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The Christian woman and her porn battle

Recovering addict Alice wants to help others find grace for real change

Alice Taylor’s story begins in the most ordinary circumstances. She grew up in a Christian home with well-meaning parents.

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And yet, this place of security was too secure – Alice describes it as “sheltered”. There were very few discussions about sex and certainly no discussions about pornography. The effect of this on Alice was that “it made me want to rebel.”

“I was just so curious because it was something I’ve never seen before.” – Alice

One day, at the age of 12, when she found herself alone in her granddad’s office with the door shut and she came across a pornographic image via his dial-up internet, it sparked an intense curiosity.

“I just remember, burned into my brain, that first image I saw … I was just so curious because it was something I’ve never seen before. It started to fill in the blanks that my parents had left in sex education – or so I thought,” she shares with Eternity.

Alice started going back to her grandad’s office at every opportunity and when her parents went out, her first instinct was to look at porn.

“As I saw more images, I was getting a bigger vocabulary for what to search for, and I kept becoming more curious and more drawn in.

“I was like, whoa this makes my body feel weird and I don’t understand what it’s all about but I like it … It was always on my mind.”

After dabbling in porn for a year or so, teenage life took over and Alice forgot it about it for a while, being caught up in a relationship with a “real” boyfriend. At the same time, Alice was dealing with a bigger issue: she was being severely bullied at school. This left her feeling raw.

“That vulnerability and experience set me up to enter into a really dodgy relationship when I was 18 … with a guy that I didn’t really know at all – I’d met him once.”

“He did not treat me very well. He pressured me into having sex, even though I told him up front that I was Christian and I wanted to wait. He wasn’t a Christian and he and his friends always used to mock me and tease me, saying ‘You’re such a prude. When are you going to have sex with him?’

“It made me feel really humiliated, so I finally gave in one night when he had bought me a couple drinks, and that was the start of where my life went really downhill.”

“I thought porn would teach me what a woman is supposed to look like …” – Alice

Alice describes her sexual relationship with this man, who was an avid porn consumer, as “just horrible.”

“Looking back, I can see the sex that he wanted was very porn-inspired. It was very much all about his pleasure, more aggression than necessary, no eye contact. It wasn’t about intimacy whatsoever.”

But ironically, after breaking up with him, Alice herself turned back to porn.

Alice Taylor - The Grace Spot

Alice Taylor

“I thought that the bad sex was my problem, so I went to porn to fix that. I thought porn would teach me what a woman is supposed to look like, what she’s supposed to act like, what she’s supposed to do in bed and how to please a man. So it started as education, but then I realised that it was a really great way to escape from my pain. It was a great anaesthetic.”

Longing for connection and love, Alice spent more and more time consumed in the world of pornography. However, unlike her previous experience, the porn she had access to now was “much more intense … hardcore high speed internet video porn.”

“And then I realised that I couldn’t stop using it … I got trapped in this cycle of depression, porn, shame. I realised … I’m addicted to this, and I do not like the person it’s making me and the way that my life is going . It was really scary,” Alice reveals.

The journey to healing

After taking the first step of acknowledging her addiction, Alice’s healing journey began at her church when a guest speaker delivered a sermon on recurring sin and shame.

“He didn’t talk about porn at all, but that night I was just struck by what he said … I burst into tears and fell to the ground. I felt in my heart that God is speaking to me. God knows that I’m struggling with porn. He’s seen every image, he knows every pain, and he wants to do something about it. I was so overwhelmed because I’d been carrying this secret so many years.”

A middle-aged woman came over to comfort and pray for Alice. When Alice confessed her addiction, this woman revealed she also struggled with pornography but had been “set free”. She advised Alice to tell a friend who could support her. So Alice told her best friend, who replied, “’Oh my gosh, me too! I’ve been struggling with porn for ten years and I thought I was the only Christian woman.’”

“It was like this unforgivable sin – the church won’t talk about it.” – Alice

Part of the reason for this sense of isolation experienced by Alice and her friend was that “in the Christian community and in church it was just never, ever talked about that women could struggle with porn. I’d never heard it even mentioned,” Alice says. If pornography was ever discussed in her church, the conversation was only directed to males, and Alice found the same with online resources. This made her feel like “a freak”, “disgusting and unlovable”.

“It was like this unforgivable sin – the church won’t talk about it; the internet won’t even talk about it. So, how could God forgive a woman like me like?”

Luckily for Alice, she had a friend to walk with. “We kept each other accountable, we met up once a week, we called each other every day, we put filtering software on our laptops and phones, and we both invested in professional therapy … We’d meet together to pray and share, and we’d be really honest about when we had a lapse and also share our victories.”

Finding grace

In 2015, further along the road to recovery, Alice decided to do something about the lack of resources available for women. So she set up a website called The Grace Spot and shared her story on it, then started blogging about “what I would have loved to read when I was a teenage girl struggling with porn as a Christian.”

She also unearthed what little research she could find on the use of pornography among women, and managed to track down these surprising statistics: one in three visitors to adult websites are women; 17 per cent of all women consider themselves addicted to porn; and 13 per cent of Christian women are worried that their porn use is excessive.

In line with these research findings, Alice began to receive “a constant flow” of emails through her website from women who were struggling with pornography. So she created a private Facebook group for women to support each other in their recovery and provide accountability. Interestingly, many of these women have similar stories to Alice: sheltered Christian upbringing, a lack of sex education, have experienced some kind of relational trauma and started viewing porn before age 12.

“I’ve never been met negatively when I’ve shared my story. There’s so many women who are struggling …” – Alice

Feeling compelled to “make change for women and to be a voice,” Alice is also writing a book to be published this year, titled Restored: A Woman’s Guide to Overcoming Pornography. She describes it as an “holistic, practical” ten-week recovery programme specifically for women.

“It’s sort of like a journal – a big long journal that I’m inviting other women into,” she says.

Now 26 and happily married to her husband Lukas, Alice encourages any woman trapped in pornography’s web to “just be real and honest.”

“You’re not alone … Honestly, I’ve never been met negatively when I’ve shared my story. There’s so many women who are struggling …

“It can be the most healing thing – for yourself and for a relationship … It’s scary but it is the bravest and most important thing you can do to share that story – it can totally change your life.”

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