Women buy 74% of self-help relationship books. So what have they heard about sex?

On the last Thursday of the month I like to direct our podcasts a little bit more at men (though women will still find them interesting!). And in today’s Bare Marriage podcast, I’m going to read some passages from best-selling evangelical books, and let Keith react, trying to guess at how a woman might take that.

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:


Timeline of the Podcast

1:00 Men usually HAVEN’T heard these same things
3:20 Reading text from real books that your wife has probably heard
5:45 “Women DO NOT have a need for sex, but they MUST always meet their husband’s needs.”
11: “Sex is ONLY physical for men, and ONLY emotional for women.”
14:15 “You can NEVER say no to sex, even if you would rather shove him off (which is a normal feeling cause you’re a woman and don’t want sex)”
19:10 “Don’t bother aiming for her pleasure if it becomes too complicated or difficult.”
25:50 “Wives MUST tell their husbands they are great lovers…even if they’re not.”
29:00 “Your husband will lust after every woman he ever sees.”
37:30 RESEARCH. Just because someone is ‘lower status’ doesn’t mean they are always complaining
40:10 One woman’s interesting experience with the problematic men’s teachings on lust
44:30 Ending with some encouragement!

Main Segment: What Have Women Been Taught about Sex?

One of the pushbacks we’ve received about our survey that finds that certain evangelical teachings harm sex for women is men saying, “well, I was never taught that!” And the thing is–we agree! Men may very well have not been taught most of this stuff. When we ask women where they’ve been taught it, the biggest answer they give is from books or ministries, not from the pulpit. And women are more likely to attend Bible studies where these books are studied. They’re more likely to buy them and read them. They’re more likely to attend women’s conferences where these things are taught.

In short, these messages are aimed at women far more than they are at men.

So it is completely plausible that men have not been taught this toxic stuff. But that doesn’t mean that women weren’t! So we want to let men in on what women have heard about sex from various bestsellers, and in today’s podcast I read excerpts to Keith from:

  • When God Writes Your Love Story, p. 223
  • Love & Respect, p. 249, 252, 257
  • Power of a Praying Wife pp. 62-63
  • Sheet Music pp. 202-203
  • Meaning of Marriage, the sex chapter (I don’t have the page number because the Kindle version is messed up!)
  • For Women Only pp. 102-103
  • Through a Man’s Eyes pp. 3-7

Keith did his best to think like a woman, but doesn’t think he did a good job. You decide!

New Research Segment: We tend to think the lower-status person is complaining too much

I brought Rebecca on to look at a study that found that, when people hear identical complaints from different individuals, we tend to assume that the lower-status person is complaining or blowing things out of proportion more than the upper status person.

Interesting ramifications for how the church views issues that women bring up!

Reader Question: Why the “Every Man Lusts” Message Made Me Think All Guys SHOULD Want Me

We read an interesting email from a woman who said that the “all men struggle with lust” message didn’t just mess up men; it messed her up, too, because it made her sexualize all relationships with guys. I wrote about her letter yesterday because I thought it was so insightful!

Encouraging Reviews

We shared two assume reviews on the podcast; I’ll leave one of them hear from Sam Powell, a pastor who has been posting about The Great Sex Rescue on Facebook and left this review on Amazon:

For years, I have been doing marriage and pre-marriage counseling. The lack of knowledge about sexuality or the outright lies that people have been taught have appalled me.

Christians writing on the subject are normally hopelessly naive, or have never met or talked to an actual woman, or have been so focused on abstinence that they fail completely.

Whenever I did counseling, I wished that I had a book like this one.

The authors do an excellent job undoing the lies of the “purity culture”, the allure of porn and how poorly the church does in combatting it, unfulfilling sex lives in marriages, and lack of love and intimacy in so many Christian marriages.

This book will be my go-to for all future marriage and pre-marriage counseling. I cannot recommend it enough.

For those who I have already counseled, remember when I said, “I wish I had a book to recommend, but I don’t” – THIS is the one we needed.

If you struggle, know someone who struggles, or simply desire a deeper, more intimate, more fulfilling sex life with your spouse, please get this book.

Pastors, get this book. We have a problem with sexuality in our churches and need to know how to address it. Get this book. Use it. Get sexuality back on a biblical foundation and put the joy and intimacy back into the lives of those under your care.

Sam Powell

Amazon Review

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.

Things Mentioned in This Podcast:

Podcast What Women are Taught about Sex in Evangelicalism

What do you think? Do men and women hear different messages in church? What’s your experience been about the difference? Let’s talk in the comments!

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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