On Thursday, I was asked to write a blog post for a church in Madison, WI bringing awareness to the issue of pornography and masturbation for women. Original post at http://madisonalliancechurch.org/blog/whats-wrong-with-me/.
What’s Wrong With Me
Growing up in my church’s youth group I remember dreading February. Those of you who grew up attending a church youth group know what I’m talking about. Naturally, Valentine’s Day makes February the sex and relationship month.
The routine never changes. After the youth minister introduces the topic one Sunday in a co-ed message, there are a few weeks, and maybe even a weekend retreat, in which the girls and guys go their separate ways and discuss topics that are more relevant to their individual genders.
In other words, guys talk about pornography and masturbation and girls talk about body-image, eating disorders, and self-harm.
Year after year, I attended these purity retreats and year after year I knew that they wouldn’t apply to me.
The issues that “most” girls struggled with weren’t my issues. My issues were being discussed somewhere else- in another room, at another retreat center.
Yup, you guessed it- I was a preteen girl drowning in a porn addiction and the shame, guilt, and confusion it brought along with it.
Somehow, both our society and the Church has managed to normalize the use of porn and masturbation for guys, but don’t acknowledge it as a serious issue for girls.
This idea is usually based on the assumptions that females are less sexual and not as visual as their male counterparts. These ideas can have drastic effects on girls struggling with sexual addiction, including increased shame and gender confusion. In other words, you end up with a lot of girls wondering what is wrong with them. They feel alone and isolated.
The average age a child first sees pornography is 10 years old. Statistics tell us that 1 in 3 viewers of online pornography are female. We, as the Church, have some work to do regarding how we view girls and women and their sexuality. How are you going to educate yourself and change your thinking on this important issue? How is the Church going to respond?
I have started a project dealing with issues of sexuality, including pornography and masturbation, but also just to explore what it means that we are all sexual beings. We need to redefine sexuality and view it in a more holistic way. Check it out at simplysexuality.wordpress.com.