Painful sex, marital rape, sexless marriages, and sexual coercion in Christian marriages are serious problems. Why do they exist? What can be done?




In 2020, marriage author and researcher Sheila Gregoire and her team conducted the largest ever study (to date) of Christian women’s marital and sexual satisfaction. They surveyed 20,000 women to find out the state of our unions, and how they got that way.


Although many Christian marriages report happy sex lives, a significant number do not. Why is that? Today Sheila shares her startling findings: that many false messages in Evangelical marriage books make our marriages and sex lives significantly worse.


When she compared Christian women with women in the general population, she found that twice as many religious women who believe in messages such as "women must have obligation sex," reported having pain during intercourse (vaginismus). She also found that teachings suggesting that men's desire was all important—and treating women's desire as inconsequential—played a key role in sexless marriages.


The good news? We’ll find out how to change the narrative so that we can have better marriages and sex lives. If a husband is loving and generous sexually, many sex problems can be solved. But for those of us who divorced to escape sexual abuse, intimidation, and coercion, Sheila's study offers us hope for better marriages and pleasurable sex when we remarry.


Her new book, THE GREAT SEX RESCUE, uncovers the teachings in conservative religious communities that make sex great—or make it terrible. Shiela Gregoire, is an award-winning Christian marriage author and daily blogger at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum, one of the largest marriage blogs in North America.


Here's my 1-hour interview with Sheila Gregoire. She mentions a comparison chart she created to evaluate the top Evangelical marriage books and sex books. This chart will show you her criteria, and the analysis of which books promote a healthy sex life and which ones promote destructive messages. Get it here.



Researcher and author Sheila Gregoire surveyed 20,000 women about their marital and sexual satisfaction for her book “The Great Sex Rescue.”


In this video we’re talking about what she learned about conservative religious women, marital abuse, and recovering from sexual trauma. Let’s jump right in!


00:30 – About the survey

7:40 – Sexual trauma that comes from evangelical messages about sex

7:50 – Damaging messages such as men’s sexual needs matter but not a woman’s

10:50 – Red flags of unhealthy marital sexuality

11:20 – Damaging messages blaming the wife for the husband’s affairs or porn use

12:45 – Lust defined. Treating someone as an object for their pleasure

13:45 – What is sexual coercion in marriage?

14:36 – The Kingdom of God means you matter to the Lord. He doesn’t want you mistreated.

16:20 – Porn’s effect on marriages, how many men use it, hope for younger men who didn’t use porn very long.

19:40 – Porn taints men’s view of their wives and of marital sex.

20:10 – “Do not deprive” passage in the Bible 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.

21:10 – Porn-inducted erectile dysfunction.

21:20 – Men who don’t want sex and don’t touch their wives due to porn use.

22:00 – What does covert and hidden sexual abuse look like?

25:20 – Based on 1 Corinthians 7, can a wife refuse sex for any reason? (Yes, she can.)

27:20 – How to talk to your husband meeting your sexual needs.

31:00 – Men who are victims of sexual coercion. Wives who are sexually abusive. Arousal non-concordance. David’s story:

33:30 – Sexual consent in marriage.

37:45 – Does our sexual relationship breathe life into our marriage and make us feel more intimate?

38:26 – How do manipulative one-sided sex messages affect women’s sexual pain (vaginismus)?

41:20 – Which Evangelical marriage and sex books are good and which ones damage a woman’s sexual satisfaction? (The best book of the 13 bestsellers was The Gift of Sex by Clifford and Joyce Penner." The worst was Love and Respect by Eggerichs.) See the comparison chart of 13 books by signing up:

44:00 – Question from the Life-Saving Divorce group: Is virginity the only thing that matters in marriage? How do healthy Christians find sexual intimacy? Philippians 3:2-8.

45:00 – Why “Debt-free virgins without Tattoos” is missing the point. Character matters.

46:30 – A biblical sexual ethic reserving sex for marriage is wise.

47:00 – Individual character matters.

48:30 – How can you rebuild your sexual life, perhaps with a new partner after divorce? What kind of therapies did you hear about in the survey? EMDR

49:20 – Insights/quotes from Rachael Denhollander about finding healthy sexuality after trauma.

Are you going through a life-saving divorce? I’d like to invite you to my private Facebook group, "Life-Saving Divorce for Separated or Divorced Christians." Just click the link and ANSWER the 3 QUESTIONS. This is a group for women and men of faith who have walked this path, or are considering it. Supporters and people helpers are also welcome.  I’ve written a book about spiritual abuse and divorce for Christians. Also, sign up for my email list below.


Start Here


Physical and Emotional Abuse & Infidelity


God Allows Divorce to Protect Victims


Does God Hate Divorce? No, Most English Bible Translations Don’t Say That


How to Find a Good Supportive Church


What If My Pastor Says It Would Be Wrong to Get Divorced for Abuse?


Divorce Saves Lives: The Surprising (Wonderful!) Truth About Divorce Nobody Told You

Will I Ever Find Love Again? Dating After Divorce: Good News

Finding Happiness and Health After Divorce


Thriving After Divorce: These Christians Tell their Stories

Self-Doubt, Second-Guessing Ourselves, and Gaslighting


Children and Divorce: Researchers Give Hope


High Conflict Divorce and Parenting


Recommended Reading List and Free Resources for Christians and Other People of Faith


Common Myths






GET THE BOOK! The Life-Saving Divorce is about divorces for very serious reasons: a pattern of sexual immorality, physical abuse, chronic emotional abuse, life-altering addictions, abandonment, or severe neglect. This book will give you hope for your future, and optimism about your children. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.



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