Watching Porn — How Do I Stop?

Question from a Site Viewer
I’m a 30-year old man. I just read about your article regarding porn. I am an converted Christian. For the past five years I have been with Jesus. But I can’t control myself from watching porn. I can abstain for four or five days but after that I lose control and end up watching more pornography. I want to stop watching porn but I feel helpless.

Tim’s Answer
Addiction to pornography is a major problem for many people. When we have become lazy and allowed pornographic images to swamp our minds, we find ourselves like the man in Proverbs 7 who is going to the harlot. Only today we have the technology to do it online or with pictures in magazines. But the end result is the same. The path to pornography is the path to hell. It eats our minds, consumes our thoughts, and destroys all that is good in us.

The only way to overcome the addiction is to turn fully to follow Jesus. It is our choice. We can choose to live a life desiring to see the latest sex fantasy and end up spiritually bankrupt at the end of our lives. Or, we can choose to begin the process of reforming our minds by choosing to desire Jesus Christ. If we want to follow Jesus, if we want to be part of His great kingdom, if we truly desire to be holy and without blame before Him, then we need to begin to fight the battle in the mind. But it is a work we must do. Peter tells us to gird up the loins of our minds (1 Peter 1:13). We need to exercise the self-control that is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). Paul tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). If we let pornography and sexual thoughts have free reign in our minds, then we will be led astray. But, if we train our minds to memorize Scripture, to pray, to seek God’s kingdom, and to love others as He taught us, then we will find the thoughts of illicit sex receding and the praises and worship of God becoming the focus of our minds. What we think about is what we become.

There is always hope in Christ, no matter how far down into pornography you have gone. While pornography is always simply a click away, so is spiritual nourishment. We decide which click we will do. I refer you to an earlier article we wrote on this subject.

I encourage you to decide what you want to accomplish in your life on this earth. If you want to please Jesus Christ, then begin walking with Him, talking to Him when you get up, throughout the day, and praising Him when you go to bed. Train your mind to strengthen your communication with your God. Although there will be times of testing, you will never regret giving up illicit sex when you find yourself in the center of His blessing.

May you take heart, take up the battle of the mind, be strong, and pursue purity.

a pilgrim,

tim

12 thoughts on “Watching Porn — How Do I Stop?

  1. Ken

    Tim, I believe that your answer is right on target. Even though it may be difficult, we can help to overcome our sinful desires by allowing God to plant other desires in place of them. Memorizing scripture or songs that help to remind us of the right choices will help keep us from acting on these things when the time of temptation comes.

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  2. frank

    There is no quick fix for this problem. It is a battle that decreases in intensity over time but always must be fought . when I am stressed or lonely especially at night it turns into an all-out. war that I fight alone . How I wish I could turn back the clock and start over. We reap what we sow.

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  3. Henry

    Pornography is an “addiction”. It’s like being hooked on a drug or being an alcoholic. It’s very rare that someone can just “decide” to stop and then just suddenly stop cold turkey. There are chemical reactions in the person’s brain that need to be rewired. It’s like a recovered alcoholic that goes to church and takes communion only to realize later that the wine was literally wine and not grape juice. He didn’t know this, but because he tasted it he becomes an alcoholic again. Would you blame him for this?

    You mention people becoming lazy and allowing pornographic images. The entire world is saturated with sexual imagery. In the UK, they have commercials on regular television with naked women in them. You can find naked women in a random Google search that has nothing to do with pornography at all. Men get aroused by what they “see” and it’s next to impossible to live in this world without “seeing” something you shouldn’t have, whether intentional or not.

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  4. Henry

    I’m sorry, but I have to add something. You wrote that a person can choose to overcome it by following Jesus. This is human anatomy 101. The male testes require the release of sperm as it constantly generates new sperm. If that sperm isn’t released, the body does it on its own. This is where the term “wet dreams” comes from. It’s a physiological fact that when a man resists long enough, the body starts to chemically induce arousal to ensure the release. There is a reason the Apostle Paul said it’s better to marry than to burn with lust.

    You make it sound like it’s simply a choice and nothing more, but chemicals in the body overwrite the brain. Sexual desires can be just as strong, if not stronger than hunger pains. A person can only resist the desire to eat for so long before they either starve to death or eat absolutely anything, such as junk in a trash can to stay alive. So Paul said that men need to marry if they have such strong desires.

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  5. Henry

    I’m sorry, but your website should give people hope not crush their spirit. You wrote, “… if we train our minds to memorize Scripture, to pray, to seek God’s kingdom, and to love others as He taught us, then we will find the thoughts of illicit sex receding …”

    You’re forgetting that we have 3 major enemies. #1: The world, where we see explicit stuff whether we want to or not. #2: Our flesh, which burns with lust. #3: Satan, that wants to derail us.

    I know from experience that the times I’ve been the MOST spiritual have been the times I’m the MOST tempted. That’s a real tactic of the enemy. When someone isn’t walking with God, there’s no reason to try and derail them, but the more someone struggles to do right the more temptations come.

    It’s flawed logic to say that if they are more spiritual their struggles will be less. Your words set them up to fall even harder and to feel condemned.

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  6. Henry

    One final thought. Not everyone who struggles with pornography began doing it after they were a Christian. I can’t think of a single Christian brother that wasn’t looking at it BEFORE knowing Jesus. Yet, your article seems to blame them for their addiction when it is something they carried into their new life with Christ and it isn’t something that you can fix by snapping your fingers. What is required is seeing a counselor that specializes in breaking ADDICTIONS, because that’s what it is. It isn’t “just” simply a choice. It requires help from those qualified to give such help.

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  7. David

    Henry. There is no one who understands the power of this addiction more than me. It is a stronghold of the enemy. My addiction began at the age of 12/13 when I stumbled upon a stash of magazines. At 40 yrs of age, married, and w/ children, (and sick of this sin!) I am a recovering sex addict through Christ and Christ alone!

    Do not buy into the world’s arguments about human anatomy that you raise. Those are Satan’s lies to keep you trapped and entangled in sin. Phil 4:13 “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” The info in Tim’s answer is certainly helpful. However, there is something not many churches teach on or explain. And that is fasting! This is how I have been able to overcome this sin. I still struggle, but Christ in me.

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  8. David

    To begin explaining the fast, read Mark 9:14-29. v29 reads “… this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” There is power in prayer and fasting to overcome even the strongest of demons or strongholds. While there are many principles that are important in regard to fasting I will mention two.

    First, there’s the fact that fasting forces us to deny our bodies. The denial of basic needs such as food and/or drink really puts us in touch with how needy we truly are. As we begin to deny our bodies more and more, it is then that we can redirect those physical yearnings into spiritual hunger for God through prayer! I believe that the more we can place our flesh under submission the more we can grow spiritually.

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  9. David

    The second point I share about fasting (and prayer!) is that the flesh is constantly at war with our spirit. Learn to control the flesh through denial and God (not you) strengthens you. A crucial note is that any brokenness such as this sin points to a hole or need only God can fill. Porn is something we resort to for a fulfillment only God can truly satisfy. Any addiction is one form of idolatry. Bear that in mind as we seek repentance. Brothers (and sisters (this affects women too!)) you can overcome through Christ.

    There’s much info on biblical fasting. John Piper’s book “Hunger for God” is great. Begin slow and consider medical conditions but be serious with fasting from true needs such as food and/or drink. Vices don’t count 🙂

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  10. brian

    I am suffering fron porn addiction and ahabit of masturbating i accepted christ few days back but i performing this sin again and again with repeated forgivness i doubt that i would be forgiven i am upset. Iam angry with my parents and brother for no reason please send me a reply . I dont know what to do

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  11. Keven

    I am a slave to this sin. Married 25 years to a wife who loves me but does not want sexual relations anymore. I justify my addiction that it holds the marriage together by satisfying a basic need. I realize in many eyes it is the same as having an affair but i see it as the lesser of two evils. Still a sin no less. I pray, read articles, and pray for a way out but eventually fail at every turn. The flesh is truly weak. I continually here God say go and sin no more as I pray for forgiveness. How can he forgive if you willingly keep repeating the same sin over. I pray for those like me and ask for your prayers.

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