This week, as we’ve celebrated one year of The Great Sex Rescue, I’ve received some amazing messages!
The first one in my inbox this morning was this one:
I shared your book with the marriage ministry leaders in our church. They read it, met with their volunteer team, and have decided to remove these dangerous books from their teachings and from the resources they sell. They have also removed them from our church library.
You need to know that you are making a difference! Thank you!
People are speaking up! And it is making a difference. I heard from another woman who had left Great Sex Rescue in view in the living room, and a group of singles on the mission field (she’s overseas) found it and said they had all heard of it and were interested. So they spent the evening thumbing through it and talking about it and loved it!
And I’ve heard so many more.
On Fridays I like to do a round-up of what’s happened this week, and today I want to focus on what OTHER people have been doing–and the influence it’s having.
I’ve seen people quoting me all over social media, like this Instagram account:
Listen in to them and thank them for having me on!
So the word is spreading, one person at a time, one podcast at a time.
I’ve also been so encouraged to see people pushing back in comments on social media.
I’ve had a number of people send me videos by YouTube influencers, or reels by Instagram influencers, where they spread the obligation sex message or promote Love & Respect. And when I go and look, already multiple people in the comments have mentioned The Great Sex Rescue, or explained why the obligation sex message isn’t a good one.
People are speaking up! And they’re doing so politely and kindly, and that makes me so happy.
But…I’m not going to call those influencers out.
I also get asked by many people, though, to “do something” about these influencers who are spreading harmful messages. Could I call them out?
I don’t mind calling out the powerful at all–those who have written books and have platforms and are seen as experts. One of the biggest things I posted this week was this:
But when a woman (and it’s usually a woman) is building an Instagram brand and/or a YouTube channel, I feel like it would be beating up on her for me to call her out.
Many of these women believe this stuff because they grew up in toxic cultures too.
They don’t know any better! And like one of the videos that was pointed out to me this week showed, she doesn’t have a good marriage herself. She gives a lot of marriage advice, and recommends Love & Respect and sex on demand for husbands, but she also constantly talks about how much work marriage is. So she’s likely being hurt by these messages herself.
I just think it would be inappropriate for me to call out influencers who aren’t pastors, who aren’t counselors, who are just fellow wives trying to give advice, even if that advice is wrong.
I want to punch UP, not punch DOWN.
But that’s where you all come in!
When these influencers’ listeners and readers and followers start explaining why the message is wrong, and if we do that in enough numbers, we may indeed make a difference.
Here’s also a total mindshift: Remember who your audience is when you leave a comment explaining why the influencer is veering off base.
We can think that what we’re trying to do is to change the influencer’s mind.
Let’s say Sally, or whatever, has made a video telling people that Love & Respect is a great marriage book, and she just needed to understand how much her husband had needs that were different from hers, and stop nagging and give him sex gladly.
Or let’s say that Sally says that she finds that making her body wholly available to her husband at all times results in him cherishing her.
You may think that what you need to do is change Sally’s mind.
But that may never happen–as I have learned far too well. I surveyed 20,000 women. I built an airtight case. And I still have not changed anyone’s mind that we’re actually critiquing.
Do you know what has happened, though? Other people reading the comments have listened. And I’ve changed THEIR minds.
Remember that the audience for speaking up isn’t always the audience you think it is.
You bring it to your church’s pastor or elder’s board, and they ignore you. But an elder’s wife picks up The Great Sex Rescue, and reads it, and realizes she’s a victim of sexual coercion. Or the church adminsitrative assistant reads the book, and it changes the trajectory of her marriage.
You comment about why obligation sex isn’t helpful, and someone reading that comment finally has words to say to her husband that she’s been trying to work out for years.
You comment that Love & Respect is a bad book, and a woman following the comments who was about to start a study on it starts googling Love & Respect and decides to do a different study instead.
In all cases, it may look like you failed, because you were trying to change the influencer’s minds. But you don’t know who else is reading and listening and paying attention. That’s how I think of it: When I used to comment on The Transformed Wife’s page, for instance, I did so not for Lori, but for others who read Lori. And so many have sent me her recent posts calling me out, but I want to assure you that I have heard from so many women who followed her religiously, and only heard about The Great Sex Rescue because Lori kept talking about me, and it made them check me out.
So change can come where we least expect it! And that’s often how God works.
We’re all in this together, because we are all part of the body of Christ.
And when part of the body hurts, we all hurt. Right now, part of the body is hurting because of bad teachings.
But as the body becomes stronger, even if it’s just a part, we all become stronger too.
We are making a difference! But it takes all of us, because the evangelical machine is big, and it is powerful, and it likes the status quo.
But we have the numbers. So keep speaking up! This has been an encouraging week, and I know that person by person, podcast by podcast, comment by comment, Jesus is expanding the kingdom of God!
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.
What’s the best way to engage in comments on social media in a helpful way? What about talking to your church? Let’s talk in the comments!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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