Look God, No Hands

Dirty Girls Ministries is on a crusade against the evils of female masturbation


| September-October 2011



look-god-no-hands

Linda Zacks / www.lindazacks.com

In a small, plainly decorated room in Lenexa, Kansas, 26-year-old Crystal Renaud logs on to a free video-chat site. She sits at her desk and peers over her black-rimmed glasses, which reflect the dull blue glare of the computer monitor. Meanwhile, in homes scattered around the United States, five other women are staring into their webcams as well. As their faces pop up around Renaud on all their screens, they begin the 6th week of a 12-week pornography addiction recovery group for women called No Stones.

“Does anyone want to share a story where they felt they had some sort of personality disorder? Or something related?” Renaud asks, before her voice temporarily cuts out and the screen freezes. The group is having technical issues tonight. “For me, I found myself really clinging to certain personality types, those opposite of my dad,” she says when she’s back on. The assignment for this week, she tells the women, is to write down their sexual histories. “I know it’s overwhelming, but don’t be defeated by this,” she says. “There’s hope. This is truth. Even though it’s hard and painful, the truth is what sets you free.”

The No Stones recovery group is part of an organization called Dirty Girls Ministries that Renaud launched in 2009 after suffering from her own self-described pornography addiction. She says she wanted to help other women recover from their X-rated fixations by connecting with them online and holding meetings at her local church. But her use of the terms porn and addiction may be misleading. The growing group of 100-plus members who participate in the forums say that they masturbate or view porn—which they define as including erotica and romance novels—twice a week or less. For most of us, that would hardly be considered excessive. But to Renaud, it indicates an epidemic of addiction, one that can be treated by helping women stay “clean” of masturbation.

In addition to the online ministry, she speaks regularly at various evangelical churches in Kansas and has written a book called Dirty Girls Come Clean. “Whether you believe it or not, women are addicted to porn,” Renaud preached in a recent sermon. “You’d be surprised at how many women—women in your own lives—are hiding this deep, dark, and dirty secret.”

While many of the women she counsels report turning to pornography as a form of escape—from traumas like sexual abuse, infidelity, and even prostitution—Renaud compares their masturbation to alcoholism, saying that “like drugs and alcohol, so many things that feel good in a short amount of time can end up hurting you.”

Renaud’s advocacy is labeled antipornography, but it aims to treat all masturbation, whether it involves porn or not. When you peel back the layers, the core of her crusade is against sexual thought—even within marriage—unless those thoughts are about your husband while you are engaging in intercourse with him.

Pamela McGhee
9/19/2011 9:53:23 AM

What a load of twaddle!


Lauri Lumby
9/19/2011 8:16:56 AM

This article presents the distortion of two issues: sex addiction and sexual repression cloaked under the guise of religious obedience. OUCH! As a Professional Spiritual Director, I have witnessed the damaging effects of authentic sex addiction as well as the horrible damage done to healthy sexual intimacy by otherwise well-meaning religious "authorities." Masturbation, in and of itself is not harmful, in fact, it can be very healthy. It only becomes a problem when it prevents us from cultivating healthy intimacy with ourselves and in our intimate partnerships. This would be the same for any act of sexual pleasure. I am especially concerned by Dirty Girl's separation of sexuality from spirituality. Healthy sexual expression can be a fantastic vehicle through which we can cultivate a deeply intimate relationship with that which we might call "God" and it can help to further our spiritual connections with each other. While I am in support of recovery programs for those who suffer from true sexual addiction, I feel that Dirty Girl's motivations may be slightly misplaced. Lauri Lumby Authentic Freedom Ministries http://yourspiritualtruth.com


Not Surprising
8/27/2011 1:52:47 AM

So aside from the fairly obvious observation that a materialistic perspective of more is better gets applied to sex, lets look at the simple concept of compulsion vs. discipline, or if you have a problem with that word regulation works just as well. Aussiescibbler said: "Orgasms help to regulate the functioning of the body .. pain, including feelings of guilt, makes us self-centred, pleasure is healing. It frees our awareness to embrace others by meeting our own needs first." Putting aside the obvious judgments involved in the religious perspective, regulating that which regulates the function of the body (orgasm in this case) simply makes sense from the logical perspective of a chain of causation. But lets be honest, as this poster goes on to state it's about pleasure. Amazingly enough it does not seem that this individual recognizes the fairly obvious fact that pleasure can make people self-centered just as guilt does. (really, are people typically thinking of their partner when they are aroused?) Whether it is natural or not it does not change that fact. Meeting your own needs (nice verbiage) is one thing, but is that need a compulsion? It is equally true that those "sexually free" is easy to control if they have the tendency to indulge in it as a compulsion. (oh excuse me, it's a NEED) One is control via inner division, the other is control via a kind of union with other things associated with sex, be it a person or some kind of psychologically embedded message.


Not Surprising
8/27/2011 1:37:08 AM

While many religious people do obviously go to an extreme, focusing on them amounts to a kind of red herring and really just tend to elicit the other extreme, which is hardly alternative when it is ENTIRELY PREDICTABLE - unless of course by "alternative" we mean that well known liberal position which is actually devoid of any real independent thinking. Of course being predictable says nothing about how true it is, but there is also not much insight into the issue. People are convinced they have the progressive, enlightened and liberated views by comparing themselves with such groups instead of actually looking at their own behavior in a fresh way whether as an individual or in terms of the social group they identify with. From a neutral perspective there is clearly truth to the idea that there is much emphasis on sex in our culture. What these women are doing is simply going along with a Christian subculture, but it is BOTH about conformity. Outside of these two there are actually other variations, (yes folks, it's not just the two extremes in the real world) I've heard supposedly liberal people condemn behavior they don't actually understand by associating it with the simple concept of sexual repression when there is an entire different cultural context, but all their simple minds can do is condemn it on the shallow basis of not being as sexually free (or actually, as active) as they are without regard to any other factors. This frankly is simple stupidity.


Not Surprising
8/27/2011 1:36:08 AM

While many religious people do obviously go to an extreme, focusing on them amounts to a kind of red herring and really just tend to elicit the other extreme, which is hardly alternative when it is ENTIRELY PREDICTABLE - unless of course by "alternative" we mean that well known liberal position which is actually devoid of any real independent thinking. Of course being predictable says nothing about how true it is, but there is also not much insight into the issue. People are convinced they have the progressive, enlightened and liberated views by comparing themselves with such groups instead of actually looking at their own behavior in a fresh way whether as an individual or in terms of the social group they identify with. From a neutral perspective there is clearly truth to the idea that there is much emphasis on sex in our culture. What these women are doing is simply going along with a Christian subculture, but it is BOTH about conformity. Outside of these two there are actually other variations, (yes folks, it's not just the two extremes in the real world) I've heard supposedly liberal people condemn behavior they don't actually understand by associating it with the simple concept of sexual repression when there is an entire different cultural context, but all their simple minds can do is condemn it on the shallow basis of not being as sexually free (or actually, as active) as they are without regard to any other factors. This frankly is simple stupidity.


Reddd
8/23/2011 5:03:09 PM

This article makes me so sad for these women (and young girls!) who are being encouraged to new levels of body- and general self-hatred by groups like Renaud's.


Rvaya
8/23/2011 7:52:30 AM

I'm a fellow Kansian and grew up in a religious environment. I couldn't disagree with the idea that female or male masturbation is bad. It's entirely natural. I even wrote a huge blog post about it below. I think that fighting addictions though is completely admirable. If it's something you do that you hate then you can combat it. But to say that it's masturbation or watching/reading erotica that is evil is narrow minded. Your addictions aren't mine so don't think you need to go on a crusade to save others from something that isn't a problem for everyone. http://www.5sizes2small.com/wristflick/society/masturbation-male-or-female-does-it-matter


Aussiescribbler
8/22/2011 12:15:36 AM

Apart from chemical dependencies in the case of alcohol and other drugs, the driving force behind any addiction is guilt. The activity that is compulsively pursued, be it gambling, fighting, sex, or whatever else, is pursued as an escape from unpleasant feelings of self-contempt or frustration. If the individual feels guilty about the activity which provides an escape (or its results, such as loss of money in the case of gambling), this leads to more bad feelings from which the individual will try to escape in the same manner. And so it is self-reinforcing. What makes things different in the case of masturbation is that it is a healthy activity. Orgasms help to regulate the functioning of the body. And, while pain, including feelings of guilt, makes us self-centred, pleasure is healing. It frees our awareness to embrace others by meeting our own needs first. It makes us "better people". I'm not a Christian myself, but I don't see any evidence of anti-sex thinking in the things he was quoted as saying. Paul is a different matter. But since Jesus doesn't appear to have been neurotic, I would assume that he probably either had sex with others or masturbated. Sexually free individuals are hard to control though, hence the fact that many false prophets of religious cults and misrepresenters of Christianity preach sexual abstinence or restraint. Divide individuals against themselves and they become weak and easy to control.


Michael C
8/21/2011 9:29:02 AM

"Dirty Girl" saya it all


lvdixon
8/20/2011 8:00:14 PM

I found this article hysterically funny. These religious folks are just SO bizarre to me.