Crystal Renaud is a nose-pierced, tattooed and at times pink-haired girl who loves God, the Church and helping the broken find restoration. She is on staff at Westside Family Church in Kansas City. She is also the author of the book, Dirty Girls: The New Porn Addicts (check it out!) and you can find her on her blog, and on twitter @pinkharedgirl.

1. Tell us something God's been talking to you about lately.

In my LifeGroup, I am reading "The Search for Significance" by Robert McGee. I have a love/hate relationship with this book so far because of the questions it is forcing me to ask myself. But God's definitely showing me how much I rely on and value the opinion of others, rather than His own opinion of me. It is a hard lesson.

2. Please tell me you're not a Chiefs fan - are you?

Haha, I honestly say I am not a Chiefs fan. I mean, how could I be? I do find that I try and cheer them on if they are playing, but I don't have high expectations of their winning. But with a new coach coming on next season, anything's possible.

3. Regardless, catch us up to speed on this whole women-being-sexual-addicts-thing. These type of struggles are so synonymous with men in our culture and the Church.

Well, the women being sexual addicts thing is a big deal. A big deal that unfortunately not many are talking about. While seen primarily as a problem for men, statistics are showing that every 1 and 3 women have a porn addiction. And that's just the women willing to admit it. Many count women out for being sexual addicts because they aren't known for being visually stimulated. But what women have that puts them into a whole different field are their emotions and they will feed an emotional need with any means necessary.

4. What are some of the eye-openers you are learning through the surveys you host on your blog?

The surveys haven't opened my eyes so much as they have confirmed the hunches I already had. Particularly as it relates to women and the relationships with their dads. I would honestly say 90% of the women in my surveys shared that they have poor to non-existent relationships with their dads. Porn and/or sex generally enters in as a form of intimacy that they didn't receive from their fathers. That was true in my own life. It is heart-breaking and is why I am such an advocate of dads not just being providers to their daughters but actually being daddies to their daughters. It wasn't until I accepted my Heavenly Father that I truly understood what the role of a dad was always supposed to be.

5. One of the things you talk about is how impacting it was to find out you weren't alone - expound on that for us.

When I first began viewing porn, I was only 10 years old. A little girl. I didn't really even understand what sex was, let alone really know what I was looking at. I was ashamed and because of that shame, kept what I had seen and was I doing to myself. The shame grew as the addiction grew and the bigger the secrets became. I was alone because I never said anything. When my friend told me that she too struggled with a porn addiction, it was so freeing. No one before then had even talked to me about porn, let alone admitted they were in the same boat. Blogger Jon Acuff calls this the gift of going second. She went first so I could go second. And it has been my goal since then to always go first so other women can go second.

6. One of the hardest lessons for me to learn in recovering from my own addiction was that I had to let go of others opinions of me. When I got fired from the church I worked at, it was a real battle to learn to let go and realize that if people judged me, that was between them and God. What was the toughest lesson for you?

The toughest lesson for me is quite similar. As I said in answer #1, the opinion of others has had a hold on me for as long as I can remember. The opinion of others is a major contributor to what kept me in my addiction for as long as I was. I think what makes this easier to deal with now, is all the positive feedback I receive but more importantly the blessing that comes from being obedient to what God is asking me to do with my story.

7. I know a hard thing for me, looking back, was how silent the Church was on sexuality and the beauty of God's gift, let alone porn and masturbation. Where do we go from here? What can churches, pastors, leaders do to build healthier communities and an openness about struggle and sexuality?

The first step is to STOP LYING TO YOURSELVES that porn, sex and lust aren't problems in your churches. You are doing a disservice to your congregation and yourselves by being silent about such a widespread problem. Use the platform God has blessed you with to show love to the broken and provide a safe place for restoration. It can be as simple as providing recovery groups and resources. But I think the most powerful thing churches can do is speak honestly about these topics from the stage. It might not be glamorous or fit into a nice message series package, but consider the lives that could be changed. If we as the Church don't speak out against the bondage of sexual sin, who will?

8. What can loved ones and those struggling do? Where should they start if they want help?

If you're a loved one of an addict, the gift of unconditional love is the greatest thing you can give them. An addict is already living a life of shame and regret, with the expectation of judgment. Show them you're a safe place to fall. If you're an addict, find someone you can tell. There is freedom to be found in being honest about your struggle and placing your burden on Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 25:11, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." He is there to carry you. Accountability is also a vital part of recovery. Having someone in your life who will ask you the tough questions and be there for you when you are tempted. Also, if you're a woman who has or has had a porn addiction, please visit and take a survey today. These surveys are being used as research for the book, Dirty Girls: The New Porn Addicts. A resource for women struggling with a pornography addiction.


Bob Smith said...

you have no comments on this topic - It seems that it's something thats just not on peoples radar. Sexual sin can attack anyone and is so distructive to so many. I'd like to know what peole have done to keep themselves "safe"?

Schnegel said...

Interesting....90% of these girls had non-existing relationships with their Dads. If you are a Dad with a daughter, hug her everyday, wether she likes it or not. If you don't she will get them from a creepy boy.

Bob Smith said...

Schnegel? - Seems like the old verse - "Sins of the father..." is really true. Parents have such a responsibility to raise our kids in Love - I often think back over the way I treated my sons and wonder what effect some of those thing will have.

Kevin Davis said...

Bob - it is a heavy responsibility to father our kids. I think about it all the time and hope to send my kids off to adulthood with as little baggage as possible. And to your question, I use internet software that emails my wife with my activity, I maintain two accountability relationships and we speak several times a week about how we're doing. For me, it's all about constantly reminding myself that this is my weakness, if I forget that I know I'll justify/compromise and fall.

Schnegel - totally agree. I love on my boys all the time and if God blesses us with a girl - it will be priority #1. I saw the impact of my own fathers lacking in my sisters life and will love the crap out of that girl. I once heard someone talk about how when your daughter hits puberty, it can seem inappropriate to hug and kiss on her as much, but that is the time to do it all the more.

Schnegel said...

Kevin, I've noticed that John Eldridge has a blog link on the 2/42 cell site. If you haven't already read his book Wild at Heart, good insight on raising boys.
Bob Smith?.... I know someone, who knows someone who knows you and I don't think you have to worry about how you treated your sons. They say you're an awesome Guy and dad.(Even though it is rumored that you do not like people.)

Kevin Davis said...

Nice profile pic Schnegel.