Have Babies, Not Orgasms? Our Critics Say We’re Against Procreation

by | Mar 10, 2023 | Theology of Marriage and Sex | 75 comments

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Last week, Denny Burk accused us of being for women’s pleasure rather than procreation.

Burk is the head of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which defends extreme complementarianism (patriarchy), and thinks it’s of God.

He wrote an article addressing THAT article at The Gospel Coalition, and partially defending Butler’s view of marriage. I want to take a quick look at it today, because it’s quite instructive as to the really lopsided way many patriarchal leaders view sex, and demonstrate exactly what we’re saying in The Great Sex Rescue.

Here’s what Burk said:

The egalitarian rejection of asymmetry necessarily backgrounds procreation and foregrounds pleasure and physical climax. Physical climax becomes the necessary focus of egalitarian sex because it’s something that, at least in principle, can be mutual. This is the entire point of books like The Great Sex Rescue. Perhaps there is a place for focusing on such things, but when you do it to the exclusion of procreation, you turn sex into something that’s finally selfish and small, because it’s focused only on the couple, and not the bigger world that together they can create.

Denny Burk

Taking a Dog By the Ears

He later amended his article slightly (but not by much) after he was thoroughly eviscerated on Twitter, and then issued two more amendments (with the latest available here). 

I later noted on Twitter how Burk wants us to have babies, not orgasms, but doesn’t seem to notice that this isn’t an either/or thing.

Let’s notice a few other things about what he’s saying:

  • Asymmetry rather than mutuality is the thing we should aim for in marriage (with the husband being preeminent). He spends the paragraphs leading up to this by defending Butler’s view of marriage as asymmetrical.
  • He says physical climax “at least in principle” can be mutual, leading one to wonder if he doesn’t think it can be mutual in practicality or real life
  • He says “perhaps there is a place for focusing on such things”–insinuating that perhaps there isn’t a place for focusing on mutual pleasure. (he took out the word “perhaps” after the outcry).
  • He insinuates that sex that focuses on her pleasure is “selfish and small”, while sex that is focused on procreation, and thus on his orgasm, is not. So it’s only selfish when it’s mutual; when it’s just pleasurable for him it’s not selfish.

This is obviously laughable. What is not laughable is the idea that we don’t care about procreation.

He admitted on Twitter that he hadn’t read our whole book.

But this was, frankly, a heartless thing to say to us. Both of my co-authors suffered life-threatening pregnancy complications during the writing of The Great Sex Rescue and She Deserves Better. Joanna almost bled out from a miscarriage (she has a bleeding disorder which makes these very serious, and it was bad); Rebecca had a uterine abruption and emergency C-section.

Between the three of us co-authors, we have six living children and three in heaven. We have nursed babies. We have spent sleepless nights with babies. We have buried babies.

And Joanna and Rebecca did it while actually writing the books.


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This week Joanna wrote a reply to Denny Burk, and I’d like to turn this post over to her now.


I’ve been having a sad few days. On the one hand being told that @sheilagregoire @BeccaLindenbach and I aren’t focused enough on procreation is laughable… but also it’s demonstrably untrue.

Our second chapter is about intimacy in sex and we talked about motivations for sex that are not pleasure. In particular I described experiencing anorgasmia following a life threatening miscarriage and that I continued to be sexually active *in order to conceive*. Burk says he’s read half of our book. So either he didn’t read the part where we specifically talked about procreation as a reason for sex or he has no reading comprehension or he failed to tell the truth.

I’m just tired, folks.

I’ve had evangelical leaders misquote our book because they don’t like it. Another (see above) lied about the contents possibly because of failing to read it before critiquing. Another has spread lies about the research methods I utilized, even after being corrected. 

I guess I’m struggling because we’re literally here talking about the basics.

Consent. Sexual pleasure. Treating sexual pain.

I don’t work full time. I’m mostly a mommy to two little girls and my work fits around their schedules. I’m writing this early in the am because it’s when I work. And all week I’ve been giggling and hurting because someone had the gall to tell me I don’t care about babies.

Meanwhile here’s me making popsicle stick puppets and butterfly crafts and chasing my girls around the kitchen. I’m just a mommy, standing in front of evangelicalism, asking them to read before critiquing.

Joanna Sawatsky


I think so many of the men who criticize us have no idea of women’s real lived experiences. 

They’ve never had to meet deadlines after being up nursing a child all night, or dealing with a case of mastitis, or being so nauseous in your first trimester you can’t eat and you’re frantic because you’re losing weight and the baby needs nourishment.

They’ve never considered grocery shopping by yourself a luxury, a vacation, something you dream of doing, and one of the first outings you take without baby after you’ve given birth. And how you’re so nervous you’re going to leak through your bra.

They’ve never experienced that heart-stopping panic when you feel yourself start to bleed at 10 weeks and you know what that likely means. 

And both Rebecca and Joanna did all of that while we wrote The Great Sex Rescue. And both of them shared extremely, extremely personal stories in that book, Joanna of her grief after miscarriage and wanting to get pregnant again; Rebecca of her postpartum tears and recovery after the first pregnancy. They became vulnerable to talk about important things that evangelicalism doesn’t usually talk about.

I’m so very proud of both Rebecca and Joanna. 

The majority of time when we’re working we’re on FaceTime, and both of them are talking about big words like ethics approval applications at universities, and grant applications, and some research we’re doing on preventing vulvodynia, and at the same time I’m hearing, “don’t put that up your nose!”, and “get your sister’s hands out of your mouth!”

They’re both amazing mothers, but they’re also committed to helping other women overcome toxic beliefs that we now know hurt them.

But Denny Burk says that’s selfish and small. 

I’ll let the reader decide. 

(here we all were right after Joanna finished running the last stats, right after Talitha was born. Rebecca’s daughter Vivian hadn’t been born yet in this picture). 

Our Launch Team for She Deserves Better starts on Monday!

Just pre-order the book anywhere (here’s the Amazon link), and then forward your receipt (or send a screenshot) to preorder@sheilawraygregoire.com. And you’ll be added to our launch team on Monday! 


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Angharad

    So where does that leave couples like my husband and I, who can’t have children. Are we supposed to have a celibate marriage or just accept that we are going to be ‘selfish and small’ for the rest of our lives? Is my husband being selfish when he tries (after a long day of serving others) to work out how to make sex feel good for me, even though my body doesn’t work the way it should? Am I being selfish when I try to bring him pleasure even though my body is off limits tonight because of the pain I’m in? I am so sick of these guys with their perfectly healthy wives and 2.4 children telling the rest of us we are failing.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Amen, Angharad!

  2. A

    Every time I read a piece written by a complementarian/ patriarchal man I feel more and more pity for their wives.
    I’d love to read an honest assessment from the wives on the same subjects.
    Who knows? Maybe I’d be surprised.

    • Jane Eyre

      Their wives are usually twisted up in knots trying to believe that they’re didn’t waste their lives. This often involves trying to get the next generation of women to make their mistakes, too, so they don’t have to have “what could have been” examples in their faces.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I think this is a huge bit of it. Moms who have endured abuse for years often try to stop their daughters from leaving an abusive marriage, because it can say to them, “you could have left, but didn’t. All of this is for naught.” That’s a really, really heavy thing to realize.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think many of them are seriously hurting, and I wish I could reach out to them and tell them that if they ever need help getting out, I can help them anonymously. I’ve posted that a few times on social media, but it is hard.

    • Lisa Johns

      I watched an interview of a complementarian couple (who are big in their circles), and I was struck by the “brilliance” of the woman’s smile as she talked about how good this stuff was. I recognize that smile: I can see it in every picture of myself taken during the worst parts of my life before I realized I wasn’t required to make the world think I had everything together in perfection. It’s called lying to everybody including yourself.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, I know smiles like that. I’ve seen them too.

    • Gloria Wells

      You ladies absolutely and completely rock! I can’t believe any man who promotes such a self-serving ethic as complementarianism would dare to call someone else “selfish”. And opening yourselves up to such constant ridicule by the establishment the way you all have in order to help other couples is definitely not selfish. Thank you for doing what you do.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        You’re so welcome, Gloria!

  3. Cynthia

    Powerful heartfelt response to a horrible slanderous article.

    I want to both stand up and applaud and give you all a big hug.

    I’ve been in online discussions where people tried to pull the same thing, accusing me of not caring about babies and fetuses when I had already written in detail, numerous times, about my experiences with my 3 miscarriages, being on bed rest during a successful pregnancy and parenting 3 living children. There seems to be a script where they decide that is the go-to criticism to shut us up, discredit us and/or wound us. Thank you for calling it out.

  4. Nathan

    > > Perhaps there is a place for focusing on such things

    Women should be grateful! There is PERHAPS a place to focus on the equal happiness and pleasure of women!

    > > you turn sex into something that’s finally selfish and small, because it’s focused only on the couple,

    Let me get this straight. When sex is focused on men and women equally, it’s selfish? But when it’s focused only on men, it’s NOT selfish? Wow.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I know! How can he even write that seriously? it’s selfish to focus on both; it’s unselfish to focus just on him. Wow.

      • Lisa Johns

        It’s tone deaf, to say the least.

    • Tim

      I think you’re misinterpreting him with your second point, Nathan. The comparison he was making was between sex focused exclusively on pleasure (which is what he calls selfish) vs sex with the intent or at least possibility of conception.

      I don’t really buy the point he’s actually making either, I just think it’s quite different from what you’re critiquing.

      • Tim

        (and fwiw, the various criticisms from other commenters below of his argument re procreation are on point!)

      • Jo R

        “The egalitarian rejection of asymmetry necessarily backgrounds procreation and foregrounds pleasure and physical climax. Physical climax becomes the necessary focus of egalitarian sex because it’s something that, at least in principle, can be mutual.”

        Um, what’s to misinterpret here? No one here is denying that there will always be a certain asymmetry in sex, especially since a penis is typically one and done while a clitoris is generally multi-orgasmic. (Well, with the right man, which is kinda the point.) And let’s not forget the asymmetries of monthly menstruation for several decades, months for each pregnancy, months of breastfeeding for each child, and the permanent changes of menopause, also for several decades.

        As the insane calculations farther below show, is it REALLY too much to ask a husband to spend some time to learn how to bring his wife to orgasm, then to actually do it at every encounter? After all, she’s bringing him to orgasm … checks notes … pretty much EVERY TIME. In the theobros’ minds, the answer is a clear yes, it is too much to ask.

        I wish I could find this linked conversation as a video clip, but alas. The long exchange between Ray and Debra is them “making an appointment” for sex during the busy Christmas season. When their four-year-old daughter Ally overhears them, they have to scramble. Debra’s final line pretty much sums up the sexual experience of WAY too many Christian women (though it should say “you” instead of “we”).


        • Jo R

          More simply, the husband making sure the wife orgasms in no way precludes procreation. As someone pointed out on the FB post, her orgasm is not contraception.

          He clearly expects the man to always orgasm, while the woman wanting to ALSO orgasm is what makes sex small and selfish. Again I ask, dude (him, not you, Tim), then what is the clitoris FOR???? But his focus on asymmetry means it’s completely acceptable, indeed expected, for her to NOT orgasm.

          • Tim

            Thanks Jo. All fair points. Again, I’m not defending the guy, but there’s plenty to critique without picking on things he didn’t say.

            As you say, his argument re pleasure vs procreation is a false dichotomy, and runs completely counter to many other complementation resources that, in his words “foreground” male pleasure to the exclusion of all else, including in circumstances where procreation is impossible (to be fair, I don’t know whether Burk supports those ideas). But he’s not saying that mutually pleasurable sex is “small and selfish”, that’s how he characterises sex focused on pleasure rather than procreation per se.

            I think it’s a dumb argument personally, but it’s quite a different dumb argument than Nathan was critiquing. On the flip side, from the rest of the article, I certainly couldn’t rule out that the guy *thinks* what Nathan is accusing him of.

          • Jo R

            I don’t think we can let him off the hook quite so easily, Tim, because sex (in any way, shape, or form) is literally almost always orgasmic for the MAN. Making it orgasmic for the WOMAN is what is making it small and selfish.

            Again, male orgasm is required for procreation, while female orgasm is not (and more’s the damn pity). So while “egalitarian” enjoyment is theoretically possible, “at least in principle,” it’s not really necessary.

            I wish there was an OTC product that induced ED, because a whole lot of men deserve an extended bout. Then at least they would be forced to consider sex where orgasm wasn’t automatic.

      • Lisa

        Except it’s not an either/or situation. When a couple has the intention of trying to get her pregnant, his orgasm is a necessity. Hers is not a necessity. But her orgasm does not impede her getting pregnant at all. So yes, I do think he is saying it is selfish to think about her pleasure. Because his pleasure is a given, there’s no scenario of procreative intercourse without his orgasm.

        • Tim

          Thanks Jo. I think we can probably agree to disagree now on what exactly Burk is getting at with that specific comment I was referring to. I think we agree on pretty much everything else here.

  5. Codec

    This discourse reminds me of something. In fact it reminds me of a couple of things.

    One is that pregnancy and birth are times when people are vulnerable. You have talked before about how if a woman does not feel safe her libido plummets. From an evolutionary biology perspective that makes sense. If you want to make sure your children survive you need to know you are safe.

    Second it reminds me that plenty of folks marry much later in their lives. C.S Lewis and Joy David man married way later in life. They had no children together, buy they did raise children.

    Thirdly it reminds me that children are like mirrors in that they can help us see things about ourselves.

    Fourthly that unfortunately people twist and distort things.

    I don’t see why it can not be a both and. Have kids and a healthy marriage. If anything that seems like it would only be beneficial and even if you can’t have kids that does not mean you can not nurture people. Your books have nurtured lots of people including me.

  6. Stefanie

    The fact that these guys even have a platform anymore now in 2023 is astounding. Let’s let them keep talking and making fools of themselves. “At least in theory women are able to experience orgasms.”

    Joanna, Rebecca, and Sheila, the conversation is changing thanks to all your hard work. Our daughters will live in a different world.

    • Lisa Johns

      “Let’s let them keep talking and making fools of themselves.”
      I love this!
      Well said!

  7. Jane Eyre

    What’s laughable: if you’re using sec for procreation, you don’t need to have more than a dozen encounters in your life, tops (absent fertility issues).

    Since most men really do not go for that, it’s obviously going to be about pleasure far more often than about making babies. I’m not sure why he thinks women should have sterile, non-orgasmic sex for the good of their Christian marriage.

    Or maybe he didn’t think this one through and grabbed the first weapon at hand…..

    • Annie

      yup – 2ish days a month for sex and none at all outside that or when she’s pregnant or post-menopause. And, sorry men, but if you’re taking testosterone which is known to decimate sperm count (while also raising his sex-drive) then no sex then either. I guess we should all go back to using no forms of birth control either because that’s preventing pro-creation.

      I truly don’t think these men understand… At all.

  8. Nessie

    Not to be crass, but this guy sounds like he adamantly wants to breed more complementarians into the world.

    In some of my classes (secondary level), we learned about selecting appropriate bulls for cows, especially heifers as they hadn’t yet been bred. We learned that breeding a heifer with a bull who consistently produced very large offspring- the ideal in most beef cattle as a bigger bovine means more beef- was unwise and unkind at least the first time around. There was more compassion for the heifers than it seems there is with some of these complementarian-centered men.

    I am so sorry for the losses each of you have gone through. Traumatic birth/miscarriage/infant loss are wounds that don’t go away, they just change manifestation. That Burk could mallign y’all with this anti-procreation drivel is, frankly, heartless and lacking in compassion. Thank you (Joanna, Rebecca, and Sheila) for putting so much heart, education, time, effort, hope, and money into your work to help and heal others! And what a beautiful picture of you 3 with the babies! I’m glad they will grow up in families that believe a marriage relationship can and should include loving each other well both in and out of the bedroom.

    • Natasha

      I think you are right that they have a strategy to breed more complementarians into the world. Kevin De Young at The Gospel Coalition wrote an article claiming, “The future belongs to the fecund (fertile).”

      For these guys, it is the way to win the culture war. Here is the link to the article:


      I find the title and the final paragraph most alarming. There is definitely a focus on building a kingdom (empire) here on earth and not the kingdom of God for eternity.

      I have also been reading some articles about the Proud Boys, the group behind the insurrection at the US Capitol January 6, 2020. They have alarmingly similar attitudes toward women as complementarians.

  9. Jo R

    Do these theobros think beyond their next orgasm?

    Insisting that the primary thing a woman should get from sex—read, PIV—is pregnancy will greatly reduce the number of orgasms the THEOBROS will have.

    If a woman should only ever be trying to get pregnant, there should be ZERO sexual activity going on when she is, at the moment, infertile, meaning she is

    • in the wrong part of her menstrual cycle
    • already pregnant
    • postpartum
    • breastfeeding
    • menopausal

    And since she can’t get pregnant giving those highly coveted hand jobs and blow jobs during those times that are difficult for HER HUSBAND—to wit, menstruating, pregnant, and postpartum—then those activities are likewise permanently off the table.

    Is THIS what Denny Burke is really intending? Won’t the rest of the theobros be more than a little ticked off when some illogical, overly emotional female-type person—like me—point out these inconvenient truths?

    Care to do a rethink, Denny?

    • Laura

      Jo R.,

      I totally agree! These theobrats should not get any hand job or blow job because those acts are not procreational. In fact, the only time they should be allowed to have PIV is when they and their wives want to have a baby. If they decide they are done having children, then no more sex.

      As for me, my baby making days are almost over and who knows if I could still get pregnant by the time I get married whether it be a year or two from now. If I can’t then I should probably have a celibate marriage because according to Denny Burke, having an enjoyable sex life is selfish unless it involves a man’s ejaculation which is part of procreation.

      Another thing, men like Denny are basically saying they don’t know how to satisfy their wives in bed.

      • Lisa

        Agreed! And, if this is their belief, then why aren’t they going after all the Evangelical sex books written by men? Gary Thomas’ latest book went on and on about oral sex and manual sex for him when she’s sick, post-partum, or having a heavy period. Why don’t they describe that as selfish? There’s literally zero chance of procreation in those situations. Somehow, they give that a free pass.

        At least his wife now can firmly refuse him whenever she’s not fertile. The whole world now knows he’s a selfish lover.

      • Grace

        After doing some brief digging, I’m pretty sure that Denny Burk is single. Which explains a whole lot. (His bibliography was also quite interesting, as he invests a lot of energy writing about sex, specifically about homosexuality).

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I actually did find a picture of him and his wife and family by digging (other people asked me that). He seems to keep his family private, which I understand.

    • Mara R

      I think this is an excellent point, Jo R.
      I think this point needs to be shouted loud enough and often enough to get through the thick headed, narrow-minded, asymmetrical loving, hierarchy loving defenses built on the sand of Complementarianism.
      Those stupid defenses are built by over-the-top selfish, self-centered and self-serving hypocrites who love their own power more than they love God and women. They think they are so wise but are, in fact, raging fools.

      He definitely did not think this through. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. What is selfish of the goose is selfish of the gander.

      Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Burk. You aren’t half as wise and clever as you think you are. Your own asymmetrical doctrine/gospel has blinded you to reason and logic. You are acting out of your emotions and self-centeredness. Again. The emperor has no clothes.

      • Jane Eyre

        He’s inadvertently doing a reducto ad absurdum argument for mutual pleasure but is too foolish to see that.

    • NM

      I commented over on Twitter that Denny has gone full-on old school Catholic. They way I remember it, mutually enjoyable sex apart from procreation was an evangelical distinctive. (This is not a knock on Catholicism, just a theological difference I remember from growing up in the church in the 90’s.)

      I strongly suspect that he doesn’t really mean sex should be about procreation, but that it should be only about male orgasm. I’m not sure if he’s actually that confused or if he thinks women are, but either way it’s not a good look for Mr. Burk.

  10. Amy

    Following their same logical thread, what happens if the man doesn’t want more children? Does that mean that he has to abstain from sex so he doesn’t procreate, since that’s the whole point of sex? But then they tell us sex is an absolute need that men must have (well, at least the married ones…), so how does he get his needs met if he doesn’t want more children? Then what happens if she wants children and he doesn’t?

    This is all very confusing…

    • Amy

      Oh wait, silly me. I just assumed that she has some agency in the number of children she does or doesn’t bear. I momentarily forgot that he’s In complete control of such things.

    • Lisa Johns

      And what if the woman wants sex and wants children, and her husband doesn’t want either? Who’s being selfish?

  11. CMT

    “The bigger world that together they create” oh please. Sweet lord, will you listen to yourself man. What kind of dystopia do you want people to create here? Because if the ones who bear all the physical risks, discomfort and pain of bringing new humans into the world are going to be branded selfish and small for insisting in mutuality, that’s what it is. This sounds like the handmaid’s tale, not the gospel.

  12. Jo R

    God to the theobros at the judgment: “What do you think your wife’s clitoris was for, anyway? Did it occur to you I made it multi-orgasmic for a reason? I can’t wait to hear your rationale for ignoring it throughout your entire marriage.”

  13. Boone

    Will somebody please explain to this dolt that whether or not a woman has no orgasms or has ten that this has absolutely nothing to do whether or not she gets pregnant.
    In fact, if she’s ovulating she’s probably more apt to have an orgasm because she’s more easily aroused.

  14. Susanna H

    This made me cry. Thank you ❤️

  15. NM

    So much to say. First, when I read Denny’s comments to my husband, he started laughing and couldn’t stop for quite a while. How anyone could actually put that in print and feel good about it is beyond us.

    Second, I think the only possible fear-mongering they can come up with at this point is that egalitarians are baby-hating nymphomaniacs. Because if we still choose to be happy mothers outside of their control, their whole argument of “chaos ensues without strong male leadership” collapses like the house of cards it is.

    I am so sorry for the slander you all have endured. Thank you for putting yourselves out there and fighting for us. It looks like the complementarian mask is crumbling…they are backed into a corner and their nice arguments aren’t working anymore, so the true darkness is being revealed. Lord, may the women still trapped there see your truth and be set free.

    • CMT

      “if we still choose to be happy mothers outside of their control, their whole argument of “chaos ensues without strong male leadership” collapses like the house of cards it is.”

      Well said! I would add, women living well without children threaten the paradigm too. Maybe for different reasons.

      • NM

        Absolutely. I am 100% supportive of women who choose not to have children for whatever reason. I love my kids, but I’m very aware of how I could contribute to the world in a different way without them.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, I would agree. They’re claiming it’s “biblical”, but it looks nothing like 1 Corinthians 7 at all.

  16. Wild Honey

    Mr. Burk is rather short-sighted. If a husband is making sure his wife regularly orgasms, she’s generally going to WANT to have more regular sex. Which will, all other things being equal, lead to more pregnancies.

    As a side note, as a mother of two (plus one in heaven) who also had a life-threatening childbirth experience, thank you for sharing your vulnerability and standing strong.

  17. Jo R

    All right, the engineering degree got the better of me, but my mind is a bit blown by the arithmetic, so someone check me, please…

    Going by the accepted figure of 40 weeks of pregnancy, that is 40 weeks times 7 days per week times 24 hours per day, which means a wife spends 6720 hours being pregnant (for just ONE child).

    If a couple has sex twice a week, and the husband has to spend an hour each time to bring his wife to orgasm, that means he has to spend 6720 hours divided by twice a week divided by 52 weeks per year, which means it will take the husband … ALMOST SIXTY-FIVE YEARS (64.62 years) to have spent the same amount of time on bringing HER pleasure just to match the time she spent pregnant for one kid.

    Now add in time for the pregnancies for all the other kids, plus the time spent recuperating from the birth(s) and/or time breastfeeding them all.

    That calculation seems pretty damn assymetric, indeed.

    • Jo R

      Proofreading fail: assymetric instead of asymmetric 🤣

      New word: assymetric, adj., measurement of ass-ness (paging Andrew J. Bauman) 🤣

    • Anonymous

      As a woman engineer, I love this. My mind has to do the calculations as well. I am glad to know I am “normal”. Thank you. I love reading your comments.

    • Lisa

      Love it!

    • Jane Eyre

      Love it! This is why chauvinists don’t want women studying engineering.

  18. Sad

    I really think this ideology is sexually arousing to some of these people. Whether the arousal is based on power or whether it’s more insidious and the arousal is intertwined with faith in some way. I don’t have a word for it at the moment. Ah, there it is: fetish. To have complete control over someone, to show that in the bedroom by NOT bringing her pleasure and then to show it to the world via your theology and the number of children you have (for some). And then to say that you are being obedient to God by misusing the very person you promised to treasure. By controlling her, by silencing her, by taking her personhood. Yes, I think this is arousing to some – like bondage or S&M for others. It makes me sad.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, I would agree. When you read Doug Wilson, for example, he says that power in the bedroom is an erotic necessity. Like he can’t imagine arousal without power.

  19. Jenny

    I know I’ve said this before on other posts, but these SAME people have had ZERO problems making sex only about a man’s pleasure for DECADES. hand jobs while you’re postpartum or on your period don’t do anything for procreation, but, not only are they ok, women are COMMANDED to do them (to the point of blaming them if their husband cheats if they don’t comply).

    Can you IMAGINE the outcry and rabid reaction someone would get if they publicly preached/wrote that men MUST make sure to make sex enjoyable and pleasurable for their wives that regularly, or it would be their fault if their wife cheated on them?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Completely agree. It’s totally nonsensical.

  20. Phil

    Mr Denny seems to forget that God made a covenant with us. He promised us we would multiply. He promised us we would be a great nation. That covenant still stands. It really doesn’t matter what we do, as it will come true regardless. So why should this not be enjoyable for both? Apparently Mr Denny is a taker as he indicates in his cutesie little dog comment after his twitter handle. I prefer to LIVE OFF THE LEASH!

    • exwifeofasexaddict

      Phil, God promised Abraham those things. Not us.

      • Phil

        You might want to check that statement. I am an adopted son of Abraham who is the line to my savior. That covenant still stands.

        Here is another thought I had you might like also. So if women are supposed to be focused on creation then I guess men should be also. Therefore once we have kids our sex life should be over.

  21. M

    So to sum up the craziness over the last few years…

    Women, religiously save sex for marriage. Don’t think about it. Don’t desire it more than God. Don’t try to meet a man, God will give you one faster if you do nothing. But when you say “I do”, sex really isn’t for you anyway, it’s for your husband. It’s his need. But also mostly for procreation. But also to keep him from sinning. It’s complicated.

    Women, be prepared to never actually get to own your sexuality. But be expected to be sexual. For your husband.

    Men, you must exert self-control before marriage. But after you say “I do”, please expect your wife to now be a major player in your self-control. Because, you know, now that you can have sex you need sex to not have sex with other people.

    Men, don’t have sex, you don’t need it to survive. Oh, you’re married? Well that’s different. It’s now a need.

    Women, your bodies are dangerous. You’re 12 years old? Youe body is still a source of temptation. Oh you’re 9? Yep, still a temptation. Especially if you’re an “early bloomer”.

    Men, expect to be confused if you see women as people not dangerous objects of sexual temptation, but are told lust is every man’s battle. Ergo, you may not be a “real man” if that’s not a 24/7 temptation.

    You were abused? Hmm…let’s dig around in your private shame to find something we can pin on you to make it at least partly your fault. No one is without sin, amiright?

    Single ladies out there, use this time to serve God! Strike out on your own! Be an adult separate from your parents! Own your faith! Find a good church! Get that job! Wait, you just got married? I’m sorry, you’ll need your husband’s permission first.

    Single man? Do all the same stuff as the single lady! Married now? Yup, you still get to do all the same stuff and now overrule your previously single and quite competent wife.

    I realize this is a bit of a caricature. But the messages in many of these books and in the culture boil down to something too close to this. I really hope things are changing. This is utter madness.

    • Jo R

      “I realize this is a bit of a caricature.”

      This is the only part I’m going to disagree with. 😉

    • Lisa

      Not a caricature at all. Seems accurate to me.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Doesn’t sound much like a caricature to me! Sounds exactly like what we’ve been taught.

  22. Daughter of the King

    O that these kinds of men could just sit n b quiet n listen to what the Heavenly Father has to say to them on these issues. I think they would be stunned beyond words.
    All a woman wants is to b loved n cared for as God designed for her to b. But I guess that’s asking to much of men these days.

    I am 7 weeks out from leaving an abusive marriage of 24 years. I am here to say God loves women no matter what ppl say. My heart is grieved at all the lies ppl believe about women but it comforts me knowing that Gods heart is broken as well. God knows. He sees it all. And He cares. He cares deeply.

    Keep up the good fight each of you. Keep fighting for better for the nxt generation.

  23. Dave A A

    In 2012, the gospel coalition’s Jared C Wilson got a lot of pushback when he quoted Doug “gets the gospel right” Wilson (no relation) about sex not being an “egalitarian pleasure party”. Rather “ A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.” Jared tried to defend and explain himself to the critics, but just dug himself in deeper. He finally published a new article and deleted the original. Doug, OTOH, went on the attack: “ Anyone who believes that my writing disrespects women either has not read enough of my writing on the subject to say anything whatever about it or, if they still have that view after reading enough pages, they really need to retake their ESL class.”

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, I remember that. The late Rachel Held Evans spoke up vociferously about that.

  24. Emmy

    So…this Denny Burk guy writes how women should have babies, and when they do, there is this Gary Thomas guy who writes about a woman (was it Erin? or Erica) who can’t be fun enough for her husband because “she” has four children…or other guys who write how the post-partum time is oh, so very difficult time for the husband. Really, if these guys really were somewhere near by, I really might throw something at them.

    • Lisa

      I had the same thoughts, Emmy! Let’s put them in a room and let Burk tell Gary Thomas how selfish oral sex is because he can’t get his wife pregnant. And I am fairly certain Gary Thomas’ wife is post-menopausal, therefore cannot get pregnant, therefore all their sex is selfish. We can just watch through the one-way mirror while they duke it out.

  25. Estelle

    Thinking of procreation is one sure fire way to kill passion, either because now the pressure is on both to “perform” and get it “right” or, adding to the family is definitely on your agenda as a couple right now.

  26. Carrie

    So…I had to stop after reading his quote. (I did continue after I followed my own tangent) I even put my hand out and said,”stop!” Right out loud. Incredulous smile and all! So sex is for procreation not pleasure… So every married man suddenly feels extreme pressure from God to procreate every 72 hours, right? (I’ll stop here, my mind is still taking it to other places that include wondering what to do with all the tissue babies some create…)

  27. Elf

    This is a powerful and important post. Question though: Do you know of any similarly powerful pushbacks from anyone (male or female) for whom procreative sex isn’t possible? Written by someone who’s fertility journey ultimately did NOT result in a live birth? Or someone who married after menopause? It’s hard to articulate how bizarre and isolating this whole discussion is when even one’s credibility to write on the topic is tied to having had a child. Burk writes about “a bigger world that together they CAN create” , which presumes it is a choice. Certainly a decision to live child free can be a choice – and I believe a legitimate one that should be supported. But menopause? Since when is that a choice? Is infertility a choice? To have that experience, and therefore the marriage branded as “barren and stagnant”, “selfish and small”, is shocking. But Burk goes further in quoting Lehman. “Biblical love” is generative and fruitful, it creates “a far, far bigger universe” … SO not only is my marriage not biblical love, it’s “incapable of creating anything” and might as well be a homosexual relationship … WTAF.

  28. elf

    FYI Burk has updated his post multiple times now, defending his words and claiming Sheila is still misrepresenting his words. SMH.

  29. Shoshana

    Doesn’t this guy know it’s the husband who is supposed to “to love his wife as his own body”? I think making sure the wife orgasms would be part of this is obvious. I feel sorry for Mrs. Denny Burk.


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