Does this happen to you, too? You’re reading along in a good book, and the author mentions another book that also sounds promising. So you read that book. It’s good, too, and it leads you to another book. On and on.
The opposite happened when I read this book, The Great Sex Rescue: The Lies You’ve Been Taught and How to Recover What God Intended, by Sheila Wray Gregoire with Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach and Joanna Sawatsky.
This is a very good book about sex in Christian marriages. It mentions several books NOT to read, books that have gained great popularity in the Christian community, much to its demise, several of which I’ve read myself or have heard recommended, and I don’t want to read again.
The author of The Great Sex Rescue did an extensive survey of Christian women to see which teachings in the popular books were helpful and which were harmful to relationships.
Harmful teachings included viewing sexual intimacy as primarily a physical release for husbands only. Wives in these books were taught they were to be sexually available only for their husbands’ pleasure, not also for their own pleasure (that’s just icing on the cake).
“In reading all of these bestselling Christian sex and marriage books, we found ourselves dumbfounded by how little is being asked of men.”
And if the wives didn’t totally cooperate when their husbands wanted them? Many of these books insinuate that the wives are guilty of running their men into the arms of other women or into pornography.
Why do these teachings become popular? One reason might be that:
“Sex has been taught primarily through a male lens, mostly by male authors and by male speakers at marriage conferences. Women’s experiences have been largely overlooked or ignored, while women are seen as tools to help men get what they want. That’s not Christian. That’s not of Jesus.”
But not all the books and teachings they researched were harmful. On the contrary, helpful teachings they found in Christian literature included framing intimate relationships as mutual and equally beneficial to both partners, both for physical pleasure and for emotional connectivity.
The positive books included this message:
“Sex is about both of you. Both of you should give and receive; both of you should feel loved and cherished.”
The bottom line of The Great Sex Rescue is that the best relationships involve mutuality in the bedroom, contrary to what Christian women are often taught in many of our most popular marriage books.
Gregoire speaks plainly and boldly in her message to the Christian community.
“What we’re saying in this book is that women do understand men. We know men need sex. Yelling louder about that won’t help. What we need now is for men to understand women. If men understood women’s need for intimacy and women’s need to experience pleasure, and if churches started talking about mutuality, we would awaken women’s libido and sexual response.”
The author invites the church to keep asking questions. To keep listening. To keep refining and creating more healthy resources for marital satisfaction for both partners.
If you want to see the books Gregoire does and doesn’t recommend without first reading The Great Sex Rescue (although I highly recommend you read it!), you can get an email copy of her scorecard by subscribing to her newsletter. The books she reviews (some good, some bad) include: Love & Respect; For Women Only; His Needs, Her Needs; Sacred Marriage; and more.
My thanks to NetGalley and Baker Books
for the review copy of this book
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