I know your story because I’ve heard it many times. As a girl far too young to know what was going on, your sexuality was awakened. Your brain responded with curiosity and your body with sexual excitement, but your heart felt shame.
Intuitively, you knew you shouldn’t tell anyone what you just saw or did and certainly never confess that a part of you liked it. Over time, you found yourself running to porn to cope with sadness, loneliness, confusion, and pain.
Being addicted to pornography is a man’s problem, right? Women aren’t supposed to struggle with porn, especially Christian women. All your friends talk about the heartache of trying to find a man who is not steeped in porn. So you hold your secret close to your heart, wondering what they would say if you confessed that in your marriage, it’s you who struggles.
Maybe you were surprised that getting married didn’t solve your problem. When you are naked with your husband, you share your body with him, but your mind goes to images and memories from the past. It’s the only way you know how to respond sexually. Perhaps you begin to shut down sexually rather than face the shame of mixing pornographic thoughts with what’s meant to be a passionate celebration of love. And so you avoid sex and begin hating the fact that you can’t enjoy what has been touted as God’s gift to you.
You think God is punishing me. I deserve it.
Porn isn’t a problem because you are a married woman. Porn is a problem because it is poison. Like all of the Enemy’s poison, it aims to kill, steal, and destroy.
Porn will kill the safety of your marriage covenant. Sex can only be emotionally and spiritually safe when it’s between a husband and wife in mind, body, and soul. God created the gift of sex to be a symbol that seals and celebrates the promise you and your husband made to one another. It’s a private giving of yourselves to each other, filled with vulnerability and pleasure. The spirit of sex is to be “naked and unashamed.”
Unfortunately, porn makes you feel as though nakedness and shame will always go together. You can never be totally honest with your husband about what you think about during sex because it involves another person (real or imagined).
Porn will steal your enjoyment of sex with your husband. How does this happen? Imagine eating a diet of all junk food. Your breakfast is two doughnuts. Your lunch is a double cheeseburger with fries and a milkshake. For dinner you eat a pizza with chips and soda. While this food might temporarily satisfy your hunger, it provides little to no nutritional value. If you ate like this for a month, it would change your appetite. An apple would no longer taste sweet. Broccoli would taste foul, and a piece of broiled fish couldn’t tempt you.
In many ways, this is what porn does to your sexual appetite. Pornography floods your brain with an amino acid called phenethylamine (PEA). PEA triggers your brain to produce high volumes of dopamine and adrenaline, which together act like an amphetamine. This response makes it easy to become addicted to pornography. God created this chemical reaction in your brain to respond to sex with your husband, particularly when you experience new love or try fun things together in the bedroom.
However, porn tricks your brain into an unnatural experience of sexual pleasure. The result? The beauty of intimacy and pleasure in your very normal sexual relationship can seem painfully dull.
Porn will destroy your fellowship with God. I’ve become convinced that sexuality is a massive spiritual battleground — far greater than we realize. Yes, Satan wants to destroy marriage through pornography, but that isn’t his end goal. He ultimately wants to separate you from the love of God.
John writes that when we have sin in our lives, we don’t have fellowship with God or with each other. Instead of intimacy, we hide. David expressed this in his own walk with the Lord. In Psalm 32 he said that God’s presence became oppressive to him because of his sexual sin.
Your struggle with pornography will make you feel dirty, unlovable, and rejected by God. You may even question your salvation. Satan’s objective is to keep you isolated from God and from life-giving love.
What you need to know
Friend, if this describes you, I want you to know and truly believe two very important things:
You are not alone
First, you are not alone. Because struggling with porn feels so shameful, few women talk about it. I can assure you that many of the women you know are walking a similar path. In 2021, women accounted for 35% of consumers on the largest porn site. This is a 5% growth within just one year. The same site shared that in 2021, the second most searched for type of porn was “romance” or “romantic.”
My job is to talk about sex, so people feel safe sharing with me what they are really dealing with. I’ve learned that we are all sexually broken. You might be shocked if you knew the struggles and pain of those sitting next to you at church. Their story may not be exactly the same as yours, but I assure you, their questions are very similar. Where is God in my struggle? Does He see me?
Freedom is available
Second, freedom is available. As I write this, I picture real women I know who would shout from the rooftops, “I found freedom!” Freedom from shame. Freedom from sin. Freedom from bondage.
One of my team members at Authentic Intimacy, Joy Skarka, found this freedom from being addicted to pornography. Joy wants you to be encouraged by her story.
“My freedom didn’t happen in a day,” she says. “I have experienced more and more freedom as I’ve made the daily choice to run to the Lord instead of away from Him. Don’t give up, because the pleasure you’ll find in Christ is better than any fleeting pleasure from porn!”
Jesus described Satan as a thief who comes to “kill, steal, and destroy.” This is a truth that you may know too well. You have experienced this death, theft, and destruction in your sex life.
Please don’t skip past what Jesus says next. “But I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly“ (John 10:10). Jesus didn’t say that just to some random person who lived thousands of years ago. He also speaks it to you.