I spent many college nights scrolling through porn on my phone. Image after image flickered across my screen, but they always left me longing for more. One image or video was never enough to erase my loneliness or cure my sexual desire. Just like a drug addict, one hit never felt like it was enough.
Back then, I thought porn was my biggest problem. Turns out, this wasn’t true. It was a problem in my life, but it was a symptom of a larger issue. Porn was my way to cope with and numb the pain and loneliness I felt every day. This is also true for those who struggle with other unwanted sexual behaviors like habitual masturbation, reading erotica, or lusting.
As a freshman in college, I was date raped on my third day on campus. After going through this trauma, I questioned everything about God, myself, and my sexuality.
“Was God there when it happened?”
“Was God mad at me?”
“Was it my fault?”
“Is that what sex is supposed to look like?”
Porn became my everything. It was my punching bag that I turned to when I was angry at my abuser—my therapist when I felt empty inside. And porn was my sex educator when I questioned if what had happened to me was “normal” sex. But even though porn became my everything, over time I began to realize it wasn’t my biggest problem.
I opened my door and there she stood. She was nervous. I invited her inside my home, offered her a cup of coffee, and we sat down on my couch. I could see the hesitancy on her face as she fidgeted with her phone. I asked her to tell me a bit about her story.
My new friend was referred to me by another woman who had sat on my couch just last week and cried as she said I was the first person she had ever told about her porn addiction. Every woman who sits on my couch has different details in their stories––different traumas or different types of sexual brokenness, but each story and each face are filled with pain and questions.
Sometimes the red flags are big and waving high, and sometimes they are hidden under the surface and will only be discovered over time. I encourage you to pay attention to them, no matter how small they may seem. Desiring to be fully known and fully loved in marriage is a good thing. This is a God-given desire! But small behaviors are indicative of larger behavioral patterns, and ignoring these red flags could be costly in the long run.
Check out the post, Six Red Flags You Can’t Ignore In Dating on Authentic Intimacy!
“I had one woman say, ‘I struggle with masturbation.’ And she just started crying. And then she said, ‘I’ve never said that word out loud.’”
In this Java with Juli, Joy Skarka recalls her experiences walking with women who struggle with porn, and shares from her own story of addiction to freedom. Despite rising numbers of women using porn and erotica, we still tend to refer to it as a “guy thing.” Juli, Joy, and Jonathan Daugherty sit down for a conversation about creating safe places for women to come forward and ask for help. Grab your Java and join us!
This episode isn’t just for those who do struggle with porn, though. We talk about the broader impacts of porn on our culture, such as our body image and expectations of sex. We talk about how we can be safe and supportive friends when a friend discloses their struggle with porn to us.
What do you do when sex hurts? Do you white-knuckle your way through it, because you think you should? In this episode, hear why trying to push through the pain doesn’t work — nor is it what God wants for you. We’ll offer advice to help you find the right provider or therapist to help you understand and treat the reason for your pain. You’re not alone!
Do you have a hard time believing you will ever find freedom from porn addiction? I have been there. There were nights when I thought I would never break free from the addiction. I wanted victory over my struggle with porn, but I believed I would always lose the battle. In those moments, I felt hopeless and often questioned God’s plan for my life.
When you feel stuck in addiction, it may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You may even begin to convince yourself that you are the only woman struggling with porn. Did you know that 70% of women keep their cyber activities a secret? That is why we feel alone.
Porn use is very prevalent with women. 1 out of 3 visitors to adult sites are women. 17% of all women struggle with pornography addiction. 89% of women struggle with masturbation. These statistics might even be low, because most women feel too shameful to talk about the issue. Out of fear, they decide to keep the secret inside.
Try to name three recent movies that did not have a romance story in the plot. Could you do it? I couldn’t. The media feeds us the lie that we need a man to complete us. During seasons of isolation, watching rom coms do not help with our loneliness and actually, can cause us to watch more pornography.
When I was a college student, I struggled with pornography and loneliness in singleness. I can imagine those struggles would be harder for present-day college students to walk through because of the isolation in online classes, remote learning, and working from home. It’s exhausting and triggering.
As a sophomore, I broke up with my boyfriend and felt extremely lonely. I spent my nights binge-watching Netflix, looking at porn and habitually masturbating, and my days eating ice cream on the couch. None of my coping mechanisms helped with my negative thoughts and feelings. Fed up with my life, I decided to try giving up romantic comedies for a whole month. I quickly learned that not only romantic comedies, but most movies and TV shows, had a romance plotline. And almost all of those plots included sex scenes.