1 minute read

How to Take a U-Turn on the Porn Superhighway

Last Updated: August 3, 2020

Matt Fradd

Matt Fradd is the author of Delivered: True Stories of Men and Woman Who Turned from Porn to Purity. After experiencing a profound conversion at World Youth Day in Rome in 2000, Matt has worked through full-time lay ministry in Australia, Ireland, Canada, and Texas. He has served as an apologist for Catholic Answers and has traveled all over the world, speaking to tens of thousands of teens and young adults. He and his wife Cameron have four children and live in North Georgia.

 

One of the most helpful explanations I’ve heard about pornography addiction is Dr. Kevin Skinner’s “activation sequence.” In this video I explain what the sequence is and why it is important for those who struggle with porn to create their own “deactivation sequence.”

Anyone who wants to make a U-turn at their triggers first need to know what their specific triggers are. What sights, sounds, or events tend to get the motor going? Knowing your triggers will allow you to be more vigilant.

At every step of the activation sequence, if one wants to make a U-turn, they need to turn on their “thinking brain,” the part of their brain called the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that does the deliberation, that chooses between wise and unwise actions. One can do this several ways, but one of the easiest ways to do this is to simply speak aloud and label what is happening. “This is a trigger.” By doing this, you stop being a passive participant, stop letting your habits stay in the driver seat, and helps you to snap you out of it.

Then, once you’ve collected your whits, get up and do something else. Step away from the trigger.

Pick up a copy of Dr. Skinner’s Treating Pornography Addiction.

  • Comments on: How to Take a U-Turn on the Porn Superhighway
    1. Donnie on

      Great video … I like it when I have these small breakthroughs in understanding my addiction. The idea that a chemical reaction is taking place long before I “act out” helps me better understand why the battle becomes difficult at early stages in the cycle.

      Reply
      • Greg on

        As a counseling student, this is the truth. The science on this is undeniable. Fight from the very beginning and dont lie to yourself that you are losing anything. You are gaining freedom and purity of heart to be able to see and love God and others, to be who God made and plans for you to be!

    2. Paul Kennedy on

      I’ve been going to Pure Desires for now 2 years, and this video was so helpful in filling in some of the gaps in my “Triggers”. I went through the steps and listed my responses of what has happened in the past at each step. I am so grateful to be able to see my “Triggers” now, and be able to make the RIGHT decision. Praise God!

      Reply
    3. Michael Zollinger on

      I’m on day 11 of the 40-day challenge, and I so appreciate the support and encouragement the daily e-mails provide.

      I’ve listed my triggers, and there are many that I can simply avoid which has been a great help. But I’m unsure how to deal with my greatest trigger. I’ve been married 22 years to a wonderful wife, but we have vastly different libidos. Sex is really the only area we fight about. I’m not blaming her since God calls us all to purity regardless of circumstances.

      But rejection is a huge trigger for me. I can usually weather two or three nights of rejection, but beyond that depression and temptation dramatically rises with each passing day. Mix that with anger at God for providing a wife with virtually no interest, and it is a recipe for disaster. I am working on the anger issue with my pastor.

      Do you have any advice for dealing with the rejection trigger? In the past I’ve just tried not asking (can’t be rejected if you don’t ask). When no invitations were given for weeks, I became very depressed and failed again. This is a trigger I cannot avoid.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        So glad you’re enjoying the 40 Day Challenge!

        In my experience, rejection is a massive trigger for a number of men. First, let me say that it is great you are working through your anger (whether it be at your wife or at God). You are lightyears ahead, because many people would simply grow bitter in their sense of entitlement. The fact that you’re pushing past this is great, even if it is a struggle right now.

        I have two thoughts for you. The first has to do with processing your sense of rejection with your wife. The second has to do with how you lean on God in the midst of any scenario of rejection.

        First, when you’ve spoken with your wife about this stuff, what has she said?

        Rather than frame the discussion around your rejection, frame it around your desire for intimacy. Express your love to her, tell her you want to be close to her (including sex), and tell her it is far more than just hormones and libido. Sex is not just about “getting something out of your system” or finding “release.” Sex is about laughing together, touching each other, kissing, hugging, and pleasing each other, enjoying time together. For your wife, she may not really desire to be “pleasured” sexually, as much as you, and that’s okay, but let her know how much it means to you emotionally (not just physically). Tell her you want her, not just “sex.” Let her know you want to, over time, improve your communication with her about your desires. Let her know about your weaknesses—your struggle with feelings of rejection—and let her know what she can do to help. If she just has nothing sexually to give that night, tell her how you would like her to speak to you to affirm you.

        Perhaps you can suggest going through a couple’s class to improve the overall quality of your marriage—not because there’s an overt “problem,” but because you want to grow spiritually with her. I highly recommend this video series (free online!) from Brad Hambrick. It’s called “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage.” There’s a whole section on intimacy that is several videos long. Work through it with her and talk about it.

        Often, just taking these proactive steps to open your heart to your spouse, regardless of what sex flows from it, can be a huge help in squelching any sense of rejection.

        Second, continue working through, in prayer, your sense of rejection. In about a week, you’ll get an e-mail in the 40 Day Challenge linking to this article: “6 Reasons Men and Women Are Drawn to Porn.” I think you might enjoy reading this article now. Hope it helps!

      • Michael Zollinger on

        I am now at 20 successful days of the challenge.

        My wife struggles with anger at God over the same thing, anger that she just doesn’t have much interest. She has been working on that for some time. She has also been working through forgiveness toward family members who perpetrated terrible things on her as a child. We understand that can affect libido. She’s also been checking on hormone imbalances. Though I haven’t always seen it, she has been working on it.

        Since starting the 40-day challenge, we have been working on greater non-sexual intimacy as Luke suggested. Snuggling, holding hands, talking alone without kids, walking and praying together. It has been a wonderful time of growing closer together. In fact she wanted to break the sex fast at day 12. Whoa, I can’t remember the last time she wanted sex. Two days later she wanted it again. Hopefully it doesn’t hinder my healing, but I couldn’t pass up those opportunities! Last night on our walk, my wife said, “I feel like I have a new husband.”

        I think the lessons on Cultivating Thankfulness, Identifying Idols and and Embracing Godly Pleasures has been a real help with the rejection feeling. First, I’m focusing on thanking God for the wonderful wife He has given me instead of focusing on not getting as much sex as I want. Second, I think sex was an idol for me. I’m working on that. And then something the author of Embracing Godly Pleasures struck me. He said that God created sex so that I could give immense pleasure to His daughter. Wow, that is powerful. Instead of concern for self, focus on pleasuring God’s daughter.

        We’re about five days into my wife’s cycle. In the past I have felt like, “Great, didn’t this just happen a week ago? Now I’ll miss out another week.” This time I was much more focused on what she is enduring than what I’m missing. I’ve also been teasing her about what I’m going to do to her when it’s over. She can’t wait!

        Thanks for all you are doing. So much healing has occurred in our family over the last 20 days. Even the kids are acting better, and, as far as we know, they know nothing about what I’m doing or had been doing. Perhaps they sense some dark cloud has blown away.

      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Wow. First, I have to say I LOVE IT when people actually write back here on this blog. It is so good hearing back from people about how things are going. Sometimes it can feel like your spitting into the ocean when it comes to leaving comments—are people even listening? So glad to hear back from you, Michael.

        It is great to hear how things have been going between you and your wife—and your whole family. I’m eager to hear what the next couple weeks bring.

      • Andre Adolphe on

        Try giving love without wanting sex. And see what happens. God is Love. You love your wife. She loves you. Be bold ask God for a miracle.
        Also if possible have a filter on the phone and computer.

      • David on

        I agree. I have not had intercourse for over 2 years because my wife is not interested. We do occasionally touch each other, but that is all. I have turned to porn to get off and now that is the only way to get off. I do blame my wife and God and then feel guilty about that. I also don’t know how to get passed that trigger.

      • Karin on

        Hi Michael, I am a woman and would really recommend that both you and your wife read a blou called “To love, honour and vacuum “. The christian female author of the book addresses lack of sexual libido in women and I agree 100% with her viewpoint. She is also busy writing a book called “The great sex rescue” which will address this issue amongst others. It might even be called ” The great Christian sex rescue”….I am not sure now but be on the lookout for that. You can also read the following blogs written by men: “The generous husband ” and another guy which is just called Gary Thomas.
        Makes for great insightful reading. Hope it will help both you and your wife!

    4. Norb on

      Excellent discussion. Rejection was definitely a trigger, or are triggers really just excuses? Either way, her being too tired or not in the mood frequently led me to thinking “well, if that’s the case, she’d better not be surprised if I look at porn”. So was anger or rejection the trigger? Or the head rush from eating the forbidden fruit? Maybe some combination. Obviously the end result was not God-pleasing, but unfortunately that’s often not the case when we rationalize.

      I can’t say that I’m actually enjoying the 40 day challenge (I’m only on day 4), but it is great in that it’s helping me to confront an issue that’s bedeviled me for my entire adult life, and has come close to ruining my marriage (our 24th anniversary is Monday). Great work, guys!

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        So glad you’re experiencing the loving pruning of God through the 40 Day Challenge.

    5. Bill on

      You talking about me!!!! It’s like you know me. And I am somewhere in the back of beyond in a semi-rural part of Africa.I really appreciate this and by God’s grace I will beat this rubbish addiction!!

      Reply
    6. wayne lambeth on

      Day Four Into It.

      To see your thoughts, fears, doubts, and temptations put into words, does a lot to clear the air. And makes it easier to understand and plan how to deal with it. A day or two before finding this program, the Lord made clear to me in a very adamant way, that to overcome a temptation I must desire Him more than that temptation. One of the first scripture verses in this program was Romans 13:14. What a formidable and indefensible attack plan! Put Him first. I believe the Lord put this program before us who are addicted to porn for that very purpose. Not to overcome addiction only, but to make Him our hearts desire. My prayer is to show my gratitude to God by using this opportunity to honor Him. Thanks to all involved in this project. Will try not to let all your hard work go in vain. Thanks again, Wayne.

      Reply
    7. Marvin on

      At a point in time,I felt hopeless. I stumbled across porn when I was in my early teens and I had no idea it will eventually become an addiction.As a student leader and senior sibling of six,the guilt was too heavy to bear.Everybody looked up to me from school to my home. I’m in my twentieth year now and still struggling. Covenant eyes and a few people have really stood by me in my quest to break free.These articles help me to understand Gods plan for me and I know he will help me out.Thanks Luke and you team

      Reply
    8. Marvin on

      I think my greatest trigger has been the fear of my future.Anytime I think about the future,it leaves me in a state of uncertainty. My family has not had it easy financially.Growing up, Dad was also a strong alcoholic and my mom and I had to go through a lot.Going for him from the bar,the humiliation and all that. Glory be to God,my dad is no more on alcohol but unfortunately I have in those young ages in my loneliness stumbled across porn which us really doing to me a lot if harm even now that I’m twenty.But I will engage In the exercises and advice you give me here.They are God centered. I know I will break free and become that person I hope to become.Thanks again Mr Luke and covenant eyes.I’m grateful. Someday I hope to help others out of their addictions and counsel young people to live good christian and moral lives.

      Reply
    9. Sam on

      Currently on day 4 and reading through these comments is really helpful for me. Firstly thank you for covenant eyes and the work it is doing to help so many people. A part of me is somewhat afraid because I do not want to relapse I do not want to give into temptation, so this is a very helpful lesson to go through.

      I have also enjoyed reading through the earlier comments by Michael and Luke. I am 28 and single, I have been struggling to even think of myself with a woman unless she was “perfect” – a lie that I think porn gives to us. It makes you feel like if you do not have that picture perfect individual that you see on your screen then no human being is worth having. It has been great to read the comments from Michael who is married and explaining how he has been dealing with his relationship with his wife. It is kind of a heads up to the fact that sex is not something to seek pleasure alone from without taking into consideration what your partner is going through but there is a need for a negotiation and to have Christ at the center of it.

      I am taking the time to write all this as a way to say that your material on this program is very engaging and very relevant. I pray that God gives me the strength to persevere and struggle with this addiction while leaning completely on him.

      God bless.

      Reply
    10. Matt on

      Great comments above. On day 6 myself. Reading about rejection, I didn’t really ever think much about it in my own life, but absolutely identify with these other guys. GREAT advice from Luke. Where can one find these lessons on Embracing Godly Pleasures? Keep the great content coming. Really liked even lesson 1 on 2 Tim 2:22. Speaks to me.

      Reply
    11. Andrew on

      It’s really great learning from other people, it makes me know that I am not alone in this transformation process.

      Reply
    12. MUZI on

      On the 4th day of the challenge. My biggest struggle is that I work about 900K from home, only manage to see wife once a month.

      Reply
    13. philip on

      Please fix this link “Pick up a copy of Dr. Skinner’s Treating Pornography Addiction.” under the video content on this page. it is sending me to a bad website. I don’t need any temptation right now.

      Reply
      • Moriah Dufrin on

        Philip,

        The link is now fixed. We apologize for any temptation the previous link caused to you. The old site we had originally linked had been replaced.

        Blessings,
        Moriah

    14. Nicolás A Caputo on

      It is really nice, and really chanllenging to read (and write!) the comments in this section. I’m currently in the day 4 of the challange, I never concentrated so much energy in breaking free from porn, so I’m happy to continue with the 40 days.

      I had in the past strong feeling of self harm and depresion, so one of the horrible thoughts that sometimes I have to deal for not falling to porn is “I wish I be death”, this make porn atractive to alleviate the feeling. Also porn has always been and escape room after failure, so everytime I feel defeted it’s a clear trigger to watch porn again, this specially grew because of my long past tennis player career, every defeat was cover with masturbation and porn to try to overcome the pain of loosing again.
      Other thought is about the future “I’ll never be married and have a family because of this sin in my life”, I already know how bad women react to a cofession like “I’m struggling with porn addiction” even if is sincere and want to quit it, I did it and I always remember that thought.

      I still not sure how to plan to avoid all those triggers (I have more sadly), but It helps to think and be aware of the danger.

      Reply
    15. Thomas Q on

      My computer is set up to block youtube, vimeo, and almost every other video broadcasting platform that I Know for obvious reasons … so most of the time I can not watch the videos unless I go to the public library. Is there some other way to format the videos so they can be viewed by folks like me who have blocked all video platforms?

      Reply
      • Moriah Dufrin on

        Hi Thomas,

        Unfortunately, from what I know about these video platforms, you cannot watch their videos without actually accessing the sites. I know that you can download videos (when connected to the internet) and view offline later. However, this would still mean that you would need to first access the platforms while online. That being said, I would recommend that if already have these platforms blocked, that you avoid watching the videos they publish altogether.

        I am sorry that I don’t have a better answer for you!
        Blessings,
        Moriah

    16. Agnes on

      It is encouraging to read these comments. I am on day 4 of the challenge and I must say it is good that I found covenant eyes to help me out before it is too late. My first trigger is anger coming from my past relationship which led to unwanted pregnancy and living as a single mother being rejected so about 4 months ago I started to watch porn. I had seen porn to be my way of self satisfaction without being involved with any man since I am so scared of being married and have to go through another humiliation. Now I know what porn has taken from me and my triggers so am willing to put all I learn everyday into practice until I finish. Freedom can not be attained in one day but one day at a time, I gain my freedom in Christ Jesus!
      Blessings,
      Agnes.

      Reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *