doing a bit more “work” now will be far less taxing on him than repair work down the road. She mentions not bringing issues up at good times though, so maybe they could schedule a weekly time to talk about their sex life? If they both tend to get frustrated, they could try calming things like gentle music, lavender/calming scents, etc. when they do talk. I know this blog has at least one post from a ways back on how to better talk to your husband so he hears you, i.e. side by side, on a walk, etc.

    I’m always so grateful when Andrew Bauman is on your podcasts. He gives me hope for my marriage, that my husband can reach a healthier emotional state/awareness of himself so our marriage can then also truly heal.

  6. Phil

    Sheila I have an answer to a question that you asked in the podcast surprised Carl didn’t have this answer it might confuse things but here it is: for the 50% of men who use porn and say they don’t have a problem yet you saying that when they see a woman in the shopping center and they say they don’t look or objectify what I have found is that because they don’t think they have a problem they don’t notice that they are consuming women in parking lots and shopping centers and everywhere they go so at least four in addiction world when men are recovering and women for that matter we say that the addiction is cunning and baffling so what happens is when people stop acting out masturbating going to sex clubs whatever things of that compound intense large nature is they start to notice that it’s a problem for them when they walk through the shopping center Lowe’s home Home Depot you know it’s a problem and it seemed it was never a problem before because They didn’t notice it because it was just a common thing for them. I see that over and over with guys all the time. so anyway I know the focus here is kind of a Christian-based theological reasoning and I got some more things to say on that but I have not gotten to that particular part of the podcast which I’m not through yet I wanted to get this answer out there for you

  7. Phil

    Also the examples that are were used and in the survey are quite real. And correctly stated as not normal. However on the level of addiction actually those types of stories are common. My understanding is that the author of every man’s battle comes from the addiction world so as was once said here on the blog previously just because you have the experience or me or I or whoever doesnt it mean it’s true for everyone in this case all guys.

  8. Lisa

    I was so glad to hear you state my thoughts. So many women are sleep deprived. Studies show that mothers have less downtime than fathers, get less sleep, and have less time for health and leisure. If she’d rather sleep, try sleeping more. And yes, that might mean that he has to act like a parent and take turns getting up early to get the kids fed and ready. Or take turns putting them to bed and making sure all the evening tasks are accomplished. Someone who is getting enough sleep (some people need 9 hours, not 8) but still feels tired all the time should talk to their health care provider. Some women have undiagnosed hypothyroidism or depression.

  9. Jon

    I have a couple of comments. First, I grew up in an evangelical context that was more egalitarian and sex positive than the type of toxic masculinity espoused in many conservative churches. I was given a sex education that taught that sex is for both partner’s pleasure and that masturbation was not a sin (but lust was). Even so, so much around sex was still framed in fear, negativity, and shame. Any type of sex deemed, “unbiblical” was something against which to struggle and battle. So I think the problem is that for men, “lust” is framed as a battle in the first place. The real problem is not so much lust but shame. Where there is shame, there is always blame (Gen 3). It drives us into hiding and then we become as sick as our secrets. And the idea that we have to battle and win removes us from the grace needed to get curious about what is happening inside of us. When I came to the realization that there is a difference between lust and things like fantasy (something that was equated on this podcast), or a difference between lust and desire, arousal, and what turns me on sexually, I realized that I did not have to battle. I don’t have to battle against who I am in terms of my brain, my hormones, and my experiences both positive and negative that have uniquely broken me. God sees it all, loves me, and is not surprised and repulsed by any of it. In fact it’s all a part of how I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 138). When we can begin to understand that kind of unconditional love and grace, we will begin to have the courage and vulnerability to get curious about our unique interior sexual landscapes, rather than to try to bury them under layers and layers of shame. While I applaud you calling out a very real problem of toxic masculinity and helping to educate people on the basics of what can make sex better for couples, it is just the kindergarten level (a level that cannot be skipped). The advance level really has little to do with sexual technique, the sexual response cycle, and responsive desire vs spontaneous desire, etc. The advance level has to do with creating safe, open, intimate relationships where both parties can get courageous and vulnerable. I speak from experience here. I’ve been married for almost 30 years, and it has only been in the last two years that we have been able to finally create the safe space we needed for each other to talk about it all, including our interior sexual landscapes. For 28 years I was a “good guy” doing all the right things both in the bedroom and out, but we were locked into the typical shame and blame cycle about why things were not working. To get into all of it would take a book, but at 28 years we hit a crisis that forced us to either end it or learn to stop shaming and blaming. We both took responsibility for our own stuff, and most importantly we started to provide each other the safe environment we never experienced growing up in church to be able to start digging out the layers and layers and layers of shame so we could begin to explore together our very unique sexual landscapes and begin to map them out. For instance, we discovered that we both started masturbating at age 11, but while I continued because I was “given permission,” she soon stopped because “that’s what sluts do.” It took my wife at least 30 minutes of humming and hawing to get up enough courage to admit that she masturbated. Almost 40 years later she was still covered with an enormous and totally unnecessary amount of shame just because she discovered that if she pressed on a certain part of her body, she would experience pleasure. That makes me sad! She was fighting a battle she didn’t need to fight, and so was I. And what’s worse is that we began to think that the battle was against each other. Secondly, I’d like to encourage the woman who wrote in about her husband not being willing to put in the work NOT to give her husband ultimatums that are based in shame and blame. Advice given to her in this podcast was based in such. The advice came off as, “You are the problem, and you need to fix it, or I’m not having sex with you.” That is using sex as a weapon. I understand that nobody should consent to something that is dehumanizing, but if there is still love in that marriage, I would start by becoming much more curious about what is really going on with her husband. And she ought to get more curious about what’s going on with her. Sexual problems in a marriage are rarely one sided. They are what they are. A system that both people involved have created and are often trapped in. And if they can’t begin to have safe, open, honest, courageous conversations that are not about assigning blame, and if they love each other and want the relationship to work, then they should seek out a good EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) therapist to help them build that kind of safety into their relationship. I too said the same thing to my wife, but it had nothing to do with me not wanting to put in the work in bed. It had everything to do with me being stressed out, overworked, numbing out, and checking out. I wasn’t putting in the work I needed to be in a healthy place spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I needed to put in work that really had very little to do with the bedroom. When our marriage hit a crisis, I woke up and started to put in the work. She started to put in the work. We dropped the blame and shame, prioritized being emotionally safe, and courageously began to explore all the dark stuff we had hidden away due to shame. This new vulnerability created an intimacy we never imagined was possible. And guess what? The bedroom issues took care of themselves. We now are having the most and best sex ever! So get over the shame. Stop the battle with sexuality. Get curious. Begin to map out your unique sexual landscapes together. If it’s a battle, you will end up defeated by it. What you try to shame into suppression, will come out sideways in harmful ways.

  10. Sarah

    After reading the chapter on lust in The Great Sex Rescue, I’m realizing that the church’s teachings on lust its dehumanization of women affected how I, as a woman, viewed other women as well! I’d judge women who didn’t dress “modestly” instead of seeing them as a woman God loved and created. Mind blown!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes! I think this is so common. It’s such a bad message all around.


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