sexual purity, Surviving Adultery and Divorce, Uncategorized

The “Pendulum Swing” of Female Sexuality

 shannon ethridge

I’m so excited to have a very special guest post this week! Shannon Ethridge is the best selling author of The Every Woman series and the Completely His series. I’m currently enrolled in her BLAST mentoring program as I seek to follow God on this crazy journey of writing and speaking. Please take some time to learn more about Shannon and her heart for women and sexual intimacy. God bless!


Guest Post by Shannon Ethridge, M.A.

Imagine 8-10 women of all ages, from all walks of life, gathering together over a 4-day span with one goal – to sift through their sexual and emotional baggage. Why in the world would they want to do such a thing?

Because they’re serious about making sexual integrity and healthy

sexual intimacy a priority in their life once again.


Some women come to my Women at the Well 4-day Intensive Workshops because they’ve acted out sexually and are desperately trying to break free from their first affair… or their fourth or fifth. Others have shut down sexually, avoiding their husband’s sexual advances for years… or decades. Childhood sexual abuse, body image issues, pre-marital promiscuity, emotional disconnection, or legalistic upbringings can make it seem too painful to “go there,” even in marriage. Or such trauma can actually make “going there” via an inappropriate relationship seem absolutely irresistible, as we seek to medicate our emotional pain rather than feeling and healing it.

I often describe female sexuality as a “pendulum swing.” Some swing too far to the left, crossing boundary lines they never thought they’d cross. Others swing too far to the right, isolating and insulating themselves from the very connection they once craved. Most women will swing back and forth to some degree throughout her lifetime – feeling like a “hot mama” on some days, and like a “cold clam” on others. Hormone levels and flirty feelings fluctuate as unpredictably as flashflood waters running through a dry creek bed. It can be rather scary, not just for the woman experiencing these peaks and valleys and pendulum swings, but also for the husband who has no idea whether she’s running hot or cold from one season to the next.

I speak from experience on these issues, having graduated magna cum laude from The School of Hard Knocks. After years of pre-marital promiscuity, I honestly thought putting a wedding band on my finger would stop the sexual madness in my own life and give me an escape route off of the “crazy train.” And it did. In fact, the wedding band was my permission slip to shut down sexually altogether after we’d had children, which of course didn’t suit my husband at all.

However, with the help of a professional counselor, I invested six months sifting through the sexual and emotional baggage that had weighed down my life and marriage. It was by far the best investment of money, time, and energy I’ve ever made. And as I write this, my husband’s head is nodding furiously in agreement, flashing his best Cheshire-cat grin.

My emotional healing and restored sexual confidence has not only meant a stronger marriage, but also a stronger ministry, as cheering women on in their own healing journey has become one of my absolute greatest joys!

Has sexual and emotional baggage weighed down your life and marriage?

To help you determine the answer, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Do you feel like “damaged goods” because of your sexual past?
  • Is it hard to resist the attentions of another man who finds you attractive, even if you know that man isn’t good for you?
  • Do you often wish that your husband would be content with just holding hands or talking, rather than expecting sex?
  • Are you comfortable and confident in your own skin, or do you feel the need to hide your body from your husband’s eyes?
  • Would your husband say he got a “bait and switch” deal – that you seemed amiable to physical intimacy in the early years, but not nearly as much so now?
  • Can you enjoy sex with your husband without guilt, shame, or inhibition?
  • Do you often fantasize about being sexually or emotionally intimate with a different man than the one you married?

If you recognize that your sexual pendulum has swung too far to the left, or too far to the right, know that you are not alone. Over the past 20 years of speaking, countless women have declared to me, “Wow! Your story is just like my story!” If this storyline resonates with you as well, perhaps it’s time to carefully consider what may be keeping YOU from enjoying a vibrant, healthy sex life within your (current or future) marriage.

If you need someone to help you craft a happy ending to your sexual and emotional story, connect with a counselor, coach, or mentor. Or consider entering through the Women at the Well Workshop door yourself! What will you find inside? Acceptance. Love. Mercy. Grace. Wisdom. Insight. Inspiration. Peace. Confidence. Hope. All through relationships with other women on a similar journey. Because when we’ve been deeply wounded in relationships, we experience deep healing the same way – in relationship with others.


Shannon Ethridge, M.A. is a Certified Life Coach, International Speaker, Co-Host of Sexy Marriage Radio, and Author of 22 books including the million-copy best-selling Every Woman’s Battle series, The Sexually Confident Wife, and The Passion Principles. Learn more about her books, coaching, and workshops at


17 thoughts on “The “Pendulum Swing” of Female Sexuality”

  1. Your story could be mine, with some differences, of course. I was a pastor’s wife for 17 years, married for 19 years. My husband had an affair, and like you, God was going to be glorified in our healing. We remained an intact family for 7 more years before the next confession came. We were divorced in 2010.
    My God has simply been amazing. He heals, he comforts, and he used our pain, wasting none. Thank you for your story. God Bless you richly.

    1. Love your story, and yes, it is so similar to mine! So many pastor’s wives writing me, telling the same heart ache. The beauty is finding purpose in our pain and seeing Him use it in our lives. God bless!

  2. I read everything you wrote and I cried the whole time. I’ve been married 33 years and still in a horrible situation. I humble my self everyday and ask Jesus make me stronger. I’m 50 years of age now . I took my vow very serious and stood and still stand through all the hurting words. I could go on and on.

    1. Yolanda, my heart aches for you. God will give you the strength, and He will use the pain to make you into His image. Hold tight to Him, and ask Him to do an amazing work in you so He can do an amazing work through you. Lord Jesus, I lift Yolanda to you and pray that you would lead her closer to you. Give her strength to keep walking forward. Give her courage to cast her cares on you. Lead her into a new intimacy with you that she has never known before. Hold her close through these difficult days. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

  3. Amazing!! Your story sounds like mine! I needed to hear this, for I feel like Joseph, who is still in prison!! My children were 4 daughters one in which is still quite bitter. I feel like I’m doing everything wrong!

    1. Hold tight to the Savior, and He will see you through. Walk in integrity, head held high. Don’t beat yourself up. You are a child of the King, forgiven, chosen, redeemed. You are His masterpiece, created to do great works He has planned for you before time began.

  4. What a Blessing to find your FaithIT post this morning. Pray for my four young children 10,8, 6, 3…for God to Protect their Hearts, Comfort them and to keep them close. Pray please God’s Will ONLY for my Marriage of almost 15 years if you will Ms Johnson. For my Husband to choose Gods path for him and his life and…for me to have The Spirits Strength, Courage and Fortitude to do The Next Right thing in Each Moment …all to The Glory of God. May He Bless you and your children and ministry Richly and Abundantly.

    1. The next right thing. You have the right attitude. One step at a time, and eventually you have made it and experienced His restoration power. Lord Jesus, I do pray for Britta and her children as they walk this path. I pray that her husband would surrender to you, would repent of his sins and seek your face. I pray for restoration and that their story would point the world back to you. do an amazing work in them so you can do an amazing work through them. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

  5. THANKYOU SO MUCH FOR THIS ARTICLE.. i have been divorced TWICE due to extreme ABUSE… i have been walking closely with God for the past almost 3 years now.. i especially liked what you said when i read your last part of your article and it said… thankyou Lord for taking my life from the depths of the grave and breathing new life into me.Thank you for taking the failures of my past and using them to encourage others.Thank you for taking my divorce and useing it for your glory.. i am now a MENTOR for ABUSED WOMEN and i am so thankful that God is using my failures from my past to encourage others… This journey has been a really tough lesson for me to learn but it has molded me into an extremely compassionate person and i have helped people and will continue to help people from all walks of life…. so thank you for being so honest and open about your own painful life experience and sharing them with people from all walks of life who can relate.. GOD BLESS YOU.. Sincerely Jacquie

  6. Dena i have already left a comment but i am not sure where it went haha anyways i have been blessed with 5 BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN. i single child and TWO SETS OF TWINS. my Ex husband left me with 5 children under the age of 5 and i had 4 children in diapers… i was alone for 8 years and then remarried a Policeman thinking her would protect us and he turned abusive… i left him after 5 years… although my life has been very difficult and painful.. i am now turning all of my pain around and trying to glorify God who i have been walking with very closely for 3 years… i am a MENTOR FOR ABUSED WOMEN and i loved your comments about God using our failures to encourage others… Thankyou again for your bravery and courage to step out and expose your divorce and praise God that you are so devoted to him and are helping others through their own pain because of your own pain in your own life.. GOD BLESS. sincerely JAcquie

    1. Good for you! And that’s the God we serve! The God who takes our pain and turns it into something beautiful to be used by Him! Glad to hear a story of His restoration!

  7. I’m in a pit I can’t see no way out . Just discovered the most aweful act after 40 years of marriage . Severely depressed ! Don’t think I can allow this marriage to heal cause im so destroyed and my imaginations will not allow him to enter close to me in any way ! I’m lost and really don’t care !

    1. You are completely normal! When trust is broken, it takes time to even look at them. Weeks. Months. Even then, there’s no guarantees. Hold tight to the Savior, and He will heal your every hurt and pain. And, even if your marriage doesn’t survive, you will!

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