How to Steer Clear of Porn When Intimacy Is Lacking

“The ultimate pleasure you and I seek is intimacy, and the ultimate intimacy is with God.” –Ravi Zacharias

A great need of the human heart is connection. We long to belong, to rest in the fact that we are wanted and appreciated, to bear our hearts to another and still be readily acknowledged.

We may dance in circles, looking for the next thrilling experience in hopes of feeling alive, while settling for what eludes us. We move forward with little direction, often clueless as to what to look for and what to avoid, and in the process, bypass the only true source of acceptance and love (a relationship with the Lord).

How to Steer Clear of Porn When Intimacy Lacking

We look to sexual gratification (regardless of how illegitimate or dangerous the source), disregard sound judgment and reason, allow our conscience to become seared, turn a deaf ear and blind eye to what is healthy and wholesome, and ignore both the warnings and promises found in God’s word because we wish to pacify our longings in ways we are unfortunately sure to discover will not last or deliver as promised.

I’ve discovered that turning to porn in moments of loneliness (or when the slightest discomfort presents itself) is like consuming processed, sugary foods when hungry. The experience may bring immediate relief or seem like a good idea in the moment, yet the crash afterwards just leaves you feeling like a degenerate whose choices have contributed nothing of value and may pave the way for further indulgence and sure consequences.

A litmus test for fulfillment and closeness is how we feel directly after the experience. If we are left feeling vulnerable, used, dirty, lonely, broken, or empty, we ought to rid ourselves of whatever it is that made these raw feelings a reality.

Our choices will either perpetuate health and healing from past trauma, insecurities, and relational anorexia or they will reopen wounds, enable them to fester, and isolate us from others.

The hook-up culture fails us greatly in this regard, as it puts the focus on physical connection instead of on the beautiful and worthwhile journey of getting to know someone richly and doing life together, which more naturally results in intimacy from such commitment.

Pursuing the Greater, Rejecting the Counterfeit

We cannot expect to find the intimacy with God or others that our hearts so desperately crave if we continue to choose counterfeits. If we are not proactive in our pursuit of Christ, we won’t experience the growth and freedom He offers which in turn would open doors for healthy friendships and relationships.

We must think long-term and have a detailed plan for all areas in life if we are to survive and thrive–areas like what defines a healthy relationship and the purpose of our God-given sexuality. We must commit to addressing and correcting our issues one by one in the context of godly counsel and accountability, and determine not to settle for lesser gods and lesser highs regardless of how much it appeals to us.

Related: Porn and the Desire Dilemma

We must crave what God can grant us in the future and purpose in our hearts to obey and seek Him, regardless of the consequences, if we are to ever gain the right perspective on porn use. As long as we see porn as a viable option, rather than a life-taking poison, we will continuously return to its lure.

“The only way to dispossess [the heart] of an old affection is by the expulsive power of a new one.” –Thomas Chalmers

Unless we have a daily relationship with the Author of love and sex, a distorted view of intimacy will remain and we will pursue it through expressions God never intended for healthy sexuality. It is only when we see ourselves, others, and all of life through the lens of Scripture (and align our lives accordingly) that we will avoid the inevitable breakdown and deterioration that results from unrestrained living and not guarding our hearts from rival gods.

We can choose to believe there is hope through God for new life, a new heart, new relationships, a corrected mindset, and purpose in life–or we can disregard His truth and run full force into what barely scratches the surface for the intimacy our hearts long for.

In the Lord, we can find rest. In seeking porn, we are left with uneasiness and turmoil. In choosing to surrender ourselves fully to Christ and giving Him top priority in our decision-making and lifestyle, we can be at peace. In surrendering our minds and bodies to the tyrannical reign of porn’s call, we become like a dog chasing its tail, getting nowhere. Or worse yet, returning to its vomit (Prov. 26:11).

What would happen if you decided to see your circumstances, relationship status, and longings for connection through the lens of God’s sovereignty and goodness, purposing to trust His heart, as Charles Spurgeon says, when you cannot trace His hand?

I guarantee pornography will begin to lose its pull. When you discover the riches of a close walk with Him and begin to see yourself and others through His eyes, you will be more apt to choose constructive outlets instead of mind-numbing, soul-destroying debauchery that belittles God’s creation and turns the wonders of sex into nothing more than a casual transaction. And that is reason to rejoice!

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.” –Timothy Keller

More than Single

When you find yourself “stuck” in singleness, waiting to move on to the next phase of life, it can feel incredibly frustrating.

It’s often hard, feeling like you have no sexual outlet, and feeling trapped in your singleness. And many people believe they have no recourse other than turning to porn.

Learn more about discovering freedom from porn and joy in your circumstances and download More Than Single: Finding Purpose Beyond Porn