Long before I cracked open a Bible, magazines taught me right from wrong. As a pre-teen, I remember buying glamorous magazines with girlfriends, compromising that little bit of embarrassment as we reached the register for the knowledge we knew we would find inside.
The front covers always promised such greatness. They promised me sexual things I’d be able to learn. Things that would give me power. Things that would give me worth in the eyes of a man. It all felt so empowering.
My eyes and heart were shaped by these sexual standards long before I ever had my first kiss.
Curling up on my bed, I poured through this sacred literature – devouring the articles sharing the best websites for soft porn. Porn that was more “girl friendly”. Not so rough, you know? I remember a specific Q&A, talking about women enjoying lesbian porn. The “sex guru” assured the writer that no, this did not make a woman gay.
I was relieved of course, because I was one of them.
Trapped in the Cycle of Porn
I remember the all-consuming enticement as my mind wandered to porn. The primal sensation of lust taking over – driving me straight to my computer screen. The longing so intense that it seemed impossible to calm unless satisfied. And once satisfied the quickness of the drop left me feeling only alone. It’s a vicious cycle – feeling alone, maybe bored, maybe deep down even unwanted. This desire leads to lust – the need for porn becoming increasingly desperate in the attempt to satisfy your flesh. This attempt consumes the alone feelings for just a moment, but once it’s over, the real pain begins. It just keeps spiraling.
After, I was left with only weight, shame and utter disgust for myself and for the things I’d seen on the screen. My hands were quick to close out my tabs, delete the history and push my computer far, far away from me. As if, just like that, I could make it all go away.
All of the overwhelming feelings that sexual desire leading to pornography brings came upon me with no invitation, both the longing and lust, and the disgust and shame. They were not asked for and I felt controlled by them.
My own feelings mocked me. Manipulated me. Dragging me into the fiercest longing of lust and then in one fell swoop left me feeling only dirty. My worth as a person quickly being defined by all of this, by my sexuality and how I was acting on it. My identity as a woman being encompassed by my sexual sin, leaving me self-conscious, untouchable and feeling so alone.
You Are Not Alone
I quietly believed I was the only one. I have to be the only woman on earth feeling this way. The only one who was using my body in such an intimate, selfish and distasteful way.
After all, women aren’t raised to believe we struggle with this. We don’t get the porn and masturbation talks. We don’t have female role models openly talking to us about their struggles with sexual temptations and fantasies. We’re the ones who dress modestly for the man’s lustful mind, right? We could not possibly have the lustful mind.
The truth is, women can have lustful minds. Though our reasons for it may be different from a man’s, the outworking can look very much the same.
I’ve learned along this journey that I’m not the only female who has struggled with pornography and I’m certainly not alone in succumbing to sexual sin. I am not the only woman who has felt more weird and more dirty because I am a woman who has seen explicit things on the internet. And you’re not either.
As women we have been magnificently designed with a healthy desire to feel wanted; to be breathtakingly desired, our whole person – mind, soul and body. We’ve been created for sexual empowerment, for connection and passion. And we were created for good, raw, sexy-sex within the proper framework. We are designed to be deeply longed and cared for and the problem is that we’ve been tricked by culture and our own flesh into thinking that giving into lust will make us feel more complete. So, we do whatever it takes to feel desired. Even when this means turning to pornography and taking matters into our own hands.
Made for More
The truth is there is so much more for us.
Every women was designed for acceptance. You were and so was I. The lovely and broken women in those videos we’ve watched online were too. It is important to know that this desire for acceptance is healthy, and should never cause us shame, although our actions have been ugly and desperate – we are reaching for something we’ve been made for – searching for it in the wrong place. It simply shows us that what we are reaching for cannot be duplicated by our own self-gratifying attempts to make ourselves whole.
This type of failure and wreckage is exactly what drives us to something bigger and more powerful. Something – actually Someone – who has character that does not waver. A constant acceptance, love and desire for us. This type of longing that our Jesus has for us is what we were made for. It completes us. It is the only thing. He is the only thing. A Jesus who looks at us in awe, our whole person, mind, body, and spirit. This keeps us from remaining in our failures as a finishing point. Our Savior has forgiven our failures and has made us something new, something beautiful. In Him, we become what we were created for, a whole person who is beaming with the love of her Maker.
And as we take this love He offers us, test it, and make it our own, as we learn to truly believe in His longing for us, only then will we begin to stop looking for that acceptance in other places – places that lead us to emptiness.
We, as “this sort of woman,” – the sort of woman who has struggled with sexual sin – have an opportunity to know our Saviour’s love much deeper than if we are unaware of just how ugly our sin is. We know His love because we need His love, and this causes us to love Him back in deep ways. I am writing for the women who have dived into sexual sin, feel like they have lost a lot and gained nothing, and have come out with more self-hate than satisfaction. I am writing specifically for you, to tell you that your sins, which are many, may be forgiven. (Luke 7:47)