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Porn, Pleasure and Purity: The Perspective of a Woman

Porn, Pleasure and Purity: The Perspective of a Woman

Pornography, masturbation, sexual fantasy, lustful thoughts...  they’re just men’s issues, aren’t they?  As a woman who has struggled with one or more of these things in my walk with Christ over the last 10 years, this presumption has often left me feeling isolated and downhearted. There can be no doubt that, despite sometimes feeling that way, I can’t be the only woman battling to live a pure life that is pleasing to the Lord. The ways in which women struggle may often be subtly different to our male counterparts, but the fundamental issues of our sinful hearts seeking fulfilment in the wrong places are just the same.

Here, I describe four principles that I’ve found helpful as I pursue purity in my life. I hope this encourages other women to be more open about their battle in this area and to realise that they’re not alone

 

Purity is good

I think the first thing for me to learn, was to recognise that purity is a good thing

Purity is good - I'm not missing out on something better”

not something that means I'm missing out on something better. I need to keep reminding myself that Jesus is my ultimate fulfilment. When it feels hard to make the right decision about something, I have to not believe the devil’s lies that purity is boring or restrictive, but rather remember that Jesus is my true fulfilment and freedom - He is ultimately better than anything this world offers.

 

The need for accountability

My second principle is accountability - and for me this is particularly important. I shared with two friends the things I struggle with and then together we took steps to help me in the battle. They regularly ask me specific questions that we've agreed and they have pretty much free rein to ask me anything else along similar lines as well if they want. Accountability also really helps in those moments of temptation when the sin seems so much more enticing: I can text those friends in that moment and they can pray, remind me of the truths of the gospel, and hold me accountable for my actions. It took a lot of courage and honesty to do this, but overall, it’s been a positive experience. This all came with time, as trust has to be built up... it definitely didn't happen overnight! 

 

Recognising my triggers


With time I’ve learned that it is really important to be honest with myself about my triggers for struggling with thoughts or actions and then taking steps to shield myself from those things. A while ago, pornography was a particular problem. I now have accountability software on all my electronic devices and my two accountability partners get an email weekly, highlighting anything that might be something for us to talk about. Even now, as that particular battle has wonderfully become much less of a problem, the software stays on to reduce the temptation and risk of falling back in to old habits. Other triggers can be certain genres of films and books; therefore Netflix has a PIN number on for anything over a “12” rating and my Kindle book account is linked with one of my accountability partners so they can see what I'm downloading and reading. I’ve also found that time on my own can sometimes be difficult, therefore it is important to let my accountability partners know about this, make sure I'm honest with myself about how I’m feeling when I am alone, and arranging to see someone to avoid those times if needed.

The need for prayer

Lastly, and most importantly, I pray! I pray mainly in three ways:

1. I thank God that the only reason I desire pure thoughts and actions is because I have a new heart and He has given me new desires (Ez 36:26). This helps me remember that without Him I'm useless - it's only by his grace that I even want to fight!

2. I repent when things don't go well, and remember that I'm forgiven in Christ (Eph 1:7).

3. I ask for help in the battle. I try to be honest with Him, knowing that He knows me better than I know myself. This reminds me that He's always here with me, in every moment, and that He has everything I need to face the battle each time it comes. He isn't surprised by the things I'm struggling with and generally feel very ashamed of! And, ultimately, it is only in His strength that that battle is ever won. Specifically, I try to pray in the moment of temptation for the strength and courage to make the wise choice (1 Cor 10:13)

Accountability helps in those moments of temptation when the sin seems so much more enticing”

This article was published in the Spring 2019 edition of the TFT magazine, Ascend.