A Friendly Reminder

The more I talk with girls and women who are dealing with porn addictions the more upset I get (and that is putting it nicely). The destruction that an addiction causes to someone’s life is huge and so painful to witness. The hopelessness in their voice and their perceived isolation haunts me. I remember that. 7 years ago really isn’t all that distant in my memory.

Recently, I was made aware of a woman’s experience that is probably far too common. When she was in high school, she told a few of her closest friends, women who attended her church, that she was addicted to pornography and masturbation. After her initial disclosure, they never talked about it again. Her friends never brought it up, never mentioned it, and for all practical intents and purposes went on living as though she had never said a word about it to them. To this day, some 6 years later, she is still in the midst of these addictions.

To those of you who have had a friend tell you that they struggle with porn or masturbation and have chosen to ignore the subject, STOP IT. The worst thing as an addict is when you somehow muster up the courage to tell someone about your shameful, dirty secret life and they act as though you’d never told them. To me that’s worse than someone telling you to “just stop” looking at porn or masturbating. At least they are acknowledging that you shared your struggle with them even though they aren’t doing it in a helpful or effective way.

I understand that it may be uncomfortable for you when your friend tells you about their addiction. If you don’t know what to say or how to best support them, find something or someone who can help you help them! There are books and online resources to read and pastors and counselors for you to reach out to.

Most girls going through an addiction don’t want to tell their friends because they don’t want to burden them with their problems. By ignoring them or being silent about the issue you are affirming that idea. 

Let this be your friendly reminder: don’t notice your friend is drowning and choose to look the other way. 


6 thoughts on “A Friendly Reminder

  1. HI there, really great advice here. I’ve told a few people about my addiction that have never brought it up since and these are my closest friends since birth. I don’t blame them, we live in a society that has made sex into a taboo, but your right that it makes you feel worse if they ignore it. Makes you feel like they think you have some unspeakable disease. Tricky one, but good advice here, it’s great to read someone else saying it!

    Im interested to know how your religion would label the use of pornography. Is it simply frowned upon? or is it regarded more strongly as sin for example? Same with Masturbation?

    You’ll see from my blog that I write about porn addiction from an atheist angle but I’m really interested in the what seems to be very large community of religious organisations talking about porn and porn addiction online. It seems much bigger and more immediate than the secular.

    Just to clarify I am by no means anti-religious!
    Keep up the great work,

    • Hi! Thanks for the encouragement. I’m really sorry to hear that this is something you’ve experienced as well. I’ll be praying that someone comes into your life that you can talk with about your addiction. The Christian culture in the western world is particularly interesting to me because of how much we don’t talk about sex, especially since we see it as a gift from God! There is also the persisting view in our society in general that women are less sexual than men and don’t deal with issues of sexual addiction, which, as a woman, makes it particularly shaming when you are struggling with sexual addiction.

      In terms of Christianity in general, we do see viewing pornography as a sin. I think that’s why you’re seeing a stronger response to porn from the Christian community. It’s not just a bad idea; it’s something that separates you from God and that’s a big deal as it’s the whole purpose of our existence. Masturbation tends to be more of a gray area. Some Christians also believe that to be a sin, others don’t. For the ones that don’t, they wouldn’t be okay with someone being addicted to masturbation- God wants us to be free and not enslaved to anything! With both porn and masturbation, the real issue is figuring out why you’re engaging with it. Both of those things tend to be bandages we use to cover up deeper issues and if there are deeper wounds, I think we’d all agree that those should be dealt with.

      I’ve had the chance to read some of your blog and I look forward to journeying with you!

      • Really interesting reply, thanks. I had wondered about how porn addiction might affect women and girls differently to boys and men due to the fact that women are presumed to be ‘less sexual’. It’s a shame to hear that my suspicions were right that such presumptions add a different dimension of suffering to an already destructive affliction.

        Obviously these are big questions so I won’t be offended if you don’t have time to respond but…

        …I have a theory that is certainly true for myself and a few others and I wondered what your thoughts were. For me, one of the most useful processes I’ve gone through in terms of my addiction is having managed to shed the idea that watching porn should make me feel like I’ve done something that is intrinsically morally bad – my agnostic equivalent to sin I guess. That’s not to say that I don’t feel awful afterwards, or that I no longer think that the pornography industry is a hugely oppressive and sexist institution, but it has meant that I am able, sometimes, to avoid falling into old destructive spirals of self-hatred and loathing.

        So my question, I guess, is this: what do you think about the idea that labelling something a ‘sin’ – or equivalent – actually makes the situation worse by (1) instilling that thing (in this case porn use) with more power and temptation and curiosity, and (2) by preventing people from admitting to that sin or from listening carefully to those who seek help(as you have discussed in your blog)?

        I’m not even sure what I think but would be interested to hear your thoughts. Might be a good topic for a blog post now I come to think of it…

        Thanks again for doing something great for others,

      • I think what you’re talking about with feeling self-hatred because you continue to do something that you believe is morally wrong is absolutely true. I know for Christians we often have a twisted view of God, so we view Him as an all-powerful being that is just waiting to crack down on us when we do something wrong. That causes an unhealthy fear of God, self-devaluation, and self-loathing. I felt all of those things during my porn addiction. It’s a horrid place to be.

        However, I don’t know if the answer is lying to ourselves about the truth of porn or any other immoral thing. While I do think that labeling something a sin or telling someone they shouldn’t do something can sometimes arouse more curiosity or temptation (think little kid told not to touch a hot stove or eat the cookies in the jar on the counter), if it’s true that that is what it is, let’s call it that and deal with the other issues of why the label draws us to it. I would like to think that as we mature, we gain more self-control and wisdom so that when people tell us things aren’t good for us or we come across something immoral, we would have the wherewithal to leave it alone. As Christians, this occurs as we become more and more like Christ.

        I also would agree with you that labeling it can cause people to hide it and not share their struggles with others for fear of judgment, shame, or embarrassment. I think the bigger problems here are the ways our society and the Church treat sex and sexual “sins” and that we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves. No one is going to live a perfect life…and I think we all know that about ourselves and others, but somehow we still feel the need to be the person that appears as through we’re living a perfect life. It’s maddening if you ask me! I don’t know that dropping the label would help that- it may be a quick fix. I think changing the culture and language surrounding these issues is a better way to go.

        I think that choosing not to label it as immoral or as a sin, at the end of the day, just puts a bandage on deeper issues. Because after it’s all said and done, as you mentioned, you’ll still “feel awful afterwards.”

        Sorry it took me so long to respond! Last week was crazy 🙂

  2. “I think the bigger problems here are the ways our society and the Church treat sex and sexual “sins” and that we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves. No one is going to live a perfect life…and I think we all know that about ourselves and others, but somehow we still feel the need to be the person that appears as through we’re living a perfect life. It’s maddening if you ask me!”

    It IS maddening! Especially considering that as a Christian my faith is based on the very fact that I need Jesus BECAUSE I’M A SINNER. And yet I buy into the idea that I must hide the ugly stuff and look as though I don’t need His forgiveness and grace. Why do we do that? When asked, of course we’d say we’re sinners and need Jesus, and that would be the correct answer as long as we don’t let anyone else see WHY we need Him.

    • Absolutely! I don’t know why we do that, but the evil one takes advantage of our secrets and facades. Holding things inside only allows them to take deeper root within us. We have to be authentic in our relationships- that allows God to work through them to transform us more into his likeness. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s