This article investigates the occurrence of gender-specific metaphors and allegories in thirteenth-century crusade preaching texts. Women are only rarely mentioned in these texts and, if so, only by way of indirectly constructing male modes of behaviour; wives and mothers, for example, are portrayed as preventing men from becoming crusaders. However, most of these crusade sermon texts include subtexts generated by metaphors and allegories. In these subtexts, metaphorical expressions relating to female figures play an important role in constructing arguments relating to various aspects of crusading. The church as a wailing woman, the church as mother, etc. are frequently recurring expressions woven into these texts. This article shows that such references to women and female behaviour help forge a variety of arguments within the sermons and that male roles and behaviour portrayed in these texts are often dependent on conceptions of femininity predicated by medieval culture.