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Published Date: October 27, 2022

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Book Info

The Great Sex Rescue: The Lies You’ve Been Taught and How to Recover What God Intended

Co-written by Sheila Wray Gregoire, Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach, and Joanna Sawatsky,  the message of The Great Sex Rescue: The Lies You’ve Been Taught and How to Recover What God Intended is twofold: to show what mutuality-based marriage can look like, and to present the results of their landmark survey on women’s experiences in marriage and the church. 

The Great Sex Rescue is based on a detailed survey of twenty thousand Christian married women. The authors’ thorough data-collection process—especially to this often-ignored audience—makes this an impressive work of research. The answers from the survey are woven throughout this book. I appreciated that the authors merged academically sound findings with a readability that kept me rapidly turning pages. Reading the results of the survey—filled out by women about women—was eye-opening. Their responses have transformed my own understanding and have stayed with me long after I closed the final pages.

The topics covered in the book are broad but never unfocused. They include: female virginity and its cultural value; a biblical view of purity; culturally-taught, male-focused lust/predation; female objectification; libido and female sexuality; the difference between intercourse and making love, and more. The authors’ views are staunchly egalitarian and strongly for the God-given, mutual flourishing of wives and husbands. The following are some key quotes:

When we were sketching out the chapters for this book, Joanna quipped, “You know, we could say it all in just four words: women are people too.” Perhaps that’s the fundamental issue. 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. Women, though, are people too. ( p. 234)

God sees women. God does not say to women, “Your experience doesn’t matter compared to your husband’s tremendous need.” God does not tell women, “Let your husband ejaculate inside you, no matter how you feel, because otherwise you are in disobedience.” No, God says, “I designed sex to be a deep knowing of two people. And that, my child, means that both of you matter.’  (p. 194)

Women don’t only need to know how sex works; they need to know how they work. And that includes getting to the root of why they repressed their sexuality in the first place. Evangelical culture primes women to repress their sexuality but then turns around and chastises them when they are married for doing that very thing. Is it any wonder many women feel like they just can’t win? (p. 72)

You can’t defeat porn by simply having a husband transfer his lust and objectification to a “safe” sourcehis wife. You defeat porn by rejecting the kingdom of darkness’ view of sex, that it is only about taking and using someone to meet your needs, and adopting a kingdom of heaven view of sex: that it’s about a mutual, passionate knowing and sacrificial serving. (pgs. 114-115)

A helpful feature of The Great Sex Rescue is its analysis of popular Christian books on sexuality and marriage, such as Every Man’s Battle (Arterburn and Stoeker), Love & Respect (Eggerichs), and Sheet Music (Leman). Gregoire, Lindenbach, and Sawatsky never once pull their punches about the harmful results of these complementarian/patriarchal books, but perhaps for the first time ever (thanks to the survey), readers can see the tangible results of these authors’ messages. The facts speak for themselves, and what they often show is that subjugation (no matter the sugarcoated word for it) of a wife to her husband is toxic for the individual, the marriage, and the Church.

The Great Sex Rescue is an unapologetic defense of women—our dignity and right to mutuality in all spheres of life. In the process, this book serves as a spotlight cast on popular teachings that promote the dehumanization of women. I cannot recommend the book enough. Whether you’ve never read a book about sex or marriage, or have read thousands of pages on these topics (and might be new to the egalitarian perspective), pick up this book. Whether you’re a single woman, wife, or mother; a single man, husband, or father, the Great Sex Rescue was written for all of us.