If I’m going to be honest with you all about ministering in the messiness of life, I have to include the subject of pornography. It’s an epidemic. And not just among men, but also among women. It’s a topic no one wants to talk about, but as leaders of women’s ministry we must be equipped to minister to women who struggle with this issue.
Most people avoid the topic of pornography and therefore know little about the realities of porn:
- Pornography re-routes how the addicted person thinks. It becomes a physical addiction.
- Porn replaces all other needs such as being hungry, sleepy, or in need of exercise with the desire to satisfy the addictive desire. For example, the addicted person may feel tired, but this is interrupted as being a need for a pornographic fix. The person comes to the place of not eating, sleeping, or meeting basic needs but meeting these with pornography.
- Pornography crosses all demographics; it impacts every age group and every economic group.
- Pornography has invaded the church. 64 percent of Christian men say they view pornography at least once a month. 15 percent of Christian women do so.1 We do not want to think this, but anyone is vulnerable to a pornography addiction.
- Pornography is about money. It generates more than $13 billion per year, while more than $3 billion is spent yearly on Internet pornography.1
- Pornography is not victimless.
- The women or men in the material are victims and seen only as objects of sexual fulfillment rather than individuals. Most pornography includes aggressive, abusive behaviors.
- The spouses of the addicted person suffer from having unrealistic sexual expectations placed on them.
- The families of the addicted person have financial resources taken away from meeting familial needs and into satisfying the porn addiction.
- The addicted person becomes unable to cope in society. With addiction comes shame, guilt, and feelings of hopelessness and being out of control.
How to help a woman addicted to pornography:
- Don’t ignore the addiction. Reach out to her, and listen to her story. Pray with her and help her seek wise counsel.
- Don’t say, “Just stop.” If she could, she would have already.
- Don’t judge. Any one of us could fall into the lure and seduction of pornography. It starts with reading a racy novel or watching a movie that is a little risqué. It does not take much.
- Don’t walk away. Be there for her. Listen to her struggles. Encourage her. Provide her with Scriptures to keep her encouraged.
- Don’t share her story without permission. It’s her story to share, not yours.
How to help women resist pornography:
- Pray for women to be protected from the draw of pornography.
- Set up accountability relationships, mentorships, or partnerships. We all need accountability.
- Study the Scriptures to discover what God has to say about purity and holiness.
- Teach what the Bible says about purity often.
- Talk to women one-on-one about porn.
- Be brave. Talk about pornography. What is hidden stays hidden and is allowed to grow. Warn women about the slow and deceptive ways women are drawn into pornography.
- Host an informal forum on pornography. Have women who have recovered from a pornography addiction share their stories.
There are stories in every church of families destroyed by pornography. Stories of financial ruin, broken hearts, and children whose lives have been ripped apart. Women left covered by shame and guilt. Men consumed with wrongful desire. This is not part of God’s plan for the family, but pornography creeps in and devours, leaving nothing in its wake. Pornography destroys. It makes a mess. Be brave enough to step in and be a part of rescuing women from pornography.
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Next week, I’ll be focusing on ministering to wives of men addicted to pornography.
For more help and resources on ministering in the messy, check out Women Reaching Women in Crisis and Steps: Gospel-Centered Recovery or refer to the other articles in the Hurting Women or Ministering in the Messy categories.
Dr. Deb Douglas has served in women’s ministry for over 37 years. Now she spends her time working with Purchased Ministry, a ministry to women in the sex trade industry. Deb is also the Director of Biblical Counseling at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA. She was the first to graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary with a Masters degree focusing on women’s ministry and has earned a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is “Pearl” to 3 sweet grand babies, “Mom” to Jared Douglas and Katie Chavis, and wife/sweetheart to Paul Douglas.