Porn is just a guy thing, right? If you think about it, the vast majority of porn images and videos contains men demeaning women, not the other way around. And you never see movies that show girls stuffing stacks of porn magazines under their mattresses or locking their doors as they power up their laptops. So it’s got to be just the guys who watch porn. Right?

Not exactly.

We came across a German sex study that shows more of what we already knew to be true: women are just as at risk of becoming dependent upon pornography as men. The study showed that as many as 17% of women consider themselves addicted to porn, and that half of the women surveyed were internet porn users.

There are plenty more stats where those came from, including one study that found about half of young adult women agree that viewing pornography is acceptable and 1/3 of young women reported using porn.

Clearly, this isn’t just a dude problem. It’s a human problem.

To prove this point even further, we have included the stories of two young women who were kind enough to share their story with us.

Meet Kelsie

Kelsie’s addiction began just like most. She was only 11 years old when it started.

“I just discovered it by chance, although, at the time I had no idea what I was doing and no idea it was wrong. It became my main coping mechanism for when I was happy, sad, bored, excited, angry, or lonely. I told myself that my thoughts/fantasies weren’t dangerous, that I wasn’t hurting myself and that since I wasn’t out there having sex, it was OK. I lived with this in secrecy for 16 years before seeking help.”

Doesn’t that sound exactly like the stories we share from guys who become addicted as teenagers?

This story is the same one we hear so often from girls who are going through the same thing.

When we asked Kelsie how she feels about porn addiction being largely viewed as a guy problem, and she replied, “I lived in shame and secrecy for so many years. I told myself that no one would understand, because this isn’t something that any other girl struggles with. And if anyone ever found out, they would think I was so gross and disgusting.” She added that if she would have known that it was a human issue and not just a man issue, “I think I may have come clean…and sought help much earlier.”

“In our culture, it is acceptable for men to view pornography. It’s even expected. We see it in almost every TV show or sitcom. It is so ‘normal’ in our culture. But rarely do people mention women. I don’t understand why people would assume that women don’t have any sexual drive or desires or why they wouldn’t be sexual beings just as men are… We are all wired to desire sex at some point. I think women can be just as visual as men.”

Meet Nicole

Nicole began developing her addiction at age 13. It continued off and on as she grew older and then intensified when she went through a difficult breakup. She’s now working through a healthy recovery, but it took a long time for her to get there.

“I didn’t seek help for my addiction because I felt I was a freak of nature, because I was sure that I was the ONLY woman who struggled with a man’s disease. I remember looking up articles and blogs about recovering from pornography addiction, and everything I found was about men, for men, written by men. So, clearly, I was the only one.”

Not cool. In fact, it isn’t cool for anyone to have to feel shamed because of this addiction. Whether you’re a girl or a guy, you should never be judged or shamed because of your struggle.

When we asked Nicole what she would say to other girls who are going through this, specifically teen girls, she said, “Understand that you are not the only one. Not by a long shot. Your worth is neither defined nor altered by this addiction. Please, reach out. Find someone you can trust. I promise, you can be free of it.”

Porn has become the drug of choice for many in the new millennium. It’s highly addictive and it is rampant among both men and women. It’s time we took another step to remove shame from those who struggle. Women seem to be demeaned enough in our society, we don’t need to do it here too.

Kelsie and Nicole are right. It’s absolutely crazy for any of us to think that girls don’t have very active sexual drives. And it’s heartbreaking to think that so many girls feel like they can’t reach out to anyone because of the stigma that porn is just a guy thing.

It’s time to stand up for everyone who’s going through this, regardless of which gender they are.

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What YOU Can Do

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*For those who are reading this, girls and guys, who feel they are struggling with an addiction to pornography, don’t worry, you are not alone. We got your back. Check out our free online recovery program, Fortify, and start getting the help that you need today.*