Real talk. Our culture expects men to be addicted to pornography.

Popular television shows and movies depict this expectation without hesitation. Countless numbers of well-read Christian authors have addressed the male obsession with pornography and how to combat it. It has become, dare I say, “Acceptable” for men to struggle with an addiction to pornography. Our culture says, “It’s just how they are,” in reference to men and their need to see, watch and experience porn.

Christian authors have written articles and preached sermons specifically for men regarding this issue. I am not saying these articles are bad (I’ve re-tweeted several of them), but it just makes me wonder: Where are the resources for women who are held captive by this crippling addiction?

I was exposed to pornography at a very young age. I spent most of my life hiding this particular sin and pretending I didn’t suffer from it. Why? Because I was horrendously ashamed to talk to anyone about it. After all, Christian women aren’t supposed to have pornography addictions. So, I kept my little secret locked inside and allowed it to poison my heart.

I was imprisoned by a secret sin and was too ashamed to try to break free.

I didn’t have the guts to talk about it until my sophomore year in college. Yes, you read that correctly. I was twenty years old and completely broken by my inability to be honest with the people around me. At that point, I was convicted beyond belief and finally discussed the issue with a trusted friend of mine.

I spilled my poisoned, chained-up, sinful guts—and for the first time in my life, I felt the weight of secrecy and hypocrisy lifted off of my shoulders.

With that weight gone, however, all that was left was a broken mess of a person. Thankfully, my friend was able to lead me to the forgiveness and redemption found only in Jesus Christ. I was freed!

Problem solved, right? Not even close.

While my heart was set free, the poisonous images and habits that had soaked into my brain and life for the previous fifteen years had to be removed. There is no magic potion or serum that can completely remove this poison, my friend. Trust me.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”  Romans 8:1-2

Only the unconditional love and forgiveness Christ gave us with His death and resurrection can replace our shameful addictions and unending struggles. It’s not an overnight process either.

I am not twenty years old anymore. God has given me an incredibly loving husband, and I still fight this particular sin almost every day. Submerged in a culture where sex is flaunted and promoted, the temptation is even greater. It’s like an alcoholic who carries a flask at all times. It doesn’t mean he’ll drink, but the option is continually at his fingertips. Temptation is inevitable!

I’m writing this as an encouragement to women who also deal with the pornography struggle. Know that you are not alone! Our loving Father forgives us of our indiscretions and restores us as His beautiful, blameless children. He will fight this in us, so we don’t have to be enslaved by our temptations. We have freedom in Christ and victory over sin! Hold on to that indisputable promise and walk in the freedom found in Christ alone.

[Image via Anieto2k/Flickr]