About the author, Jay Stringer

A licensed mental health counselor and ordained minister, Jay Stringer has spent the last decade working on the frontlines of the demand for pornography and sexual exploitation. Stringer holds an MDiv and Master in Counseling Psychology from the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and received post-graduate training under Dr. Patrick Carnes and Dr. Dan Allender. Jay's first book, Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing, will be released in the fall of 2018. His book includes original research on over 3,600 men and women struggling with pornography. Visit Jay's website to download a free chapter. Follow Jay on Twitter: @_jaystringer

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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.

17 thoughts on “Silence: The Sound of Female Sexual Shame

  1. whenever I bring up men’s stats re porn, a very common, almost universal male response is well “it’s a growing problem for many women too”… implying that it’s the women’s fault and don’t just point fingers at the men, deal with your own gender first… so… your article helps support a theory I’ve had that it is mainly men grooming women to be sexual perverts for the men and (some) men want women hooked on porn for the guy’s selfish pleasure… so sick and disturbing! (some) men want women to be a sexual object and “introducing” girls/women to porn normalizes that behavior that they want… I’ve had this theory, but there is no data to support it (just anecdotal evidence). so appreciate your study to expose how porn is intentionally introduced… and I would add to “normalize” sexual promiscuity and perversions… so per your stats 82% of people had porn intentionally introduced to them… WOW! how has this been “missed” in the past? well actually I’m not surprised as porn is such a taboo subject and that’s why we are dealing with it in the epidemic proportions going on…

    but Jay, I find the use of “curiousity” disturbing… (both in this article and the other one posted on CE a month or so ago)… i get analyzing/processing sexual fantasies to understand what are triggers in one’s sexual journey, but being “curious” about them I think gives permission to continue with inappropriate sexual fantasies (not sure there are appropriate ones, haven’t thought about that a whole lot, but I’m aware that porn will stir up many inappropriate fantasies as porn is known to fuel increased violence against women and fuel sexual trafficking which actions start with a sick fantasy)… from a woman’s perspective being “curious” about sexual fantasies is disturbing to me and creepy and I think harmful in general, that when the stats tell us almost 70% of men in Church look @ porn on a regular basis, and knowing that breeds sexual fantasies for them… ugh… it almost makes me want to avoid church sometimes…

    also, I wasn’t impressed with your title and opening sentence- as again, that is the almost always part of the response from male leaders in the Church when I bring up stats re porn in the Church – that’s it’s problem for women too… but the article ended up being a confirmation that it is men that are generally grooming the vulnerable children and women to get hooked on porn… again, so disturbing… but, that gives me valid support of my theory and can use that to expose and respond to the deception going on with porn, when men are quick to point the finger back at women… so on the one hand, it’s disturbing – but I already was pretty sure that might be the case, and on the other it’s a confirmation of what we are dealing with in this battle re porn… and it goes back to the men being the main problem, and the men have to deal with it first… because there failure to deal with it is spawning porn use by the women and children… so sick! because the men (particularly in the church) have failed to address porn effectively*** in the last 20+ years… *** this is an entire disucssion on it’s own… if we want to analyze the huge failure of Church leaders to deal with this with any effective signficance… and why!

    • I recently heard this question asked by a man I greatly respect: “If all the men in the world died tonight, how many brothels would exist tomorrow?” There was dead silence in the room, and then a lot of nervous chuckles. Because we all know the answer to that question.

      ZERO.

      Our culture, including our Christian culture, accepts that men will objectify and use women sexually.

      There’s not even a question about whether this will happen; everyone just assumes that because a man has a brain, he must use it to objectify women.

      Until the church faces this lie, there will be no forward progress, only a lot of excuses that eventually lead back to the same old lie that’s been there from the beginning: “the woman that thou gavest me…”

    • Hi Bev,

      Thanks for your thoughts. I will try to respond to each of your three paragraphs.
      Paragraph 1) Yes, there is a lot of grooming when it comes to introducing pornography to children. It’ so tragic. I want to scream and weep.

      Paragraph 2) I would say “curiosity” is synonymous with analyzing/processing arousal. Most of us have never thought about the symbolism within our lusts. As a clinician, I’ve seen so much growth in people’s lives when they begin processing their brokenness instead of just hating themselves for it. I find God to be refreshingly curious about who we are and I think we would be well served by this too. And yes, I fully agree that pornography contains so much male violence against women. I have at least a chapter /1.5 chapters addressing that in my upcoming book.

      Paragraph 3) From what I can gather from your critique, it seems that if I say 30% of pornography users are women, it overlooks how women are victims in their use of pornography? If so, that is why I tried to take the angle of the his is ” introduction” not the discovery of porn. Re: critique of the church/male leadership. I agree. There was a recently study done in HBR about how the abdication of power does more damage in organizations than the coercive use of it. I see church leaders guilty of both coercion and abdication. Over 50% of our pastors are using porn, which also inhibits them from truly bringing the voice of integrity they need to address the issue of porn/male violence against women. The first book I am writing is certainly about those who “use” porn, but I am certainly hoping to engage this issue far more as it relates to pastors/churches as time goes on.

    • Bev,

      Just had one more thought from a man named Jackson Katz who has a great TED Talk titled, “Violence against women – it’s a men’s issue”. He speaks to some of the issues you were raising in your comment. He also had a remarkable post go viral a couple weeks ago in reference to the #MeToo that women were sharing across various platforms. Katz says: “We talk about how many women were raped last year, not about how many men raped women. We talk about how many girls in a school district were harassed last year, not how many boys harassed girls. We talk about how many teenage girls in the state of Vermont got pregnant last year, rather than how many men and boys impregnated teenage girls….Even the term ‘violence against women’ is problematic. It’s a passive construction; there’s no active agent in the sentence.”

    • I honestly think the “finger pointing” needs to stop. Period. Men AND women are both equally responsible for the sexual brokenness in this world. I think you are conveniently forgetting that women and men are both born with brains and wills of their own. Just because there are men out there who want to attempt to “brainwash” women into becoming sexual objects does not mean that women have to make that choice. You are blaming men for women’s bad behavior and that is NOT Biblically sound. Everyone is responsible for their own choices and sins. And you are honestly making women out to be pretty brainless which is very insulting.

      Children of BOTH sexes on the other hand are incredibly vulnerable to the disturbing and disgusting influence that both men and women are responsible for in these very evil times. Women in the media play a particularly big role in sending sexual messages to young children of both genders by CHOOSING to pose seductively for magazines, participate in nude scenes, dance around half naked in music videos, etc. Men may be involved in these projects but the women are EQUALLY involved by CHOOSING to participate. The encouragement and attention they get from men is not an excuse for their choices.

      I wholeheartedly agree that God intends men to be leaders and therefore be the ones to address issues such as porn in the church, but that does not make men solely responsible for the damage that porn and other sexually explicit material is causing. And we won’t get anywhere unless we address what men and women are doing wrong to perpetuate these issues.

      Women are NOT poor little brainless creatures who can’t help but be influenced by men who want to turn them into perverts. I assure you, there are women out there with plans of their own to ensnare men for their own selfish purposes.

    • Bev…I strongly agree with you as well. ….men need to change first
      I have had men try to convince me that lesbians are more acceptable than gays because women’s bodies are more attractive than a mans? Really? So….I was told it should be more natural for me to fantasize about women than a man about a man? Really? …..I can’t believe the average person cannot see it!!!! What’s on the billboards/commercials/Ads/movie/sitcoms/magazine…..what is SHOVED down our throats every DAY! Images of women….not men…..with sexy looks, open mouths biting into a Taco Bell burrito, biting my into a burger, etc….we have been programmed by society to think the way men want us to think…..yes I will sound like a feminist right now..but only to someone who fails to see the truth….perversion of sex and distorting it will never change ….unless men ….especially men in leadership change it first by recognizing women not only as a being MADE FOR ADAM

    • Bev,
      It may be helpful if you didn’t use the language in your response towards people who struggle with pornography. Calling these people, “sick, perverted, etc.” doesn’t help. One of the problems that men and women who struggle with this have is that they feel dirty, sick, not valued or respected, etc.” When those words are used against them, it only makes them more discouraged and even more likely to fall into sexual sin. In a word, they feel shame- just what this article is about. If we can celebrate their sexuality and not make them feel like they are just “perverts” we can help them look at this problem in a new light.

      Besides, it sounds like Lisa probably would have at some point had this problem with pornography if a man introduced it to her or not. Nearly everyone will eventually come across, just like her grandfather came across it at some point in his life. So we can hope that Lisa’s grandfather will eventually find freedom also, and not perpetuate this sin to others.

  2. All of this is presuming of course that one is a Biblical literalist, a fundamentalist Christian. Personally, I hold fast to no made-made religion, but rather the innate nature of the created soul. Sexuality between humans should ideally be a very natural pleasurable act, married or not married, makes no difference as long as love is involved. Lust is also a natural part of the human lexicon, it just is, period. How it’s controlled and handled of course is the major factor as to whether it is unforced and mutually enjoyable or forced and distasteful and even destructive. The human body was created for several reasons, one of them being sexual enjoyment and not constant repression, which is what so many of mankind’s doctrinal religions attempt to enforce. Mature consensual sex between two individuals who care for each other can be a beautiful, expressive, and bonding act that needs no religious dogma to regulate it.~

  3. I think Bev and Kay’s comments are valuable for preventing future victimization, but I understood the article to focus on helping female addicts to recover. The hope that exists for women like Lisa, and all the male sex addicts, is great! Christ can redeem anyone, and there is hope!

    • Kay…you hit the nail on the head. I have never heard my church bring up
      Issues concerning porn. In fact, the typical Christian church still believes that we were simply made for a man and his pleasure. Bottom line….the church needs to give women equal rights. We are only going to be continually seen as an owned object by men if the church keeps us “submissive.” Porn will never be discussed. It will always be in the shadows. The church is just as guilty of perverting sex as the world is because women are not seen as equal to men period.

  4. hi
    i have a 17 year old son who has his own laptop , at first i had the CE filter on , but he got smart and was able to get around it , i confronted him and he admits to resetting his computer just to watch porn ,
    when i bring it up to him how bad it is , he says na , its ok to watch it , i can’t seem to get to him ,
    he is falling by the day any advice?

  5. Thank you for the article. While highlighting the female, the role of shame in a cycle of sin, for say, applies to men as well, of course. Freedom from sin and shame is a matter of the heart and requires the work and life of Christ. A narrative from our current culture is that there is a battle between the sexes. That is a sideshow distraction. And yes, there are elements of truth in that narrative. However, the real enemy here is the father of lies himself, the devil. His goal is to sow discord and accuse God to humankind, humankind to God, and humankind to humankind. The enemy twists truth and distorts our thinking. Yet we have hope! Love heals what hurt divides. I love what Jay writes here:

    “…path to recovery was not to condemn…arousal, but to liberate it. God invites us to the renewal of our minds, not the reigning in of our desire.”

    What a Savior we have in Jesus!! He wants us to think correctly about who we belong to. We are His!!! We were created for His pleasure, not the man’s or woman’s whose motive is only to use us for their own selfish gain.

  6. We must all resist the idea that we are victims all or most of the time. I was initially introduced to porn in my uncles garage where he had a stack of magazines. They were in boxes and not out for display. I was curious and made the decision to browse that and the connection began. I was ashamed as inherently I knew it was wrong but I didn’t tell anyone and our home was not a place for that discussion in the early 70’s. Was I a victim? Only of a fallen world and it’s circumstances. My uncle would not have deliberately caused me to have a problem. He had no children and he and his wife were happily married. This was ok with her. My brother and I just asked if we could play in there garage?

    As time went on I made deliberate sinful choices to move forward into being “a looker” Those are choices that I must own and repent from . Repentance is still a good word in recovery! We acknowledge that we have messed it all up and turn to Christ and his life for us. We stay open accountable because we have turned away from this sexual behavior and have committed to following Christ. His work and grace keep us there. Are there issues in the past that caused that attraction and curiosity? Yes, absolutely; but that does not make all my mistakes their fault. Not in my opinion. My parents did the best they knew how and were broken just like me. My brothers and I had a great relationship with that uncle and he cleaned the garage out when we came there next but the attraction and hyper curiosity had been born. The fertilizing and attention to those desires, my selfishness and sinful nature took care of the rest.

    Women or men that have found themselves being abnormally aroused and curious about these things definitely have reasons why this happened and some predatory behavior occurs but we can’t blame what we can’t control in the past. We understand how we got here, but we own our sinful part and choices and then repent and appropriate the awesome, free grace of God through Jesus that says, I am crucified with Christ, never the less it is not I who lives but Christ lives in me. and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

  7. Thanks Jay for your responses…. One of the Scriptures I thought about with the children how it is better for a millstone to be wrapped around the neck and be thrown into the deepest trenches of the sea for those who lead little ones astray and into sin….
    Also I’m curious if there was a significant difference between men and women and what the percentage is for women that were exposed to porn by someone compared to men? And wondering what percentage of the time was porn introduced to People by a male and what percentage by female… Tx

  8. Thanks for taking me back to the start of my “education” on sex. I didn’t receive any talks on sex so consequently my views of sex were pornographic. Thanks for the 40 days.

  9. Hello Jay

    This is a very good article, I actually think it is the best article I have read on this subject. So much of what you are describing applies to me. And I agree with you that we do need to examine how the porn thing weives itself into our relationships, and visa versa. Working through this is how we heal!

    At first I did blame the folk that brought this stuff my way, but it is complicated. In my case I really do not think the people that exposed me to this could have had any idea the damage to me this could do.

    Even I, I would never have imagined that pornography can mess a person up to the extent that it does. Back then at the start of all this though I was the one warning them, so I new something. I was just to niave to realise what it could be that I new

    I do still have days when I can become very depressed and bitter, because I am the one that is in this mess, and when that poor me thing hits it is debilitating. And although I use the term ‘poor me’, as if I am being sarcastic, I am not, the poor me hits, and it is debilitating and in many ways justifiable, but listen, it just is not the fault of the folk that gave this to me, it really is not. It is not even the fault of the folk involved in the pornography. It is the Evil One, that brought this to me, through all the means he could find, and it is my weakness, my sin, something in me where I am different to other folk that has brought me down so quickly and so deeply. But saying that, I do also expect, over time pornography could do it’s damage on this scale to anyone and everybody, it got me quickly, it will, I think, get others slowly, but get them much the same

    Anyway, the good news is I am on the right side of recovery and I am doing well. I do examine my motives, my memories, the cercumstances in which this came about and I do change them both mentally and emotionally. Love, and it is a whole lot of empathic love, that is the answer with all of this. Frankly, the whole of the Western World and beyond is drowning in this awful mess, awful awful mess.

    The blessed are the folk that know! Sad but true, it is the people that have already really suffered with this that are in the better position. Out there in our communities, there are thousands upon thousands of young vulnerable folk, that can have no idea of what is coming. And it is heartbreaking just to even think of it! Yes, really it is only the folk that have been through this either themselves or as a family member or a friend that loves the addict, it is pretty much only these folk, once in recovery I mean, that can honestly say, I am going to be OK now. All thanks be to Jesus Christ

    PS I do not have a computer or TV system now. I do my best to stay away from all such media devices, except for clean DVDs, I watch a few of them. I was with CE and still promote it for friends and so on. But me, sadly, this problem is so entrenched in me, I just find it a whole lot easier not to bother with the internet, wifi, satalitte systems and so on. I am only here right now because I have a close friend sat by my side watching every single thing that I am doing. And because for me that seems the only way to stop me coming across pornographic stuff. I just cannot be bothered doing any more than I am doing right now, checking articles on CE and checking my bank account and then switching off. As you have said Jay, it is the emotional stuff that needs healing first, only then will this porn thing stop properly

    In the future maybe things will get better for me, but right now just seeing an image that resembles an image from my past can trigger a whole host of difficulties for me. Folk tell me, that now I do not look at pornography, I will be OK if I see anything but honest truely I never am, and it is the emotional intergration, and visa versa, with the pornography that creates the visual nightmare in my head. I just don’t want to see that stuff, not in real life and not in my head either. And right now really really staying away from all avenues is the answer for me

    Thanks for letting me share! Just telling you guys this today has helped

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