2 minute read

Destroying Porn Addiction Starts with Destroying Shame

Last Updated: November 6, 2019

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

Is destroying porn addiction possible? For many men and women, this habit runs so deep, our personal vows to stop seem worthless to us anymore.

The Bible sees a vital link between sexual sin and social shame. The apostle Paul said those whose lives are marked by sexual immorality and impurity commit these acts “in secret” (Ephesians 5:3,12). Paul likens this way of life as hiding in “darkness” (v.8, 11). Sexual sin seeks out dark corners to hide so its deeds are not exposed to God or to others (John 3:20).

The problem is not the sense of shame itself. Shame is the natural reaction when creatures created in the image of God and sin collide: something in our conscience recognizes we are failing in the eyes of the our friends, family, the world, God—or even ourselves. Shame is meant to wake us up to the relational breaches caused by sin and push us toward restoration.

But that is not often what happens. Shame gets mixed with the false belief that we are too broken or too wicked for God to accept or change us—much less other people. So we hide.

John Lynch of TrueFaced talks about this in this video…

Choosing Not to Hide

Destroying porn addiction starts when we choose to confront the shame we feel around it. We must choose to come out of hiding, confess our struggle with others, and build safeguards that prevent us from hiding ever again.

Porn thrives in the haven of anonymity; it is killed in the light of accountability.

Porn flourishes in the dark of secrecy; it is destroyed in the sunlight.

Step #1: Safeguard Your Devices from Secrecy

Technology has not only become the easiest access point for pornography, it is also the easiest place to hide. Thanks to WiFi, 4G networks, laptops, and smartphones, you can view porn nearly anywhere at any time, and the risk of being seen has never been lower.

Install Covenant Eyes on every device you access for accountability. All your internet activity will be monitored and a usage report will then be sent to people you trust. By doing this, we remove the temptation to hide, be dishonest about, or minimize our sin because of the shame we feel around it.

Step #2: Safeguard Your Heart from Toxic Shame

As we said already, shame is a normal response to sin. In fact, in the Bible, being shameless is a sign that something is seriously wrong—sinning is broad daylight is an indication of great hardheartedness. But shame becomes toxic when it is reinforced by the idea that we and our relationships are irreparable and irredeemable.

We can fight this belief by creating for ourselves a circles of friends where we fight this false belief together. These friends are not only ideal people to receive your Internet Accountability Reports, but people who will also hold you accountable to your tendency to hide in shame.

Here are some questions you can ask one another:

  • In an effort to protect your image, have you been tempted to minimize, explain away, or hide the true face of your sin to me?
  • Are you resting completely in what Christ has done for you—not obsessing about your failures or putting stock in your own performance?
  • Are you resting in your identity as God’s beloved child, or do you feel more like a spiritual orphan that has to perform for God to love you?

Even more than accountability for our behavior, we must be accountable for our false beliefs that drive us into hiding. We must remind one another there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), that Christ has paid for our sins through His death (Hebrews 10:13).

Do you have friends who do this for you?

  • Comments on: Destroying Porn Addiction Starts with Destroying Shame
    1. C on

      How can we find a Christian sex/porn addiction therapist/ counselor? My husband is finally admitting HD is addlicted and needs help, but we don’t know where to turn. We need someone with a strong biblical perspectiveas well as knowledgeable in the chemical side of the addiction. My husband has gone 1 month without porn, but is having serious withdrawal symptoms (can’t sleep, can’t concentrate, feels hopeless, feels like he’ll never be happy without his fix, horrible headache… etc etc. ) He has been calling out to God and praying like he has never done before, as well as leading us in family Bible reading each evening this last month. But we both need some hope and guidance!

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey, great question! Kudos to you guys for recognizing the chemical side of this. It’s real! When you’re looking for a counselor, it’s not always easy to find that exact person. I’d say you’ll need to do some phone interviews. I’d start with the American Association of Christian Counselors directory. Get a list of people in your area, look them up online if you can, narrow it down to the ones who seem likely to fit what you need, then start calling. Groups are another great place to look for support, in conjunction with a counselor. Different groups work for different people, but google Celebrate Recovery, Pure Desire, and Sex Addicts Anonymous. See what’s in your area. Maybe there are churches in your area that offer support or recovery groups under different names. Online, there are support groups at XXX Church. I’d say too that it sounds to me like exercise could be a big help to your husband at this point, while his body chemistry is re-setting. Serious, hard-core exercise like distance biking or Cross Fit can really make a positive difference. And I wouldn’t overlook a visit to the doctor at this point, either, just to make sure everything is okay physically. (I’m a counselor, and I always want my clients to go to the doctor just to make sure they aren’t pushing more boulders than necessary uphill all at once!) Let me know if that helps at all, or if you need more ideas. Blessings, Kay

      • Michael Z on

        I’m not a counselor; I’m just a guy in a similar situation as your husband fighting to end an addition of approximately 15 years. I’ve been or are going though the things you mentioned. We don’t have the money for professional counseling, but I will share what has been working wonderfully for me.

        1) If you have not already, forgive your husband. I don’t know what I’d do without the loving support and forgiveness of my wife. I want to succeed all the more because I know the hurt I caused her, yet she gave me remarkable Christ-like forgiveness when I confessed my sins to her. If he hasn’t already (don’t make him), have him seek your forgiveness for lust, adultery and covetousness (there’s probably more, but that’s what came to my mind when I sought her forgiveness).
        2) Have him take the Covenant Eyes 4-Day Challenge. I cannot recommend that enough. That has been a huge help to me!
        3) I meet with my pastor weekly. He has been a tremendous blessing in helping me in the fight.
        4) I signed up for Covenant Eyes. Both my wife and one of our elders at church serve as my accountability partners.
        5) Memorize scriptures that relates to sexual sin. My favorite right now is Romans 13:14, but there are many others.
        6) I put reminders on my phone as suggested by the challenge. Throughout the day Scripture reminders pop up on my phone. I also wrote a goal of who I want to be which daily pops up on my phone. My goal is to be the godly husband and father God has called me to be. Of course, he can make whatever goal he wants, but remind himself who he wants to be.
        7) My wife and I are really working on intimacy. We go for walks, talk without the kids, embrace, share and pray together. That has been a huge help. One thing no porn star can deliver is true love and intimacy.
        8) I told my wife every trigger and trick I could think of. She knows all. I held nothing back. That was a huge help. I have frequent migraines, and those were triggers because I used porn to “medicate” the pain. We now have a plan for when I wake with a migraine.
        9) Do not blame yourself for what he did! Hopefully he doesn’t. This is important if you are to be helpful to him. When my wife is tempted to blame herself, I remind her I was drawn away of my own lust (it’s in James, I forget where). Now that you aren’t blaming yourself, you can help when he honestly shares his temptation. It is not you!!! My wife has been a huge help until she slips into that thinking. Once I came home to an empty house which is usually a train wreck waiting to happen. I texted my wife, and asked her to loving check on me when she returned. The temptation was greatly reduced. She couldn’t have done that if she were in a state of blaming herself.
        10) Is sex an idol for him? I realized it was for me. I confessed that to God. That was a huge step in reducing temptation.
        11) One of the challenge lessons teaches how sex was designed for me to give my wife (God’s daughter) great pleasure. That was huge for me. I saw sex as something for me to get. Instead I now see sex as something to give my wonderful wife. Worrying less about what I’m getting as been a huge help to me.
        12) I have increased my exercise routine. I already had one, but I have intensified it. Takes up some of that empty time I had.
        13) I have had the same sleep issue presumably because I “rewarded” getting up at night to view porn. I found 8 hours of relaxing nature sounds on youtube.com. That has helped some. Snuggling with my wife before bed has helped some. Lavender oil is supposedly relaxing, so I apply that. I think it is helping. I have noticed that time is healing poor slept habits. By not “rewarding” wake periods during the night, I’m slowly, ever so slowly, sleeping better.
        14) Texting my pastor, wife and accountability partner when I’m feeling tempted has been a huge help. I will say something like, “Ask me tomorrow if I was victorious.” Put the request in a positive light. I don’t have them ask if I failed. Success is the assumption, and they’re just check on that so they can rejoice with me.
        15) Battle one day at a time. Countless times I said, “Never again.” I failed each time. Now I say, “Not today,” or “Not this hour,” or even “Not now.” Never is overwhelming to thinking about, but I can by God’s grace win today. I can win this hour. Like the Children of Israel in the wilderness trusting God for today’s manna. Just commit to victory today. When tomorrow comes, make the same commitment.

        There are probably more things I could think of. Most of these ideas come from the Covenant Eyes 40-Day Challenge, so they aren’t original to me. I cannot stress how helpful that has been.

        Pray your husband finds victory.

      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Great lessons, Michael! So glad the 40-Day Challenge is a help to you! Great feedback.

      • Michael Z on

        I forgot to include probably the biggest single thing that is helping me through each day. Have your husband find the root cause of looking at porn. It may not be the over simplistic, “Men are visually excited and porn caters to that.” Sure, that is a factor, but there probably is a deeper issue. It will probably be different for him, but I will share my root causes for illustration.

        The biggest cause for me was anger at God. In obedience to God I waited until I got married to have sex. My wife and I have vastly different libidos. I became angry at God because I had been obedient and waited, yet the wife He provided had nowhere near the interest I had. So many times I went to view porn saying, “God, if you can’t provide sex your way, then I’ll take care of it myself.” I am fighting that issue with thanksgiving. I thank God every day now for my wonderful wife. Dealing with this issue alone has slashed temptation.

        The next root cause I identified was idolatry. Sex was an idol for me. It is so easy to think of idols as stone or wooden figures some primitive jungle people worship. An idol is anything that comes before my relationship with God. Pursuing sex, even the pure married kind, before God is idolatry. Again, dealing with this dragon has dramatically reduced temptation.

        I hope that helps!

      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Your story sounds very similar to my own.

    2. Ronald on

      Hi C,

      I am not a counselor but a husband who has recently left the chains of porn. When I was first was discovered I didn’t know where to turn and my desire was to “fix” things at any cost. I can’t tell you how to find a counselor since we are yet to find one mainly due to the expensive costs and conflicting schedules of having one however I want to share some of the things that we did and are doing as a couple which have helped.

      1. Read – We are readers by nature so this was not hard to introduce to our lives but reading books that deal with our issues helped.
      2. I started attending an open share group right away, I have skipped a few meetings but it helps you get connected. I personally don’t like the fact that you don’t get any feedback on an open share group but it helps to be open with what you are dealing with.
      3. Pray together – You say your husband is doing so already.
      4. We bought the Covenant Eyes software and we are currently using it, my wife gets my reports so this helps me stay in check.
      5. Patience – This is the hardest for me, specially around the physical element but we are working through it.

      I too, desire there was an easier way to find inexpensive counselors but I understand to some of them it is their job and they have to pay their bills. However some times we just need to hear confirmation that what we are doing is right or wrong.

      Reply
    3. R.R on

      Great read. I think the shame is something i am still struggling to get over. Right now i watch porn averagely once a week. Sadly ive not been able to do better than once a week. Ive been trying to find the root cause of my addiction, but its been difficult. What comes to mind is this: i have been praying to God for a job for about 3 years and i began fighting this addiction around the same time. Whenever i feel i might be expectung a good news, i kind of keep myself from watching porn, hoping by doing so, the job will come. Most times i end up falling before the propose date of the news and begin to feel its my porn that made me miss the job. Also, if i abstain and its not a good news, i get demoralised and watch porn. Finfing it hard to seperate the two. Does God want me to get rid of the porn first? Am i being purnished for watching porn ? Dnt really know what to think.

      Reply
    4. Andy on

      I am 70 years of age. I am a porn addict. I have been a compulsive masturbator since i was 11 years of age. My problem was compounded because of a Bi Polar condition. 2 years ago I had a conversion and the guilt I carried for my sins for so many long years was wiped off the slate by a Loving and Merciful God. I am sharing this because the devil did not like the fact I was planning some good work starting Devine Mercy cenacles in various parishes. For the past 2 weeks I have lived like a zombie just watching porn and masturbating. Until 3 days ago that I was successful in getting all porn stopped on my smart phone.
      This is not an easy problem to solve. God is master of the Impossible. He is a Good God. He has already nailed all our sins on His cross. Sometimes He allows evil to happen to us so that we can Trust in His Goodness.
      As a Christian, I have to believe that God has a plan for my life and with his help, i will become the person He created me to be.
      My goal for today is to surrender my porn addiction to God. I will refrain from indulging with God’s grace.
      I will do my best and leave the rest to Him.
      JESUS I TRUST IN YOU.

      Reply
    5. R on

      What can you say about shame and secrecy when porn is shared between friends on their Wattsap groups? Secrecy is gone and shame is experienced by the one who doesn’t want to participate?
      There is no more shame and secrecy… porn is shared between friends, school parents groups, siblings, cousins…
      Now there is shame on the guy who’s been asked by his wife to stop. Or shame in the wife for being controller on naive.

      Reply

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