About the author, Sam Black

Sam Black

Sam Black is an Internet Safety Consultant and a manager at Covenant Eyes. He joined the Covenant Eyes team in 2007 after 18 years as a journalist, serving as a reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines in six states. He has been married for 17 years and is a father of two.

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The Porn Circuit

Parenting the Internet Generation Ebook Cover

Science shows us why porn is highly addictive. Learn how our neurochemistry is easily hijacked by porn to create compulsive behaviors, and discover how the brain can be rewired to escape porn's allure.

12 thoughts on “How Pain Leads to Porn

  1. I’ve been fighting this thing for a few years and I’m in a men’s group specifically for sexual addiction. At times it seems impossible, especially when it is so accepted today as “guys being guys”. This Is especially true for my generation, 18-30 ish. Bottom line is many people simply do not care, and even go so far as to mock those who hold to certain standards. This is far more painful for me, even within churches some people say porn and related activities are a petty vice at worst.

    As a single man I’ve wondered if the entire concept of being dingle and free from porn and/or masturbation isn’t just a delusion. II’ve tried the group and many other things, such as praying and the whole higher consciousness thing and I still can’t get over some of it. Lots of doubts…

    • Hi Anonymous,

      I think it is great that you are standing against the lying voices around you that tell you to lower your standards. Your standards should be based on what the Son of God said, not was the sons of men say.

      I will say this: being single and free from masturbation is a pipe dream as long as everything else stays the same. If a man feels like he can walk around in our over-sexualized world, doing the same things he’s always done, entertaining the same thoughts, engaging in the same patterns of life, and be free from lust…this is a foolish thought. Men like you and I have trained our minds to think the wrong way about women for decades, and those habits aren’t broken without some serious changes.

      I’ve got a couple recommendations for you.

      1. Take your accountability relationships to the next level. Find real friends who are willing to help you fight for purity with you. This book might be a help in that regard.

      2. Read more on how your view of sex can change. I highly recommend reading “Counseling Men Toward Lasting Freedom from Pornography” by J. Alasdair Groves and listening to “Sexuality and Christian Hope,” a sermon by Tim Keller.

      Pray also about pursuing a relationship with someone, and then take the initiative and start something with a godly woman. To desire sex and intimacy is not sinful, and if you pursue a dating relationship for the right reason, it can have a very edifying effect in your life.

  2. Hi Anonymous:
    Another very important factor to consider is investing time in reading the Bible.

    King David asked the question, “How can a young man be pure?” (Psalm 119:9). He then answered it by saying “By living according to (God’s) Word. Then just two verses later he wrote “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

    There is power for cleansing and healing in the Word of God. Jesus, when tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11), quoted Scripture as his only defense against the attacks of the enemy. Why? To leave us an example. To show us that we too can thwart the lies and misleadings of the enemy with Scripture.

    We are able to lead transformed lives only when we change our thinking (Romans 12:2), and only God’s Word will change our thinking. Peter was able to walk on the water only when his entire focus was on Christ (Matthew 14:22-23)

    I was personally addicted to porn & masturbation for over 30 years. It began as a pre-teen and nearly destroyed my life. I didn’t know real change, genuine victory, and a lasting difference in my life until I committed to two things:

    1) daily reading God’s Word, storing it up in my heart, drawing me into a closer relationship with my Heavenly Father;
    2) weekly meeting with a godly man from my church who prayed with me, studied Scripture with me, and held me accountable by asking me the tough questions.

    BJ asked the question above “Does this help really work?” The answer is a resounding YES! And I place myself up as Exhibit A. Proof that we truly can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength (Philippians 4:13).

    • how does reading words from the pages of a book come anywhere near being a relationship of any kind, much less a personal or intimate one? I have found absolutely no refuge or comfort in scripture. It’s just more words, you can’t actually experience forgiveness, or mercy or grace, only read about them.Love that has to be taken on faith is no love at all. It can’t help with years of rejection or a broken heart. Believing something is true and experiencing it for yourself are nowhere near the same thing. Please, someone show me where I’m wrong, I desperately want to EXPERIENCE being loved and cared for and valued.

    • @Roy, Sometimes, we find exactly what we’re looking for. If coming into a relationship with Scripture, one has determined that it’s lifeless and cold, then that’s probably what will be found.

      In Hebrews 4:12-13, we read, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Also, in Matthew 7:7-12, we read, “7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

      I wonder what would happen if there was a sincere commitment to see not only God’s Word, but life in this way. That God is living and active everywhere. That He’s in the exciting and the mundane. In my experience, God tends to show up not only when we least expect it, but also when we have tuned ourselves towards Him. Also, our team wrote an e-book for singles (if that’s your situation) with a chapter that tries to answer the question “Why Read the Bible.”

      Peace, Chris

  3. To the anonymous guy that posted the first post. Thank you so much for your post. I am relating to you in so many ways. I’m 24, have been seeing a sex therapist monthly, going to his support group weekly, for a time I was going to SAA groups weekly in addition, covenant eyes on every device, exercising to help with mental and emotional health, full transparency with my girlfriend, yet after a year have not gotten very far! I listen to sermons on purity all the time, I read articles like this as well as books and am getting no where. I, too, have a lot of doubts and am feeling hopeless. I’m wondering if a 24 year old was meant to be abstinent and porn/masturbation free.

    I have a lot of friends, but some who I tell about my addiction distance themselves away from me (although some of those are porn watchers also). Others who offer to help are never available when I reach out for help. I can’t seem to find any real accountability.

    • Finding real accountability can be very difficult in this day and age. We have become very isolated from one another. Please click on the links I gave to Anonymous. They might be a big help to you.

      I also recommend you check out Finally Free by Heath Lambert and Closing the Window by Tim Chester. These are two of the best books I’ve seen on this subject.

      Lastly, let’s say you read all these resources and listen to all these sermons and you still aren’t “free.” I encourage you to remember that freedom is a gradual thing. Israel didn’t take the land all at once, but little by little (Exodus 23:29-30). In one of the article I linked in my above comment, Alasdair Groves writes…

      I prefer to think of victory in terms of fruit (or battles won, if you prefer combat imagery) that comes from the progressive re-orientation of our hearts.

      Thus, victory is:
      – Hating your sin. This eventually becomes a genuine and instinctive disgust when exposed to the vile lewdness that pornography seeks to glorify, even if there is some simultaneous arousal.
      – Seeking grace. Simply going to the cross and seeking forgiveness more quickly, wallowing in guilt less and loving Christ’s mercy more are all victories. Eventually there is a joy in repentance that leaves a man feeling passionate to honor Christ with sexual purity and it spills over into his struggles with selfishness, pride etc. God’s grace with sexual sin actually teaches us about the depths of mercy in ways I have rarely seen elsewhere. As repentance becomes a brokenhearted delight—like singing and weeping at the funeral of a godly friend— you are tasting victory.
      – Saying no. You begin to say no to temptations that you previously would have considered inescapable. You get a pornographic video in your e-mail while in your hotel on a business trip and you immediately delete it. Six months ago it was inconceivable to go on a business trip and not watch smut on HBO. In fact, as grace teaches you to see saying “no” as more important and desirable, you begin to seek out places where you can cut things out of your life that tempt you. Perhaps at first you just stay off the computer after 10 p.m. when your housemates will likely be in their rooms. Then maybe you conclude that you need to stop watching movies alone and that even when you watch with others you need to avert your eyes during scenes that display sexual things even though you might potentially “miss something.” Eventually you may stop watching football altogether for a time, because you can’t seem to draw your eyes away from the cheerleaders and you would rather lose something innocent that you enjoy than expose your soul to those brief moments of sexualized captivation. Saying no becomes an act of faith, not only affirming that God alone gives what is good, but also learning to find joy in self-control.
      – Pursuing accountability. You start with confession. Over time, you invite brothers around you who are regularly asking you where the pinch points of temptation are in the coming week. Then you are going above and beyond their questions, speaking honestly about the struggles in your heart and where you see the Spirit leading you. It means that accountability is not a shameful necessity, but a wonderful chance to bring your actions and your desires into the light and to beg your friends to make the gospel specific to you once again. “Could you remind me again that Christ forgives me and that I am not condemned, and will you tell me about how you are growing too?”
      – Victory is in evidence when you begin to delight in absenting yourself from tempting situations rather than feeling like you are fasting while sitting in a restaurant. It’s as simple as seeing your own selfish desires recede as you earnestly serve those around you. It’s finding more refuge and comfort in Scripture (which used to simply bring a guilt trip). It’s a life of repentance over the sins of your heart as well as the actions they lead to. It’s a deeper love of Christ and what he has done for you at the cross flowing out of deeper awareness of your sin. It is a glorious, unmerited freedom yielding a harvest of gratitude rather than a cycle of guilt and despair.

  4. you talked all about the symptom and what to do about it, but what about the “PAIN that leads to porn”
    Do you really think that just hearing that it’s part of God’s plan or that he is close by while you suffer,or that it will work to your good is comforting? I cannot find the help or comfort in these things, please help

    • @Roy, I can’t tell if you’ve tried any of the more traditional routes to dealing with past hurts, but everything brought out into the light and covered in the saving name of Jesus automatically loses its strength over us. This is done verbally, in relationship with another person who you can talk to. Inviting in the Spirit of God to intervene and heal. My hope is that you can find Jesus-centered counseling. In my town, we have something called Set Free Ministries to help surface and heal these issues: http://www.setfreeministries.com/default.aspx

      God is for you!
      Peace, Chris

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