PODCAST: The Sex Talk You Never Got feat. Sam Jolman

by | Jun 6, 2024 | For Men, Podcasts | 20 comments

What if purity culture didn’t just steal sexual health from women, but stole it from men too?

What does it mean for a man to have healthy sexuality? Today licensed counselor Sam Jolman joins us for The Sex Talk You Never Got. He’s got an amazing new book out that focuses on how to develop a healthy view of sexuality for men, and what it means for sexuality to be a part of us. How do we live with our sexuality without feeling like we need to turn it off? And how do we learn to treat each other well and honor our sexuality, and others?

I really enjoyed Sam’s book, and I think it’s such a healthy look at how passion and desire are important things that we don’t want to dim. They affect all of life. And when we experience sexuality in a negative, shame-filled way, we close ourselves off to passion and desire in other avenues. We close ourselves off to wonder and beauty.

So how do we approach all of this well? Check it out!

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:

In Search of Healthy Male Sexuality

Seriously, Sam’s book is awesome, and you need to check it out! Sam is a licensed counselor who deals with these issues clinically day in and day out, and he has seen how much men have been hurt by the evangelical church’s message about sexuality (as Sam was really open in the book about his own journey too).

And he shows the way forward–understanding the root of shame; embracing healthy sexuality and healthy outlook on the world; honoring our passions and steering them in a healthy way.

I’m so glad to be partnering with so many amazing Christian men who are fighting the good fight with us–Jay Stringer, Zach Wagner, Andrew Bauman, Michael John Cusick, and so many more. We’re not alone! And I hope many pastors and men’s leaders pick up this book for a healthier view of sexuality!

(John Eldredge wrote the foreword too, and I hope maybe he’s listening and changing some of his views as well!).

Things Mentioned in the Podcast

To Support Us:

Things Mentioned in the Podcast:

All about New River Fellowship Church:

Pastor Joey Willis, Lead Pastor at New River Fellowship in Hudson Oaks, Texas.

What do you think? How can we develop more healthy male sexuality? How can we keep this conversation going? Let’s talk in the comments!


Sheila: Welcome to The Bare Marriage podcast. I’m Sheila Wray Gregoire from baremarriage.com where we like to talk about healthy, evidence-based, biblical advice for your sex life and your marriage. And I’m back from vacation. We took May off because we had to frantically finish up some edits from our new marriage book The Marriage You Want which will be out next April in 2025. Sorry we don’t have it for you earlier, and then Keith and I took a vacation, a much needed one with my mom, and it was wonderful. And I just came back really refreshed and a lot more optimistic. I think I’ve been really sad for a long time because of the fight that we’re in and the condition of the evangelical church, and I just realized things are really changing. I just hear such wonderful things from so many people every day, and we’re making a difference. And that doesn’t mean that everything is going to change, but there’s a huge movement happening. I just feel like, yeah, we’re finally getting through. So I think I turned a corner. My mental health is a ton better, and I’m really looking forward to the podcast that we have for you for the rest of the season. And today’s is another kind of optimistic one because there’s a bunch of new books coming out on healthy male sexuality and healthy masculinity in the Christian context, and today we are going to interview Sam Jolman, who has just written an awesome book on just that topic. So, here is Sam. Well, I’m so thrilled to bring to our podcast today, Sam Jolman, who is a licensed counselor from Colorado Springs and who has a new book that launches tomorrow called The Sex Talk You Never Got: Reclaiming the Heart of Masculine Sexuality. Hi, Sam.

Sam: Hi, Sheila. Thank you for having me on. It’s such a privilege.

Sheila: I’m so excited. I am really honestly excited about this book. You gave me the opportunity to read an early copy so thank you for that. I think I read it—like what, almost a year ago or in the fall?

Sam: You read it last fall, and you gave me the honor of being an early reader where you could actually give feedback yet which was so helpful. I wanted your thoughts and reflections on that.

Sheila: Yes, I remember that, and I gave you an endorsement because honestly I’m just so excited that there are so many amazing books coming out on healthy male sexuality because we got to get beyond the Every Man’s Battle, people.

Sam: Yes.

Sheila: We’ve got to do this well.

Sam: That’s right.

Sheila: And you did it well. This is an awesome book. Everybody, you’ve got to go look at The Sex Talk You Never Got, and we are going to dive into it today. So are you ready?

Sam: That sounds—yes. That sounds great.

Sheila: Okay, so you open the book by talking—well, it’s actually really interesting because one of the things that you say is that we’re suffering from sexual malnourishment—

Sam: Yes.

Sheila: —and real abandonment in male sexuality. And tell me what you mean by that?

Sam: Yes, so you know, I think as men we’re very overly sexualized. There’s this sense of, you know, men just want sex. It’s oversexualizing men, but we’re under sexually nurtured meaning sexuality is probably the place you’ve had the few most meaningful conversations of your life—the fewest. It’s the place—you probably were left to figure it out on your own as a man, maybe you had locker room talk or sex jokes, right? But you—most men didn’t get much of a sex talk, maybe a purity lecture, maybe a shoddy anatomy lesson, but nothing more than that. It’s interesting when I talk to guys about this book it’s almost universal. It just happened I had a meeting for—my son is going into junior high, and I saw another dad literally two nights ago. We were catching up on life, and I said I have a book coming out. “Oh, that’s awesome. What are you writing on?” I told him the title, and first thing out of his mouth—and this happens all the time—is, “Yeah, I didn’t get a sex talk. I had to ask my friends in high school, and they got a bunch of things wrong, and their advice was terrible, and there’s probably a lot of things I wanted to forget.” That seems universal within the church, outside of the church, and it happened at the Verizon store with a 20-year-old who asked me, “What’s your business? Maybe we can get you a business line.” I said, “Well, I’m an author,” which always leads into what do you write on? So I said The Sex Talk You Never Got. And he said, “Yeah, I didn’t get a sex talk. My mom said, ‘Go ask your brother because we know your dad is not going to talk to you.’” He said, “My brother got the anatomy wrong.” He was just newly married, and he trailed off with this sense of that led to a lot of mistakes or a lot of struggle. Of course, we quickly moved on to talking about the business line he wanted to sell me, but you’re like wow, right there is a whole story and a whole world that this guy’s been alone in figuring out.

Sheila: Yeah, and it’s so true. Both men and women haven’t had sex talks, but I think what’s happened with men—and of course, on our podcast we talk so much about women—but men have been really hurt by this too is that the way we talk about their sexuality is just so ugly.

Sam: Yeah.

Sheila: I mean even in Christianity it is so ugly. The idea in Every Man’s Battle that you just need sexual release and to use your wife as your methadone so that you can get that sexual release as if the pull is just to ejaculation and nothing else.

Sam: Right, right. It degrades men. It robs them of anything other than urges and that’s kind of monster animal view of sexuality within men.

Sheila: Yeah, which is funny because on our last podcast of the season we were talking about that whole view of men as monsters, and it’s just not true. It’s not ever what God intended. Men can be strong. Men are capable, all of these things, but there is also a great beauty, and there’s also a great vulnerability, and there’s also a great love and desire and arousal and all of these things are good things. Yet they’ve been so distorted in the way that we teach about sex so that’s why I’m so grateful that you’re doing this. In your practice, you must see the results of this all the time.

Sam: Yes, yeah, so I’m a counselor. I work with men. I do sexual trauma recovery. I do marriage counseling, and it’s wild—most guys—this is changing. Thank God, it’s changing. But most guys come in with some things on fire in their life, like something is broken. Their marriage isn’t working or they’re stuck in struggle, but most guys don’t come in saying, “Hey, I want to work on my story or engage my trauma or grow deeper.” There are men that do, and again that’s changing which is really good, but most of the time, it’s them stuck in some sort of struggle like pornography or they’ve been caught in some illicit affair or something like that or things aren’t working in their marriage. That’s usually where we start, and then we start to get into the layers of how did you get here. And there’s always a story of setup to how they got there. There’s never just well, I just struggle with lust like every man. That’s so simplistic of every man I’ve ever met. That’s never the story. Well, you just lust. It’s just sin. There’s always—it’s always more complex so we usually start to peel back the layers and get into the story of how did you get here. I’m always surprised. Most guys will say as we start getting into the layers, “Oh, yeah, there’s that weird thing that happened when I was younger.” And that always seems to be the word, or I plan to take this to my grave. Something like that is usually how they preface stories of sexual trauma. They don’t hold it as trauma. They hold it as their shame. I—something is weird. I’m the monster. I’m perverted. Something like that is usually how they start by telling their stories of sexual development. Because guys don’t remain unformed. It’s not like because you didn’t get a talk it just sits there. Something comes in. Other forces come in to form us as men. It’s not that every man has sexual abuse in his story, but every man has forces that have formed him that have harmed him in some way even if it’s—like a lot of guys will tell me the story of how they first started watching pornography. Most of those stories are stories of somebody else introducing them to it which is a story of harm. So those—getting guys to step into their story and realize, “Woah, it’s not just me struggling with lust and being perverted. There’s actually all these other things that have shaped me sexually.” That work is very rewarding because what happens is once we lose the monster or the perverted language then we start to get to these really—I would say beautiful and powerful places in men which I talk about in the book which I’ve called the lover heart of a man. That every man—again, this might make men roll their eyes, but every man is a lover at heart. We have pictures of this guy that comes home from war and greets his family, and we could watch those videos all day on YouTube or TikTok of the surprise dad that comes home from being on leave and embraces his kids, and they all break down crying. What is that in a guy? That’s his lover heart. It’s him loving his family and loving the people around him. I’m always surprised once you get past the monster language you get to this lover heart of a man. The other thing—I’ll say this real quick too—the other thing that often happens in counseling is obviously I get to work in a confidential environment so guys can say whatever they want to me, but they’ll say it like this, “I’m probably more like the woman in the relationship because I need the emotional stuff, and I want the emotional stuff,” or like literally last week, a guy said to me, “Look, I know I’m supposed to always just be ready and always ready—and always able to get it up,” but he said, “I actually need foreplay. I want that stuff.” Why is it—what is wrong with our masculinity that he has to say it in a counseling office confidentially to me?

Sheila: Or he has to apologize for wanting connection.

Sam: Yes, right, and almost say it embarrassed or, “I guess I’m more like the woman.” What? What’s wrong with our masculinity that we have to—that men have to hide it?

Sheila: Yeah, no, it’s really interesting, and I really like your approach because what you’re saying is we presented a very broken view of men’s sexuality both in the church and in the culture, and you’re not trying to fix it as much as—I loved the word you used—to bless men’s actual sexuality and to bring that out so that’s what actually inside of us the way that we were made can come out. I want to say too just as a caveat we know that many men have committed great destruction in their marriages through porn. We’re not trying to downplay that at all. It’s just that over and over again what’s been shown is that the root to healing is not just to white knuckle it through and quit the porn. It’s to actually get to the wounds and the shame and all the things that have driven guys to use porn, and then that actually enables them to increase vulnerability, to increase authenticity, to get rid of the shame, and to actually connect for the first time. That’s when porn loses its hold because so many guys—I hear it all the time—I try to quit, and then two weeks later I’m in it again, two weeks later I’m in it again. It’s because you haven’t dealt with the ugliness. You haven’t dealt with the shame, right?

Sam: Right.

Sheila: So that’s what you’re trying to get at. I don’t mean to put words in your mouth. I know this because I read your book, and I’ve heard this from so many others. I really like that approach because it’s so different from Every Man’s Battle, and it actually leads to wholeness. I’m really appreciative of it.

Sam: Yes, yeah, I think a lot of guys end up trying to repent of having a body period versus repenting of the sin that they’ve done with their sexuality. But that’s a different story. You don’t repent of your sexuality. You repent of your sin, and for us to honor sexuality was blessed in Eden before the Fall. I think that’s the picture presented to us. You know, I was thinking like what are the most virile pictures of men in the Bible, and I would say Song of Songs and Adam in the Garden. Again you might argue with me on that, but if you look at those two pictures, what happens with these men? What happens in the midst of their arousal? They break into poetry. They’re these poet lovers that emerge from these guys. They write poetry. I’m not saying every man needs to become a poet, but that heart is in every man.

Sheila: Yeah, you have this story about how so many guys are actually repenting of their bodies or their sexuality as opposed to repenting of the sin. You gave this illustration, and it was so good of this guy who is so proud of himself. It’s like he won the purity culture trophy or something, and he’s in this restaurant with his wife and saying that he doesn’t even notice beautiful women anymore. They don’t even register, and that was actually something that she felt sad about because if you can’t notice beauty in other people then how is he going to notice it in her and how is he even going to relate to the world in an honest way? I thought that was an interesting take.

Sam: Yeah, I think this piggybacks off of your research that you did in The Good Guy’s Guide—I’m going to slaughter the title. The Good Guy’s Guide

Sheila: The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex.

Sam: Thank you, thank you. You talked about how purity culture sets men up to believe you’re going to struggle, and sure enough, I think you said like 78% had self-reported that they struggled. Yet only like 33% of those guys or of the whole group of men actually showed signs of lust. So what’s happening when a guy sees a beautiful woman—is that wrong what happens in him? I think purity culture says yes. Anything that moves in you—if you’re standing next to a woman in Starbucks, and you feel something, that’s wrong in you, and you need to look away, bounce your eyes, shut it down, run, whatever it is. What you said so well is no you’re just noticing beauty, and that’s a good thing in you to notice beauty. In fact, that’s what makes you a lover. That’s what lets you notice a beautiful sunset or a beautiful piece of music. So yeah, this guy—it’s actually a friend’s dad. He was telling me this story, and he had said, “I’ve conquered it. I’ve shut down—I’ve succeeded in shutting down whatever is in me that moves in the presence of a beautiful woman therefore I don’t lust.” And his wife felt sad at that understandably because he’d killed off something that was meant to be there—the capacity to be moved is how we love.

Sheila: So okay, I think a lot of people listening are going to be confused right now though because—and this is something that I have tried to explain in so many different ways so I’m going to give you a chance to explain it now, but why is it that it is okay to notice that someone is good looking?

Sam: Yeah, so there’s the difference between arousal and desire. Arousal nonconcordance—so what moves in your body is not the same as what moves in your heart necessarily. Meaning arousal is not the same as desire. Desire is not the same as arousal so I think we could put what moves in a guy in the presence of beauty is a form of arousal. It doesn’t necessarily mean it leads to lust. What happens in his heart is kind of his decision. Is he going to take it to lust and start to objectify or is he going to take in what he’s beholding? I don’t mean stare necessarily. But just be able to acknowledge—and even thank God as I say in the book—for beauty.

Sheila: Not just beauty in other people’s bodies, but beauty in like a tree in the autumn, or in the mountain, or in a gorgeous lake. We can be in awe of beauty.

Sam: Yes, right, and as I say in the book, Eugene Peterson says awe leads to worship. So taking in the beauty of the world is what leads us to want to thank God for life itself. I was talking to a friend who was watching the women’s March Madness, and he said—he was telling me I can’t stop watching Caitlin Clark play basketball. He was kind of wrestling this out loud with me. It doesn’t feel like lust, but I can’t stop watching. She’s so good. I said to him, “That’s awe. You’re being moved.” Again not just by her physical beauty even but her skill and finesse as an athlete. But that’s another form of being moved that’s different than lust. There was a kind of reverence. He even described it that way. I’m just—he’s like, “I can’t describe it. It’s like I’m just moved by her and her skill. I just loved watching.”

Sheila: You know, I think we have an easier time understanding this if we reverse the genders because most women will say, “Oh, yeah, I notice the guy who was good looking,” or, “I noticed that he was really muscular, really strong,” but we don’t think of that as lust. But if a guy notices that a woman is—appreciates that she’s good looking or something, we interpret that as lust because we’re so used to men approaching sexuality through that desire to consume, that desire to own or whatever, objectify, that we assume that is lust when a woman could do the exact same thing, and we wouldn’t assume that was lust. If you’re struggling with this as a woman, if you’re like but I don’t want him to notice other women, we’re not saying lust. We’re just talking about it in the same way that you might notice a really goodlooking guy. Ryan Reynolds is the example I always use because he’s a really goodlooking Canadian man. I could go into that. That is a really goodlooking Canadian man, and if he showed up at my door and said, “Sheila, I want to embrace you,” I would say—I would call the police.

Sam: Right.

Sheila: It doesn’t mean—I might try to get his autograph first, but I would call the police. It doesn’t mean that I want to do anything with him or anything like that. You can just notice that hey he’s goodlooking. End of story, and that’s as far as it goes. I can laugh at the way he talks about his daughters on Twitter because that’s quite funny. I appreciate things about him, but it doesn’t mean that it has anything to do with lust or desire.

Sam: Right. I had a woman client say to me one time. She said, “Oh, I notice guys—I see guys noticing me in the grocery store line for example.” She says, “Oh, I see guys noticing me.” She said, “It flatters me to have a man appreciate my beauty and see him catching my eye or whatever.” Then she paused and she said, “But then there are those other looks—the creepy ones.” She said, “Those feel horrible.” So she was able to hold this difference between a guy that she could tell—she had a felt sense of a guy that was noticing her beauty versus a guy that was obviously objectifying her or lusting or taking it further. There was a felt difference for her. That spoke to me as powerful like wow, okay. It tells me something different can happen in a man’s heart than just lust. This can be something else that might actually be a gift or at least appreciated. She said, “I appreciate it.”

Sheila: I think that—and that’s a lot of what you’re trying to do sort of at the beginning of the book is to show that our appreciation of beauty in all its forms, not just in someone’s body, but in all its forms. It leads us to awe. It leads us to worship. It leads us to gratitude. It’s one of the conduits through which we do approach God. It is through appreciation of beauty, and this is how we can start to reclaim our sexuality like the way that we reclaim male sexuality is not to make men feel like they are wrong if they ever notice beauty. It’s to make men put that in perspective and honor it instead of try to consume it, and that’s the rub because we’ve often done this so badly. I think part of the way that we do it badly is because of shame, right?

Sam: Yes.

Sheila: We attach shame to so much of our sexual feelings. You quoted Dan Allender who called shame the fear of exposure which I thought was very interesting. Can you explain the role that shame plays in our sexuality?

Sam: Yes, I think we could say we all—what is shame? It’s the fear of exposure. It’s the fear of eyes really. We all want to be seen. We all want to be seen as a way we talk about love. I felt so seen might be a way you might describe feeling loved in a moment. But shame I felt so exposed or I felt so naked or I could feel people’s eyes on me, and it feels horrible. That’s a different feeling than feeling loved, right?

Sheila: Right.

Sam: I think as I said in the book I think evil’s greatest goal is to join shame to our sexuality so that we do what? We shut it down or we split from it, and I think this is where so many men get stuck is nobody took the time to talk to them about their sexuality. They got lost in a story. Maybe they were harmed, and evil starts to introduce shame to their story, and then what? Well, then they push it away into the shadows of their being so it’s a thing that lives kind of in silence or secret or kind of split off we could say from the rest of them. It kind of operates over here which I think is what evil wants because what can it do then. It can tempt you to act out of your shame or your stories of shame. If you think about the Garden of Eden, it’s a horrible transition. We have chapters and verses in our modern Bibles, but if you read it as they didn’t have chapters and verses in the original so if you read it in a flow that scene of Adam with Eve, they were naked and felt no shame. Now the serpent. It’s literally the next words. That’s how quickly evil comes to try to harm that naked vulnerability of obviously there’s sexuality but more their relationship and their openness, their vulnerability, their intimacy with each other. I think evil wants to do that exact same thing in all of our stories is join your sexuality to shame so that you do what? You shut it down. You disconnect from it. You push it in the shadows. It operates over here in a place you don’t want to talk about.

Sheila: Yeah, I think this is really interesting imagery because if intimacy is truly being seen and shame is feeling exposed like people see too much, then that really means that you can’t be intimate. It gets rid of the chance for intimacy, and what I found so interesting—this is one of the big takeaways I have from your book—is how shame and contempt are linked. I hadn’t—I’ve done a lot of work on shame and have read a ton about it, but I hadn’t seen that link in the same way, and you explained it really well how the cause of your shame or the root of your shame, whatever caused you to be exposed, is what you now have contempt on. You act that out. Can you explain how that works to me?

Sam: Yeah, so we actually don’t stay in shame very long. Shame feels deadly. We even have that language of I felt so mortified or I could have died. I felt so exposed. We talk like that, but it’s actually true that you stay in shame for about .8 seconds, and then you need to get out of it because nobody can bear exposure. Emily Nagoski says shame is actually—it induces a stress response like fight or flight, like you’re in the presence of a bear only it’s actually a flight from yourself because you feel like you’re the danger, like something is wrong with me. I need to run from myself, and so we have to do something to get out of shame. As I say in the book, the quickest—sadly probably the most overly used response—is to go to contempt. We—again to borrow Dan Allender’s words—we try to gouge out the eyes looking at us, or we try to get away. That’s proverbial obviously, but we try to shut down the person who’s seeing us or we try to get away from that part of ourselves by disowning it, disconnecting from it. Contempt restores a sense of power when we feel powerless. We’ll rise up with some form of contempt. You might think about losing my keys in the house. I can feel tempted—I can feel attacked with shame. Man, I’m an adult man. I just lost my keys. You start to hear the shame voice. So what will I do? I’m tempted often to call myself an idiot. Oh, you’re such an idiot. Why can’t you remember your keys? That little moment of contempt helps me get out of my shame, or I might say, “Who took my keys?” to my boys. I have three boys or my wife. “Somebody took my keys. Where did you guys put them?” Just some way of acting out of that feeling of exposure to restore a sense of power.

Sheila: So what does that look like in the bedroom?

Sam: Great question. You think about the vulnerability of asking for sex. So let’s say a man is interested in sex, and so he asks his wife, “Hey, can we make love?” Do you just hear the vulnerability of desire? So if he’s struggling with shame about his desire, he might resort to coercion. You owe me sex, or sex is an obligation as you talk about so well. The obligation sex message in a way gives a man a sense of power, control so he doesn’t have to deal with his vulnerability. It could be manipulation. I had a woman client, and she’s given me permission to share this part of her story, but she said, “I always knew my husband had a bad day based on how he would have sex with me that night.” She said, “It felt like I was the thing he needed to conquer because his day went so bad.” There was—which is such a painful experience that she’s describing rather than it being a form of making love. He’s obviously had a shameful day, like he didn’t get enough work done or something didn’t go well. So he comes home and makes sex the power thing which is contemptuous. It’s not there to connect the two of them. Or a guy that—you know, I tell a story in the book, and this name has been changed, but a guy named Tom who after feeling rejected by his wife and not wanting to engage the vulnerability of asking for sex turned to pornography because pornography is a place of—among other things—empowerment. It feels like I don’t have to be vulnerable. I get to have the power so it’s a form of contempt, and we don’t often think of that. It’s not just—I would say it’s never just a guy like oh he’s just got too much sexual desire, and he doesn’t know where to go with it. That’s not pornography. That’s not why men use pornography. Men use pornography because it’s a place to go act something out. We even have that language. I would say it’s—among other things, it’s a place to feel power.

Sheila: Yeah, I actually found the story of Tom really moving because you worked through it, and you showed how he treated his wife so terribly by turning to porn and other things, but there was a root to it.

Sam: Yes, right, so Tom was one of those guys that I talked about earlier who came in, didn’t know the layers, said, “I’m struggling with pornography.” He’s a Christian, and rightfully so, he felt conviction about that. “I can’t seem to stop. I pray all the time. I just can’t get over it. I don’t know what’s going on. Am I even a Christian?” was even his question. We got into the layers of his story, and he’s also given me permission to share this, but he told the story of—he was a very happy and jovial kid, and he would always go to his father at night before he would go to bed, and give his father a kiss and a hug. Again just the overflow of his heart that God made him with. At age seven, he’s doing the same nightly routine. He gets his pajamas on, brushes his teeth, comes down to his dad, and his dad halts him as he comes to kiss him and says something like aren’t you—you’re too old for that now I think was the line and said, “We need to stop.” He’s caught in this agony of what? It doesn’t make sense and can you start to hear in that moment the voice of shame came to him which was something is wrong with me if I want affection. He remembers as a boy feeling that rejection from his dad and that actually ended his father’s affection for him that day, and he felt immense shame for that desire for affection. It was only later that he learned—and again you start to just hear how generations of trauma can pass on—obviously his father is responsible for what he said, but he found out later that his father at age seven was sent to an orphanage because his father’s single mother was overwhelmed, and at the time didn’t know what to do and sent him to an orphanage so at age seven, his father’s affection had stopped. You just think about the trauma of that, and yet without being dealt with, he just harmed his son, reenacted what had happened to him, which is tragic.

Sheila: And I’m now picturing Tom—how he still has this innate desire that we all have to connect and to be seen, but every time he feels that, he needs to shut it down. So every time he feels like he wants to be close to his wife, he’s almost drawn to porn because it’s a way to escape this feeling of wanting to connect which is scary. It’s just such a terrible cycle. It’s an awful cycle.

Sam: Right, right, and again we’re not saying he’s not responsible for his choices, right? But he did the right choice which was turn to counseling, get help, ask the deeper question, don’t just keep trying to get over your porn use, and end up never being curious about why it might be there, how did it start.

Sheila: Because so often our stories, our sexual stories, our stories of ourselves, our stories of who we are really do impact these ways that we often act out in ways that we don’t like. It’s not always with sex. It could be with whether or not you drink, your relationship with food, your relationship with how you raise your kids. It’s all intertwined, and we all have to look at our stories, but it’s just so interesting how sex, how the area of sex is so often the one that evil targets because it’s so close to us, and because it’s just marring something which was meant to be beautiful. So you know, we’ve talked about a lot of the ugly stuff, the shame, the contempt, the porn, etc., but I love the picture that you present in The Sex Talk You Never Got which as I said launches tomorrow so I think this podcast is coming out on June 6. If we run it later, it’s already launched so you can go get it on Amazon or christianbooks.com or wherever you get books right now. But I love how you talk about sex as play.

Sam: Yes.

Sheila: Can you tell me about that?

Sam: Yes, so that was really fun in my writing to discover the question of what is sex? What is its essence? Is it a thing in itself or is it kind of a thing that draws together other ways we’re formed? I say in the book I’m convinced that sex is actually a form of play in itself, and I came to that just by reading through these books on play and discovering that sex really follows the rules of play, these elements of play. For example, I have a seven-year-old son, and it’s literally every day that he asks me, “Hey, Dad, want to play?” It’s such a beautiful question, probably the best question that I get asked all day. What’s he doing? If you think about it, he’s asking for consent. Now we would say, “What?” because we don’t think about that in terms of play, but Dad, do you want to play? Children know this. Play has to be invited. It has to be drawn out, and somebody has to say yes or no to play. That’s actually an element of play, that play by command actually stops it from being play. That’s one of the things I read in a book by Johan Huizinga on play. In other words, you can’t be forced to play where it no longer is play.

Sheila: You go play with our little sister.

Sam: Right, and have fun. Actually professional sports—athletes feel this. The toll of it is it doesn’t feel like play because I’m having to perform. When I read that, I thought instantly of that’s consent because consent is not just what can I get away with. It’s—consent is inviting desire. It’s invitational. Want to play? Could be a way we invite sex between couples. In other words, it’s drawing out desire where somebody gets to say yes or no.

Sheila: Right, right.

Sam: As I say in the book, we obviously have a lot of bad associations with play and sex, and I walk through those in the book that I feel like evil has really held that word play connecting to sex. Play boy, being toyed with, a player, cheating—even the language of somebody cheating on their spouse. It’s play language. Cheating at a game. Or the shame that we invoke by talking about masturbation as playing with yourself. Evil has kind of held this word in the realm of sexuality, and I’m trying to fight to get it back in the book.

Sheila: I think of play as something which—I love your idea of consent and that someone initiates the play, running next door and knocking on the door. “Hi, Mrs. Robinson, can Julie come out and play?” that you do when you’re a kid or whatever, but I also think of laughter and where you’re not particularly self-conscious, like play is just—erupts from you out of joy. You explore. You make up new games. You make up new worlds, but it just comes out of innocent imagination and fun that you want to experience with someone else. That’s lovely.

Sam: Right, and I—spot-on. In the book, I talk about I think sex is meant to draw that kind of childlike innocence and wonder and play that we so lose. I think we often equate innocence with naivete. It’s oh you outgrow that, but I think innocence is meant to be the picture of healthy sexuality. There’s a kind of restored sense of wonder and awe and playfulness and innocence to how you show up.

Sheila: And then you go on to talk about arousal which we’ve already talked about a little bit, like how our attitude toward life can be one of inviting arousal. We’re not talking about getting an erection or sexuality. It’s not—that’s not what we mean—it’s just your attitude of being moved by what’s around you.

Sam: Yes, yeah, right. I talk about the importance of developing a capacity for beauty. One of the things I’m trying to instill in my boys. They used to roll their eyes, but it’s really cool to see actually now they are the first ones to start this practice, but when we see a beautiful sunset or since we live in Colorado, you drive down a road and you turn a corner, and there’s this just awe-inspiring view of a mountain. I said it’s my goal to instill in my boys a capacity for beauty and wonder because that’s the good stuff of life that we all live for. You work for what? For the beauty—the beautiful moments of life, the loving moments of life. So it can be beauty in a relationship but beauty in the world, beautiful moments of conversation, beautiful music, but those things actually shape our hearts to be able to take in the beauty of a person and the beauty of sex with a person, your spouse. So yeah, a general posture of again I’m not trying to say all of life is sexual. It’s not, but all of life as I say in the book, is sensual. Those are different. You taste, touch, sight, smell, hearing—all of those things are meant, are given to you to take in the world. You think about just the simple thing God did by giving us—I think it’s like 4,000 nerve endings in your tongue. That’s not just—obviously that’s there to make sure things aren’t too hot or to taste if things are rotten. So there’s a protective element, but largely that’s there just for the pleasure of life, and so I talk about a sensual posture or an aroused posture. Arousal is a term neurologically that describes a person who is awake and alive, not just sexually aroused. Sexual arousal fits in that, but (inaudible).

Sheila: But it’s bigger than that. Yeah it’s like you’re awake, you’re alive, you have approached life with gratitude, with awe, all of these wonderful things. It’s just amazing how much we really clamp down on that feeling like you’re not allowed to feel. Men aren’t supposed to feel. Men aren’t supposed to seem. They aren’t supposed to do any of these things. They just kind of have to be strong and aloof and emotionless, and that’s not the picture of a lover.

Sam: Right, right. In fact, Cole Arthur Riley—I’m hoping I’m getting her name right. She has this quote in her book This Here Flesh. She talks about an arrogant man can’t be moved by beauty. I’m not saying necessarily that an arrogant man is the opposite of a lover, but you can see an arrogant man, a narcissistic man, doesn’t want anybody to have power over them. Therefore they don’t want—and they won’t let even beauty to overpower them. There’s a desire to remain unmoved or to exert power over what’s moved them. Obviously that’s an extreme, an arrogant or narcissistic man, but it’s a picture for us of what’s like—beauty is powerful, and it’s meant to undo you. That takes a certain kind of humble hearted lover posture in a man to be able to do that.

Sheila: One of the things I frequently get emailed about is issues about libido, and a lot of people have this question. They say Sheila I’ve been listening to your podcast. I’ve been reading your book, and one of the things that you keep saying is that when marriages are healthy, when couples feel close, frequency tends to take care of itself. But I still don’t have much of a libido. I just want to address this quickly because I think I have something that can help. Yes, frequency does tend to take care of itself, but that doesn’t always mean that’s the case. There’s still 10%, 15% of low libido that we can’t explain looking at porn use, looking at past trauma, etc. We do have a course called Boost Your Libido which can help people who are in otherwise good marriages, who do reach orgasm regularly so that’s not the issue, but who just don’t seem to want it and don’t really think they have much of a libido. So you can check out our Boost Your Libido course. The link is in the podcast notes. It’s also on our website under courses. We have a libido course and other courses too, but if that is you, if you’re listening to this podcast and saying, “I really do love my husband, and I really do enjoy sex, but I just never seem to want it,” then please check out Boost Your Libido because wouldn’t it be wonderful if sex actually was something that you yearned for. So the link is in the podcast notes, and I hope that helps. Yeah, I’m just thinking too if you’re not able to be moved by beauty, like you said, because beauty actually does awaken your vulnerability because you feel like you can’t have mastery over this because in some way it has mastery over you because you’re in awe of it, right?

Sam: Right.

Sheila: So if we don’t like that feeling then that’s where we have to exert power, and that’s where we see so much ugliness coming into the idea of sexuality is because I need to always be in control. I need to always have power, and if you feel like you need to always be in control, like you can’t ever be moved by anything, you can’t ever be vulnerable, you can’t ever be truly seen because it will leave you too exposed then, yeah, you’re going to be drawn toward pornography, or you’re going to be drawn towards forms of sex that don’t allow you to connect, right?

Sam: Right.

Sheila: So sex becomes something which is purely mechanical, purely physical. You’re using her to get your sexual release as Emerson Eggerichs talks about in Love and Respect, but it’s nothing to do with actually experiencing this with her because it’s too vulnerable, right? You might be seen.

Sam: Right.

Sheila: And you have to separate yourself so you’re not seen, and yeah.

Sam: Right, well-said. Why do pornography scripts have such a misogynistic power element to them? It’s this very thing. It’s scripting for men you can be sexual and not have to be humble. You can be sexual without having to lose your power even the act of viewing pornography keeps you in the power. I read a report that pornography—the orgasm gap in pornography in terms of the scripts of pornography is like 80+%. If that doesn’t tell us, this is a script of power. It’s not just a script of beauty, of arousal, and all the good things.

Sheila: Well, especially with how violent so much pornography is today.

Sam: Yes. Yes, well-said, right, that the majority becomes hardcore. What is that about? Well, it’s a script for men to stay in power because genuine sex like you’re saying requires being undone, requires being able to take in, and again I want to make clear, we’re not just saying beauty superficially here. As I say in the book, I’m borrowing—there’s a guy Dacher Keltner who wrote a book on awe, and he has—he describes this idea. He said what—in his research what most brings people to awe is something he describes as moral beauty. It’s people living with courage or overcoming hardship or suffering difficult circumstances and staying alive through it and overcoming. He says that’s actually what brings us the greatest sense of awe. Again we have a very emaciated especially as men a very emaciated, superficial view of beauty which is it’s hot people which is just so emaciated. Again it’s the lover heart of every man because what is beauty? Again as my friend said, he was taking in I would say the beauty of Caitlin Clark and her incredible athleticism. Right that’s what he was in awe of. I would put that in the category of a kind of moral beauty. She’s overcoming hardship and rising obviously on a basketball court. That’s what we’re meant to be attracted to in each other and especially between a husband and a wife as lovers.

Sheila: Yeah, yeah, when we are attracted to their heart and not just yeah, the outside of them. I’ve heard from so many men—so many men have written to me and said, “My wife is now fourth months postpartum, and her body doesn’t look the way it used to, but I think it looks even more beautiful because when I look at the stretch marks, she got those giving me my daughter, and I love my daughter so much. To me, she’s even more beautiful, but she doesn’t feel like she’s beautiful. I’m trying to convince her that I don’t want the old body back. I am happy.”

Sam: That’s right.

Sheila: “I am in awe of what she is now because those scars mean something. Those marks mean something.”

Sam: Yes, that’s what I’m saying.

Sheila: I think that’s such a lovely way of putting it because I know so many women—we’ve really got such body image issues because of the terrible view of beauty and the very narrow view that our society has put women in largely because of power plays, but it doesn’t need to be that way, and it’s not—that’s not the way that the Bible talks about beauty. That’s not what you’re talking about in your book about embracing awe. I think it’s just embracing the beauty in relationships, the beauty in someone who—like I think about my husband who’s often on call not as much anymore, but he’d be on call all weekend. He’d have to sit with parents as he delivered bad news, and that just took such a lot of courage and a lot of compassion. He’d be exhausted, but that was a beautiful thing that he did.

Sam: Right.

Sheila: It’s a hard job that he has, and I just so much appreciated that of him. That’s what moved me towards arousal, desire, whatever words you want to put on it. Not his mustache, or his beard, although I like them, but yeah, just his heart for people I think is—

 Sam: So good.

Sheila: And men are the same way too. They are. They’re the same way.

Sam: Right like you bring up birth, and I watched my wife birth three man children, these three boys that we have. I wept all three births just—it was an experience now I can name as awe of like wow just watching her dig deep to get it done, to birth these children, and to connect to something primal. It was like oh my goodness. Like she’s—and I’ll used this word—almost transfigured. I’m not trying to use that in a theological sense, but maybe, maybe a little. There was something more about her glory or her beauty that just watching her dig deep and do that those were holy moments that I’ll never forget. It made me break down and cry. With the doula, like wow, she’s doing it. She’s getting it done. But there’s other moments. It’s not just birth. When I watch her—just like a deep conversation with her about her reflections on a book she’s read and when I catch like her unique perspective on a topic. It’s like, “Oh, that is—that’s beautiful in her to see her do that.” Or my wife tells really good jokes, and she has a really fun sense of humor. It’s so attractive to me just that playful side of her. 

Sheila: I love that. Well, okay, I have a final question which is one that haunts me every night, but you’re writing this book into a culture—an evangelical culture which hasn’t had a good script for sexuality for men, and more and more voices are speaking out which is wonderful.

Sam: Yes.

Sheila: But do you think things are changing? Like what gives you hope as you look toward the future?

Sam: I hope things are changing. You know, the whole reason I wrote this book was because I’m bringing up three sons, and thinking like I have got to figure out what this is meant to look like. It became a book, but that hunger to see the next generation of men raised up with a different script especially a different sexual script is really what drove me to do this. What gives me hope? It’s the—when you talk about getting the emails, I get the guys that come into my office and time and again—I mean literally I think I could say every man that sticks around in therapy, we get to this stuff. He finds his heart, and just knowing it’s possible, but I mean my clients endlessly inspire me in that way and watching them—a mini revolution maybe. It’s their life, but how they show up differently in their life, that kind of revolution. I mean it is other writers, the ones that you’ve hosted and their books and seeing this kind of rising voice saying no we’re not just monsters. What? Understandably the culture has been asking that question after the Me Too movement. Are men just fundamentally broken? But it gives me hope that I see—as many as there are men that make the headlines for being monstrous, the kind of conversations that I hear happening out of that of men that are counteracting that. It does give me hope.

Sheila: Yeah, that’s great. I have hope too. I really do, and from my emails and just seeing that some of the old scripts are going away. Hearing pastors preaching good sermons on this stuff. I get sent YouTube videos. Look what my pastor said this week. So I think things are changing because people want a different script. Nobody wants this whole men only need physical release, men aren’t really emotional, nobody wants that, not really. Everyone knows that’s so shallow and such a shadow of what God created us to be. So I hope it will change for the next generation. I hope it will change for your sons. I hope as they get older you’ll have fun giving them multiple sex talks because it isn’t one talk. It is multiple. It’s a relationship. Yeah, and bless you for that. So where can people find you?

Sam: Yes, so you can go to my website samjolman.com. There’s no E in Jolman or I’m on Substack. Would love to have you join that. It’s free. You can read my articles for free, and then, of course—

Sheila: I think we’re going to run one of your articles next week actually because I really liked it.

Sam: Oh, that’s great.

Sheila: I read it a while ago when you were talking about oh it’s just a joke. How men often say that about sexist jokes and why no, no, no, no, hold on a second. So I think I’m going to run that sometime next week so yeah, stick around for that.

Sam: Great, and then, of course, we’d love for you to buy the book, and we’d love your feedback on the book.

Sheila: Yeah, so the book again is The Sex Talk You Never Got. It is in stores tomorrow. If you order it on Amazon, often they ship it out even before it releases so they’ll probably ship it today anyway. I will put links to your Substack and your website too on the podcast notes. So thank you so much, Sam.

Sam: Thank you, Sheila. This was such a pleasure.

Sheila: I so appreciated that interview, and I just appreciate the many men who coming on board on this movement and saying hey it’s not just women who deserve better. Men deserve better too. We all deserve better because we’ve all been hurt by this rhetoric that doesn’t look anything like Jesus. And so pick up his book. The link is in the podcast notes. I’m so excited about that. Now I have something that I need to do as we are ending this podcast because the very last thing I said as we ended the last season was that we had a wonderful message from a pastor, and I really wanted to end the podcast season with this one-and-a-half minute clip from this great pastor from Texas, and unfortunately, that clip didn’t make it in the first version of the podcast. We quickly replaced it, but I think a lot of the podcast platforms didn’t refresh, and so even though it is correct on our podcast platform, it wasn’t on a lot of others. And I just really appreciated what this pastor had to say. This was Pastor Joey Willis from New River Fellowship in Hudson Oaks, Texas, and I spoke there earlier this spring. This is how he introduced the women’s conference, and I just thought his words were so great. As we were talking about healthy masculinity, let’s let Joey end this podcast for us too, and we will see you again next week on The Bare Marriage Podcast.

Joey: Hey, ladies. Welcome to Woven 2024. My name is Joey, and I’m the lead pastor here at New River. I want to thank you for choosing to spend your weekend with us. Our teams have prayed into this weekend and sought out how to best encourage, equip, and empower you. We do believe that God has a plan for you, and it can start today. But before we go any further, I want to make one thing clear—that women are called and equipped by God to lead and love at every level of leadership in the church, home, and the world. And no matter where you come from, what you were taught in your past, or what you believe about yourself today, know that we affirm you and celebrate you as an equal in God’s creation. He designed you to be coheirs with men and reign and rule together, and today is the day that you should believe it too. So on behalf of any church or pastor that may have ever hurt you, I want to repent. I want to say that I’m sorry for the ways the church has undervalued you and held you back and expected you to remain silent when God has given you a voice that matters. You matter. Christ in you matters so don’t hold back this weekend. Step into the plans that God has for you. The church needs women like you, and it can start right now.

Written by

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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  1. Codec

    I want to read this book.

  2. Jim

    Sounds good but with so many ‘masculinity’ books out there showing so many different ways that men are ‘supposed to’ behave, I am more confused than ever.

    I have 4 sons so I am looking for as many good resources that I can since, honestly, today’s culture is very suspicious of men and I need to prepare my sons for the world that is going to look at them as potential predators just because they are male. I will take a look at this but I am hesitant since this sounds a lot like what the larger culture is trying to teach men to be passive.

    To me, one way that I think of what is Bible-based masculinity is how C.S. Lewis described Aslan, the visualization of Jesus in the Chronicles of Narnia. The exchange between Mr. Beaver and Pevency children.

    Lucy asking about Aslan: ‘Is he quite safe?’
    Mr. Beaver: ‘Safe, safe, whos said anything about safe? Of course he isn’t safe, but he is good.’

    Men need to be capable but be under control. An example of this is the definition of word often translated to meek or meekness in the Bible means ‘strength under control’. An illustration is a war horse with the ability to trample soldiers in a charge but can also prance like a pony.

    • Megan

      I sympathize with your concern for the mixed messages that men are getting these days but I want to push back a little because I think you are making a false dichotomy. The opposite of dangerous isn’t passive. For so long we have use warrior language regarding men and so men think that they have to be willing and able to fight for what is right, and if being willing to fight makes them dangerous so be it. I think instead we should be think in broader terms. We don’t need more soldiers we need blacksmiths, and farmers and men who take care of their community. No one really has discussion about whether a farmer is safe but he is hardly passive. Also a war horse would never trample a soldier, they are better trained than that. Any horse where we were even remotely concerned they would trample anyone would immediately be pulled from service, rather it is a horse that knows how to act in which circumstance. A war horse isn’t dangerous if you have no concern of it misbehaving.

      • Jim

        We do need men to do various, labor intensive jobs. However, it is not uncommon for men to need to be able to fight either to defend their family from intruders or fight for their country.

        Like it or not, men are the sex that is the majority of war causalities because men are the ones who fight. If a group/country does not have a population of men who are capable of fighting, they will not survive. Case and point, in the US there is a real concern of combat readiness because there has been multiple year recruiting shortfall in all branches of the military.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Actually, in World War II the majority of war casualties were civilians. That’s true in Israel today as well.

          Also, with war increasingly being technological, many more women are in the armed services, and this will likely increase with drones, etc.

          Yes, we need men specifically for some things. But please don’t downplay the hardship that women also face.

          • Angharad

            Also, let’s not ignore the many women who are putting their lives on the line, either fighting or providing medical care on the battlefields. The reason the majority of army casualties have historically been male is because women were not allowed to join the army in most countries until very recently. Pretending that women don’t/can’t fight to defend their families and their homeland is incredibly offensive to the many women who have given their lives doing just that.

          • Willow

            There’s no way to reply to/concur with Angharad below, so I’ll reply here:

            Women work in plenty of trades jobs and in dangerous frontline military jobs. I’ve been in the trades for a long time, starting when I was on full-time active duty, and I’ve served three combat zone tours, including one in charge of a decorated all-male unit. Patriotism and willingness to fight and die for one’s country are not restricted by gender. The 80th D-Day commemorations right now should remind us all of that.

            Likewise, plenty of men work as nurses, counselors, and teachers.

            Applying gender stereotypes to career fields does not help us toward healthier ways to raise children.

    • JoB

      @Jim, What about the author’s conversation made you think he was encouraging male passivity?

      To me, goodness is not merely self control. It is a maturity and wholeness that desires the wellbeing of others, sees them as equal in value to oneself and treats them “as oneself.” For example, many child predators are very self controlled people, in the sense that they are calculating and know how to bide their time. They control the image that they present to the world very carefully, but for evil, selfish motives. The problem is not that they are out of control, but that they see others as less than themselves and therefore exploit them and prey upon them.

      You are incredibly blessed to have four sons! I am sure (assuming that they are still young), that you would never place them in the hands of an unsafe person, whether that was someone you thought might exploit or abuse them, or merely someone careless, reckless or negligent.

    • Anonymous

      “I will take a look at this but I am hesitant since this sounds a lot like what the larger culture is trying to teach men to be passive.” – You are approaching it from a proof-texting PoV. You have already decided men shouldn’t be passive, so you filter with that.

      You are also conflating passivity with green flags. I’ve worked hard to raise my son who’s at university with respect for women. His actions demonstrate that. He’s had a young woman to his dormitory room to study. She had no qualms going to his room becaue she detected no red flags from him but rather found green flags. I’m proud of him for being a safe man.

      There will always be some men who see women as lust-objects and there are some women who will always distrust men. It doesn’t mean all are those ways. Raise your sons to be respectful of women, to look for green or red flags themselves, and maybe you and they can help change the tide.

  3. Phil

    Hey there Sheila I took 6 months off from the blog. Of course still hanging with you on Patreon – Trying it out again today. Wasn’t planning on commenting today but Sam said something that I need to comment on. He said when a man sees beauty it is either desire or arousal so it must be arousal…something close to that. My answer? When I see beauty its love! Not romantic love. Love of God. Love of Gods beauty! This fits Sam’s men are built for love thesis. I think this is a really really important point….

  4. Angharad

    Surprised and a little concerned to see that Eldredge has written the foreword for this book – has he changed his tune recently? I tend to avoid any book he endorses because of his insistence on gender stereotyping and his refusal to actually listen to what women say.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m hoping he’s changing! I really liked the book. I think it’s an important one.

    • CMT

      I noticed that too. The only thing of eldredge’s that I’ve read is the women’s book he coathored with his wife, but that was more than enough.

      The “lover’s heart of a man” thing makes me wonder. Does Jolman define a woman’s heart as somehow opposite or inverse of a man’s? He’s the lover and she’s the object of love? If so, then quite possibly all Jolman is doing is updating Eldredge’s “men are the heroes, women are the supporting characters” thesis with more psychologically aware language.

      Of course he didn’t say that in the interview, but I do feel like eldredge’s name is a yellow flag.

      • Angharad

        I guess people who have already had some experience of sussing out dodgy books may give this one a miss because Eldredge has written the forward, but at least they will probably find good books to read elsewhere. And on the positive side, people who only read garbage may pick this book off the shelf because Eldredge has written the forward and so accidentally end up with a book that is much healthier than they would normally read!

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          That’s what I’m hoping! That he’ll reach a new audience.

  5. Lisa Johns

    Love Sam Jolman, thank you for doing this interview!
    The first contact I ever had with his work was in an article he wrote called “No, We Don’t Need Just God.” He read it during an interview with Adam Young, and I loved it so much that I replayed the podcast enough times to transcribe it in my journal. He talks about how God made us to need each other as well as Himself. It was a real eye-opener for me, clarifying for the first time the source of so much of my pain in my marriage and in relationship with the church — I was expected to find all my needs met in my relationship with Him, and never need anything from those around me, and that just wasn’t working. (Still doesn’t!) I have a lot more peace about having relational needs nowadays. Thank you, Sam Jolman.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s beautiful!

  6. John

    I wish I had a group of men I could discuss this with. There’s so much not being said.

  7. New listener

    I was hoping Sam would expound more on the contempt idea. Is that why men can so easily have withering contempt for women–those whom they consider to be dressed immodestly, those in sex work, or just those who disagree with them? They feel the .8 seconds of shame (“she’s better educated than me and has a good argument, now I look dumb”/”I’m feeling attracted to this woman but that’s a threat to me”) and then immediately turn it into contempt for her? “She’s just a ___,” or “This is why women shouldn’t be able to vote.”

    • Lisa Johns

      I think that can definitely play into it, yes.


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