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October 2, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A few short years ago, porn use was considered to be a primarily male problem. The statistics bore this out: Men looked at pornography at far higher rates than women, and even Playgirl magazine was purchased primarily by gay men. Because men and women are wired differently, they responded to smut differently. But as digital porn with 24-7 availability has swept the culture, that has been changing rapidly. Several years ago, the percentage of women regularly using porn spiked to over 50%. One former female porn-user told me she suspects that the number is substantially higher than that.

One recent study indicated that 73% of women between the ages of 18 and 35 used pornography in the previous six months, with 26% using in the previous week. In an online survey conducted last year of women between the ages of 18 and 29, 14% admitted to watching porn several times a week; 18% said they watched porn around once a week, and 20% confessed that they were worried they watched pornography too often.

For this reason, the anti-porn software company Covenant Eyes is hosting the SHE Virtual Recovery Summit (SHE: Support. Heal. Empower.) on October 5–9, featuring over thirty experts and storytellers to assist female porn addicts in achieving freedom and recovery.

One of the speakers, Crystal Renaud Day, told me that a discussion on this subject is desperately needed. “Women are more drawn to pornography that has a romantic storyline, that triggers more of an emotional response,” she explained. However, as addiction increases, so does one’s sexual appetite. While a woman might begin her addiction with erotic fiction and lead into more emotionally based porn, addiction escalates, and women will soon find themselves looking at more hardcore pornography.”

These days, Day says, porn is ubiquitous, and many young women are getting addicted to the material widely available to their generation. “There are many women who skip the erotic fiction altogether and go straight into hardcore pornography,” Day told me. “These women tend to be younger, Millennial to Gen Z. While older generations of women were drawn to erotica, younger generations of women are drawn immediately to hardcore pornography. The most important thing we can do when having these conversations is to not put women into a box of expectation, because those expectations will almost always be met with outliers and unique circumstances.” 

Karen Potter, the director of Church & Ministry Outreach for Covenant Eyes, agrees. A Barna study from 2016, she noted, shows that 33% of women view porn at least once a month, and “we believe that number is seriously under-reported.” Young women, she told me, are growing up in a world that is nothing like that of their parents. “Females are being inundated with an over-sexualized culture from the moment they are old enough to be online, and this is shaping their perception of the world, from Instagram to Snapchat and everything in between. It is essential that parents become better educated on how young girls are exposed to pornography, where exposure is happening, and how they can begin preparing children for when they see pornography. It is no longer a question of if a child will see porn; it is when.”

“Our young girls are growing up in a pornified culture where as many as 95% of boys will have viewed pornography before they graduate high school,” Potter explained. “This has altered the way boys and girls are relating to one another. It is shaping the culture. Young girls are seeking porn for a variety of reasons, many times out of curiosity around sex and seeking to better understand the culture, a culture that says your power and your value is directly tied to your sex appeal. From Netflix to music, YouTube to videogames, young ladies are being fed a lie. Parents have to take every step necessary to start conversations with their children from a young age and continue those conversations throughout their childhood. The female struggler carries the weight of shame and guilt, especially when they are Christian.” 

Female porn addiction has been a subject almost totally ignored in Christian circles, and Covenant Eyes is seeking to step into that void to equip and prepare parents and church leaders.

“Here at Covenant Eyes we are dedicated to helping equip parents for these tough conversations and resourcing them with tools to help take this battle on,” Potter told me. “In addition, the church has a huge role to play in this. When people are seeking answers, specifically Christians, they tend to look to their churches as a source of truth. We need leaders equipped, educated and ready to help females who step forward with their struggles. They need to be armed with resources, tools, and information. Covenant Eyes has a team of Church Consultants who are able to connect churches with the best in class resources, educational opportunities like the She Summit, monthly Pastor Educational Webinars and much more.”

It is just a start — but a much needed one.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, Marjorie Dannenfelser from the Susan B. Anthony List tells Van Maren that this election is crucial for the pro-life movement. Dannenfelser warns listeners that if the Democrats win, it will have a generational impact, as the left will fight to take away the core principles of our nation's founding. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.

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