Screenshot 2023-01-13 at 1.50.18 PM


Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

Focus on the Family Reverses Position on ‘Obligation Sex,’ but Deletes Author Who Exposed Message’s Harm

By Rebecca Hopkins
Focus on the Family published marriage advice content on Instagram that seemed to cite Sheila Wray Gregoire's research but deleted comments that referred readers to her books. (Courtesy images)

For years, Focus on the Family has promoted the teaching that Christian wives are obligated to give their husbands sex. Now, they seem to be reversing course—while also deleting references to the researcher that first exposed the harm of so-called “obligation sex.”

Author and researcher Sheila Wray Gregoire had previously called out Focus on the Family (FOTF) for promoting obligation sex. Gregoire’s survey of 20,000 evangelical women and 2021 book, “The Great Sex Rescue,” concluded that Christian teachings requiring women to have sex with their husbands, regardless of women’s emotional and physical needs, increase sexual pain and harm marriages.

On Monday, FOTF published an Instagram reel from an excerpt of an April 2022 FOTF interview with psychologist and former FOTF staff, Juli Slattery, that promotes Gregoire’s talking points.

“The teaching traditionally to men has been, ‘once you get married, you should get all your needs met sexually in marriage and now your wife is obligated to do that,'” Slattery said in the reel. “And that has hurt so many marriages, hurt so many women.”

This shows the conversation around evangelical sex is changing, Gregoire said.

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “Hurt and Healed by the Church” by Ryan George. To donate, click here.

sheila wray gregoire sex
Sheila Wray Gregoire speaks in an interview about her book, The Great Sex Rescue (Video screengrab)

“When we wrote ‘The Great Sex Rescue,’ we said we just wanted to change the evangelical conversation around sex,” Gregoire said. “I think it is changing, and I’m glad about that.”

But then FOTF deleted hundreds of comments people made to their Instagram post that referenced Gregoire’s research. Gregoire’s research shows that evangelical marriage books and organizations that promote them carry a big responsibility for spreading those messages. The deletions mean the change hasn’t gone far enough for real accountability for past FOTF teachings, Gregoire said.

“Focus on the Family would rather escape accountability and pretend they did nothing wrong, instead of grappling with the fact that many of the books they have recommended, and even those they have published, have actually caused demonstrable harm,” she told The Roys Report (TRR).

TRR received about 100 now-deleted screenshots of comments on that post referencing Gregoire and her research. TRR also screenshot a couple of recent comments that have since been deleted.

However, after TRR reached out to FOTF for comment, FOTF left up a comment that this TRR journalist made asking, “Are you removing comments that cite @sheilagregoire’s work?”

Meanwhile, FOTF left up this sexually explicit post for 11 hours before taking it down.

In response to TRR’s request for comment, FOTF provided a general statement of why it removes comments.

“We appreciate Dr. Slattery’s biblical approach toward healthy sexuality in marriage,” wrote Gary Schneeberger, FOTF’s assistant to the president of media relations. “With regard to your question about this one particular Instagram post, our Focus staff member may choose to remove a user comment if it’s off-topic, combative, vulgar, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate or unhelpful. We know that our followers look to our posts for encouraging family content, so we’re committed to keeping the atmosphere of our boards safe and supportive.”

Focus on the Family
Promotional image for Focus on the Family (Image via social media)

Elissa Lombard, one of Gregoire’s readers, said she also called FOTF to question why FOTF would remove certain social media comments. She said she didn’t get a chance to go into the specifics of the Gregoire-related comments. But she got a similarly-worded emailed reply back from FOTF regarding the organization’s policies on comments.

“(O)ur Focus staff may choose to remove a user comment if it’s off-topic, combative, vulgar, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate or unhelpful,” wrote FOTF staffer Jeremy Hill.

She wrote back with an attachment of one of the now-deleted comments that stated, “Great job addressing this. Much of this information comes from the largest research study conducted on this topic, which was was (sic) by the excellent Bare Marriage folks (@sheilagregoire ). They’re an outstanding resource as well! Thank you for addressing this.”

Lombard then asked FOTF how the comment fit into their criteria for removal. At publication, she hadn’t received a response. TRR also sent FOTF a PDF of 22 comments citing Gregoire’s work to inquire if these meet the criteria for comment removal but didn’t receive a response by publication.

“Not only are they silencing people who are bringing up concerns, (but also) people who are crediting (Sheila),” Lombard said.

Has the Christian Conversation on Sex Changed?

In 2010, Gregoire started using the term “obligation sex,” a message that comes from I Corinthians 7:2-5, but that she argued could cause harm to women and in marriage when used inappropriately. In 2012, she wrote on the topic again in “The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.” Since then, she said she’s blogged on the concept more than 100 times and spoken on it for 119 podcasts, including a podcast with TRR.

Then in 2021, she and her team published research that provided the evidence for Gregoire’s theories on obligation sex. They discovered that evangelical women suffer from vaginismus, an involuntary tightening of the vagina that often causes pain during sex, at least twice the rate as the general population.

She also found that evangelical women have orgasms at a rate of 48% versus 95% of evangelical men. In both cases, the message “a wife is obligated to give her husband sex when he wants it,” contributes to those statistics, as well as decreases satisfaction with marriage, Gregoire found.

A 2009 series Slattery wrote for FOTF Australia emphasizes men’s physical need for sex and advises women to talk about sex, rather than relational problems, with their husbands. “Look at it this way: How is your husband likely to respond to these two statements—‘Honey, I really think we need to talk about our marriage, I feel like we are drifting apart.’ Versus  ‘Babe, I want to work on our sexual relationship.’”

Juli Slattery focus on the family
Juli Slattery appears on Focus on the Family’s flagship program (Screengrab)

By 2020, however, Slattery said she was questioning these teachings.

“I’ve had some ministry interactions I’d say within the last six to 12 months and done some reading on different topics that have made me think some of how are presenting sex and marriage is unbalanced,” she said in a July 2020 podcast titled, “Is Good Sex a Right in Marriage.”

A few months later, Slattery published a post called “Are you Entitled to Good Sex in Marriage?”

The FOTF Instagram reel from this week showed Slattery talking about sexual pain: “If your wife has had pain during sex, if she has trauma in her past, if she’s not enjoying it, the burden in some ways is also on you to say…‘How do I go on the healing journey with her?’ and not just say, ‘No, I get my needs met regardless?’”

But Slattery hasn’t explicitly mentioned vaginismus prior to Gregoire’s research, Gregoire said.

“I’m glad they’re talking about it,” Gregoire said. “This just hasn’t been dealt with in evangelical circles.”

A representative for Slattery said she is unable to speak to TRR on short notice, but respects Gregoire’s work.

“Juli has been involved in similar work of addressing damaging messages from the church in regards to sexuality over the past 12 years,” wrote the Authentic Intimacy team in an emailed response.

However, FOTF continues to promote books Gregoire considers harmful like Married Sex by Debra Fileta and Gary Thomas. In Gregoire’s book review of “Married Sex,” she raises concerns that it objectifies women and has mixed messages about porn. The book claims to be against porn, but then encourages women to send their husbands naked pictures of themselves to help the men avoid porn, Gregoire says. Though the book objects to obligation sex, it also holds up women who decide to never tell their husbands no to sex as good examples. 

FOTF hosted Gregoire in the early 2000s and as recently as 2015 and 2016. But FOTF has removed past interviews and references to Gregoire in their archives, Gregoire said. A search today of FOTF’s website showed no results for Gregoire’s name.

In 2014, Gary Thomas started writing on obligation sex for his book, “A Lifelong Love.” But he’s only intermittently cited Gregoire for the concept, she says.  In his “Married Sex,” he didn’t cite her work regarding obligation sex.

Gregoire said she asked Harper Collins and its Zondervan division, Thomas’ and Fileta’s publisher, for a citation. However, the August 2021 publication includes no citations for Gregoire’s works. She said she parted ways with the publisher for her own work over the matter.

Emailed requests for comment to Harper Collins and the Zondervan division were not immediately answered. Thomas and Fileta also did not immediately respond to TRR’s requests for comment.

FOTF’s mixed messages around this issue can be more harmful than helpful to women and marriages, Gregoire said.

“They’re not going to be able to help women get out of this without having a real conversation about how this was largely taught and marketed by them,” she said.

This article has been corrected to accurately report a quote from Gregoire.

Rebecca Hopkins is a journalist based in Colorado.



Keep in touch with Julie and get updates in your inbox!

Don’t worry we won’t spam you.

More to explore

68 Responses

  1. Sheila has continued to misrepresent my and Debra Fileta’s book on multiple fronts. We do NOT “encourage” women to send nude photos to their husbands. We mention Izzy’s choice to do the boudoir photo shoot, but then add this important warning (page 126): “Note that some counselors strongly object to this advice, insisting that it’s too dangerous for a wife to put photos of herself like this anywhere, lest they fall into the wrong hands. There are ways (and apps) to guard against this, but husbands, if your wife isn’t comfortable with this, please don’t pressure her.” So while we specifically urge husbands NOT to pressure their wives, Sheila says we do. Readers can decide for themselves. For the record, I don’t have any indication that I was contacted by anyone from the Roys’ Report before this article was posted.

    1. Gary, I’ve read this book, as have many others. Only you know your intent but your readers have been telling you the IMPACT of what you wrote and all you can do is say, “irrelevant, because I intended something else with my writing.” An outrageous number of people are telling you that what claim you intended with your book was not the impact. As a professional writer, you should be welcoming that feedback from your customers. Instead, you’ve called us names, blocked us, and written angry rants about how you didn’t get the adulation you expected from the book.

      Lots of people, both men and women, found your book to be offensive, degrading, andvoyeuristic.

      Readers have decided.

      1. I have not read the book, but I can say that I have heard some pretty nauseating excerpts. They made me EXTREMELY uncomfortable, for which reason I made the decision not to read the book. This reader sure decided!

    2. “We do NOT “encourage” women to send nude photos to their husbands. We mention Izzy’s choice to do the boudoir photo shoot, but then add this important warning (page 126):…”


      Then why was it mentioned at all, then?

      Of course you are encouraging women to do this, but just be careful about it.

      This is another example of a christian influencer pretending their words have no implications and are devoid of inference that is objectionable if not harmful. sort of deceiving themselves and their audience.

      1. That is why you are able to write your own book and not rewrite someone else’s. I’ve seen too many people not be able to interpret authors and blaming the author instead of examining themselves.

    3. Gary, there is a difference between you as authors recommending something to wives, vs husbands pressuring their wives to do the same thing.

      Saying that doing a boudoir shoot will help a man not to stray does “recommend” that practice. I’m not opposed to such photo shoots—if done because a woman enjoys it and wants to. But to prevent her husband from straying? That’s putting responsibility for his sin on her shoulders.

      1. In my experience the church has done exactly that! Put the responsibility of faithfulness on the wife!!!! If a man truly loves his wife ,he will not pressure her for sex! Faithfulness is up to each individual and in my opinion has to do with your relationship with your God!

        1. Pressure her? She’s his wife. Why would he have to pressure her? Feminism is a cancer to healthy marriages.
          Why doesn’t a wife want to have sex with the man she married? Sexless marriage is the feminist ideal not God’s ideal

          1. John, are you aware of the 47 point orgasm gap between evangelical men and women? 95% of men almost always/always reach orgasm, compared to just 48% of women. If you’re asking why she may not want to have sex with him, maybe it’s because he’s using her for his pleasure but not giving her anything. Sex is supposed to be mutual!

            Also, considering that 50% of married, evangelical men use porn, maybe she doesn’t want sex because she feels betrayed, or because he has a pornified style of relating with her that makes her feel used and objectified.

            If women don’t want sex, there’s usually a reason. Perhaps, instead of assuming women are doing something bad, you may actually want to look at the stats! They’re all in The Great Sex Rescue.

    4. This article is not about you. It is about professionalism. It is about honoring the 8th commandment. FOTF failed to cite sources, and then blockaded all references to those sources.

      If you wish to discuss your book and its harms, you’ve come to the right place. The days of evading public critique are over, and those who wish to teach are truly being held to a higher standard. I acknowledge that must feel like a destabilizing change. But the impacts on our lives matter. Saying that women can flash their breasts to reset power imbalances in marriage is harmful. Comparing grown men’s sexual urges to the life-or-death needs of infants crying in the night is harmful. Suggesting that women feel lubricated and aroused when giving hand jobs postpartum, when we are actually bleeding from lochia, is harmful. Men don’t need boudoir images to avoid straying, they need to be transformed into those who no longer see women as objects. Please see Cusick’s “Surfing for God” or Stringer’s “Unwanted” for real solutions to lust, not management strategies that rely on the continued objectification of wives. The pornified style of relating has to be scrubbed from Christian resources, and Gregoire et. al are the very first to use data to unequivocally reveal this for what it is. In doing so, they call us to a higher standard–one in which sex is intimate, mutual, and humanizing.

      I am grateful to TRR for covering this matter in such a timely way. Christians need to get our act together. We need to cite sources, examine evidence and acknowledge harm. We need to treat men and women as made in the image of God, not as bodies to be consumed. And if we get new info, we need to cite it.

    5. Gary, you saying, “We do not encourage women to send nude photos to their husbands,” but using that as a positive example in your book is like saying, “We do not encourage women to get drunk before sex with their husbands,” but then telling a story, spun in a positive light, of how one woman drank 4 glasses of wine before having sex because it helped her become more sexually available for her husband.

      I’m not sure if you’re purposefully trying to speak out of both sides of your mouth and get away with it, or if you actually believe that your readers, mainly women, are too unintelligent to see through your manipulative tactics. Either way, your explanation above is comparable to the toxic, small print warnings under cigarette advertisements of beautiful women and men actively inhaling carcinogens that I saw as a child in the 70’s. It’s like “LOOK HOW WONDERFUL THIS ACTIVITY IS (but it can be very harmful so you really shouldn’t).”

    6. Gary, your “warning” is dismissed by most women just like most people ignore the FDA warnings on toothpaste tubes about flouride!!

      Because when you said all this… “Abby was at first reluctant to do this. What changed her mind? “It makes him so happy,” she said. “He works really hard for us, and if I can sweeten his day a little bit, I didn’t want to unnecessarily deny him something as long as God is okay with it.”

      “She took the question to her women’s Bible study where the opinion was mixed. The most common objection was, “What if it leads to him doing porn?”

      “Consider the Latin philosophical dictum abusus non tollit usum, which roughly translated means “abuse doesn’t negate the proper use.” Just because something can be abused doesn’t mean it can’t be used. In Abby and Kyle’s case, the texting is creating intense desire for his wife, not for other women, and it hasn’t led him to seek out porn. It also becomes all-day foreplay, so that when Kyle comes home at night, he’s ready to go.” (p. 126)

      …all that massively outweighed the warning.

      Also, since most men are like microwaves and most women like crackpots, you should be giving advice on how a man can create “intense desire” all day for her husband so she’ll be “ready to go” at night.

    7. I saw a disagreement about Focus on the Family deleting comments/references to Sheila Wray Gregoire and her Bare Marriage ministry. This could be because, overall, Focus does not agree with Sheila’s approach or message and don’t want the name appearing with their content. Focus on the Family is not the first ministry to take this position. And no person or ministry is going to get it 100% correct.

      1. FotF has had Gregoire on their programming several times. You used to be able to find articles and interviews with her on their website.

    8. Sheila Wray Gregoire is getting some things very, very right. But sadly, there are Christian authors, marriage ministry leaders, psychiatrists/psychologists/counselors who disagree with Sheila Wray Gregoire as well and find that the message is causing harm to individuals.

      No one has the corner on getting marriage ministry 100% correct. And no one has been appointed as the official remover of splinters across ministries.

      All this disagreement could be done offline, out of the public eye, without hundreds and hundreds of social media comments, without articles being published pitting one ministry against another.


      1. Rich – the bad information was put out in public. Very appropriate to call it out in public. One doesn’t get to hide after one puts out bad public information.

        1. Well, that sounds like a mud slinging fest, because everbody is getting something wrong and publishing it to the world. What does that say to non-believers?

          The best you and I can do is agree to disagree.

          1. Non-believers think poorly of Evangelicals when they DON’T publicly discuss problems and try to fix them. Gary Thomas’s marriage recommendations are considered horrifically shocking to people outside of his bubble because they de-humanize women and he contradicts himself on most pages. Thomas portrays married Christian men as being on the verge of an affair on the daily. Yet you think the issue is with publicly calling this garbage?

      2. Pretty hard to disagree with professional research involving close to 30,000 respondents at this point. Good luck convincing us with that message.

  2. We post the entire passage from Married Sex and go into detail about how this breaks down the reader’s defences, getting rid of all possible reasons that she may have to “unnecessarily deny” him such pictures here: We also address the footnote warning, which does not adequately deal many of the issues raised. I invite people to go look at the whole passage and our analysis at the website.

    1. Your blog post analyzing this issue in “Garried Sex” is SO GOOD. I hope many people click through to read it.

  3. This article is not about marriage; it’s about attribution. Did FOTF change its recommendations about a topic, openly acknowledge the change, adequately cite the work of an author (Gregoire) who is not employed by FOTF, and imply (by deleting content previously posted by Gregoire) that research by members of its own staff is entirely responsible for the change? Rebecca and Julie, is this an accurate summary?

  4. So glad that this is getting coverage. Sheila and her amazing team deserve to be cited for their research. It’s just simple professionalism.

    1. Juli Slattery is skating down the lane Sheila plowed & paid for.

      Juli, do the right thing and cite Sheila Gregoire instead of claiming it for yourself.

      So disappointing, professionally & ethically. but it *is* christian-y to not cite your sources, i’ll give her that.

  5. Thank you so much for this Timely article. It really is staggering the volume of comments that were deleted from this one post. The ones I saw were almost all kind, compassionate, and positive. Many of them were even freezing of those on the family for starting to make important shifts and acknowledgments in this issue. They just pointed to Sheila’s work as further resources. There was so much grace, compassion, and kindness that was deleted in those posts, and that is heartbreaking.

    I hope focus on the family considers reflecting and sharing more specific reasons on the hundreds and hundreds of comments that were coming instead of the bland, nonspecific, pre-canned responses they have given up to this point. I cannot imagine many of those hundreds and hundreds of comments meeting any of those reasons they give for their General deleting.

  6. Feminist ideology versus the Bible. Want a healthy marriage? Then never have sex with your husband. My body my choice! No woman needs some man! Am I missing anything?
    Feminism rails against men and marriage commitments. It’s all about her not the us in marriage.
    Waiting for the article on “obligation finances.” If the woman doesn’t have to share her body with her own husband then why does he have to share his money with her?
    Feminists heads raging right now.

    1. as the quote goes, “when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression”.

      I hope you’re able to meet and hear from actual feminists some day, instead of the caracatures that you’ve created to knock down. After all, Jesus was a feminist.

      1. Thanks for this article Ms. Hopkins.
        Getting into the weeds of comment moderation, website editing and failures of attribution may seen like minutiae to some. In this case however, it’s perhaps the clearest real-time indication of FOTFs duplicity and desire to control the narrative.

        Also, Sheila is an absolute boss and it’s great to see other journalists like yourself pointing out where her team’s rock-solid research is having real-world effects even as many attempt to cut her out of the story.

      2. Jesus was a feminist? Jesus loved both genders equally. He never debased anyone. Feminism is human rebellion against perceived oppression.
        Feminism rails against the stay at home mom. Rally for abortion on demand. Promote the wage gap myth and are generally bitter.
        The Christian family is different than the world. Both spouses submit one to another as believers in Christ. In wife’s role she submits to her husband as unto the Lord. The husband loves his wife as christ the church.
        Love, commitment, communication, finances and sex all make or break a good marriage

        1. John W Reed, feminism is the belief in social, political and economic equality between the sexes. I’ve never met a feminist in real life who was a man-hating, sexless, bitter harpy, but I often hear them described as such in Christo-political comment sections.
          If you can truly say:
          “I don’t believe in social equality between men and women.”
          “I don’t believe in economic equality between men and women.”
          “I don’t believe in political equality between men and women.”
          Congratulations, you’re not a feminist.

          1. Anita, if that is so, why is the word FEMinism? Why is “female” in the very word if it’s about equality?

          2. Frank Tonez, feminism is the subset of egalitarianism that focuses on gender equality and the issues that impact primarily women. Of course, egalitarianism is also a dirty word in some circles.

        2. Michael Jensen published an excellent article in Eternity magazine, titled “Perhaps Feminism’s is not the Enemy.” It’s very worth your while to google it and consider what he is saying.
          As a point of consideration, I am a feminist who does NOT rail against the stay-at-home mom (I was one for 30 years) not rally for abortion on demand. Perhaps some do. I have not met them.

    2. John, no one is saying never have sex. We’re saying that sex biblically is mutual, intimate, and pleasurable for both. Having intercourse when a woman feels used or in pain and isn’t reaching orgasm is depriving HER already. How about we focus on learning how to truly have amazing sex that connects, rather than just ensuring that a man climaxes at a woman’s expense?

      Also, our research of 20,000 women found that when women:
      1. regularly reach orgasm
      2. feel emotionally connected during sex
      3. have high marital satisfaction
      4. have no porn use in the marriage
      5. have no sexual dysfunction in the marriage

      then they want sex and frequency takes care of itself! If women don’t want sex, something else is going on. Fix that something else, rather than insisting that she give him an orgasm anyway. Make sex mutual, intimate, and pleasurable again! That’s the way it was designed to be.

      1. Intimacy and communication are key factors in relationships. So I know of women who weren’t attuned to their own body sexually so they didn’t know how to reach orgasm. So they should have a sexless marriage until she figures it out? All this covers is the woman side, feminism, not a word about what a husband is supposed to be doing while he’s expected to wait until she can find her body rhythm.
        Husbands have sexual needs to. Wives constantly rejecting their husbands will have a detrimental impact on the marriage. Eventually the enemy will accommodate the husband by bringing someone around who won’t say no.

        1. John, that’s a lot of words to say you believe men should have the right to rape their wives.

          And for the record, no one has ever died of not having sex.

        2. John W R,

          “So I know of women who weren’t attuned to their own body sexually so they didn’t know how to reach orgasm. So they should have a sexless marriage until she figures it out?”

          What is the husband’s responsibility in this situation to help his wife become comfortable with her body? Why weren’t these issues discussed before marriage? Was there sex before the marriage? This can cause a guilt spiral that will destroy the physical intimacy after marriage, because it hasn’t been addressed in a Biblical manner.

          This is a we problem, not a her problem, and a Christian husband should be more concerned with why their wife is in her current situation, and how to help her out of it. Not make it worse by forcing her to preform acts that only reinforce her insecurities, and will cause her to despise being touched by their spouse. If husbands have so little control over their sexual impulses, that it controls their behavior, and allow them to pressure their wife into an act they aren’t comfortable with (or go outside the marriage), that says more about the husband, than the wife.

    3. No, not raging, John. Just thinking.

      Remembering this question my son once asked me while he was a young boy: “Were the Indians the good guys or the bad guys (in the wild west days)?” And I answered him like this: “Yes”

      Your either / or pits husband and wife against each other. So when you ask if you are missing anything, I would answer you “yes”: If you were interested in my explanation, I would say, “It’s not all about the woman, It’s not only about the woman. But It IS also about the woman.”

      Feminism is not a dirty word any more than sex is a dirty word. People have appropriated those words and topics to fit their own agendas . (I know, shocking, isn’t it). Finding a mutuality that works for a couple in the context of their intimate relations is loving, healthy and life-affirming. Oh, and it’s scriptural. Husband and wife are to submit to each other. And that’s not just in matters of sexual relations.

      So there’s your answer to the topic of “obligation finances” as well. Blessings on you.

    4. First of all, again, as others have said, this article is about attribution primarily. Focus on the family happily leaned on Sheila’s work and then not only did not cite her, but deleted hundreds of comments of people who did mention her in the most positive, kindest of ways.

      Secondly, it’s extreme almost to the point of trolling to falsely some up her work as saying never have sex with your husband. If you’re worried that wives will never have sex if we drop the teaching that women must do it out of guilt or obligation, that’s really telling on yourself. As Sheila has said, sex is good. It’s wonderful, like an ice cream sunday. You don’t have to tell people they have to eat and ice cream Sunday or they are in spiritual danger. So maybe it’s time the Greater Church checked on its ice cream, you know?

      So much of your comment relies on this trope of threatening and controlling women to make them stay, whether by spiritual threats or financial ones. It’s pretty transparent that a good number of Christian marriages are so toxic and unhealthy that some Christian teachings must use these threats to force women to stay in them. Again, you’re telling on yourself and the quality of marriages that this teaching promotes. It’s no surprise that a younger generation is less interested in church attendance and that, for the first time in a long time, women are leaving the church faster than men

    5. John, here is your article about obligation finances:
      “Husbands, when your wife is using the credit card to purchase Louis Vuitton handbags and get new furniture for the living room every 6 months, don’t deny that need to her. Women are feminine creatures by God’s design and are wired to crave beauty in their environment. Finances in marriage are about the “us” not about you. As a loving husband you must unconditionally share your hard-earned money with your spouse, even if you feel like she is using you. Are you willing to do this for the glory of God?”

      1. Mary Ellen: I’m not sure who this John is you are quoting and I don’t believe I want to know! Whatever the concept of obligation finances are, they don’t include spouses, in this case the wife, frivolously spending hard earned, sweat of your brow money on furniture and $600 Gucci bags every six months. And of all things, doing it for the glory of God! Thanks for the heads up and posting this quote from this very unwise, bereft of common sense person named John. I will do a little research and certainly steer clear of whatever he has to say. Again Maryellen, thank you.

        1. Salvatore, I’m sorry my comment was unclear. I was replying to John above who mentioned that no one ever talks about “obligation finances”, so I was giving him a hypothetical message of what such a message might sound like to a man that mirrors what women are being told about sex. I was trying to point out how obviously ludicrous it would be for a man to think he has to keep providing money for such a woman, and it’s equally ludicrous to expect women to give sex to an entitled man.

          1. Maryellen: thanks for your reply. Ludacris indeed! I am so tired of hearing men, especially Christian men telling their wives about their obligation to provide them with sexual gratification on demand! Maybe the wives should tell their husbands they should be kind and patient and considerate etc. etc. on demand and see how far that goes!

    6. “Am I missing anything?” Well maybe a coherent argument and the ability engage in mature dialogue for starters. Hope that helps.

    7. Concerning John Reeds comment about obligation finances: thos poster claims that it’s a “feminist” ideology for women to not have obligatory sex. If one is linking sex to finances and quid pro quo, the result is prostitution. It’s not a marriage, it’s a transaction.
      Until men and women view one another as equal partners in the relationship, and eliminate the notion of obligational anything in the relationship, the result will always be a transaction.

      The foundation of the relationship between a wife and her husband should be one of mutual love and respect. Not domination or transaction.

    8. John Reed, your arguments don’t hold any water.

      What you are describing is a marriage where a husband brings home money, the wife doesn’t, so she owes him sex.

      That’s called prostitution, John.

      If your wife is only willing to have sex with you because she needs the money, what does that say about you? About your marriage? And you call that a biblical marriage.

    9. Mr Reed, I do not understand why you keep intersecting derogatory comments about feminism into this thread. We are discussing an organization trying to block a source they are quoting. I assume your comments are aimed at Shelia and her research. What I do not understand is why you are angry at women stepping up and saying, “We want to enjoy sex, too and we need our husband’s to understand that.” It is about respect. If that bothers you, there is a deeper problem.

    10. Not sure if you’re open to nuance, but Michael Jensen wrote an excellent article titled “Perhaps Feminism is not the Enemy,” published in Eternity magazine. Google that and read it; it’s very worth your time.

  7. When are men, specifically Christian men, going to finally realize that women are not sexual objects? The theory behind a sexual object is, it’s a thing “designed” for the sole subservient purpose of the pleasure of the one who owns it and who, at the snap of his fingers, says, sex right here and right now. Newsflash! Women are not sexual objects, they are sexual beings, just like men are sexual beings. And guess what, here’s another newsflash! The conjugal relationship in a marriage does not happen in five minutes. It happens over long stretches of time and more specifically because the husband and wife work diligently at their relationship. And as that happens, the physical relationship becomes more pronounced and more beautiful more satisfying for both husband and wife. Men of Christ, let’s start being sensitive servant husbands to our wives instead of a bunch of insensitive clods!

    1. Wheres your data that “Christian men” consider women “sexual objects”?. Many men try to love their wives as Jesus loves the Church. It is these broad strokes that demonizes men. Remember, we are talking about a specific book written by a husband/wife team.

      1. Vance, I refer you to the post of Sheila Wray Gregorie on July 2 if you want an example of some credible data on my statement. One must ask where do you get your data that Christian men don’t? In the church where John MacArthur is the lead pastor, Grace Community Church, there are many many documented examples of men who have sexually abused their wives using this obligation sex garbage while all the time hiding behind the often misused and completely misunderstood Scripture that says, wives obey your husbands and then are protected by the governance of this church, no less. Personally I have read of many credible accounts in the church mess I come out of, of almost identically the same thing, and that of the churches in-house counseling service which was provided by an independent study because of the complaints of the wives. Needless to say that particular counseling ministry does not exist at my former church anymore. I believe I have plenty of data backup my statement. I ask again where is yours?

      2. I can understand why you would not understand or believe those claims, since you organizations like focus on the family are literally blocking any comments even mentioning the research we are referring to. If you’re genuinely curious on what we’re referring to, I would highly recommend the books the great sex rescue and she deserves better by Sheila Wray Gregoire. I think they would answer your question well.

        1. Jennifer: I’m a bit confused. Is your statement directed at me or Vance? And if you could clarify what you mean I would be grateful. Thank you.

      3. Vance, many Christian men consider their wives to be sexual objects! That’s part of what started Sheila et al. down this road! Nobody is saying “all” do, but there are certainly MANY of us wives who have been treated as objects!

  8. Gary. You seemingly admit that your message is at least potentially harmful. Then you spent time in your book telling everyone that your message is harmful. Your fight isn’t with Sheila. She just pointed it out. Your fight is with your Ego Gary. I know you know the story of the 99. If your message harms just 1 person shouldn’t we go get them? You just posted all the evidence that you admit your message can be harmful. Set it down Gary. Why not just remove it?

    1. Phil you asked an excellent question and you asked if very nicely.

      Let’s hope you get a response.

  9. As I read the posts, I sense the problems that should not be happening in a Christian marriage and are these things being taught to the younger generation? The oddity is talking about sex the way the world wants is instead of God’s design. Maybe the church needs to start from scratch and reread Scripture with intimacy and having husbands learning their wive’s needs and wives learning their husband’s needs. Marriage requires commitment and sacrifice from both equally.

  10. a christian life is all about growth and change and learning.

    Gary should take the criticisms of his writings as an opportunity to learn, grow and change.

    when a pst/comp believer sees all the abuse of women under pat/comp teachings they should start to investigate instead of automatically judge those abused as being the ones in the wrong.

  11. Reading almost anything by fellow evangelicals on sex makes me feel like Theology of the Body should be required reading for anyone who wants to try to say something insightful on the subject. It’s tedious and sad to keep reading meager lust-management solutions by people who honestly think they’re not children of the sexual revolution.

    I don’t want to hear that it might not be technically wrong to drool over boudoir photos of my wife. I don’t want to know about the various kinds of sodomy that could spice up our marriage.

    What does sexual holiness look like? Is there such a thing as marital chastity? What would desiring sex without feeling lust be like? And what would all of it mean?

    A Christianity that can’t answer those questions isn’t a Christianity that deserves to survive the century. And the good news is, it probably won’t.

  12. Rebecca Hopkins.
    It’s one thing to for a ministry to communicate their position about other authors and other ministries to your readers/members. It’s quite another to start harassing other authors and other ministries.

    Not all marriage ministries, not all Christian leaders, not all Christian therapists agree with Sheila Wray Gregoire either. It is possible that Sheila Wray Gregoire is causing injury to people as well. But lobbing gernades is not the answer.

    So, I see no problem with Focus on the Family saying – hundreds and hundreds of comments about Sheila Wray Gregoire is not what Focus on the Family wants with their content.

    In private, we can communicate directly with one another our concerns and disagreements. But we should not harass each other.

    I suspect we can agree that no ministry has got it 100% right. And no one can be the ultimate arbiter on what is absolutely spot-on with God’s Will. I pray we are ALL submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit and how God expects each of us to live out His Love for one another.

    1. Rich – when you make content public, you have made it just that, public. That means that any concerns or disagreements about that content can and should be discussed in a public space. One of the issues that Sheila Gregoire has raised is that literally hundreds of women have reported harm caused by Focus on the Family’s public content. Those of us who have been harmed by Focus on the Family just want to be heard and we are concerned that others will be harmed in a similar manner. Sheila has a public platform and is one of a few who are willing to openly express concern about Focus on the Family’s content. She is an advocate for those of us who have been harmed by Focus on the Family but don’t have the public platform needed to openly debate the concerns in a public space. It is troubling to me that Focus on the Family appears unwilling to even listen our concerns let alone do something meaningful to address them.

      1. And that may be the beauty of having various ministries because none of them are perfect, and different people are drawn to different ministries. Hopefully they are all changing and growing for the better. But I would not expect or demand that one ministry recognize or give credit to another. That is their prerogative.

        1. Sorry Rich, but no, it is not beautiful to live in an abusive marriage for years because you trusted the counsel of Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family does not advocate for divorce in abusive marriages and clearly has not engaged in the research regarding abuse dynamics. Imagine giving your answer to the parents of a woman who followed the marriage advice from Focus on the Family, stayed in an abusive relationship, and ended up being killed by her husband. If you are going to provide public content, you really need to do your research and consider the consequences your content may have on people. Focus on the Family appears to be more interested in fabricating low divorce statistics than creating safe, healthy marriages.

    2. Rich, that’s the second time you have made an unsupported statement that not all counselors/ psychologists agree with Sheila (well, we know the ones being paid by FOTF don’t, lol!) and that her data might also be causing harm. Where is your substantiation for these statements? I have heard disagreement statements about Sheila’s work — by men who object to removing the obligation sec message. Somehow I don’t think that’s valid evidence to claim that she is causing harm.

  13. I believe focus on the family really began to go down the tubes when Dr. James Dobson left. From what I understand from some of the readings and posts about that situation, there were what was termed as philosophical differences between Dr. Dobson and some of the new board members, and so Dr. Dobson felt compelled to leave this very excellent ministry that he started. I guess this obligation sex thing and all that it entails is just one example.

  14. I sent several emails to the Authentic Intimacy team asking why Juli has never engaged with Sheila’s work and finally, after a few months they responded.

    Thank you for your question and persistence.

    Juli is familiar with Sheila’s work and is grateful for the ways her research has helped couples reframe their approach to sex.

    While Juli and Sheila’s messages complement each other in many ways, they have different convictions in how to handle disagreements within the Christian community. For this reason, Juli has chosen not to engage publicly with Sheila’s resources or teaching.


    The Authentic Intimacy Team

Leave a Reply

The Roys Report seeks to foster thoughtful and respectful dialogue. Toward that end, the site requires that people register before they begin commenting. This means no anonymous comments will be allowed. Also, any comments with profanity, name-calling, and/or a nasty tone will be deleted.
MOST popular articles


Hi. We see this is the third article this month you’ve found worth reading. Great! Would you consider making a tax-deductible donation to help our journalists continue to report the truth and restore the church?

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “Hurt and Healed by the Church” by Ryan George.