News Ticker

Women discuss consequences of direct exposure to porn

By Heather Barnum

ANONYMOUS: All the names of the young women interviewed for this article have been changed by request to protect their identity. Any resemblance in name is purely coincidental. (Photo by Heather Barnum)

ANONYMOUS: All the names of the young women interviewed for this article have been changed by request to protect their identity. Any resemblance in name is purely coincidental. (Photo by Heather Barnum)

The wonders of the internet. Within a swipe on a smartphone, access to virtually any information can be obtained. At the click of a button, the world is at your fingertips. That includes porn.

Studies reveal that about one in six women struggle with porn addiction. Christian women are not exempt from this statistic.

One fall semester, residence life hosted an all-campus floor worship for young women called “Stand Up for Your Sister.” Women were handed a piece of paper with 25 yes-or-no questions on it.

The RDs collected the anonymous surveys and redistributed them randomly. This time, the questions listed were asked aloud, and the women were asked to stand if the answer on her survey was checked “yes.”

Out of the estimated 50 students there, roughly a third of the women stood for the pornography question, saying, “Yes. Porn is problem for me.”

Although comforted that she was not alone in her addiction, Shannon, a junior who holds a position of leadership on campus, said she was overwhelmed with disappointment.

“[Pornography] is such a dirty word,” Shannon said. “And I don’t like it. It’s disgusting that I’ve allowed myself to get to the point where it’s something that I feel like I have no control over.”

Handling relationships with a history of pornography is difficult – especially for many young women. One day, Shannon’s boyfriend disclosed his personal struggle with pornography. In confidence, she empathetically disclosed her personal porn history as well.

Instead of working to keep each other accountable, opportunities for their addiction evolved. They began watching porn together, masturbating as they spoke over the phone and sexting via Snapchat. Shannon eventually lost her virginity to him.

Severe consequences in intimate relationships often stem when women habitually view porn and masturbate, Amy Biegel, professional counselor, said. She said a line needs to be drawn — a significant other should not be an accountability partner.

“I believe honesty is key,” Biegel said, “but I also believe that not everyone is trustworthy. Once you determine that the person you’re dating is trustworthy, I think you need to be honest with your entire history. Whether that’s what you’ve done with other people in your previous dating relationships, in some of your sexual experience [or] … in your pornography addiction and exposure.”

Western society promotes sex as being desirable and expected from women, Biegal said. Contrasting this notion are women in Christian communities, who are expected to remain pure. This creates an enigma pornography attempts to solve.

Jessie, a junior at the time, who has been struggling with porn addiction for eight years, said there is an ingrained notion that sex outside of marriage is wrong. Porn is her way around it.

Alumna Natalie said she uses pornography about once a week because it helps temper sexual desire while she is away from her boyfriend.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a good thing or a bad thing,” she said. “I have sexual desires I want to meet.”

When asked about how her faith impacted her pornography use, Natalie was reluctant to discuss her perspective.

“I know it’s not right, so I just don’t think about it,” she said. “We’re all a work in progress, and we’re all people.”

For Jessie, pornography use is still a problem, but she said she is learning to be honest about it in her relationship. The best she can do throughout her learning experience is to rely on God.

“Some of it is trusting that God’s going to fill that [void] and that it’s better to not have that struggle, or at least fight against it,” Jessie said. “It’s worth it.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: