How to Quit Watching Porn

Quitting porn is possible.

Completely stopping a porn habit may seem like an impossible goal. You’ve probably vowed “one last time” countless times, only to fall back into the snare of shame pornography brings once again. Feelings of defeat and self-loathing grow stronger. An inevitable cycle that feels like an endless struggle – but things can be different.

Porn can cast a dark shadow over your relationships, your faith, and your self image. It becomes a toxic secret leading to a slow death of healthy sexuality and fake intimacy. Finding freedom from porn means replacing shame and isolation with truth and connection. By facing the truth about porn, learning new tools to defeat temptation, and renewing your mind with the truth, you can learn not just to quit porn, but to outgrow it. For good. God’s truth really can set you free.

What is a Porn Addiction?

When someone desperately wants to stop their porn use because they see it as harmful, and they’ve repeatedly tried to stop it but can’t, it may be an addiction. This can mean that the brain has actually been changed in such a way that this behavior is locked in and feels compulsive or unavoidable. Many people see no problem with their porn habit so they’ve never really tried to stop. But once they experience something like PIED (Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction) or marriage struggles they try to stop and simply can’t.

Whatever you end up wanting to call it – a habit, an addiction, a problem – defining and acknowledging that your porn use is a problem is the first step towards finding freedom.

Why Do People Get Addicted?

man with head in clouds

When the brain becomes addicted, it is like creating a path through overgrown woods. The more a trail is walked on, the more worn it becomes, and the easier it is to travel it. When you repeatedly use porn, especially to medicate the pain and discomforts in life, the porn pathway becomes your brain’s go-to path in response to certain triggers. Freedom doesn’t happen just by avoiding the porn pathways, but you need a guide to help you build a new path. As God tells us in His word, transformation happens by “renewing your mind” (Romans 12:2).

Is Porn Addiction Real?
Millions of People are Struggling with Porn.

For some seen as a troublesome habit and for others experienced as an unavoidable compulsion, porn is a real problem for men and women across the country, from every walk of life. Multiple large-scale studies have demonstrated the enormity of the pornography problem. About two out of three adult men reported they watch porn monthly, half view it weekly, and one out of four are daily porn users.

The christian community is not immune. In fact, a study of over 750 practicing Christian college men showed that 89% watch porn at least occasionally and 61% watched it at least weekly.

What’s more, over 80% said they experienced self-hatred after using porn. This is not a sign of a healthy habit. These Christians are experiencing what God warned about in His word, “abstain from fleshly lust which wage war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11).

How Do I Know If I’m Addicted to Porn?

Some would claim pornography isn’t so much of an addiction as a bad habit. Consider this –

A habit-

is a pattern of behavior that begins with a cue or a trigger and ends with a memorable reward, often referred to as a “habit loop”—trigger, behavior, reward (think Pavlov and classical conditioning).

An addiction-

begins with a behavior and evolves into a dramatic dependency that interferes with the normal functionality of your life and brain.

When a person desperately wants to stop a behavior they see as harmful, and they repeatedly try to stop it but can’t, it may be an addiction. When the unstoppable behavior changes the brain in such a way that it locks them into the behavior, it really is an “addiction”. Whether you call it a bad habit or an addiction, the steps to admitting and quitting are the same.

hand with stopwatch

Find Out If You’re Addicted

Many sex addiction therapists use a tool called the SAST (Sexual Addiction Screening Test). It is a simple, 20-question test that has been taken by tens of thousands of people. The test is more than 90% accurate in predicting sexual addictive tendencies in a person. This is an objective tool that can help you start understanding and embracing the reality of where you truly are.

Click Here to Take the Test

Understanding the Porn Problem

Porn is impacting your life, your sex life, your brain, and your relationships much more than you think. It may not seem like a big deal or an urgent problem, but pornography is a sneaky, silent killer of good things in your life. If you don’t quit a porn habit, you’re making way for the slow death of many emotional, relational, spiritual and even physical aspects of life.

The slow death of relationships and marriages.

Porn is mentioned as a significant reason in 56% of all divorces.

The slow death of healthy sexuality.

People who watch porn are less satisfied with their sex lives than those who don’t. Porn use has also lead to many men experiencing early erectile dysfunction.

The slow death of a heart for God.

Those who view pornography more often reported lower levels of closeness to God and higher levels of religious doubts.

A slow death of a positive self image.

Pornography use has also been associated with depression, feelings of low self-worth, shame and guilt, among many other negative emotions.

Negative Symptoms of Porn Addiction

Porn can poison your life in many ways, but it happens slowly. You may not realize you’re suffering from side effects of your porn habit until the problem has become deeply rooted. Common signs or symptoms of a porn problem can include:

  • Increased frequency and intensity of porn use
  • Strained romantic and personal relationships
  • Lack of sex drive or inability to perform sexually
  • Feeling distant from God and your own identity in Christ
  • Altering your schedule to have more time alone for porn
  • Lack of interest in social activities
  • Feelings of shame, guilt and negative self talk

Not every person with a porn addiction will experience these symptoms, but it is common for porn users to experience a combination of these negative consequences.

How to Stop Watching Porn

Taking action to quit porn can lead to real change and growth, if you have the right support. When you address addiction from a holistic approach – mind, body and spirit – you can finally find freedom. You’ll need to reject isolation and find authentic community. Confront the addicted brain and transform your mind. You’ll need to grow in emotional intelligence and resilience, instead of medicating negative emotions. And finally, you’ll be able to heal from the trauma of shame by accepting God’s truths.

Step 1. Face Reality

Overcoming denial is the essential foundation for freedom and is the fastest way to healing (James 5:16). This means being honest about relapses, prioritizing truth over image, and avoiding excuses.

  • Acknowledge your struggle
  • Detox and remove all access
  • Recognize the lies of porn
  • Discover your triggers
  • Accept God’s love and guidance
  • Believe that you can change
  • Get help

Quitting tip: During a detox, an addicted brain will crave dopamine. It’s important to get good sleep, eat well, and engage in activities that naturally raise the level of dopamine like exercise, spiritual disciplines, and enjoying friends. Self-care is essential to recovery and can help diminish cravings for dopamine.

Step 2. Develop New Skills

Learning tools and methods that help you shut off access to porn, maintain accountability, grow in emotional intelligence, and respond correctly to a relapse are essential to build new habits and behaviors. Practicing these essential skills allow you to establish a new lifestyle.

  • Address the 6 roots of addiction
  • Resist temptations using the BRACE method
  • Install blocking software
  • Get support from an accountability partner
  • Recognize and acknowledge emotions
  • Find power in honesty
  • Track your progress

Quitting tip: When you are confronting a craving or temptation, remember to BRACE: B – Breathe Deeply, R – Remember the Truth, A – Ask God for Help, C – Call an Accountability Partner, E – Escape the Situation. Going through these 5 steps can help you stay on track and avoid relapse.

Step 3. Rebuild the Mind

As we learn and grow, change happens in the brain and new neurological pathways are created. To replace the damaging pathways porn has built with new, positive pathways. Change happens by renewing the mind(Romans 12:).

  • Learn to process emotions with God and others instead of medicating them
  • Remember the truth of God’s word when triggered
  • Confess and be honest with your struggles
  • Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
  • Adopt positive habits (spiritual disciplines, exercise, etc)
  • Stay connected to accountability

Quitting tip: Stay connected and check in with your support team even after you’ve shown real progress. Maintaining a community helps you stay accountable, remember how far you’ve come, and feel supported if you stumble.

The Freedom Fight Works

The Freedom Fight is a free online porn addiction recovery program that guides men and women on the path to freedom from porn. The program works through each of the 6 roots of addiction, giving a scientific, gospel-centered and clinical approach to recovery.

You can go through the Freedom Fight program individually or in a small group. Going through individually doesn’t mean going through it alone. You’ll have accountability partners of your choosing and the guidance and resources of our program. If you don’t have an accountability partner when you start we will coach you on how to establish one.

We encourage people to go through the FF in a small group if at all possible. We have a leader’s guide, discussion questions and other small group resources to make it easy to facilitate. With our help, whether you’ve personally had a porn addiction or not, you can lead an effective FF recovery group.

Read About Our Program

Living a Porn-Free Life

You can stop watching porn and live the life you were meant to live. When you are free from porn you’ll have a clear conscience before God and your loved ones. Instead of hiding who you are and living in the shadows, you can be fully known and loved. Instead of being held back back by shame, you can build deep and fulfilling relationships. Take your life back, and run the race God has in store for you.

It’s impossible to break free from the chains of porn on your own. Certain healing only comes from community. “Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed” (James 5:16). This is especially true with a porn problem.

Any proven recovery program knows the power of community, which is essential to hold you accountable. But beyond accountability you must have a guide who knows the path to freedom. Having a guide to help you lock up your devices, teach you how to renew your mind, and encourage you after a stumble can make the difference between falling back or breaking free. The Freedom Fight has guided thousands down this path and gives you the tools and resources to make real change and find true, lasting freedom.

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