Men’s Podcast: Do You Know What Your Wife Has Been Taught About Sex?

by | Jul 28, 2022 | For Men, Podcasts, Theology of Marriage and Sex | 9 comments

What Have Women Been Taught About Sex in Evangelicalism?
Merchandise is Here!

What if your wife has been taught toxic things about sex–and you don’t even realize it?

This month we’ve been re-running some of my favourite podcast episodes from over a year ago, to allow a lot of our newer podcast listeners to hear some of the great material from podcasts past.

Next week we start a new season of the Bare Marriage podcast, and I’m excited to bring it to you!

But for today, I decided to rerun this episode of our Start Your Engines men’s podcast, focusing on what guys may not realize their wives have been taught in women’s Bible studies, books, and retreats.

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:




Welcome to the bear marriage podcast I’m Sheila Wray Gregoire from to where we like to talk about how to make marriage a passionate adventure and not just a giant to-do list and on the last thursday of every month I like to speak more particularly to the guys. I mean women you are free to listen, you’re gonna find this one entertaining too but I like to have a special message for guys so I have got my husband Keith on with me today hey everybody and we’re gonna do something fun okay i’m gonna kind of put you on the spot okay i’m gonna ask you to think like a woman oh wow okay yeah that would be a challenge one of the things is this because i said that in my little post that i’ve been reading your book like trying to think about it as a woman yeah well that was very helpful i thought that was really great one of the things that men often talk to us about from our book the great sex rescue is that they were never taught these messages yeah and so they wonder where was my wife really taught this like are you making too big a deal out of something right because what we did for the great sex rescue here’s the book i will hold it up for those of you watching on youtube there it is the great sex rescue was we surveyed 20 000 women we asked them about their sex lives their marital satisfaction and then we asked whether or not they had been taught and whether or not they believed a number of evangelical teachings that are quite prevalent about marriage and sex and we found that there were quite a few of those beliefs that really did have negative impacts on women’s sex lives but then men come around and say yeah but i have never heard this i’ve gone to church my whole life i’ve been an evangelical my whole life i have never heard any of this stuff preached i have never heard it said that all men struggle with lust i have never heard it said that women are obligated to have sex whenever their husbands want it i have never heard it said that boys are going to push girl sexual boundaries i’ve never heard any of this stuff said and so which i find a little bit hard to believe because i think it’s everywhere but but we have had people say that yeah but one of the interesting things is that when you ask women where they hear this stuff it doesn’t tend to be from the pulpit and often it’s not even from their parents usually it’s from resources and books and so here’s the thing that i want guys to understand we know that at least 74 of marriage and parenting books are bought by women and read by women that makes sense that’s the figure for books as a whole it’s probably higher in the christian circles because women go to women’s bible studies yeah and it was in women’s bible studies that i read a lot of these books it wasn’t because of small groups it wasn’t it was it was in women-only spaces and women go to a lot of women’s conferences where this stuff is taught we listen to focus on the family most listeners who focus on the family are female and so women are often given very different messages from men so what i want to do on today’s show is i have a whole stack of books and i am going to read to you some excerpts of what women have been hearing their whole lives and just get your take on how you would feel if you were a woman and i heard that yes now one of these books was your choice because yeah you read this recently i’m gonna say that one till last and you were quite upset about about it but i have a whole bunch of other books and a whole bunch of takes and i want your response. Okay first book when god writes your love story by eric and leslie ludy okay these people were very big in purity culture and we’re going to jump into a story about carly and todd they started dating in college it says he met carly at an early morning prayer meeting he was leading drawn together by their mutual love for the lord and a desire to go on the mission field together they became an inseparable pair within two months they knew they would be married but one evening passion unexpectedly overcame common sense and the next thing they knew they were waking up in bed together stunned by what they had allowed themselves to do suddenly their beautiful exciting relationship became awkward and strained todd was riddled with gut-wrenching shame for the first time in his life he felt like a failure as for carly she was hurt and confused by todd’s behavior she had thought he loved her but she had made the mistake of giving him her most precious gift her virginity but now he was distant and cold toward her she was full of guilt when she thought of all her childhood dreams of walking down the aisle in a white wedding gown symbolizing her purity she felt sick she could never hope to have a beautiful love story with todd now she had ruined her chance oh my gosh so as a woman there’s like no redemption for you yes like you make you have one slip and that’s it yeah your most precious gift is gone yes evaporated yeah it means nothing now yeah the fact that you want to spend the rest of your life with this person doesn’t matter you you’re not a virgin anymore right but the thing is he’s not a virgin anymore either and yet they’re talking about it like yes he feels guilt but they’re saying that she’s the one who’s ruined her life well she’s the one because there’s a double standard right like there’s the expectation that women are going to be the women are the pure ones women are the breaks and men are the gas that’s sort of the mentality evangelical church has it’s not like we both have responsibility to make decisions in a way that honors each other and honors god it’s that i’m this raging torrent of testosterone and i have no control and you’re the woman and you need to be in charge of making sure we don’t go too far and that’s horrible and it’s not fair yeah so in purity culture the message that women got was you will be ruined yeah but men didn’t get that same message no because so it’s her it’s her gift it’s not his gift exactly okay second book we’re going to look at of course love and respect by emerson egridge we we deal with this one quite a bit we’re just going to take a little bit of a romp through the sex chapter all right we open with a wife who doesn’t have a very happy marriage to her doctor husband oh okay but we have a happy marriage to my doctor husband okay and she just doesn’t really want sex egret says through a series of events the lord spoke to her and said who is supposed to be the mature one here he is a new believer and you’ve been in christ for many years she got the message she decided to minister to her husband sexually not because she particularly wanted to but because she wanted to do it as unto jesus she didn’t have that need for sex it wasn’t within her but she realized this was her husband’s need and the lord had spoken to her about meeting his need first i’m shaking my head already can i comment on that yes it’s like lie back and do it for england you know like think of england like it’s just terrible like it’s like we know that sex isn’t gonna feel good for you you know so but just do it for whatever reason right do it as unto jesus like that’s creepy i i don’t like that yeah yeah i would not if i were a woman i would find that very very upsetting the first thing i thought was if she doesn’t want sex what’s going on i mean he’s a doctor he knows how it works like there’s something must be happening there and they should they should work out what the issues are yeah but that’s never said it’s just she needs to meet his needs let’s go on with that idea husbands particularly can come under satanic attack when deprived of sexual release oh okay wise might be able to better understand this if they think about how they would feel if their husbands didn’t want to talk or listen to them being deprived of emotional release would make most women feel miserable so first of all husbands need physical release yeah well this would if i were a woman and i was reading this i would feel incredible pressure like incredible pressure because you’re saying your husband can come under satanic attack based on what you do yeah like so that to me is that’s huge right i mean obviously i don’t think it’s true i mean i think this is crazy i mean what about single men right like are they under constant satanic attack because they can’t you know like it’s just it’s just silly but if i were a woman reading that i would feel so much burden oh my gosh this is so terrible i’ve really gotta i mean how could you enjoy sex and not in the back of your mind like i’m doing it to prevent a satanic attack yep so you’re doing it unto jesus you’re doing it to prevent attack now let’s go to a conversation between a mother and a daughter i know this one every sunday she and her husband would visit her parents but one sunday morning she called her mother and said we’re not coming the mother asked why not well because my honey is in a twit the daughter said why inquired the mother i suppose because we haven’t been sexually intimate for seven days mom did not hesitate gently but firmly she let her daughter have it you ought to be ashamed of yourself why would you deprive him of something that takes such a short amount of time and makes him so happy i knew i knew that was coming because that’s that’s a classic one you’ve quoted so many times and i think it’s really i mean of course he puts the words in the in the mouth of a woman so that it comes across easier to a woman but if i were a woman reading that that would just drive me crazy okay first of all it takes such a short amount of time then you’re doing it wrong because if you’re a woman it doesn’t take a short amount of time and that’s the way women are made and that’s okay yeah you know so so as a woman you’re listening to this and you’re thinking constant pressure yeah you have your mother telling you oh sorry come under satanic attack do it unto jesus it’s very clear the whole point is that sex is not for women it’s just for men and you need to do it so that you know you’re taking care of him yeah and you’re the mature one right he’s the little child who is going to have a temper tantrum unless he gets sex so give him the sex you know like it’s it’s just it’s not it’s not a very it’s a demeaning attitude toward men too i know we’re not talking about man we’re supposed to be talking about women but as a man i feel a little bit offended that this is what the view of men is in the evangelical church i think we are better than that but anyway okay and so here’s how he ends the chapter okay if your husband is typical he has a need you don’t have yeah when you change it’s right open blatant yeah like you don’t need sex he does right when you shame him punish him or deprive him he feels dishonored for who he is if your husband feels you do not respect his struggle that’s his struggle with lust his desire for you and his maleness he’ll pull back from you but he needs you you knew that before marriage as you recognize his need and seek to meet it you will find him reaching out to meet yours so there i just would feel very scared as a woman right if you don’t do these things he’s going to pull back from you because because in most relationships women are very very relationship oriented more than guys in a lot of ways they naturally have that real longing to connect guys tend to be a bit more independent i think it’s still important for men but it’s not we’re not taught that way and so as a woman reading that if i don’t do all these things he’s going to pull away from me and that’s that’s like that sounds very dangerous as a woman yeah i would find that very threatening yeah so in that whole passage and that whole chapter which i just read to you just short snippets is there anything there as a woman that would make you excited to have sex oh gosh it’s like sex is presented all duty it’s all duty let’s move to power for praying wife i actually did study this one in a women’s bible study so power of a praying wife yes read this in a women’s bible study probably like how old’s becca now 20 so like 24 years ago oh okay okay for a wife sex comes out of affection she doesn’t want to be affectionate with a man who makes her feel angry hurt lonely disappointed overworked unsupported uncared for or abandoned but for a husband sex is pure need his eyes ears brain and emotions get clouded if he doesn’t have that release wow so i think as a woman okay this is this is a harder one for me to wrap my head around so as a woman she’s acknowledging all these things about women and i assume because she’s a woman they’re true like everything she said about women is true right yeah so i mean i i don’t know i just some women do have a more felt need for sex as well yeah but but it’s it’s like it’s sex is a very emotional holistic even spiritual thing for women is what she’s saying but for men that’s not true yeah so like as a woman i’d be like oh so it’s it’s like just need it has nothing to do with this emotional spiritual closeness that i feel like that would be very upsetting to me because it’s like i’d like to i mean maybe he needs it more than i do maybe he feels a physical need more than i do but i like to feel that part is the emotional part is still part of it for him and to feel that it’s not at all i think that would be very i feel a little dirty about it yeah and again she uses the same word that emerson english does she talks about his release yeah release release yeah because he will explode yeah he doesn’t okay here we go when we’re married our bodies are not our own we owe each other physical attention and we’re not to deprive one another the frequency of sex depends on the other person’s need not ours alone if your attitude about having sex comes down to only what you need or what you don’t want then you don’t have god’s perspective yeah again so and especially when you compare this with the idea of a hierarchy in marriage where the husband is the decision maker as a woman i’d feel very threatened by that because it’s like if he has the higher need and he’s the one who makes the decisions it’s not like we can come to a discussion about what’s appropriate for us it’s like he sets the standard and i have to meet it yep so it’s not a mutual thing at all it’s a i’m doing this because he’s telling me too yeah and i would not feel comfortable with that yeah as a woman if i were a woman like i do agree with her that you’re that you are supposed to think of the other person’s needs like we are supposed to be giving in marriage but the problem is she doesn’t balance that with the fact that sex is for you too yeah well and the thing too is that to say that it’s not just about you anymore is totally appropriate but to say that it’s not about you it’s that it’s entirely about him that’s what i have a problem with yeah right because like i don’t think that it’s fair to say that you don’t have any agency anymore which is the way that it gets put forward like it’s like you have no right over to your own body he has the right over your own body and and then we forget the fact that well she has the right over his body too yeah like that keeps that keeps falling away and we get this mentality that women have to have sex whenever men want to again because it’s always the man with a higher drive in these kind of books which is not the case in like a third of marriages but right okay so keep that thought okay because that’s how am i doing am i thinking like a woman at all yet no you’re doing great you’re doing great okay so now we got sheet music by kevin lehman okay i’m not reading all the problematic passages from these books i’m just reading a little just to give you a little bit of a snippet of how overwhelming some of these messages can be so i i’m kind of reading the same message from each of these books just to show guys this is what she’s been told her whole life and it really does get overwhelming so here’s and you’re gonna have some like good stuff at the end about how to help them yes get over this right yeah good yes okay okay so here’s kevin lehman i’m blunt with premarital couples if you’re not willing to commit yourself to having sex with this person two to three times a week for the rest of your life don’t get married certainly pregnancy and sickness and a few other unforeseen problems will alter this but in general to get married is to commit to a regular time of sexual intimacy and then he goes on this means there may be times when you have sex out of mercy obligation or commitment and without any real desire yes it may feel forced it might feel planned and you may fight to stop yourself from just shoving your partner away and saying enough already but the root issue is this you’re acting out of love you’re honoring your commitment and that’s a wonderful thing to do okay all right so this is one of the things again i i i find it hard to think like a woman i’m thinking about this as a guy again but i find this the logic that they use all the time really bothers me and it’s like they take something which is actually healthy and they totally use the language but then they do something which is not healthy okay so for instance in this concept the issue that it’s not just about you and like there be there may be times where it feels planned he said you know i think it’s healthy if you haven’t been sexually invent for a while and you realize you have been sectioned for a while to say you know what tuesday night we’re gonna rock each other’s world right like like we’ve been busy we’ve been doing stuff it’s fallen by the wayside we’re gonna make a date it’s gonna happen i think that that’s a healthy thing yeah you know that you’re talking about this but but then they add all this other stuff about how it may feel forced yeah and you’re doing it out of obligation and all these things to me which sound very very unsexy right yeah you may fight to stop yourself from just shoving him away so he’s pawing you and you’re like you’re feeling the urge to push him away because that’s what you’re feeling like but you’re supposed to suppress that feeling and let him because that’s what godly women do and that bothers me i really don’t like that yeah and what’s not mentioned here at all is any concept of consent yeah because i think that the again at the beginning he says you don’t get married unless you’re planning to have sex regularly with this person right now he gives a time number of times a week which is three times which i think is a bit much but whatever the point he’s saying is don’t get married unless you’re willing to have sex and the thing i think is this hilarious is it is healthy to say that sex is a healthy part of marriage and you should get married to a person you don’t want to have sex with but what i find amazing is that nobody in the evangelical church asks why is it that evangelical women don’t want to have sex and it’s because of stuff like this it’s like they’re being taught you don’t want it you won’t like it you need to give it out of obligation and then we wonder why they don’t like it and they feel like they need to give it an obligation you know it’s crazy well and and the message you know that do not deprive each other and you should meet your spouse’s sexual needs like a lot of guys hear that message they’re like well yeah that’s true yeah right and i think a lot of guys don’t have this mentality that i’m saying which is very one-sided a lot of guys want to give their wives a lot of pleasure yes they want to take the time it needs they want to be great lovers they want this to be a mutual thing i think i think most guys are like that i’d like to believe in most guys i think they are too and from our focus groups we certainly found that most guy it was actually the men who were largely responsible for helping the women get over this yeah but i mean i think that guys need to understand that this idea that we’re not supposed to deprive each other and that our bodies don’t belong to us but to the other has very different repercussions for women than it does for men oh yeah and this is what guys don’t always understand because first of all it’s women who can be physically in pain with sex yeah and that’s very rarely mentioned to be to be fair kevin lehman actually does he’s one of the few that handles vaginism as well nobody else that i read even mentioned sexual pain so it’s women who can feel sexual pain it’s women who are just simply far more vulnerable physically during sex um it’s women who are more likely to have sexual trauma in their pasts it’s women who are more likely to have been sexually objectified and harassed than men and so you know sex has often been used as a weapon against women it’s often been seen as something very threatening so so to say you have a duty to each other and your body doesn’t belong to you that has a very different feel for a woman than it does for a man and so even though there’s verses in the bible talking about that we need to understand the broader context of those verses and not use them lightly which is what a lot of these books are are doing okay this is one i want to go into a little bit more detail because this is something that a lot of male authors do and i just don’t think they realize what they’re saying okay okay so this is from the meaning of marriage by tim keller and that book actually scored decently on a rubric it came out as neutral so it wasn’t harmful most books came out as harmful this one didn’t but i want to show you how some of the ways that he talks about sex would be taken very differently from men than women when i was doing research for this chapter his sex chapter i found some old talks that kathy and i did together i had forgotten some of the struggles we had in our early days and some of the notes reminded me that in those years we started to dread having sex kathy in those remarks said that if she didn’t experience an orgasm during lovemaking we both felt like failures if i asked her how was that and she said it just hurt i felt devastated and she did too we had a great deal of trouble until we started to see something as cathy said in her notes we came to realize that orgasm is great especially climaxing together but the awe the wonder the safety and the joy of just being one is stirring and stunning even without that and when we stopped trying to perform and just started simply to love one another in sex things started to move ahead we stopped worrying about our performance and we stopped worrying about what we were getting and started to say well what can we just do to give something to the other okay again this is an issue where language is getting changed a little bit so i think the idea that it doesn’t have to be like fireworks and the fourth of july or you know if you’re american every time and it should just be something that’s enjoyable for both of us yeah it doesn’t have to be reproduction i think that’s a healthy thing i do too absolutely and aiming for orgasm every time can be a little bit can be self-defeating yeah yes what i worry about here though is it almost sounds like it’s like she can’t orgasm so we’re just going to go ahead and that’s where it ends and i’m not sure i don’t know i i don’t know if that’s what he’s saying but it’s like why didn’t they talk more about like we just did things to make each other feel really good yeah because he goes on to say if your main purpose in sex is giving pleasure not getting pleasure then a person who doesn’t have as much of a sex drive physically can give to the other person as a gift and he talks about how it’s good to give gifts yeah but i think it’s also good to give a gift if you’re the higher drive person too right like i think i think what a lot of women need is just to feel like it’s good like to have the husband to take the time to show them it can feel good yeah because i think a lot of women are living with marriages that are you know it’s very one-sided sex like he has an orgasm and she feels like a failure because she can’t orgasm during sex and it’s like right we have a 47 point orgasm gap i’ve talked about that quite a bit 95 percent of men you mean you mean evangelical yes mature evangelical has a point orchestra okay so 95 of men almost all of us are always orgasm during a sexual encounter versus only 48 of women and you know if you’re a woman and you orgasm like 67 of the time or something then saying you know what we’re not going to aim for her orgasm every time we’re not going to see it as a pass fail that can be a really good thing to do but what if the person reading this never orgasms what is the message that she’s hearing yeah that’s a different thing too yeah like it’s okay just give up yeah just give it as a gift and also it’s selfish to worry about your own pleasure yeah because i was thinking like if if that’s the case then you know why doesn’t he just take more time to make her feel better like i think that a lot of times like books i don’t know if this is the book or the act of marriage which was the one that sort of made like mutual simultaneous orgasm is the goal active marriage the act of marriage that’s that’s like that made it the goal and if you didn’t do that you had somehow missed what it was supposed to be about like that was it right and it’s like that’s such a huge like pass fail thing and it’s like it’s not like let’s just enjoy each other let’s sex is about more than just that right like yeah but but but you know talking about how we’re just going to focus on what we’re giving but if she’s not reaching orgasm what exactly is she getting the big thing is that they both have to focus on giving so it’s like he gets to have sex and have an orgasm when she doesn’t and then they just both go to sleep yeah what’s he giving in that situation right yeah he needs to be giving something too right so to me i think most guys understand that and they would but i’m not sure that everyone reading this would take that away i think that they would take away that you know again given the fact that so many books say sex is for men not for women you know or at least imply that the the takeaway here would be you know women it’s not gonna work for you most of the time just give it to him anyway yeah and the guys just you know buy her something nice once in a while like like there’s no there’s no admonition to the guy to actually try and become a better lover like and there should be i mean i mean to be fair earlier in the chapter he does talk about how it is supposed to be mutual but then when they get down to actually explaining what their own life is like it’s like don’t worry about receiving pleasure only worry about giving if you’re not you know you could do it as a gift anyway and then the other part that really got me was this one sentence and we spent a lot of time in the great sex rescue talking about this sentence if i asked her how was that and she said it just hurt i felt devastated and she did too so they are not communicating during intercourse they’re only communicating afterwards so afterwards he said how was that and she said it just hurts so she didn’t feel like during intercourse she could speak up and say hey this is hurting and when we have 22 percent of women who experience vaginismus which is twice the rate of the general population to throw that line out there yeah without any talk about the importance of women not feeling sexual pain yeah is really problematic because again what this is saying is she shouldn’t worry about her sexual pain again it’s so hard to think like a woman i was thinking like a man again during there and i was just thinking as a man to say she said it just hurt and i was devastated to show it so is she like i’m thinking like so where’s the so i told her please tell me next time if it’s hurting like that’s as a man that’s what i was thinking like yeah because i would want to know that i wouldn’t want to i mean if i heard about it afterwards i’d be like okay so like let’s not make this mistake again like let me know ahead of time so that i can stop yeah but again it’s painting this picture of sex where she doesn’t feel she can speak up yeah and with that in mind oh this is the one that i picked nope nope this is not this is still my pick for women only shaunti feldahn she’s talking in her book on sex about how a man’s need for sex is not physical primarily it’s actually emotional it’s that feeling like there was so this is actually a very good message that’s a good message it’s not just need right pure need right she actually says it’s not about release which is great good like so that part’s good healthy but then she says this know that you’re responding to a tender heart hiding behind all that testosterone if at all possible respond to his advances with your full emotional involvement knowing that you’re touching his heart but if responding physically seems out of the question let your words be heart words reassuring affirming adoring do everything in your power using words and actions your husband understands to keep those pangs of personal rejection from striking the man you love leave him in no doubt that you’d love to love him wow it’s so hard to think like a woman as a guy again i’m just offended because it’s like men are these tender little lilies that can not take any criticism and can’t be told anything other than just be adoring to them like that bothers me again as a man okay but anyway as a woman i guess i would be sort of thinking that again through the sexual experience i have to be constantly worried about him and what he’s feeling and thinking and making sure he feels good and that he feels like he’s a good lover and all that kind of stuff and be rewarding him and making him feel good that’s what i’d be thinking which you know we know for women to enjoy and engage in sex it’s really important for them to be focusing on their own bodies and what’s happening in their bodies the sexual response for men is much more automatic the stimulation that’s provided all that sort of stuff you know it’s fairly easy for guys to feel good during sex women do need to be focusing on feeling their bodies and living inside themselves and being in touch with themselves during sex so when you’re then telling women the whole time that you’re doing this you should be thinking not about what’s going on inside you but what’s going on inside him i think that’s problematic i think that’s going to make it harder for women to enjoy sex and then she actually says if you can’t physically respond still make sure that you’re affirming him well no wonder you can’t respond because you’re not thinking about all the stuff is there anything in there that would make you feel as a woman that you can speak up and say a little to the left oh no because if i if i tell him something about his technique that he should do differently like he’s gonna be so hurt like that’s that’s the part that i was offended about as a man it’s like you can’t give the guy any advice yeah right because he’s he’s a tender heart and i forget all the words she used but it it to me it sounded very infantilizing as a man yeah so whereas i think most guys would be like we love to hear when we did a great job but like if there’s ways that that you can make it a better experience for your wife what guy doesn’t want to know that like what they want to hear from their wives i think but in these excerpts that we’ve read women are not encouraged to speak up instead they’re encouraged to think of their husband think of him think of how they can be giving and so you’re just experiencing these books in a very different way if you’re a woman so i’m going to let you take this one because this is the one that you wanted to oh yeah this is through a man’s eyes so by shanti felden and craig gross the thing with this one was that it was the whole day in the life of jack so that opens the book do you want to explain so basically yeah okay so this is basically it’s for women to know what it’s like for a guy and the book opens specifically to know about a guy’s visual nature yeah to know about the first job is called what men see and she tells the story of this day in life of jack and basically jack spends the entire day in this horrible struggle to not look at or think about looking at this one particular co-worker i think named abby yeah abby abby and andy and he’s like wrenching his chair away from her he’s he’s trying to get in situations where he won’t be able to look at her like so that he can he can physically not see her he’s bombarded by billboards when he drives yeah and then if she walks by he’s thinking constantly about times that he has looked at her and not not remembering what it looked like and that sort of thing and the guy that sounds like a nervous wreck yeah it says like the next few hours are tough jack breathes a sigh of relief like those things are like it sounds like his entire work day he’s not getting any work done first of all because his entire mental energy all day is spent trying not to look at abby or at the teenage girls in the hotel pool or at the billboards along the highway and he is so stressed about what visual stimulation may come his way and she says he’s not an abnormal guy he’s a normal man in an abnormal situation so the abnormal situation is having women around i guess yeah but anyway but the thing that bothered me about this a couple things that bothered me the first thing that bothered me was if i were a woman thinking that my husband was constantly spit like because this is this you came to me with this yes i did saying like is this your life right so and i think i’ve said this in the podcast many times before like i’m a pediatrician so i work around women all day long so it’s like my the nurses the other physicians most of them are female most of the parents who come in are the moms like i’m around women all day long and i don’t struggle not to look at women all day long i just don’t yeah and it’s not because something’s wrong with me like i actually have a very healthy male sex drive like i do it’s just that there’s time and a place for things and you know when it’s a time and you know when it’s a place and you know it’s not a time and when it’s not a place yeah and i don’t struggle like this and i don’t think that most men struggle like this and to make this sound like this is normal is concerning to me and as a woman this would terrify me like i would never go to see the doctor because i’d be worried of what he’s thinking about i mean like like when he looks at me right like it’s just like because the basic concept is that men cannot look at a woman in a way that’s not sexual they can either look sexually or they can not look at women like jack turns his chair physically away from abby so that he won’t look at her and that’s described as being respectful yeah he’s being respectful by and honoring her by pretending she doesn’t exist because that’s the only option than seeing her as an object of sexual desire and that’s so unhealthy but the thing that really bugs me is he wakes up in the morning and he’s talking about his wife and she’s in the shower ahead of him and he comes in to see her as he pushes open the door he sees his wife hastily wrapping a towel around herself what a shame and smiles at her as he says good morning he gives her a sweet kiss on top of her wet head and then he just basically says he savors every image he has of her from their wedding night onward his brain starts to imagine what she looks like under that towel but he shuts down that train of thought no sense making himself crazy she’s running to work and so is he and that’s all it talks about his visual battle with his wife so he’s looking at a naked woman in the shower who he’s married to and in a second he can shut it down he just says no point shut it down and he’s done and there’s no talk about his wife again after that yeah there’s no images of her bombarding him coming back into his brain all that kind of stuff and it’s just if i were a woman not only does my husband look at all these other women all day long he can stop looking at me in an instant and it’s not that hard for him that would hurt me so deeply men are not like that they’re just not like that that’s what we want to tell you guys who are listening is you may think that you haven’t heard a lot of these negative messages and very likely you haven’t like you may not have heard them to the same extent as your wife but i would just encourage you to talk to her ask her about some of the books that she’s read ask her about some of these messages and where she heard them and how they impacted her because women are hearing stuff that men aren’t necessarily hearing yeah and i don’t think that there’s there’s a realization of how much that can really affect women and i think guys it’s it’s important to let your wives know like there’s a difference between noticing a woman who’s beautiful and lasting after her i mean like yeah when a woman when a beautiful woman walks by i notice her i mean like that’s and you notice her too i mean i think i notice her differently than you do because i’m a male yeah right but that doesn’t mean your mind’s gonna definitely go somewhere and i think that this is why men are so like a lot of men do identify with jack because they think that the only way i can look at a woman is sexually there’s no way to look at a woman appreciate that she is sexually attractive you know that she’s a she’s a nice-looking woman and then let it not go anywhere in their brain it’s like i’m gonna instantly start sliding on that slope and i’m gonna be in full-on lust like right but if we phrase it to women like this is a danger that i’m fighting all day long and i’m struggling so hard with this and it’s so important for you to know that i struggle with this you need to respect the fact that i struggle with this like i don’t know it’s like like if i said to you hey you know what i notice other women are pretty and i don’t look at them because i’m married to you and i want to think about you that’s going to make you feel good yeah if i say i’m struggling all day long and you need to know how i’m struggling and you need to have sex with me more so i don’t struggle so badly that’s not healthy no or also you need to be grateful that i’m struggling so hard because it means i’m not lusting so all the time that i am emotionally investing and not looking at my co-worker i’m doing that for you and you should thank me that’s really icky too so there’s just a lot of ickiness going on and this what we found over and over again is that this is one of the reasons why women’s libidos are artificially lowered in christian communities why women often have difficulty with orgasm is we need to get rid of these ideas so our false teaching of the week we have a false teaching of the week now on our podcast our false teaching this week is just because it didn’t affect you doesn’t mean it didn’t affect other people yeah especially your wife so just because you didn’t hear this stuff just because it hasn’t been difficult for you does not mean that it didn’t affect other women other men your wife etc so you may hear this and think not really a big deal but it might be a big deal for her yeah and i think it’s important to talk to your wife about what things are going on inside her mind and one of the things i think is really great about the great sex rescue is a lot of the reviews that are coming in from women are saying my husband helped me to unpack all this stuff and i talked to him about this that i believed this and he was shocked and said oh my gosh i didn’t know that you were thinking that way i never want you to feel obligated i want this to be a completely 100 mutual thing and if you don’t want it then i’m okay i’m not going to be satanically attacked and explode if we don’t have sex tonight because i want this to be something that’s mutual for us and so many women talked about how freeing it was to hear their husbands say to them i want this to be something for us it’s not just for me it’s for us and i think that’s a great thing for you guys who are listening to this podcast is to give that message to your wives you know like i care about the bad messages you’ve received and i want to help you move forward in health instead and i want to work on helping you unpack some of this stuff and knowing that i love you only you that i’m committed to you and sex isn’t all about men it’s supposed to be for both of us yep and in the great sex rescue there are check-ins to help you with that dialogue there’s fun exercises they’re very fun exercises for you to explore together take that whatever you want it to mean at the end of each chapter again it’s not that we’re beating up on the evangelical church it’s that we’re beating up on a lot of teachings which have been prevalent in the evangelical culture and we just need to get back to what’s biblical because that’s how we free everybody from all this mess yes indeed i have brought rebecca my daughter onto the podcast now to do our research segments yes our new research segment and this is something that you found in a journal article a while ago um and it is all about who we perceive as complaining yes so they they basically did three different studies and this this article is talking about all three studies and it showed that our subjective analysis of who is doing more complaining yeah and they say uh maladaptive worry yes but no one says maladaptive worry in the workplace what they say ah she’s just being a worry word or speaking mountain of mulhel oh she’s just complaining all she does is wine yes right that’s what they that’s how we say yes so we tend to ascribe this maladav worry complaining thing to lower status individuals yes so the lower status you are the more likely when you say something is bad for other people to say oh she’s just complaining exactly or he’s just complaining yeah and so the same phrase could be said by a man versus a woman for instance yeah and statistically speaking the woman is more likely to be perceived as being a complainer right that’s what we’re saying here right and obviously we’re not assigning blame we’re not saying all men see that all women are just complainers yeah because women do this too that’s exactly what i was going to no matter who you are if someone is perceived as a lower status and that can include people of your own group yes we tend to trust them less we tend to assign negative motivations or just negative emotions to those people at a much higher rate and so really what we want to get across with this particular research is if someone is bringing problems to your attention and they are lower down the totem pole right because let’s just be objectively in a lot of churches in most churches men are higher on the totem pole than women yes they just are there’s no way around that they just have more power they have more status they’re trusted more and so when women are bringing complaints or if there are complaints about like you know abuse or you know if someone’s saying life is really rough for me right now and here’s why we need to be very careful that we don’t just brush them off just because you haven’t experienced something doesn’t mean that they don’t have a reason to complain yeah and so that’s just a reminder to all of us and it doesn’t even mean they are complaining right either they might just be pointing something out that is an uncomfortable truth for those in power yeah so just remember to always listen and to treat others the way that we would want to be treated yeah this is part of the golden rule okay next thing i want to share with you is it’s kind of like a reader question except there isn’t a question and we’re not going to answer anything i just found this fascinating and i thought this might be great for a start your entrance podcast great so let me set the stage we’ve been talking a lot about how this idea that all men struggle with lust can be quite toxic and can make men believe that they are lusting when they’re not and we’re conflating sexual attraction with lust and this can cause a whole host of problems for a lot of guys we’ve talked about that on many podcasts we really want to set men free from this because men were not designed to sin or to objectify women that is not men’s lot in life but a woman wrote to me about how this teaching has affected her relationships with the opposite sex and i just found this so fascinating that i wanted to share it because i thought oh that’s interesting so she’s saying um she’s listening to the podcast right now and what she was talking about was our men’s podcast where we talked about how how men struggle with lust which i will leave a link to that okay and she says thoughts keep popping in my head about women we talk about how we end up used and abused as a result of purity culture but as i hear you discuss how toxic the thought process is for men to be afraid of women i’m realizing i was raised to think all men wanted me yes and that greatly inhibited the ability to just be friends with men it also made me think of myself sexually all the time i’m not even a sexual person i have a lower drive but this topic is unearthing some things for me i can see how i viewed every man as someone who was interested in me and then when they weren’t it made me wonder why and i’d pursue them or flirt with them even if i wasn’t interested in the because they were supposed to want me yeah yeah no yeah i hope this doesn’t make me sound nuts but my mom also put a lot of emphasis on finding a husband so my eye and my brain were trained to always assess each man as potentially someone of interest i did that oh i actually think that was a i think that we acted in a quite healthy way though because we were also expecting that there are people who weren’t going to be interested in us yeah okay yeah okay anyway i hope we did i know that i messed up on some of that anyway this mindset didn’t just stop when i got married so it made staying faithful difficult because i always wanted to flirt and have attention i thought all my husband’s friends wanted me too i know this is sounding like i was a lunatic but i assure you i’m not as i mentioned i did end up in a pretty crappy marriage with all the covert sexual pressure for obligation sex marital rape and all of that but until today it hadn’t clicked that purity culture also attributed to my inability to choose a good man and affected so many relationships with male friends and i hope that makes sense that is really interesting i can see that actually i totally can and i think that it’s because it presents everything in such a black and white thing where it’s like if you have cleavage boys are going to find you sexually attractive right and then if guys don’t pay you that kind of attention you think you’re like well what’s wrong with me it’s kind of like this is kind of my my birthright because a woman is to have every guy fawning after me yeah and so then you’re like well i’m just gonna make you mm-hmm yeah i can totally see how that would happen because again it’s because we’re turning sex and sexuality and we’re turning it into a power game right so the men’s power game is frankly that they get it when they want it right the women’s power game is that they get to kind of control men yeah you know and neither of those are healthy no but that’s kind of the hand of cards that we’re dealt with and so i i totally can understand why a teenager and young adult like would kind of use that to their advantage a bit and try to kind of manipulate the world in a subconscious kind of way because that’s they’ve been told the world is like and so they’re in essence trying to like you know find proof of that and it makes male female friendships so difficult yeah because you sexualize everything and so guys sexualize things by being told you’re going to lust after every woman and then women can sexualize things by saying you’re supposed to be lusting after me yeah why aren’t you lusting after my dad and and by becoming flirty to make that happen and it’s like we just need to throw the whole thing out you do yeah yeah just get back to people our people our people and then eventually you’re gonna find one and you’re gonna fall in love and marry them but you can have lots of friends in the meantime isn’t there something sesame street about people or people i mean this is something you’re supposed to learn when you’re a toddler so people are people and let’s just treat others as you would want to be treated so maybe that’s exactly the big lesson in this podcast so as we’re wrapping up the podcast i have two emails to share that encouraging they’re not too long and one of our goals is to share how the book is transforming marriages we’re not just trying to take everything apart we’re trying to how we can rebuild and get something really healthy exactly and so this is a couple that is on the road to that and the husband is the main reason why and so i just like to share those those ones on our start your engines podcast and just give give kudos out there to the amazing men who are married and wanting to help their wives so a woman writes in and says i have been sobbing reading through the great sex rescue with my husband i read every purity book on the shelf because i wanted to be perfect for my husband and i had no idea how those words would mess me up i kept having sex after i tore horribly after my first birth out of fear it hurt so bad that i would grit my teeth and cry and it made me associate sex with pain i felt used but i was afraid that he would cheat or look at porn your duty sex chapter shook me to my core two more babies later and i’m still struggling i’m one of those women who orgasms but feels no connection at all thankfully my husband read this with me and he also sees how much harm these messages caused he and i are working through it and trying to reframe our minds and save sex in our marriage he’s a good man but we both heard and absorbed so many lies thank you i want to make every woman in my christian circle i ever knew grew up grow up read this book so yeah i’m just so glad her husband is willing to read it and willing to look at things and say i want better for you and i’m not better for us and healing is possible that’s fantastic i just thought more yeah more transformation like that yeah that’s what we’re looking for and here’s a message from a pastor sam powell this is a review that was left on amazon and he’s also been facebooking about this so i don’t even know sam but sam apparently you listen so thank you that’s great you’re awesome for years i’ve been doing marriage and pre-marriage counseling the lack of knowledge about sexuality or the outright lies that people have been taught have appalled me christians writing on the subject are normally hopelessly naive or have never met or talked to an actual woman or have been so focused on abstinence that they failed completely whenever i did counseling i wished that i had a book like this one the authors do an excellent job undoing the lies of the purity culture the allure of porn and how poorly the church does in combating it unfulfilling sex lives in marriages and lack of love and intimacy in so many christian marriages this book will be my go-to for all future marriage and pre-marriage counseling i cannot recommend it enough for those i have already counseled remember when i said i wish i had a book to recommend but i don’t this is the one we needed if you struggle know someone who struggles or simply desire a deeper more intimate more fulfilling sex life with your spouse please get this book pastors get this book we have a problem with sexuality in our churches and we need to know how to address it get this book use it get sexuality back on a biblical foundation and put the joy and intimacy back into the lives of those under your care that’s awesome yeah does that make you feel good yes this is really our prayer that pastors will get a hold of the great sex rescue so thank you for that um if you are a pastor please pick it up and read it because i think it’ll be really helpful in your counseling too remember that you can help us get this message out there wider we do have a patreon now yep and the money from that will go to joanna part of it to joanna as she writes articles for peer-reviewed journals we’ve got some great partnerships going with some pelvic floor physiotherapists and with some sociologists yeah it helps to cover our research expenses it helps cover joanna’s time frankly because normally when you’re doing academic research you have a salary from a university and you’re not you know just trying to do it with two toddlers in the background in your apartment in a caleb which is in the north none of it in the canadian picture polar bears yes that’s polar bears and igloos yes we are really really appreciative of your support it’s opened so many doors for us and then the other side of it is what we’re calling the transmission of the message yes to get into social media channels that we can’t currently monetize but to reach a different audience yeah and so that’s more my side of things yes so thank you for supporting us we’ll put the link below it’s patreon slash bear marriage and we’ll put the link in the podcast description and we are just so grateful for all the encouragement that everyone is sending us we just want to see marriages thrive and we want to get rid of these false teachings so keep telling us those things because it helps us and tune in at the last thursday of may where it’s probably gonna be my birthday that will be exciting yeah and we will come to you again with a great message for guys so thank you and we’ll see you next time

Timeline of the Podcast

1:00 Men usually HAVEN’T heard these same things
3:20 Reading text from real books that your wife has probably heard
5:45 “Women DO NOT have a need for sex, but they MUST always meet their husband’s needs.”
11: “Sex is ONLY physical for men, and ONLY emotional for women.”
14:15 “You can NEVER say no to sex, even if you would rather shove him off (which is a normal feeling cause you’re a woman and don’t want sex)”
19:10 “Don’t bother aiming for her pleasure if it becomes too complicated or difficult.”
25:50 “Wives MUST tell their husbands they are great lovers…even if they’re not.”
29:00 “Your husband will lust after every woman he ever sees.”
37:30 RESEARCH. Just because someone is ‘lower status’ doesn’t mean they are always complaining
40:10 One woman’s interesting experience with the problematic men’s teachings on lust
44:30 Ending with some encouragement!

Don’t miss our original post with more information about this podcast!


"A groundbreaking look into what true, sacred biblical sexuality is intended to be. A must-read." - Rachael Denhollander

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.

Great Sex Rescue

Things Mentioned in This Podcast:

Podcast What Women are Taught about Sex in Evangelicalism

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

Related Posts

PODCAST: 3 Ways to Talk about Libido Differences

We usually talk about libido differences in terms of high vs. low. Who has the higher libido? Who has the lower libido? And are these the best ways to talk about libido? In today's podcast, we talk about two OTHER ways to conceptualize libido differences that we find...


We welcome your comments and want this to be a place for healthy discussion. Comments that are rude, profane, or abusive will not be allowed. Comments that are unrelated to the current post may be deleted. Comments above 300 words in length are let through at the moderator’s discretion and may be shortened to the first 300 words or deleted. By commenting you are agreeing to the terms outlined in our comment and privacy policy, which you can read in full here!


  1. A2bbethany

    When I finally got the book, I had actually gotten 3 copies. One for my mom and mother-in-law, because she had given us sheet music.
    Well mom reluctantly read it and hated it apparently. She’s going to take a long time to change any beliefs.(huge fan of created to be his helpmeet)

    My mother-in-law recently informed us of her divorce due to a situation of physical abuse. So I’m not sure if she’ll get that copy or not……feels like a weird time to give it!

    Ironically my sister who’s husband has apparently turned his narcissist abuse around and actually (?) Been redeemed and given a new start, is my ally. Through her experience, she’s learned that your approach is the only healthy one that works. But she is still indefinitely, in intensive therapy (whole family is) for healing from her past. So she’s not anywhere near bold enough to say anything about it to my parents.
    And I’ve recently been deciding about boundaries with them, as I’ve been directing my anger toward them, at my daughter. And since I started dealinf with that, my life has gotten so much more peaceful.

  2. Abby

    I was taught all those things both from my mom and from books growing up – I’m sooo glad I found your book before I got married and made it my main resource!

    The thing about sex being only emotional for women just strikes me as such BS this morning. Granted, it has taken more work to figure out what feels good for me. But 4 years into marriage sex feels fantastic for both us! It would be so sad to do it any other way.

  3. Jo R

    So, “Christian” “biblical” teachers claim that women (1) don’t need sex, (2) don’t like sex, and (3) only need the emotional closeness they get while watching their husbands enjoy what some people consider to be the supreme physical pleasure.

    Are these teachers (inadvertently? deliberately?) giving men a complete pass from lifting a finger (pun intended) to attempt to sexually please their wives, or even just to think of doing so? 🤔 🤔 🤔

    • Anon

      My guess would be deliberate. After reading a lot of the junk from these “Biblical” resources that Sheila has done the fix-its on, I have to wonder just how many of these men writing this BS are perverts in disguise.

    • Jane Eyre

      There’s nothing intimate or emotional enjoyable about unsatisfying sex. Men will pay women they’ve never met or, in a pinch, use a barnyard animal for physical release. Wow I’m your barnyard animal!!!

    • Tim

      Not to make this about men, because clearly the harm done to women is greater. But even if you assumed that only men’s wellbeing mattered (which frankly seems like where a lot of this teaching comes from) this stuff would be counterproductive. These ideas caused all sorts of havoc in our marriage that hurt both of us and that we’re only just working through.

      At least in our case it didn’t come from the church so that’s something I guess…

  4. Stephanie

    Many years ago (in the late 90s) I asked my then-husband about something similar to the passages from Shanti Feldham’s book (it may have been her book) if these things were true for him and he said they were.. and they were for most men he knew too (no names). At some point, I remember standing on our friends’ driveway talking and he said “any man who tells you he doesn’t struggle with lust is lying.” My then-husband nodded sympathetically. And I thought from then on that Shanti and others who wrote similar ideas. I spent most of my time ‘helping’ him by ‘being readily available’, helping our girls stay ‘covered up’ (in my mind to protect them from all the dirty old (and not old) men out there), and censoring incoming mail by discarding ‘underwear ads’ and other similar things.

    I’m glad to know that many women are experiencing healing *with* their husbands. I am happy to be healing *from* mine. Thank you for what you are doing.

    • Frustrated

      I wish I was healing “with” mine. But the truth is – he likes the entitlements and has no desire to give up any of them. It doesn’t matter what’s right, only that his needs are met his way. He suggests I get on board with him or leave. But why should I be the one to lose everything just because he isn’t willing to sacrifice something for the health of our marriage.

      • Tim

        That’s really horrible. I’m sorry you’re in that situation.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.