Recently I have read many posts about pornography addictions, and most of them are well written and informative. I have noticed, however, that almost all of these posts are referring to men specifically. This is something that has perturbed me for quite some time, and I feel as if I need to speak out and say the thing that so many people within the church keep bottled inside: Women have pornography and sexual addictions, too.
In today’s society, women rarely speak out about their porn or sexual addictions. Notice that I’m not just referring to pornography. There are many sexual problems and addictions that women face, which I will not go into detail about, but strongly feel that it is important that I mention them. Most women feel ashamed because they have been so often told that, “It’s a man’s problem”. Especially within the church, I have found few resources so far that are directed towards women on this issue. I am here to tell you that it is certainly NOT only a man’s problem. Thousands of women struggle everyday with pornography or sexual addictions, and –gasp!- even women in the church struggle with pornography. For all women who may be struggling with sexual sin, I want you to know that you are not alone.
I’d like to share a story that moved me to share this message of hope to women struggling with porn or other issues. I remember the very first time I told my branch president that I was struggling. It took so long for me to actually say it, and once I did, the most awkward and heart breaking silence fell over the room. He stared at me, not with compassion, but with so much disappointment and shock. I started crying, and soon became inconsolable. I had so much taken from me that day emotionally, and I also lost my temple recommend. I felt defeated, I felt like I had failed God, and I felt like there was something horribly, terribly wrong with me. Women simply don’t have this problem, right? After that experience, I shut down for several months. I didn’t talk about it with my branch president anymore, and I didn’t make a sincere effort to repent because I felt as if it was already too late. Then, we got a new branch president. After only one week, I felt so strongly as if I needed to tell him what was going on. I was very scared and hesitant, but found that once I began to talk, the words just poured out of me. When I finished, I fully expected him to have the same reaction as my former branch president, but when I looked at him, he was crying with me. He had nothing but love and compassion for me. This is the moment when I began to heal. After a few months, I received my temple recommend back. Not because I was perfect, but because I was trying. The temple is for those who repent, make progress, and put forth sincere effort to become better. Throughout this time I have learned so much about the Atonement and Christ’s love for me personally. It has changed my heart and helped me discover who I want to become. It is still a daily battle, and maybe it always will be. Fortunately, repentance is a daily process, and Christ is there all the time. If you repent and find yourself continuing to mess up, do not get discouraged. Continue to repent with sincerity and I promise you will eventually be free from whatever is trapping you in sin. Christ didn’t just suffer for you one time. He suffered for your mistakes every single time.
For those women who may be trapped in sexual sin, there are others just like you who struggle daily with feelings of shame and worthlessness. Many who feel like God just cannot love them anymore, for they have gone too far. Many who feel like this is supposed to be a man’s problem, so there must be something terribly wrong with them. Certainly Christ could never cover something like this… Oh but He does! Christ loves each of His children and has covered the pains of ALL men and women. As long as you sincerely repent, He will forgive you every single time. No matter how far you’ve gone, how long you’ve struggled, or how many times you have messed up, Christ is still there for you. You are not alone. Go to Him. Stop pretending like He didn’t die for you.
Women and pornography is an issue I feel very strongly about, and I want any woman in the church who may struggle with this issue to know that she is not alone. I want her to know that she is a daughter of God, and He loves her perfectly and infinitely. It is never too late, and you are never too far to receive the healing power of the Atonement.