Sexuality · Tara Jane

Christian women need to talk about porn

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 9.38.15 pm“I felt like I was the only one.”

When I started talking to Christian women about their porn use, this phrase kept popping up. In every experience I heard about there was a sense of isolation, a sense of not knowing anyone else struggling, a sense of loneliness. Their sin was constricting and they felt like nobody could help because nobody understood.

As the pornography industry targets women more intentionally and intensely, we need to be asking ourselves a very important question:

What can we do to help Christian women who are struggling with pornography?

Here are three ideas.

1. Let’s stop gender segregating

I never spoke about my struggle with my youth leaders because I recall one saying ‘women do not struggle with porn’.” – Maria

Why have we, for so long, told men to stop looking at porn and women to stop watching romantic movies? The Bible doesn’t gender segregate. In 1 Corinthians, in 1 Thessalonians, in 1 Peter, in lots of the other letters in the New Testament the commands are simple and directed to all of God’s children: Flee from sexual immorality. Paul, Peter and the other New Testament writers don’t feel the need to specifically address certain genders, so why do we always feel like we need to break it down?

The other side effect that comes from gender segregating is that it implies girls don’t (or shouldn’t) have sexual feelings like guys do. We know this isn’t true. Why would we assume that women wouldn’t have desires, or have to fight against the temptations of the world to stay pure? Why wouldn’t we include them as we address these issues at church?

Whether you’re preaching, or leading a Bible study, or simply discussing the Bible’s view of sex and purity and practical applications in life, you don’t always have to apply this to women and men separately. Be inclusive. Saying “congregation, stay pure, avoid porn” is enough.

My first day at Moore Theological College began with an address by Principal Mark Thompson. One of the points he made very clearly was in regards to struggles with pornography, and he explicitly encouraged all students, both men and women, to install accountability software on all devices. This is what we are talking about! Let’s address everyone, let’s encourage everyone to seek sexual purity for the sake of Christ.

2. Start the conversation

“I don’t think many other women struggle with this either, so even now it’s strange to talk about. It’s never been raised in Bible study, or at church in regards to women, maybe because people think it’s awkward.” – Suzi

We need to change the culture of our conversations, both at a wider level and at a more personal level. If we want something to stop being a taboo, awkward topic we need to begin mentioning it.

I am not saying “let’s just start praying for all the women affected by porn in front of church next week” nor am I saying “let’s do a six week teaching series at St Gwendoline’s Church on women and pornography”.

I’m suggesting that we begin where it is appropriate. When your church is teaching a passage that discusses sexual sin, raise it as one of the many points of application.

A local church helpfully had a Christian sexologist come and speak at their women’s brunch as they looked at the issue of porn for women in a variety of areas. You can watch the video of this talk by Dr Patricia Weerakoon here.

Equip Women’s Conference in May is teaching on 1 Corinthians 5 – 7, and so they are teaching about staying sexually pure in this broken world. It’s great that they are discussing these things to women of all ages. If you’re in Sydney, I highly recommend coming along for the day (I’ll be there, come and say hi), and if you’re a youth group leader then I recommend bringing your youth group girls to the Equip Teens conference on the same topic. Even if you’re not in Sydney, you should join in online via live stream from anywhere in the world.

The more we shed light on these topics, the less weird it will be to bring them up in other, more personal contexts.

3. Be a brave friend

“There were times I wanted to tell people, but I didn’t want to bring it up. I just wanted someone to ask.” – Vanessa

Writing these articles, and having multiple conversations with women about sex and pornography has shown me that despite what they might feel, these women are not alone in their struggles.

One way that we can care for our sisters in Christ is to be brave and start the conversation personally. With porn so readily available on almost all of our devices now, we are carrying temptation in our pockets. It would be a good thing to ask our sisters in Christ what measures they have in place in regards to their purity online. Do they have someone keeping them accountable? What are their internet search settings like? Do they need to install accountability software onto their devices? How can you be praying for their purity?

These aren’t questions to ask over morning tea of course, nor are these the type of questions you should start with when getting to know someone new at church. But do you have Christian sisters who are waiting for an accountability partner? Are their girls in your church who could use a Christian sister to pray for them? Sometimes we need to be brave and ask the hard questions to find out.

If you are a woman who struggles with porn and you are not sure who to turn to, please feel free to get in touch with us at hereinthewaitingroom@gmail.com

This post is the second post in a series on women and pornography. Read part one – The Secret Struggle: Christian Women and Porn.

Image: Secrets – What’s Your Style? by Allie Elizabeth

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