Your Brain on Porn

Your Brain on Porn Ebook Cover

Watching just 5 hours of porn has been proven to significantly change people's sexual beliefs and attitudes. Find out 5 distinct ways that porn warps your brain, as well as 5 biblical ways to renew your mind and find freedom.

40 thoughts on “How to Quit Porn: 6 Essential Steps

  1. I’ve been into pornography and masturbation for 10yrs now. Honestly I wnt to quit it but I always find myself going back to it. Whenever I have access to d internet and I’m alone I must visit and download so many porn videos. It’s affecting my academics and spiritual life. What do I do pls?

    • Hi Ekelwe. There are many steps to take to overcome this habit, but it is possible by the power of God. I recommend you read through our free e-book Your Brain on Porn and then ask me if you have any questions about what to do next.

  2. I want to scream, every Advisor is the same! What’s annoying about all these types of advice is that every adviser/ preacher is married!!

    You’ve got a wife so it’s fine for u. I and many young single guys wanna hear from someone who’s not married and not planning to get married any time soon. Someone who has attractive girls approaching and flirting with him.

    Better yet someone who has a gf but doesn’t have per-marital. To someone who’s married and has a sexual output..ie sex with his wife

    • Hi Newbie,

      I hear you. When I was single, it was annoying to get advice from married men on this topic. I had to learn how to defeat pornography in my singleness, and it was a battle, to be sure.

      Don’t despise the advice of married men, however. They were single once too, and they had to learn to fight temptation like any single man should. Instead, when talking to a married mentor about these thing, ask them to speak to you from their experience as a single man. Ask them to relay information that can help you, not just from their married vantage point.

      We have a lot of good stuff on our blog for singles, so I hope you find something that can help you.

    • Hey Newbie, you want some advice?

      You’re going to have to set some tough, clear boundaries. What’s more important, looking cool or your purity? I had a porn problem for 12 years. When I was coming out of it, my relationship with my girlfriend had to change. We shifted from a sexual relationship to practicing abstinence until we married over a year later. The only way that could work was if we set boundaries, boundaries such as avoiding being alone in a room with the door shut.

      If you’re having difficulty with women, I will also advise you to shift towards focusing on your future wife. Instead of focusing on the girl that’s flirting with you, think if that’s the kind of person you’d want to spend the rest if your life with. Realistically, that’s how you need to view these girls that come up to you. Figure out what you want in your future spouse, if you’re a Christian then look for a Christ-centered woman, etc. Knowing what you’re looking for in a woman, and not settling for anything less, really helps you drown out the riffraff.

      Hope this helps.

    • Hi Newbie,

      I know this post is over a year ago, so hopefully you have grown greatly and porn does not have the choke on you as it did, but I wanted to say a couple of things that hopefully can help you. I am a mother, and a wife of a husband who has struggled with this subject. I wanted to add to Christian’s comments below about thinking about your future wife, and the relationship you desire to have with her for the rest of your life. Imagine your marriage as an empty house. You get married, and together decide to decorate it, put your touch, stamp, and style on it. You both together think of creative ideas on how to make the house fit each others needs, function, and be beautiful for yourselves. So together you guys pick the “right” furniture from the store, paint the walls, add the accessories, and so on. Now compare that to porn. By watching it as a single person, you’re filling your mind with how sex should be, you’re already decorating that house and putting items in it that only fit to your taste, your needs, your wants, your fantasies instead of going through the fun, beautiful, and creative process of creating a unique sexual intimacy with your wife…or decorating that house. You’re creating in your mind expectations that your future wife may not be able to or be comfortable with fulfilling, you’re robbing yourself of the pure and creative intimacy that only you two can create that is absolutely unique to you guys. I hope this makes sense and speaks to your heart. Just remember, regardless of what you’ve seen, God can wash away the filth of it, and make your intimacy with your wife unique to guys when porn is out of the picture. Porn is a poisonous thief that has no heart or care for whom it hurts.

  3. hi,
    Im a girl and have been an addict as long as i can remember. God is my everything and many times i have turned to Him for help but i always seem to relapse. I have a boyfriend of 2 years with whom i am not sexually active which makes it harder. He’s struggling with masturbation and I with porn addiction. He talks to me about his problem but he doesn’t know about mine. He had a porn addiction too but has quit over 3 years ago and he said he finds people that watch it disgusting hence me keeping quiet. I feel like a hypocrite as i am viewed as a strong believer by my peers and friends and my family also frowns upon this(Christian home). I feel too ashamed to pray after as i feel i abuse of Gods grace and forgiveness which puts a huge blockage on my spiritual life. please help….. God bless!

    • Hi carly,

      Do you have any women in your life you can speak with about this issue? I know this can be very difficult for a woman to talk about because of the stigma of porn being a “guy thing,” but there are many, many women out there in your shoes. I highly recommend you contact Jessica at Beggar’s Daughter about this. Her ministry is dedicated to women just like you.

    • Hi Carly I seem to be stuck in this same situation. I feel I have no one to turn to and I feel that I take God for granted a lot. I have gone in head first about curbing my addiction by doing things like if I feel like I’m about to watch it I go for a long run/jog. I hope we can communicate and morally support each other as this issue worries me also everyday.

  4. Faithful & True Ministries, Mark Laaser.

    Attend their 4 day workshop, get the tools you need, and don’t stop utilizing them. Work through a 12 step program = staying sober, stop making daily phone calls, going to SA meetings (Pure, or LIFE, meetings), stop counseling, start isolating, you’ll be acting out and looking at porn in no time. Put anything else before your recovery, and you will loose it.

    As soon as I stopped utilizing what I learned at the Laaser group, I fell off the recovery wagon in no time flat. Back on it, hope to have my family back soon, daily calls and meetings for life!

    Covenant Eyes is the best software out there. What it can’t do is stop me from acting out. I don’t need porn for that. It’s a great tool for blocking access, haven’t found another one out there as good.

    If someone wants to access Porn, Having a block on their computer will be a good way to stop it at that access point. Having the same block on a smart phone or ipod touch will do the same. That solves two hot spots for porn access. Now, for the Porn addict, there are only a few thousand more even in a small town like mine. If the Porn addict wants to find it, they will, and the only thing that will stop them, is if they use a tool in their action plan, —->before<—— they get into the cycle of addiction. Once they are actively seeking out a Porn shop, or what ever, it's too late, barring an unexpected phone call, or boulder falling on their car. Look up the cycle of addiction.

    I think that Dr. Weiss has 6 good steps, but the ilnformation/advise behind each step, is lacking, and needs elaboration. The titles themselves are Really good, take for instance Number two:

    +++you have to be willing to do things you haven’t done before.+++ – – Very true

    """"Seriously, if you keep quitting the same way, you’re likely to fail again. To quit, you have to give up what you’ve been doing and do what you have to do.""""

    This is unhelpful, thought provoking at best. "Do what you have to do"? — An addict has at some point, if they do want to not be an active Porn addict, or Sex Addict, tried a lot of different things. They don't have any idea what they have to do, to become sober.

  5. My ex husband (now) left me and our children 5 yrs ago due to porn addiction. He has been addicted since age 12 and he is now 45. Is it wrong for me to have hope for us again? What are the chances he will or could be porn free? He does not seem happy. He did when he first left for a while, but now he seems very depressed and unhappy. Should I just move on to better or wait on him to possibly want to come back. Should I even take him back IF he wanted to come back? Please help. Confused…

    • Hi C,

      That’s a hard one. I think I know what the “right” answer is, but its based on a lot of “what ifs.” I think it is always good to hope for your ex-husband: love always hopes (1 Corinthians 13:7). I cannot answer the question about you remarrying: that is something you need to come to your own convictions about. No doubt your husband is depressed. Since he’s been addicted to porn for over three decades and is now cut off from his family, I imagine he’s in a very low, self-absorbed place right now. There is still hope for him, but he needs to be broken over this thing. That is something you can pray for him.

      Do you have support in all of this? I imagine this has taken quite a toll on you.

    • We have no support on this issue and don’t even understand how he could leave us over strangers. How could he do it and seem so happy about leaving? He isn’t happy now, but was SO happy when he came to visit with the kids for a few hours Monday to give them Christmas presents. The kids said they have never seen him that happy since he left. Strange… Why??? Why won’t he say he’s sorry? Why won’t he beg me to come back? Why do other men say their sorry and beg to come back? Why do some never leave? These are just some of the many questions the children and I have that have still not been answered. We have a great need to understand this, have these questions answered, etc. I don’t know if I should wait on him or try to move on. Most people just say “I can’t believe you would even want him back” or “You would never trust him again” or “You couldn’t trust him with your children or any children”… I will say that he was very inappropriate with my oldest daughter before he left us (not his daugher) My private investigator even found child porn on my hard drive of the computer he used. In court, my ex said it was an “accident” . I am so grateful for your response, as NO one has ever talked with me about these things and I just can’t get past it and need someone to explain things to me about porn addition. I honestly thought he was crazy about me and truly loved me. How could I have been so wrong and blind? Please don’t be “scared off” by my e-mail. I really need my questions answered and understand that yours may be your opinion and I’m ok with that. Please respond. Thank you so much. Gina

    • You haven’t scared me off, Gina. Thanks for replying.

      I do think some understanding of the overall nature of porn addiction would be very helpful to you. It will at least help you to understand your husband. Here are some links that might be a help to you.

      1. False Love: Overcoming Sexual Sin from Pornography to Adultery – This a free video series by Brad Hambrick, a Christian counselor, talks to those who are trapped in porn addiction. It will definitely help you get into the mind of an addict.

      2. True Betrayal: Overcoming the Betrayal of Your Spouse’s Sexual Sin – This is the series Hambrick did for wives of sex addicts. It is excellent. I highly recommend you watch these.

      3. 7 Questions Wives of Porn Addicts Often Ask – Great series of posts by Christian counselor Ella Hutchinson.

      4. Straight Talk to Husbands Who Watch Porn – This is an article I wrote a couple years ago looking at how porn harms marriages from a scientific perspective.

      You are asking a lot of very hard questions. There are many reasons for his state of mind right now: his pride, his hard-heartedness, etc. It is heart-breaking how this is impacting your children.

      I highly recommend you find a counselor in your local area you can talk to. You can look for a local counselor here. Right now you need to get some timely wisdom for how to talk to your kids, how to help them have hope, and most of all, how to help your own heart to heal.

  6. I committed spiritual suicide in 2011 due to my porn addiction. Do whatever it takes to STOP immediately lest you lose your soul like me. I was a porn addict for 8 years and one horrific night I willfully persisted in porn and became demon possessed and committed the unpardonable sin. God left me 2 years ago and now I live in constant fear, despair and regret. If only I would have told a friend about my addiction.

  7. I was SO obstinate and the urges were so strong that particular night I WANTED TO DO IT NO MATTER WHAT COST. I didn’t care about the consequences. It was deliberate sin against my better judgment. My addiction had spiraled out of control (which I am culpable for) and culminated in such INTENSE LUST that I HAD to have it. Satan found an opportune time to try to take my soul and I surrendered. At the height of my lust, I said I would give my soul for this. I have repented but there has been no restoration. God has left me because I left Him. I hope my downfall serves as a warning to those engaged in this sin. There are ETERNAL consequences. STOP. CONFESS IT. Become ACCOUNTABLE.

    • I agree there are eternal consequences. But I urge you not to stand in the place of God in this situation. The Bible does speak of people being brought to a place where it is impossible to restore them to repentance (Hebrews 6:4-6), but you should not stand in judgement over yourself as to whether you have truly “fallen away.” You say you have offered Satan your soul, but do not think this is an unbreakable pact. The Lord honors no such pacts between men and the devil, or otherwise men would never be delivered from demonic powers. Whole nations have committed themselves to false gods only to be later redeemed by the power of the Gospel.

      If the enemy convinces you that all hope is lost, this will keep you enslaved all the more. What if God wants to make you a trophy of his grace? What if years from now you can stand before others and say, “God’s grace is so far-reaching, he can even save those who gave up all hope, those who committed their souls to Satan, those who were totally lost in sin”?

      My advice to you is:
      1. Remember, there would not be a spark of conviction and pain over what your sin has done between you and the Lord if God had truly abandoned you. People who are totally given over to their sin have no such convictions (Romans 1:24-32).
      2. Find someone who can help you reason through passages of Scripture about this situation, someone who can help you understand the nature of sin and God’s redemptive promises.
      3. Find the accountability you so desperately need for this sin.
      4. Divorce yourself from all access to lustful images.
      5. Read, read, read. Read as much as you can about porn addiction and recovery from it. Fill your mind with truth.
      6. Pray, pray, pray. Ask God to show you the way out. Cry out to him. Believe me, I felt just like you at one point in my life, and I thought I had prayed a million times with no answer. But God is good and heard my cry, even when I was in my Egypt.

  8. I’ve been an addict since the end of my last relationship 3 years ago, It was my solution for not just having sex with just any random person, I need to feel a connection with someone. So I figured porn would be my stand in and now I am hooked,(3-4 times a day for hours when I’m relapsing) I’ve tried to quit multiple times, never lasting more than 4 weeks.(I just failed on day 4 this time) I want to get better but my withdraw symptoms get real intense, I feel unbelievably horny and I can’t seem to think straight or catch my breath. I also get flue like symptoms for the first week or so. How long do I have to hold out for the withdraw symptoms to subside. I can’t connect with anyone, especially with girls now and I really like for that to change.

    • Withdrawal symptoms are due to the withdraw of hormones and neurotransmitters being activated in your system. The the worst of those symptoms will take at least two weeks to subside for many guys. For others it can last a month.

      In the early weeks, take radical actions to get distance from porn. Get rid of computers, smartphones, tablets. Or get accountability software on your devices and have the Internet report sent to someone who can help you. When you are thinking clearest, that’s the time to shore up and protect yourself. Don’t wait until you are weak and hope you make the right decision.

    • Can you? Perhaps. Should you? No. For one, this isn’t the most God-honoring way to get rid of it. Second, it is doubtful whether you’ll be able to just “cut back” without overindulging or cheating. Third, experience shows it doesn’t help in the rewiring of the brain to just wean yourself off.

  9. l’ve been addicted to porn since l was 10 years old and now i’m now 19 and it still torments me.l want to quit caused i’m losing my faith in God and l now lack the confidence to approach ladies.l need help

    • Hi Adolph,

      I don’t know the details of your story, but I think there are a lot of things you can do to get started.

      First, there’s a book you can get for free called Your Brain on Porn (you can download a digital copy right now). Read it and think of ways you can begin to put it into practice.

      Second, I highly recommend you talk to good Christian friends about this issue. You need accountability in your life. Who have you told about this? If you need ideas, you can download another free book called Coming Clean. It is all about how accountability can overcome the power of lust.

  10. I have been addicted to porn and masturbation for 5 yrs now. I was 16 and a virgin when it all started. That means I broke my ‘virginity’ with porn and it’s very true , cos I had my first ever ejaculation to porn. and it was the very first porn I watched. I have real sex too but I don’t enjoy sex with the women/girls, rather, I enjoy ejaculating with porn…. I don’t like it that way though……. I don’t know if there are stupid and foolish people who are like me on earth. As a result of my addiction,I seem to have a very low self esteem, am becoming less confident and shy and it’s very difficult ,yes extremely difficult to approach girls. I only do approach them when am drunk. I really need to stop masturbating, I need to eliminate porn. I want to stop please, ×crying×. I. want to stop, someone please help me.

  11. Hi, i have been on porn for 2 years now and im quite dissappointed on my porn and masturbating habits. Whenever i masturbate and look porn, i realize about what i have been doing and i sometime cry and ask for forgiveness, but the result is same, after 1 or 2 days that awful spirit is always back and i’m sick and tired of it plzzzz hellllpppppp!!

  12. And if you want to give up porn but aren’t sick and tired of it, then what? Also, I can’t confide or be accountable to a guy friend because I’m addicted to gay porn.

    • Hi Struggling,

      Good questions. First, I would ask you: Do you at least wish you were sick and tired of it? The fact that you aren’t sick and tired of it but you know that you aren’t is exactly where you need to be: you are coming face to face with your own helplessness, which is exactly where God comes to rescue us. Watch this video with Christian counselor Winston Smith about this idea.

      Second, the only way I know to be truly free from porn always begins with brutal honesty before other people. Yes, you could tell someone and they might reject you, or they might show you love and support, but either way, until you push through the what-if fears and talk to someone, you’ll forever be hiding in the dark. You could always look for a counselor to talk with as well, if you are willing to go that route.

  13. May I leave some advice here? I am a Christian person, raised in a Christian family, still I have to struggle with the fight against pornography, and still as a married man I have to said that the battle goes on, that doesnt mean we are disapprobed since in this time and in specially this era the devil has found many wicked ways to keep dragging more and more people into this trap, but if you are honest and admitted the problem I think is the best place to start, being honest with yourself and really be determined to fight for purity. I have a quite story for you young guys, I am not so old myself, only 26 but I have to live with the nightmare of having my dad to store pornographic movies, and a lot of them, that disturbed me as a child, knowing that is for sure that the addiction I developed was so early, that lead me to lots of porn, after many years going back and forth on the faith I finally had the worst nightmare one could ever have, and this is were the danger begins, pornography as different to other sins works its way into the soul, that is when you read in the new testament that any sin commited outside of the flesh stay out of it, but any other commited again your own body stay within it (1 Corinthians 6:18), so what that means is that it becomes a never ending search for pleasure because everything is never going to be enough in porn and many are dragged to homosexuality, bestiality and other forms of sex you would never thought of going, but since the new testament also talks about a group of sinners that experience the deeps of satan, (Revelation 2:13) this is talking to us of the way one could be pulled in the well of darkness, so my experience was this: after being actively addicted to porn for almost a year constantly I became aware of the need to experience something real, so I went out in search of a women, a prostitute, after many hours of chatting and planning I went to hell to have something with her, being in the room I decided not to do anything but she was used by satan and I was seduced, the result could be death itself, I repent myself and open the truth to my christian girlfriend, we cry out a lot, I had to go and perform VIH test just to be sure even wearing protection that this haven´t gone into any more sadly tragedy and justice from God from my unrighteous way of living, thanks to his mercy and kindness and healthy and live for his Glory and Grace, I was saved from death itself and that days were the most fearful, sad and worrying of my life, It felt just like if I was sick and was going to die and this feeling I pray in Jesus you never had to go trought it to learn the lesson, really the bible is serious when it says that sin could lead you to death, that it is why we have to commite ourselves, I encourage you to take a firm position on this matter, for your sake, and I hope this could ring your ears every time temptation is coming, it is really a hard way to learn but the love of God has no limits, the sin cloud your judgment and eyes and change the reality base on the premises needs of the flesh, I work now as a minister on a church, I study theology and God has lead me to great things in service on His beloved church, I am more than able and a champion to conquer this world and you also are, not in our strenght but in Jesuschrist, God Bless you.

    • English 101 has taught me that if you want to be persuasive, you shouldn’t make a run on sentence that long. It indicates a lack of education. Also, The pope himself on homosexual marriage said “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”. Statements that compare homosexuality to bestiality are harmful to people who are gay, which is not Christian. I’ve met many gay people, and none of them became gay from watching porn. Porn is harmful, but it doesn’t turn you gay. If you like gay porn, you are gay and always have been since you were born. Any amount of research should show you that when they expose straight men to gay porn, it does not make them gay. I’ve seen gay porn, and it didn’t do anything for me. If they do something for you, you are gay or bisexual, and there is nothing wrong with that. Anti-gay statements like that turn people away from Christ, thereby un-spreading the word of god.

      What helped me stop watching porn was to hang out with friends a lot. I wouldn’t call what I had a porn addiction, but it is defiantly hard to masturbate or watch porn next to an anti-porn feminist friend during a sleep over. Just schedule constant hang outs for a while, and the worst of it will be over soon. It’s fun because your hanging out with friends, so there’s no temptation to not call some guy. I think this is definitely something worth trying.

      As a side note, if you end up having sex with someone/making love, you should at least use a condom. Before you think about having a baby, consider all of the children who are starving. If you have a baby, the food will only become more scarce, and more children will die. Please consider adoption.

  14. @tom: I believe he had a good heart and his teachings were in line with what the Word has to say. I believe that he has a testimony that should be shared, not squashed. He was vulnerable so that people like myself might learn, not so that he could have a grammar lesson. I believe he is right; watching porn will make you crave for more until you start to experiment with things we never we believed we were capable of. Where does “harmless” porn lead to? looking for hookers. Where does that lead? You see where I’m going. Also, he wasn’t being anti-gay by throwing homosexuality with bestiality. He was stating a point. It’s no different from throwing “alcoholism” and “lying” together; sin is sin. He was just narrowing it down to sexual sins.

    • I appreciate that you are standing up for what you think is right, but I didn’t say porn is good, or that the heart of what he’s saying is wrong. porn is bad because it may lead to hookers (I don’t know, but it seems reasonable), rape (studies are inconclusive, but the inroduction of porn has been correlated with sexual violence in America), disrespect for women, ect. Porn is corrosive to a healthy mind in my opinion. I think that God would disprove of porn for these reasons and more. I Quit it in the name of God and equal rights for women (feminism). If you want to quit, it helps to remind yourself not only of God, but also of your other moral obligations, and of your friends and partners that you hurt.
      About homosexuality, why isn’t YOUR sexuality a sin? You were born with it just like any homosexual, bisexual, demihomosexual, greyhomosexual, asexual, demiheterosexual, greyheterosexual or pansexual. You can no more help who you are sexually attracted to than any of them. Maybe if homosexuals felt able to form relationships without judgment, they wouldn’t feel the need to use porn. What did Jesus want in us more than love anyway? Have you read the passage about homosexuality in the context of the bible? I could also use quotes out of context from God’s word to say anything. Like that when you plant seeds, you shouldn’t put them in upside down, or incest is good.
      I want you to know that I’m not attacking you. I love everyone. But please don’t say that homosexuality is a sin because that hurts people.

    • But I do see what you’re saying about hanging out with friends. It’s definitely a lot easier to get together with friends to take your mind off of porn than it is to try and call someone. There is always that temptation to skip out on accountability when you can just stay under the radar when you are in the middle of heavy temptation.

  15. Sorry, I don’t think I stated my point correctly, my bad. Also, I appreciate you clarifying that you are not attacking, and I apologize if I came off over-defensive. That definitely wasn’t my intention. I meant that I believe that porn could lead someone to struggle with homosexuality if your flesh begins to crave more and more of something that cannot be provided. Does that make sense what I mean? Also, I understand what you mean that people are born with certain tendencies, such as what you pointed out. However, I don’t believe that being born with a tendency is an indication of that tendency being okay. For example, take someone born with a tendency to alcohol. Just because he has a tendency toward alcohol doesn’t mean he should drink until he shoots his liver out. Or take a less extreme and more common example: people born with ADD. They have a tendency to swing to different extremes, be stubborn, out of control of their emotions, etc. Just because someone has a tendency toward ADD doesn’t mean they should act out those symptoms. They need to lean on Adonai for strength and support to overcome this obstacle. The same goes with homosexuality. I agree with you; people can definitely take Scripture and use it for their own purposes. But the Bible has countless stories where God specifically states his opposition of homosexuality. Take Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of this. They were called wicked cities for the various evils they did in the sight of God, and among them was homosexuality, and were eventually burned off the face of the Earth. I understand that these kinds of bold statements can be hard and even offensive to many people, but truth was never said to be easy or politically correct. Jesus wasn’t killed for just being a nice guy, right? He wasn’t everyone’s best buddy; in fact he had a long list of people he ticked off big time, which led to his gruesome execution. All this because he spoke truth. While I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings (trust me, it’s the last thing I want) sometimes I have to state what’s right and true, even in the face of stirring things up and ticking people off. I hope you can see this.
    Thanks,
    Teen

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