Your Brain on Porn

Parenting the Internet Generation Ebook Cover

Watching just 5 hours of porn has been proven to significantly change people's sexual beliefs and attitudes. Find out 5 distinct ways that porn warps your brain, as well as 5 biblical ways to renew your mind and find freedom.

29 thoughts on “Resources for Women Who Struggle With Porn

  1. I am a recovered pornaholic after 30 years in the grips. I still struggle with the brain battle at times but at least I’m no giving myself to the catalyst anymore! I have a small liked Facebook page called Keep It In The Light. If anyone should need anything they can contact me there. If they need to talk or have prayer with a non judgmental person who will just stand and fight with them please have them reach me at my email. God bless you all for what you are doing. God is faithful to deliver and heal us. What a Father.

    • Help I don’t know how to stop I didn’t know women suffered from this until I guess curious one day now I’m married and it’s difficult for me to stop completely I’ll stop for a month and then the temptation comes back

    • Hey Natalie. I think there are a number of things you can do when you want to change a behavior.

      1 – put behavioral interventions into place: filtering/blocking software on all devices; change your habits around the behavior: e.g., leave your phone on its charger in another room, leave your laptop in your car overnight–whenever your problem times are, make new habits.

      2 – find supportive accountability. There are lots of resources, blogs, etc. here. You should be able to find support from others who are on the same journey with you.

      3 – be vulnerable and honest about what’s happening. Talk to your husband, find a friend who will listen and help you through.

      4 – consider what your porn use is doing for you. What needs is it meeting? When you’re feeling tempted, what’s going on in your life? You might want to talk to a counselor as you process through those questions.

      Hope that helps–Kay

    • I have struggled with lust ever since I was a little girl. I was exposed to porn at a young age, and as I grew older became addicted to it. In the past year my struggle as grown severe. I acknowledge that I am addicted to porn and have tried talking to close friends, desperately seeking accountability. However, no one ever remains consistent in helping keep me accountable. I need help. Desperately. Even though I know I’m not alone in my struggle, I feel so alone. Please help me.

    • Hi Ashlie. I’m so glad you wrote in. I’m not sure if you realize this, but being exposed to porn at a young age is actually a type of child abuse.

      And I think it might be helpful for you to look at the situation from that angle. Rather than working on surface behaviors like accountability, I’d suggest that you find a counselor who is experienced in helping women who have been abused, and work through this at that level. I am very convinced that healing that deep pain will make the surface behaviors much easier to deal with.

      The American Association of Christian Counselors has an extensive directory of counselors that you can search by zip code. Find some therapists in your area, read some profiles, and find someone who has that experience with child sexual abuse.

      Here’s an animated short on finding your best-fit counselor, so you can feel informed as you make that decision. I know there is healing and hope!

      Love and peace to you, Kay

  2. What is a man of 43 years to do when he is HOME ALONE and DISABLED and NOT ABLE to go out and meet believing women WITH WHOM TO (maybe someday) get married and no longer live in sin??? ESPECIALLY when this person (ok, myself) has NO LOCAL CHURCH that CARES to help me get into church and be where i should be? What am I to do when i am ALL ALONE and have NO christian friends to fellowship with, and this is the way it has been for YEARS? WHAT ELSE am i to do? NOBODY CARES!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Ryan, that is tough. We were not meant to be without relationships. It sounds like you are struggling with purity because of your situation. In my experience, finding a Christian woman isn’t going to make struggles with lust and temptation just disappear. There are online support groups – have you searched for anything like that? Here are also some additional articles about lust and temptation. Blessing doesn’t just automatically come when we start being obedient, but sometimes, greater alignment with holiness and God’s plan just puts us in places where we see life differently, and are in places where blessing flows. That is my hope for you! Ryan, God is for you.

    Peace,
    Chris

  4. Heyo,

    I’m a lady looking to curb masturbation for good, and I’m wondering if you can suggest good sites for online support groups. I’ve struggled with porn for over 10 years, and masturbation even longer. From a young age, I’ve always been dirty-minded. I always used to trick boys into showing their privates in early elementary, I used to draw pornography in 2nd grade, I started writing extensive pornographic fantasies up through 8th grade, I’ve tried coming on to my friends at pool parties….I even gave beastiality a go in high school with my mother’s dog and my neighbor’s dog, I was just so desperate for sex. Fortunately, I was diagnosed with depression mid-way through hs (weird to say it like that, I know, but hear me out). I never wanted to socialize and I missed homecoming, prom, grad night, and all those late night party-ish events. But if I hadn’t have been so antisocial in hs, I probably would have been pregnant. It truly was a blessing in disguise. Once I hit college, I loved the fact that I had my own room to masturbate freely in (I didn’t live in traditional dorms with roommates and all that). And so I took advantage of my solitude and masturbated. For all four years. And now, as a recent college grad, I write this letter of plea. I’m about to move to another country for work and I have reason to believe my husband is there waiting for me. But I do NOT want to drag this habit into the new chapter I’m about to begin. I feel like it will just obliterate my chances of a happy relationship/marriage. I’ve tried talking to my bible study leader, my youth pastor, and other women at my church, but no one sticks around long enough to help me (very similar to Ashlie’s earlier post). I’m not looking to make friends, I’m just looking for support and accountability.

    Personally, I find it really easy to avoid porn. That’s actually one of the more rare ways I stumble. My biggest trap is being alone in my room in the dark, i.e. when I’m going to sleep. I start fantasizing, and I’m well aware that once I have entertained the thought, I’ve already lost. So with that mentality, I find it SO HARD to stop. I mean, if I already sinned just by thinking about it, then I might as well enjoy the moment of weakness right? My sin had better be worth the consequences that follow. I usually don’t see a point to resisting further once my fantasies take off. And I’ve already tried making it really inconvenient: I’ve physically harmed particular areas of my body to deter my urges (that didn’t work, I just waited til I was healed or just endured the pain with the orgasm); I’ve removed the door to my room so that other people in the house would hear/see me if I tried to masturbate (that didn’t work–I just got really good at doing it stealthily); I’ve gone to bed during daylight hours (that didn’t work); I’ve worn layers of clothing to prevent me from easy access (didn’t work)….nothing really helps. My fantasies have gotten to the point where I have caught myself masturbating in my sleep, if you can believe that! I’ve woken up, hands down my pants, mid-orgasm, plenty of times which is really embarrassing when you know you don’t live alone and that anyone could have heard you. I am terrified that I won’t be able to break this since I’ve learned it’s so ingrained in my subconscious.

    In my life, I’ve already cut out so many struggles I used to battle: suicide attempts, cutting, eating disorders…I have gotten closer to the woman God intended me to be each year. But for whatever reason, this one is the one thing I just can’t beat. I read the bible nearly everyday, and I say scripture when I am weak. But then I give up when I’ve been aroused for too long. I really need people to talk to everyday, and I’m just not getting that from my resources. I want to be as pure as I can be for my future hubby, and I’m just not becoming wife material on my own. I don’t want to bring my addiction into a relationship; I know I’ve screwed a lot up on my own already. My greatest fear is that I’ll never be able to marry due to this awful habit and I need help.

    (It’s a shame that I am more motivated to fight for a husband I don’t even have than I am to fight for a relationship with God…I wish that weren’t true, but I guess it’s just something I’ll deal with later…? God is becoming the side pursuit instead of the main one and that’s just ungrateful of me. I do feel bad, but I want my husband more desperately than I want God, and that’s just cold hard fact. If you have any suggestions on that, please don’t hesitate to address that too!)

    Please Please PLEASE, if you know of any reliable online support groups, help a sister out! I NEED help in so many ways, but porn and masturbation are my last hurdle in my walk with God. I want freedom!!

    • Hi Leah. Thanks for sharing your story here. I’m going to suggest that instead of an online support group, you look for a counselor in your area, someone who is familiar with treating childhood trauma. The history that you talk about, especially as a very young child, makes me wonder if you suffered some kind of trauma as a child that then expressed itself in acting out sexually. That would certainly account for the other issues you’ve names here: suicide attempts, eating disorders, cutting etc. I would like to see you find someone who can help you from a trauma-informed perspective. Peace to you, Kay

    • Hi Leah, have you tried talking to a doctor about your issue? It might be some sort of hormonal imbalance. It could also be a childhood trauma like Kay suggested. Even if you don’t remember any trauma there could still be something you blocked from memory. We are praying for you, and I believe you can find God in your heart again. He is there no matter how much struggle clouds his presence.

  5. Hi , I need help..I recently graduated From colleage and I’ve turned into a porn addict…no week to by that I don’t masturbate at least twice. It’s an issue for me be I am a Christian , I’ve prayed ,fasted, downloaded books and app,I just can’t fight it. I haven’t had sex before ,I know it’s wrong but it feels good till I’m done,then the guilt comes and I believe God is so mad at me. I haven’t told any one yet mostly because of his embarrassing it will be for me…I need help.I feel like I need to talk to a total stranger about my problem,someone that gets me,someone that won’t judge but I havent found one yet.

    • Hey there! I know now you’re going through, and the fear of embarrassment admitting to our addiction and behavior can be paralyzing. But know that there are others who understand the struggle and have overcome through Christ. I found an amazing Christ centered group that has meetings all over the country. It’s called Celebrate Recovery and I have witnessed lives change and my own as well! There is hope for those in Christ!

      Living in faith,
      Christine

  6. I feel relief that am not the only one in this fight of porn n masturbation my case is similar.. am kinda addicted bt the prob is only wen I watch porn I get aroused…the days am nt close to my phone I am normal.. bt I can’t be without it Cos I use it for studies.. sometimes I think God hate me for doing this.. it is slowly destroying my relationship with him…. I ve prayed fasted…talked to people bt to no avail…. the reason am scared of masturbation is dat u pleasure ur self unlike fornication that a man or woman is needed… u can run away from a man n woman bt u can’t run away from urself…tnx for this block.. I won’t gv hope bt keep on trying

    • Hello. I’m so glad that you’re trying. If the phone is the problem, then why keep it? Is using it for your studies a good enough reason to keep the “thing” that creates the greatest temptation? It sounds like you seek God. I’m so glad. His word tells us to “pluck” out the things that hinder us. So, to put it into context, “it is better to find another way to do your studies than to be thrown into the sea with your phone” or something like that :) (I’m trying to paraphrase). God IS for you and desires your whole heart. That might mean some tough decisions. How badly do you want Him? Questions like this are ones that only you can answer. I hope the best for you.

      Peace, Chris

  7. Hi. I came across this website in need of help. I’m a 15 year old girl struggling with pornography and I have been since I was 8. I’ve been on and off for a while but a few months ago it got out of control. I haven’t missed a day without masturbating. Sometimes multiple times a day. I feel so guilty afterwards and I get so disappointed in myself. I have been very religious all my life but lately I have lost my connection with God. I feel like I let him down. I don’t like the thought that he doesn’t want me anymore because I’m not strong enough to fight my temptations. I want my old self back.

    I read about how porn and masturbation ruins sex in your marriage and changes your connections that you could have with your partner. I don’t want to struggle like that with the one I love and maybe ruin my marriage. I want to stop now and save pleasure for my marriage. Please. I need help

    • Hey there.

      First of all, let me reassure you that you are not letting God down. He loves you exactly as you are, every moment of your life. Nothing can separate you from that love, the Bible says. You know that passage? It’s in Romans 8:31-39

      “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

      Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

      And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

      So here’s the deal. If life and death and angels and demons and the powers of hell can’t separate you from God’s love, I’m willing to bet that masturbation won’t do it either.

      Okay?

      Put that lie right out of your head. Our culture has deep, deep problems around sexuality in general, and womens’ sexuality in particular, that have NOTHING to do with God or the Bible. Know that God loves you. He made you, he made your body, and he loves you as you are.

      If you want to change behaviors in your life (and all of us will, at one time or another! we’ve all got stuff that needs to change.) then the ONE thing I’ve found that helps me change is knowing that I’m safe and loved, and I can try and fail and try again as many times as I need to, because Love is right there, holding me safe all the time. Taking the anxiety of shame out of the process helps immensely, which I’ll explain below.

      One thing I would say to you is that an early onset of a strong habit of masturbation is often a red flag for some other kind of emotional disturbance. If you can look back at your early childhood and easily identify an event or series of events that was difficult for you, then I’d say you might want to look into processing those events. You may have begun masturbating as a way to calm yourself in a difficult season, and learning other methods of calming yourself can be a helpful way forward.

      Counseling could be helpful to you to process through past pain and present shame in a caring relationship.

      But you can also do a lot of good for yourself with healing techniques like yoga and alternate nostril breathing. There’s a ton of great research out there on how those practices will help calm the limbic system of your brain, which is what the physical side of masturbation does for your brain. Unfortunately, we have a lot of shame around masturbation, so while an orgasm comforts your brain initially, the shame will then kick up even more disturbance in the limbic system, which results in needing to masturbate again. It’s a vicious cycle! If we can calm the limbic system in other ways, like yoga and good breathing techniques, it will often help lessen the need for a behavior like masturbation. And I think stopping the shame is huge as well.

      I hope that helps. Let me know if you have more questions,

      Kay

  8. Hello! Similar to Katelin, I am 16 years old and started masturbating at around age 8 (and started viewing porn at about age 9). However, my situation is somewhat different beyond the ages.

    I feel that I’ve grown so much spiritually in the last few years, especially in the past year or so, and, in result, my sexual activity is definitely much more manageable now; however, the lustfullness still hasn’t completely withered, and I’m not sure what to do.

    I absolutely cannot tell my parents (largely for my own emotional well-being, nothing on their end). I am, however, currently seeking therapy (mostly for other issues).

    My questions are: if I speak to a therapist about my porn/sexual problems, will they have to tell my parents or anyone in the law, since I’m a minor and it’s technically illegal, and since I don’t have any privacy rights, given my age? And, if so–because, let’s be honest, I feel that it’s likely that they wouldn’t keep my dirty secret–what are some resources that I could use to help me tackle this with God?

    Thank you so much for your help, you are so kind (:

    • Hi Kayla,

      I’m a therapist, I see a lot of adolescents, and I always ask parents to respect their child’s right to privacy in therapy. My deal with parents is that if I am worried about their child, and the child has not revealed the problem, I will invite the parents into the session so we can talk about what’s going on. Things I would want parents to know about would include: self-harm, suicidality, bullying, etc.

      In the case of pornography use, I do want parents to be aware of what they can do to be helpful to their child in terms of filtering/monitoring. I personally don’t think that masturbation is a sin, and even Dr. James Dobson (one of the most conservative Christian authors) says that masturbation is normal. Of course, like everything, if it’s interfering with your daily functioning or if it becomes your only way to manage emotions, then it’s a problem. I think the shame we’ve created around masturbation is more of a problem than the act itself, frankly. I think the more healthy we are about our sexuality in general, the less masturbation is a problem. Living in the reality that you are fully loved by God in every minute, masturbating included, I think is the best possible way to tackle this issue. Shame never, never helps us get free. Love does. (That’s why Jesus showed up. Because our ability to do everything right is non-existent, and he needed us to see that he loves us as we are.)

      So if you were my client, I would not tell your parents about the masturbation. I would want them to know about filtering their internet! But that might be a conversation you could have with them? Just saying that you’ve seen some stuff, you don’t want to see any more, and asking them to please protect you from what’s online.

      At any rate, you’d probably want to ask the therapist up-front what kinds of things they report to parents, just so you’re clear. But there’s no law that says we have to report masturbation to parents.

      By the way, if you can have conversations like this and ask questions like this at age 16, I’m not worried about you much at all :) I have every confidence that you’ll figure things out just fine.

      Peace to you,
      Kay

    • Hello, Tia – I’m sorry that you are struggling. Making a firm decision to stop and then making the same decision day after day is so important. You are not alone! There are places like Beggar’s Daughter and Dirty Girls Ministry that understand where you are. My hope is that you find hope for yourself and the freedom you deserve.

      Peace, Chris

  9. I have struggled greatly with porn and visual lust. Time and again, however, I have come across people and resources that persist women are not aroused visually. But I get very aroused by attractive men. Why, then, do Christians keep insisting that I, as a female, cannot be tempted in such a way, or sin in such a way? Again and again, I read and hear things like, “Men and women are different, you cannot possibly struggle with such a sin, stats and studies show that only men are aroused visually.” And the vicious cycle continues – I look at men, get aroused, and wonder why the lie continues. There are no online communities for women like me; the porn recovery sites for women are all emotion and trauma-based, so the women don’t really have the same issues I do — they don’t get excited by handsome men, their bodies, etc. My problem hinders my faith — it makes me wonder why God created me female if I have a problem that females allegedly “cannot” have. Nothing has been a greater stumbling block, spiritually. There are no accountability partners for such a thing like this. I’ve searched, and found nothing. It has consumed me, and I don’t know what else to do.

    • Hi Khendra,
      I agree with you that the creation of “men are this way, women are that way” is not a useful generalization. Did you check any of the links we’ve provided here? I think you’ll find a number of communities of women who would have stories similar to yours. You can find online groups for women at xxxChurch as well.
      Peace to you,
      Kay

  10. I have been struggling with porn since sometime in high school and I am now a sophomore in college. I got into a relationship with my boyfriend in the beginning of college, and we have been together for 6 months now. At our four month stage, I watched porn and what I watch escalated to same sex- ever since then, I have lost myself, my feelings for my relationship, every sense of who I am as a person, and I even started to question if I was straight. I have begun to go to therapy because for me to question all those things is not who I am. I know it’s not the relationship because there was one time where I watched it and felt extremely guilty afterwards, but I was able to pull myself back and say “hey, it’s ok” and I still felt like myself but the last time I watched it I wasn’t able to do that. I don’t know when this comment will be seen, but I would really appreciate it if it could be seen and answered. I just want myself, my love, my normal self back. Thanks.

    • Hi, Emily – I bet if you really take time to read, listen, and pray through the resources Luke has listed here, you will find freedom. Do you believe that freedom is possible? If you don’t believe it, then it won’t happen. I believe you can! I hope you do, too.

  11. Please pray for me. I also struggle on this issue. I was exposed on this at a very young age. When im a little girl no one told me that masturbation and porn is a sin. I was also experienced sexual abuse when im a child by my frnds. I taught i already overcome it before but after so many years pass, i struggle on this issue again. Please pray for me! I want to serve the Lord without any guilt and shadow of this sin.

    • Hey Mary,
      It sounds like you’ve got some trauma from your past. I hope you’ll find a counselor who can help you work through that pain, and hopefully find some healing in the present as well.
      Peace to you,
      Kay

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