“Why is no one talking about women and pornography?”
That question comes up a lot.
The other question that comes up a lot is “Do women really struggle with pornography?”
I feel like the two practically answer each other. Yes, women struggle with pornography and their stories are heartbreaking. No, being silent about it doesn’t help. In fact, our silence is a source of shame and stigma for women.
The good news is, the tide is changing. The conversation is changing.
There are some pretty standard obstacles. Many pastors and church leaders are afraid of starting a conversation because
- they feel unqualified to start it
- they don’t know how to finish it
- they don’t know how to frame it (so they don’t anger half of their congregation)
Women & Pornography: 5 Ways to Start the Conversation- Sign up for the Breaking Free Summit to get this free resource for leaders, parents, and women
While those are all important, it’s not the main reason.
The real reason we’re not talking about women and pornography is because people aren’t realizing it’s an issue.
Awareness is always the first step in change, regardless of what scale that change is. We don’t put in the effort to change things until we realize something needs to change. That holds true in our personal lives, in our relationships, and even in culture. Fundraisers, campaigns, podcasts and books are dedicated to raising awareness in order to affect change.
That means before any church leader can worry about his (or her) qualifications to start, finish, or frame a conversation on women and pornography, they first have to understand it’s an issue. The years have taught me to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to things like this. I would encourage you to do the same.
Don’t think of silence as shame as much as it is honest ignorance.
Still, it needs to be fixed, but how do we fix it?
Well, the good news is, there is a rising tide of awareness. New groups are being formed to help women who struggle. More women are telling their stories. Existing groups who have put out male-oriented resources are now crafting resources for women. They aren’t simply changing pronouns and re-marketing content, they are starting from the ground up in building resources designed by women for women. They are bringing in female voices to speak to this issue. I’m privileged to be on several of these teams.
This blog itself is going to start transitioning into a resource to help groups like that as well. It’s going to be re-organized so things are easier to find and there will be more content designed to help leaders know exactly how to start, finish, and frame this conversation.
The first step in change in awareness. If you want to bring change to your church or your community, share your story. If you are afraid of sharing your story, then please, share mine.
It may seem dark and shameful from where you stand, but I can tell you, an army is coming. Be encouraged, the conversation is changing.
The Breaking Free Summit will feature myself, Crystal Renaud author of Dirty Girls Come Clean, and Marnie Ferree, author of No Stones, as expert voices speaking to the struggles of female porn addiction. If you’re a woman looking for hope, join us for free! Share this post with your pastor, counselor, or school staff to help them start the conversation.14