Dear Sister in Christ,
You didn’t mean to get addicted to pornography. No one does.
And you don’t want to battle against the temptation on a regular (sometimes daily!) basis. But you can’t seem to shake off the desire to return to the images or the words. It’s like they have a hold on you and they keep coming back, no matter how hard you’ve flung them away in disgust.
“The Struggle Is Real” Is Really Real
We live in a world that has ingrained into our minds the idea that pornography is a ‘guys issue’. Yes, many men do struggle with an addiction to pornography.
But the reality of the situation, the reality you’re living, is that an estimated 30% of those addicted to pornography are women.
Even more startling, 60% of girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18. That number may skyrocket if women were to be honest about the fact that pornography addictions plague their lives.
You don’t have to be part of that statistic. You don’t have to hide and pretend that everything in your life is going perfectly. It’s time that we stop thinking about pornography as a problem only men deal with and start recognizing reality.
When you go to Catholic conferences, sometimes the crowd is split into separate sessions for men and women. In their sessions, men often hear authentic conversations about the danger of pornography in their lives.
But it’s not quite the same in the women’s sessions. You’re often left wondering if you’re the only one in the room struggling with pornography. But even worse, admitting that you struggle with this problem makes you feel even more isolated.
Addictions are hard things to shake off. Sometimes pornography can feel like such a huge problem in your life that it’s overwhelming. You wonder if there is even a way out of the mess it’s created.
You Feel Alone, But You’re No
Let me be the first to say that you’re not alone in this battle. You surrounded by those who want to help you escape from the chains of pornography. But you also are not alone in your struggle or your desire for those images; statistics can tell you that.
It’s possible to break free from the bondage of an addiction to pornography – but it’s easy to continue to live in denial or shame. Recognize that pornography is damaging, unhealthy, and hurting your relationship with a God who loves you enough that He died for you.
Dating someone will not erase your addiction. Even the sacrament of marriage won’t heal the wounds that pornography has left in your life. But with God’s grace, you can leave pornography behind.
What is the truth underneath how we feel?
It’s time we stop hiding behind pornography and address the issue at the heart of why those images pull us in. What are you desiring in your life that is being filled by pornography? Instead of ignoring that cry of your heart, and muting it with the presence of pornography, dig down deep.
The devil hates when we let pornography keep us in bondage. Fight against the temptation to keep your struggle hidden. You’re not a horrible person because you struggle with an addiction to pornography. You’re not unlovable. You’re not worthless.
You’re loved by God right where you are — you’re created in His image. You’re loved. You’re worthy. Bring your struggles into the light of the sacrament of confession. Name the struggle out loud and be forgiven.
Are you struggling with an addiction to pornography? There are resources to help.
– Matt Fradd recently released a new book, The Porn Myth. In it, he talks about why pornography doesn’t enable women, how we actually can protect kids from pornography (a daunting task in today’s culture), and why porn is addictive. He busts the myth that only men struggle with porn and dedicates a chapter to talking about women who also are affected by pornography.
As he explains the purpose of the book Matt emphasizes that if you want something to flourish, you have to use it in accordance with its nature.
“Don’t rip sex out of its obvious relational context, turn it into a commodity, and then expect individuals, families, and society to flourish.”
This book isn’t anti-sex. In fact, it’s because Matt is for sex that he takes an anti-pornography stance.
“Lest I be misunderstood,” he writes, “the purpose of the book is not to rob us of the pleasure of our sexuality, but instead to insist that perhaps sex can be more pleasurable when it isn’t on tap or made-to-order.”
– Audrey Assad is a Catholic music artist. She gives an incredible personal witness about her struggle with pornography. She also writes a letter to women as recovering pornography addict. She traces the path of pornography through her life, beginning in childhood. She also talks about the beautiful grace and mercy of Christ. She’s brutally honest and raw as she tells her story.
– Fight the New Drug is a website that was created to inform the world about the science, facts and personal accounts to help spread the harmful effects of pornography. You can get the facts about how pornography affects the brain, the heart, and the world
– In the fight against pornography, it’s important to remember that you’re not fighting the battle alone. The Victory app was created by Life Teen and one of its many great features is the accountability button.
If you’re triggered to turn back to pornography, pressing the accountability button will send out a message to your accountability partners and ask for their prayers. Other features include daily check-ins, a calendar that helps you keep track of the days that you’ve been pornography free, and daily inspirations.
– Pornography addictions thrive on secrecy and shame. To help combat this, Ron deHaas founded Covenant Eyes, an internet accountability and filtering company.
If your electronic devices offer temptations to return to pornography, Covenant Eyes offers monitoring for your devices. A report of your internet history is sent weekly to a trusted friend, and the conversations that come from the report can help you find freedom from an addiction to pornography.
Come back to the love of the Father and lean on other women as you strive for the freedom Christ wants for you. Be vulnerable with other women in your life. When you open up about your struggle, you take away some of its power over you.
Don’t give into the temptation to lie about this struggle. Ask others to hold you accountable by connecting with someone and asking them to check in with you and see how you are doing.
Nothing is bigger than God, not even the deepest, darkest secret in our hearts.
There is hope. You’re not alone. You are loved.
Your Sister in Christ