In “6 Resources to Help in the War on Porn,” the writer shared how, as a college minister, she felt like she was seeing a rise in college-aged girls who are struggling with addictions to pornography. It wasn’t the first time we’ve discussed the dangers of porn, but it did make us want to shed more light on an area we feel still remains pretty dark: women and porn.
We’ve heard countless stories from women who were so burdened by the shame of a pornography addiction and that shame became even more burdensome because it’s supposedly a “man’s problem.” This is just not true. Pornography addiction knows no gender, and the Digital Age we live in ensures that.
In an effort to continually inform our readers of resources that are available to you, we reached out to Crystal Renaud, the Founder and Director of WHOLE Women Ministries whose projects include Dirty Girls Ministries and WHOLE Women’s Conference. She is also the author of Dirty Girls Come Clean (Moody Publishers), a speaker, certified life coach and student who lives in the Kansas City area.
We knew Crystal could educate people who are uninformed and offer words of hope and healing for those of you struggling with pornography temptation or addiction. For more information on Crystal’s ministry, visit crystalrenaud.com and follow her on twitter at @crystalrenaud.
SR: What are some common misconceptions about women and their addiction to porn?
Crystal: I believe one of the major misconceptions about women and porn addiction is that people think they must be more masculine than other women. But that’s not true. It doesn’t have anything to do with sex drive or hormone levels. It’s an intimacy disorder that can affect anyone regardless of gender or even religious affiliation. Another misconception is that people believe that only men can be addicted to porn and there must be something wrong with women who do also. Again, that’s a lie. Women are designed by God to need emotional intimacy. When these needs are left unmet, this brokenness will lead them to seek it out almost anywhere.
SR: Are there statistics on how many women have a problem with porn?
Crystal: We recently did a survey in partnership with Today’s Christian Woman that revealed that 40% of the women who took it admitted to being a porn addict. That’s an increase of 23% from a similar survey conducted in 2003.
SR: We all know that porn is destructive, but how have you seen it specifically destroying women?
Crystal: Just like we hear about with men who view porn, it distorts their view of reality and makes them crave something that is unachievable. With erotica fiction like 50 Shades of Grey and pornographic imagery that promotes fantasy and escape, women are often compelled to acting these fantasies out in real life. From adultery to homosexual acts to even prostitution, I have seen pornography lead women to do things they would otherwise have never imagined.
SR: Besides accountability, what other ways can single women set up boundaries against porn?
Crystal: While an intimate relationship with God and solid accountability are absolutely key to recovery and healing, I believe one of the greatest ways to keep porn out of your life is by coming to the understanding of what porn actually is. It’s not just women or men on a computer screen. They are someone’s daughter, sister, brother, son and often, they are performing against their will. There is a major correlation between the adult film industry and human trafficking. It all comes down to supply and demand. The more people that demand porn, the more supply has to be made to meet that demand and is done so by whatever means necessary. When you learn what porn really is, it makes you think twice about being an active participant in this cycle of oppression.
SR: If a girl reading this struggles with the shame of pornography or other sexual addiction, what advice would you give her?
Crystal: One of the things I hear most often from women who hear my story for the first time or who stumbled upon our website is, “I thought I was the only one.” Women need to know they are not alone and that there’s hope. They do not need to live in the cycle of addiction. It is the desire of both my book and my ministry to break down the walls that are keeping these women addicted. These walls are shame, isolation, fear of judgment, pain from their pasts, etc. My team and myself are committed to this fight and here to help women who are ready to surrender and take this journey toward freedom. Grace is a gift. Hope never fails.
SR: You talk a lot about forgiveness on your site, Dirty Girls Ministries. How is it linked with sexual struggle and addiction?
Crystal: Forgiveness is in the heart of the Gospel of Jesus. He died for us as atonement for our sins. Like Romans 5:8 tells us, “…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Because sexual sin is such a deeply personal sin against self (1 Corinthians 6:18), it takes a long time to forgive ourselves for it, especially if our sin has caused us to influence others to sin. Coming to the acceptance that God has already forgiven you, makes room for you to forgive yourself.