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An increasing number of people have been working against the ill effects of pornography both in the wider culture and inside the church.  Porn addiction affects millions of people, many of whom don’t appear to have any problem at all.  Those individuals live double lives, and often feel unable to talk freely about their battle or their indulgence with pornography.  As quiet as it’s kept, many of these people–Christian and non-Christian–are women.

Anne Jackson has filmed a powerful short (4.5 minutes) video about her fight against pornography.  It’s a video that will encourage you and perhaps make us all more aware of those who are fighting this sin and need co-warriors.  The video was produced for XXXChurch, a ministry dedicated to fighting pornography by helping sufferers on college campuses, in churches, and everywhere.  Check it out:

Here’s a link to the XXXwatch accountability software that Anne mentions in the video.

Justin Taylor has put together a wonderful list of resources for addressing pornography addiction.

Also, you might be interested in William Struthers’ book, Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain.

David Powlison has written an excellent two-part article on breaking the pornography addiction.  See here and here.

And most of all, don’t fight this war alone.  Speak with someone trustworthy who can join the fight with you.

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9 thoughts on “Women and Pornography”

  1. Christiana says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Glad this issue is being addressed more openly. Another recent article:

  2. Jeffrey says:


    Thanks for posting the importance of this and the later article. I came out of a very sexually charged lifestyle prior to knowing Christ, and with ministry training was very aware of how this issue was unfortunately portrayed as primarily a male problem. I have a majority of the materials from Justin’s and more. I am periodically doing some research on this issue because it is a growing problem. The indulgence by women is perceived differently often by the Christain community. Although, I have read excerpts from “William Struthers” book I have not read it (and will be interested to do so). I do believe women may be just as stimulated visually as men, however I also believe by their feminine design they will mostly likley process what they see differently. Fear, stigma’s, and isolation exist for both, but due to perceptions, preconceived or not it may take a heavier toll on women because of the past silence concerning it’s prevelence among women. In doing some research online I have visited some Christian websites and went to articles, and forums to see what was being discussed on this topic. I have included a brief post from one and the comments which I think will be helpful;
    Women and Porn
    If you think men are the only ones who are addicted, think again.
    by Lindsey Learn
    For years I’ve heard the stereotype that pornography is only an issue for men. Church accountability groups and sermons on the dangers of pornography have long been directed at men, while it’s been assumed that women don’t deal with those types of issues.
    But research is starting to show that pornography isn’t only a man’s problem. Marnie Ferree, a licensed marriage and family therapist, is a former sex addict and director of Bethesda Workshops, a organization that offers faith-based clinical intensive treatment for sexual addiction and co-addiction. In a recent online article, “Women Struggle, Too (with Sexual Addiction),” she suggests that “one-third of sex addicts are women, and eventual information will reveal women comprise nearly one-half of those who are sexually addicted.”
    But even with these new findings, women struggling with pornography still seems to be news to us. A subject that used to be “a guy thing” is trapping hundreds of women into a mentality that says, I am alone and abnormal, an outcast. “The enormous shame that surrounds sexual sin is experienced exponentially by female strugglers,” writes Ferree. Few women are willing to risk the possible judgment …”
    Katie (not her real name) first started looking into this issue five years ago when she confessed to her college women’s Bible study that she’d been struggling with an addiction to internet pornography. God had been speaking to her for several years, saying, Tell someone. Just tell someone about it, Katie. Before she confessed she was totally trapped in the lie that this was too secret, too personal ever to share with anyone. She’d never heard a woman speak about an addiction to internet pornography, and when she finally did decide to confess—it was a sermon specifically directed to the men in the congregation that moved her to action. Thankfully, God moves in many ways to restore us to himself.
    Katie’s specific struggle was not unique, especially for her age group. Ferree reports that
    A growing number of women are looking online at the more traditional kind of pornography. Generally speaking, most women who choose visual material are younger females, ages 18–34. This generation was raised in a media-saturated culture and is more accustomed to visual stimuli. Advances in neuroscience indicate that our media-driven culture is literally altering the human brain—and not just men’s. Today’s young women seem equally visually oriented. It is no surprise, then, that females are drawn to pornographic pictures.
    And so, a sin categorized as a man’s struggle because of men’s “visual” nature can no long apply. Young women are now included in this categorization. So what do we do?
    Many Christian women feel trapped in their sexual sin because there’s no outlet in the church for women to feel safe on this front. In other words, the church needs to catch up. The internet, cable TV, magazines—all have opened many new avenues to sexual encounters; now the church needs to respond by opening clear avenues for men and women to confront this growing issue in a safe, forgiving environment.
    Growing up in the church, I’m thankful for the women leaders who took us aside in junior high and talked to us about sex. It was brave of them to confront the issue with us. Now we need to do the same with addiction. Not only do we need to start talking about sexual addiction to the grown women in our church, but we need to decide when it’s time to talk to our children about resisting the temptation of pornography and other sexual sins, boys and girls. I imagine the internet and the media will only become vaster and more personally accessible (without accountability) as they and we grow older.
    In 2 Corinthians, Paul reminded us, “But [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” As women leaders, let’s establish that safe place where women can come and let Christ’s power rest on them without fear or shame.
    share this
    Posted by Bonnie McMaken on February 10, 2010 12:16 PM
    I can’t tell you how glad and relieved I am to read this post. Not only is sexual struggle so deep, but the ways our culture (secular and Christian together) has failed to address this prevalent power renders us ashamed and so afraid. Thank you, Lindsey, for not shying away from this and bringing these statistics and testimonies to light. There’s still so much truth and grace to break through to us.
    Posted By: Sarah | February 10, 2010 12:58 PM
    Thank you for breaking open a taboo topic. My hope is that your insights will empower other women to seek help. As I read your article, I wondered how many other secret sins women carry because there simply is no safe place to share what we’re carrying. Great post!
    Posted By: Marian | February 10, 2010 3:18 PM
    Guilt and shame keep so many women bound, helpless, and paralyzed by sexual secrets and sexual sin. The enemy of our souls rejoices in keeping things hidden in the darkness where they fester and grow and take on a life of their own. Christ has come to set the captive free. That includes women who are struggling to break free from pornography’s ugly grasp. Thank you for opening up a much-needed dialogue.
    Posted By: Linda Stoll | February 10, 2010 3:50 PM
    I couldn’t agree more. Years ago I confronted a speaker at a weekend conference who kept using lust as a ‘man’s’ issue. He was very appreciative of me bringing it to his attention. When it is ‘safe’ and appropriate I point it out to other friends or groups I’m a part of. This is definitely no longer a man only issue.
    Posted By: LaughingMouse | February 10, 2010 10:49 PM
    Great post! As a speaker and women’s ministry leader I’ve seen astounding evidence of visual lust and porn in women. Some quite blatant. Thank you for pointing to the truth.
    Posted By: Robin Bryce | February 10, 2010 11:01 PM
    I was exposed to this at 8 years and in addition to an abusive realtionship with family, it had caused my life to spiral out of control, i tried to go to the church, but they are not ready or look at you like something like the creature from the black lagoon, while our children suffer and families are destroyed. it isn’t fair that this has such a stigma so people can’t talk about it. Jesus would how the church wont.
    Posted By: p | February 12, 2010 10:17 AM
    Thanks for the post on a really difficult subject. I would love to see more on this subject specifically wives who are supporting their husbands through a pornography addiction and a temptation for life through prayer! His grace is sufficient!
    Posted By: Ann | February 12, 2010 11:43 AM
    The update that women in the screen generation are as visual as men is a wake up call for us doing premarital counseling. Just as much premarital counseling ignores the subject of pornography when discussing sex in marriage (but my husband and i have added this, seeing times change), so now we need to address the wife as well! Thanks for revealing the blind spot
    Posted By: Cindy | February 12, 2010 2:33 PM
    Both my husband and i struggle with this addiction as Christians. It is hard to tell people. We told our pastor about my husband’s addiction- but i was too embarassed to talk abour mine. Thank you so much for this helpful article. I agree that this is something that should be brought out into the open , and addressed by churches.
    Posted By: Gillian | February 12, 2010 4:42 PM
    For years I struggled with a porn addiction that none of my friends could understand, through my teen, young adulthood, then my 30s as well. I felt so alone and guilty and confused. I searched and searched. I finally started to crack the problem when I read “Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment” by Shannon Ethridge. I believe God was leading me as one door after another opened to me. He finally freed me from the bondage through the online course at for sexual addiction.
    I have since experienced an everlasting peace I was seeking for years.
    Posted By: Free prisoner | February 13, 2010 1:25 AM
    Thank you for this article!! It is such a relief to know Im not alone in this type of struggle… Lets together lift the veil on something that binds so many women in shame!
    Posted By: Megan | February 14, 2010 5:45 AM
    oh thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! It’s so cliche, but I really did think I was the only one woman who suffered this secret shame. I no longer actively view porn, but was exposed to it very early in my development and it has left an unfortunate impression on me that I struggle with daily. that early exposure to porn coupled with the resultant early sexual activity (including abuse and abortion) caused me, quite frankly, to feel like a freak – damaged and unworthy of love. I support any effort to bring this area to the forefront. I am convinced that even now I am on the way to healing…praise God and thank you again.
    Posted By: Tracy | February 17, 2010 6:38 AM
    I think that it’s also worth noting that many women struggle with a related but not quite the same addiction – sexual gratification through masturbation. I was never addicted to porn, but I have been addicted to that. I think when people talk about the addictive powers of porn, this other addiction is implied, but not often talked about in the open, especially among church meetings and such. The feeling of shame is horrible, and you feel so guilty that you can’t seem to just resist like you know you should. I’ve found that the more time I spend with the Lord and friends and such, the less time I have to be alone and lonely. This helps a lot. But I still think that the issue is missing attention from the church, which is called to edify its members and help spur them on to doing good things – part of that is confronting and supporting people through tough, potentially delicate matters like sexual addiction.
    Taken from –

    Blessing to you brother,


  3. Women who are addicted to porn is disturbing as men who are also addicted to porn. I’m saying that the addiction to porn should be the one to be dealt with and should be resolved. Education must be implemented starting with the victim’s home towards their workplaces.

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Thabiti Anyabwile

Thabiti Anyabwile is a pastor for Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, DC and a council member of The Gospel Coalition.

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