Shame is the knowledge that you’ve done something wrong and because of it you are a bad person. This is not good. We’ve all had experiences of shame. Just think of a time when you did something humiliating. You just want to crawl under a rock whenever you think of it. For many people pornography use is a shameful thing. This is especially true for women. Much of this is due to a double standard. In our culture it is accepted that men view pornography. It’s “a guy thing.” However, for women it’s a different story. Women are supposed to be “pure.” Thus, if it were discovered that a woman struggled with pornography or sex addiction, society would label her as a slut or a whore. She would face judgment and condemnation. In addition, the shame that women who struggle with pornography or sex addiction face can also lead them to believe that God could never love them. This is particularly painful.
Hope for Women
If you are a woman struggling with immense shame due to your addiction, I’m here to tell you that you are not a bad person. You are not unlovable. God still loves you. Nothing you could ever do could take His love away from you. God wants to hold you in his arms and comfort you. You may not have had a loving protective father in your life. God wants to be that father for you. As you reach out for help, you will realize that there are many people who want to help you. No one will condemn you, especially God. Through your recovery, you will learn just how incredibly special and lovable you are.
Crystal Renaud is a woman who did learn this. Crystal was raised in a good Christian home. Unfortunately, her mother struggled with depression and her father was busy with his career. This left her very lonely. She eased her loneliness with pornography. This led to an eight-year struggle with pornography addiction. She led a double life. On the outside, Crystal presented the appearance of a faithful Christian woman. On the inside, she felt like a terrible hypocrite. If people found out about her “dirty little secret” what would they think of her? Crystal’s pornography use went from magazines, to Internet porn, to chat rooms, to phone sex and finally to arranging to meet a man she contacted online. Fortunately she couldn’t bring herself to go through with the rendezvous. Then one day, God intervened. A woman at a Christian concert opened up to Crystal and shared about her struggle with pornography. This surprised Crystal. She believed she was the only woman who ever struggled with pornography addiction. Crystal also admitted her struggle and both women became accountability partners. This was the beginning of Crystal’s recovery. She came to realize God’s great love for her and the love of the people He placed in her life. This allowed Crystal to let go of her shame (Renaud, 2011).
Like anyone in recovery, Crystal has had her struggles, yet she has persevered. She now helps other women who struggle with pornography addiction find help. You can learn more about Crystal and her story in her book Dirty Girls Come Clean.
The shame that addicted women feel often makes it more difficult for them to seek help. However, I’m asking you to trust God with this. There are many compassionate therapists and support groups that are ready to help. Taking that leap of faith to ask for help is the first step to recovery. Healing and recovery are possible. Don’t be discouraged. Have hope! I want to leave you with a very special story from the Gospel of John chapter 8:
Then the Scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such a woman. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No on, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, from now on do not sin any more” (NABR, 1986).
In this scene, Jesus does not condemn the woman. He does acknowledge her sin and admonishes her to “sin no more.” However, he also treats her with love and compassion. He wants you to know how much he loves you and wants to heal you. You are a beloved daughter of God. He will provide many wonderful people who are eager to help you. Allow God to love you by seeking help today!