Purity & FreedomResourcesWomen & Pornography

Finding Accountability: Why Gender Matters

If it heals easy, it’s probably healing wrong.

It is very easy for a sexually broken woman to find healing with a Godly man.  For many of us, we knew somewhere deep down in us that good men existed.  Pornography shatters that hope and reduces men (and women) to nothing more than a bunch of mindless animals bending to the drives of nature.  Still our hearts hope so much that when that “to good to be true” man shows up, we can tend to cling to him, even if it is unintentionally.  He can be our fresh air, our reason for continuing our fight, and it can be easy to want him to be our accountability partner.

In some cases, men volunteer themselves as such.  You may have a pastor, deacon, counselor, or church elder who is male and is convinced that he can help you with your problems.

Can I caution you women that talking about your sexual-emotional issues with a man, regardless of who he is (with the exception of your husband), has “bad idea” written all over it?

I truly and honestly do not care if he is a certified Christian counselor in a sexual addiction field.  That does not matter.  The fact boils down to the reality that the wounds left by lust are very intimate wounds.  This isn’t a spiritual ‘sore throat’ that will just take a quick “ahhhh” and gargle with salt water.  This is an intensely personal issue.  The wounds that lead us to pornography/lust are intense and personal and the wounds left by pornography and lust are equally as intense and personal.

One issue caused by lust is the inability to separate intimate and sexual.  I can be very honest with a person without sleeping with them.  It took me years to understand how to be intimately honest with a person without feeling like I was supposed to sleep with them.   That filter and discernment is destroyed by pornography.

He may be a great guy.  He may be happily married, father of 6, pastored for 50 years, attended church since before he was even born, and may somehow be perfectly fine with you pouring out your problems.  It may be no issue for him to have a woman sitting across from him baring her soul.  For some men, that may be a huge issue, but let’s say it isn’t an issue for the man you’re thinking about.

While gender-specific accountability is a good practice to help protect our brothers in Christ, it is actually more about helping protect you.

Let’s be honest for a moment and just say that if you are ‘recovering’ or struggling with lust, your heart is a little mushy.  It’s pretty broken, and empty.  It’s been living off ‘love’ for weeks, months, even years, now and it really doesn’t know how to function without ‘love.’  That’s why we keep going back.  Our bodies don’t help either.

It all boils down to the fact that our hearts are losing their ability to love the way God intended.  The desire to be loved has found itself attached to sex in a very parasitic relationship.  The sexual satisfaction gives us a temporary feeling of peace and love, but eventually ends up sucking more life out of us than it gives.

Our hearts are dying and they need something to rescue them.

Enter: Jesus  Your male accountability.

Without knowing any better, Mr. Deacon agrees to help you with your apparent sexual dysfunction.  He does what any caring, God-honoring man would do.  He tackles it like a man.  He lets you confess your failures, gives you a five-step plan for freedom and assigns Scripture to memorize.  But you don’t hear a word of that.  All you are getting from this is “He loves me.”  And it doesn’t even have to be a sexual love.  For some of us, this is the first time in our lives we have ever had a man truly care about us.

Problem:  We haven’t navigated these waters before.  Pretty soon, our hearts go back to the familiar.  We break free from pornography- we do!  We rip it off our hearts and then stick Mr. Deacon in its place.  Now, he is becoming our source of love.  Additional problem is he is a man.  Well, the only way we’ve seen a woman loved by a man is in the context of pornography.  This will create one of two reactions.

1) We will become highly suspect of Mr. Deacon’s intentions and begin to negate everything he does.

2) Our own intentions will go south and we will begin to read into everything he does.

We can find ourselves either completely disrespecting and rebelling against everything he has to say because he is a no-good-useless male with “only one thing on his mind” and “no man loves God that much.” Or, we can find ourselves obsessing over him and creating reasons to be with him again.

We can sin on purpose just so we can confess and get his attention.  Poor confused Mr. Deacon.

Eventually, either way, Mr. Deacon will get frustrated and drop the case.  Well, when he does that, we have a problem.  When our hearts healed, they healed to include Mr. Deacon.  If Mr. Deacon is gone, we have this huge gaping hole and we know pornography is a perfect fit, so back in it goes, and we start all over again!

When accountability is with a woman, the sexual lies are gone.  Very few of us have a thought process about women that says, “Women are all out for one thing.”  If we can get past the “She’s judging me” hurdle, we are usually in the clear.  Gender-specific accountability takes the ‘stress’ out of having to break free from pornography and heal from heart gods all at the same time.  Odds are, our hearts will be less likely to heal with a woman, and even if they do, it is less stressful for women to maintain an intimate friendship than it is for a woman and a man to maintain an intimate friendship.

In the end, it’s best for all parties involved if you make sure that your main accountability partner is a woman.  She may not understand where you are coming from as much as it seems men do, and she may not be helping to correct your view of men.

The first thing you need to correct is your view of how God views you, and she can help you do that without being a distraction.



  1. Jessica, thank you for sharing the reasoning and thoughts that women may have and feel in this process–it helps greatly to be able to understand the whys and the dangers that you’ve pointed out.

  2. Hi Jessica,
    This sounds really very sensible, but what about the case of Catholics, for instance…how to approach this in confession?

    1. Sue,

      That is a great question. I think it’s important to understand that there is a difference between discussion and confession. I am not a Catholic, so I don’t know all the ins and outs of how confession works, but I think it is anonymous, and basic. It’s not like you’re going out for coffee with your priest and discussing this. Now, I could be wrong about how confession works, in which case, I am at a loss. I have ‘confessed’ (not in a religious sense) my porn addiction to essentially every man on the planet, by doing a public ministry like this. Rarely do I discuss it.

      1. Jessica,
        thanks for your reply. In my experience in confession there is usually some sort of advising on behalf of the priest, so this might be touching the “discussion” part (??), Also, many of us look for one confessor to “look after” us as opposed to going to random priests, so over time there is a relationship going on with the priest (and I say that in the best possible way)If you could, perhaps, bring about this issue and how to handle a relationship with a priest who “knows the lot” so that it doesn’t harm the addict and yet it doesn’t make her paranoid to approach the Sacrament with trust; that would potentially be helpful to many. I understand you’re not a Catholic so that may make it somewhat awkward for you (sorry!), but I can assure you from my own disastrous position, that there are many of us, Catholics, who are facing this.