Welcome to our first Friday Round-Up–where I highlight some of the things going on behind the scenes and the best of social media!
The biggest, hugest, most amaing thing that happened this week was that Rebecca had her baby yesterday! It was a little more harrowing than we would have liked, but her recovery will still be easier than last time. And little Vivian is perfect and lovely and eating like a champ. She looks exactly like her big brother (like it’s almost freaky), and her parents are having a blast with her, while Keith and I and my mom manage Alex.
I’ll post pictures once Rebecca decides which ones should be out there! But we’re very happy, if a little bit tired.
Instagram: Do Men Really Need Sex while Women Just Give It?
My “fixed it for you”s always go big on Instagram and Facebook, and here’s one of the latest instalments, taken from XO Marriage’s article The Four Major Needs of a Man (which has many other potential things I could fix).
XO Marriage runs marriage conferences and blogs and podcasts, but among their board members and speakers is Mark Driscoll. I don’t think we should ever be platforming Driscoll after the spiritual abuse he perpetuated and the way he treated women. His teaching on sex has been problematic, to say the least, and I believe it needs to be more widely known what this organization stands for.
Plus this quote is just awful!
Guess What You All Made the #1 New Release?
Sometimes something happens that just makes my week, and makes me break down and cry. And this was one of those things.
So I posted it to Facebook, and to my Instagram stories. At the time, the books were ranked around 1,800,000 on Amazon (which is bad).
By the next morning, The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex had rocketed up to 4,600 (which is amazing), and was the #1 New Release in Marriage, Christian Marriage, and Men’s Christian Living. We were just blown away. So many shared our post, and you’re all so excited about it, and I’m just very humbled.
The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex has been COMPLETELY rewritten, with more emphasis on orgasm, a new way of talking about libido differences, and less of a gendered take on everything. And The Good Guy’s Guide was written with Keith, and I seriously love it. Just love it.
As I said in the Facebook post, when you pre-order:
- You get guaranteed the lowest price. (Amazon lowers the price if lots of people order, and you don’t pay until it launches. So you get the lowest price)
- You lower the price! The more people pre-order, the more Amazon reduces the price, and the more people will buy.
- You help it rise in rankings so other people see it
- You convince Amazon to buy more copies!
Plus people who pre-order will be able to join the launch team and get an early copy (more about this in the new year!).
Now, it’s come down since then, because everybody ordered on Tuesday, but that was just thrilling to see. So thank you! And you can pre-order right here (and you may be able to at other retailers as well):
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.
How I’m Keeping Track of My Mood: Plus What’s Happening on Campuses
So I’ve started a new daily ritual. I’ve noticed that sometimes, at the end of the day, I’m feeling down for no apparent reason. And I also have noticed that I rush so hard to get through all my DMs and emails and comments that I often don’t process what I’m reading–especially the good stuff. The bad stuff tends to stay with me longer.
So I’ve started keeping track of four things:
- Encouraging personal messages that say how something I wrote changed someone for the better
- Encouraging messages about changes in the wider Christian world due to our work
- Discouraging stories that I hear about in messages (like people in crisis that are just plain sad)
- Discouraging and negative interactions in email or comments
And then at the end of the day I can say, “Oh, that’s why I’m so bummed!” But I can also see, “Oh, that’s what I have to be happy about!”
So I’ve been keeping track all week, and one thread that we kept seeing is that so many university professors are choosing to use The Great Sex Rescue in their human sexuality courses and counseling classes. I’ve heard about five different university classes this week, including one that completely transformed their curriculum for a course that’s starting next semester. Last year the course used Love & Respect and Every Man’s Battle. This year they’re using The Great Sex Rescue and some of Diane Langberg’s work on church trauma and Andrew Bauman and more. So excited!
And today I woke up to an email from a woman who petitioned to have Love & Respect removed from the resources available at her workplace (I won’t say more than that). But she spoke up, and they listened because they hadn’t known what was in the book. So that’s so encouraging! Things are changing!
Finally, an interesting write up about the difference between Married Sex and The Great Sex Rescue
This one’s super long, so I thought I’d leave it until the end. But here’s an interesting review that was left for the book Married Sex this week. He makes a point that I’d like to make on a podcast soon, maybe with Keith. When people talk about gender essentialism (Men are like this; women are like this), especially when it comes to libido, it leaves a lot of people out. Even if it’s MOSTLY one way, we know that in roughly 1/5 marriages, she has the higher sex drive. In another roughly 1/5, it’s shared. It’s only just less than 3/5 that the guy has the higher sex drive.
So what’s the point in talking about how insatiable men’s sexual needs are, in such a way that women will never understand? That makes many who don’t fit the bill feel like they’re strange or not normal or wrong. Why not just simply talk about PRINCIPLES–how to navigate libido differences, whichever way it goes? Wouldn’t that be better?
Anyway, here’s part of his review:
As a husband whose marriage does not fit the usual stereotype (I am very happily married to a wonderful woman with a stronger sexual desire and higher libido), I am disappointed that a renowned author and thinker like Gary Thomas would simply continue down the well-tread path of other Christian sex books, rather than offer biblical and practical insights to help improve sex in marriage for ALL couples, rather than simply dismissing us as “exceptions” or sometimes, even as just “rumors”.
On page 63, “Married Sex” states – “So by God’s design, the husband’s generally stronger desire (we know there are exceptions) moves him to be sexually intimate with his wife, which requires him to be relationally and even spiritually intimate, so that the couple’s passion is renewed, strengthened, and focused and the husband’s view of his wife’s beauty above all others is confirmed and even enhanced. It’s a brilliant process designed by a master Creator who truly knew what he was doing – strong sexual hormones in the male brain can strengthen the entire marital relationship when both husband and wife are faithful, generous, and active.” Gary Thomas certainly has a way with words, and at first read, what he says doesn’t sound too far off base – except he doesn’t give any biblical explanation for God designing the husband to have stronger sexual desire. There are no Scripture verses referenced here to support his assertion that the husband’s “generally stronger desire” is in fact, by God’s design. In fact, as far as I know, there is no biblical text indicating or even implying that men’s sexual desire or libido is stronger (or more frequent) than women’s. Gary even seems to acknowledge that “there are exceptions” – but doesn’t say anything beyond that. Even if we give him the benefit of doubt and accept that God designed men to have stronger sexual desire than women, Gary ties this stronger sexual desire to the husband being relationally and spiritually intimate – where does this leave the man who is the “exception”, and is married to a woman who has a stronger sexual desire? Does this mean that this man can’t be “relationally and spiritually intimate”? And that their marriage is doomed, as it is outside of God’s design? And conversely, does this mean that the only reason that a husband strives to be relationally and spiritually intimate with his wife is so that he can have sex?
Why do we as a Christian culture believe the narrative that “all men think and want is sex, and men can’t control themselves” and that it is women’s duty to “not deprive their man (to help him stay faithful), and oh, try to enjoy it while you’re at it as well”? This is not a Biblical narrative, and has no Scriptural foundation. In fact, Scripture is clear that both the husband and wife in a marriage should not deprive one another – “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:5, NIV). This verse actually indicates that both husband and wife have sexual desire for each other, and in no way indicates that the husband’s desire is stronger (or should be stronger) than his wife’s. While it recognizes the real temptation of lacking self-control, it also does not attribute this to just the man, or just the woman, but to both – again, recognizing both male and female sexual desire. In another counter to our “traditional” Christian thinking that women don’t desire sex, look at Song of Songs, chapter 1, where the woman opens the entire book with the words: “And the woman consented to the king out of compassion, and did not deprive him of her love”. Oh wait – it doesn’t say that at all! Here’s what it really says: “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine” (SS 1:2) and “Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers” (SS 1:4). The entire book opens with an expression of the woman’s desire, depicted beautifully, with urgency and passion!
Proverbs 20:22 says “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (ESV). This Scripture is typically interpreted in the positive light, exhorting us to raise our children in God-honoring ways, so that our children will follow the Lord as they grow into adulthood and beyond. However, what if we made the mistake of training our children wrongly, specifically as it relates to sex? Many couples are reaping the consequences of this poor instruction, and it is a difficult path to change. Shelia Gregoire’s “The Great Sex Rescue” describes this situation well. Our Christian culture has raised up a generation of believers with bad sexual theology, by absurdly embracing the secular idea that men can’t control their sexual urges, and then placing the burden on women to keep men from sinning, which results in women thinking of their own sexual desires as sinful and dangerous, and something to be repressed. After marriage though, we suddenly expect women to “flip the switch” and give their husbands all the sex they want, even though the woman has been trained to think of her own sexual desires and sexuality as dangerous all her life. And how sexy and fun is sex for the woman when she HAS to have it, to keep her husband from sinning, vs. sex that she GETS to have, for both her own enjoyment and her husband’s, together? No wonder many wives struggle to enjoy and want sex! Perhaps the slim majority of women having lesser sexual desire in marriage is a RESULT of our bad teaching (survey results in The Great Sex Rescue, page 134), rather than God’s design! And, do we ever teach men that they actually CAN control themselves? Or are we helping men justify and rationalize their sin?
For a more holistic and Biblical view on sex and marriage, one that recognizes both the current brokenness that a lot of Christian marriages find themselves in, and also the true root cause of it, I would recommend Sheila Gregoire’s “The Great Sex Rescue” – not because it has all the answers that “Married Sex” doesn’t address, or that it’s going to solve all of your sex problems in marriage, but because it offers an honest assessment of where Christians find ourselves today when it comes to sex and marriage, and is one of the first and only attempts (that I know of) to truly address the disease that we are suffering from, instead of just prescribing a more palatable painkiller. “The Great Sex Rescue” is really the start of what will need to be a long conversation and journey for Christians to find their way back to what TRUE “married sex” should be.
It was a long review, but Joanna and Rebecca and I really appreciated it!
So those are my highlights from the week. I also had an Instagram Reel that went big but I’m going to leave it there because I’m going to go look after my grandson now!
Have a great weekend! (And for those of you signed up for my weekly emails, today’s will likely be delayed until Monday, since Rebecca and Connor are the ones who put it together! New baby and all!).
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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