3 Lies and the Truth about Christian Women and Porn Use

Today we’re tackling a highly sensitive issue on the blog, and it may contain some things you’re not used to hearing in this space. In fact, if you do not struggle with porn use, we would encourage you to let this article pass you by. However, because Satan is working overtime to ensnare the hearts of women and girls through pornography, we’re willing to risk some discomfort to share the message that they—you—can be set free.

If you and I were sitting in my living room, there wouldn’t be any PowerPoint slides, and we wouldn’t be reviewing statistics. You wouldn’t need to conduct a study to know that men are not the only ones struggling with pornography use. Your private life is living proof that Christian women consume porn too. You also wouldn’t need brain scans to describe the way that porn wreaks havoc on a human heart. You’ve felt it firsthand. 

No one knows the hold that pornography and (more than likely) masturbation currently have on you. No one has ever seen the browser history you’re always careful to clear. Or the erotic scenes in the e-books you read. You share openly and vulnerably about so much of your life with your friends, your husband, or your mentor—but you’ve never mentioned this struggle—not to anyone

It’s not that bad, you want to believe. And it’s really not that often, you tell yourself. It’s just a website you go back to when you need to release stress, or because you’re feeling lonely, bored, or sad. It’s a way you cope. A quick form of comfort. 

It doesn’t matter, you want to believe, but you know better—because every time you turn off “Incognito Mode” on your phone, you feel a feverish flush of shame and tell yourself it was the last time. You tell yourself that since you’re not going to do it again, there’s no reason anyone else ever needs to know. 

But a few days later, you have the same conversation with yourself that you’ve had a hundred times before, and you start to wonder what would be worse: if one day your secret is exposed or if you remain stuck in this cycle forever. 

Hope for the Hidden Places

If you’ve been in church for any length of time, you’ve likely seen an increasing number of Christian men share openly about their addiction to pornography and the ways they’ve experienced God’s grace in the healing process. You may have noticed women’s testimonies related to the same topic are shared in public spaces far less often. This is not because Christian women aren’t struggling—but our enemy would certainly want you to think that’s the case. He’d do anything to make you believe that you are the only one.

In recent years, as I’ve met with friends and listened to their stories, I’ve been heartbroken to hear of moments when they were specifically instructed not to share their testimonies with anyone because of their history of sexual sin, whether it included premarital sex or private struggles with pornography and masturbation. “Keep those sins hidden,” the advice implied. “That shame will never go away.”

That’s not just bad advice: the suggestion that certain sins are too much for Christ to redeem is a lie straight from hell. It implies that God’s grace is only strong enough to cover what we’re comfortable addressing. The truth is that if you are a follower of Jesus, you have been forgiven for everything you’ve ever done and anything you ever will do. Christ’s redemption reaches every hidden place, and His power redeems every kind of brokenness. It is able to erase the shame of sexual sin and replace it with glory. 

What could be more powerful than the testimony of a woman who is fully forgiven and living out her freedom in Christ? It’s time for you to find out. 

It’s Time to Live Free

It’s not a coincidence you’re reading this blog post today. You may think that no one is aware of your pornography addiction, but the reality is that God knows. He sees what you try so hard to keep hidden. He made you—every aspect of your body, soul, and sexuality—and sent His own Son to die so that you would no longer be enslaved to anything, including porn.

The good news of God’s mercy is not just for those meeting Jesus for the first time. It’s for Christian women too. We’re often just minutes away from getting ourselves into a new kind of mess. We’ll never outgrow our need for grace, but that is what leads us to lay aside all that prevents us from deeper intimacy with Christ. 

I recently heard a pastor say, “Many of us understand what it means to live forgiven, but few of us know what it means to live free.” That may be your story: you know that Jesus has fully forgiven your pornography addiction, but you have not yet taken steps to live out the abundant life Jesus has made possible through the cross. 

Freedom can be yours, friend. Consider which of the following lies may be keeping you from experiencing it today. 

1. Lie: It’s not that big of a deal. 

You know how private pornography addiction is. It happens without witnesses, and it wants you to believe that because no one else is immediately affected, it’s not that bad. It makes you think you can get away with this little habit without ever facing real consequences. The truth is that there’s no such thing as a small sin. Every encounter desensitizes your conscience (Psalm 10:13), increases your appetite (Eph. 4:19), and sows destruction (James 1:14–15). It also impacts your relationship with God (Isa. 59:1–2). 

God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5–7)

Ask God to make you aware of the implications of your sin and to see it for what it is. Confess to Him all the times you’ve tried to hide your pornography usage and treated it as though He wouldn’t know about it or wouldn’t care. Repent of the ways that your sin has grieved His heart, and ask Him to show you what it means that His grace is greater still. 

(Go deeper: Listen to “The Truth about Sin” with Mary Kassian.)

2. Lie: I need a sexual outlet for my desires.

You are not alone in your longing for intimacy, and that desire itself is not sinful. God designed your body and your sexuality, and He Himself called it good. But He also created it to function and flourish within the boundaries He established. You already know that pornography and masturbation encourage you to lust after someone who isn’t your husband (Matt. 5:27–28). The behaviors are self-gratifying, and rather than loving and respecting your current relationship or future marriage (Phil. 2:4), they draw you away from deeper intimacy with Jesus (1 Cor. 6:12).

If you’re a single woman as I am, you may be tempted to think, “But don’t I need an outlet to satisfy my sexual desires since I’m not married?” Or if you are married, you may believe: “I need this since my husband isn’t meeting my needs.” The world would have you believe that you cannot survive without a satisfying sex life. But Jesus, a single man with human needs, proved that you can live without sex. You can’t, however, live without intimacy. It may be necessary for you to rethink what this means. Dannah Gresh addresses this in the “sexuality” chapter of Lies Women Believe.

God created us with a capacity and need for relational intimacy (a reflection of the relational oneness within the Trinity). Whether you are married or single, stuffing your longings for intimacy and love or pretending they don’t exist doesn’t make them go away, but attempting to feed them with sex won’t work either. If need be, you can live without an outlet for your sexual desires. And physical sexual activity in and of itself cannot fulfill your longings for intimacy. Jesus desires to fulfill that need first and foremost with Himself, and through the gift of appropriate, pure human friendships.1

(Go deeper: Listen to “About Sexuality” with Dr. Juli Slattery.) 

3. Lie: I can handle this on my own. 

Let’s be honest: if you were able to win this battle on your own, wouldn’t you have done so by now? You are not powerless in this fight, but you need to pick up the resources that God has supplied you with. One of the most important is His people. 

Right now, as you read these words, you may feel the Holy Spirit letting you know it is finally time to bring this hidden part of your life into the light. God offers a way of escape: the question is if you’re willing to take it. What would happen if you pulled out your phone now and texted your mentor, your husband, or a trusted, wise friend and told them that you’ve been struggling with something you haven’t shared about before? What if you asked them to help you walk in freedom?

You cannot handle this on your own. You need others to come alongside you and help you identify the guardrails that will keep you from going back to old habits. You need them to pray with you and for you, to wrap their arms around you, and remind you that you are wholly forgiven and unconditionally loved. You need them with you through the healing process—not just for your own sake, but because when you experience freedom in your life, it will be a living testimony to everyone else of the faithfulness of your God. 

(Go deeper: Listen to “Safety of Community” with Dannah Gresh.)

Worth the Cost

If you and I were sitting in my living room today, I’d want to tell you that you can be free. Sweet friend, know this: true freedom in Christ will always be worth the cost of bringing the dark things into the light. It’s true that when you share your story, your mentor, husband, or that trusted friend may view you differently. They will begin to see you as a woman not only in need of God’s grace, but one who radiates the hope of His glory.

This article calling women to be set free from the ensnarement of pornography and sexual sin is only possible because of the generous gifts of readers like you. If this post stirred your heart, helped you or a friend in some way, would you consider making a donation to the ministry today? When you do, we’ll send you Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s newest book, Incomparable, as our thanks. Donate now to help us call more women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. 1Note: When using masturbation in this context, we are referring to self-pleasuring outside the bounds of marital intimacy. 

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, Lies Women Believe: And the Truth That Sets Them Free (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2018), 154.

About the Author

Katie Laitkep

Katie Laitkep

Katie Laitkep was working as a hospital teacher when God called her to join Revive Our Hearts as a staff writer. She serves remotely from Houston, Texas, where God sustains her through saltwater beaches, Scripture, and her local church. Katie's … read more …

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