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How to Stop Watching Porn: The Complete Guide

If you're reading this, you've probably experienced pornography's devastating effects, seen it ruin live, and desire to see men and women alike walk in freedom from it.  Below we outline symptoms of porn use, its negative impact on those who watch it, and tips on how to avoid it altogether or defeat a porn habit.

The freedom is worth the fight and the cost.  It’s time to take your life back from pornography. 

Need help stopping? Here are the best porn blocking services for 2023.

Covenant Eyes Software and NordLayer DNS Filtering: Covenant Eyes provides accountability software that covers URLs and images, as well as blocking options, and lots of resources for helping you quit porn.

NordLayer allows you to implement network-wide filtering, and is a much more comprehensive blocking option, with added security measures and more extensive configuration options. It's effective for both homes and businesses.

How watching porn creates dysfunction

Pornography destroys functionality.  Consumption of porn literally takes your life from you.  It is not something to toy with or to even experience on the fringes.  For many reasons laid out below, it is to be avoided, and its allure needs to be defeated on a daily basis.  

Symptoms of porn use damage

  • Anxiety and Depression: Two of the tell-tale signs of a porn addiction are sudden onsets of anxiety or depression.  Simply stated, the human brain was not created to handle continuous stimulation and heightened dopamine levels on demand.  A constant need to satisfy yourself while flying solo can create all kinds of psychological issues.  Porn stimulates the brain in ways it was not intended, and requires further stimulation and more intense experience to get the hit it needs for satisfaction, leading its users down darker and darker paths.  Anxiety and/or depression are inevitable.

  • Relational and Sexual Dysfunction: Porn use is a relationship killer.  Not only does it lie to us and tell us we can achieve real intimacy apart from others, it changes the way we perceive other people as well.  If I may be so bold:  Not all porn users are serial killers (duh), but all serial killers are porn users.  Let that sink in.  Porn trains us to devalue other people.  They become merely useful objects for our own self-gratification.  This mindset is like a relational bomb that goes off, ruining friendships, family relations, and creating all kinds of sexual dysfunction.

  • Lack of Intimacy: ”Who needs actual human intimacy anymore?  If I can achieve a mirage of intimacy with an online stranger who is acting out a role, what need do I have for real intimacy with real people?”

  • Disengaging from Social Activities: If you’re making it your goal in life to be the most awkward person possible in social situations, I’d highly recommend a porn addiction.  Snark aside, porn inherently turns you inward and insular.  This results in an inability to relate to people in social settings, driving you further into your dark secret world where you think you’re alone and no one can find you out.  

  • You Watch it During Work Hours: Now things are getting really dicey.  You’re so hooked on this drug that you’re risking your employment because of the grip it has on you.  Your ability to function on the job will deteriorate, and you won’t be able to hide that something is wrong.

  • Prioritizing Porn Over Sex: Real people in real life just won’t cut it anymore after porn gets done with you.  Your wife won’t be able to live up to the standards of performance you’ve grown accustomed to from the women you see on the computer who are getting paid to act that stuff out.  If your marriage survives a porn addiction it won’t be without major scars.  Porn drives a wedge between husband and wife and never delivers what it promises.  

The Negative Impact of Porn

Nothing good comes from watching porn.  Here are some more specific negative impacts that should be considered.

Specific Negative Impacts

  • Decrease in Sexual Arousal and Increase in Erectile Dysfunction: Isn’t it ironic? The addiction that promised you sexual liberation and expression results in an inability to engage sexually.  It’s almost as if we weren’t created to consume this sewage. Go figure. A porn addict suffers from an actual decrease in quantity and quality of healthy sexual interactions.

  • Preoccupation: A porn addiction consumes your life. The beautiful things that God grants us in this life; a sunset, a night out with a spouse, the joy of seeing our kids laugh and play–all that stuff loses its luster and doesn’t satisfy the porn addict. All he can think about is the next hit.

  • Decreased Self-Esteem: As much as we lie to ourselves and try to claim that a little porn on the side isn’t so bad, we know in our hearts that it is. It’s actually much worse than we think. When we consume it we are choosing not to live according to the values many of us hold dear, and the result is a shattered self-image. The imago Dei, the image of God in which we were created suffers under the weight of the dehumanizing effects of watching porn.

  • Pornography Becoming a Normative Stimulus: Again, you weren’t created for on-demand sexual gratification while sitting at a computer screen. That’s not real, actual living. That’s not how we engage with other people nor function in a society. And as a man I’ll say this: That’s not how real men live. Real men learn to love their responsibilities, not turn to fake women.

10 Tips for How to Quit Porn

As promised, here are some really solid tips for how to quit using porn.  Be sure to check out other articles we’ve written on this as well.

1. Plan Ahead

It’s crucial that you identify the times that you are most likely to view porn and then make a plan to fight it.

For instance, is it late at night when everyone else in your home is in bed?  Go to bed earlier, and if you’re married go to bed with your spouse.

Is it in a room that isn’t highly trafficked and you can get away with it secretly? Move the computer into a more public room in the house such as a dining or living area near or adjacent to the kitchen. Here’s more info on this:  4 Benefits of Having a Family Computer in a Central Location (theshieldaudit.com) 

A family computer is an underrated tool you can use to fight pornography. It can be a laptop, but a desktop is preferred because it's harder to move. Whatever the case, it should be in a communal area of the house.

A family computer is an underrated tool you can use to fight pornography. It can be a laptop, but a desktop is preferred because it's harder to move. Whatever the case, it should be in a communal area of the house.

The key is to understand what triggers your viewing of porn and take pragmatic steps to avoid it.

2. Engage in Physical Activity

It is often said, especially in raising children, that “motion changes emotion.”  It’s much easier to help a child change their attitude by engaging in exercise with them.  

The same could be said for helping defeat a porn habit.  Often our triggers for desiring to watch porn are emotional. Getting outside and/or getting some exercise is a huge help to cope with emotions that would otherwise lead us back into the grip of porn. Plus, this steers us away from computers and devices in general.

4. Don't fall for the "winning streak" mentality

In your pursuit of purity, don’t become despondent when you mess up. This is what we call the “winning streak” mentality. If you make it a week or two without porn, don’t completely fall off the wagon if you slip up. Get back on the horse and keep going.  Change your mindset to being a person who DOES NOT look at porn. If you stumble, get up, dust yourself off, and keep going! Don’t give up. A winning streak isn’t the point…winning is the point. Check out this article we wrote that dives deeper into this topic:  Avoiding the "Winning Streak" Mentality When Trying to Quit Porn

5. Change your surroundings

One of the best ways to fight a porn habit is to get out of isolation and get around other people. We’re often triggered to watch porn when we are all alone. So open up the curtains of your life and let the light of relationship shine in on it. A porn habit only exists when its kept private. Get outside, get into community with others, and engage in life. Check out this article for more tips on this:  How to Deal with Triggers and Cravings When Quitting Pornography

6. Install a Porn Blocker

We’ve written extensively on this topic here at ShieldAudit.  Check out these resources for help blocking porn on your phones and computers:  How to Block Porn on a Wi-Fi Network

7. Install accountability software, or "buddy system" software

We are big believers in accountability software, and what has worked tremendously well for us is Covenant Eyes.  Check out more info here:

8. Avoid idle time

It’s been said that “idle hands are the devil’s playground.” True statement. We were created to be workers and to be productive, to fully engage in life in this world. We were not made for idleness.

Men should start filling up your time again.  

Work more, get out more, volunteer more, get involved at church, engage with your family, play with your kids, lift weights, go for a run, mow the grass, take your wife out for dinner. It’s time to put the video games down and fill up your time with redeemable activities.  

We were not made to sit and watch strangers have sex. It kills your soul. Start fighting back against this darkness by redeeming your time.

9. Avoid triggering non-porn sites

Oftentimes it's the seemingly harmless internet sites that trigger us going down a path toward pornography.  Here’s an article on some of these sites: Non-Porn Sites to Avoid When Trying to Quit

10. Properly order your affections

Faith. Family. Friends.

Porn doesn’t fit anywhere in the hierarchy of a man’s proper affections. A porn habit represents the eventual crumbling of each one of these priorities listed above. There’s not something special about you that will keep you from becoming a statistic:  All three of these parts of life will be deeply affected by a porn addiction.  

This is why we write to you with a sense of real urgency.  Now is the time to break this habit for good.

Final Thoughts on Quitting Porn

Quitting your porn habit may be the single greatest accomplishment of your life.

It is so vital to your relationships and your future that this fight is worth going all in on, leaving nothing on the field.  We hope you find our site a helpful resource in this battle.  

Check out this great article that’ll help get you inspired to slay this giant.

Reject Depravity, Embrace Purity, Embrace Masculinity

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Author

  • Matthew Hall

    Matthew is a youth football coach, copywriter, and dad of four. He has also lead worship in the PCA for over a decade.

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