Is Evangelicalism Wrecking Women’s Libido?

by | Jun 1, 2022 | Libido | 41 comments

Evangelical Marriage Books Wrecked Women's Libido
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What if male Christian authors are digging the very hole they’re trying to climb out of–and killing women’s libido?

Welcome to June, everybody!

And in June, our focus is going to be on libido, asking the question: “What’s killing women’s libido?” Now, I know there’s a sizable minority of women with the higher libido, and I’ll devote some time to that as well.

But one of the biggest issues I get asked about is how to revive your libido when it’s been lagging so long.

A few years ago we created a Boost Your Libido course, and we’re massively overhauling it with all of our new data as we speak, so that should be available in a few weeks. (And those who have already purchased it will have access to the full, updated course!). So we’ve been thinking about this question a lot behind the scenes of the blog lately–what specifically is killing our libidos?

We’ve got a number of theories, but right at the top of it is how we talk about sex.

Next Monday I’ll write about all the ingredients to a healthy libido, but I want to start with just the way we frame the issue.

Yesterday afternoon I shared this on Facebook:

People who keep supporting Love & Respect apparently think it’s okay to write an entire chapter about sex saying that women are obligated to give it or their husbands may stray, and never once mention that women should feel pleasure too.

How is it possible that so many people don’t see a problem with that? Or think it’s just an innocent oversight?

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Facebook

It still completely blows my mind that people think it’s okay to talk about sex and NEVER ONCE mention women’s pleasure.

How do people not see the problem with that?

Yesterday a comment came into the blog in response to an older post about how to talk about men’s sexual needs in a healthy way (instead of all of this obligation stuff that wrecks women’s view of sex). I thought it was really insightful. She writes:

These mainly male pastors (and authors) that have been spreading the message of “wives do not deprive your husband” have basically been shooting themselves in the foot for years now. Do they not see that pushing this message IS NOT HELPING THE SITUATION?!?! How, it might be, ummmm… making it worse?? The mutual aspect, meaning the first part: “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife” is either glossed over OR do these men think that by simply “putting it in until the man climaxes” IS giving their wives their “dues”. Like, just by having intercourse, the man fulfilled his part of 1 Corinthians 7??

Yes, we all get it. Men love sex… but maybe women would love sex (MORE) if the message was changed from “this is for him” to “this is for both of you.” And not with the typical “sex is a gift from God” because I can attest, there were YEARS when that gift for me was that ugly sweater that got shoved to the back of the closet and never worn. The message has to be mutual. For women to love sex, they can’t feel that it’s their duty. They can’t feel obligated. They can’t feel like if they don’t have sex, their husband is going to cheat on them or watch porn. They can’t feel negative pressure to simply have sex when they don’t want to. They can’t be made to feel like the husband’s needs are more important than their own. I mean, it has to be true mutuality.

I don’t know if these pastors/authors thought that if they didn’t make women have sex out of fear or coercion that they wouldn’t have it? Unfortunately, their message is backfiring… big time. Maybe they should have used the opposite message?

I don’t recall many sermons about sex over the years. My husband grew up Catholic and NEVER remembers hearing about sex in church at all. Yet, he’s the one that had the idea how he was owed sex as soon as we got married.

So the message needs to change and I HOPE AND PRAY through people like Sheila, there will be a shift.

I thought that was perfect. Just perfect. And that’s really what we were trying to say in The Great Sex Rescue, too! If authors want women to have more sex, then stop talking about sex like it’s such a duty and obligation and entirely for the guy, and start making sure that it’s good for her too!

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.

But the commenter brings up something I’ve long thought, and considered saying on a podcast, but I’ve been too chicken to. But I wonder this ALL THE TIME, and Rebecca and I talk about it behind the scenes too:

“do these men think that by simply “putting it in until the man climaxes” IS giving their wives their “dues”. Like, just by having intercourse, the man fulfilled his part of 1 Corinthians 7??”

I wonder if these male authors think, and excuse the crassness here (this is why I’ve been afraid to say it) that their penises are so amazing that simply by letting the woman experience his penis, he’s giving her his dues? Like she has the privilege of experiencing his “manhood”,  and what more could she want? Because his manhood is so amazing?

I just can’t think of any other reason that they would talk about sex the way they do.

Do they honestly think intercourse where she doesn’t climax and where she feels basically nothing is still an amazing “gift from God” for her? Because otherwise how could you write an entire chapter on sex, like Emerson Eggerichs did in Love & Respect, and never once mention that women should feel pleasure?

Yet it’s not just male authors who do this. Both Shaunti Feldhahn and Stormie Omartian received low marks on our healthy sexuality rubric because they didn’t talk about women feeling pleasure either.

Here’s what we said in The Great Sex Rescue about a passage from Shaunti Feldhahn’s book For Women Only:

Great Sex Rescue

From The Great Sex Rescue

Instead of saying “no man should be satisfied unless his wife is also regularly satisfied,” too many books have said, “men feel more satisfied if their wives are satisfied, so wives—make sure you’re satisfied,” without any charge to him to care for her needs. The responsibility for her satisfaction is put solely on her—and not even for her own sake, but for his. Instead of telling men to satisfy their wives for their wives’ benefit, women are told to make sure they’re satisfied for their husbands’ benefit. This is really backward.

In the book For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn warns wives that just having sex is not enough—men need to feel wanted. “Having a regular, mutually enjoyed sex life was critical to the man’s feeling of being loved and desired.” But then, in that same chapter, Feldhahn says, “If responding physically is out of the question, let your words be heart words—reassuring, affirming, adoring.” The wife has to affirm her husband, even if he is not tending to her needs in bed. Feldhahn does acknowledge that some women will have a hard time responding physically, but then she frames this as being a personal issue that may need counseling rather than the far greater likelihood that he has never learned to prioritize foreplay or her pleasure. We find it problematic to tell a woman she must enjoy something without also telling her that she can expect him to make it enjoyable.

So it isn’t just the men that are peddling this. It’s women too.

As we start this month talking about libido, I want to start by saying loudly: if there is how you were taught about sex, it would be a miracle if you DID have a higher libido!

And again, that’s not to disparage those who do have high libidos. That’s wonderful! It’s good to want and desire sex, and I hope we can raise everyone’s libido this month.

But I want to reassure women who have always seen sex  the way our commenter says: that ugly sweater you hide away in a drawer. Sure, technically it’s a gift, but it’s one you didn’t ask for and you would have referred chocolate truffles. No wonder you feel that way! Seriously, no wonder!

That’s really what The Great Sex Rescue is all about. These authors of all of these books keep trying to tell women how important it is to have more sex because their husbands desperately need it, and in doing so they’re simply making the problem worse because they’ve misdiagnosed the problem. It’s not that women don’t  understand how much men need sex. It’s that women have never been encouraged to see sex for them too–and men haven’t been taught that women’s experience matters as well!

As we concluded in our final words in The Great Sex Rescue:

 

Great Sex Rescue

From The Great Sex Rescue

For years women have been told from church pulpits, “Men need sex, and you need to give it to them or you’re depriving them.” And what’s happened? A crisis in libido and sexual satisfaction among women.

This approach doesn’t work. Authors and pastors can double down on it if they’d like; they can say women need to understand men, and they can talk about how much men need sex and how men struggle with lust and how women need to help them out.

What we’re saying in this book is that women do understand men. We know men need sex. Yelling louder about that won’t help.

What we need now is for men to understand women.

If men understood women’s need for intimacy and women’s need to experience pleasure, and if churches started talking about mutuality, we would awaken women’s libido and sexual response.

We believe that the time is ripe for that new conversation. And we believe that this new conversation is about not only how we see sex and marriage but how we see relationships in general. Let’s stop talking about entitlement. Let’s stop talking about rights and hierarchy and power. Let’s put Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve, back at the center.

Spur one another on to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24). And take heart, for he has overcome the world (John 16:33).

That’s the conversation I’m hoping to have in June about women’s libido.

Let’s figure out all the ingredients to a healthy libido, and get rid of all this toxic teaching that has been actively hurting us.

And as we go through this, one final thought:

It’s okay to be angry and it’s okay to grieve what’s been taken from you by these teachers and by Christian leaders.

Sometimes we need to grieve and feel that anger in order to get to the other side. Sex was meant for you too. You were meant to enjoy passion, to be carried along, to desire that intimacy in every way. But instead all too often it was turned into an ugly obligation where your needs were erased. That wasn’t okay. It really wasn’t.

And I hope that in June we can try to right that wrong.

Has the evangelical approach to sex wrecked women's libido?

What do you think? 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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41 Comments

  1. Andrea

    I recently discovered a podcast called You’re Not Broken, which is really like the secular version of the Bare Marriage podcast, and she says when women come into her office for help with low libido, most of the time she has to tell them: “You don’t have a low libido, you’re just having s***ty sex.” I particularly recommend episode 147 with Dr. Van Anders.

    Reply
    • CMT

      Yeah I think it’s worth remembering that this isn’t exclusively a Christian problem. Our culture in general doesn’t value women’s experiences and then there’s all the spiritualized bs layered on top.

      Reply
  2. Laura

    Awesome post! The way these evangelical books about marriage and sex have been written caused me to resent the male species and God. These men (and women) who wrote these books are Christians so I believed they knew what they were talking about and they claimed to speak for God, so if that was really the case, I sometimes wondered if God thought less of women.
    Years ago, I had to quit reading books like Love and Respect and other Christian books about dating, marriage, and sex because reading these books almost made me want to stop having anything to do with God. I wanted to hold on to Him and in order to do so, I had to quit reading those books. Yet, I wanted some good, sound biblical advice on those topics because I wanted to marry a good Christian man.
    So when The Great Sex Rescue came out last year, I was ecstatic to finally discover a Christian book about sex that was far different from other Christian books. Now, I have discovered other Christian authors like Meghan Tschanz (Women Rising), Dr. Camden, etc. Keep it up Sheila, Rebecca, and team! You’re all doing awesome work for the Kingdom!

    Reply
    • Tessa123

      Laura, I could have written your post!
      I did stop listening to messages about sex preach from the pulpit and I banned all Christian books relating to marriage. I felt put down all the time as if there was something wrong with me. I finally was freed of all the shame and guilt I felt by not reading the books after I discovered Sheila.
      I finally told my husband that I refuse to ever have sex with him again until he starts treating me like his wife rather than his whore. That was freeing as well. And I truly felt justified even in God’s eyes for doing that before I discovered Sheila. 2 years later I found out my husband has had a p*** addiction since he was 12. I also found out kids had several affairs on me whether they were physical or just emotional and trying to have sex with others for the entire duration of our marriage of 30 years. We are still together because I found some very good Christian ministries who held men accountable. It did cost us an absolute Fortune but three and a half years later we’re still together and still healing. And I have never felt so sexually free in my life! At 55 I’m having the best sex of my life. It’s no longer about pleasing my husband. It is about enjoying the gift of sex that God gave us for our marriage.

      Reply
      • Laura

        Tessa123,
        I am so happy to hear that your marriage has turned out well and your sex life is great. I wish that was my story, but it’s far from it. I got divorced almost 20 years ago at 26. My ex was sexually abusive, addicted to porn, and frequented strip clubs. Even though we went through marriage counseling, he refused to change and believed his behavior was all my fault. I could no longer put up with being sexually assaulted in my sleep, so I left.
        Not long after the divorce, I rededicated my life to God and started picking up on these “Christian” books about dating, marriage, and sex. I wanted to do things the right way the next time around, but the advice in these books, especially the ones on dating, gave extrabiblical advice such as don’t kiss until the wedding, instead of dating, court, etc. As for the books on marriage and sex, they just turned my stomach and reinforced an old belief (one I often heard from the pulpit about being a “submissive” wife) that because I was a woman, I was considered less. Like I mentioned earlier, I had to stop reading those books because if I continued, I would lose my faith in God and have pure hatred toward men.

        Reply
  3. Jo R

    Had this thought the other day…

    So many of these “Christian” resources implicitly—or even explicitly—tell wives to be church-approved porn substitutes for their husbands.

    Let’s flip that script, shall we?

    How many men could make a living as a gigolo, because they’re so good at giving a woman what she wants when she wants it? (And that’s just in bed. Does a gigolo “start his work” before he gets in bed, as well?)

    Perhaps the next time a pastor, teacher, or author talks about how wives should have sex more often, he should also ask each man to be a gigolo to his wife. And if he’s not comfortable making such a request of his MALE listeners and readers, maybe he should ask himself WHY.

    Reply
    • Jo R

      Isn’t the internet an amazing place?

      While I don’t agree with 100 percent of this page (note: language warning) https://gigolotraining.com/blog/downloads/how-to-become-a-gigolo/, I have to say his answer to his #1 question is pretty spot on:

      “Can you transition smoothly from indirect service to seduction or will you do it in a rush because you’re in a hurry to get laid?”

      “Can you touch her in a way that does not make her uncomfortable, but instead makes her crave more touch?”

      “Do you know the psychological blocks that make it difficult for a woman to express orgasm? Do you know what to say and do, to help her get around those blocks and experience full-blown orgasms?”

      Just sayin’…

      Reply
      • Jo R

        Oh my, clicked on the link for this page: https://gigolotraining.com/blog/can-virgin-men-be-gigolos-and-other-common-questions/

        Which contained the following (copied and pasted as is):

        “Btw pleasuring does not mean whipping out your di*k and putting it inside her. Any idiot can do that. That’s just 0.1% of the process. The remaining 99.9% is an art, and like all art, it is hard work.”

        I guess a pro knows whereof he speaks.

        (Sorry, Sheila, if you or others think this is going too far. I think the idea of Christian husbands being taught they ought to be skilled enough to be a gigolo, though, is a nice counterpoint to all the horrible teaching directed at women for the last six decades.)

        Reply
        • Laura

          Love this! Since these evangelical male authors have been pushing wives to be personal porn stars, it’s time to turn the tables. Husbands need to put some work into sex, not just their penises.

          Reply
      • A2bbethany

        To a woman….that reads like a erotic novel! Yes! That’s what everyone woman longs for her husband to know or try to learn! The art of wooing.

        Reply
        • Jo R

          Exactly. The wooing doesn’t end with the “I do”-ing.

          Reply
  4. Jane Eyre

    Yes, men do think that sticking it in us is the end of their duty to us. This is largely because intercourse works so well for them; they don’t understand that the clitoris is where most women get pleasure; and they have been taught over and over that women can enjoy sex plenty well without climax.

    The latter is a failure to distinguish “sometimes” and “always.” If you never have an orgasm, sex is usually a bad experience. This is true because being left hanging is not any fun, and likely, if you aren’t having an orgasm, it because you aren’t getting a whole lot of pleasure anyway. Now, maybe every so often a woman who regularly gets intense pleasure from sex won’t mind if it’s just not happening any one particular night, but that isn’t an excuse to be five years into your marriage and have no clue how to bring her pleasure.

    As for the larger theme: like anything in life, people can only be miserable for so long. You can’t get someone to permanently lose weight by seeing them bran and having them do exercise they hate; you’re far better off finding healthy, delicious, satisfying meals and physical activity they enjoy. Shame isn’t going to do it, either. Likewise, the key to a long term healthy sex life is finding things that both people enjoy. This is painfully obvious.

    Reply
  5. Cynthia

    I got the sense that some sources think of it for women in purely transactional terms. They think that women want marriage, love, security, financial support and children, and sex is the price that they are expected to pay for that. And yes, the whole “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free” line just reinforces that. So does comparing sex to doing the dishes.

    Reply
    • Laura

      The Transformed Wife compares sex to cleaning the toilet. “You just have to do it, even if you don’t feel like it,” she says about sex and cleaning the toilet. Not the same thing.

      Reply
      • Jo R

        Yes, well, anybody ever had an orgasm while cleaning the toilet?

        Reply
        • Laura

          I don’t think the Transformed Wife knows what an orgasm is. Duty sex is only for male pleasure and women don’t matter.

          Reply
  6. Jen

    Sheila, I think this is the funniest thing you’ve ever written: “their penises are so amazing that simply by letting the woman experience his penis, he’s giving her his dues. Like she has the privilege of experiencing his “manhood”, and what more could she want? Because his manhood is so amazing”. Laugh out loud funny. But the sad thing is that it does seem like some of the authors feel that way, and it reminds me of Andrew Bauman’s Pornified Style of Relating. I don’t watch porn, but I’ve gotten the impression that it’s all about the penis. So if porn teaches it’s all about the penis and our “Christian” teachers teach that too . . . Well, we can do the math, and even if those specific folks weren’t/aren’t porn users, we can see how porn has affected our society.

    And that thought reminds me of all the ancient cultures that participated in phallic worship, orgies, and sacred prostitution. Some literally worshipped the penis. Are the teachers you critique trying to get us to worship a false god? I doubt it, but again, it shows just how seeing women as made for men and as objects has infiltrated our “Christian” attitudes. It seems like the ancient religions that appear in the Bible keep cropping up in modern day. Same object of worship, different name. There is truly nothing new under the sun.

    My other thought is about how many of the books you’ve mentioned treat men like children. Seriously, I remember reading Shaunti Feldman and Stormie Omarian and feeling like I was being told to treat my husband in the same manner that I was treating my three year old son. Encouragement, praise, “caught ya bein’ good”. It’s sickening and dangerous. That teaching made me miss real red flags in my marriage. “My husband is acting like a 12 year old. Oh, these books are telling me that it’s normal.” And let me be the first to exclaim that there is no amount of sex that will keep a cheater from cheating. Infidelity has roots far, far deeper than “getting enough.” If a person is broken, traumatized, demonized, or just plain wicked, nothing will stop him (or her) from acting out. Trust me. I know this. No amount of submission or love or compliments or sex kept my husband from acting out sexually. He was doing it before we were married and he kept doing it secretly for 25 years of marriage, even though the obligation message was alive and well and it was crushing me.

    One more point: your porn triage message was super helpful to me. I was in an abuse marriage where my husband was acting out with prostitutes and lying to me. Now, though, he is getting help from a (trained and licensed!!) therapist, and he is repentant, remorseful, and determined to make amends. I have hope. Your podcast helped me to see that there was a time in our marriage that I should have asked him to leave, had I known about his behaviors, but now we are in a place where we can seek healing. God protected me all of those years while my husband was fighting addiction, and God has sent help along the way, including Bare Marriage and many others.

    Keep up the good work!! These are excellent and nuanced conversations.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Jen! Yes, the books do treat men like children. I wonder why more men don’t push back? Don’t they see how insulting it is for men like Steve Arterburn to say, “Men just don’t have that Christian view of sex?” or, when it comes to sin, “we got there naturally, simply by being male”?

      And I’m glad you thought that was funny!

      Reply
    • Laura

      There’s definitely penis worship in all cultures. American insurance companies will cover Viagra, but not contraceptives like BC pills. When I was married to my ex, my insurance company would not cover my birth control, so I went to Planned Parenthood because my birth control was much cheaper and I could get a one-year supply.

      Also, my ex was a sex addict who sexually assaulted me while I was asleep. He looked at porn and frequented strip clubs because he didn’t think I was giving him enough sex. As you mentioned, being more submissive (which I tried to do) and giving him as much sex as he wanted does not stop porn watching or cheating. They will continue to do it anyway. That’s why I left my ex 20 years ago. I was 25 and not willing to hold out hoping that he would change his ways. According to Debi Pearl (co-author of To Train Up a Child and Created to Be His Helpmeet), I cannot remarry because I should have stuck it out no matter how horribly he treated me. I’m so glad I never read those harmful Christian books back then.

      Reply
      • Jen

        Patrick Weaver Ministries taught me that my husband left the marriage by acting out. He broke the covenant, so I’m free to go. I’m glad you got out instead of slowly dying. And is it horrifying that WOMEN teach this nonsense to other women?

        Reply
  7. Jan

    I have been very discouraged by several women bloggers who do talk about mutuality, but will drive home the fact that he doesn’t feel satisfied unless she orgasms. When I have found it difficult to climax, thinking about how it’s “affecting” him kills it dead. I just don’t have the mental or emotional energy to take on that burden and nor should I. I’m so glad you pointed out how these women bloggers suggest that her pleasure is for him.

    Reply
    • Jane Eyre

      I have heard that before – her pleasure exists to enhance his – and it makes me want to join a convent. It’s so gross and demeaning: they are saying our own husbands don’t think we are owed happiness for OUR sake. While healthy people desire good things for those they love, it should not turn into possessing the other person’s good things for your own benefit.

      Reply
      • Jo R

        Well, Jane, let’s just face facts. Life is all about the men, and women don’t matter at all.

        At least now we know it isn’t the WOMAN’S fault when she fails to produce a son. Small comfort, that.

        Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Hey, Jane–totally off topic, but this was your 500th comment! Woo hoo!

        Reply
      • Laura

        When I hear stuff like this “her pleasure exists to enhance his,” I am just so thankful to be single right now. I may even remain so, because I never got anything out of sex when I was married to my ex-husband. It was all for him and I never once had an orgasm. I didn’t know how to have one and I still don’t at 45.

        Reply
    • Andrea

      I referenced Dr. Van Anders in a comment above and she’s relevant here too, doing amazing research no one else would even think of, like on orgasm coercion. Here’s a link to the abstract: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35059945/
      and here’s the best line of the article: “Partner orgasm occurrence (especially for men partnered with women) is socially positioned a personal achievement and symbol of
      mastery over another person’s body.”

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It’s such a difficult thing to talk about well! As soon as we start putting pressure on her to orgasm, then we make it into a pass/fail thing. But if we don’t talk about the importance of a woman’s orgasm, then it’s all too easy for him to feel that he doesn’t have to consider her.

      No one should ever feel pressure to orgasm; but people should feel that it’s their responsibility to at least try to make it good for the other person.

      Reply
      • Laura

        When I was married to my ex, I felt pressure to orgasm and I didn’t even know what an orgasm is supposed to feel like. I faked it or at least I thought I had one. My friends and mother said, “You would know if you did.”

        Reply
    • Jen

      Yes, Jan! Sheila, perhaps another topic is how certain attitudes promote idolatry. Whether it’s phallic worship (just the sexuality) or husband worship (the whole she-bang), so many of these writings teach us to put our husband before God. It’s right there in Gothard’s umbrella visual, in the blogger’s “climax for him” mentality, and in every teaching that suggests we are responsible before God for our husband’s behavior. All of it is idolatry, and none of it creates health. Surprise, surprise. Humans are still trying to be worshipped.

      Reply
  8. Sometimes Sad Wife

    I’ve had the opposite problem, I have very high libido and my husband does not want sex. We’ve been married for a long time and I finally got him to come to marriage counseling with me and we are actively still working on it. I am bitter because I read ALL of the marriage books and there was nothing mentioned about a husband’s duty to have sex with his wife. I was sad and depressed for years and felt shame because I was not wanted. I finally told him this is not what I want. He’s still not as affectionate as I’d like, but he is slowly reaching out. Even though I desire sex more, it still is awkward because we didn’t talk about it much. I would love a whole podcast or blog about women who suffer in silence because their husband doesn’t desire you. Thanks for all your work. The Great Sex Rescue made me realize that I am normal and deserving of a good sex life.

    Reply
  9. Lisa

    To answer your question, YES. American Evangelical marriage advice mirrors everything gross about American sex culture, they just add, “keep it within marriage.” The healthy sexual messages in the broader culture are ignored while they keep the garbage.

    Reply
  10. Anon

    This isn’t really related to this specific topic, but I would love to hear your thoughts on two related issues which I’ve not yet come across in previous posts.

    I have some sensory issues like those often experienced by people with autism (though I don’t have autism). So I am super-aware of sensations like a muscle cramp, or tooth pain, or stomach gurgling. I find it really hard not to be incredibly distracted by these during sex. It is hard to relax when you are always trying to hold onto your IBS-induced trapped wind, for example! I’d love to know how other people handle being distracted by various bodily ailments.

    My other question is how to have the right mindset to persevere with sex when you don’t orgasm. I’m pretty sure my lack of orgasm is related to physical health (I have no diagnosed medical issues other than IBS but I’ve had lots of issues that have been related to nutritional problems). I’m pretty sure that my inorgasmia for the first 6 years of marriage were due to birth control pills, since all kinds of things dramatically improved after I stopped taking them. I have only experienced orgasm about 5 or 6 times since then, usually when my health has been in a better state, but it hasn’t happened in the last 3 years. I’ve been working on health and nutrition for 10 years now, so I doubt I’m likely to see any sudden changes in that any time soon.

    My relationship with my husband is better than it has ever been in 21 years of marriage. Neither of us has experience of purity culture. He does not have an entitlement mindset. He has far more patience with foreplay than I do. He values me as a person, and the work that I do within the family. He really wants me to experience pleasure, but does not put any pressure on me to do so. Since reading TGSR and us both working on our sexual relationship I have gone from completely uninterested in sex to being able to get aroused and interested. Now on a reasonable day I get to what feels like 95-99% of the way to orgasm…and then it fizzles out. It feels like being in a car driving up to the brow of a very steep hill, and then running out of fuel just before you reach the top, so sliding back down again.

    It is sometimes hard to be motivated to keep trying when every time it ends in physical frustration. I don’t feel used, or lonely, or emotionally bad, and I enjoy the intimate time with my husband from an emotional point of view – but I do find it hard to psych myself up to getting excited when I can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to end in an anti-climax yet again. My pelvic floor function is not great, but I’ve not seen any improvement with a Perefit trainer, and at the moment, I just don’t have time to fit that into my day anyway. I would love any tips on how to coach myself to keep persevering!

    Reply
    • Anon

      You sound like you’ve tried (and perservered with!! ) so much, and have already made great gains. Good on you!!
      Perhaps you could ask you husband for his encouragement to keep preservering?

      A quick comment to let you know I’ve found significant and surprisingly easy Improvement in my PC muscles by gently bouncing on my Cellerciser rebounder. I bought mine second hand (prayed to find a second hand one – answer to prayer! ) and only used it about 5 mins a day?

      I used to leak when I’d sneeze, cough, etc, And then once day realized I wasn’t anymore! Amazing! Wow! Such a change.

      Then I stopped using it, and horrible leakage after coughing etc. So I’ve just started using it again!! How embarrassing otherwise!! (I’m not saying you have that problem, just highlighting what a big difference it’s made for me).

      I also looked online about how to hold yourself in, PC muscles that is, turn your muscles on when you bounce.

      Hope it might help you get the final way over the hill.

      I know Sheila has an online orgasm course too, not sure if you’ve checked that out?

      I also read and printed out an article on how to have an orgasm by Sheila. It really helped me.

      All the best. I’m praying you find encouragement and healing and help for the IBS and enjoy so much blessing in Jesus’ Name.

      Reply
      • Anon

        Thank you, Anon – that is great about how the rebounder helped you. I’m going to investigate further. 🙂

        I do have Sheila’s course, but that was a helpful reminder for me because I am only part of the way through it and had kind of forgotten about it. I’m going to get back to it!

        Thank you for the prayers. 🙂

        Reply
  11. exwifeofasexaddict

    To answer your titular question, yes. Yes it is. And I’m pissed about it.

    Reply
    • Jo R

      Same.

      And to couch their “teaching” in terms that disobeying it is sinning against God Himself is just so beyond the pale that the only words one can use to discuss it are those short, Anglo-Saxon ones that end in the hard consonants.

      Reply
  12. Anonymous Too

    Here’s where I’m torn about what to do. I love my husband. He is a great man. He does everything around the house that I do and more. I know that he loves me because of how he treats me and what he does for me. He has never spoken or acted disrespectfully toward me. Do I have any right to say anything at all about the lack of pleasure/intimacy I feel during sex? He knows I’ve never had an orgasm in the two decades we’ve been together even after trying everything on this planet. It seems selfish to ask that we stop having sex just because I get nothing out of it but I’d rather put that effort into anything else. I keep having sex because he really enjoys it and he loves me and I want to give him something he enjoys…it’s also my gift of appreciation for how he treats me and for everything he does. I’ve been thinking about this for years. I got married knowing that I’d have sex but no one said I would enjoy it. What do I do?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Have you taken a look at The Orgasm course? It may help you! Also, have you read The Great Sex Rescue? Many women have a block when it comes to pleasure because of what they’ve believed about sex. So many have told us that that book unlocked their ability to feel pleasure finally!

      Reply
  13. Nancy

    Shiela, have you ever dealt with the problem of erectile disfunction and how to have a sexual relationship?

    Reply

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