Defeat Lust & Pornography Two women having a Bible study.
Defeat Lust & Pornography 8 minute read

Women and Masturbation: Talking About It Openly

Last Updated: October 17, 2023

Lust is not a guy problem–it’s a human problem. If you’re a woman who has struggled with any sort of lustful sin habit, including masturbation, you’re not alone. Millions of Christian women (single and married) are facing similar temptations every day. We, as women, are not immune to lustful sins any more than men are.

I am going to be very open and transparent in this post because I want you to know that Christ has the power to help us overcome our sin and to find lasting victory. Then we’ll dig into what the Bible has to say about masturbation and why I believe masturbation is a sin.

My Own Sin-Struggle With Masturbation

Jump back in time with me.

As a single girl in my mid-teens, I remember crying out to God one night in desperation. My desire for sexual intimacy was so strong that I felt like I couldn’t bear it anymore! I honestly wasn’t sure how I would survive until marriage with such strong sexual desires. “How is this a gift?!” I questioned God through my tears.

I knew how much God valued purity and holiness, but it seemed impossible to stay consistent for any length of time. I tried to control my lustful thoughts, but they seemed to overpower me more regularly than not. Masturbation had become a common theme in my life.

I didn’t know for a fact if it was wrong or not–but something deep in my heart told me it wasn’t God’s best. The guilt I felt after satisfying my lust was like a heavy dark cloud that lingered until morning.

My struggle with lust and masturbation became a constant companion throughout high school. I was on a roller coaster of winning the “battle” one week and losing it the next.

I was growing sick and tired of it.

As I entered my junior year of high school, I came across a little book that changed my life forever. It’s Joshua Harris’ well-known, little hardback book titled, Sex is Not the Problem, Lust Is.

For the first time, a lightbulb went off in my heart. After devouring that book, I gained a biblical understanding of my God-given sexual desires.

I realized that my sexual “drive” wasn’t the enemy. My sinful heart was.

God created our bodies with the capacity to enjoy pleasure and there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. The problem comes when we allow natural urges to drive our hearts and actions to sinful places.

My eyes were slowly opened to how holy God was and how weak and needy I was. Instead of trying to muster up good behavior, I fell on my knees and cried out to a Holy God in humble desperation. I confessed my heart of pride and selfishness and asked God to forgive me of my lustful sins and for worshipping idols above my worship of Him.

For the first time, I felt free. Free!

My battle with lust wasn’t over, but I was more victorious than I had ever been before.

Masturbation was no longer a normal part of my life.

In fact, from that point on until I got married (seven years later), I only gave in to masturbation a handful of times. Now, don’t get me wrong–I still fought against lustful thoughts in my mind on a regular basis, but they weren’t the theme of my life anymore.

I share my story with you to let you know that victory in Christ is possible. You are not alone in your sexual struggles. We serve a powerful God and no sin is too great for the Cross of our Savior to conquer.

We Aren’t Victims of Our Sexual Desires

Now, let’s talk about women, masturbation, and what the Bible has to say about the topic.

Our modern culture tells us that our sexual urges are like balloons on the verge of popping, and we need to release the intense pressure every now and then.

Although it might feel that way sometimes, God has given us the power through His Holy Spirit to say no to the flesh and yes to righteousness. We are not victims of our sexual desires.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

The truth is, the more we give in to our sinful desires, the more we fall prey to their grip.

We continue to crave but are never satisfied (James 1:14-15). That’s how sin works. It promises satisfaction but always leaves us empty and hungry.

Regardless of how strong our sexual urges may be, as Christian women, we are commanded to live pure and holy lives for God’s glory and our greatest joy. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-­5).

God will give us the strength we need to walk in righteousness–we just have to make the choice to strive after it wholeheartedly.

3 Reasons Why I Believe Masturbation Is Sin

Is it a sin to masturbate? What does the Bible have to say about masturbation? While the Bible never explicitly mentions masturbation, it does talk a lot about related topics. Here are three reasons I believe masturbation is a problem for Christians:

1. Masturbation is usually fueled by lust.

While engaging in masturbation, it is very common for pornographic images (whether imagined or seen) and erotica to be used to fuel the act. From what I’ve experienced and researched, it seems that sexual fantasies accompany masturbation around 99% of the time. Masturbation isn’t a solo act, but one that is often fueled by lust.

Although the Bible never addresses masturbation directly, it addresses sexual immorality and lust many times. Lustful thoughts are toxic to our mind and heart.

Related: Can you masturbate without lusting?

1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”

Galatians 5:19 says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality…”

Rather than seeing how close we can get to the line of compromise without going over, we should do everything within our power to stay as far away from the line of sin as possible.

Even if you claim to masturbate without lusting, why go there? Why allow yourself to be vulnerable to sin?

As long as lust is allowed to grow in one’s heart, the temptation to masturbate will probably always be present. We find lasting freedom only when we attack our lustful sin at its root and do everything within our power to destroy it.

2. The Bible teaches that sex is relational.

The Bible clearly teaches us that God created sex to be enjoyed between one man and one woman within the context of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:9). God created sex to be an expression of our love for our spouse and a way to create intimate bonds with one another.

Within marriage, sex should always be about loving and serving the other person, not about getting what we want.

When sexual intimacy is ripped out of its God-ordained context, it is no longer about loving and serving someone else, but about serving self. Masturbation fuels selfishness.

As Tim Challies says, “Masturbation is inherently self-centered. An act meant to be shared toward two people is completely and exclusively about one person, all alone.”

Outside of marriage, sexual pleasure is isolated from “community.” It is isolated from serving another. It is isolated from loving another. God never intended sexual pleasure to be enjoyed as a solo act, but as a gift to be shared and given within marriage.

3. Masturbation can be a form of self-worship.

As Christian women, our goal in life should be to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind” (Luke 10:27). We cannot fully serve God and serve self at the same time.

We can’t worship a holy God and satisfy our lust simultaneously. We can only do one or the other. Either we’ll choose to deny self and worship Christ, or we’ll choose to deny Christ and worship self.

Masturbation elevates self to be the center of our worship–the center of our heart’s affections.

Galatians 6:7-8 is a sobering reminder, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

We cannot worship God and worship self at the same time.

Winning the Battle Over Masturbation

Regardless of how often or little you struggle with sexual sin (namely masturbation), you are not out of reach of God’s conquering power. Christ died on the cross so we would no longer be slaves to sin.

“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin,” (Romans 6:6).

If you desire to conquer your struggle with masturbation, there is no better time than now to humble yourself and confess your sin to the Father. Freedom begins today.

This post is the first half of a two-part series. In the second half, we’ll continue chatting openly about how we, as Christian women, can find lasting freedom from masturbation.

  1. Toni

    I disagree with some of these views. Rather black and white or all or nothing viewpoints. Rigid and legalistic. The church has done a poor job at understanding mental health and it’s affects on a person. Sexual addiction isn’t just a spiritual issue. It’s a behavioral issue that likely needs counseling and medicine. Masturbation is hardly the unpardonable sin. How is it wrong for a spouse to masturbate while fantasizing about their wife or husband, especially if one of the persons isn’t able to have intercourse anymore? Does this mean oral sex is wrong too. Is missionary the only acceptable or permissible position by the way? Should I call ole’ Sally up and meet for coffee and talk about how to purge the evil from among us and read another Kay Arthur book? Let’s just go ahead and cut off our clitoris so we wont sin then. Come on ladies!

  2. Anna

    Remember when you masturbate with the image of your spouse in mind, you are still trying to just sexually gratify yourself. You are not performing love making to anyone. Love is more than just sexual behaviors. It’s a one person show with one person’s consent with two people’s images.

  3. Ingrid

    Hi, I am a 21 year old girl, missionary, I love the Lord and want to live for Gods kingdom and glory in all areas of my life. When I was about 12 years old, I got exposed to pornography and I quickly became addicted to it, and didnt get delivered from until I was 19. When I was about 17 I dicsovered a new level masturbation and I was able to orgasm. Sadly pornography and masturbation together became an even stronger addition, something I was not talking to anyone about, but feeling a lot of guilt and shame about.
    I remember guys opening up about these struggles, but it felt like no girl had the same struggle as I did. It was not until two years ago I really discovered how much of a lie that was. Sexual purity really is a human challenge and often a problem we all face.
    God has been doing amazing things in me, especially the past year, where I slowly but surely started opening up about my struggles, and the shame and guilt started to disappear. Now I am able to talk about these past and current struggles with my mom, friends and boyfriend. Which is a miracle in itself, cause I never thought I ever would be able to. All glory to God! He is so gracious and so patient with us!

    My situation now, is that I still have a need to masturbate, but I feel a bit lost in what is right and not. Like for real. There are so many different opinions about this topic. The Lord is telling me that it is only Him I can truly trust and be led by when it comes to topics like this.

    This bible verse really spoke to me and I feel like this is the season I am currently in;
    22 The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it is not from faith, for whatever is not from faith is sin.
    I have for almost a year now, been inviting God into this, to be able masturbate in a healthy, God honoring way. (If that is even possible or right, hah, I am genuinely not sure)
    There have been times where I prayed about it, did it, felt good and the day went by and I felt peace about it.
    Other times, my heart was not in the right place and masturbating was more about distracting myself, fulfilling a void or make me feel better – every time I did that I would feel weak, sad, annoyed, or unsatisfied.
    I am learning more and more to recognize when it is good for me to do or not. When do I “want this” and when do I “need this”.

    From that here comes a new struggle;
    About 2months ago I met the love of my life. I met my best friend, and he is such a blessings already in my life. God has shown many times that us being together is his will, and he is leading us together. For now, due to the corona virus, we are doing LONG DISTANCE.
    Getting to know each other more and more we both have a background of addiction to pornography and masturbation where it was not good. And we are both very sensitive peopel and have a very high sex drive. We are able to talk about it openly and lovingly, not making the other person feel bad or anything like that. But the more we talk and get closer, I get easily caught up in fantasizing about him both when I masturbate (done it about 5 times in the spectrum of 3 months), and just in general when I think about him. And he is also doing the same. We both struggle with knowing what is right or not, and also knowing when we just WANT to feel good, and when do we NEED that release.
    We really want to honor God, and each other in this season of life before marriage. And so maybe even masturbating in a healthy way for us can become something good in order for us to stay pure together. I dont know, let me know your thoughts.

    Does anyone have any tips/advise/experience on how we can get through this, walk in our purity together in gods way?
    I have been thinking about surrendering masturbating for a period until I know my mind is more healthy towards it, but I am not sure what is best?
    How can I honor God, him, and myself?

    Reading all your people thoughts and testimonies has already blessed me a lot, and I am proud to see so many people step out and be so honest and open about your freedom, wanting to help others to freedom too!
    God bless you all! I will pray for you and your sitaution!

    Ingrid

    • Sydney Scott

      Hi Ingrid!
      My name is Sydney and I want to be a missionary one day! And I have been in a similar situation to you. I am currently taking a break with my recently saved boyfriend. We were open and honest and not judgy too. But it also led me to think about sex with him even more. It’s sometimes not helpful to tell your significant other about how you struggle lusting about them, because it can definitely turn him on, and you on if you hear he thinks about you in that way. It’s best to confide in female friends who love the lord and understand your struggle and who won’t judge you. Another thing I wanted to talk about is my experience. I have tried the whole “masturbating and not lusting game” and it NEVER works for me. I have to think of a guy, and the guy I care for. So it ends up being me using him in my mind to get self satisfaction when he’s not even there and isn’t perfect. In masturbating, I have made him a sex king in my mind. Men are not perfect and there’s a learning curve to sex. So it’s unfair for me to put this impossible standard on him or any other guy. Masturbation isn’t just about lust, it’s about an orgasm you’re experiencing by yourself. This was a gift from the Lord for married people, and when we experience this alone it can become the center of our thoughts, a coping mechanism, a bridge to selfishness, and a wrecker of relationships- in my experience. Christ has completely forgiven me for every sin because I accepted his sacrifice which took the wrath of God. If you know Christ, the same is true for you and he has promised to never leave you. Submit yourself to him and truly ask him if a “need” you’re trying to fulfill is what he needs and wants for you right now. Even though I was completely loved as a child of God, even when I was sinning (because of Christ), I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and the peace of God as I continued to repent over and over again. Never give up. It’s an endless battle. Either with lust or for me my anger. We have an endless stream of living water from the Holy Spirit living within us. Don’t give up sister!

    • Ingrid, I have for you this bible verse.

      Song of Solomon, Chapter 5.
      Vs 2.
      I slept, but my heart was awake.
      Listen! my beloved is knocking.

      Vs 5.
      I arose to open to my beloved,
      and my hands dripped with myrrh,
      my fingers with liquid myrrh,
      upon the handles of the bolt.

      (It is about him in between those verses.)

      Something else you need to know about this girl in chapter 5.

      Who is she?
      Chap 1:8 “fairest among women,”
      Chap 4:7 ‘You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.’
      Chap 5:2 “flawless”
      Chap 5:9 “O fairest among women”

      Chapter 6:11 identifies her as a Shulammite. The meaning of the name is “From the verb שלם (shalem), to be or make whole or complete” – getting out of bed with her hand dripping with ‘myrrh’ – she was masturbating herself.

      It means purity includes being about to masturbate oneself.

      Ingrid, it is clear that masturbation is in God’s plan for women – it has it’s place in sexual purity. The guilt and shame is misplaced. Enjoy yourself.

  4. LovedbyYahweh

    Hi, I’m 43 and struggling. I honestly went about 15 or more years without masturbating. At the age of 23 I decided to stop dating for a while and focus on walking one with the Lord. I was delivered of masterbation and lust. I actually don’t remember the first time I masturbated as a child and I remember masturbating at 4 and 5 while in school. After I was delivered I had a few dreams at night while sleeping or temptations at times but never masturbated. When I reached about 38 I guess my hormones were spiked somehow and it bothered me til I finally gave in once at 39. I felt so guilty for giving in because I felt like I was backslidden or something. Then when I was 40 my life circumstances changed and I had to move and was depressed and gave in again. I was struggling with my relationship with the Lord trying to seek Him and get myself back in line with Him. Felt really guilty about someone passing away and I just didnt want to live anymore, although I didnt want to die because I was scared to. I guess I’m saying a lot more maybe than I need to so I’m just going to shorten it to this. What if you masturbate without sexual lust thoughts? I mean the reason I’m at this sight is because I just did a search after feeling bad because I had told the Lord at New Years that I was not going to masturbate again. I’ve given in twice now, this last time I gave in not because I was thinking any sexual thoughts, but because I just had a sudden desire while I was listening to something Christian and it seemed to help me be clearer minded, like it helped me to focus on the moment, but I feel bad that I did this although I really don’t feel like there were lustful thoughts or anything that was sexually sinful

  5. I just feel so guilty of this act. I was a new convert yet I masturbate each time I cry I feel guilty of being in a gathering of brethren. I feel am the worst sinner. What a life… What if I die now where will I find myself.. in hell? Who would ever educate me and disciple me on this. It has become a big problem to me and I am alone in the dark.

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Anurika,

      You are no worse of a sinner than the rest of this world. We ALL sin; it is our human nature. But, in Christ, we find beautiful forgiveness and freedom! In both good and bad, pray without ceasing. Spend time reading the Bible, and seek out other Christians to walk this journey with you. Do not give up the fight!

      I am praying for you. You are strong in Jesus!
      Moriah

  6. Lenora

    I have struggled with this as a young women since I was 14. I am now 23, and I relate to everything written. There is just so much shame attached to females in this context, I know it is the enemy trying to silence us, and keep things hidden, but I will stand for it no longer. I have been on my knees in prayer, and I honestly don’t masturbate that often, but when I do I’m devastated. So, does anyone happen to know of any female accountability groups? Thanks again for posting this. More women should feel comfortable to stand up for this! Amen and thank you again.

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Hi Lenora!

      Living on Purpose by Crystal Renaud is a great place to start for female support groups, as is Pure Desire Ministries! I would encourage you to check both of those out and get plugged into a support/accountability group, even if it is just online!

      Blessings,
      Moriah

  7. CJ
    There seems to be a double standard. God created us to enjoy sexual intimacy and pleasure. Our vagina and our clitoris were designed for orgasmic joy. And I do believe that masturbation is permissible within the freedom of our conscience, and to be a way for our sexual needs to be met when our spouses are not able to be sexually active with us. I masturbate without lust and I know of many other married women who do so as well. My orgasm isn’t my husband’s responsibility. I used to look to him do that but i have taken ownership of it for myself now and am happier than ever. He still gives me orgasms that i love, but what i am saying is I can give myself them too and am not solely reliant on him to give me that release. I am 47 with a healthy libido and I love sexual pleasure more than ever. I think us women need to encourage one another and support each other and just be open about this and move away from shame and guilt and embrace our sexuality and enjoy the freedom we have to express our sexuality in a healthy way.

    Toni

    • Kay Bruner

      Thank you Toni! It’s so past time for our sexuality to be a source of pleasure, as intended, rather than a source of shame.

    • Ruth

      God did not create Eve to live in the garden by herself. Is there any reason to believe God also created a full-grown Adam without all of his parts and nerves? I think not, based on how he responded to his first sight of Eve. Do we know how long Adam lived before God gifted him with Eve?

      Do you think Jesus also had a typical male body? I may be opening up another can of worms here by mentioning it, but do you think Jesus could have lived “without sin” and in fidelity to his future Bride (his followers) if he lacked the self-control against even one thing at one time his human flesh might have craved? He did have to eat, and he did have to drink water. Has anyone ever died from not feeling orgasm? Would Jesus have demonstrated his selfless love and brought God glory if he ever took a moment to indulge in self-centered desires? How would it affect our understanding of purity if we thought a single choice of Jesus in the scriptures showed a fleshly, unholy choice?

      Also, these body parts and nerve-endings are temporary. They are tools to drive us into fulfilling God’s purpose for this age. Many things will no longer exist in eternity, such as marrying each other. Learning obedience – the proof of our love for Jesus and for others, and keeping him in his position of honor and others as higher than ourselves – is what this lifetime is for. We cannot love God with all of our minds, strength, and hearts, if we raise any human speculation above the knowledge of God.

  8. CJ

    Thanks for this article. Lots of good stuff.

    I have to admit. I find it pretty annoying that the article on this website (different author) on the same topic but toward a male audience, gives the option for men to consider a 3rd option or 3rd category for masturbation by opening up the question, if masturbation without lustful fantasizing or pornogrphy is possible (https://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/01/14/masturbate-without-lusting/). It opens up this rare possibility for men and kind of excuses it on this basis but this article for women does not open up that opportunity. I understand these are 2 different authors but I think the double standard here is still obvious.

    Although, I do appreciate the open thoughts and conversation about this in a Christian context, I have to admit this discovery is very disheartening.

    Christians, do you think the Church (the people, and maybe the institution an it’s ministries) have a double standard for men and women when it comes to sex (including masturbation)?

  9. Andrew-
    Thank you for your perspective. I do believe that this is about our conscience as it relates to our liberty in Christ. I used to struggle with guilt and shame when I masturbated. I am now at a place where I no longer feel those things as I now see masturbation as a healthy release and form of self-care for me. I don’t struggle with lust. I just need sexual release. My husband is able to give me limited help in this area and has given me his blessing to masturbate. When I orgasm it helps regulate my mood and anxiety. I have medical diagnosis for both. I am and good shape at 46 and take care of my body’s needs elsewhere through exercise and other activities. I have a high libido and it runs in my family with the women. We all talk about it and share a common struggle to manage it. Masturbation has become a gift for me and helps me live my life in a healthful and positive way.

    I think there is a lot of negativity and presumption around masturbation in the Christian community. I don’t see it as something someone is going to be condemned for by God at the judgment seat of Christ. We aren’t going to be condemned for anything there. It’s about our rewards. Our sins have all been paid for on the cross. No one will stand condemned as a non- believer at the Great White Throne for masturbating LOL.

    Andrew get back to me and tell me about your masturbation story. I’d like to hear more about how you have processed it for yourself.

    I am a masturbating Christian and I am free. I love God. I love my husband. I love my body. And I love my orgasm. Let’s express grace, love, truth, and understanding towards each other.

    For the women out there. Let’s talk about our orgasm and the joy and freedom masturbation can give us.

    Toni

  10. Andrew

    Romans 14:22-23 Modern English Version (MEV)

    22 The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it is not from faith, for whatever is not from faith is sin.

    I believe that the application of this passage and fits the issue of masturbation. If you can masturbate with the faith that God himself has let you discover your own body and is perfectly ok with it then you will not stand condemn on the day of accounting. But if you don’t have faith and masturbate then this passage says that you will condemn yourself.

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