Just kidding. We do. We really do.
However, it seems to me that the world doesn’t quite understand that yet. Women are the ones held accountable for keeping their brothers out of sin. No one seems to realize that women can face the exact same struggles.
I began looking at porn when I was around twelve years old. I found my grandfather’s stash, and with a mixture of what was disgust and curiosity, I flipped through magazine after magazine every time I visited. I eventually discovered that pornography was easily accessible from the internet. It went from something I looked at on occasion to something I looked at at least once a day, if not multiple times.
When I first realized I had a problem, I looked up resources (Catholic, to be specific) to help me stop what I thought was a simple sin and bad habit. Everything I found was for men. Although I’m sure that many of the methods would have helped me if I had given them a shot, they made me feel like a freak. I felt like the only woman in the world who struggled with lust.
That’s a lie.
Women do struggle with lust, and they struggle with pornography. If you are a woman who struggles with this, I’m writing this for you. You are NOT alone. You are not a freak. You are worthy of love, real, true love, and already beloved by a Father in heaven.
Maybe I’m wrong, but in my experience, it is next to impossible to just stop lusting and looking at porn. I haven’t hit a point where I’ve permanently stopped, but I’m at a point where I realize the gravity of the sins I commit and am working hard to stop. Here are some things I’ve found helpful.
Ask God to help you see your true worth
It is important that you realize how beloved, important and cared for you are. Read scripture, religious writings. Surround yourself with positive people who uplift and love you. If you do not truly, fully believe that you are loved without end, without restrictions or conditions, I’ve discovered that you will continue to treat yourself as a purely sexual object, subjecting yourself to pornography.
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17
Get all of your extra energy out
I noticed that when I worked out, even for just twenty minutes, it helped me a whole lot in the midst of temptation. Even if you’re super super busy, think of exercising as a way of pampering yourself, and just do it.
Understand Your Triggers
What is it that causes the temptation? Try to understand what situations lead to your temptations. For me, it was late at night when I was restless or bored and my phone was handy. I would put on nature sounds and concentrate on my breathing to help myself fall asleep. I would put my phone under my sheets so it was harder to reach in times when I’d falter. Maybe for you it’s reading romance novels or watching romantic movies that can cause you to feel a longing for connection, but not in a good way.
Jessica Harris of Beggar’s Daughter has a whole series on the importance of identifying triggers, and the different type of triggers here.
Your body craves porn but the moment and your mind justifies it, but the moment you are finished, your heart cries out “How could you!” and your mind says, “Yeah! How could you?” – Jessica Harris
Tell a Friend and ask them to hold you accountable
Being honest about your problem can lead to some surprises, including the understanding that you are not alone. It also gives you the power over the sin. If you are ashamed and humiliated by it, you are letting sin control you, and have power over you. God died so that we might have power over sin. Ask a trustworthy friend to hold you accountable with your struggles.
Jessica Harris also wrote a series on the importance of accountability here.
Bottom line: we have to have people. Pornography does not draw us toward people. It draws us into ourselves. It confines us to hours and days of secrecy, darkness, isolation, and fear, and many of you might be feeling the effects of that. You feel socially awkward, even paranoid. You feel depressed or lifeless. You feel like you’re drifting. – Jessica Harris
Reconciliation. Lots, and lots of reconciliation.
I know the sacrament of Reconciliation can seem scary and intimidating. For years, I could not say the name of my sin in the confessional. I always confessed my involvement with “some impure things”. It wasn’t until I (accidentally) said the name of the sexual sins I struggled with that I realized that they had no power over me. Through His death and resurrection, Christ has freed us from the bondage and shackles of sin. You are strong. God has given us power over our sin. Don’t let the sin have power over you.
O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Take advantage of the Eucharist
Did you know all Catholics have a secret weapon? Seriously.
Go often to Holy Communion. Go very often! This is your one remedy. – St. Therese of Lisieux
Our one remedy! The Eucharist is our hope! When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we get so many graces. Did you know that the reception of communion wipes out venial sins, and gives power to stand strong in the face of mortal sin. If you can go to daily mass, go. Maybe it cuts into your Netflix time (guilty), but going to mass, and listening to the word of God, and receiving Christ’s body and blood is worth cutting into that House of Cards marathon. There is nothing like the mass and the reception of the Eucharist. Nothing.
Hold On Hope
Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” “The Holy Spirit . . . he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.”
You may stumble and fall, but know that our God is good, and that He wants to heal you. He wants you to spend eternity with Him.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9
I am praying for you, sisters.