Confessions of a Female Porn Addict

by | Apr 12, 2019 | Pornography, Uncategorized | 23 comments

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Porn addictions do not discriminate.

For the last few weeks, I have been writing about how we need to change the way we talk about sex in church; sex is not just for men, but for women as well. However, the same applies to porn. It is not just men who are getting addicted to porn, but women as well. Nevertheless, we say porn is “Every Man’s Battle” and don’t acknowledge the battle that many women are fighting on their own in secret.Rend your heart book

Today Beth Nyhart, author of Rend Your Heart & Not Your Garments is going to talk about her past struggles as a female porn addict.

Here’s Beth:

If you met me at 16, you would have seen a tall red-headed girl who had been homeschooled her whole life.

As we talked you might have learned that I loved music and drama, that I wanted to be a missionary when I grew up, and that church was a second home to me.

I doubt you would have been able to guess that I was addicted to pornography.

In the early 2000s my youth group was all about purity culture. Teen girls wore silver rings and wrote letters for their future husbands to open on wedding nights. We learned to kiss dating goodbye, and that saving yourself for marriage was a pivotal part of being a Christian.

I’m not saying that any of that was bad. But it didn’t help me.

When the topic of pornography came up it was addressed to the boys, because everyone knew that men are sexually stimulated visually. The girls were taught about modesty and finding our emotional fulfillment in Jesus. I sat through these teachings nodding and taking it in but all the while feeling like something must be wrong with me. It seemed like I was a deviant foul-hearted freak of nature sitting in a group of innocents. If nobody taught girls about porn that meant girls weren’t supposed to be dealing with porn. I was obviously the only one.

That’s a lie.

I can catch them more easily now that I’ve had a decade of practice. Satan has whispered that lie in the ear of so many young women who look around wondering if anyone can help them, then lower their eyes in shame. The accuser taunts, “No one can help you, if they even knew about you they’d be disgusted. They think you are a good example to the other girls, but if they knew what you were doing last night you’d never show your face here again.”

My double life started at the age of 8 when I was first introduced to pornography and it continued until I was 18 and finally found a way to confess my sin and get help. One of the characteristics of pornography is that as you indulge in it, the compulsions escalate. Your body develops a threshold to what you are feeding it and you find yourself needing a harder hit. In porn terms that means it needs to be more degrading; more taboo. And you’d better believe that Satan is on board with inventing new lows as our addiction-ridden brains need stimuli. This is one of the reasons that PornHub’s 2018 year in review stats show that the most searched for types of porn are homosexual, underage, incestuous, violence, animated, and porn with multiple participants. If you are wondering why animated is on that list, it’s because the human body has limitations, but animation opens up a world of disgusting possibilities.

Another one of Satan’s lies is that getting married will solve the problems you have with lust. But as you cultivate a desire for pornography and train your body to become aroused by the variety of porn out there, what you are doing is creating desires in yourself that a monogamous marriage relationship will never be able to fulfill. Just being allowed to have sex isn’t enough when you’ve rewired your brain and body to respond to pornography.

I was caught in what I call a sin/confess cycle.

I would indulge in pornography and then feel such shame that I’d cry out to God in desperation. I prayed that He would change me, take this temptation away, or fix whatever was broken inside of my body. Over and over again He would give me the same answer: confess.

Confess. Not just to God, but to another person. Admit out loud what I had been doing and that I needed help. That was unthinkable. I could never in a million years confess this sin.

But God has a way of driving us down to the end of ourselves and forcing us to face what He asks of us. After years of emotional and spiritual turmoil I knew that this was never going to go away on its own. I started praying that God would give me the strength to obey Him in the act of confession, and He was faithful to provide for me.

My temptations didn’t go away overnight.

I had 10 years of habits to unlearn, I had a relationship with the Holy Spirit that was old and new at the same time. I had to re-internalize the basics of Christianity that hadn’t been able to impact my heart before in quite the same way. But I surrounded myself with people who knew my struggle and were willing to walk through it with me, and I thank God for them every day.

Sin is the same across the board, though the earthly consequences may vary (There are amazing Christian therapy and recovery programs for people who are dealing with addictions). The woman struggling to contain the bitterness in her heart and the woman struggling to control her sexual urges are both separated from God by their sin. And both of them need to deal with it!

The basics of how to deal with sin are:

Come to God with a broken and contrite heart over your sin (Psalm 51:17)

Ask Him to provide everything you need to live a godly life, which when dealing with sin is the right opportunity, person, and strength to confess and repent (2 Peter 1:3)

Obey God in the act of confession (James 5:16)

Accept the forgiveness that He offers you through the blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7)

Surround yourself with other believers who will walk with you, hold you accountable, and encourage you (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Daily allow the Spirit to transform you by renewing your mind (Romans 12:1-2)

The thing about sin is that we are all universally unable to handle it in our own willpower.

We need God to do all of the work for us, and only by surrendering to His work in our hearts are we conformed into the likeness of Christ.

As I speak and write about sin, my heart’s desire is to invite people to come out of the darkness and into the light. God has so much for us, so much peace and purpose that He generously lavishes on us. But so many people spend their lives ensnared in sin and unwilling to let go of it. Satan might be telling you that your sin isn’t that big of a deal, or he might be telling you that your sin is the worst ever and nobody can find out. But either way, he is wrong.

Your sin is common. Unextraordinary. The typical fallen human experience. I’m not afraid or impressed by the depth or the breadth of it. Your sin is rotting your heart, keeping you from true fellowship with God, and hurting your church body every day you don’t deal with it. And your sin is completely 100% deal-with-able.

Don’t wait another moment to come to God with your hands high in surrender. Turn yourself in and trust your soul to the One who is in the business of redeeming weakness for His glory.

Beth NyhartBeth Nyhart, Author of Rend Your Heart & Not Your Garments.

Beth Nyhart is a Christian leader, business owner, wife, mother, and a recovering porn addict. God is redeeming her story as she uses it to educate churches about how to confront the sin nature in every member of the congregation.

Connect with Beth on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
Rend your heart bookRend Your Heart & Not Your Garments: A Heart-felt Plea to the Church Filled with Secret Sin

Secret sin is an epidemic in the church, and it’s time we learned to address it. Get your copy here!

5 Secret Sins That Are Ruining Your Church

Every human being is born with a sin nature, and the majority of us walk around on earth trying to hide it from each other. It’s a little silly if you really think about it. Something we literally all deal with on a daily basis that is in an outright war with the Spirit of God within us, and we like to pretend we have it all under control? Read the post on my blog!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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23 Comments

  1. Andrea

    Wow, 3 pm (east coast time) and 0 comments on female porn addiction.
    Here’s my thoughts…

    I think a more practical post would be more helpful. This person was addicted to porn from the ages of 8 to 18, so before she got married, but it is in marriage that the ills of porn really show themselves. I know from some evangelical girlfriends that the way their husbands’ porn viewing affects their marriage is that the husbands need to thrust violently in order to come, they try to sodomize them (there is more anal than vaginal sex in heterosexual porn), and they want to come on their face (the most common ending of porn, the so-called “money shot”); basically whatever does not involve a third party, so there’s no explicit biblical prohibition against it. So I am wondering how it affects the female addicts — do they desire to be degraded in bed, do they ask their husbands to do things to them that the husbands find distasteful or even dangerous … ? Since it is women being degraded by men in porn (90% is violent towards women), I am wondering how it affects them differently.

    I sought out porn a long time ago once I realized ALL men were watching it now, and I honestly couldn’t find anything that seemed in any way enjoyable for the women involved. Some research I’ve seen claims that is the reason for porn addiction being so much lower in women than in men; it’s not so much that women are less visual, but that what they see in porn is so degrading that most of them don’t enjoy it. Could other female porn addicts chime in (anonymously or under a pseudonym) and explain? And/or other women like me who wanted to see what men found so arousing and were horrified? How does it affect your marriage?

    The great success of Fifty Shades of Grey among women might be proof that they are less visual, but that’s just verbal porn, also degrading to the woman, so I’m wondering if we’d have more responses to a post about that (though I think Sheila has already written some, I’ll have to browse back through the older posts on the blog). This is something I also fail to understand, but based on the one evangelical whom I know that has read these books, I’m wondering if it’s preferred by women who are not having enjoyable sex and so that’s the way they relate to the female character. Are there ladies out there with a satisfying sex life who can also enjoy reading such stuff?

    I read on another blog about women raised in purity culture who could only get aroused/orgasm if imagining that the sex was not consensual because that was the only way they could justify their teenage fantasies, but then it continued in their marriages and their husbands were not happy about the fact that their wives could only come in they imagined they were being raped. Talk about the tragic confluence of purity and porn culture! One might be a reaction to the other, but they reinforce each other in the most disturbing ways.

    Reply
    • Kate

      To answer your question Andrea, for ME and only ME as i can’t speak for ALL porn addicted women is that i’m a very visual person. I wrote below how i was introduced to porn. Porn fulfilled my visual fantasy to a “T.” Having a high sex drive also didn’t help. High sex drive combined with being a highly visual person, made it very difficult to resist porn. That’s why women like me understand men’s sexual desire/temptation better than women who are the opposite of me. You would be shocked at how open men are talking about sex to me because i UNDERSTAND them.

      A lot of porn might be violent but not ALL porn is violent. For ME i didn’t seek out violent porn because i couldn’t be aroused by violence. I sought out what aroused me. I won’t mention what type because even though it was not violent it was still filth. And the reason why most women aren’t into physical pornography is because most women are aroused mentally. So they are too busy reading erotica books. Erotica books is a billion dollar industry and ALL of it is geared towards women. Mental porn is no different than physical porn.

      Erotica books didn’t do anything for ME because i’m wired like men and prefer to see body parts. By the way, did you know there used to be a female version of Play Girl but it didn’t catch on because most women are just not wired to look at body parts like men. After that failure is when erotica books spread like wild fire among women!

      In conclusion, Porn MOSTLY fulfilled the loneliness i had grown up with. My mother was very abusive and my father distant, and so i turned to porn to mask the deep pain i was going through. Sexual release helped me shove down my emotional trauma for a time before it all resurfaced again. I broke the cycle by seeking out a healthier method, counseling. I’m free now but i still struggle with the mental images. It’s hard and i mean HARD when you’re so visual and have high drive. Only by the Grace of Christ have i been able to resist the temptation to have intercourse. I might be physically pure in a sense at 28 years old (never touched a man) but mentally i am defiled! Tragic!

      Reply
      • Andrea

        Thank you SO MUCH Kate for taking the time to answer, I really appreciate it and I wish we could get more women to talk about this honestly. (I did check out Sheila’s blog posts on 50 Shades in the mean time and those have 100s of comments.) It was also super-refreshing to read about a woman being visually stimulated. Sometimes I wonder if women feel pressured to downplay this while men feel pressured to exaggerate it.

        Reply
        • Kate

          Interesting is it not that the erotica articles have hundreds of comments while it’s a dead zone here? I guess it affirms the truth that women also struggle sexually it’s just less visible or out there than men’s struggle.

          Women are also visual too it might not be to the extend of male vision but it exists. That’s why the men on the covers of erotic books are good looking, actors are handsome, and given the choice between a chiseled handsome man vs. 300 lbs. ugly dude women will choose the former. There is no scale of sin in the eyes of God but we humans do put a scale on it. Example: Erotic good, porn bad. Jesus put that type of thinking to rest when He said, lusting in the heart/mind is still a sin!

          God bless! 🙂

          Reply
      • Lili

        Yes, though degrading to women it can become addicting. Sadly, degradation is all some girls know, and satan wants to keep them in that darkness.

        Yes, it often in-turn spoils how girls view sex and relationship roles in their real-life relationships.

        Yes, Jesus Christ can swiftly and lovingly free each precious daughter from the bondage of porn.

        Yes…I am terrified of my future husband having to walk through this with me

        Reply
    • Beth Nyhart

      Hey! I’m the guest blogger here, so I wanted to address your question about how pornography affected my marriage. I don’t share about this much, I have only been married for 5 years and some of those effects are still working themselves out. But pornography does what I mentioned in the article “creates a desire for sex that cannot be fulfilled in a monogamous relationship.” It is very damaging both before and during marriage. When your brain is turned on by degradation, violence, etc. it can be hard to communicate why sex isn’t working because of shame. It’s a complex thing. And it will be different for everyone, which is why I try to write what is true for everyone. Pornography is a sin like any other, and the way to deal with sin is to confess and repent of it. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
    • Budgie

      I am a single female, never married. I dabbled with porn for many years, though I don’t know if I would call it an addiction. I would sometimes go weeks without looking at it, but when I got into it, I would often go on what I called benders, going from site to site looking at stuff. Thanks to what I feel was divine intervention, I left the stuff alone completely 5 years ago and have been clean ever since.

      For me, I didn’t start with porn. I discovered the romance novels of a college roommate and found the sex scenes in them very arousing. I would often seek that sort of stuff out at libraries and bookstore. Interestingly I never bought any of those books nor did I ever pay for porn. As a Christian, I would have felt way too guilty. But the sex scenes stayed in my head to be pulled up later when I felt the need for them. They are still there and could be brought back even now, 20+ years later, though thankfully I don’t go there now. But if I did, I would be in trouble.

      I discovered porn more or less by accident. In the early 2000s, the filters were pretty poor, and you’d often get spam emails from porn sites. I was curious and checked some of them out. As I woman, hearing what we’d always been told about the way our sex drive works, I figured it would be not be that risky. That was a big mistake. I would say I was disgusted by what I say and yet strangely pulled to it. That’s where it began and this would go on for the better part of 15 years till I was delivered by the grace of God.

      It’s hard to explain the pull of porn – as I said, I was disgusted by it and yet aroused by it and it pulled me very strongly. I would especially use it to numb any feelings of sadness etc that I might have. Of course, it made me feel very guilty and I would ask for forgiveness and stay off it for while, and then find myself pulled back into it. I am a person who struggles to feel accepted by God (likely due to a difficult childhood) and I would often a feel a sense of nagging guilt. Sometimes at those times I would turn to porn because it would actually help – it would give me something tangible to actually feel guilty over. It was very weird.

      When I finally left porn behind forever, my spiritual life grew in leaps and bounds. I feel God worked a miracle to free me – I won’t explain it all here , but I’m thankful for it. My own willpower was powerless. Today the temptations are mostly gone (it’s not every woman’s battle for me anymore), but I know I would be trapped again if I went back so I’m very careful when I’m on the internet etc.

      If I could redo one thing in my life, I would never have taken a look at that romance novel and I wish I could tell young ladies to be so very careful. Don’t think you can’t be hooked, because you can be.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, Budgie, I don’t think we realize how much romance novels can pull people into porn. I’ll be talking about that on the podcast this week!

        Reply
      • Beth Nyhart

        Disgusted and yet drawn to it is such a good way of putting that. I believe most Christians who are habitually using pornography would say the same thing. You try to mentally convince yourself that it is horrible, and yet that doesn’t make a difference in the moment. Thank you for commenting!

        Reply
    • Just She

      I’m a Muslim doing a research on porn addiction and what you’ve said is spot on considering how even I indulge in the act sometimes though I’d say it’s purely out of curiosity but I do get turned on.

      Reply
  2. Deena

    Oh my gosh, this is so powerful! Thank you for being brave and transparent and sharing your story. It breaks my heart that you were exposed to it so young. But I do hope other women out there who struggle with porn find your book/story and are able to find hope and freedom in Jesus!

    Reply
  3. Kate

    Beth, how can i thank you for writing this article? I was once in your shoes. I was addicted to porn and like you said, i was seeping further and further into depravity and could feel my soul rotting in the process. And every time i could feel the Holy Spirit departing from me. The more addicted i got to porn the further Christ got from my presence. That’s why i HAD to stop. I quite 2 years ago. Now i just struggle with removing those seared images from my mind. Hopefully with time they will become blurry.

    My story of how i was introduced to porn is a contradiction of sorts. As an immigrant to the USA i often built friendships with other immigrants. One day when i was 17, i met these two Pakistani Muslim girls who invited me to have lunch with them in their car. During our long conversation they asked me if i knew what Pornography was. When i replied, No. They proceeded to show me. And that is how i went down the rabbit trail known as pornography. Interesting isn’t how it was Muslim ladies who introduced a Christian girl to porn.

    I know that i’ll have to live with the consequences of my actions. I remember before the introduction to porn i used to be able to masturbate with thinking about anybody but ever since porn my body isn’t able to respond like it used to. Maybe one day i can go back to that but for now, not only have i seared my mind but also my body. Sin is truly deadly, people! Repent, confess, repent, confess….before this evil destroys you. I promise you it will. I know.

    Reply
    • Beth Nyhart

      Hey Kate, I understand the struggle! God promises to renew your mind and transform you when you offer your body as a living sacrifice. Dying to yourself and allowing the Holy Spirit to do that work is hard, but we can look forward to our total sanctification together. ❤️

      Reply
  4. Jack Jones

    As a guy, I just want to say I wish there wasn’t a double standard. As Kate says, erotica is a billion-dollar industry read primarily by women, and yet us men are the ones mostly getting called out for porn use, just because we’re more visual and thus prefer visual porn.

    Reply
    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      The reason for that difference is that the production of porn is often contingent on the abuse of a person. The production of erotica is contingent on someone having a really good imagination. So one is inherently more evil/damaging than the other in its production. Both have ramifications in your personal sex life, but one requires that actual people act out the scenes and one does not. So there is a difference there–it’s not a double standard, it’s just a terrible reality.

      Reply
      • Ashley

        I want to comment about the fact that porn involves flesh-and-blood people. Recently I listened to a podcast Covenant Eyes had done featuring 3 former porn actresses. One of them said she was always drunk or high when she was filmed because that was the only way she could get through it. Not only that, but EVERY porn actress she knew also filmed intoxicated for the same reason. These actresses are also heavily pressured to film acts they they don’t want to film, and are offered drugs and more money on scene so they will comply. Does that sound remotely like consent?

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I completely agree. I’ve often tried to dream up a way that the porn industry could require a doctor’s form for consent, and porn sites within the U.S. would have to have consent forms signed by a doctor, where they could say that there was no drug use and that the person is truly consenting. Such a thing would, of course, not work, but I’ve often thought that that is the way to stop porn, much more so than making it illegal. Just put up more and more roadblocks and regulation and then penalize if they don’t comply. All that would likely do, though, is drive the porn industry overseas where it isn’t regulated.

          Reply
    • Beth Nyhart

      The double standard is hard, but a common thing in so many areas. What I think needs to be emphasized in any conversation is that sin does not discriminate, we are all capable of anything, and it all needs to be dealt with. It doesn’t matter who watches porn or reads erotica MORE, it matters that those habitually engaging in lust are able to obey God in confession, repentance, and accountability.

      Reply
  5. Honey

    Thank you so much for writing about this!!! I just FUME when I’m sitting in on something where they teach about the visual stuff and porn and they assume it’s only a male issue! I struggled with an addiction for over twenty years, and got freedom through accountability to my husband, Jesus, and this blog. And now as it’s being talked about more and more, This needs to be drug out into the light so the lie that you’re a weirdo, or the only one, or that there’s something wrong with you, can be exposed and healing can enter in. THANK YOU!!

    Reply
    • Beth Nyhart

      It’s such an important topic, I agree! God is bringing so many women out of the woodwork who are willing to share their struggles, and He is glorifying Himself as we obey Him. One thing I love about God is how He brings us all into the light eventually. ❤️

      Reply
      • Susan

        I am writing to say it doesn’t have to be porn for you to be captured by the spirit of lust.
        My marriage has always suffered to my husband’s addiction to porn. It left me very lonely;married but wishing I was single. In the ‘90s, a movie came out called the Thomas Crown Affair. I watched it and was very pulled to the sexy attraction the characters had. I felt smart and sexy and wanted as I watched it. And watched it. And watched it. After viewing it one day, I drove to pick up the kids and as my mind was reviewing the wonderful feelings from the movie I heard the Holy Spirit say clearly and unmistakably,
        “You are being seduced by the spirit of lust.”
        I realized then I was being wooed by my enemy.
        Me, a miserable Christian wife, was being targeted by an assigned spirit whose job was to bring me to a place of separation from my Father.
        Ephesians 6:11,12. MSG Use all the armor and weaponry God provides so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the enemy for we are not struggling against human beings but against rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing ……

        Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      So glad you commented, Honey! I’m going to do my podcast this week on women and porn as well. It really does need to be talked about.

      Reply
  6. jml05@hotmail.co.uk

    Are there any recommended website that can help porn addicts of both genders? Since I now reside in the continent of Africa, the most plausible way forward to tackle this addiction is through the web.

    Regards

    Jean

    Reply

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