A disgusting sermon by a Missouri pastor, a romp through art in Italy, plus how do we know if a book is helpful?

We tackled a whole bunch of stuff in today’s podcast!

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:


Timeline of the Podcast

0:35 The NYT reviewed our book!
1:45 How a trip to Italy made Sheila see Jesus differently
9:00 What do holiness and joy look like?
12:30 The Missouri pastor situation
18:15 RQ: Using birth control for health reasons?
23:50 To those trying to discount the survey…
33:35 How do we measure a book helping?
36:20 Sheila’s theory on whether a specific book is actually what is helping
42:26 Thalidomide, a parallel to sex advice in Christian marriages
46:10 Keith address the intent behind advice
48:40 So what outcome do we want from our marriage advice?

The God Who Laughs

We introduced our new series, talking about how life would change if we could picture God not as a magazine cover (“7 Ways you could be a much better person right now”; “5 ways you’re messing up at this exact moment”) and more like a laughing Jesus.

I started talking about that this week in two posts–serving the God who Laughs and we don’t need to suffer in marriage to be made holy. We’ll be talking about how to emphasize joy in marriage for the rest of the month!

Yes, that Missouri Pastor was Disgraceful

So many of you have sent me links to the story about the Missouri Pastor who gave a sermon on how wives shouldn’t let themselves go. It was absolutely terrible (I recommend not listening to it), but we wanted to mention it briefly because it shows the need for The Great Sex Rescue. In fact, the pastor even read a passage from the book His Needs, Her Needs that we even quote in our book!

We honestly can do this better. So many are saying that we’re being too hard on the church in our book, but stuff like this just shows that these bad attitudes are out there, and they need to be fought against!

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.

Reader Question: I need hormonal birth control for endometriosis, but my church judges me for it

A woman writes:

I got married almost a year ago, and we immediately learned that the hormonal problems I’ve dealt with for years made sex really hard for me. My amazing husband loved me so gently through it and continues to do so, and insisted we ask for help. We soon found out that I have endometriosis. My husband has cared for me so well as we’ve adjusted to life knowing I have this disorder, but other than his love and support, I’ve mostly felt alone in my pain. This is because the church culture I grew up in took a very dim view of any form of birth control, which is the main treatment for endometriosis. I’m happy to say that it has helped a LOT! However, I have felt like I can’t tell anyone about my condition, because they would disapprove of my choice and not really be concerned about the pain I’ve had. It’s hard to not see my fellow Christians as a supportive group who I can tell about my suffering and ask for prayer or help.Can you offer tips to the church for how to be more understanding of women in this kind of situation? I wish there were more Christians who would just be listening ears rather than those who would judge a very private decision like birth control, especially for a medical reason totally unrelated to trying not to have kids yet!

“Your survey was just biased”!

We had to revisit this again because more authors that we critique in our book are starting to make false statements about our survey (if you see any such statements on social media, please share our survey methodology).

We put up a new FAQ section on that page, where we’re answering some questions, including this one that keeps popping up:

Are you concerned that your respondents all thought the same way?

No, we are not, because our respondents had all sorts of different beliefs. In fact, if our respondents had all had the same viewpoint we wouldn’t have been able to do a comparison study! Claiming that our over 20,000 respondents all had the same viewpoint shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of odds ratios. We were able to make our conclusions only because we had a diverse set of beliefs among the survey respondents. If the respondents all had the same point of view, we would not have been able to make comparisons. For instance, in order to judge how the belief “all men struggle with lust; it’s every man’s battle” impacted women, we needed both women who believed it and women who didn’t.

Great Sex Rescue Survey Methodology

More than this, though, there’s a bigger question: Why do they hate our survey so much? Our survey basically had five huge findings, with everything else stemming from this:

  1. We have a 47 point orgasm gap (meaning that 95-96% of men almost always/always reach orgasm compared to about 48-49% of women
  2. Believing “boys will push your sexual boundaries” when you’re a teenage girl ends up hurting your sex life in marriage
  3. Teaching “all men struggle with lust; it’s every man’s battle” ends up hurting women’s sex lives and marriages even if they don’t believe it. Believing it hurts it even more.
  4. Believing “a wife is obligated to have sex with her husband when he wants it” hurts tremendously, and increases the rate of sexual pain more than anything else we found
  5. Believing “a wife should have sex with her husband to keep him from being tempted to watch porn” does all kinds of nasty things, too.

If you see someone trying to discredit our survey, then, I’d ask: Which of these findings do they not like? Do they think the orgasm gap is a good thing? Do they want to be able to keep teaching women they should have duty sex? Do we want women to keep feeling responsible for men’s porn use?

On how books help, plus Thalidomide!

We used the example of Thalidomide to look at how we should handle books that harm.

But we also asked, “If a book was found to do harm, but many people found that book helpful, how should we think about this?” Here’s a theory: If a book presents a view that was harmful, it doesn’t mean everybody will be harmed. But it also doesn’t mean that the book helped those who read it. It could be that when you decide to read a marriage book, and you decide to think about your marriage and pay attention to your marriage, that helps your marriage, regardless of what book you read. 

And if the things that you found helpful were things that basically all marriage books say–we have different perspectives; we should think of the other and not be selfish–then it could be that if they had read a non-harmful book they would have been just as helped!

Things Mentioned in This Podcast:


The Thalidomide Test for Marriage Books
Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find BIBLICAL, HEALTHY, EVIDENCE-BASED help for their marriage. 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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