Question: Porn Addiction and Women



Two anons:

– Do you have any words for women who struggle with pornography or masturbation or both? A lot of the dialogue necessarily focuses on guys, but what about the women of the church?

– I’m a female, and I’m curious to know if masturbation is a sin? and if so, why? I’ve heard differing opinions within the Christian community, so I’m a little confused as to what to actually believe.

 

Dear ladies: thank you so much for your honesty and for trusting me to speak to you.  I won’t pretend to know more than I don’t, but I can try to point the way.

First, here’s a previous guest post by my dear friend amazeofgrace, which contains resources for women struggling with porn.

While I can’t know all the gender differences for porn addiction, I’ve learned in conversations that —



– Men tend to use porn for a sense of control.

– Women tend to use porn for a sense of escape.

Of course I don’t mean to generalize, and these can overlap too.  But when you can discover the motivations for using porn, you can 1) be more aware of triggers, 2) break down your coping mechanisms to change them, and 3) replace how you cope. 

I know it’s embarrassing for women to talk about this: but the first step to victory is being completely open, honest, and vulnerable about your struggle.  Find a trusted friend and talk it out.  When these things are out in the open, they already lose half their power over you. 

I’d like to plug my podcast series on porn here too, which I’ve tried to keep gender-free.  The first part covers how to deal with telling your friend (download directly here).

 

As far as masturbation being sin: I’ve heard a billion arguments on both sides and it’s all so convoluted.  Some would say it’s just a release.  Others would call it “having sex with yourself” and lusting in the flesh and a deviant form of adultery.

Some say it’s okay to masturbate if you’re not “lusting,” because it’s the lust that causes objectification and dehumanizing.  But is this even possible?  I guess you could think of farming equipment or laundry machines or the post office.  Then you have other issues.

I really wish I had a grey-area response.  But honestly: even though masturbation is never quite mentioned in the Bible, it just doesn’t seem very helpful to me. It’s sort of like weed, in that it probably won’t kill you but it probably won’t get you the scholarship or the job interview or a sudden closeness with God. 

I suppose masturbation is not necessarily destructive, but I’ve never known it to be constructive either.  Even if masturbation was a release somehow, there was never a time afterward that I said, “Man, I totally want to cure cancer and run for President.” Usually I just felt gross, icky, slightly ashamed, and desperately trapped in a tiny room — and that feeling never gets easier.

 

The thing is: when you quit, it’s not just about quitting.  There is a whole life of freedom on the other side. I quit masturbating nearly two years ago and I haven’t looked back.  You can call me prude and conservative and uptight and all that.  It’s fine.  But there’s an immense freedom when you don’t have to turn to it anymore, and no one could make me go back to it: because being free is really too good.

What I mean to say is that quitting is not the point.  Rather, there’s an alternative: the freedom to go beyond addictive behaviors, the wisdom to use your time for better things, and the joy of having better ways to cope with your daily struggle. 

Maybe no one has ever said it to you that way. They only offered religious restrictions, because they didn’t know any better.  But God really has a whole new level of peace for you, not in avoiding behaviors, but in choosing Him. So I pray you’d stick your mind on Colossians 3:2, which says —

Set your mind on things above, and not on earthly things.

— J.S.

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2 thoughts on “Question: Porn Addiction and Women

  1. This is a great discussion…because I was also a “lover of myself”. Masturbation was tough to stop, and what’s crazy is that when I believed it was a sin, I obviously felt bad about doing it. But when I had a truly educated, Bible confirmed discussion about the potential that it wasn’t a sin, and I did it afterward, I felt WORSE! You would think finding something you thought you enjoyed not be inherently sinful would free you…it didn’t for me. So it brought me to things being “permissable, but not beneficial”. It never gave me that burst of energy to parse Hebrew verbs. Never, not once afterward did I feel like “Yeah…this is the way to live! I don’t need no stinkin’ man!” If nothing else, like you said, I wound up feeling pretty silly (it was always anticlimactic, pardon the pun).

    With all that said, regardless of which side of the fence you fall on – sin or no – and everything in you wants to quit, there could be times losing the fight, and times of winning. Cold turkey doesn’t happen for everyone…and the word “sin” ain’t always a catalyst for freedom. There are gonna be times when you wanna (and will) throw your Bible across the room because nothing you find therein will put out the proverbial fire burning in you. Don’t be discouraged about it…our bodies like to fight for what it likes, even if it means us no real good.

    Like

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