Today The Great Sex Rescue launches.
I have had many books launch before, and I will have many books launch again. But this one is different. This one is special.
Can I take a minute and tell you why?
The Great Sex Rescue, we pray fervently with everything in us, may actually change the way the evangelical world talks about sex.
For years the majority of our best-selling marriage and sex books were written by pastors or authors who had little understanding or training specifically in sexuality. They were written primarily from that pastor or author’s point of view.
Now, that didn’t necessarily turn out badly (several of our best-sellers are actually quite healthy!). But in all too many cases it did.
And in all too many cases, messages were shared that are actually harmful.
- “Have sex so he won’t watch porn”
- “A wife is obligated to have sex when her husband wants it”
- “All men struggle with lust; it’s every man’s battle”
- “A husband needs sex while a wife really doesn’t”
- “If you don’t give him regular sexual release, he’s likely to have an affair”
and so much more! These things were presented as if they were gospel truth; absolutely apparent; the state of the world; common sense.
But what if they were wrong? What if these things actually aren’t true–or are actually bad advice because following these things would result in worse marriages?
You see, for years I’ve been writing about healthy sex and healthy marriages. But with this book, we’re not just telling you what’s healthy (though we are doing lots of that!).
We’re also tearing down what’s unhealthy.
It’s like The Emperor Has No Clothes, on a giant evangelical scale.
We’re saying: “Hey, too much of what we’ve been teaching doesn’t work and actually hurts.”
And many are listening, because there’s a hunger. People know that something isn’t right.
We did something radical. We actually asked women.
20,000 women in fact. We decided that if all of this advice was going to be given to women (since women are the main purchasers and readers of these books), then it was about time somebody asked women to see whether what was being said was true, and whether what was being said actually helped or harmed.
We’re setting the bar higher for what passes as research in the evangelical world–and for what claims authors can make without research.
I hope people truly understand what a big deal our survey was.
For most studies, an n=1000 is sufficient (meaning that most surveys and polls have about 1000 people). Very few surveys, even in peer review journals, have as many respondents as ours.
And we didn’t just get a lot of respondents. We got a lot who then went on to answer at least 130 questions (more if they had been married before, etc.).
And our survey was done to the highest academic standards. We just passed ethics review so we can apply to peer-reviewed journals, and we’re hoping to have some articles out soon.
We want it to be NORMAL that, when authors are writing about marriage and sex, that they use research to back it up–either their own or others. It can no longer be enough for one person to write about their own opinions. They need to look at what peer-reviewed data actually says. So many of the most harmful books we found were written by one person with no research, and little appeal to any outside studies.
We did it all while we were super hormonal.
Joanna almost died from a life-threatening miscarriage while we were doing our original lit review to inform our survey questions. Rebecca signed off on the last of the survey questions while she was two days postpartum. Joanna signed off on the last of the stats two days BEFORE she delivered Talitha. And me? I hit menopause and was hot flashing through the whole thing.
Yep. Three hormonal, breastfeeding, pregnant, or menopausal women took on the whole evangelical establishment!
And I did it from my yellow chair.
We didn’t have a huge budget. I don’t have a huge staff. I don’t have donations. I just sit in this chair and type all day–or sometimes I sit at my kitchen island. And from this little corner of small town Ontario, Canada, and from the arctic where Joanna lives (literally; she’s up in Iqaluit), we’re taking on the world.
Sometimes we think we’re too small to make a difference. But when God gives you a dream and a message, you spread it, and you’re faithful, and I believe that’s what we’ve done.
I’ve been talking to you a lot lately about what The Great Sex Rescue is.
I’ve been telling you how we share our survey findings about which evangelical teachings hurt sex for women, and how we can reframe these teachings to fit a healthy, biblical sexual ethic.
I’ve been telling you how we point to real freedom.
How we show that women have needs, too.
How we show what real intimacy looks like.
But for the rest of this post I’d like to turn it over to our endorsers and our launch team, where over 500 people have been reading the book for the last few weeks. You can see all their reviews on Goodreads (Amazon will be slowly populating with reviews over the next few days), but here are a few:
This book is a groundbreaking look into what true, sacred Biblical sexuality is intended to be, and the root causes and ideas that damage a couple’s intimacy in marriage. Going straight to Scripture, the authors dig deep into ideologies that draw couples away from God-designed intimacy, and seek to construct a framework for sexuality that truly rooted in Scripture and God’s beautiful design, elevating sexuality and marriage to the glory and sacredness it was intended to have. This is a must-read.
If you’ve ever read a Christian book on sex and marriage, you owe it to yourself to read this one. Armed with extensive survey data and equipped with compassion and common sense, the authors dismantle the devastating myths long promoted by Christian leaders that have caused untold damage to generations of Christian women. Equal parts distressing and liberating, this book is desperately needed in this moment.
Just thinking about the impact this book is going to have on the lives of desperately hurting women makes me emotional. This is the information we have always known in our hearts but denied in our heads. To those women who have suffered in silence for so long I say do not delay, pick up a copy, grab some tissues, and let the hot tears of validation and healing flow. The Great Sex Rescue will change the way you view sex forever, and, more importantly, enable you to start to trust your instincts again.
And here’s a longer review from a long-time reader of the blog:
I devoured this entire book in one day and WOW, it’s the best book I’ve ever read describing what a healthy, Biblical, marital sex life actually looks like. My husband has read several chapters as well and was very impressed, too.
This is not just another author’s opinion on the subject, but rather, Shelia, Rebecca, and Joanna surveyed 20,000 married women and took that massive amount of data collected and compiled in into a beautiful resource for everyone to benefit from — whether single or married, male or female, completely satisfied in the bedroom or in desperate need of rescuing.
This book debunks the most commonly held beliefs in the Church regarding mutual pleasure, obligation sex, lust, porn addition, male/female sex drive, intimacy vs sex, and so much more.
I loved the many personal stories shared, as well. Some heartbreaking, but many heart-warming. The last few chapters in particular are very encouraging, give hope to the spouses yearning for a safer, more fulfilling sex life, and a call to action to leaders in the faith community to take a stand against dangerous teaching.
My favorite part of this book is how every few pages they include a few thought-provoking questions to ask yourself or your spouse. And then at the end of each chapter they give practical tips and recommendations to help strengthen your sexual relationship. I really enjoyed reading this book out loud with my husband because we got the chance to dive deep into personal discussion through the prompts and it made the book far more “personal” to us rather than just reading it through straight.
I’ve followed Shelia’s blog for two years now and I believe this is her best work yet. I can’t recommend it enough!!
Plus a few more (and I’m not meaning offence if I’m not including yours! There were just so many great ones!):
This book does what I wish all the other good sources would. It tackles toxic and inaccurate teachings head on, shows with real research how they damage intimacy and sexuality, and how they are not, in fact, biblically based. It approaches these difficult subjects with empathy and humor, and a genuine heart to heal.
This is the book I needed 15 years ago! I hope this becomes the new Christian best selling marriage books. I have read the majority of the marriage books the authors discuss in this book. And I can confirm from personal experience that their messages are harmful. What I love is how In The Great Sex Rescue they don’t just point out what other authors do wrong but also point to a new message that is good. They show the problem and provide the solution. I really liked the “check in” parts of the book that give you questions to pass and reflect on. And the better phrasing’s are the end of each chapter. In reading the book I can tell they truly care about men AND women, believe that God is good and loving, and believe that sex can be good and intimate for both genders. This will be my new favorite wedding gift to give to other!
After reading this book and excitedly discussing my many breakthroughs with my counselor, he summed it up well when he commented that I *seemed like I had been set free*
This is a life-changing book, and trust me when I say I am not overstating this. Get it, read it, give to a friend. This message needs to be shared as far and wide as possible!
The only thing that could make this book better is if I would have had it in my hands years ago.
The Great Sex Rescue
Changing the conversation about sex & marriage in the evangelical church.
What if you're NOT the problem with your sex life?
What if the things that you've been taught have messed things up--and what if there's a way to escape these messages?
Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.
I’ll end with these two that show both sides of what we’re aiming for: one from Andrew Bauman, a frequent guest on our podcast, and one from a reader:
I cannot think of a more important book (okay, outside of the Bible) that you must read. This book is the authentic gut punch that the Evangelical community needs. This exposes our historic dismal handling of sexuality and gives us a clear path forward to sexual maturity, wholeness and health. I already want to read it again and will surely be telling my network to purchase this vital guide. Thank you for such a seminal work!
The “authentic gut punch” the evangelical church needs. The “freedom song” for Katie.
We hope that’s what this book is: the gut punch for the church, and the freedom song for you.
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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