Joy Skarka

by Joy Skarka


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Why the Church Needs to Address Porn for Women

Pornography impacts men and women, yet when was the last time you heard a sermon on porn in your church? When was the last time you heard it specifically address women?

Most female porn addicts feel alone and often feel left out of the conversation. Instead of finding freedom, women live alone in shame and bondage. They begin to think that something must be wrong with them since, “Porn is a man’s issue.”

Porn addicts keep their stories to themselves, creating shame and giving the enemy power. To help women struggling with porn addiction, leaders and ministers have to go first and share our struggles. Even if you have never struggled with porn, we must share our brokenness with women in our ministries. Our vulnerability will help other women open up about their addiction and find freedom.

Statistics show that women are struggling with porn addiction in our churches. One of the largest porn sites publishes a yearly review with their sites data. In 2019 they saw the proportion of female visitors grow to 32% worldwide, an increase of 3 percentage points over 2018. Pornography addiction impacts the lives of women all around the world. We need to stop shaming the subject and start talking about it.

Our women are hurting. Porn destroys their emotions and spirits, causing many symptoms in their lives. Here are a few:

  • Depression. They wake up feeling depressed and think, “Will I ever get over this?”

  • Negative body image. Women look in the mirror and realize that their body will never match up with the bodies they see in porn because porn is fake. Their self-hate leads to shame and turns a woman back to porn for comfort. Negative body image continues the cycle of addiction. She will start to believe the lie that she’ll never be pretty enough for a man to love her.

  • Fear. After watching porn, a woman will feel defeated. She will fear that she will never be good enough for God to love her or to find a Christian spouse. What she does not realize is that a Jesus-loving man will see her through the lens of Christ: forgiven, pure, and blameless.

  • Failure. Because of her addiction, a woman may want to give up pursuing Jesus, stop going to church, or stop reading the Bible. She will feel like a failure and will turn back to porn for comfort.

  • Separation. After not spending time with God because of feeling like a failure, she will feel far from God. Feeling alone and far from God continues the cycle of addiction.

  • Unworthiness. She will begin to feel unworthy of God’s love. After months or years of struggling with addiction, she will think, “How could God love a sinner like me?”

  • Shame. Shame forces a woman to keep her addiction a secret. When she does not share her struggle with others, she may never find freedom or accountability. A woman will keep her addiction to herself because of the fear of how others will react.

  • Other addictions. Eventually, porn may no longer satisfy her inner desires. Similar to drug addiction, the addict will turn to bigger and harder products. The list of sex addictions goes on and on, and all point us away from God’s perfect design for sex.

I share this list of symptoms because women need freedom. Women are addicted to porn in our churches and are alone in their struggle.

Every Sunday, we preach the good news of Jesus. The redemption of the Cross. Jesus died to redeem lives. He died for these women. He died for porn addicts. Jesus came to break every chain. Every single chain. Even porn addiction for women.

Here are 5 things you need to know about the addiction and how to talk about it:

1. Sexual addiction is an intimacy disorder.

“It’s not about sex at all, but about the desperate search for love and touch and affirmation and acceptance. Those are descriptions of intimacy. God created us for intimate connection with Him, with others and with ourselves. When those connections are broken or absent, women desperately seek a false substitute. Sex or porn is the best stand-in for the real thing.” -Marnie Ferree

2. Sexual addiction is not about changing behavior, it’s about changing the heart.

We need to stop condemning sexual sin without first reaching out to help and to understand the issue. Sometimes a woman will admit to porn addiction, and instead of feeling loved, she experiences shame. Offer her the help she so desperately needs. Help her love Jesus more and help her figure out her heart issues that cause her to turn to porn. Love her and point her to Jesus.

3. Sexual addiction can’t be covered up with a religious band-aid.

Telling a woman to pray more or do more will not fix the heart issues. You are trying to fix the behavior, and this band-aid won’t last forever. It will fall off and the wound could be even worse. For women addicted to porn, porn is her coping mechanism. If we fix the outer behavior of watching porn and ignore the heart issues, then the woman will create a new coping mechanism or a new addiction. If we ignore the heart issues, the cycle will continue.

4. Sexual addiction could be caused by unhealed family wounds.

Help her to understand the roots that formed the foundation of her sexual addiction. No family is perfect, but her family could have played a role in her addiction. If her family system told her to avoid uncomfortable topics, emotions, or life events, one of these reasons could have caused her to turn to porn. Help her work through her childhood and family relationships. Encourage her to find a counselor. Encourage her to check out Focus on the Family and their network of Christian counselors. This is a great resource to help find a counselor in her area. 

5. Sexual addiction could be caused by abuse.

Patrick Carnes, PhD, is an internationally known authority and speaker on addiction and recovery issues. In his book, Recovery Start Kit Therapist Manual, he lists statistics of women who struggle with sexual addiction and their past of abuse.

  • 81% have been sexually abused.

  • 72% have been physically abused.

  • 97% have been emotionally abused.

Dream with me leaders. Imagine what would happen in the lives of our women if the church started to talk about porn addiction. Imagine the freedom they would feel. Contagious freedom. Women would explain to friends, “Jesus changed my life and the church was a part of it! You have to go with me next Sunday!” Talking about women and porn in your ministry will not only change lives, but your words will grow the Church.

 

Additional Resources for Porn Addiction Recovery:


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Comments

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  • Anna Seid

    Anna Seid

    Thanks for posting a blog on this newer topic for me. I appreciate your different points about doing what we can to begin to remove the shame from broaching this subject. A young woman in her 20's (who was raised in a loving Christian home) and I were recently visiting and this very topic came up unexpectedly - it was a new sort of conversation for me. As I did my best to quickly move through my shock with whispered prayers to hear her heart like Jesus would, she shared her past struggles with it, and about a time when she felt God prompting her to share about it when she was attending YWAM'S ministry school. In a small group setting, she nervously obeyed, not having ever heard of anyone share about this particular struggle and not knowing what kind of reception she would face, but she tells of the freedom she experienced when she did and of how she was met with gratitude by others who received her and likewise opened up about having similar struggles. l glimpsed God's love, healing and faithfulness and the power of being received in a community in the midst of struggle from listening to her story. More stories like these need to be heard to fuel hope and courage to open the door for the healing and freedom that God would make possible to the issues of the heart that are lying beneath the surface of porn addiction for women. Thanks for bringing this to light.
  • Joy Skarka

    Joy Skarka

    Hi Anna, for her to come talk with you about that must mean that you are a safe and warm person. What an honor for her to share such a deep shameful part of her story with you. Her story is a very similar story to mine as well. I'd love to share this video of my story with you: https://youtu.be/dWhF25YsYNo

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