How Evangelical Teachings Ruin Sex and Marriage For Many Women by L. Blair
Some of the issues discussed in this article and in her book are ones I’ve brought up on this blog over the years.
There is so much hypocrisy in Christianity, usually hypocrisy that works out in favor of men and to the detriment of women, especially in “gender complementarian” teachings.
Some of these teachings about marital sex, or marriage generally, can be directly or indirectly derogatory towards single, celibate adults (e.g., some Christians teach that having sexual intercourse is “necessary to know God,” while some preachers teach that to fulfill your purpose in life, you must marry.)
Here is the article about the book:
By Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter
Evangelical blogger Sheila Wray Gregoire doesn’t care if her critics want to brand her a feminist. She wants the Church to know that “sex is for women too,” and ignoring that point can ruin sex, orgasms and marriages for women.
New research shows that many evangelical women are unsatisfied in the bedroom due to some evangelical beliefs, and that’s the big takeaway Gregoire wants readers to get as she stages a scholarly intervention in her new book, The Great Sex Rescue: The Lies You’ve Been Taught and How to Recover What God Intended.
…The book highlights how some evangelical teachings have affected evangelical women’s sex lives and marriages by looking at the results of a comprehensive survey of more than 18,000 Christian women who identify predominantly as evangelical and highly religious.
“We measure a number of things [evangelical teachings], and there were four in particular that were very harmful,” Gregoire said.
Among those harmful teachings, she said, is the practice of “obligation sex” in Christian marriages, which proponents like The Transformed Wife blogger, Lori Alexander, argue is good for marriages.
…When asked why some Christian women don’t believe in marital rape, she framed it as a misguided interpretation of the Bible.
“There are a lot of women who believe in hyper-complementarianism where submission means you do whatever your husband says no matter what, and that he literally owns you and you have to obey. And if that’s what you think, then there can’t be such a thing as rape because he owns your body. But again, that’s not biblical,” she explained.
Gregoire said the study conducted by her team found obligated sex to be one of the biggest factors behind vaginismus among evangelical women. Vaginismus occurs “when the muscles of a woman’s vagina squeeze or spasm when something is entering it, like a tampon or a penis,” according to WebMD.
“It can range from mildly uncomfortable to quite painful.” Doctors don’t know why it happens, but it’s usually linked to anxiety or fear of having sex.
…“Christian women have twice the rate of vaginismus as the general population,” she added. “That’s been well known in gynecological research for 50 years, but no one has known why. So we were able to flesh it out, and one of the really big causes is this obligation sex message. … It also lowers orgasm rates, lowers arousal rates, lowers marital satisfaction, all kinds of really difficult things.”
…[“]if we address how we talk about sex — because we talk about it and make it seem really ugly to a lot of women.
“When you tell women, if you don’t have sex he’s going to watch porn or if you don’t have sex he’s going to lust after other women or you need to satisfy him during your period or when you’re post-partum or else he’s going to lust — which are all things that our evangelical bestsellers say — is it any wonder why women don’t want to have sex?” she asked.
…Gregoire and her team, which includes her daughter, Rebecca, an author and psychology graduate, and epidemiologist Joanna Sawatsky have had to fend off criticism about their research, but she said she believes it’s being attacked because “a lot of people are uncomfortable with what we found.”
“It goes against what they believe, but … we have different people working with our data set to get it peer-reviewed,” she said.
…… I don’t think it’s feminist to point out that God made sex to be mutual,” she said. “I just think that’s life. It’s kind of obvious. He gave women a body part where the only purpose was pleasure. It’s kind of obvious that’s what God wants. So I don’t know why we’ve forgotten to talk about that.”