You know how churches and conferences are always talking about how guys struggle with porn and girls struggle with self-image? It is pretty much a guarantee that the Christian guys you know have looked at porn and masturbated numerous amounts of times in their life thus far. I remember hearing all of the statistics and altar calls being given for prayer, and it was always directed to the guys. The girls went up for prayer with self-image issues, eating disorders, pre-marital sex, etc. It’s not that all of those things aren’t legitimate. I know a lot of people that have dealt with those things and it is amazing what God has done in their lives. But I wasn’t one of those girls. I may have dealt with destructive thoughts about myself, but not in the way most youth pastors or women’s conference leaders were suggesting. What I dealt with was something I couldn’t share with anybody. So, I didn’t.
According to a recent study, 40% of women are masturbating by the age of 14 and 72% by the ages of 25-29 years old (NSSHB, 2010). The studies didn’t go below the age of 14, but from what I have personally gone through and people I have talked to, often girls begin masturbating at an even younger age.
In 2008, a survey of college students was given, and findings showed that on average, girls’ first exposure to pornography was between the ages of 13 and 15 years old (Sabina et al. 2008).
When you think about the fact that high speed internet wasn’t around until this surveyed group turned fourteen, it seems likely that the age is now lower.
And if I was able to access pornographic images on accident before my tenth birthday, you can bet that the young girls of this day and age can access it whether it be intentional or not.
I didn’t know any of this growing up. In my mind, I was the only one dealing with this. There was no one to turn to. You no longer have that excuse.