By Rachael Liberman

In a recent article from The New York Times, titled “Church Counsels Women Addicted to Pornography,” writer John Leland reveals predicable information regarding the Church’s response to overt female sexual behavior. While the fact that the Church is openly acknowledging this as a “problem” is newsworthy, it is the reaction and subsequent treatment that seems obvious and problematic. Leland writes, “The programs at Ms. Renaud’s group and XXX Church diverge from secular sexual theory by treating masturbation and arousal as sins rather than elements of healthy sexuality. Emphasis is on recovering ‘sexual purity’, in which thoughts of sex outside marriage are illicit.” Similar to the Church’s response to male pornography addiction, this article highlights an approach that blatantly ignores the drive or interest in pornography and focuses therapy on restoring the notion that “sexual purity” is the corrective path. Pornography, within this reasoning, has distorted the Church’s normative message regarding “sex” and “sexuality.” Crystal Renaud, a group leader for a Victory Over Porn Addiction group and founder of Dirty Girl Ministries, was quoted as saying: “It’s an injustice that the church is not more open about physical sexuality. God created sex. But the enemy has twisted it.” So what did we learn from this article? Certainly the fact that women are interested in the pornographic version of sexuality is nothing new – even if they do attend Church and practice organized religion. On the other hand, the fact that female Church leaders are trying to organize recovery groups brings attention to the “severity” (or profit possibility) of this issue within this community. In the end, this article does support the pervasive nature of pornography – and that it can no longer be categorized as attracting a seedy, unethical, secular, male-only viewership.

Dirty Girl Ministries: Helping Women Overcome Pornography Addiction