I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, but I’ve been too scared to. I don’t want you to think differently of me but now I’m speaking out in hopes that it will help somebody. I’m not the kind of woman you’d invite to speak in your church, I’m sort of rough and I’ve done some stupid shit. And I say shit. Which nice church women aren’t supposed to say. I’ve had some major struggles as a Christian and one of those was an addiction to pornography. I know many people who think that porn is no big deal especially between consenting adults, and I’m not trying to be judgmental but to share my experiences and thoughts.
First, in the evangelical circles I used to run in, porn is seen as exclusively a men’s problem and there are no resources to help women caught in the trap. So it was embarrassing when I finally started to want to admit to someone that I had a problem because it was supposed to be a men’s issue. Women, especially good Christian women, weren’t supposed to struggle with it at all. So I was a freak and it was hard to go to someone for help.
I was so ashamed. I felt like I was a dirty freak whom God obviously hated for what I had done. I thought that I had no value unless I could perform as other women performed in porn, and I had no self-respect because I viewed images that were damaging to me and I could not stop. Even six months to a year after I had stopped consuming porn, I could see those images in my head. That happens less now than it used to but things that have been seen cannot be unseen. I felt like I was a prostitute or that I might as well have been because at least I’d be making money but those thoughts are damaging. I didn’t realize that I was so much better than that. I’m going to do all I can to protect my children from porn.
I’m certainly no prude. I believe in sex education in school from a young age. But I believe that pornography is damaging to everyone, both men and women. What brought me to the point where I was able to admit that I had a problem and to deal with it was that I realized that a lot of porn is produced via human trafficking and I’m totally not ok with that. It also depicts and normalizes violence towards women and it feeds rape culture. The reason porn is so damaging is that it doesn’t respect the dignity of humanity. It objectifies women, it teaches us that sex is supposed to be the way it is depicted in porn, and when it’s not, people are disappointed.
I’m only just starting to realize that I have worth and value to God. That’s still a daily struggle for me to know that. But as I detox from toxic religious environments and continue to feast on Jesus, slowly but surely I’m realizing that God loves me.