How do our evangelical sex books contribute to women feeling responsible for men’s sexual sins?

Anxious Bench, a blog on Patheos, has just published one of my guest posts where I talk about how evangelical sex advice kind of peaked in the 1970s with Tim LaHaye and The Act of Marriage–but then didn’t evolve very much to include more about sex as something which is intimate and just as much for women.

Instead, our books tend to emphasize that sex is about a man’s need, and women need to have frequent sex to keep men from straying.

Think about how that message affects women like Anna Duggar, whose husbands are caught in porn scandals (although Josh Duggar went far further than that to Child Sexual Abuse Materials). 

I touched on many of our best-sellers, and even Rachael Denhollander’s awesome Facebook post and Twitter thread from the weekend. 

Here’s how we began:

It’s highly unlikely that Queen Victoria ever advised a young protégé on the eve of her nuptials to “lie back and think of England,” despite the urban legend. In fact, the Queen, who bore nine children to a husband she adored, probably enjoyed an enthusiastic love life with her Albert, and many historians suspect she had an active sex life after her husband’s death.

But the era which was named after her popularized women’s sexual reticence. As men left to work in factories, women kept the home fires burning. The “angel of the house” archetype of the wife was born: the pure, godly, submissive woman who tamed the more base desires of the husband so the family could flourish.

This idea dovetailed nicely with the church’s emphasis on the nuclear family, and since the church had such influence over society’s sexual norms, this view remained preeminent for over a century.

And then the sexual revolution hit.

Anxious Bench

Not So Groovy, Baby

We then took a romp through several of our best-sellers to see how they doubled down on the message about sex is primarily for men–and women were the ones who were supposed to tame men’s baser instincts by satiating them with enough sex. 

Emerson Eggerichs tells women that their husbands will “come under satanic attack when deprived of physical release,” and claims “men are often lured into affairs because they are sexually deprived at home.” The solution? A wife should “minister to her husband sexually…as unto Jesus Christ,” especially since it takes “such a short amount of time.”
Anxious Bench

Not So Groovy, Baby

Please read the whole thing! And please share it!

I’d love to send a ton of people to Anxious Bench, so that we can show we can bring the traffic–and maybe guest post more!

I feel like we honestly are changing the conversation. We’re finally moving on from the 1970s. And I hope that in all of our communities, we’ll spread the message that women aren’t responsible for men’s porn use (let alone men’s use of child sexual abuse materials).

There probably are women in your circle going through this, even if they don’t talk about it. So the more we say loudly, “women aren’t responsible for men’s sexual sins”, the more we can help those who are afraid to ask for help and feeling shame.

Did Evangelical Sex Advice Get Stuck in the 1970s?

Instead of asking you for comments here, like I normally do, I’m going to ask you to go comment on the Anxious Bench post! Thank you!

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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