Not too long ago a brave Unveiled Wife Contributor, Shannon Chilson, transparently shared her personal struggle with pornography. Her words resonated with me and many other women. It is an issue that isn’t really talked about, especially in Christian environments, the very places we desire to find help from our vices. We need to address the issue of pornography and the truth that women are just as tempted to sin sexually as men are.
Our culture has ingrained in our minds that pornography is a man’s struggle. It is indeed a man’s struggle, and my prayer is that a revolution happens where men stand against this issue strongly. But I also want to address that pornography is just as much of a woman’s struggle, and it is time that we stand up and stand against it together and prayerfully.
I turned to pornography to fulfill my sexual needs when my marriage saw its darkest hour. We were a few years in, many might have still considered us newlyweds, a term that comes with endearment. Yet, that time in our lives was full of misery and unmet expectations, especially in the bedroom.
My husband and I could not have sex because I experienced tremendous pain any time we initiated sex. This devastated us. The emotional pain of not being fulfilled in this area of marriage brought a ton of doubt upon me. I questioned whether we were suppose to be together, if we were compatible, or if we were truly in love. We tried to distract ourselves from the physical and emotion pain by being busy with other stuff. I felt so lonely, broken, and inadequate. I began searching for something that would combat those feelings. I chose not to turn to God because I was frustrated that He was not helping our circumstances. I pushed God away, so when temptation came I was too weak to stand firm.
Despite feeling convicted that pornography was a sin, where lust was fed, the lie I accepted was that my yearning for sex was satisfied. I kept my sin a secret, away from my husband, ashamed of the true nature of who I was.
My husband and I both struggled with pornography, using the internet as a means to satisfy our cravings. Our inability to come together physically as one, perpetuated our problems and motivated us to do what we did. The chasm between us grew great.
Due to this sin being done in secrecy, I could partake and no one would know, my husband did not know. The guilt I felt from living on as if I wasn’t struggling led me into depression. My marriage was failing and I knew my choices were a contributing factor, but I resisted telling anyone. I didn’t feel comfortable sharing about the things I did or was tempted to do. It was an internal warfare that raged in my heart, my soul.
I know I am not the only one.
The current statistic of women using porn is at 17% however I believe that number would be much higher if more women were honest about their struggles. I also believe that number is climbing with the easy accessibility to pornography that the internet provides.
This is heart breaking.
I use to be part of that statistic, I use to hide my sin and pretend like everything in my life was ok, as if I was ok…but I wasn’t. I was suffering. I was destroying my marriage. Although I have made destructive choices in my past, I am here to tell you that I have been set free by the power of God, I have peace in my life, joy in my marriage, and a strength from God that helps me say no to sexually impure temptations. There are a few things that happened that helped me on my road to healing and I want to share them for any of you reading who may need help:
1. Acknowledge you are sinning. It is dangerous to live in denial, to justify how what you are doing is acceptable, avoiding the warnings given in the moments of temptation. You need to acknowledge that sexual impurity is a sin, that porn is a sin. By acknowledging this, it will be more difficult to disregard or justify your behavior.
2. Pray hard. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you in those moments of weakness, when your flesh is craving satisfaction by any means. Ask God to give you the strength to overcome, to choose the way out of the temptation. Pray for the ones on the other side, those who work in the pornography industry. Pray for God’s will to be done.
3. Unveil yourself to another. When you share with someone else your struggles, it makes it more difficult to follow through with the next temptation coming your way. Once your secret is out, the enemy has less power to influence you or sway you towards sinning. Find someone you trust, a friend, your spouse, or a Christian counselor who you can confide in.
4. Have accountability. You will most likely find a great accountability partner with the person you unveiled yourself too. Make it a point to connect with them weekly and give them permission to inquire how you are doing. This only works if you are honest with them. Having accountability is important because it will hold you to not messing up and give you more of a conviction to choose righteousness.
5. Take every thought captive. This one is vital, especially for pornography addicts. Your mind is powerful. It is a guiding force in the decisions you make. And since you have used your mind in the past to sin, you need to use your mind to overcome. Each and every time a temptation comes your way, thoughts begin to swirl, take them to the foot of God’s throne, and lay them down. Ask God to take those thoughts and desires away and replace them with His righteousness.
6. Believe in faith that you can overcome. Anyone who struggles with pornography might agree that it feels like an impossible struggle to overcome, especially in today’s world of media marketing and immodest acceptability. However, we must believe in faith that overcoming is an option! With God anything is possible. You CAN overcome!
7. Educate yourself. Find resources that discuss pornography and all the different things that deal with it, including the oppression in the industry as well as the chemical reaction it causes in your body. Read books, blogs, testimonies, any thing that unveils the truth about this issue. Far too many people are accepting and embracing pornography without truly understanding all that occurs with it. Please educate yourself, doing so will add fuel to your strength of resisting porn. (Click the link for a list of resources to start with: Resources To Educate Yourself On Pornography)
8. Choose righteousness. In that moment when you are tempted, which will happen the rest of your life, time and time again, choose righteousness. Whether you are addicted to porn right now or have struggled with it, there is no degree of addiction that The Lord cannot heal and restore, and no matter what you are given a choice to either choose righteousness or sin. Stop sinning. Choose to be better. Choose to be pure.
9. Help others. When you step outside of what you know and embrace someone else when they are struggling, your perspectives shift. You feel a swell of positive encouragement rise and you share them with that person out of compassion. Listen to your own words of encouragement. Helping others reach victories will also give you fuel to stand against sin. Be someone others can open up and talk too, pray with them, keep them accountable.
My life has been radically transformed since killing my desire for pornography. My marriage has improved in extraordinary ways and our sexual intimacy is incredible. Sin robs us of true intimacy, but God can restore and reconcile any relationship. His grace is perfect and sufficient for us. My hope is that by opening up about issues such as this, marriages will be inspired to thrive.
I share more about my exposure to pornography as a young girl and how it affected my marriage in my book coming out in 2015! Sign-up to receive updates about its release.