Friday, June 13, 2014

My Name is Sarah and I'm a Porn Addict






I am writing this post after finishing an extensive research paper about the effects of pornography on women. It was one of those 15-page monsters that required a lot of hot tea and a lot of disturbing research. Most of you have probably heard the argument that porn is degrading to women because it presents them as mere sexual objects to be used. And while my paper touched on that, I found myself focusing more and more on the actual physical and emotional effects of women who encounter porn.

Porn addiction is no joke, as doctors are slowly starting to realize. Massive amounts of dopamine and other stimulants are released into the bloodstream and brain, acting as a sort of “reward” system whenever a person receives (or gives) sexual pleasure. In marriage, these hormones are essential to ensure a stable sexual union between husband and wife, but when sexual acts are performed alone (as most pornographic viewings and actions are), the result is a hardcore addiction that can only be overcome by prayer and grace. 





There are no nicotine patches or special pills for these addictions, nor are there many properly trained psychiatrists. To make matters worse, pornography and masturbation in both men and women is seen as “normal” outside the realm of the Church, and even in some sects of Christianity. Because these topics are never specifically mentioned in the Bible, no one seems to have the guts to take a stance on it.


Female porn addiction is something that is not talked about very much, if at all. When teenagers split into men and women’s sessions at Christian and Catholic retreats, it’s the men who get all the advice about controlling their sex drives while the women are brainwashed with “emotional chastity.” It’s common knowledge that most men look at porn and/or struggle with addictions to it, but women are completely left out of this picture. 

Chastity--not just for teenage boys
Why? Because our culture has been blindsided with the stereotype that women are docile, receptive vessels for male sexual pleasure. We lie dreamily on our beds all day long wearing a thong and a push-up bra, just waiting for Don Juan to jump us. And whatever he does to us, we smile and act like we like it and want more of it. That stereotype itself comes straight out of porn films, the same porn films that saturate our culture and can be viewed anywhere, anytime, on almost any electronic device (so glad I have an iPod shuffle).

Essentially, because women are portrayed as mere receptive sexual objects, they are also portrayed as having no sexual drive of their own, though nothing could be further from the truth. A woman’s sexual desire can be just as strong, if not stronger, than a man’s, and the deluge of porn (and its instant availability) has begun to fuel the fires of lust that most women were told they did not have. 



The hard truth is that now many women find themselves attracted to porn and masturbation and soon get sucked into the seemingly bottomless depths of addiction. And, very tragically, there is usually no one to help them through it. They feel ashamed, embarrassed, and wonder if there is something horribly wrong with them as none of their other female friends seem to struggle with it. 

There may be a variety of complicated wounds that follow this addiction as well: loneliness, past sexual abuse, unstable marriages, stress, and countless other things. Often, women will modify their personalities, appearance, and sexual performance based on what they see in porn films, and this only augments the downward spiral of their self-esteem. 

Not every girl can be comforted by Vic Morrow...

If you are a woman struggling with these things, there is more help out there than you think. Many women struggle with the same problems but are too afraid or too proud to bring it up. Be brave and start the conversation. You will be surprised how many of your friends will sympathize with you.

A great resource is beggarsdaughter.com, a website with lots of practical tips to conquer these addictions and many links to books, recovery programs, and even prayers.

Most importantly, (and this goes for both men and women), don’t stop going to confession. A wise priest once told me this: “even if you fall 10,000 times and go to confession 10,000 times, the devil still cannot win. Because the only way Satan can win is if you stop asking for God’s mercy.” St. Therese also said “all of our sins, no matter how numerous, no matter how ugly, are like a drop of water in the blazing furnace of God’s mercy.”

Finally, whoever you are, I wish you the best of luck in your struggle for heaven. My prayers are with you. 

There is no prison from which you cannot escape...


Ciao!

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