Church + S*x: How Did We Get It So Wrong? with Sheila Wray Gregoire


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By Kat Harris. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Thank you Newsstand Studio at 1 Rockefeller Plaza for providing a place for me to record this episode for y’all! No more Brooklyn closet recording!!!

Trigger warning: We are going to be talking about some adult topics. If you have young ears around, put on some headphones or listen later on. We will also be talking about sexual assault and abusive messages many people have received in the church.

I believe we are in a season where women are rising up in a new way and making their voices heard. I am thrilled to be talking with Sheila Wray Gregoire, the author of The Great S*x Rescue. We’re talking all about her survey findings, the toxic messages we are taught about women and s*x, where those messages come from, and what the Bible actually says about it all.

What is the Org*sm Gap?

  • Sheila and her team surveyed over 20k Christian women and performed an in-depth study on 13 best selling christian books on marriage and s*x.
  • General consensus of what narratives are driving the s*x message for Christian woman: women are oppressed, men are viewed as animals, women are the cause of male temptation and the cure—s*x is viewed as an obligation.
  • Org*sm gap: 95% of men almost always/always org*sm in sex vs 48% of women.
  • Disagreements on frequency of s*x isn’t a problem. It’s a symptom of a problem.

  • Myth: women don’t like s*x. Reality: women need to feel safe to enjoy s*x.

The Obligation S*x Message

  • Survey question: “Have you ever felt obligated to give your husband s*x when he wants it?”
    • 43% of respondents said that they were taught that before marriage
    • 39% said that they entered marriage believing it
  • This obligation s*x message has had bad effects on the org*sm rate, marital satisfaction, and arous*l.
  • Due to messages like the obligation s*x message, Christian women are 2x more likely to have vaginismus—which causes pen*tration to be painful, if not impossible. And nobody talks about it.

  • “Believing the obligation s*x message increases the chance of a woman experiencing vaginismus to almost the same statistical affect as prior abuse… Our bodies interpret it as trauma.” - Sheila Wray Gregoire

How Did We Get Here?

  • A lot of it comes from a misinterpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:3-5

  • “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 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.”

  • Ephesians 5 has also been taken out of context to advance the obligation s*x message.

Path Towards A Healthy Sex Life

  1. Know that it’s not your fault— we’ve all been taught the wrong thing.
  2. Read Sheila’s book, The Great S*x Rescue
  3. Realize that the only reason these messages are here is because people bought the books and went to the church book studies that perpetuated these messages. Take back the power. Speak up.
  4. The church needs to have a lot more respect for science. “We have let pastors who do not have training in s*x write our sex books and it needs to stop.” - Sheila Wray Gregoire

Rapid Fire Questions

  • What is the biggest effect you’ve seen purity culture have on men?
  • What are some questions you can ask a date to see if the other person has a healthy view of s*x?
  • How have your findings changed your views on sex before marriage?


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