Illustration of laptop and bait

I’m a Woman and I’m Addicted to Porn

Hi, my name is Jacq, and I’m addicted to pornographic fiction.

It took a long time before I recognised my addiction for what it was, and even longer before I could consider myself an addict. I thought I was just someone who liked to read a lot.

That was how it began, with little me being a wide-eyed, curious reader who was game to read anything. In primary school, I was reading Sweet Valley High and Sweet Valley University, though most of it went over my head. Then in high school, a friend introduced me to Harry Potter fanfiction. 

Fanfiction is where fans get to explore their own ideas about characters (fictional and otherwise) in settings and situations of their choice. It’s a training ground for young writers, allowing them to write in any genre, from comedy and action-adventure to drama and romance. 

As the Harry Potter series was between books then, reading fanfiction served to tide me over the waiting period—I read everything from epics speculating about the future books to short flashbacks into the older characters’ pasts. 

I also looked up romance stories. It was an innocent venture at first—I made sure to use the filter option so I would just get the PG stuff. But once, I became absorbed in a well-written, multi-chapter story that included non-PG-13 scenes between two characters. I had to know how the story ended, so I tried to just skim through the scenes while taking in as little detail as I could. 

That was my first mistake.

 

The Excuse I Gave Myself 

“But it’s well-written” became the excuse I would use for years to come. As I consumed different kinds of fiction, I refined my palate as a reader, but I also became increasingly tolerant of sensuality on the page. 

As a Christian, I knew that pornography was a struggle, but I held to my impressions that a) it was mainly directed at men; and b) it only counts if you see body parts. What I was reading was a bit descriptive, but it was just words. I told myself, you can’t visualise what you don’t know. 

But, whether I was prepared to acknowledge it or not, my reading material was giving me an education—and an appetite for living vicariously. As someone who didn’t (and later chose not to) have romance in her life, pornographic fiction became an avenue to immerse myself in the emotions and feelings of characters who did have that. 

When My Issue Came to Light 

It took me until my 20s to first recognise my problem. I had attended a discipleship conference with my best friend in 2013 and came away convicted that I struggled with lust and pornography. 

I got home, cleared my internet browser history, and asked my best friend to be my accountability partner as we took on the battle against impurity. I would love to say that it was a turning point in my life. But within just a month or two, I was right back on the horse. 

I had about a decade’s worth of habit to kick, and this type of fiction had become my go-to entertainment and “therapy” whenever I was feeling upset, tired, lonely, or just plain bored. At some point, I’d even give God a “heads-up” that I’d be asking for forgiveness whenever I sensed the temptation coming. Then I’d put up a half-hearted fight before giving in shortly.  

Whenever I heard testimonies of people overcoming their struggles, I wondered why I couldn’t shake mine for good. I wanted to live in accordance with the example and instruction of Jesus, but I just couldn’t (Romans 7:18-19). There were times I would feel discouraged from how often I was confessing this sin to my accountability partner. I wondered when she—and God—would one day tire of hearing, “I read again. I’m sorry.” 

Technically, while I “rested” on Christ’s grace and forgiveness, I was not prepared to turn my mind over to the Holy Spirit, so I could never be in a place to fully submit my desires to God (Romans 8:6-7) and experience true repentance.

 

There Came a Digital Intervention From Jesus . . .

One night, I had just finished getting my most recent fix and, for the umpteenth time, decided to quickly clear my browser history. 

But, I suddenly thought of a couple of stories I had stumbled on that were in the “safe zone”—no suggestiveness, and not even romantic in nature. They were genuinely okay, I reasoned, and I wanted to bookmark them before I forgot they existed. So, I dove back into the site I had just abandoned. I’m just going to look for the specific titles, I determinedly told myself.  

I could sense the Lord’s disapproval the whole time, but I justified myself by pointing out that I wasn’t sinning this time. Then, about an hour into my search, my fairly new laptop rebooted itself for no apparent reason. The blue screen read, “:( Your computer has experienced an error.”

It was a standard error message, but the sad face emoji felt like Jesus was saying to me, “Hi. This is me. What are you up to right now?”

I wish I could say I got it then, but I didn’t. I finished bookmarking the pages I wanted to read and went to bed feeling conflicted. 

The next day, I woke up with a very persistent message ringing in my head—I called myself a follower of Jesus Christ. But was I willing to give everything to Him?

Then the Holy Spirit bombarded my head with Scriptures. The verse that really pierced me was David saying, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24). I remembered a song written about that verse—the lyrics spoke of giving God “nothing less” than one’s best and offering a sacrifice worthy of Christ. Yet here I was, trying to offer my desires on the altar, but still hedging on the costs. 

So, I got on my laptop to delete those bookmarks. As God told me that it all had to go, I went right back to my oldest excuse—that the writing was beautiful, and the stories were safe. He responded, “Don’t you know by now that beautiful writing and words come from Me?”

I also tried to tell the Lord the bookmarks weren’t that important in the long run—I usually forgot about them anyway. And He answered, “So, will you only give this up for Me when it doesn’t matter to you anymore?”

I had nothing to say after that. 

A Daily Renewal From God 

Have I finally beaten pornography? No, I don’t think so—by my own doing, it may be a sin I’ll struggle with possibly for the rest of my life. 

But instead of stewing in guilt, I leap into the arms of God’s grace—to trust that He will not tire of listening to me confess my sin, and that He, faithful and just, will forgive me and purify me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). 

The grace I have come to recognise invites repentance and renewal by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, as I’m reminded of His presence in my life—He knows, He sees, and He is hurt when I make the wrong choices.

Whenever lustful thoughts surface in my head, I jump out of wherever I’m lounging and cry out to the Lord for mercy, and I send a quick message to my accountability partner asking for prayer. I try to be mindful of my triggers as well—a negative mood, a fandom obsession, being idle.

The Lord has promised us that as we “nail the passions and desires” of our flesh to His cross (Galatians 5:24, NLT) with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will not be left wanting. Instead, He will satisfy “[our] desires with good things so that [our] youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:5).

8 replies
  1. gg
    gg says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Jacq! Fanfiction can be very addictive and hard to give up. May God sanctify our hearts and minds.

    Reply
  2. Becca
    Becca says:

    I am really glad you wrote about this. I have the same struggle and it is hard to make a decision even though the gospel is so clear. I feel encouraged by you and very thankful you wrote about this

    Reply
    • Jacq
      Jacq says:

      I’m glad you have been blessed! Prayer is really one of the best tools – what we know so often doesn’t translate to what we actually choose, and we really need the help of the Holy Spirit

  3. Kai
    Kai says:

    Thank you for sharing, Jacq. It is the first time I read someone talk about this, and it is a reminder for me to continue fighting my own struggles with “word porn.”

    Reply
  4. Lolo
    Lolo says:

    Thank you for writing this article. This is the first time I came across this website and there are so many relatable articles. I also grew up reading fanfictions and only stopped when I first received Christ into my life. However, recently the tendencies came back. Similarly, three times I tried to seek comfort through these content, each time I was stopped by either the website maintenance, or my sister entering the room to sleep, as I struggled between being convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit and my own mind telling me it’s okay. The last time truly made me sorrowful and aware that yes God doesn’t want me to fall back to this and I stopped. Your article mentioned about this similar experience so just wanted to comment. I got encouraged by your article, we are definitely not alone!

    Reply
    • Jacq
      Jacq says:

      I’m glad you’re being blessed by this site! And it’s truly amazing how God reaches out to help us in times of temptation. It’s definitely a strong reminder for us to always be watchful and mindful of even old habits – how easily they come back to bite us!

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