Women & Porn, Part 2 – We Are Not Alone

Today marks Part 2 of our series centered on pornography and how it affects women, particularly in the church (go here for Part 1). I want to make it clear that my dear husband is fighting the good fight and is finding victory in this area. I also want to make it clear that I’m not writing anything that has not been approved, and even encouraged by him. We both agree there seems to be a lack of understanding and help for women that are affected by pornography and we hope that together we can begin talking about the issues of porn and lust in a way that isn’t often talked about. Our prayer is that it begins conversations that need to be had and offers help to women who feel like they are barely hanging on.

I’ve been a part of three churches now in which a pastor has stepped down or been let go of due to unresolved lust issues. Still, it took me getting married to begin to actually explore the subject of lust from the male perspective. I found it was much harder to shake off the deep, unresolved fears residing within me in the confines of a marriage.

After we got married, Brandon and I began having conversations I hated but couldn’t help but continue. I’m thankful to have a husband that has not shied away from answering my questions.

But when I began to fully understand the threat of lust in the life of a man, I was devastated. And I had no idea what to do with it.

None of my friends talked about this subject. None of my church families growing up tackled the subject.

So I reacted by doing what was natural to me: I turned inward.

Even when Brandon would ensure me he was seeking the Lord and his heart was far away from lust, I couldn’t help but think at any second someone would catch his eye.

Every pretty girl I passed, every model in a store or on television became my competition. And I lost every time.

And the worst part of all of this is I was completely alone in those feelings.

I still struggle with the same feelings, but after finally opening my mouth and sharing my struggle I know I’m not alone in the battle.

In fact, I found out a good friend is struggling with the same thing. I found out a woman I respect that has been married much longer than me has walked through the same battle. I sadly realized that statistics shows most men within the church have at some time viewed pornography. I heard about how an attempted study into how porn affects men had to be canceled because it could not find ANY 20-something year-old men that had never viewed porn before. I realized that the pornography industry is capitalizing on the present age of technology and mainly targeting men through disguised emails and advertisements.

And as heartbreaking as all those realities are, the most heartbreaking part of all of it to me is that for every man caught in a sexual trap, there is a woman suffering.

And the affects on women are rarely discussed.

Meaning there are a lot of women feeling just as alone as I did.

Which is exactly why I feel so compelled to write this blog series.

I’m so thankful that the church is beginning to attack this subject during men’s retreats and small groups, but I think we are still far behind in helping women.

So before we hash this out let’s make a few things clear:

To the wife that just found out her husband is addicted to porn: you are not alone.

To the daughter who knows her father’s secret and fears any relationship with a man: you are not alone.

To the mother who fears her son is viewing pornography and feels helpless in the fight: you are not alone.

To the newlywed that knows her husband’s past and fears she will never be enough for him: you are not alone.

The sad reality is porn and lust are extremely prevalent in the lives of our men today. The bittersweet comfort is that if you are living in fear of a man’s lust, there are many other women in the same place.

Just not many are opening their mouths about it.  

Friends that are suffering from a loved one’s past or present lust struggle: it is okay to be hurting. It is not okay to do it alone.

The more I have opened my eyes to the realities of lust and pornography the more clear Satan’s scheme has become to me. So many of us are in pain, and most of us think we must be the only ones dealing with it.

That just isn’t so.

Not only are you not alone in your feelings because other women are in the same boat, you’re not alone because God already knows your struggle.

I’ve been learning this year that I don’t have to be a doubtless, perfect, joyful Christian to get God’s attention. In fact, that’s just another scheme of Satan.

The reality is God has already given me attention.

He has already given that to you too. So it’s okay that you’re hurting. It’s okay if you’re doubting or struggling. God doesn’t run away. He is still near to those who have given their life to Him, whether we are on a mountaintop or in a valley.

That’s great news.

We are not alone.

But I do think we need to take a few steps to make sure we don’t feel alone in this difficult season.

If you are a woman hurting from a loved one’s lust issues OR if you simply live in fear of lust overtaking a loved one, here are four practical steps I think we need to take together:

  1. Tell the Lord you are hurting.

If you have not gone to the Lord about your pain, can I encourage you to stop reading this blog now and go to Him? There are no “steps to recovery” that I can give that will make any impact. Only God can ultimately heal our pain. With that being said, I know this is much easier said than done. “Giving hurt to God” is something most of us want to do but we have no idea how to do it. We feel helpless. If you’re in that boat, stay tuned in a few weeks for Women & Porn Part 4 – We are Not Helpless (now that worked out well, didn’t it).

  1. Tell your husband you are hurting.

This may be a step you’ve already taken, but I’m finding that the more I talk about this with women the more I find many have not taken this step.

Let me talk to the married women for a minute who are not currently hurting because of their husbands’ past or present lust issues. Even if your husband does not seem struggle in the area of lust, I think it is very healthy to have conversations about his temptation to lust, and specifically how that impacts you. There are not many women that I have encountered that don’t worry at some deep level. Are you living in fear of your husband falling in to the 65% of men that watch porn regularly? Tell him that. He may ease your fears. Or it may begin a conversation that is difficult, but needed.

Now don’t get this twisted. We are not called to be our husband’s accountability partner. But being honest with our spouses and the fears of our heart is a part of a covenantal marriage. Talk to your husband not to judge or fix him, but to be open and honest about yourself and your own fear struggle. I also encourage you to be in prayer before this conversation and ready to hear things you may not enjoy hearing.

If you are currently walking through a tough season because of your husband’s decisions that are outwardly known, one of the best things you and your spouse can do is to continue to be in conversation. If the conversation between you is repeatedly unproductive or unhealthy I encourage you to add a third party counselor to help navigate matters, specifically a Christian counselor or pastor.

  1. Tell a Christian friend you are hurting.

I think these next two steps are steps that many Christian women neglect to take out of embarrassment and fear, which I again believe is from the enemy. Women in fear or pain of a loved one’s lust, please, tell a trusted friend. The more we can get our struggle in the light, the less that the enemy can use it.

Let a friend help you process what you are feeling. You may even find that your friend is struggling with something similar or she knows someone else who is. This was by far the hardest step for me personally, but by voicing my struggle to a Christian friend, I found out I’m not alone in this battle. And that has made all the difference.

  1. Tell your church you are hurting.

After I disclosed my fears to a friend, I found that the “embarrassment” factor began to fade and I was ready to talk to disclose my struggle with my small group at church. It’s much less scary to ask people to pray for something that I finally understood wasn’t “weird” for me to be struggling with. But let’s be honest, even if I was struggling with an addiction to eating toilet paper, there’s no reason not to tell my church family.

For the record, I’m not addicted to eating toilet paper, although that’s a real thing (thank you TLC).

We are not meant to do the Christian life alone. Friend, let the church be the church in your life. Your vulnerability may even give others in your group the courage to share what is secretly burdening them in their own life.

I’m not sure this blog covers 5% of the things I would like to, but I hope it serves as an encouragement to you to bring others in on your pain. You are not alone.

Even when we realize we are not alone, the porn and lust epidemic amongst men in our lives can make us feel like we are less than enough and put us in a competition with women that we always feel like we are losing.

Our next blog will focus on just that. Spoiler alert: you are not the problem.

Stay tuned for Part 3! (See Part 1 here.)

Question: What are your thoughts? Is it hard to get help as a woman in this area? If so, what makes it that way? Leave your thoughts or questions in the comment section below.

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Other Related Content: Is your Husband’s Lust Leading to YOUR Lust?, 3 Ways to Actually Find Community at Church, 4 Reasons Christians Should Stop Smiling, Why I Hope you Hit Rock Bottom, What it Really Means When ‘2 Become 1’

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