Not Just a Man's Problem

In 2003, Today’s Christian Woman reported that 34% of female readers of Today’s Christian Woman’s online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn. According to the results of a ChristiaNet poll reported by Marketwire.com, 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography. 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year; and 20% of the church-going female participants struggle with looking at pornography on an ongoing basis.

Do you think any of the women in your church look at porn?  I think you’d be surprised at how many of them may.  Pornography is such a taboo subject within the church, let alone approaching the subject of women doing this.  So many women who are striving to follow Jesus are trapped in the web of pornography.

Maybe you don’t believe me.  Maybe you’re already making judgments about that type of person.  Well, you already know one who was trapped in it a few years ago…

Me.

A few years back, I found myself trapped in this horrible sin.  I was trying everything I could to break free from it.  I was a born-again believer, who was following Jesus the best I knew how.  I was also happily married.  So, how did this happen?

Before I got saved, I got myself involved in a lot of things I never should have.  Pornography was one of them.  My ex-husband would rent these porn movies, and I just eventually started watching them with him.  I somehow thought it was harmless, and I didn’t realize that I was doing so much damage to myself or how this would affect my future in countless ways.

Years later, when I was happily married to Kevin and a born-again believer, I found myself looking at porn online. I was trapped. I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t think I could ever tell anyone. You always hear of men dealing with this, even sometimes Christian men, but very rarely women. I have since learned that women deal with this issue too. Many of these women are Christians, too. Shocked?  Since writing about this topic before, I received many e-mails from Christian women telling me that they also dealt with being trapped in pornography.

I always thought I was the only one.

I have since learned that one of satan’s main tactics is to make you feel like you’re the only one who deals with certain issues in your life.  Let me tell you that you’re not the only one!  Christian, or not, you’re not the only one.  What I’ve learned since then is that women primarily start looking at pornography from an unmet emotional need, or even stumbling across it online and looking out of curiosity.  Some women look for an escape from their daily lives, others use it to numb themselves from emotional pain.  Then, after awhile, the reason they started turns into something entirely different and becomes a horrific trap. 

It’s really hard to get out of that trap without telling someone.  When all of this was going on with me, God specifically tapped me on the shoulder one day and told me to confess to Kevin what I had been doing.  In a way, I felt relieved.  I didn’t want to carry such a huge secret.  It was literally killing me inside.  On the other hand, I was terrified of what he would do.  I didn’t want him to leave me, but I knew he would be incredibly hurt.

Kevin gave me so much mercy that day, even in the midst of his pain.  While I was looking at that porn, I was committing adultery. Anyone who is involved with this has to realize that:  If you’re married and looking at porn, you’re committing adultery. That’s how God sees it all.  And then there’s God.  To think that I was trying to live a Christian life while doing this almost seems hard to believe at this point in my life.  God is a merciful God, though, and He forgave me when I truly repented. Kevin forgave me, too.  I remember that I felt like I should be punished, because forgiveness shouldn’t be so easy…at least that’s how I felt.  I had truly repented, though, and both Jesus and Kevin knew that.  Don’t get me wrong…it has taken some time for my relationship with Kevin to heal.  If you plant bad seeds, you’re going to get bad fruit.  When we repent, God will forgive us.  There are consequences to all of our actions, though – whether we are forgiven, or not. 

At that point, after talking to our pastors about it (which was the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done), we decided to subscribe to Covenant Eyes.  It’s an internet accountability software program that keeps track of all of the websites that are viewed each day.  Kevin is my accountability partner, and he receives a weekly report of everything he and I viewed during the week.  It rates every website that is viewed, and warns him if something may look suspicious.  It’s set up so I’m automatically signed in each time the computer is turned on, and I (or anyone using my computer) am not able to even get online unless I’m signed in to Covenant Eyes.  I would recommend Covenant Eyes to anyone, and it will especially be good for us as our children get bigger and start getting online.  

Maybe you’re reading this, and you are trapped in the web of pornography.  I keep calling it a web, because once you start, it’s so easy to get tangled up in it and unable to get out – despite your best efforts and desire to stop.  If you are one of those Christian women (or men) who are stuck in this sin, I encourage you to talk to someone about this.  Talk to your pastor if you’re able to.  If not, find a Christian counselor you can talk to.  Sometimes it’s easier to talk with someone you don’t know as well.  If you’re a woman dealing with this, you can also e-mail me, and I can help steer you in the right direction if you need help.  I know what it’s like.

There aren’t that many websites out there for women who deal with pornography.  I do really like the blog that Covenant Eyes has, though, and I wanted to pass it along.  The blog is called “Breaking Free“, and there are several articles that deal with women and pornography.  The link I included above includes a list of all of the previous articles on this subject.  The blog also has many articles for men.  I would encourage any one dealing with this to read them.  It’s an excellent reference.

So, do I still deal with the temptation to look at pornography?  I don’t ever have the temptation to look up any websites, but I do have to be very careful about what I look at.  For instance, I do an online search for every post I write, so I can find a picture to put with it.  I have learned to be very careful about how I word my search.  There’s a lot of junk out there, and it can be put into just about any word search I use.  I just need to be careful (as anyone should be, because there’s just so much out there).  I tell you this, because I want anyone who may be stuck in this to know that there is help out there, and there is a way out.  That doesn’t mean you don’t need to be cautious in the future, though.  Keep leaning on Jesus, and He will always show you a way out!

I wrote this post today in hopes that it would somehow get to the people who need it.  I am so thankful that Jesus has delivered me from this.  I sometimes look back and can’t believe I was in that situation.  It may be hard to tell on this blog sometimes, but I am actually quite a private person!  I have the courage to write this blog only with the knowledge that I have Jesus as my Savior and hope that it will help someone else.  I know He wants me to do this, or there’s no way I would!  I’m so thankful for the support of my husband, family and pastors, in doing this, also.  I thank you for supporting me as I write on my blog and share how Jesus has delivered me and is still delivering me.  I do all of this in hopes that it will help free someone else.

*I caution you that not every Christian counselor, pastor or other leader understands this issue, and my fear is that someone will confess this to a person who reacts judgmentally or critically.  If that happens, please do not give up.  Please pray about who you will divulge this information to and wait for God to show you who to talk to.  We serve a God who delivers us!  I am living proof.

Thank you, Jesus, for the freedom that you provide for us.  The more I become like you, the more I experience the freedom that You have for me!  I ask that You help anyone struggling with this sin to confess it to a mature Christian who can be trusted.  Remind them they are not the only ones, and show them the way out.  Thank you, Jesus.  In Your name I pray, Amen.

Picture Credit:   www.covenanteyes.com