No, Christianity Today, These Women Do Not Have a ‘Porn Problem’

Christianity Today published a piece by Trillia Newbell about women who “struggle” with pornography. They have an “addiction” to it, the article says.

That’s gotta be pretty awful, right? If this is a serious issue, we’re talking about the kind of women who skip work so they can keep watching porn, women who have withdrawal symptoms when they don’t/can’t watch it, women who have an inability to derive pleasure from anything that’s not porn, etc.

So how does porn addiction affect the three women who shared their lives for this story?

Well, let’s see what Rachel went through:

As a teenager, I became romantically involved with a guy who had just graduated from my school. Before long, we were discussing sexual fantasies. I went back to pornography, and I began to masturbate frequently. When things between us ended, I combated rejection and heartache with pornography and masturbation. It was an intimacy that I could control.

So she discussed sex with her boyfriend, watched porn, and masturbated…

I fail to see how any of that is cause for alarm…

But Rachel thinks there was something seriously wrong with her (and Newbell agrees):

Every morning and evening — sometimes even in the afternoons — I would engage in those things. On the outside I was a straight-A student, a leader in my high school’s chapel band, a core part of my youth group, a social butterfly, and a talented athlete. On the inside I was slowly wasting away, chained to my addictions and the woundedness that I was trying to avoid. For those four years I led a double life, and I was good at it.

Show me a teenager who *doesn’t* live Rachel’s version of a “double life” and I’ll show you a liar.

Maybe “Sally” has a more terrifying story to share:

I eventually started experimenting while watching [the Spice channel]. I was a virgin and I was curious, and at the time, I didn’t think it was doing any harm. My addiction with porn and masturbation lasted until I was a senior in high school, when I entered into a relationship with a guy in my church.

She found porn on the TV. She later writes that she fooled around a bit with her boyfriend — getting to “third base” with him, though she never elaborates on what that is, and my gut feeling is that we have very different definitions.

And after they broke up, her problems just got worse:

I remember watching a steamy scene from The Notebook (and if you’ve seen the movie, you know the one) on YouTube, and before I knew it I was viewing pornographic material. I was shocked at how fast it led there.

Online porn. That’s what she’s freaking out about. Not “23 hours a day of online porn,” mind you, just some “I got turned on by a movie and then I went to a porn site” porn.

Again: I’m not seeing the problem here.

Sally was so devastated by her own actions that she “cried out to the Lord for help [and] asked to be delivered from… sexual sin.”

Finally, we arrive at “Sarah.” How bad is her addiction?

As a kid, I was exposed to sex scenes in movies and sex chatter among other students at school, who repeated details of what they had heard of, seen, or done. I began to develop impure thoughts and daydreamed about sexual activity…

I would stay up and watch porn after-hours on premium cable channels such as HBO and Showtime.

In college, I was a virgin addicted to pornography. More of my friends were having sex and telling me about it, and I wanted to see it for myself without actually taking part. I ran into pornography on social networking sites. I would go to sexually explicit chat rooms and watch webcams.

*sigh*

Obviously, I’m not a doctor or an expert on what is and isn’t addiction. Of course there are legitimate instances of porn addiction. But I’d be shocked if any expert, working off of these passages, would classify the stories as anything remotely resembling addiction.

I’m not trying to mock these women. I just feel bad for them. They’re so repressed that they believe thinking about sex or watching an online clip of people having sex is something so horrible that only Jesus can save them from it. They think having thoughts about sex makes them impure, somehow, and that it’s unnatural and evil… when the truth is there’s nothing wrong with them at all.

The problem isn’t that they’re addicted to porn. The problem is that they fear any kind of sexual pleasure that doesn’t involve a husband. That’s *far* more damaging that wanting to watch late-night HBO when you’re a teenager.

Instead of shutting off the computer, maybe these women need to take a second look at their faith. That’s the cause of the real damage.

(Image via Shutterstock)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • AFabulousAtlantanAtheist

    I shudder to think what these Christians would classify my pornography viewing habits as. Feel bad for the women, they are being groomed to think sex is bad and any sexual thought is inherently evil.

  • Dats3

    I couldn’t get through this article. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Oh no, I have normal sexual urges. I’m an addict. Give me a break! Christians have this victim thing down to an art form.

    • http://iamchristianiamanatheist.blogspot.kr/ Christian Kemp

      Its not just the victim card though.These girls have most probably been threatend with hell and so are scared as watching porn will lead to an eternity of pain. Even if not threatened with hell, they believe porn is a sin as taught by the preacher and as such have extreme guilt. Its authoritatitve abuse which is trying to stop natural urges and so I do have some sympathy for them.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    I wonder if they have censor bars on their bathroom mirrors.

    • Tainda

      Yep. It’s just like playing The Sims lol

      • The Other Weirdo

        Which often makes me wonder what Woo Hoo! is all about. They don’t have… parts.

        • Tainda

          The’re just wrestling, silly! lol

          Woohoo in the hot tub is my favorite!

          • The Other Weirdo

            Wait, is that why we don’t see mixed wrestling in the Olympics? Because they might accidentally make a baby?

            None of mine ever had a hot tub, so no hot tub woohoo for them.

        • Knot

          They do if you have the right mods…

    • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

      I laughed at that way longer than I should have.

  • RegretWillAgeYou

    I feel so sorry for these young women. Heck, I feel a little sorry for myself for all the years I missed out on porn and masturbation and unmarried sex because it wasn’t something a Godly woman did. I love my husband, but it’s been nearly 20 years of marriage and I still often wonder what it would have been like to experience more sexually. Sex is a big part of being human and I realize now too late that I should have explored my sexuality more. To any young women reading this, love yourself enough to properly care for your physical desires.

    • lmern

      Incredibly important point. Women are just as entitled and should be encouraged to explore and ‘properly care for [their] physical desires.’ Excellent.

    • KMR

      You can still discover masturbation. It’s not a young person’s pleasure at all.

    • Jerome Haltom

      Paragraphs like these are how the swinging community survives. Hah!

  • MNb

    This is what I dislike the Abrahamist religions for – the unnecessary feelings of guilt and regret. Enjoy life instead of trying to appease an imaginary boogeyman.

  • Britomart49

    The human spirit sublimates the impulses it thwarts.

    A healthy sex life mitigates the lust for other sports.
    Piet Hein

    • Terry Firma

      Zijn naam is klein? Zijn daden benne groot!

  • WallofSleep

    “I went back to pornography, and I began to masturbate frequently.”

    I, um… uh… wait, what this article about again?

    • Sam

      FYI, it doesn’t particularly help the situation for women to know that everything about their sexuality exists for the public titillation of men.

  • lmern

    Genuinely conflicted whether their religious repressions would make them boring bed mates, or if their natural appetites mean they’re amazing… maybe I need to read more of their stories…

    • Lady Mondegreen

      Maybe you need to read Sam’s reply to WallofSleep, above. Women should be able to discuss their sexuality without dudebros snickering about how titillating it is that women are, you know, sexual.

      • lmern

        As a woman, I am confident about discussing my sexuality knowing it might cause snickering or hoots or dubious grins, indeed I would expect it. I was even one of the first to ‘thumbs up’ WallofSleep’s remark. As a cynical Atheist, I also find it hard not to wonder aloud that these women could let themselves get railroaded by such outrageous claims of sin and sexual deviancy. I don’t see the harm in making innocent humour of a subject as titillating as masterbation. Human sexuality is fun and exciting and important and creative, and if you expect to have a discussion about it without any sly remarks and a couple high fives, you’re going to be disappointed.
        If you had bothered to read any of my other posts on this thread, you would have noticed my empathy towards the situation. Now if you’ll excuse me…

        shluck-shluck-shluck…

      • Stev84

        That question isn’t specifically about women, but applies to men as well.

    • Stev84

      I’ve read some people say that religious nuts make some of the best and freakiest sex partners, but bad for real relationships. And that there is shame afterwards. But couldn’t say from personal experience.

      • lmern

        I bet that really exacerbates the situation. Getting kinky in bed, even with your life partner would feel wrong with the ‘every sperm is sacred’ and ‘God is watching’ paranoia. I can’t imagine how stressful it would be to tear yourself down inside for giving in to natural and healthy urges, whether it’s masterbating, or doggy style.

  • Kat Johnson

    As a young teen, I discovered porn and began writing erotica! My highly devout parents discovered this and were horrified. They told me I had a pornography addiction and I was a sexual deviant because all good Christian girls normally don’t like porn at all.

    • Pepe

      You evil you! (can I have a link to the said erotica? :P)
      Edit: Just so that I can verify how ungodly you are/were

    • lmern

      I first started, ahem… enjoying myself… because I read a lot of ‘romance’ and erotica. If it weren’t for ‘deviants’ like you, it might have taken a whole lot longer for me to get in touch with my sexuality! Course, I would have discovered internet porn sooner or later, but that’s besides the point ;)

    • L.G. Keltner

      A lot of good Christian girls do like it are just good at keeping the fact that they like porn to themselves. Oh the things that go on behind closed doors because people are afraid of others finding out. It makes no sense to me that people are labeled “deviant” for engaging in activities that are part of the natural human experience.

  • Terry Firma

    Thank you Hemant, that was hawt.

  • WallofSleep

    I don’t know if this is true or not as I haven’t done enough of my own research, but I’ve been told that women who are comfortable with their sexuality and the act of masturbation achieve orgasm more easily and more often than women who are not. If this is true, then it just adds another layer of sadness to the mountain of bullshit, shame and guilt religious assholes shove on women.

    • lmern

      It is true. I’ve known several girls who had never achieved orgasm and readily admitted to ‘thinking too much’ during intercourse. Pornography can be something couples enjoy together, and girls aught to be allowed exposure as much as men. If only to learn that theres no shame in sexuality.

    • Tainda

      Also because women who are comfortable with their sexuality will tell you what they like and what works.

      • WallofSleep

        Ah, my favorite kind of woman. And I ain’t afraid to take direction. Not in the least.

    • Anat

      Ehm, IME orgasms that take a while to achieve are better (to me) than those achieved easily. More build-up – more powerful orgasms. Worth the trade-off of having fewer of them altogether. But that’s my preference.

  • ShoeUnited

    This is terrible for these women. I feel bad for them that they feel the need to repress their safe urges.

    On a lighter note, Avenue Q. (nsfw)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV7ou6pl5wU

    • The Other Weirdo

      Until you’ve had enough and your you’re ready to stop.

  • newavocation

    Xians at least got one thing right the forbidden fruit always tastes better. I read somewhere too that when Muslims fast during Ramadan, more food is actually consumed before sunrise and after sunset than in a typical non-holiday day.

  • WallofSleep

    Perhaps I’m the odd man out, but even as a dude, I struggled with the shame, guilt, and filthiness that christians had trained me to associate with sexuality. Of course I am over that bullshit now, but when I was young it did have a detrimental effect on me.

    • baal

      I grew up mostly convinced that everyone was lying to me. I’m not sure that I was paranoid but it did mean I didn’t listen to shaming / guilt stuff. And for that, I’m very happy.

    • L.G. Keltner

      Glad you got past it! A lot of people never do.

      • WallofSleep

        Yeah. Now the only time I feel guilty about my sexuality is when I find myself attracted to married women. I’d never fool around with a married woman, but still…

  • ShhhImReading

    I dated a very devout Christian a few years ago (I know, weird, but I’m open minded), he was 38 at the time. Never married. Not a virgin, though. It took about a month to get him comfortable enough to have sex with me. Eventually, he stopped doing it altogether. I asked him about the drop in activity, and he told me he thought it was a sin. I gave him a month to change his mind, but no change. I had to break up with him. The sad part wasn’t that I wasn’t getting laid, it was that a 38 year old man was living a lie.

    • http://an-expatriate-in-cambridge.blogspot.com The Expatriate

      You sound like you wouldn’t be much of a loss.

  • ShoeUnited

    I’d show them what someone with a real porn addiction looks like, but I’m too busy masturbating. You can’t selfie when you have no hands to hold the camera.

    • WallofSleep

      Both hands? Lemme guess, one hand holding the magnifying glass, the other holding the lubricated tweezers. Am I right?

      • flyb

        Bazinga!

      • ShoeUnited

        One to pin the stuffed goat and the other to work the levers on the wall.

        • WallofSleep

          Oh yeah. I’m definitely coming to your next house party.

          EDIT: BTW, I’m sending that one off to my demented buddy. He’s gonna laugh his ass off over that one. Well played, Shoe. Well played.

    • UWIR

      You can if you have a webcam.

    • Stev84

      How did you type that?

      • Anathema

        With one hand? If ShoeUnited is using one hand to type and their other hand is otherwise engaged, it is going to be rather difficult for them to hold a camera.

  • SJH

    Perhaps they are addicted perhaps they are not but is it really your place to judge them. You are assuming that their desire to stop this “addiction” is brought on fear they have of “any kind of sexual pleasure”. Maybe their conscience tells them that what they are doing is immoral and they want to change it in themselves. Don’t assume that their conscience was formed by some misguided adherence to religion.

    This is another example of the modern atheist’s prejudice against Christians. Making assumptions and judgements without knowing all of the facts.
    Lets assume that because a few Christians base their beliefs on fear then all Christians develop their conscience based on fear of God’s wrath rather that assuming that we are all trying to develop our conscience in a way that is good for ourselves and those around us.

    Also, who are you to judge their tactics? If they have found something that makes them happy and overcome what they see as a shortfall then why do you deem yourself superior that you know what they should do instead? Sounds like you are borrowing tactics from the so-called “religious right”.

    Also, of course, if you convince yourself that nothing is immoral then you will free yourself from the guilt of committing immoral acts. Unfortunately, things are immoral, not because a magical being in the sky deems them immoral, but because those actions tend to hurt yourself and others. Who are you to decide what actions in these people’s lives hurt them or the people around them? Are they not the best ones to determine that? Maybe they have witnessed something in their lives and the lives of their loved ones that has changed in a negative way due to their “addiction”. You are assuming that no harm has been done and they are being torn apart by misguided guilt rather than observation of their situation. Again, very judgmental.

    • Anna

      Don’t assume that their conscience was formed by some misguided adherence to religion

      Really? I’d love to know what research shows that people spontaneously start to feel guilty and ashamed of masturbation.

    • WhatTheWhat

      Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.

      At no point in the original article to they actually define a single aspect of their “porn addiction” that meets the definition. Sure it is possible that there are aspects that they did not reveal but since there is no way of knowing that, we have to go with the information we have. They are not addicted or have a “porn problem”.

      “This is another example of the modern atheist’s prejudice against Christians. Making assumptions and judgements without knowing all of the facts.”

      You are the one asserting that there is more to this story as if you have knowledge of it. Since you do not, you are the one making assumptions and judgement. Also, good job on using a blanket generalization.

    • lmern

      The fact is, these women feel that sex and sexual relations with themselves and others is immoral because Religion told them so. I never felt that masterbating was wrong or unnatural ever in my life – but then, I was lucky that I wasn’t indoctrinated into believing such nonsense.
      Their religion isn’t making them happy, it is making them feel guilty and ashamed of normal behaviour.

      • SJH

        You are making the same prejudice assumptions. How do you know that what you are saying is true?

        • lmern

          How are they assumptions? Did you read the article? These women called out to God and reached out to their Religious communities for salvation for what they perceived was sinful. Sin is a made up disease. They wouldn’t be feeling guilty if they had had good parents who explained how natural and healthy it is to explore ones own body. Guilt about sex and masterbation is not innate. If you can find an example of that I’d be impressed.

          • Anna

            This is what I’ve never understood about fundamentalist Catholics like SJH. They really do seem to believe that their church’s view of sexuality is not only correct, but also the view that is inherently natural. So, things like masturbation or homosexuality would naturally seem wrong to people even if they hadn’t been indoctrinated into Catholicism. Yet there’s absolutely no evidence of that.

            Where are they getting their assumption that people would automatically start feeling bad or guilty about masturbation if they’d never been introduced to the idea that it was wrong? It would make sense if there was even the slightest bit of evidence that children automatically feel it’s shameful or something to hide, but we have evidence of exactly the opposite. Children don’t start to feel ashamed or embarrassed until adults tell them that it’s wrong.

        • J.R. Robbins

          Thanks for trolling, made things a little more interesting here. Haha.

    • Glasofruix

      Masturbation, except in public, is not wrong or immoral. Having guilt for giving your self pleasure is a purely religious thing, just read the seven capital sins…

    • WallofSleep

      And who are you to criticize some one else’s criticism?

    • Vas

      Just what kind of judgment are you talking about? When you’re talking about a disease, you’re talking about diagnosis. Diagnosis is a kind of medical judgment, sure, but one based on facts and not the subjective wishy-washiness of morality. A diagnosis for addiction is based on repetition of a certain activity without regard to the actual harm the activity creates; a recurring compulsion despite harmful consequences.

      Where is the harm in these stories?

      Rachel: On the outside I was a straight-A student, a leader in my high school’s chapel band, a core part of my youth group, a social butterfly, and a talented athlete. On the inside I was slowly wasting away, chained to my addictions and the woundedness that I was trying to avoid.
      The only harm here is guilt.
      Sally: After our relationship ended, I craved that feeling that I no longer was
      experiencing. I wanted those “feel good” endorphins. I knew it was
      wrong, but I still wanted to experience an orgasm.
      Harm? Guilt.
      Sarah: Though I was raised in the church, I did not realize my true identity in
      Christ and wanted to experience life on my own. I knew it was wrong,
      but I did not really care. I just wanted to satisfy my flesh. I went
      through periods where I felt completely stuck in my addiction to this
      stuff. I could not go to bed at night until I watched it.
      Harm? Guilt.

      Personal lives? Fine. Professional lives? Fine. These women went to school, went to church, straight A students, active in their communities. Unless there’s something not being told by the original article, their professional and personal lives were not adversely affected by their compulsion to watch porn and masturbate. Their grades didn’t slip. They weren’t skipping school to get their fix. The only adverse effect was guilt.
      The source of that guilt seems pretty clear to me from reading the article. The source is what they’d been taught in church: that libido and sexual desire are sins of the flesh that must be resisted for the sake of purity. It seems to me that their addictions could be cured by simply not teaching women to be guilty about their sexuality.

      • lmern

        Concise and thorough. I enjoyed reading that.

    • smrnda

      Then why do so many people do these things with no negative consequences to themselves or others? It’s a made up problem – if a religion can create guilt around normal human sexuality, then it can control people since they’re creating guilt around just being human.

    • J.R. Robbins

      Said the troll.

  • Anna

    The problem isn’t that they’re addicted to porn. The problem is that they fear any kind of sexual pleasure that doesn’t involve a husband.

    Exactly. These types of Christians view all sexual desire outside of marriage as wrong, and fulfilling those desires (even through something as harmless as masturbation) is seen as inherently evil. I can’t even fathom the mindset it would take to believe something like that. I just feel so incredibly sad for all the innocent kids out there who are taught to feel such incredible shame and guilt about their sexuality.

  • martinrc

    Sounds like they have a serious addiction to religion, as it is interfering with having a normal healthy productive life.

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    “I’m not trying to mock these women. I just feel bad for them.”

    If they actually are real women, and not paid Christian actors reading from a script prepared by some pervert priest to promote his persecution of pornography.

    • WallofSleep

      Persecution pornography? Isn’t that Brian Fischer’s schtick?

    • Gus

      Since it’s all text in the one blog post, without even any indication of where these women were found to make these comments, we need not assume they were actors, they may as well not exist at all outside of the author’s imagination.

      But there probably are some young women confused enough about their religion and their sexuality to make similar statements.

      • HardcoreKalvinist

        I come from a circle like this- these stories are real and similar in thousands of christian circles.. It’s hard to break out of.

  • Aureliano_Buendia

    I had a friend who grew up in (and eventually left) a very Evangelical (Southern Baptist) community. One of her friends is still in it. She is currently 22, and head-over-heels for a male friend. The one thing holding her back from a relationship with him? His pornography addiction.

    How bad is his addiction?

    He watches it from time to time.

    That’s it.

    Both of them are part of the same church, and the church takes it VERY seriously. He was assigned a “sponsor,” who would have full access to his computer to make sure he wasn’t giving in to sin. Eventually he kicked the sponsor out for prying through his entire computer, internet, and e-mail histories. My friend was called up by her friend, who was in tears that her love interest was so far-gone in his addiction that he would no longer allow a stranger from church complete access to all of his digital records.

    The lesson I took away from it is that, outside of actual infidelity, watching pornography is the worst possible thing a person in a relationship can do. From what I’ve heard, yes, that includes things like physical abuse, gambling, and drugs. It blew my mind.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Don’t you remember the infamous “Shark” incident on Friends?

    • http://www.facebook.com/grahamshevlin Graham Shevlin

      so the friend concluded that her man was an addict, instead of concluding that his church are a bunch of censorious nitwits who had no concept of privacy or its importance? Too damn right he fired his sponsor, I would have done the same thing.

    • NotAnAddict(JustHorny)

      I think I’d blow her head (and the sponsor’s) up with my internet history.

      And I don’t fit any of the criteria needed for an addiction (according to the DSM IV). I’m just a normal, healthy, 20-something with a relatively high sex drive and a depressing lack of people I want to have sex with in the local vicinity.

      • Glasofruix

        I don’t have an internet history :p I wouldn’t let anyone but me touch my rig anyway…

  • maeve

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography_addiction

    It can actually be a problem and can actually cause disruptions in ones life like any other behavioral addiction. I agree that being in touch with ones sexuality is a positive thing and too often suppressed by religious doctrines. Absolutely. However, I feel that to say that all of it is no big deal and never a harm is also being disingenuous.

    Also, there are issues with most porn itself – such as teaching some really sexist attitudes about sex [personally i would be concerned about anyone consuming porn on the daily just for this reason] and being a primary human sex trafficking destination — but that is a whole other debate.

    And cue in 3, 2, 1….

    • Gus

      Someone didn’t read to the end.

    • WhatTheWhat

      “However, I feel that to say that all of it is no big deal and never a harm is also being disingenuous.”

      No one is making or has made that claim.

    • maeve

      you think i didn’t read the article why, because I have a pov that doesn’t 100% agree with everyone on here? or did you miss the part where I said I agree that religion oppresses sexual discovery and freedom, and oh, the rest of what I said as well?

      We don’t know a whole lot of details about these girls’ lives except a few strategic clips – a) religious and feel bad about sex and b) watch porn. at least one of them watches it alot, and that’s alot of very particular messages about sex and gender roles to take in, from a genre and or industry that I don’t think is exactly a positive haven for healthy sexual attitudes or practices. actually i think this is part of a common problem about where we get education about sex and gender roles in sex, from. and coda back to my original comment. so we can throw our arms up and go all – religion bad – but i think we can also look at each issue a little more holistically and critically. otherwise i think we’re being hypocrites.

      • maeve

        and to pingpong from religion to porn to try to understand one’s sexuality… not real rocket-science about why someone would be confused and effed up about sexuality.

      • tyler

        Obviously, I’m not a doctor or an expert on what is and isn’t addiction. Of course there are legitimate instances of porn addiction. But I’d be shocked if any expert, working off of these passages, would classify the stories as anything remotely resembling addiction.

        i would suspect this may be the reason why people are suggesting you have reading comprehension issues

        • maeve

          thanks again for ignoring the rest and zeroing in on a label or judgement of my person/skills, but this:

          “Every morning and evening — sometimes even in the afternoons — I would engage in those things”:

          that’s 3x/day.

          “When things between us ended, I combated rejection and heartache with pornography and masturbation. It was an intimacy that I could control.”

          That’s psychological and behavioral addiction that replaces or numbs a pain or issue without dealing with it.

          and if it’s porn 3x/day… or even 1x/day..again, coda the rest of what I have said. don’t like it, don’t agree with it, lob whatever stink bombs you think you have about my person, but i stand by it as legitimate things to consider.

          • Gus

            Do you realize your comment doesn’t have anything to do with what it’s replying to?

            You claimed that Hemant said there’s no such thing as porn addiction. He said the exact opposite. If you want to make the argument you’re making here about exactly what qualifies as porn addiction, go right ahead, we can have that discussion, but that’s not at all what we’ve responded to you about.

            We’ve responded to what is either a dishonest claim about Hemant’s piece or a failure to read all of it.

            • maeve

              I actually didn’t make that statement. you interpreted it that way. i address this upward in this threat i think.

          • http://twitter.com/ravenclawwit ravenclawwit

            Ok yes but, to be fair, from what the girls were describing, they were including things like “impure sexual thoughts”, “masturbation”, and “steamy scenes from The Notebook” as part of their “porn addiction”. So if I think about sex after breakfast, watch “The Notebook” after lunch (who am I kidding though; I would never ever watch The Notebook), and rub one out after dinner, I guess I’m addicted to pornography. Or maybe I’m just a normal human being who likes sex. I also suspect that were these girls’ normal sexual desires and impulses not being policed and shamed at every turn, their preoccupation with porn would be lessened.

            • Guest

              Well said. Your name is apt.

            • maeve

              sure and i would agree with you. but that’s not what i zeroed in on elsewhere in this threat, and that’s not what my original comment was about.

              • maeve

                *thread*

              • http://twitter.com/ravenclawwit ravenclawwit

                You implied that the person stating that they engaged in these behaviors 3x a day was “psychological and behavioral addiction that replaces or numbs a pain or issue without dealing with it”. I was pointing out that it may be the case that the behavior they’re referring to engaging in up to 3x a day may not be what a regular person would actually consider “porn”.

                And since that wasn’t a response to your original comment, but to one you made later in the thread, I hardly see how that’s relevant.

          • tyler

            you said originally

            It can actually be a problem and can actually cause disruptions in ones life like any other behavioral addiction.

            and continued on to imply that the article said nothing about porn addiction as a legitimate condition

            if this is not what you meant then i would recommend, in the future, reading over what you intend to post multiple times before hitting the post button and considering how others will read and interpret it. your original post is very easily interpreted as “the author of this article does not believe porn addiction is a real thing” which is blatantly and obviously false

            indeed, your last comment (“And cue in 3, 2, 1….”) suggests to me that you are misinterpreted often, and i would ask whether that is because people are angrily disagreeing with you, or because you need to work on your communication skills in the future?

            • maeve

              not implying, that’s your interpretation, but in replying to the article, and to the pattern of responses, a concern in light of what I saw as a portrayal of a situation that i didn’t feel was given its due holistically or critically. and so adding to the discussion and things to consider.

              raise all hell (yup) about religious oppression of sexuality. for certain. but we should be sure about how we present the information of an event that was want to make an example of, if we are doing our due diligence in assessing it.

              your 3.2.1 comment. again, attack the person. awesome skills. feel better?

              well, considering that the majority of comments weren’t critical or concerned about whether any of the girls DID have an issue OTHER than religious oppression, and mine was, and mine mentioned that i don’t think porn is 100% awesome, yes of course i expected a row.

              • tyler

                i am attacking no one; i am merely explaining the situation as it appears to be, to myself and (apparently) to many others. your comment was poorly constructed and lent itself to an incorrect interpretation. i recognize that certain nuances are lost over the internet, but i assure you that my suggestion that you work on your communication skills was meant sincerely. i believe you would benefit immensely from a serious examination of your habits of communication over the internet. the ability to clearly communicate one’s ideas is not a skill to be taken for granted.

                • maeve

                  actually you are making a character judgement and insult based upon a limited exposure, and also your own communication challenges and biases. now that being said, i think that we all can continually work on communication. we all need to get better, we certainly do. but i certainly don’t think it’s your place to make such a value judgement, and declaration or instruction to me, nor do i internalize it.

                • Gus

                  And you made a character judgement of the commenters here and an assumption of how they would respond to you by including that countdown in the first place. Which primed you to treat any statement that wasn’t an outright affirmation as an attack and to ignore the clearly stated objections to your statement and pretend they were an attack on your entire thesis, and now to assume that someone suggesting that this misunderstanding demonstrates poor communication skills as a personal attack. It’s not, it’s just an attempt to delineate what’s led to this over long thread that is, largely, a failure to communicate.

                • maeve

                  i can see where you would say that and you’re right, i did expect a row from agreeing with the pack. there has also been assumptions about what I’ve “implied” and also derailment from points i’ve made. so then we all have something to learn.

                • maeve

                  *not agreeing with the pack*

                • katiehippie

                  And that is not a personal attack?

          • Gus

            But now you’ve made an argument I’m vaguely interested in talking about.

            and if it’s porn 3x/day… or even 1x/day..again, code the rest of what I have said.

            OK, apparently you’re on a mobile device and forced to abbreviate dramatically, but you’ve said a lot and we are obviously not communicating well, so I don’t know where to put the coda marks to jump to… so I’ll just assume you’re saying 1x/day is a clear sign of a porn addiction. I disagree with that. I disagree with the notion that 3x/day is a clear sign of a porn addiction. This is just a question of sex drive, schedule, and availability. I won’t go into anecdotes or details, but three times a day is not all that unusual and can be done without interfering with any day to day activities. And a straight number of units of masturbation or porn is unlikely to be persuasive to any reasonable therapist as a definition of addiction.

            “When things between us ended, I combated rejection and heartache with pornography and masturbation. It was an intimacy that I could control.”

            Your conclusions about that statement assume an awful lot, but even if I grant them, we don’t know how much coaching from a pastor with an agenda this young woman received before using those words. How many counseling sessions with an anti-porn pastor did she sit through where it was suggested that these were the reasons she viewed porn and masturbated?

            Now she may very well consume pornography in a problematic way, but there’s no evidence in her statements that unambiguously points to that.

            • maeve

              you’re assuming a positive where another person sees a concern. so now we have a discussion. i think there’s more to think about here than dismiss. we aren’t concerned about this possibility, but oh heck yes religious oppression. i think that’s skewed.

              if it is escapism, then it is definitely a psychological concern. if its deferral for treating pain, it’s an issue. i’ve known people who have used sex and other forms of physical exertion to push away dealing with things and it’s a behavioral and psychological thing to be concerned of. Why would you not want to be sure, or consider it, discuss it, etc.

              Now we can parse masturbation vs porn and that will be two different conversations. masturbation – depends, right. can be problematic depending upon it’s motivation, execution, affecting other things etc. porn – i’ve already stated the concerns about consuming that in volumes.

              • Gus

                I’m not assuming a positive, I’m assuming a neutral.

                if it is escapism, then it is definitely a psychological concern. if its deferral for treating pain, it’s an issue. i’ve known people who have used sex and other forms of physical exertion to push away dealing with things and it’s a behavioral and psychological thing to be concerned of.

                There’s good reason to disagree with your assumptions here, even if we’re not talking about porn. Escapism is definitely a psychological concern? At the end of a hard, stressful day I like to read a good novel. Of any genre whatsoever. That’s escapism. I don’t think anyone would consider it a psychological concern. But as soon as the content is sexual, or results in masturbation, suddenly escapism is a psychological concern?

                You call it deferral for treating pain, or a way to avoid dealing with things and say these are concerns and issues. But there’s a lot of debate in the psychological community as to whether “dealing with” things is actually necessary or helpful, or even potentially harmful. What I call it is a coping strategy. If that coping strategy is to throw oneself into work, or into one’s church, or to spend more time going out with friends, different people would have different opinions as to whether that’s a problem or not. But the truth is that everyone has coping strategies and the problem is not that there’s a coping strategy, it’s the impact of their coping strategy on the rest of their life. If they’re giving up on other things they used to enjoy, missing work, damaging relationships with loved ones, then that’s a problem (it’s also a sign of addiction). But if it’s not doing any of those things, then it’s just a coping strategy and if it works for them, then that’s OK and not an issue or concern just because someone is coping in a way you personally dislike.

                As for repeated consumption of porn and its other effects: you need to show me some evidence of harm from consumption of porn. I agree that the way sex and relationships is depicted in a lot of porn is very problematic. It’s also problematic in romantic comedies and mainstream action movies. But much like there’s no real evidence of violent video games leading to violent behavior, I know of no unambiguous body of evidence demonstrating that porn consumption affects behavior.

                • maeve

                  that’s like saying that culture doesn’t exist and the messages we get from the media we consume, or the company we keep, doesn’t have influence. i guess we can let religion off the hook then.

                  i agree with you that romcoms also provide a ridiculous fantasy portrayal of relationships.

                  i never said that a behavior being sexual was what made it problematic. i picked upon the frequency + the source of input + the girls’ own comments describing why. + history of religious guilt / oppression = reason to be concerned that it’s not just a black/white issue where we get to paint with a one-color brush.

                • Gus

                  From my view, based on what we know:
                  Frequency: not unusual or indicative of a problem.

                  Source of input: is what’s available to them and in no way unusual or indicative of a problem.

                  History of religious guilt/oppression: a reason to be concerned about religious guilt and oppression, not about porn.

                  Girls’ own comments: likely derives from the history of religious guilt and oppression.

                • maeve

                  and see i completely disagree and think that’s pulling strings out of the bundle of context. nor do i think that religion is the only problematic source of messaging about sex, gender and gender roles. I would hope that the girl gets some support and feedback from some other constructive sources.

                • Gus

                  To be fair, I’m focusing on the original article’s treatment of this as an addiction, “sexual sin”, “struggle”, and “temptation [to sexual sin]“. I think you’re more concerned with the other problematic issues of porn.

                  The issue at hand here to me is whether the article presents a picture of porn addiction, and whether its approach of telling young women they’re committing sexual sin is the way to deal with it.

                  Sure, porn is full of problematic messaging about sex, gender, and gender roles. But it’s not commanding anyone to do anything. It’s not telling them they’re sinful and evil for what they do. And that belief that they’re evil and sinful is, I think, a lot more harmful to a lot more people, than watching porn.

                • maeve

                  hi gus this is my last blip before i head out. i hear you; that this is what people here are likely saying all along; while i see these other indicators and i question, delve, critique and consider. i say – are we sure? what about….? did we present that accurately? etc. and i agree with what you say about porn, while at the same time continue to emphasize that the messaging in porn is influential. what sources of info do we regularly have access to in this realm? easily and really? how do they make themselves known in our every day? in the news? i think both sources are harmful sources of messages for different reasons, but both play into, oftentimes, the oppression of certain same gender roles and people internalize those messages. anyhow. best wishes!

                • Gus

                  that’s like saying that culture doesn’t exist and the messages we get from the media we consume, or the company we keep, doesn’t have influence. i guess we can let religion off the hook then.

                  No, it’s nothing like that. It’s like saying that people have the ability to differentiate fantasy and reality. That watching Loony Tunes didn’t make me think I could fall off a cliff and live, or blow someone’s face off with a shotgun and they’d be fine, or that hitting someone with a truck wouldn’t hurt them.

                  It certainly doesn’t let religion off the hook, since entertainment, whether porn, romcom, violent video games, mystery novels, or cartoons, makes no claim to represent reality or to give objective moral laws.

                • maeve

                  culture and media messages exist and have influence. obviously crime exists and attitudes toward sex, gender, gender roles, etc. exist. obviously violent crimes exist and people have unhealthy relationships with these concepts and in their lives. it’s obvious as seen with religion, and influence is also present in other mediums. we’d like to wish that it wasn’t. but whichever culture you belong to will contribute to normalizing certain attitudes or behaviors. anyhow. continue to carry this thread on or not. best wishes.

          • smrnda

            3x a day would equate to how many minutes total?

            If the issue is someone is masturbating and watching porn while they feel emotionally distressed, why is that a bad thing? Is it a bad thing if a person decides to take a warm bath for the same reason? I also don’t find it surprising that a person who was in a sexual relationship which ends to be masturbating a bit – they aren’t getting sex anymore.

            • maeve

              that’s not the totality of my concern or the conversation throughout this thread.

        • maeve

          “Obviously, I’m not a doctor or an expert on what is and isn’t addiction. Of course there are legitimate instances of porn addiction.”

          if you don’t know what is addiction, or what is problematic behavior etc. or what is a negative coping behavior, and i have singled Rachel out not the others as the one I’m concerned about…. but if you say you don’t know what something IS but then you go on to say what it is NOT, … i’m going to question the assessment.

      • Gus

        That I think you didn’t read it has nothing whatsoever to do with the opinion you hold on the subject, it’s with the two sentences that sandwich your comments about religion being oppressive:

        It can actually be a problem and can actually cause disruptions in ones life like any other behavioral addiction….However, I feel that to say that all of it is no big deal and never a harm is also being disingenuous.*

        Because that suggests that you think Hemant is saying that there’s no such thing as problematic porn consumption or porn addiction and “that all of it is no big deal and never a harm”. It also sounds like you’re calling him a liar for saying that (disingenuous). The problem is, Hemant actually said the exact opposite of what you’re claiming he said. In other words, he agreed with you:

        Of course there are legitimate instances of porn addiction.

        That’s the part you apparently didn’t read.

        *I replace your sentence with ellipses not to obfuscate, but because I’d already acknowledged it and I wanted to show the clear relationship between the sentence preceding and following it.

      • http://twitter.com/ravenclawwit ravenclawwit

        I think they meant because the end of the article clearly states that there are cases of real pornography addiction. It’s just that what’s being described by these girls is not in any way an addiction.

        I actually agree with you about a lot of the porn that is out there. A lot of it is really awful, violent, anti-woman stuff, and I do worry about it’s effect on young men and their perception of women.

        But the point of this article is that these girls are just having normal sexual desires and impulses that are completely natural, and yet their religious leaders are making them feel like they are “dirty” or shameful for having them.

    • Anna

      Masturbating once or twice (or even three times) a day is problematic?

      Also, there are issues with most porn itself – such as teaching some really sexist attitudes about sex [personally i would be concerned about anyone consuming porn on the daily just for this reason] and being a primary human sex trafficking destination — but that is a whole other debate.

      If there are problems with the commercial porn industry, then that’s an argument for educating people on how to consume porn responsibly. If our society wasn’t so repressed and porn wasn’t so stigmatized by the religious community, that might be easier to do. Also, we have no idea what type of porn these women were watching. There are other kinds of porn besides hardcore commercial videos.

      • maeve

        that’s not the totality of my concern, but part of it yes. Later down this thread I discuss the “equation” and go into it in more depth about my concern for Rachel.

        • Anna

          I admit I’m puzzled by the idea that masturbating once or twice a day would be an issue for anyone other than a religious fanatic. It’s certainly not unusual.

          and if it’s porn 3x/day… or even 1x/day..again, coda the rest of what I have said. don’t like it, don’t agree with it

          You don’t like porn or masturbation? Or both? And what don’t you agree with? Not all porn is commercial, and not all of it involves sexist gender roles. What’s wrong with someone watching an amateur clip of a couple having sex online?

          • maeve

            well if you don’t take it out of context and actually read the rest of what i said in this thread, then you’ll understand the rest of what makes up my concern for Rachel, because I can tell you it isn’t masturbation, sexuality, or all porn that I have issue with.

            • maeve

              but to help with some cut and paste and resummarization:

              first. i’m atheist. i masturbate. and i watch porn (v selectively).

              There are issues with most porn itself – such as teaching some really sexist attitudes about sex [personally i would be concerned about anyone consuming porn on the daily just for this reason if they aren't filtering] and being a primary human sex trafficking destination (no one seems to care about that as not one person has commented on that). Both religion and porn (to a large degree, yes there is other positive porn out there but it is buried under alot of really bad porn) cater to some patriarchial sexist attitudes towards women and men. So we get boys and girls that go from religious oppression, to, when they are starting to test their shackles, porn, to educate themselves on their sexuality and their gender roles, etc., and neither is good. Messages about sexuality and their role from religion –> messages about sexuality and their role from porn. They internalize some pretty bad ideas about what’s normal, what to expect, what is healthy, what is clean, what a man or woman should do, or let be done, etc. We all probably have a wake-up story where we realized that what we thought was the norm and expected in the bedroom, really isn’t.

              Also. If you don’t know what is addiction, or what is problematic behavior etc. or what is a negative coping behavior — and i have singled Rachel out not the others as the one I’m concerned about — but if you say you don’t know what something IS but then you go on to say what it is NOT, … i’m going to question the assessment.

              For Rachel, i picked upon the frequency + the source of input + the girls’ own comments describing her why + history of religious guilt / oppression = reason to be concerned that it’s not just a black/white issue where we get to paint with a one-color brush about religion and sex. Like oh these poor girls they’re just normal nothing could be wrong with how they’re processing … I don’t think it’s black and white like that.

              • Anna

                I did comment on sex trafficking, albeit indirectly, when I said that people should be taught how to consume porn responsibly. That might involve educating people on companies known for putting out videos with performers who may have been coerced into the sex industry. I don’t know much about that, but I assume it may be a problem internationally.

                Your problem with sexism in porn is also a matter of education, but, again, not all porn is commercial, and not all porn features women. A lot of women watch gay male porn exclusively and/or amateur porn featuring real couples, not paid performers. We don’t know what type of porn Rachel (or any of the other women) was watching in the first place, so why assume it was anything problematic? Considering one of the women watched The Notebook to get in the mood, I kind of doubt she was seeking out gangbang films.

                • maeve

                  I’m not talking about the other girls. Porn wasn’t the only piece of the equation that led to red flags. There was lot more to my response. And the fact that non-problematic porn exists doesn’t negate reason for concern or the others things I expressed.

                • Anna

                  Well, you’re clearly imagining violent, sexist, or exploitative porn, and since neither of us knows anything about these women’s viewing habits, it seems odd to bring that up as an area of concern. As for Rachel, I did read the original article, and I see nothing in her example other than extreme religious guilt.

    • Stev84

      When Christians talk about porn addiction it only very rarely refers to anything that a medical professional would call an addiction.

      • maeve

        even as an atheist, i don’t believe that all christians think that, but alot of them do i’m sure.

        • maeve

          *think that all porn is bad or watching some is addiction.

  • Thiriel

    So far, I agree with you, Hemant, except for one part “Show me a teenager who *doesn’t* live Rachel’s version of a “double life” and I’ll show you a liar.”

    I can attest to you that in high school and my first attempt at college wasn’t a double life, for the simple reason that I was and am still Asexual. Sure, some of us find please in masterubation and such, but many of us are completely and totally happy going on in our lives without any such ‘diversions’.

    • Guest

      I think what he meant was more a broad statement regarding secrets or personal habits in general. Not necessarily sexual. Teen years are notoriously difficult for everyone. I went through severe depression for years, and no one in my life had any clue for a long time before I was found out. I do appreciate the conflict to which you are referring however.

  • Annette

    As a teen I (girl) masturbated and felt horribly guilty. Books I read told me this was oppression from Satan. I actually anointed my bedroom corners with oil and prayed for God to keep me from this sin. Honest-to-gawd, I called the Billy Graham Crusade one night and, while I didn’t tell what my sin was, asked for prayer for a ‘besetting sin.’ I look back on myself with a sort of pity. I’m happily married, happily sexual with my husband–and with myself from time-to-time, and gawd–if s/he existed can happily butt out. Nothing has given me such freedom as leaving Christianity.

  • L.G. Keltner

    I thought all teenagers had sexual thoughts. The porn didn’t contaminate them, forcing sexual thoughts upon them. The only problem these girls have is the shame that made them feel as if something is wrong with them.

    • David Kopp

      It’s fine if boys have those thoughts. Girls are dirty for wanting sex though, because girls are supposed to be pure. Sheesh… don’t you even keep up with Christian double standards?

      • L.G. Keltner

        I keep up with them, and I stomp on them every chance I get like the dirty sinner that I am. And I love it!

  • WallofSleep

    Ya know, I’m getting sick and tired of christians, muslims, and, well, fucking anybody, who tries to make women feel like filthy pieces of shit for simply being human. The sooner our society rids itself of these parasitic delusions, the better off we will all be.

  • closetatheist

    As a parent who is part of Christian social circles, I often see parents oppressing kids’ normal, healthy behavior because the parents feel uncomfortable. I have conversations with friends about how they have to slap their 2 yr old boys because they caught them touching their own body in the tub or staring at their junk. And they’re fucking blown away that this normal shit happens. What can you say? “You’re fucking ridiculous? You think he’s gonna give himself the cooties?” I normally just shrug and say “it’s his own body hon, not yours.”

    • WallofSleep

      ” I have conversations with friends about how they have to slap their 2
      yr old boys because they caught them touching their own body in the tub
      or staring at their junk”

      How very sad. That’s the kind of shit that makes therapists rich.

    • Gus

      My three year old has been humping his favorite toy every night to get himself to sleep for two years.

      I have begun offering to leave the room when the older one starts handling himself to get the idea across that it’s a private time activity.

      • lmern

        That was adorable and it made me chuckle. It sounds like you’re handling it in a mature responsible manner. Cheers!

      • Emsubo

        Exactly–it’s a learning opportunity! “Sometimes doing that feels good to your body, it’s okay for you to touch your body like that but it’s something that you do in private, not in front of other people.” With viewpoints like those in the C. Today article, is it any wonder we’re a nation with widespread repression, exploitation, shame, and sexual violence?

      • closetatheist

        What kind of monster humps Mr. Snuggles nearly to death every night?! I’m only kidding, my son does this sometime too… But I nearly laughed till I cried when I read your comment – thanks

      • Sue Blue

        My daughter was an avid couch-humper between 1 and 3 years of age. The arms of our old sofa seemed to be just right for the purpose. We didn’t shame her, just encouraged her to find something in her bedroom to satisfy her instead of giving us or our guests a living-room show. My mother recently told me I had a selection of “favorite” toys at that age too. Hmmm. Wish I could remember that.
        While my mother never physically punished me and my sisters for playing with ourselves or checking out our little friends to see if they looked the same “down there”, she once told me a horrifying story about what her own mother did to my mom’s oldest sister. My grandmother was a staunch old-school Adventist who was convinced that sex outside of marriage was an utter abomination, and that masturbation – especially childhood masturbation – was Satan himself possessing little children to get them off to an early start in the old fornicatin’ and adulteratin’ business. Apparently she caught my aunt masturbating as an infant of barely more than a year old. She tied the baby’s hands to the crib railings every night and prayed until my aunt was “broken” of the “filthy habit”. Worse, my mom told this story like it was some kind of noble crusade my grandma had fought against Satan himself.
        I just looked at her and told her that would have gotten Grandma reported for child abuse these days – and you know what she said?
        “Well, that just goes to show how much influence the Devil has over society these days.”
        Religion – twisting a mother’s love around until she can commit just about any abuse “for their own good”.

    • Tainda

      My SIL used to yell at my nephew when he pulled on it. I would say “There is nothing wrong with it and you’re going to scar him for life!”

    • Guest

      My SO recently had DFACS called on him because his three-year-old (then two) was trying to figure out what was between her legs in the bathtub.

      Despite the anonymity of the tip, we all know who called it in, and apparently the same woman was fired from a babysitting job after blowing up at the child’s parents when the children did the same. SO’s ex-wife has decided this woman will no longer see the child.

    • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

      A fundie friend of mine told her son if he kept playing with his penis it was going to fall off. I told her that it was normal and a horrible thing for her to tell him. I doubt she stopped though.

  • rmk948

    “I combated rejection and heartache with pornography and masturbation. Sounds like a self-help article in the old “Readers’ Digest.” OK, maybe “self-help” was the wrong term.

  • Jody

    I feel for these women who think healthy sexuality is something to be scared of. I’m also pissed that this notion that one can be “addicted” to sex is so pervasive in our culture. That idea further stigmatizes sex — and reinforces long standing fears about sex’s “power” — and needlessly complicates a simple subject: addiction.

    People who report an “addiction” to porn do have problems. But the problem isn’t a physiological dependence on certain substance.

    • Stev84

      There is such a thing is porn or sex addiction. And it can be really bad.

      The problem with fundie Christians is that they can’t distinguish between true addiction and an active sexuality.

      • Jody

        The research is not there for this to be a “valid” physiological addiction, on par with heroin or crack dependence.

        The latest round of research out of UCLA shows that sex addicts brains don’t respond like those of other addicts.

        “….Instead, the researchers found that the P300 response was not related to hypersexual measurements at all; there were no spikes or decreases tied to the severity of participants’ hypersexuality. So while there has been much speculation about the effect of sexual addiction or hypersexuality in the brain, the study provided no evidence to support any difference, Prause said.

        “The brain’s response to sexual pictures was not predicted by any of the three questionnaire measures of hypersexuality,” she said. “Brain response was only related to the measure of sexual desire. In other words, hypersexuality does not appear to explain brain responses to sexual images any more than just having a high libido…”

        This doesn’t mean that people who self-report a sex addiction aren’t in pain, out of self-control or don’t have a problem. They are. Once upon a time, I was a therapist. I know they do. But they don’t have an addiction to sex. It’s not an addiction in the physiological sense. There’s no current evidence you can get addicted to sex or the biochemical processes that result.

        http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/is-sexual-addiction-the-real-deal-247423.aspx

      • http://www.secularview.com/ Dirty_Nerdy

        Actually “sex addiction” is still not being put in the DSM. Idk about porn addiction though.

  • ShoeUnited

    Funny that you never see Joe Klein masturbating his anis to Oprah dressed as Stalin.

    There, that should satisfy all required remarks for the day.

    • Tainda

      I snort laughed!

  • ORAXX

    I would submit, religious addiction has harmed more people than porn addiction ever possibly could.

  • smrnda

    The notion of ‘privacy’ doesn’t seem to exist among some conservative Christians. You go to an ‘accountability group’ where keeping anything back is deception and pride, no matter how rudely personal the question.

  • Leanne Gray

    I think the doctrine of “purity” is seriously damaging. You are not a better human being because you don’t have sex. In fact, there are no such things as people who are “better” or “worse”. There are people who do things we don’t like, and people who do things we do like, and people who are dangerous to other people, and people who aren’t – there aren’t people who are better than others because they are somehow more ritually clean and pure.

  • SeekerLancer

    It’s not really surprising when you have abstinence lessons teaching girls that they’re filthy and disgusting if they have sex or even think about sex. It’s one of the most powerful weapons the church has for keeping people in the church. They make you feel guilty for something that everyone experiences and is perfectly natural therefore everyone believes they’re a sinner and they need Jesus to save them.

  • Oranje

    Hmm. Yeah. I work tangentially in the adult industry, so I wind up seeing a lot of it. I don’t view it as an addiction. Or even an obsession. Astronomy? Yeah, maybe. Soccer? Distinctly possible. But porn? And at that age? Really?

    I mean, I do think the adult industry could stand to clean itself up a bit, but I’d rather that happen by shining a light on it rather than kicking it further back into the closet. And watching really attractive people have sex is nice.

  • Doug Flynn

    Alas, I was hoping for pictures.

  • L.G. Keltner

    “I combated rejection and heartache with pornography and masturbation.” Well, considering a lot of young people combat these same feelings with eating disorders or drugs, (you know, things that actually ham you) I’d rather congratulate these girls on finding a healthy outlet for their feelings than shame them.

  • GCBill

    I was pleased with how successfully she balanced masturbation with all the other activities that brought her happiness. In fact, she seems like a model case of a healthy sex life to me.

  • Geena Safire

    Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped by a husband and wife who were religious nuts, says that she stayed with him (for nine months of submission and frequent rape) instead of trying to escape. Why? Because her Mormon upbringing had taught her that if she had sex before marriage, (even rape), she was filthy and no longer worthy of her old life at home.

    She now speaks out against abstinence-only sex education.

    “I think it goes beyond fear for so many children, especially in sex trafficking. … It’s feeling like ‘who would ever want me now? I’m worthless.’ That is what it was for me the first time I was raped,” said Smart.

    Smart, who grew up in a strict Mormon household, recalled being taught in school that women who engage in pre-marital sex are like chewed pieces of gum that nobody wants to chew again, according to Slate.

    “I understand so easily … why someone wouldn’t run because of that alone,” said Smart in the video.

  • Neeley Rebel Fluke

    “I’m not trying to mock these women. I just feel bad for them.”
    While your intention might not have been mockery, I really don’t see your analysis of this article to be very helpful. You are minimizing and simplifying what these women are experiencing based on your stereotype of Christians.
    Oppression of women’s sexuality exists with and without the presence of religion. The problem is not with religion, but with patriarchal societies/environments. Life-long atheist women can and do also experience sexual repression.
    There is nothing wrong with consensual sex or with having a healthy relationship with your body and sexuality. But when you live in a society that is oppressive/marginalizing of women (regardless of religious or secular up-bringing) I cannot fault these women for pushing away their sexual feelings to conform to sexual practices that are less oppositional to their beliefs and socialization. They are protecting their psychological well-being as best as they can, which means making the choice to forgo some of the ways that they used to seek sexual pleasure.
    As hard as it is for me to imagine living a life of such limited sexual outlet, I refuse to blame religion for the oppression of female sexuality or to use these women as an example of the evils of religion.
    The entire topic of sex & sexuality is far more layered and far more involved than your analysis. These women were sexually active, whether it was masturbation or partner sex with the use of pornography, but they made the choice to change their sexual habits and to forgo the use of pornography. Their bodies, their choices. The certainly don’t need pity or saving from us secularist – I mean, even within our own community there are people who do not yet understand the meaning of consent and people who cannot recognize their sexist language and behaviors.
    These women are navigating their environment as best as they can. There are Christian women who are also sex-positive, so things are changing within their communities without the pity of us secularists.

    • Anna

      Oppression of women’s sexuality exists with and without the presence of religion. Life-long atheist women can and do also experience sexual repression.

      Speaking as a lifelong atheist woman, I cannot imagine the type of sexual repression the women in this article are dealing with. Can there be other sources for repression? I’m sure there can be, but this particular problem (the idea that sexual desire outside of marriage is wrong) can be placed squarely at the feet of religion.

      The problem is not with religion, but with patriarchal societies/environments.

      Actually, no. Even if evangelical Christianity were completely egalitarian, their warped view of sexuality would still be problematic. While their patriarchal set-up may make such “sins” more difficult for women than for men, the root of the problem is their religious belief that fulfilling desires outside of heterosexual marriage is inherently wrong. Allowing women an equal role in family and religious life would not change that.

      • http://www.secularview.com/ Dirty_Nerdy

        Not all Christians have these views on sexuality and I’ve met plenty of atheists who have warped views of sexuality. I’ve met and seen plenty of atheists who are more than willing to slut shame and hold up patriarchal systems. This isn’t only a problem with the religion, and it would be nice if other atheists cared about women’s issues as more than just another point on the scoreboard against religion.

        • Anna

          I never said it was only a problem with religion, but the idea that it is “sinful” to have an orgasm outside of marriage is not a secular idea. Those women got that idea from Christianity. And of course not all Christians have those views on sexuality, but it is what many Christian churches teach.

          Also, it’s not only the conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists who believe that sexual activity should be confined to marriage. While they might not take as hard a line on masturbation, churches often labeled progressive have those views. They don’t celebrate unmarried sexuality or say that there is nothing wrong with engaging sexually outside of marriage.

          Here’s a sampling of their established views:

          The Episcopal Church only approves “of sex between men and women who are married. In 1979, the U.S. church’s governing body voted down a resolution to approve other sexual activity.”

          Pastors of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod undertook a survey on premarital sex amongst their congregations in 2010. “These Lutheran pastors reported that over 57 percent of the couples they now marry are living together prior to the wedding, and that the rate of cohabitation in their congregations is increasing.” Despite this trend, the Synod believes that “Regardless of the reasons given for living together, cohabitation is simply wrong for Christians.”

          The Lutheran Church of Australia believes that sexual activity belongs within the marriage relationship only and that the practice of pre-marital sex is in “violation of the will of God.”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premarital_sex

          And here are the United Methodists, one of the more liberal mainstream denominations in the United States:

          Does The United Methodist Church believe that premarital sex is OK? The official statement on Human Sexuality states: “Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.”

          http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=4746363&ct=3167665

          I don’t know if these denominations have an official position on pornography, but is there any reason to believe that they would approve of it?

      • Neeley Rebel Fluke

        You’re telling me that you think if religion were to not exist anymore that guilt over non-monogamous sexual desire would cease to exist?

        Sexual repression enforced by oppressors has been and will continue to be used, regardless of the presence or absence of religion. It is a powerful tool for control, and its been used as such at least since the advent of agriculture.

        These women have their own agency. They are not starving, thirsty people who need us to hold their heads and dribble water into their mouths. They are empowering themselves in the way that is best suiting to them at this time. They felt guilt-ridden and shameful over their sexual habits, and they made choices to help ease those negative feelings. Monogamist ideals are not solely the realm of religion. I am polyamorous, bi-sexual, and very open to talk about sexuality with those who are interested which has allowed many of my atheist friends to feel comfortable in talking with me about their thoughts and feelings about sex. The social programming for monogamous partnering is far deeper than religion, religions merely have their social expectations written down.

        I very much want to live in a world of positive sexuality, where people do not feel shame or guilt for their bodies or for their various sexual desires and consensual sex acts. But I also recognize that this won’t happen without being realistic, and writing off sexual repression as a largely religious tool would be unrealistic and a hindrance in moving towards a more sexually positive world.

        • maeve

          your posts are well said and so valid. :D

        • Anna

          You’re telling me that you think if religion were to not exist anymore that guilt over non-monogamous sexual desire would cease to exist?

          What does non-monogamy have to do with it? I thought we were talking about masturbation and sexual urges outside of marriage. If religion did not tell them otherwise, I do not see any reason to believe that people would feel guilty about those two things, or about non-monogamous sexual desire, for that matter. There have been cultures where that was the norm, after all.

          Monogamist ideals are not solely the realm of religion. I am polyamorous, bi-sexual, and very open to talk about sexuality with those who are interested which has allowed many of my atheist friends to feel comfortable in talking with me about their thoughts and feelings about sex. The social programming for monogamous partnering is far deeper than religion, religions merely have their social expectations written down.

          I really don’t know what polyamory has to do with the subject at hand. These women didn’t feel guilty because they wanted to be polyamorous and had to resist social pressure to be monogamous. They felt guilty because their religion told them having sexual fantasies and masturbating outside of marriage was wrong. The only groups in modern American society telling women those things are religious ones.

          I very much want to live in a world of positive sexuality, where people do not feel shame or guilt for their bodies or for their various sexual desires and consensual sex acts. But I also recognize that this won’t happen without being realistic, and writing off sexual repression as a largely religious tool would be unrealistic and a hindrance in moving towards a more sexually positive world.

          Except it is a largely religious tool. There aren’t organized groups of secularists guilting and shaming people for wanting to have sexual pleasure outside the confines of heterosexual marriage. These women only have a problem because religious groups told them they were doing something wrong.

    • J.R. Robbins

      Said the apologist.

      • http://www.secularview.com/ Dirty_Nerdy

        I know her personally. She’s not religious. And she has a valid point.

        • Neeley Rebel Fluke

          Thanks Dirty Nerdy.
          I didn’t expect anything but these kinds of replies, its typical. Too many within our community would rather have self-congratulatory circle jerks about how bright they are (on seemingly every bloody topic… how is that possible?) rather than stop to consider the possibility that they might actually need to do some deeper thinking and consideration on some topics from time to time.

      • Neeley Rebel Fluke

        Yes, you win, of course I am an apologist. My reply to the blog post was merely a ruse to try to trick you clever non-believers into coming to the Dark Side. But damn it, I have been foiled again.
        Good thing I’m an apologist so you can feel validated in writing off anything I’ve said.
        Good show, sir, good show.

  • IDP

    I like how some of the commenters in the original article are jumping to blame The Secular Media for foisting porn upon helpless women. Given the huge amount of very explicit fanfiction/erotica and so forth (such as 50 Shades of Grey) that is put out by women for other women for free. Could it be women exploring natural sexual urges? Nope, must be Big Porn.

  • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Late to the party but I’m the guy that just bought a vibrator for my teenager daughter. I’m also well aware she watches porn, not often but she does. How dare I encourage her to explore and learn about her body. I’m such an awful person.

    • midnight rambler

      This is for you (check out the one called “Future” too):
      Technical Virgin – Boys Can Wait

      Sadly, the woman in this got fired from her job in a PBS children’s program after these videos (from long before) were revealed. People are ridiculous.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        You will probably appreciate this video as well. It’s Garfunkel and Oates’ Loophole.

        It is soooo NSFW.

        • midnight rambler

          I am totally stealing “Satan’s doorbell”.

  • Stev84

    The author of that article is hardly alone in how she uses the term “porn addiction”. That’s the standard Christian definition.

    I’ve said that for some time now. They just consider everyone who watches a porn movie now and then addicted. The term has become completely meaningless when used by Christians.

  • katiehippie

    Oh boy, I looked up my former church’s beliefs.

    However, children of God are warned against the voluntary indulgence of sexual fantasies as endangering faith and spiritual life. Such inordinate desires are clearly called sin by our Lord (Matt. 5:27)

    But that verse is specifically about adultery. The next verse applies better. All stupidness all the time.

  • The_Physeter

    What if you were told that you could never go to the bathroom again? That urination is sinful, and you must never ever do it. You’re told it will happen anyway–eventually it will come out in your pants and you’ll have to get new pants–but you must never ever “try” to do it, you must never “give in” to urination. I bet nobody would believe that. But this belief described in the blog is incredibly common in Christian thinking, that it’s a sin to ever feel sexual feelings or release any sexual pressure.

  • PieRatz

    “There ain’t nuttin wrong with cuttin’ the carrot.”-my dad 1984.

    • midnight rambler

      Uh…what???

      • Nancy Shrew

        “Peeling the carrot” is a euphemism for jerking off.

        • midnight rambler

          “Cutting the carrot” sounds more like a euphemism for a circumcision gone horribly wrong.

  • midnight rambler

    Frankly, I think that if you can manage to masturbate 2-3 times a day and still be “a straight-A student, a leader in my high school’s chapel band, a core
    part of my youth group, a social butterfly, and a talented athlete”, that’s something to be seriously proud of.

  • David McNerney

    Something just occurred to me. God or evolution, take your pick, designed our arms so that their normal extension is perfect for scratching our arses or masturbating.

    Just wanted to put that out there…

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    “On the outside I was a straight-A student, a leader in my high school’s chapel band, a core part of my youth group, a social butterfly, and a talented athlete.”

    Oh no, I am apparently a sex addict. I was a straight-A student and took part in many extracurriculars as well as masturbated daily so I must feel awful and sick about myself, apparently.

    There is legitimate porn addiction, but these women and the author are suffering from protestant syndrome where any physical pleasure is considered evil and an addiction.


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