A new year has begun–so let’s look over what was biggest on the blog in 2022!
At the start of every year I like to look back and see what resonated with people the most that I wrote last year. What posts had the highest traffic, the most comments?
This was a big year on the blog. I launched two new books–The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex and the totally revamped Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. I moved the blog from To Love, Honor and Vacuum, where it had been for 14 years, to Bare Marriage, rebranding and leaving about 2000 posts behind (mostly that I no longer agreed with or didn’t really fit into what I’m talking about now).
We were nervous about the rebrand, because I got a lot of traffic from Google and I didn’t want to lose it. But when Connor went to look at the biggest posts, guess what? All but one were from the end of the year.
Apparently Google likes us even better now! But we’ve also had a really active email list of almost 50,000 people who have been reading our posts. And my social media reach has really grown over the year. Plus, as you’ll hear about tomorrow, our podcast has been growing exponentially!
When you put all those things together, things have been growing steadily, which makes sense that the latter posts would be the biggest ones!
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So let’s count down the biggest posts of 2022!
10. Is She Dressing for Attention–or Is He? A New Research Deep Dive!
Last fall we did a research deep dive series, where we looked at what new peer reviewed research was saying about marriage, sex, and more. And one of the new papers we reported on was one looking at who it was that was aiming to get people to look at their body–was it women or men? And how much does each gender really look?
I found this study fascinating!
9. Research Deep Dive: Bring Back Vanilla Sex!
One of my favourite posts this year for sure! We’re always talking about how we need to spice things up, keep things hot, make sex super passionate. But what if it’s actually just relaxing, normal sex that bonds you together the most? What if we’re putting so much pressure on sex that we miss what can be really great about it?
We looked at some more research about what makes sex most satisfying. And it’s not swinging from the chandeliers!
8. How Do You get Your Husband To Understand That He Coerced You Into Sex?
A number of the top 10 posts had to do with my series on recovery when your sex life is in the pit, and specifically on marital rape. Apparently that’s a term that’s googled quite a bit, especially by Christians, which is tragic in and of itself.
After we started talking about marital rape, I had so many people ask me how they get their husbands to understand the coercion dynamic. Here’s what I wrote (along with a strong warning that if this is a problem in your marriage, please get help and call a domestic violence hotline if you need help).
7. On Spanking: When You Think You’re Following the Bible, but You’re Really Following Your Own Interpretation
Now we come to a subject I didn’t really plan on writing about! But whenever I do write about spanking it goes really big, especially on social media.
Even though I’m not a parenting blog, there’s a lot of overlap with the issues involved with spanking and with our mission at Bare Marriage to change the conversation about how we see marriage and sex in the Christian world. First, is spanking the best way to get kids to behave (just like is stressing frequency the best way to get great sex?) But more importantly, does the Bible actually tell us to spank (like, does the Bible tell women to give sex on demand?). And how do we tell if the advice we’re told is biblical actually is from God? We look at the fruit, which means looking at the studies.
It’s really the same approach. So let’s revisit this, because the logic in this blog post applies to so many other things we talk about too!
6. When You Realize You’ve Coerced Your Wife Into Sex: 5 Next Steps
We’re back to our marital rape series, and I’m glad this one made the top 10, because I think it’s blunt, but also necessary.
If he’s been coercing his wife into sex, what does he do now? I know many women gave this post to their counselors to talk over, and couples worked through it together.
(And if he’s not willing to work through this, that’s also a red flag about whether healing and recovery are possible).
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5. The Sex Recovery Series: 4 Point Plan to Rebuild Your Sex Life
When you’re in that pit, and you want to get out and have a thriving sex life and marriage, how do you actually do it?
Here’s the four-point plan that I think is necessary for recovery. In that blog series, I spent the majority of my time talking about step #2–achieving safety. You can’t have a healthy sex life or a healthy marriage if she (or he) feels unsafe, like sex is being coerced, she’s not free, there’s no intimacy, etc.
If you haven’t read the plan, and you feel stuck, this can help!
4. RESEARCH DEEP DIVE: Does Sex Start in the Kitchen, or Does it Die There?
Back to our research deep dive series (and can I just say how tickled I am that so many of you care about what peer reviewed research says about marriage?)
Here’s another post that looked at how mental load and uneven division of labor affects libido. It’s based on an Australian study that talked about the difference between solo and dyadic desire–how people could still have a sex drive, but not want to have sex with their partners (or even be turned off by their spouses). When there’s a dynamic where one person feels taken advantage of or used, the desire for sex will die.
In other words, libido is not always about libido. And we need to stop framing all sex problems as about her not wanting sex enough, and start asking the question: Why?
I love how Rebecca described this study so well!
3. Psychology Today Says Women Are Getting Higher Standards-and Men Are Left Lonely
Here’s one that generated a HUGE number of comments, and still gets a lot of comments every morning (many of which I delete because they’re mean and nasty and don’t contribute to the conversation).
A new study is finding that for the first time there are more single men than single women–and single men are faring worse than single women on a variety of scales. It seems that many women would rather remain single than date a man who can’t be her equal in the relationship. Researchers have found this an accelerating trend, and I wonder if it’s going to accelerate even more in the church?
I looked up the peer reviewed studies that the original Psychology Today article used, too, and the total picture was really interesting.
2. Redefining Sex: Seeing Sex as an Expression of your Relationship, Not as an Individual Need
Honestly, I think this is my favourite post of the year, because I was able to articulate what I think God’s vision for sex really is. Often that gets lost when we just talk about what the church gets wrong. But sex is supposed to be this beautiful culmination of our relationship. It’s the height of intimacy. And because of that, we need to stop seeing it as a commodity that one owes another, and instead see it as an experience you share.
And now for the biggest post on the blog in 2022!
1. The Two Kinds of Marital Rape that Evangelicalism (Inadvertently) Enables
I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad that this is the #1 post on the blog last year. I mean, I’m happy that people are finally talking about this. But I’m also sad that this is such a common search term, that this is something that even needs to be talked about.
But maybe if we get the word out more, it won’t be so many people’s stories.
As I wrote in this post, I think there are two kinds of marital rape. One is a typical abuser. But then there are men who wouldn’t otherwise be abusers, but have internalized the wrong messages about sex so everything’s upside down. They don’t understand coercion, and think it’s actually GOOD to make their wife have sex, because God wants you to have sex; sex is merely intercourse; sex is what God set up to stop men from lusting or sinning. Therefore pressuring, demanding, and coercing sex is better than lust.
It’s super messed up. But it’s what’s been taught. And it’s hurting marriages.
A Few Honorable Mentions
To go along with the top 10, here are a few posts that didn’t make the cut, but that I find myself referring to again and again and sending to people who write in.
- How to understand consent in marriage (to go along with the marital rape posts, here’s an explanation of what consent looks like).
- The uncomfortable truth about waiting until your wedding night (what does the research actually say? And how can we talk about this differently so people don’t have awful wedding nights?)
- On Modesty: Why we shouldn’t sacrifice teen girls’ well-being for adult men’s comfort (seriously, why have we got this so backwards?)
So there you go! The biggest posts of 2022!
Thank you so much for sticking around and encouraging me everyday. And seriously–leaving comments here on the blog helps me so much. I absolutely LOVE the interaction on Facebook for all of the posts, but when the comments are left here, they’re here forever and much easier to find. So if you’re going to comment on Facebook (and please do–it helps my engagement!), just copy and paste and leave the comment here too. Even if it’s just a “this is great–I agree!” It helps me know I’m not writing into the void.
I’m excited for what’s up in 2023!
I’ll share more of that on Friday, but I’ve got a Fixed it For You book launching in February, and then our big book She Deserves Better is out in April. And we’ll be talking about how to make sure our kids don’t grow up with the kind of baggage that so many of us did.
Happy New Year, everyone! And thank you for being part of the Bare Marriage community.
Did you have a favourite post that didn’t make the list? Or was your favourite post here? Let me know in the comments!
Happy New Year, and blessings for the new year
1 I appreciate your work very much, and it has had a profoundly positive impact in my life and marriage. Praying a blessing over your ministry today. Keep up the good work.
I have been so encouraged by all your work over the last several years. I don’t know how you keep doing it but I’m so grateful. Thank you for your voice.
Thank you, too, to all the behind-the-scenes people who make your blog, books, social medias, studies, & etc. possible. <3
Thank you so much, Darah!
It’s been a wild ride, hasn’t it?
I’m also excited for what 2023 has in store. A little bit scared. But mostly excited.
You’ll probably stir up more misguided, misogynistic, man-rage. But it can’t be helped. Misguided, misogynistic man-rage needs to continue to be exposed in our leaders, teachers, and authors. Their monopoly and bad attitude has no place in the Church.
I really appreciated your post on research and statistics and liked the screenshot of what the survey results look like. The Myth of the Magic Penis was also a good one!
Ah, yes, the post where we showed what the behind-the-scenes dataset looked like! I liked that one too. And The Myth of the Magic Penis was one of my favourite podcasts as well.
I just found you this year in the spring or early summer through a Natural Christian Mamas FB group where you are frequently recommended by members! I binge-listened the whole podcast over the summer, while at work! This has opened my eyes so much and helped me understand how marriage can be, and also lead me to learn about how purity culture can harm our kids if we’re not careful about our messages to them. I look forward to every podcast and post that comes out from you, every week! Thank you from Montreal 😊
Hi, fellow Canadian! You only live about 4 hours from me! I’m glad you found me.
I don’t agree with you about everything, or even with all the points in all 10 of these top posts. But Sheila, I’m so grateful for all you and your team have been doing, and I’m so glad you all keep up this work. I consider you all to be siblings in Christ and I’m so grateful for each of you. Even though I occasionally disagree, these conversations really need to happen… rather than endless regurgitations of the topics that Christian men have already wanted to talk about for centuries. Just remembering you are out there raising topics that benefit women means so much to me. Thank you.
Oh, you’re so welcome! Thank you for listening and reading!