We’ve heard plenty from men who claim that they have “sexual compulsion” and men who are addicted to pornography, but those stories often left women out of the loop. Yet however, despite its lack of coverage, women apparently aren’t any more exempt from compulsive behavior — like excessive porn viewing — than men are.
A church support group in Kansas claims their aim is to rehabilitate women who are addicted to pornography and have created a peer network of other women who are afflicted by this “disease.” The Westside Family Church organized their group in order to bring awareness to how pornography and sexual compulsion affects women. They currently have a following large enough to hold weekly meetings and call themselves the Victory Over Porn Addiction Group. The leader, Crystal Renaud, states that it’s long overdue in a religion where women are not “intended” to be sexual beings to be able to discuss very real, very sexual topics in a non-threatening environment. Renaud states that she created the group with her own former addiction in mind:
“At school I wanted to go home and look at it more. Then I went online. I’d stay late at the library to look at it. Eventually I got into masturbation, phone sex, cybersex … That was my life for eight years.”
Renaud claims that she was lucky enough to find support in order to help put a stop to her compulsion.
One of the women in the group, a girl who goes by the alias “Michele L. H.,” states that the group has helped her create and maintain a healthy level of intimacy in the sexual aspect of her marriage. Michele states that she was sexually abused at a young age and exposed to pornography. She claims that the exposure desensitized her to a “normal” sexual appetite and stated that she couldn’t achieve orgasm or even arousal without incorporating pornography into her and her husband’s shared sex life. Michele states that she’s “learning the correct way of intimacy and bonds.” She also claims that her basis of this education is to “learn[ing] what your spouse wants, his needs.” Michele states that the crux of her fight against temptation stems from the desire to masturbate.
Renaud states that many women in the group are taking part in its events because they are afraid that they’ll marry a man someday and fear that he won’t be able to please them like they please themselves. ( … And I subsequently ask myself, “Is that really such a bad thing?”)
According to the women who participated in the interview, it appears that most of them suffered an addiction to porn-watching or masturbation — not sexual compulsion on a Tiger- or David Duchovny-like scale where they were headed out to bed every breathing male in a fifteen-mile radius.
While I think that sexual compulsion is just as “real” for women as it is for men (yet I do have my questions on the validity of a “sexual” compulsion; I think there’s compulsive behavior, sex being merely one aspect of it), none of these women are admitting to any wrongdoing. What’s so wrong with masturbation? Why do these women feel that the focus of their sexual experiences has to revolved around their male counterparts satisfaction? Why in God’s name would they put their husband’s sexual needs ahead of their own, for the sake of a little ego-stroking?