Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Women Addicted

Here is an article I received from the Assemblies of God news source. I want to share this with those who read my blog.


Ladies, we need boundaries in all areas of our lives.


My heart is heavy to know that so many women are struggling and have such low self-esteem.


Read on:





It¹s an old, familiar story. The onlooker lusts over an athletic, good-looking figure, seeing the naked image on the screen only as a sex object. But the clientele of Internet pornography has shifted:

women now are doing a lot of the leering. It turns out that sex addiction isn¹t gender-specific. However, the result is the same:

relationships are harmed, sometimes beyond repair.


³This is a rather new phenomenon,² says Rick Schatz, president of the Cincinnati-based National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. "Until five years ago, the coalition believed 98 percent of those looking at pornography were men. But because of the messages of the sexualized culture being delivered, especially to young women, we find about 40 percent of those struggling with sexual addiction under the age of 35 are women.²


TopTenReviews reports that one out of three viewers of porn sites is female and one in six women struggles with porn addiction.


³Society has gone several steps beyond the pale in overt expressions of sexuality,² says Marnie C. Ferree, director of Bethesda Workshops in Nashville, Tennessee. ³People feel they have license to act out because it¹s not against social mores. Only church people are saying that it¹s wrong.²


Insecurities many women have about their body shape create a key factor as to why more women are viewing porn, according to Ferree, 53.


³Sexual addiction is really an intimacy disorder,² says Johna Hale, a woman in her 60s who has been married five times ‹ the first four times, she says, to fellow addicts. ³A woman looking at men ‹ or women ‹ in porn increases her inability to connect emotionally or spiritually with others.²


³Teenage girls and young women say one reason they look at Internet porn is to learn what is Œexpected¹ by males,² says Schatz, 65.


Until the early 1990s, four out of five women addicted to porn had been sexually abused in childhood, according to Ferree. But the availability and anonymity of porn on the Internet has resulted in the possibility of anyone with self-esteem problems or relationship difficulties being vulnerable, she says.


Many women who look at porn with a partner either are hoping to learn what pleases him or are hoping to keep the companion from leaving the relationship. Such tryouts may be enough to get them hooked.




That¹s what happened to Cyndi. She started watching porn at 24 to learn ³new techniques² to try to please a more experienced boyfriend.


³I didn¹t want to appear stupid or boring or backwards to him,² says Cyndi, who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. ³But after I watched it, I really liked it.²


So Cyndi began voraciously viewing pornography on videos, computer and cable television. Soon she looked at porn as a means of coping with anger, loneliness and hatred. She had been sexually abused by a male relative as a child and raped as a teenager.


³I felt dirty and ashamed, but I kept going back to it,² says Cyndi, now 40. ³I don¹t understand why I did it. But I wish I had never seen those images. I can¹t get them from my mind.²


Cyndi says her addiction to porn altered her behavior. She became promiscuous. She shut down emotionally. She viewed God only as a punisher.


In 2006, at the end of her rope emotionally and financially, Cyndi sought help from a church when she didn¹t have enough food for her 9-year-old son. She found compassion rather than condemnation, and counseling helped her begin healing from a twisted perspective of sexuality. Last year she stopped her 15-year porn compulsion, helped by Internet filter controls, an accountability partner and a support group.


³There¹s no way anybody can fully recover without Jesus in their heart,² Cyndi says. ³There¹s a lot of shame. Women aren¹t supposed to like porn.²




Yet for college-age women and even girls in high school, Internet pornography almost has become a norm.


A lure to porn can begin via a soap opera, romance novel, fashion magazine, chat room or social networking site.


Wanton women are celebrated heroines on television, in programs such as "Desperate Housewives." Females who become obsessed with porn may be desensitized by watching shows such as "Sex and the City," which offer subtle messages that highly educated characters shouldn¹t have any hang-ups about premarital or extramarital sex.




³From a Christian perspective, it¹s sin,² Schatz says. ³Those who look at porn bring other people into sexual relationships.²


While many men keep their pornography addiction a secret, women are more likely to act out beyond visualization, Ferree says. In an effort to find a perfect relationship they have conjured up in a fantasy world, women may:

€ Dress provocatively to attract attention € Track down former partners via social networking sites € Meet in person those with whom they have formed an online connection € Experiment with lesbianism € Commit adultery


³The more a person dwells on fantasies in the mind, it¹s only a matter of time before she starts acting out,² says Rose Colón, a counselor at Pure Life Ministries in Dry Ridge, Kentucky.


Addiction also arrests emotional development.


³When a person becomes compulsive about this behavior ‹ which for many people now is mid- to late-teens ‹ their maturation process stops at that point,² Ferree says. Thus, some women in their mid-20s date teenage boys because they see them as peers.




Experts agree that churches these days usually applaud men for seeking help with sex addiction problems. Not so with women.


³The stigma and shame is far greater for women who struggle,² Ferree says.


Because of that, many won¹t seek help until the addiction spirals out of control.


Starting when Ferree was age 5, a trusted family friend molested her for 15 years. As an adult, Ferree went through a series of sexual relationships and believed she couldn¹t be redeemed. Ferree couldn¹t break her sexual addiction even after being diagnosed with cervical cancer (caused by a sexually transmitted disease) and enduring three surgeries and increasingly frequent suicidal thoughts.


Only when she learned that a former partner had died of AIDS did Ferree seek successful treatment from a Christian counselor who understood sexual addiction. She also joined a 12-step support group. Bethesda Workshops, where Ferree is director, began offering the first treatment program specifically for women in 1997.


³By and large it¹s a secretive, isolating disease,² says Hale, founder and executive director of L.I.F.E. (Living in Freedom

Everyday) Ministries, a Christian sexual addiction recovery support group ministry in Lake Mary, Florida. ³Women are dealing with rejection, abandonment and shame.²




The greatest power pornography has is its secrecy. Reaching out for assistance can be mortifying for a woman active in church.


Ferree says while confession to God is an important initial step toward freedom, accountability to another Christian is usually necessary to stop inappropriate sexual behavior.


³No woman can recover alone,² Ferree says. ³I hear a lot of women saying, ŒI thought I was the only one.¹ When they believe they are uniquely perverted, it¹s hard for them to talk.²


Ideally, that initial contact to confide the secret should be another woman who is a trusted friend. An addiction recovery accountability support group and individual counseling also may be beneficial.


With God¹s help, wives can stop trying to medicate past traumas and can become vulnerable, transparent and trustworthy in a marital relationship. Without hope, it¹s not uncommon for a woman to move from relationship to relationship ‹ and sometimes marriage to marriage ‹ in an attempt to find fulfillment.


Despite the reservations in Christian circles about discussing women addicted to porn, there is progress. For instance, when Ferree wrote "No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Shame" in 2002, she had to publish it herself; no Christian company wanted to touch it. In March, InterVarsity Press will release an updated version.


Colón, citing Jesus¹ conversations with the woman caught in adultery (John 8:11) and the woman at the well with five husbands (John 4:18), notes that the Savior offers hope to women caught in sexual sin.


³Women in sexual sin are afraid to come into the light because they don¹t want to be labeled,² Colón says. ³The enemy tells us, ŒYou can¹t tell anyone that. What are they going to think?¹ But when women take a step of faith, they already have started on the pathway to freedom.²


--John W. Kennedy, Pentecostal Evangel



What sobering information! But we have the answer in Jesus Christ!!





abshier said...

my heart cries with you Dorinda. I was one addicted and it took God to free me. The lifetime effect continues. There are things that cause thoughts to surface, memory thoughts and images. I have learned to submit quickly my thoughts to Christ. It has taken a total lifestyle change. Tv is largely off limits and i have blocks on my computer. There are still things that slip thru on the internet. I wish i could tell ladies how dangerous this is and that there is hope to get out! It leads to death.

Beth in NC said...

Dorinda, This is interesting that you posted about this topic. I just saw a commercial about Oprah having a porn star on her show tomorrow -- and discussing how WOMEN are addicted to porn now.

God have mercy on our sin-sick souls. There is no doubt how demonic pornography is and I pray that the Church will have more discernment and wisdom how to set the captives free.

Bless you for sharing this.

Luke said...

Thanks for blogging about this important topic. If you want to hear more about this you should check out Very good ministry to young ladies who struggle with this.

We interviewed the founder on our podcast a while back: