When I was asked to review Sexual Sanity for Women, I was far less than excited. As a woman who battled pornography addiction, I know the frustration of trying to find resources to help me. At first there were none, and then the men’s resources were just reprinted more gender neutral or with pink covers to make them more women-friendly.
I have had several friends ask me to read books over the years—books written by men, books written by married couples, books written by women that addressed the broad-sweeping idea of purity with a little lust sprinkled in there for good measure. One book was exactly the same as the book for men, just all of the male nouns were changed to female.
Each book fell frustratingly short of really ministering to what I feel is one of the primary needs of a woman struggling with lust: She needs to know she is not alone, and that this struggle does not make her ‘one of the guys.’
Women locked in the chains of sins like pornography, lust, and masturbation—sins that are defined both in society and in the church as “men” problems—are confused about their sexuality, about their spirituality, about their humanity. They feel twisted, screwed up and less-than-human. They feel like animals or objects and feel rather stuck. Resources that do little to minister to the deeper heart issues leave those women feeling even more stuck and helpless.
Sexual Sanity for Women is not one of those resources.
Sexual Sanity for Women is Different
This small group study guide is the most Gospel-oriented, grace-centered approaches I have ever seen to a woman’s struggle with pornography and other sexual sins. It gently answers the questions women ask: “How could I do this?” “What is wrong with me?” “Why do I feel like this?” With every lesson, it points to our need for grace and the power of Calvary.
Lessons address a woman’s struggle from the inside out, tackling tough issues like abandonment, abuse, addiction, anger, and homosexual attraction. Lessons contain Scripture, questions for further application, and some goals to work on to apply the truths learned.
The content is thorough and hope-filled, literally walking a woman through the healing process from the inside out—healing wounds in her past, helping her understand gender roles, helping her forgive, and helping her develop healthy relationships all while keeping her heart centered on Christ and the redeeming grace of the Gospel.
I’ve been teaching some of these same things on my blog for years now, but as I read through Sexual Sanity, I found myself healing.
Great for Groups
This is not something you can hand a woman and say, “Here, read this.” It is structured for a small group setting as opposed to independent study, which has its pros and cons. On one hand, this encourages accountability and honesty and further assures a woman that her struggles are not unique. Having a group going through this curriculum together would build the safe community so many women desire. However, finding such groups is difficult. That is hardly a problem with the book as much as it is a problem with our churches.
Pastors, women in leadership, and counselors would do well to read this and to have a couple copies available for the people under their care. (There is also a Leader’s Guide, available only on Kindle). I have recommended it to college counselors and multiple women in one-on-one accountability relationships. In fact, in the fall, I will be starting up support groups at my church using this book.
This is a much-needed, well-written resource for women struggling with this addiction.
Jessica Harris is the founder of Beggar’s Daughter, a ministry dedicated to walking with women who have an addiction to pornography. Telling her own story of porn addiction and struggle with lust, Jessica seeks to help other women find hope, healing, and grace. Jessica shares resources and insights from her own journey on the Beggar’s Daughter blog and occasionally travels and speaks on the topic of female lust addiction and how churches can minister to women who struggle. She resides just outside of Washington DC where she works as a teacher and serves on the Biblical counseling team in her church. She is a regular contributor for ThePornEffect.com and is the author of Love Done Right: Devos – A Journey From Lust into the Love of God.
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