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Empowering you to build a pro-life, pro-family world.

Empowering you to build a pro-life, pro-family world.

Empowering you to build a pro-life, pro-family world.

An Open Letter to a Woman Addicted to Porn

Dear Daughter of God,

This may be a difficult letter to read, but I write it out of love and concern for your well-being. I understand that pornography is an uncomfortable subject, and its consumption is likely something you feel embarrassed or ashamed about.

I know that watching porn is something you’ve been trying to hide. I know you feel like you have no one to talk to. You’ve withdrawn into yourself more and more, and you’ve found your self-image diminishing. Sometimes you look at yourself in the mirror and don’t even recognize the person staring back at you. You may even feel your life spiraling out of control because of how much you watch. But I want you to know that you’re not alone. I want you to know that you can never lose your God-given dignity. And I want you to know that there is help out there.

African psychologist holds hands of girl patient, closeup view

Prevalence of Porn

Porn is a very real problem. And it’s not just a problem for men or teens; female porn addiction is on the rise:

  • Over 30% of women watch porn at least once a week.
  • Another 30% say they watch it a few times a month.
  • 17% of women report that they struggle with addiction to pornography.

Because many women feel too embarrassed to admit watching, those are likely conservative numbers.

With a revenue of $12 billion in just the US alone, porn is a huge market. And it’s not going away.

As of this writing, in June 2021, four adult websites rank in the top 25 of all Internet sites worldwide.

In a society that teaches that anything is okay as long as it feels good, and where no one wants to be judgmental, it’s easy to fall into the trap and believe that no one is being hurt by porn. But that’s not true. Watching pornography hurts you. And it affects nearly all of your relationships.

 

Porn Does Hurt

There are many reasons that women begin watching porn: curiosity, boredom, loneliness, isolation, and so on. But porn can be like a glass that shatters on a tile floor. Just as it’s impossible to predict where the shards will land, it’s impossible to know how much damage there will be from watching porn. And it’s impossible to know the number of people who will get hurt.

Portrait of depressed young woman hiding her face sitting on grey textile couch holding the phone. Sad female in her room. Female porn addiction, women addicted to porn.

Indeed, studies have documented the psychological damage that can occur. And personal testimonies of women addicted to porn, like the story of this wife and mom named Collette, tell a sad tale:

I craved my next porn fix all day long. I hid from my family and loved ones in order to feed my increasingly disturbing appetite. I taught my body to respond only to very specific stimulation, and this carried over into my marriage. I taught myself that I deserved to be hurt, like the women in porn are hurt. I taught myself that I deserved only domination, pain, disrespect, and abuse…. I taught myself that I had to let men do what they wanted to me. That was all I was worth…. It has taken years of counseling, communication, and redemptive healing to work through those issues. My porn addiction became a central tenet of who I was, my core identity. It was confusing, traumatizing, and devastating.

There are many more stories like Collette’s. Maybe you have a similar one. But just as she found help, so can you. And I urge you to seek help because porn hurts you both psychologically and physically.

 

Porn and Your Brain

Let’s look at what porn does to your brain. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

At a neurological level, our brains become attached to viewing pornography because sexual arousal stimulates dopamine in the brain, a neurochemical that promotes connection with activities that bring us joy or a sense of satisfaction. In the case of viewing pornography, we are training our brains to respond to and enjoy an image or fantasy, not a real person. But since the brain does not differentiate between imaginary and real, it is flooded with the same neurochemicals as produced by real sexual intimacy. In fact, the types of images found in pornography cause over-stimulation of the brain, which then wants to repeat the activity and is “triggered” by anything associated with it (being home alone, the computer turning on, etc.). Eventually, repeated over-stimulation caused by viewing pornography decreases our ability to experience normal levels of pleasure and reduces the brain’s ability to regulate impulse and mood.1

What this means is that, once you make a habit of viewing pornography, your brain and your body need that “fix” to become stimulated. Many women soon find that their partner is not good enough. It then becomes a vicious cycle: you “need” porn, so you watch more porn.

As time goes on, it becomes more and more difficult to break the cycle.

 

Other Negative Effects

In addition to affecting your brain, porn harms your body image. The people in pornographic videos give you an unrealistic expectation for what normal and healthy relationships and bodies look like. When you watch porn and see young, attractive, and thin women, you begin to compare yourself—and your partner—to them. Your brain then tells you that you’re not good enough or that you are lacking something. You begin to think: What’s wrong with me?

Porn also changes your attitude toward your partner. You begin to find more flaws in your partner’s body. This decreases your satisfaction with, and puts a strain on, your relationship.

young woman on her phone ignoring the man next to her

Furthermore, nearly all of mainstream porn contains men who use women as objects. Fight the New Drug, an organization that raises awareness of the harmful effects of porn, highlights the reality of porn’s message “that both men and women aren’t worth anything more than the sum of their body parts and how much sexual pleasure they can offer.”

Porn makes you believe the lie that bodies are mere toys to be played with as people see fit. And with the repeated viewing of pornography, many women, like Collette, find that they begin to desire that men do degrading things to them.

This can lead to depression and low self-esteem.

According to Fight the New Drug:

For an increasing number of people, including women, pornography has become a substitute for the feeling of happiness, or even … a coping mechanism. Like other harmful behaviors, porn can be used as an escape from reality. It can be used to make the consumer (temporarily) forget about feelings of sadness, fear, anger, or boredom.

This habit can lead to or fuel existing depression, and is also something depression can lead to.

In an article entitled “How the Porn Industry Capitalizes on the Loneliness and Depression of its Consumers,” the author states:

From a business perspective, the porn industry has a pretty clever racket going. Their product offers consumers temporary relief from anxiety, depression, and loneliness in exchange for making these same problems much worse in the long-term. That works out really well for pornographers, since the worse their customers’ anxiety and isolation grow, the more reason they have to turn back to porn. But for the consumer, the end result isn’t nearly so nice.

Indeed. The USCCB hits the nail on the head: “What is presented as liberating, euphoric, and fulfilling ends up creating frustration, emptiness, and shame…. Using pornography impacts the whole person, body and soul, and thus healing is needed for the mind, the emotions, one’s relationships, and the spiritual dimensions of the person.”

Viewing pornography hurts you in many ways. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the problem and then work to solve it.

 

Seek Help

If you fear that your porn viewing has become an addiction, ask yourself these questions and answer honestly:

  • Do you feel powerless or unable to control your viewing behaviors?
  • Do you lie to others about your viewing habits? Do you engage in risky behaviors online or offline, such as watching porn at work?
  • Are you preoccupied with sexual thoughts and fantasies?
  • Do you feel pain or despair as a result of pornography use?

If you answer yes to these questions, please seek help. Sometimes porn addiction is too much to handle on your own. Do not feel ashamed to ask for help. There are so many groups out there that will support you as you combat this addiction. They are filled with people who understand your feelings of powerlessness and helplessness. They understand the shame, and they want nothing more than to help you overcome this.

Seeking counseling or joining an online group is important. These groups keep you accountable for your behavior and help you find the path to healing.

And as you heal, it’s important to seek forgiveness—from those you have hurt and from God. Confession is the perfect place to start. There is no sin too big to not be forgiven if you approach God with a contrite heart.

Please don’t be afraid to take the next step and seek help. You can get through this. Below is a list of groups that will guide you in your recovery:

 

Concluding Thoughts

In Psalm 139, we read that we are all wonderfully made. And in 1 Corinthians, we read that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. God teaches us that we must treat our bodies with reverence and respect.

God loves us no matter what we do. And because He loves us, He wants what’s best for us. What’s best for us includes healthy, caring relationships where both parties are respected, treated lovingly, and cherished.

Pornography takes all of that away, diminishing a loving act and making it utilitarian. Pornography hurts us mentally and physically.

You deserve more. You are special. And you matter.

 

Sincerely,

A Friend

 

More information, courtesy of OnlinePsychologyDegree.net:

 

porn addiction statistics: infographic, courtesy of Online Psychology Degree
 

Endnote

[1] See N. D. Volkow, et. al., “Addiction: Decreased Reward Sensitivity and Increased Expectation Sensitivity Conspire to Overwhelm the Brain’s Control Circuit,” Bioessays 32:9 (2010): 748-55.

William M. Struthers, Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2009).



1 Comment

  1. Dee Dee on June 24, 2021 at 9:46 PM

    This is important information but I think there needs to be a free resource that can block pornography from phones and computers. Pornography is a huge evil in the world.

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