We're all bemoaning the celebrity Christian culture that led to the Ravi Zacharias & Carl Lentz (& so many more) sex & sexual abuse scandals.

But what if the problem is not just--or even mostly--celebrity culture?

What if it's the evangelical view of sex?

A thread.
Yes, celebrity culture gave these men (and so many others) more access to victims, and it gave them cover for what they were doing.

But it was not celebrity culture that taught these men to objectify women. Our evangelical culture did that all on its own.
Take the Every Man's Battle series of books: Every Heart Restored says: "Because of male hardwiring, men don't naturally have that Christian view of sex."

EMB says: "We find another reason for the prevalence of sexual sin among men. We got there naturally--simply by being male."
Got that? Men naturally sin sexually.

God-given male sexuality and objectification of women are seen as one & the same. Our evangelical books tell men: God made you to objectify women & see sex as only physical. Your sexual sin nature is innately given. You can't help it.
Tim LaHaye, in the Act of Marriage, echoes this: "Women must cultivate the problem of visual lust, whereas men almost universally must cope with the problem just because they are men."

So if men can't help it, what is the solution?

Women! It is women who keep men from sinning.
EMB says of lust: "Once he tells you he's going cold turkey, be like a merciful vial of methadone for him."

In Sheet Music, Kevin Leman tells women to give husbands oral sex or hand jobs during their periods or postpartum phase, because these are difficult times FOR HIM.
A husband can't be expected to withstand temptation by himself while she's cramping, bleeding, or recovering from birthing his child.

Leman also says: "Either you will have a love affair with your husband or somebody else will."
Emerson Eggerichs, in Love & Respect, says: "The cold, hard truth is that men are often lured into affairs because they are sexually deprived at home.”

And if women get upset by this? We need to realize that men have needs we will never understand.
Love & Respect says, "If your husband is typical, he has a need you don't have."

Power of a Praying Wife, after explaining how women need affection, says: "But for a husband, sex is pure need. His eyes, ears, brain and emotions get clouded if he doesn't have that release."
For Women Only tells women "to accept the struggle" he has with lust. Love & Respect says: "If your husband feels you do not respect his struggle...& his maleness, he’ll pull back."

We need to accept men's lustful nature, or we will disrespect them & they will have affairs.
That's typical of evangelical resources: Men NEED sex in a way women don't. They tell women: You have no right to say no. Do not deprive him. Intended for Pleasure says "The only activity that is to break regular sexual relations is prayer and fasting for some specific cause."
And when women don't put out? Men naturally become predators.

The Act of Marriage describes a husband who raped his wife while she was "kicking and screaming" on their wedding night as "equally unhappy" as his rape victim, because she had never embraced sex in their marriage
His Needs, Her Needs says, "He is pawing and grabbing because he needs something--very badly. Many men tell me they wish their sex drive weren't so strong. As one thirty-two-year-old executive put it, "I feel like a fool--like I'm begging her or even raping her."
Church, when scandals like this happen, we need to stop being surprised. These men are acting out EXACTLY what our evangelical resources have told us--men need physical release; they can't control themselves without women's help; if they don't get help, they'l become predators.
This isn't how the Bible defines sex. In Scripture, sex isn't just physical. It is intimate. It is mutual. It is pleasurable for both. It is not just about a man's "physical release", no matter what Love & Respect may say.

It's a beautiful picture of MUTUAL intimacy & passion.
And until we start talking about a true biblical sexual ethic, we will continue to have these scandals on the front pages of our magazines--because they're only reflecting what's already happening in our bedrooms.
After surveying 20,000 predominantly Christian women, we know what evangelical messages mess sex up for women--and how to give healthier ones. Check out The Great Sex Rescue--and let's change the evangelical conversation about sex.


Since this is going big—I’m happy to go on podcasts to talk about this! :)
Oh, and one more ask: PLEASE follow me on Instagram! I’m @sheilagregoire there too. I’d love to get up to 10,000 followers! Makes it easier to share links. thank you!

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More from @sheilagregoire

6 May
Best-selling evangelical books instruct women to give their husbands sex to deal with their husbands’ porn addictions.

If any reporters are working on stories about Josh Duggar, I’d love to give background on how wives in these communities are told his porn use is their fault.
We just conducted the largest survey ever done of evangelical women’s marital & sexual satisfaction for our new book The Great Sex Rescue. One of the things we were looking at was the teaching, “women should have frequent sex with their husbands to keep them from watching porn."
In November 2019, Focus on the Family, in their broadcast, said the reason men watch porn is that women aren’t having enough sex. Every Man’s Battle (the book series sold 4,000,000 copies) told women they were like a “merciful vial of methadone” for him when he’s quitting porn.
Read 6 tweets
6 May
Can we talk COMPLEMENTARIANISM? What happens to marriage when couples act out the commonly taught doctrine that husbands make the final decision in marriage?

After surveying 20,000 women, we now know!

A thread with fun stats stuff:
Let's start with beliefs: 62.2% of Christian wives believe that a wife submitting to a husband's leadership is a way that she can love him. And 39.4% of wives believe that the husband should have decision-making power in the marriage.
And you know what? When women believe this, it doesn't affect their marriage. It's neutral--not good or bad.

UNLESS--and this is a big unless--they actually act it out.

You see, most people who believe this do not practice it.
Read 10 tweets
8 Apr
So @markgungor said yesterday: "At it’s core, marriage is a sexual contract. Refusing sex to your partner is a violation of the contract."

In our recent survey of 20,000 Christian women, we found that his take on sexless marriages is completely off base. Here's how.
When women (1) have high marital satisfaction; (2) frequently orgasm during intercourse; and (3) have husbands who don't use porn, marriages almost NEVER become sexless. Sexlessness is a SYMPTOM of a greater problem. Women don't suddenly up and decide to give up on sex one day.
Now there are many reasons why a marriage might become sexless. In this thread, I'm only going to address the most common scenario: She never orgasms; she feels distant from her husband; and she's one of the 16% of women who say their primary emotion after sex is "feeling used."
Read 13 tweets
8 Apr
Along with this—

Many comps say to me, “Ah, but you do need someone in marriage to be a tie breaker!”, as if that’s a winning argument.

I’ve been married for 29 years. We don’t use a tie breaker.
We pray about it, talk it through, ask for advice for mentors, and don’t move ahead until we agree. It actually works well.

If people think “you need a tie-breaker” is a winning argument, I wonder if they don’t know what it’s like to do the real work of coming to agreement?
Like, if they can’t picture a marriage where it’s possible to work things out together, then perhaps that says something about their marriages?

We’ve had big decisions—including whether to let a child pass away or try one more surgery that wouldn’t likely work. It’s not easy.
Read 4 tweets
17 Mar
It's time for the evangelical church to realize that the way we talk about sex and lust and porn poses a danger to women, as the Atlanta shooting all too horrifically showed us--and 8 people, including 7 women, died for it.
Apparently the shooter has said he had a "sex addiction" and the spas were "a temptation ... that he wanted to eliminate." This language sounds a lot like how Every Man's Battle describes the temptation to lust.
Defeating lust involves "bouncing your eyes" away from women. The 1st step is to "make a list of your greatest enemies." Among your potential enemies? Female joggers, or a "female co-worker who tends to dress a little suggestively." Or women at the beach.

Read 13 tweets
14 Feb
Here’s an example of man pushing back against my thread. I’d like to respond to some of his points:

Re 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 and why it should not be used to tell women they need to have sex on demand:
Biblically, sex is INTIMATE, MUTUAL, and PLEASURABLE. The whole point of 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 is mutuality. And sex is about intimacy; God describes His relationship with us in sexual terms.
Therefore, any interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7 that says to women, “You need to allow your husband to use your body on demand, no matter what you are feeling,” is completely unscriptural and taking that out of context to weaponize it.
Read 11 tweets

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