And Women

There is a hatred of women in our culture, the dynamics of which play out in the world of pornography in multiple ways.

The hatred is demonstrated in the objectification of women as tools for men’s sexual pleasure, and in the damage caused when women learn that the men they love watch it.

In the objectification, women are robbed of both their genuine beauty and their divine identity as image bearers of God. They are no longer human.

In the painful revelation that their men are consuming porn, women are denied acceptance, affirmation, and validation as being special and worthy of unique love — the love that they alone receive from the very men who promised that to them.

But there is another way in which pornography harms women: they can become addicted to it. Typically, compulsive sexual behavior is thought of as a men’s issue. The statistics, if they are accurate, indicate that the percentage of men who are addicted is considerably higher than the percentage of women, but women still struggle.

According to Crystal Renaud,  the author of Dirty Girls Come Clean, it’s really important for us to include women when we talk about about compulsive sexual behavior. Crystal recently sat down for a two-part interview with Michael John Cusick — author of Surfing for God and founder of Restoring the Soul. Listen here.

Crystal’s book discusses the female side of pornography addiction. She said there is something really important that we must do when we talk about porn addiction, we must include the phrase “and women.”

That is to say, we need to talk about porn addiction as an issue that affects men and women.

As i listened to Crystal’s story i saw many parallels to my own. She stumbled upon pornography, liked it, felt ashamed, but still wanted more of it.

Her journey to freedom touches on many of the same issues men deal with, but her struggle had the unique aspect of added shame; that is, as a woman in the church she was doubly embarrassed to admit her addiction.

For men in the church these days who admit that they are porn addicts there is a certain amount of compassion and understanding.  While the behavior is certainly not condoned, and there is plenty of shame and embarrassment associated with it, many believers appreciate that men are prone to the lure of porn. There are plenty of materials available for men dealing with the addiction, not so for women.

Crystal courageously tells her story and makes it safe for women to open up about their struggle with porn addiction.

Pornography is an attack on women from multiple angles. It is animated by a hatred of women that was at the heart of the encounter between Eve and the serpent in the Garden of  Eden.

Eve, and all women after her, bears the image of God in her beauty. The Enemy hates that, and so he seeks to destroy it.

For women, such as my wife, who learn of their husband’s secret life of porn addiction, the devastation of betrayal is intense. My porn use was an attack on her identity as a woman. The revelation of what i had ben doing since the beginning of our marriage led to a crisis of trust, as she wondered if everything about me and our marriage had been a lie.

Every wife wants to be the only woman for her husband. Pornography devastates a woman’s heart because it betrays that core longing, among other things.

To get a better understanding of that, i recommend listening to another Restoring the Soul podcast, “Devastated But Not Destroyed.”

In “Devastated But Not Destroyed,” Michael’s wife Julianne tells her story, and it is powerful.  One of the most powerful things a man can do, particularly if he is a man who struggles with compulsive sexual behavior, is listen to the stories of wives who have experienced the pain of learning that their husbands are addicted to porn, have had affairs, or have acted out in various ways sexually.

Her story is something every husband, or any man who aspires to marriage, should hear.

Crystal’s story is also one that people need to hear.  Female addiction to porn is much more common that most people think. It’s a different type of devastation than what we hear in Julianne’s story, but the damage is just as real.

The style of pornography that appeals to women is usually different from what the majority of men prefer, but the effect on the user’s heart is the main thing. In a world where it is assumed that the majority of men will struggle with porn, but it is equally assumed that women really don’t, Crystal’s voice is critically important.

Men and women need healing from the devastation of pornography.


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