Women & Pornography

Christian Women Watch Porn? Consider This Your Wake Up Call

“Dad, most of the girls I know watch porn.” – a teenage son to his father

“I don’t know what the big deal is, every girl watches porn.” – a 12 year old girl in a Texas church

“Please help! We did an anonymous survey of our youth group and 100% of our 9th and 10th grade girls indicated they struggled with porn.” – a youth leader from a church in Tennessee

There’s a storm coming, and the sirens are sounding. The warning system that tells you to get ready and seek cover.

A person much wiser than I once said that it just takes four generations for something to go from unacceptable to expected.

That’s what is happening/has happened with women and pornography. Yes, even Christian women. Something that was completely unheard of in my mother’s generation is now commonplace.

And we’re not ready.

So, consider this me climbing up on a rooftop with a bullhorn telling you that the storm is here. The church is on the cusp of being overwhelmed by a tidal wave of women who struggle with pornography. Women who grew up believing it was acceptable and are now grappling with its wounds.

It’s going to catch pastors, youth pastors, and parents off guard because it will seem “new.” It will seem like it went from “no women struggle with this” to “every girl has seen this.” It will seem like a sudden change, but that isn’t the case. It has been a gradual change that has taken place over generations.

And we need to be ready.

To be clear, we’re already late. If we wanted to get ahead of this, churches needed to be talking about it ten years ago. Parents needed to start having healthy conversations with their daughters ten years ago. Actually, long before that. We never should have not been having these conversations.

The first survey I’ve found indicating pornography is an issue for Christian women is a survey from 2003.

Seventeen years ago.

For nearly two decades, this problem has been growing unchecked, like a horrid weed, in our churches. We’ve swept it under the rug because it was too taboo. We’ve kept quiet because it was too shameful. We’ve insisted that women struggle with Amish romance novels and gotten on our soapboxes with things like Twilight and 50 Shades completely missing the real and bigger threat to our women.

We’re already late, but we’re not “too” late.

And soon, there will be a reckoning.

Jessica, you’re being dramatic.

Am I?

Picture this, if you will. A large gathering of Christian high school girls. I shared my story of struggle with pornography with emphasis on my experience with sexting. Because that’s what girls are doing. We completely missed the generation that only watches porn for fun and jumped right to the generation that makes their own porn.

After I finished, a girl approached me, tears streaming down her face. She shared her story. She had sent nudes to her boyfriend, then he broke up with her. To get back at him, she shared them with his two best friends. Now, she felt broken, used, and just, lost. Christian girl. Christian conference.

Was there grace for her? How was she supposed to move on? 

Or the girl who grew up in a conservative Christian family but started struggling with porn. Confused by her sex drive and the fact that it didn’t seem to have a place in the life of a Christian, she left her faith entirely, started living with a man, and emailed me to tell me she “has sex all the time” and has “never been happier.” Then she emailed again several months later to say she had made a grave mistake and now didn’t know what to do.

How was she supposed to move on from this?

Or the pastor’s wife who struggled with pornography before she met her husband and then lied about her struggle. Now they’re married and she needs porn to be able to be intimate with him and she’s afraid to tell him because she thinks he’ll leave. Telling him, she feels, would only hurt him. It’s better for her to fight this alone. In her mind, it’s better for her to slip away to the bathroom with her phone while she “slips into something comfortable” than it is for her to pursue true and open honesty and intimacy with her husband. To her, the secrecy is the only thing saving her marriage.

What is she supposed to do?

Or the pastor’s daughter who found porn just a few months ago. She’s only 15 years old and is so overcome with shame that she has contemplated suicide. The shame of her struggle was so great that she considered taking her life instead of telling someone so she could get help.

Those are just four stories from the past 11 years. If you could see my email, it is filled with stories just like this. Christian women lost, confused, broken, hurting, struggling.

So, no, I’m not being dramatic.

This is something I’m passionate about, because there are thousands of women who are hurting and we’re not prepared for them as a church. We’re not ready for them. We don’t have resources. We aren’t talking about this. We’re like a hospital unable to treat people affected by a disaster.

We’re having tea parties when our girls need fight club.

They need us to fight for them and they need us to teach them how to fight.

That’s why I am so very excited for a virtual “woman’s conference” coming up in October. My friend, Crystal Renaud Day, who has been doing this just as long as I have, teamed up with Covenant Eyes and interviewed a bunch of us roof-top-climbing, bull-horn holding women. Women who have been sharing their stories and trying to raise the alarm.

And we’re talking about the tough stuff. We’re talking about unwanted sexual behaviors and porn addiction (yes, real pornography) among women in the church. We’re sharing our stories. We’re tackling shame head on. We’re talking about recovery, healing, hope and freedom.

And we invite women, parents, pastors, counselors to join us as we address these issues, because we need to address them.

How does porn affect your self-image?

How does porn affect your marriage?

How can parents talk to their daughters about porn?

How can churches reach women who struggle with porn?

What does healing look like?

What does ministering to porn addicts look like?

What does healthy sexuality look like for the Christian?

This virtual conference is free to attend live (you’ll have 48 hours to watch the sessions) with the option to buy an all-access pass to access the material later. Register here at this link.

And, I want to challenge you to share this conference with your pastor or counselors you may know, parents in your homeschool co-op, friends at college, etc. There are “team” passes available for groups like church staff, colleges, and ministries.

To help you, here are some letters you can send to these people. Copy the one you want to use, paste it into your email and send it off. Let’s get this information to as many churches, counseling offices, and families as we can.

There’s a storm coming, and we need to be ready.

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