There are plenty of books for guys who struggle with porn. Sometimes, they make passing reference to women who have fallen into this habit, but it’s often assumed that men are the main offenders.
Sadly, research statistics are showing increasingly large numbers of women who have become porn addicts. Or maybe they are just admitting it more. Last week I chatted with Tim and Aileen Challies about what resources they would recommend for Christian women ensnared by this sin. Among many helpful suggestions, they pointed me to the following two books:
Purity is Possible by Helen Thorne.
Beggar’s Daughter by Jessica Harris.
Having read them both through, I’d recommend Purity is Possible to any Christian woman struggling with lust, porn, fantasy, etc. It’s theologically sound and perceptive, it’s short and to the point, it’s practical and hopeful, it’s biographical and personal, and it’s beautifully Christ-centered.
I also see an important role for Beggar’s Daughter. It’s more of a biography and is much more transparent and revealing. That’s why I would only recommend it to women who were deep and long into porn and fantasy. It would give them someone to truly identify with and give them hope. But I wouldn’t advise it for someone whose sin in this area has been short and limited, as there’s the danger that some of the details in the book could inadvertently entice to sin or plant ideas that were not there before.
The Big Question
That raises a big question: How much personal details should books like these contain? If an author only speaks vaguely and generally about these sins and their battles with it, then sinners in the pit of porn cannot identify with it and find hope. Also, the sense of shame is deepened as “we’re not allowed to talk about these sins.” That drives further secrecy and hiding.
However, if an author goes too far in revealing too much, then innocent minds can be corrupted, seeds of sin that were never previously thought of can take root, and curiosity can stimulate further experimentation.
That’s why I wouldn’t recommend either book to women who are not falling into this sin. But for those who are (or who are helping those who are) Purity is Possible would be my first choice. It strikes the best balance between helpful revealing and careful reserve. However, if a woman is deep and long into porn, then I’d add Beggar’s Daughter to her reading.
Needless to say, I don’t think any man should ever take on such counseling assignments alone. Ideally, a strong mature Christian woman should take the lead and always be present if the pastor has to get involved.