Culture

Women hooked on porn: Not just a men’s problem

by Fiona Teh // March 15, 2019, 12:57 am

Women-hooked-on-Porn

“That’s the day I gave up.”

She had been waiting for someone to find out about her habit of watching pornography, so that she could get help. She just needed someone to ask her: “Jessica, is this you?” 

“Yes,” was just one breath and she could muster enough courage to say that. 

On that day when she was called into her dean’s office at college, they held out a printout of her internet history filled with dark and violent web addresses – porn sites.

After telling her how wicked porn was, the women’s dean chided her for giving out her password to her male friends on campus. “We know it isn’t you, women just don’t struggle with this,” she was told.

That was the day she broke. She gave up her dreams of being a doctor and decided she was going to join the porn industry. 

“Shame will break you if you stay under it enough,” said author Jessica Harris at the Set Free conference last week. “After I finished my first semester, I dropped out and went home.”

From the age of 13 when she was first exposed to porn while researching for a school project, the obsession was now taking over her life and she had no clue how to break free from the addiction. 

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Shame riddled, she looked for a sign-up button or a link on porn sites. She didn’t really want to be a porn star, but felt like she didn’t have any other choice. It seemed like she was a freak of nature, the only female in the world who struggled with this.

“If it wasn’t acceptable to be a Christian girl who watched porn, then I would have to be the porn star who happened to be a Christian,” shared Harris. 

Shame is a silencer and it had kept Harris silent for all those years. “Shame doesn’t make people make good choices. It just makes people lie about the bad ones,” she said.

Today, Harris tells her story courageously through her ministry, Beggar’s Daughter, so that other women who are struggling can know that they aren’t the only one.

WOMEN STRUGGLE TOO

We know some of you struggle with pornography… and we’re going to help you.

Those were the words Harris had been waiting so long to hear.

Sometime later, she had enrolled in another college and was in an all-female meeting when the dean stood at the front of the room and offered them a chance to share their struggles.

“I was terrified,” said Harris. But she took the chance. Through tears she admitted that she struggled with porn.

“Do you know what they told me? They didn’t call me a freak. They didn’t ask what was wrong with me or tell me that women just don’t have this problem. They told me I was brave, and they promised to help me.”  

YOU’RE NOT AN OBJECT

“The process of freedom is more than just not watching the porn anymore,” advised Harris. “Freedom is about being healed from all of its effects too.”

Porn alters our belief system – what we believe about our body, sex, love and intimacy. It teaches women that they need to do anything to make themselves accepted and attractive. 

“The images portrayed in porn tell a woman that her sexuality is meant to be on display,” said Harris. 

Porn is anything designed to elicit a sexual response, and the woman’s body becomes the object used to achieve that goal. Such objectification renders a woman disposable.

“When a woman watches a man disrespect or degrade women, it only emphasises the lies she is believing about herself. Chivalry may be dying, but it’s taking thousands of women down with it,” she quipped.

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Porn makes a woman put all her value in her sexual attractiveness, but bodies change. 

“Porn makes you think your self-worth is rooted in the attractiveness of your body… but we’re not made to be attractive to every person like how porn paints it to be,” Harris pointed out.

Porn doesn’t just distort our perspective of sexuality; it also distorts a woman’s self-worth. Women are misled to believe that what they see in porn is what is required of them. “They buy the lie that this is all they’re worth.” 

Our culture’s lie is that our identity is tied to our sexuality. So the work of “porn proofing” begins when we speak value over a woman so that she hears the truth about her worth.

THERE’S HOPE AND HELP

Offering advice on the most powerful word we can say when it comes to the conversation on porn addiction, Harris suggested that it’s the word “and”.

“When you talk about porn addiction, it’s about men and women, husbands and wives,” she said.

“You have a generation of women looking for a way out. They’re thinking no one sees them. When they hear ‘and’, it makes a difference and it gives them hope. ‘And’ is how you just start the conversation. We’re human and we struggle. Porn is not a men’s issue; it’s a human issue.”

The way to go about this conversation is to talk about it in a way that’s hopeful, healing and holy.

Porn is not a men’s issue; it’s a human issue.

Step one in helping a woman who has come to you with her story? “Don’t freak out,” said Harris.

If a woman is taking the risk to confess her secret shame, it means that the pain of staying silent has grown more overwhelming than her fear of being found out.

Ask her to tell you her story – not just about the porn – and she’ll begin to share where it matters. Meet her confession with grace. Set healthy boundaries. If you feel that you’re not equipped to help her, help her find somebody else who can.

“Recovery is not an easy road. The only easy road is the one where you give up, stop trying and slowly waste away. But God created you for so much more than that, regardless of who you are or what you’ve done,” said Harris.

So we must imagine: What will our world look like if all women knew just how much they’re worth?

Don’t feel that you’re too alone and weak in this fight. Freedom and healing is possible and available for you.


Jessica Harris speaks regularly on the subject of pornography and female sexual addiction, as well as the hope of finding freedom from the prison of shame and addiction. To find out more about her ministry and resources for women struggling with sexual sin, visit  www.beggarsdaughter.com.

About the author

Fiona Teh

Fiona is low-key hilarious, a dog person, and she loves a good chat with strangers – particularly at Yakun. She also believes that everyone should know that they are absolutely worthy of love.