How a Peer Reviewed Journal Gave Me an Unexpected Christmas Gift

by | Dec 21, 2023 | Research | 6 comments

Sheila here!

Our team got some good news recently, and Joanna Sawatsky (one of the co-authors for The Great Sex Rescue and She Deserves Better, who leads up the research side of what we do) wanted to share it with you today!

We at Bare Marriage have had a big year.

We launched She Deserves Better, are running another survey that we’d love you to take as we write another book, and have been keeping up with the blog and podcast.

Behind the scenes, I have been working hard on scholarly writing projects (hopefully we’ll be able to share some exciting news soon on that front!)

It has been a lot of activity and we have been VERY busy.

But this week we discovered something very exciting! So exciting that I immediately decided it was a Christmas gift… even though it happened last year and we didn’t know about it then.

We have been working so hard and it feels a little bit like we’re ducks moving slowly through the water – furiously paddling underneath even as we look (relatively) calm and collected on the outside.

So it was our great delight when one of our patrons shared that she had stumbled across an article while researching for another paper that cited The Great Sex Rescue heavily throughout.

Our work was cited in a 2021 paper in a journal about sex and marital therapy and we did not know!

We had a very happy FaceTime call to celebrate.

None of us had thought to check google scholar for citations of The Great Sex Rescue because… OOPS! Didn’t cross our minds. Apparently this wasn’t the only paper that cited our books?!

Time for a belated celebration!

Ok but why does being cited in a journal matter? 

Citations of our work in peer reviewed places is part of spreading the word about our research. It means that the work is being amplified because it’s in more places and reaching scholars in more fields.

I’m also especially excited to find our work being cited in a journal about marital therapy, as educating therapists and physiotherapists about the findings we’ve had has been such a goal of ours for years. It shows that the ideas that we’ve had are making an impact!

It’s important here to note that lots of evangelical marriage books have been cited in scholarly works – we are not unique. But what is unique is that we’re being cited because of our data.

But while we’re keeping things in perspective we are also very happy to have found this. And we promise we will be checking our google scholar citations list more frequently now that we realized that we are actually being cited.

What other peer review milestones have we hit this year?

Journal articles written by us and citing our original research for The Great Sex Rescue is the big goal we have been chasing for a while (and again – hope to have exciting news on that front soon… we are just playing a waiting game right now!)

But there are other forms of peer review that also matter. And we’ve been working on those too!

  • In 2021 we presented our findings at the American Physiotherapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting and that talk is being utilized as continuing professional education for physiotherapists.
  • The data set from the Great Sex Rescue has been published at the Association for Religion Data Archives, where it can be accessed by scholars and journalists around the world.
  • The Great Sex Recsue was also reviewed in the Women’s Health Journal of Physiotherapy. (And the NYT book review but that isn’t scholarly… it was just deeply exciting).

All of these are exciting and big projects that we’re so happy to have off the ground. We can’t wait to see where things go from here!

The best is that academic journals are realizing they need to research evangelical women’s experience with sex. Here’s a quote from the new article we found that talks about our work (among others):

“Kay Klein, Lemke, Bolz-Weber, and Gregoire are four faith-based authors who have also gathered stories from evangelical and former evangelical individuals about the impact that the [Evangelical Purity Movement] EPM had on their sense of identity, sexuality, and overall health (Bolz-Weber, 2019; Gregoire, Lindenbach, & Sawatsky, 2021; Klein, 2018; Lemke, 2017). Unfortunately, while these individuals have noticed PTSD-like symptoms in themselves, their friends, students, community members, and clients related to religious sexual shame from the EPM, the psychological community has been slow to conduct direct research connecting the two. Although many studies explore the effects that abstinence education, sexual double standards (SDS), objectification, and shame have on sexuality, there are few studies that focus these concepts within the specific demographic of females raised as evangelical Christians during the EPM.”

Lauryn Leigh Estrada

Clinical Considerations of the Evangelical Purity Movement's Impact on Female Sexuality, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy

Getting the word out about our findings in clinical fields where our data set sheds really important light on the effects of purity culture and the sexual health broadly of religious women has been a really big goal of all of ours over the last few years.

We knew when we did the survey for The Great Sex Rescue that the project was something special. I remember us being in awe that so many women filled out the survey. And we have wanted to act in a manner and spread the word about our findings in a way that lived up to the great trust that had been put in us by so many women. We are desperate to be faithful.

Finding out that someone else–someone we had never met!–was doing that work for us has been such a relief.

I needed to be reminded this Christmas season that the Spirit is at work. Aslan is on the move. And while I and all of us at Bare Marriage are doing our utmost, we can also entrust the remainder of the work to The Master.

Thanks, Joanna!

We’ve all decided we’re really chuffed (that’s the right word!). 

We have some big plans on how to get our research out there more widely in a way that it can impact how pastors and counselors are trained. Let’s stop this toxic stuff at the root!

You can be part of that by partnering with us in our fundraiser. We’re halfway towards being able to start–and ¼ of the way towards our goal. We really need some monthly donors, too. We can’t do this alone!

Give to us through Good Fruit Faith, an initiative of the Bosko Foundation. Donations are tax-receiptable within the U.S., where applicable by U.S. law. 

Written by

Joanna Sawatsky

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Joanna Sawatsky

Author at Bare Marriage

Joanna Sawatsky has a Masters in Public Health and is a trained microbiologist, epidemiologist, and biostatistician. A Pittsburgh native, she headed north to Saskatchewan to marry her Mennonite prince charming, Josiah. After living in the far Arctic while running stats for the books, they now live with their two little girls in Alberta. ENFJ 1w2.

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6 Comments

  1. Lisa Johns

    How exciting! I just love love this! And a little sprinkle on top of the sundae: I have cited you several times in papers this year as I am working on my master’s degree. Always good stuff! 😁❤️

    Reply
  2. Zeek

    Hey there gals…. So I have emailed Juli Slattery’s team several times and no response. I have read both of y’all and the goals are the same. For the life of me I can’t figure out why Juli and her group have never, to my knowledge, acknowledged you guys. It is possible that I missed something so correct me. Juli has not conducted the surveys you all have and I would think she and her team would be all over that data. So what gives? Anyone have a clue? I have a suspicion as to why, but would like others to offer some insight. I think Juli has great stuff that the bare marriage team would amen and vice versa. So what gives?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Juli is very associated with Focus on the Family and many of the authors that I call out. She has also done a podcast criticizing me without naming me, specifically for me calling out other authors.

      I think Juli is changing, just as I have been. She is trying to get healthier. Here’s an article at Julie Roys’ site about an incident where a reel on Focus on the Family of Juli had her quoting many of my talking points, verbatim, without crediting me.

      I do think she’s trying to get healthier, but there are just some beliefs that she can’t quite let go of.

      Reply
      • Clayton M McGalla

        Thank you for your response. I know who you call out and I didn’t want to think that Juli was basically ignoring you because of that. The saddest thing to me is out of the many marriage books I have read Gottman’s is the healthiest. My 22 year son is getting married in June and we are going to gift them your honeymoon course….after we watch it to make sure it’s ok. I don’t always agree with you but your overall message is healthy and I appreciate you and your work.

        Reply
  3. Clayton M McGalla

    I finally got a reason from Authentic Intimacy…..

    Dear Clayton,

    Thank you for your question and persistence.

    Juli is familiar with Sheila’s work and is grateful for the ways her research has helped couples reframe their approach to sex.

    While Juli and Sheila’s messages complement each other in many ways, they have different convictions in how to handle disagreements within the Christian community. For this reason, Juli has chosen not to engage publicly with Sheila’s resources or teaching.

    Blessings,
    The Authentic Intimacy Team

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Clayton, is there any way you can forward me that email? it would be so helpful. Just email me here.

      Reply

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