How The Great Sex Rescue Changed This Couple’s Sex Life

by | Dec 19, 2023 | Libido | 35 comments

How The Great Sex Rescue changed a sex life

Everyday I get emails, comments, and DMs about how our books are changing lives. 

Before we wrote The Great Sex Rescue and She Deserves Better I had written several other books. But the reaction is so starkly different.

I’m hearing over and over again about lives actually being changed.

I received a long note recently from a woman that is quite typical of what I get–just more in depth. And she gave me permission to share it with you!

Thank you for your book “The Great Sex Rescue”. 

I listened to it with trepidation 6 days ago. I was deeply impacted. The trepidation came from picking up yet another sex book and hearing the same things I’ve heard before. What helped me was the reviews- in fact, the negative reviews from men.

So I listened. At first I gritted my teeth. But when you brought up equality in marriage and sex, debunking the “head of the household” verse, I felt language given, and permission, from a Christian resource!

Then when I hit the chapter “duty sex isn’t sexy”, I felt so much relief. 

We’ve had many struggles with sex, including his porn use, which he has actively owned and pursued healing for. But we kept hitting the wall with sex. It has been the source of our greatest pain and argument.

And debunking the “do not withhold” verses, along with how plainly you laid out that the man’s sex drive was out above all things in Christian marriage books and counsel, I felt like I found the key,

I felt this anxiety and tension start to drain out of me. You presented it so well.

I knew I needed to ask my husband to listen to the book. 

But I also felt so scared. Because if he didn’t agree with the debunking of duty sex, I knew we would have conflict, and that it could trigger him.

I asked him to listen and stay around the house while he did, so we could talk. He did. He listened and took notes. He asked me questions like “do you feel like you aren’t equal in our relationship?”

He hit the part on consequences of porn. He’s known these for some time, and I knew it was heavy. Then he listened to why women have low libido. And guess what, he knew exactly the reason why of the options presented.

He was struck by the duty sex conversation. He asked me questions. He realized how if that was the view of sex, it would always taint it.

We talked about my safety, my fear. Ironically, about 6 weeks ago we had a major conflict about sex. I had shared with him “I would like wait until I feel like it to make love next”, because we had a pattern of “fulfilling his needs” and we have been trying to rewrite our story. I knew if I kept performing duty sex (it all felt like it at this point) I would pack my heart and emotions away and retreat behind walls I’ve worked hard to tear down.

Honestly he felt very triggered. We’d had tension ever since then and I knew why. It created so much fear that he wouldn’t get his “needs” met.

The duty sex chapter brought it all into perspective. 

It made our process make sense. It brought data to a man who is a deep thinker and needed that data and that Christian voice saying these things. It made his getting disgruntled when I said no have to change.

We have been impacted and transformed. Sex has been our greatest area of disagreement. It’s obviously layered and nuanced. His porn use that started as a young teen- exposed and not sought out. The explosion of the internet back when we were in junior high. He’s had to unravel so much religious stuff from his childhood.

We got engaged fast, and married very shortly after, and I had no clue about red flags. In our area and our Christian circles, only people with “real” problems sought counseling. And I had no idea the impact both his porn history and family history would have on us.

So here we are, several decades in, and we have chosen to do such hard work. 

He’s chosen to do hard work facing the root of so many issues and challenges. But sex was still such a painful place for us.

Enter the book. After listening to it, my thought was “I’d leave the church to experience this freedom”. Not that I’m trapped in a church. But that outdated church language. The baggage. The crazy weight put on men’s sex drive and “needs”. Not that I’d ever leave Jesus. But it was the only language I had.

I watched him work his way through the book (on audible). He asked me questions that I was finally able to be honest about. It was like this lie, these terrible lenses, had been ripped off! How on earth have just a few lines from the Bible been used to build a whole paradigm about men being the head of the house and men’s sex not being denied? How on earth do those still stand as almost pharisaical laws in Christian teaching? The way you were able to make it make sense was done so well. Thank you for that.

"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

He finished the book and said he fully agreed with it.

I felt so relieved. Over the next few days I listened to it again and wrote down things that came to mind as I read. Most of them were painful points. I shared them with him- feeling pressure, fear, my reaction to certain events or discussions. I shared them all- clearly and kindly, without dragging him through the mud, but honestly.

I described it as “letting the poison out”.

He listened. Apologized (even though I wasn’t asking for that). And he HEARD me. He saw and heard the experience I have, and that other women have. He’s caught himself talking and rephrased things throughout the day to give me equal weigh in. He’s re-reading the book to not miss anything. He’s taking it to heart.

We both feel sad about what had been taught to us. Removing the “law” of those biblical passages also called him to a higher standard in how he responds if I say no. It was like the church had given men the “right” to be deeply upset that their need would be denied as the wife “withheld” from them their sexual needs. Without those verses framing things, and with a co-equal view, suddenly his reaction goes from this deep reaction to being denied, to “oh, ok. I really wanted to but I’ll wait.” He says what helped him rethink everything was that I kept emphasizing “I am doing this (or want this) because I want our relationship to thrive. I want it to be good. I want to like sex. “

Also your tearing down of the lie that women don’t want sex.

That was huge. Can I just say- what if men were taught as boys that they have emotional and connection needs too!?? Wouldn’t they navigate all of this so different? We rise up to the expectation given us. I feel bad that men were actually given such a low target in those older marriage books.

My husband even told me “I want to wait until we get this right, and that emotional needs are met. I feel bad that we had sex before your body or emotions were ready.”

And I sat with myself during the day and told my body “you are safe. You don’t have to do that again.”

And then – I felt like it. Not only that but I had a dream one morning and in that dream we had really really amazing sex. We made love and it was good and fulfilling. And we were in this room with windows and bathed in sunlight- like the light had been let in.

That day, I felt like making love.

He actually hesitated just wanting to make sure. We proceeded and I told him what to do. In the past I hated that bc I felt like I was telling him what to do for HIM, not for me.

It was really good! So good that I asked if he wanted to again before bed! (Who is this woman!?)

Today he tried to explain to me what it was like for him. He said it felt like the emotions and reaction came from a different part of his brain. He said it was completely different with this new mindset. The level of connection, serving me, and safety and just “goodness“ was so good and satisfying and different.

So thank you. I know because he was willing to read and he’s done so much hard healing work that your book was like seed put into good soil.

I don’t expect to feel different so fast. 

But God led us to your resource when we were ready and it was like this final key to unlock our marriage. I’ve never experienced such a shift in my life. He knew it was time, and it was like we were watered with miracle grow!

Thank you again. For your time, research, willingness to “go there”, and for debunking all those books- we read them ALL trying to get better.

And now I will teach my children differently. As will my husband. So the reality is- you’ve impacted generations!

That was so encouraging to receive!

I know that not all of you have had the same reaction from reading The Great Sex Rescue, of course–though many have. Some of you have had spouses who doubled down on entitlement (and often those marriages ended). Some of you want desperately to experience this freedom but orgasm or libido haven’t returned (check out our libido course and orgasm course to help!) 

But what we’ve been talking about as a team when we read stories like this is that lives are truly being changed, and that’s amazing.

So today, can I put in a plea that you help us raise money so that we can influence evangelical leaders, and not only influence couples? Let’s stop the garbage from being taught in the first place.

We have a number of initiatives we’d like to start in the new year to carry on with our research, publish it, and do continuing education for pastors.

We’re halfway towards being able to start, but your donations (and especially your monthly pledges) will let us keep going!

Donations are tax-receiptable within the United States, as we are The Good Fruit Faith initiative of the Bosko Foundation. You can donate right here

Thank you so much!

How The Great Sex Rescue Changed Their Sex Life

And now let me know–have you seen radical change from reading The Great Sex Rescue, reading the blog, or listening to the podcast? Let me know in the comments!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

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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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35 Comments

  1. Jen

    This is so good! Sheila, you were the first resource God lead me to right before you did the survey for The Great Sex Rescue. I took the survey BEFORE my husband confessed to a sex addiction, integrity disorder, emotional anorexia, and gross immaturity. I wish I could change my answers because I approached that survey thinking I had a faithful husband and therefore all the problems must be my fault.

    I now know better. We were only months into our journey when the book came out, and I devoured it, then passed it on to him. We talked about all of it.

    My husband is doing a phenomenal amount of work to heal. He knows it’s heal or divorce. And he’s supporting me as I heal from the trauma of being married to such a dysfunctional person.

    I agree with the letter writer – you are not only changing people in the here and now, but you’re changing future generations as well. I’ve given She Deserves Better to my sons’ girlfriends.

    Blessings on your ministry!!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Jen, thank you for sharing that, and I’m so glad that I could be part of your healing!

      Reply
  2. Tory

    Such great feedback on the book, and may I say what a wonderful partner this man is. He didn’t get defensive, he opened himself up to the book’s message, he was open to his wife’s influence. That’s growth.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It really is!

      Reply
  3. Nessie

    There are days I get so discouraged. My husband realizes he needs to change, and has done some work, but other issues he has makes the process *so slow.* He hasn’t finished reading tGSR much less initiated discussion of it with me (again, due to his other issues he’s working on, and at least he agrees those teachings were toxic). Selfishly, I envy the writer because her marriage has so improved.

    All that said, I’m so glad this writer has had such amazing results! It gives hope. (Her husband asks her questions because he really wants to improve- WOW!) And I am SO thankful these resources exist! People have the option to use them and make positive, healthy, and godly changes to their lives.

    Even though my husband is moving at a snail’s pace, *I* have changed. Maybe he will join me one day, maybe he won’t. But I am not allowing myself to be abused anymore. I am finally finding the freedom in Christ that God gifted so I can find out who God actually is. He is the God who puts boundaries in place, such as the Ten Commandments, for our own good and so we can know His heart better. I’m learning He isn’t the God who simply loves to punish us for breaking the “rules,” which is how He often comes across through the churches that perpetuate these faulty teachings via a misunderstanding of God’s heart.

    While I haven’t seen radical change in my husband, I have seen radical change in me. There is much more to unpack at a heart level but I’m getting there in largest part due to the blog, the book, and the podcasts in tandem. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Nessie, I’m sorry that your husband isn’t keeping pace with you! But I am glad that you have found freedom. That matters immensely!

      Reply
    • Anon

      Yes, I’m shocked to see all this in 6 days… It’s definitely great but can’t imagine it’s the norm. I know it’s not the intention, but it almost feels to me like it’s TGSR version of the miracle turnaround trope that is toxic in so many other resources. I don’t think that’s the intent but I think feel like for those of us in a years long recovery it’s equal parts encouraging and deflating to see this instant change and wonder what we’re doing wrong 😔

      I wonder if Joanna and the stats gang have any data on things like this, not to put a timeline on people because everyone is different, but just to explore the range of things since I’d think it is very varied.

      Reply
      • Nessie

        Anon- if it helps, I try to remember the times that God’s timeline was very unexpected. There is much we can learn in the waiting that will ultimately make our lives better down the road.

        Hopefully we can hold on, do the work, keep praying and improving our boundaries work, and maybe one day there will be a light bulb moment for us, too. It sounds like this reader has gone through a long season of work as well before things changed drastically for her at the end of that part of their healing journey.

        Equal parts encouraging and deflating is very apt. I really understand the part about wondering what I’m doing wrong, too! I feel like I will have the patience of Job before it’s all said and done, ha!

        Praying now for your healing, too.

        Reply
  4. Recoverymode

    What a beautiful testimony and experience! It really does take humility and a willingness to change. This has very much been a similar story for my wife and myself. It took a lot of open dialogue, separate working on individual issues, forgiveness, re-writing and re-learning of beliefs. We have experienced so much healing and growth together, and in large parts due to Sheila’s work and podcasts that especially called me (husband) out and helped me understand the sexual dynamics so much better. Core things about sex not being a need, distinctions between noticing and lust, requirement for emotional trust and closeness to be there as a foundation, dropping the obligation message, etc. All those changes allow sex to grow into what it’s meant to be (intimate, a celebration of the relational closeness that already exists without sex, etc.). Can relate with the post writers sentiment of it being a very different experience now…. Feels like true love making (sex) vs. Intercourse. Happy to hear others are experiencing this level of help and healing as well. For those that are still on the journey, know that this was several years worth of work to get to —- but very much worth it. I encourage you to continue, and advocate for what you need to see happen in order for you to feel loved, seen, valued, respected. Thanks again Sheila and team, you have been instrumental in our healing journey.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, thank you for sharing that! I’m so glad to see other men finding the freedom too!

      Reply
  5. Anonymous305

    I thought the book GSR was for saving my marriage, but it was actually for saving me. My husband said he agreed with it, but kept reminding me about his needs. I was confused as to whether he really agreed, but I didn’t confront him because I was trying to understand his feelings (I never succeeded).

    He agreed to do a sex fast, and I was waiting for my desire to return like happened to other women, but he still remained me about his unmet needs, so my desire never returned. This doesn’t even cover the licensed counselor who said she agreed with GSR, but took his side and minimized his porn addiction.

    Finally, I confronted him about the fact that the majority of sex in our whole marriage was all about him, and he was angry that I hadn’t changed to understand his needs. I was half-shocked because I thought he was supposed to change to stop being needy, but I should have known that he wanted me to change. Then, he didn’t talk to me for 2 months, and then told me the marriage was over.

    I was so relieved to be free and not have to have sex, but also wondered what I should have done differently. How unloved must he have felt to avoid talking for 2 months?

    It was comforting to read that GSR validated my feelings, but I still felt like I failed at loving him. The toxic books sell because they are true for some people. He did have a need I didn’t have and he did feel unloved without sex. Of course, I felt unloved by duty sex, but I didn’t feel guilt about not receiving love, I felt guilt about not giving love.

    When he got engaged 2 weeks after the legal divorcé, I wondered if she would get tired of him more quickly than I did or if she’d be better at loving him than I was. We’ll see.

    Of course, GSR doesn’t think I failed in the first place, which is always comforting to hear. I was reading Bare Marriage content obsessively during the end of my marriage, as I was constantly divided inside between blaming me and blaming him. Since I’m less obsessive now, maybe that’s a sign of recovery.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry that your husband didn’t want to do the work, and treated you that way! I am glad you’re in a better place now.

      Reply
      • Anonymous305

        Do you think manipulation always involves lying (person says they need sex, but knows they don’t)? Or do you still see manipulation when someone thinks they are telling the truth (person sincerely believes they need it)?

        Reply
        • Nessie

          Just my thoughts: I would say that a lot of manipulation involves lying. There are probably times when it doesn’t; I just can’t think of an example presently. Whether or not it is consciously done is another matter. It may be that he was lying to himself. I think that is why we are called to examine our hearts as Christians. David asks the Lord to search his heart and lead him in the Lord’s way.
          Having read it, I don’t see how a person can read tGSR and say they agree with it while continuing to say he needs sex during a season in which you are trying to heal and so need that pressure removed. That is literally doing the opposite of what he said he agreed with. If he truly felt that he needed sex, then why would he agree with the book? At the least, he could say he agreed with parts of it but not all of it.

          I think you also got some bad counsel… porn use may be commonplace but that doesn’t mean it should be minimized. But when you say you were confused… he was angry… you got silent treatment… you felt guilty for not giving enough… you were constantly divided… obsessively reading this content… relieved to be *free*… those add up to more than a simple case of him feeling unloved. Those together read to me as someone who was abused. E.g. I was unloved for years, and most of that time I was given silent treatment (unconcious on his part, and also due to other issues) but being unloved as I was, I was open to trying to work through it. Feeling unloved on its own doesn’t justify 2 months of silent treatment, certainly not from a spouse. I can’t think of anything that does.

          If your husband agreed with tGSR as he claimed, he should have been able to allow you to heal in the way laid out in the book during the sex fast *he agreed to*. By reminding you during the agreed upon sex-fast about his “need” to feel loved, he was not giving you the opportunity to do the very healing he claimed he agreed with. One cannot say he agrees with something, continue to do the very things outlined as harmful, and not have some level of deception, to himself or to others, involved. And frankly, he was hurting his own cause (of wanting sex to feel loved)- if he had given you the time without the reminding, you may well have had desire return! Then you would have been having sex which, per his claim, would have made him feel loved. He sabotaged the very thing that could have led to the “problem” being resolved.

          Fwiw, reading some of Andrew Bauman’s words has been helpful to me- to hear a man’s perspective, his candidness, and bluntness while also not diminishing the beauty that can be found in sex was beneficial.

          Reply
          • Nessie

            Just to clarify, when I say those things read as someone abused, I mean you were abused, not him.

          • Anonymous305

            Thanks ❤️.

    • Nessie

      If he could give you 2 months of silent treatment, I highly doubt there was any way that you could have made him feel loved that you didn’t try. That sounds like he has a lot of issues he needs to work on in himself. While sex can increase the loved feeling, it is not the only component in a marriage, and if he claimed to feel unloved without it- knowing the reason was for you to heal- then he was using it to cover up a lack in himself in another way. That is not on you. If he kept saying he agreed with the book but then pressed you about his “needs,” well, that sounds like manipulation to me. Like he was trying to agree with you and say what you wanted to hear so you would go ahead and end the sex fast. That and the silent treatment are both manipulative ways of controlling people. I’m glad you are safer now.

      Reply
      • Nessie

        Anonymous305- May I offer one more thought? You say you wonder if his new wife will love him better than you did…
        I believe you were loving your husband well because you were holding him to a higher standard. You believed he was capable of more, of being a better man. You wanted a marriage that was about both of you, which included you having a good sex life as well as him. You were trying to be iron sharpening iron which is a good and loving thing. Love isn’t always just the warm, fuzzy feeling.

        Please don’t think I’m trying to tear him down; rather, I’m trying to encourage you because it sounds like both him and you have punished yourself more than enough already.

        Reply
    • Rebecca

      Routine abstinence from sex after childbirth is almost two months. How do marriages survive that?

      Christian men are supposed to be completely abstinent before marriage, which means years, maybe decades, of abstinence after puberty. How do they manage?

      Not to mention all the curveballs that life throws your way that can make sex impossible or undesirable for a time. How does anyone survive?

      If a man can’t manage two months of abstinence for a serious reason, that’s an addiction. Addictions feel like needs, but they aren’t.

      If sex was really a need for some people, then they would have the right to sexually assault any available target. Most of us don’t agree with that, although I have seen this mindset used to partly exonerate men even from raping their own children.

      People can say anything they want, including saying you are responsible for meeting made-up needs. That doesn’t make it so. The fact that your husband got engaged so quickly indicates to me that he was never interested in commitment to a real person anyway, just access to a sexual outlet. Whatever mistakes you may have made, his attitude toward sex is not your fault.

      Reply
  6. Cheyenne

    Anonymous I’m so sorry for what you went through. The pain of divorce is like no other.

    What you said above here is true and valid as it was your experience:

    “The toxic books sell because they are true for some people. He did have a need I didn’t have and he did feel unloved without sex”.

    I mentioned this in another post about how much subjectivity there is around this topic of “healthy” vs “unhealthy” specifically in marriage, and the part of your post I quoted above supports that too. I think many times unfortunately this concept of giving to your partner (both ways) gets lost or even intentionally pushed aside when authors emphasize both people fighting for their individual rights, “true selves” etc in marriage. That’s great if one is single but not that helpful for a marriage of two people when compromise and give and take is foundational.

    And I’m sure I’ll get shredded for saying this and supporting your thought on this blog, but you are right in your observation that he did have a need you did not have and he did feel unloved without sex. That’s true for you and what you experienced. And it’s biology as many men (and many women like me who also have that need) would agree.

    Sounds like you are well on the road to healing and recovery and you are wise with your quote above and what you observed. Thank you for sharing as your observations will undoubtedly help many many women.

    Sending prayers your way for Holy Spirit to rest with you in your pain and healing.

    Reply
    • College Student

      I’m going to gently push back on the phrasing of “need.” For one, if so many men need sex to feel loved, but as Christians are abstinent before marriage, do they really love the women they are marrying, or are they just getting married to sleep with them? Or does the “need” raise its head post-marriage?

      What about old married couples who cannot sexually function? If the man has a need, is their marriage destined to break down because that need can no longer be fulfilled?

      If sex has become the “bedrock” of a marriage, required to be in place for the marriage to function, it seems to me like there is severe dysfunction elsewhere.

      It sounded to me like the issue with the husband in question was not his “need” for sex but his expectation that his desires would come first, at the expense of his wife.

      Reply
      • Cheyenne

        Wouldnt it just save everybody (men and women) a lot of heartache and anxiety if people just marry people they want to have sex with? And be honest that when you agree to marry you understand that sex is a key element of marriage versus just a platonic roomate situation?

        That way there wouldn’t be all the arguments about sex in the first place. If you’re a college student I’d recommend you consider this and its beautiful simplicity.

        Marry someone you want to have sex with and that you would be OK with having sex with for the rest of your life.

        Reply
        • College Student

          Respectfully, nothing I said originally disagrees with that. You didn’t really address my point.

          I do think marrying someone you’d be willing to have sex with is important. I just don’t think it should be the only consideration. I don’t believe you think that, either, but that’s how your comment could come across.

          The problem with the piece of Christian culture that Mrs. Gregoire is fighting against is that it emphasizes for the men, “marry someone you want to have sex with,” while that message may not get across to the women- something something sex is for your husband is more what they hear. So when there’s a disconnect post-marriage, they blame the women for not being on the same page.

          And even if they *were* okay with having sex with their husband for so long as they both shall live at the time of their wedding, that’s not a part of the wedding vows- to love is. To sleep with is not. And as much as I’d love to believe people only improve in character after marriage, that’d be a naive view of human nature. Like Mrs. Gregoire has shown, women’s desire doesn’t usually tank randomly. You can go in with an intention and a desire, but life changes and so too do those things- usually depending upon the behavior of one’s spouse or one’s health, neither of which can be blamed upon the woman. Please note I’m not saying this is true in all cases- but in many, specifically the cases this blog is oriented around.

          Sex is important, but it should be the icing on the cake, not the pin on which the entire functionality of a marriage hinges. Should it be off the table for whatever reason, the marriage should be able to survive without it.

          Reply
          • Cheyenne

            It is part of the wedding vows. “To have and to hold”.

            Just be respectful and clear and honest with the person you consider marrying if you do one day that sex is not that important to you. If you guys aren’t compatible sexually, better not to marry than argue about it for 50 years.

            And probably if you do marry and sex isn’t important to you leave out the “have and hold” part of the traditional vows. Better not to vow something you don’t mean.

            Good luck with your college career!

          • College Student

            (Replying to my own comment because there’s no button showing up under yours, sorry)

            Ooh, you’re right on that. Should have looked up the vows before posting.

            Having granted that, however, I believe I have already proposed a counter to that- barring asexuality, which is something that should one hundred percent be discussed before marriage, women don’t typically take sex off the table if the marriage is otherwise healthy, as Mrs. Gregoire’s research shows, as do the testimonies of many women here. Logically speaking, what does that mean with regards to the vows? That “to have and to hold” isn’t being followed by the wife because “to love and to cherish,” or some other important component of the vows, are not being followed by the husband. (This can happen in reverse, too.) To have and to hold should not give license to the higher drive spouse to demand sex whenever as a “need.” That is ignoring the true emotional needs for intimacy of the lower drive spouse, which are just as included in the marital vows.

            Overall, I think my argument can be summed up to “love should be a prerequisite to sex.” I want someone to marry me because they *love me,* which should include desire, but it shouldn’t be desire on its own. (Please do note I have previously said “I do think marrying someone you’d be willing to have sex with is important,” “you” including myself.) And if a husband is not fulfilling his vow to love his wife (or the other way around, but the audience here is, again, primary from the above dichotomy), the wife shouldn’t be obligated to give him sex if she doesn’t want to, especially if she’s in a sex-repulsed state. Now, that obviously needs to be explained to the husband. But taking sex off the table is not the root problem most of the time. And if all else is healthy, and both spouses agree on that, and she still has no drive, there might be other issues at play, but those should be investigated instead of ignored and pushed past for the sake of the husband.

            I get the feeling, however, we’re not going to see eye to eye on this. Thank you for being respectful and not just dismissing me out of hand because I’m younger, and for the well wishes on college!

          • Healing

            The conversation between Cheyenne and College Student is interesting. I feel like College Student is “wise beyond their years” and I have to thought about many of the points they made.

            I feel like Cheyenne’s thought process is a bit more simplistic with the “marry someone who you would want to have sex with for the rest of your life.” That seems like a Utopian view of marriage and sex. Two ideas came to mind. First, say the couple are virgins and want/expect an amazing sex life and both go into marriage wanting to have sex with each other for the rest of their life. Heck, they have never HAD sex so agreeing to something they have never experienced seems ok. Only, what if sex is awful? What if sex is demanded? What if sex is selfish? The what ifs can go on and on. They agreed to sex in marriage off of never experiencing it before. It’s hard to know what you’re agreeing to. (Same logic, replacing sex with say, sushi. So before marriage the couple hears about how amazing sushi is. They can’t wait to get married and eat sushi 2-3x per week for the rest of their lives. Only, after getting married and having sushi, one of them realizes they don’t particularly like sushi but they continue to eat it 2-3x per week because their spouse LOVES it. So after a number of years of choking down the raw fish, the one spouse decides they can’t take it anymore and doesn’t want to eat it. Well, they agreed to eat it before they got married so they MUST continue to eat it. The spouse who loves it doesn’t need to eat less of it, the one who doesn’t like it needs to continue to choke it down. But little did they know that maybe if the raw fish was cooked or prepared differently, the they could both enjoy something new together. But it’s never asked of them because “the Bible” says we MUST eat sushi this way and this way only.

            The second point that came to mind was my personal story (which I hear so many people have similar experiences). Yes, we went into marriage wanting to have sex with each other for the rest of our lives. BUT, and here’s the big caveat in your simplistic thought, people’s actions can change the dynamic. So going into marriage wanting sex with one person can CHANGE based on someone’s actions. In my experience, my husband’s selfishness and sense of entitlement killed my desire for sex with him. This obviously didn’t happen overnight but by Cheyenne’s simplistic view, even if someone treats the other like sh*t, you’re still expected to have desire to have sex with the other person. Even if they are addicted to porn, you are expected to have sex with them. Even if they cheat on you, even if they convince you to not breastfeed your child so that you can get your libido back so THEY can get back to having sex with them, etc etc. because you went into marriage wanting sex with them, that feeling is never supposed to change. It just seems too simple.

            Just my thoughts.

          • College Student

            Thank you for the compliment!

            I think the sushi metaphor you came up with was a great way of describing what I couldn’t quite figure out how to convey to her. “Utopian view” is a very apt description, too.

            I’m so sorry your husband treated you the way he did. From your name, it sounds like you have done and are doing work to heal from that, and I hope God blesses you in that endeavor!

          • Healing

            College Student- Yes, my husband and I are healing and it had to start with him acknowledging and admitting to his behavior. We thought we were doing pretty good but when he brought up our frequency not being what he wanted, it triggered me and I felt the way I did back in the day. So at this point, we probably need to go seek outside help because I don’t know if we can heal more without it. Just like in “The Body Keeps the Score”, or in “When Religion Hurts You”, my body remembered my trauma and I can’t help that it reacted the way it did. It’s pretty unfortunate because when we got married, I was actually quite sexual and his selfishness killed it. He realizes he is reaping what he sowed and has to be patient with me while I heal. Our healing started with reading TGSR, just like with the reader from the post. I hope our healing journey continues.

          • Anonymous305

            Thank you for noticing that couples do want to have sex AT THE TIME they get married, and desire dies later.

            I used to think “to have and to hold” was about hugging and cuddling, but I’ve seen it used in property law. Deeds for real estate (at least sometimes) say you have and hold the property. So, I’m not sure if that meant sex when it was first added to wedding vows.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Yes, I totally agree with this and it’s well put: “Sex is important, but it should be the icing on the cake, not the pin on which the entire functionality of a marriage hinges. Should it be off the table for whatever reason, the marriage should be able to survive without it.”

  7. Evan

    Hi Sheila, do you possibly have a group/community page for others reading through the book? If so, I think would be super valuable as well. I just finished the book and my wife and I have chatted about parts I’ve been learning but getting insights from others would be helpful as well. Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Anonymous Husband

    I first want to say how much I appreciate a research informed book on sex from a Christian perspective. Finally! Quality research is so much more helpful than “folksy wisdom” or anecdotal answers. I do have a question about the role of gender in your book however.
    My question is this, what if the gender of the individual that wants more foreplay, aftercare, and emotional connection in general is the husband?
    I am a husband that desires each of these things and my wife is much more interested in as little foreplay as possible so that she can achieve orgasm and then go back to her normal routine of getting ready for bed. The challenge for me while reading your book has been that my wife has taken the chapters on desire, foreplay, connection as a license to continue the current pattern of sex for orgasm (not connection). I appreciate the way you reframe the typical messages about sex at the end of each chapter. You use gender and role neutral messaging that is helpful. However, because the book is written from a wife’s perspective (which makes sense because you are a wife and speak primarily to women) this may inadvertently convey the message that a wife’s level of desire for foreplay, connection, and aftercare is the benchmark for a healthy sexual relationship. At least this is how my wife has received the messaging in the book. I recognize that each relational dynamic is different and mine may be statistically in the minority.
    Do you have any faith based and research informed resources you would recommend for a husband that wants more connection, foreplay, and aftercare in the bedroom (and outside of it)?

    Reply
    • Anonymous305

      I hope your wife isn’t a porn addict, but her self-focus reminds me of my ex. Sorry you have to go through this ☹️❤️☹️!!

      Reply
      • Anonymous Husband

        I actually wonder about that sometimes due to things she has admitted to doing alone. I’ve asked directly but she denies porn use. Chapter 6 of the book talks about pornography’s affect on a marriage. It discusses the issues when a husband sees his wife as his “methadone” and mentions that women are porn users as well. It seems like the steps for a husband’s recovery are admitting the issue and then to take steps to make resisting the temptation easier. I wonder what those steps might be for a wife that is struggling with lust? Are they the same for women as for men? As the chapter says, there isn’t much out there for women that are struggling with lust.

        Reply
  9. Hurting

    Shelia , Thanks for the work that you and your team have done. I have read TGSR and I have more questions now than before. I could probably type a novel here about my experience. Obviously my spouse and I have issues.

    I am at my wits end. I am the higher libido spouse. I have struggled for years desiring a better sex life. Years ago it was just frustrating and easy to plow ahead. The past 2 years have been hard. I have complained over the years about the lack thereof. Which I am now learning is worst thing I could do. I am questioning what all I have done wrong and what to do about it.

    We had a decent sex life. Maybe 2 or 3 times per month, which is not nearly enough for me. My wife said she enjoyed it. I tried to foreplay plenty. I always made sure that she orgasmed. She Probably Orgasmed 97% of the time. No real sexual function problems, needed lube sometimes. Now its less than 2 times per month. Now I have trouble keeping a good erection, its a mental thing. Three of the 9 times I could not orgasm.

    For a long time I figured there could only be two reasons for the lack of sex. I was not doing enough of what my wife wanted me to do or she is not satisfied with me sexually. I thought that for a long time I was not endowed enough please
    her(which is emotionally painful). I try to do everything she wants to do , even if I think its not fair. I do many things that I know she would not consider doing for me. I’m not perfect but I do much more than the average husband. Nothing is off the table when it comes to helping out. I guess I have been trying earn intimate time with her. Trying so hard for so long I felt like she owes that to our marriage. I realize this is not the right thought process but I’m desperate..

    Over the years I have heard many reasons why not to make love. To tired, don’t feel good, watching TV, stressed out, not right now, need a shower, just don’t want to, I came to bed to late, the kids are still awake etc. All valid reasons why not to. But at some point I think there should be some reasons why we should make love. I made efforts to do more around the house, help with her job, came to bed earlier….all to no avail. I started keeping track of how long it had been since we made love last. Doing this hurt her feelings. Hurting her feelings was not the goal. I apologized.

    I have read many of the blogs talking about sex not being a need. It sure feels like a need to me. I have longed for the closeness and connection. After so many years of rejection, I no longer view my wife in a sexual manor. I avoid seeing her naked if possible. When I want so bad to initiate Love making, I fight it. My mind is winning the battle over my heart. I resist trying until I can not any longer. Recently I had a bad reaction to being turned down. If I could take meds to kill my desire for my wife…I would in a heart beat.
    I asked if she would go to counseling with me but she refused. Said it was to personal to talk about with a stranger. But what I hear in my mind is, our sex life is not important enough to deal with.
    I am in tears and lost on what to do.

    Reply

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