4 minute read

Why Dump Porn Before You Date

Last Updated: February 5, 2020

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson (MJ) is co-founder and Dean of Dating at Future Marriage University, where he has a blast sharing practical, passionate Biblical truth about sex, dating, and relationships with college students, youth, and young adults. He also video blogs with his wife, Julie (and sometimes his kids). If you like his writing, you’ll love him live. That’s what his mom says, anyway.

If you’re one of the unmarried blokes or blokettes here at Covenant Eyes, you may not have paid any attention to the  “Rebuild Your Marriage” section of this blog, but I urge you to take note, because these posts written to the married peeps will open your eyes to how destructive pornography is to a marriage. So destructive that a marriage often simply cannot be repaired, but must be “rebuilt.”

Why should that matter to you?

Well, among other reasons, you may be married someday. And if you are, you’re probably not looking forward to exerting all the effort necessary to build a marriage, only to have porn tear it down so you have to rebuild it all over again.

If you’re with me, then let me encourage you to do a very difficult thing—put off dating until your struggle with porn is decidedly in the past.

You read that right. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Do not date until you’ve achieved victory in this area.

Here are three reasons why.

A Pure Mind

If you are a follower of the dude in the Bible who claimed mere lust was as damning a sin as cheating with someone’s spouse (Matt. 5:27-28), then you want to keep your dating life pure.

Which means, you have a far higher aim than keeping your hands to yourself. You want to be able to see everyone you date as a brother or sister in Christ. Not as a sex object to seduce, manipulate, or conquer.

Related: License to Lust–How Porn Trains Objectification

So, do you think porn is going to help you in that endeavor? Or hurt you?

And if you think it could help you (or believe it already has been helping you), keep reading.

An Undivided Heart

For most, porn will inspire them to sexualize their real life relationships, but some folks use pornography to entertain their sexual cravings in such a way so they can resist acting out with or even fantasizing about the real people in their lives. They masturbate with the images, and then they try their best to relate to, serve, and love on the people they know personally. Including those whom they date.

Then when the throes of sexual tension come upon them, they go to porn again.

At first that may seem like a pretty creative plan, but let’s think ahead for a moment. At some point, one of the people you date is supposed to become your spouse, and when that happens then your fantasy life and your actual life are going to meet. That’s going to be an ugly meeting if you’ve trained yourself for years to separate sexual pleasure from the relationship for which it was made.

Related: Myth Busters–I’ll stop looking at porn when I get married

Beyond the pragmatic argument, the reality is this: indulging in sexual sin in private, while you endeavor to carry yourself in an honorable manner in public is to live a life of duplicity.

I don’t think that’s what you want for yourself. And I know it’s not what God wants for you. Put plainly, if you’d like to live a life of integrity, where every part of your being is dedicated to loving Christ and then loving those made in His image (whether they be people you see online or know in real life), then you can’t live with a divided heart.

A Clear Conscience

When you date while nursing a porn habit, even one that you perceive to be occasional or unobtrusive, you hold a secret you can’t really share with everyone you date.

Of course, we all have struggles that are inappropriate to share in the beginning stages of any relationship, but there’s a big difference between a secret past and a secret present.

At some point, as a healthy relationship develops, you share more and more of your struggles and weaknesses. That said, when the time comes to confess your struggle with porn, you want to be able to share how you put that puppy to sleep. Not down for a nap, but down for good.

Let me put on my dad-of-daughters cap for a moment. If one of my girls has been dating some guy who after a year discloses an ongoing struggle with porn, I’m going to pray she’ll have the courage to break up with him immediately. It’s not a question of whether he is worthy of my daughter’s love and affection. It’s the fact that he can’t give her the kind of love and affection I would wish for my daughter.

However, if after a few months of seriously dating, my daughter’s boyfriend discloses a past porn habit which he crucified a year before he ever started dating her, and he has the testimony of godly brothers (and even better, a mentor) to corroborate his testimony, then that’s an entirely different story. That’s a maturing young man who has already established a pattern for defeating sin in his life, so that he can love well.

Related: When Your Boyfriend Struggles With Porn

It’s Not About Perfection

A pure mind, an undivided heart, and a clear conscience. Three great reasons to drop porn before you date, but in closing, let me clarify. I’m not saying you should be struggle-free before you date or pursue marriage. If you wait until you have your act together, you’ll never be ready.

After almost two dozen years of marriage, I still have very real struggles, just like you. However, here’s the deal. Pornography is more than a highly addictive bad habit. It’s an intimacy killer. Not just while you’re indulging in it, but 24-7.

Again, don’t take my word for it. Read some of the posts for the married folks and see just what kind of relational ruin pornography brings. And then do whatever it takes to slay this beast so you can date with a pure mind, an undivided heart, and a clear conscience.

Related: How to Quit Porn–6 Essential Steps

Oh, and even cooler? Once your focus isn’t riveted on what you shouldn’t be doing, then you can focus on what you should be doing to intentionally and intelligently prepare for your future marriage. Because, in case you hadn’t heard, merely being porn-free doesn’t make you relationship-ready.

  • Comments on: Why Dump Porn Before You Date
    1. MJ on

      Thanks for sharing! Praying for the freedom of millions!

      Reply
    2. Dr. Harry Schaumburg on

      In a pornified culture, the younger generation is very aware of porn, and more often it is self-made porn through sexting. So I find that many seriously dating couples share their struggle with porn with each other. And yes, the girls have the problem too.
      When are we going to get serious about “each man should have his own wife; each woman her own husband,” and the root of the problem of lack of self-control in everyone? Lack of spiritual, relational, and sexual maturity in marriage is much bigger than the porn problem!

      Reply
      • MJ on

        You’re right about that, Dr. S!

    3. Obakeng on

      Good day.thank you so much for this message.I’m really encouraged.
      Looking forward to hear more blogs.

      Reply
      • MJ on

        Wonderful! Thanks for the encouragement!

    4. Steve K on

      Great Article & Guest Author!
      Looking forward to more!

      Reply
    5. Danny Van Syoc on

      Hello, thank you for sharing this article! I agree about the idea that you should have your porn problems under control and taken care of before dating. I’m comfortable in saying that as a 23 year old male with autism, I’ve struggled (and am currently still dealing) with porn on and off over the last 2 and a half years, this year the most dragged out. From my experiences with it, it can definitely kill intimacy in your mind, and a lot of that stuff usually didn’t have intimacy. It brainwashes you and corrupts your mind. I’m glad, given my social history and lack of consistent friends in my life, that I’ve never dated yet, since I’ve been back and forth with this addiction since early-mid 2015. Having felt lonely for a long time hasn’t helped much, either. I’ll admit that I’m a little confused at how you wouldn’t exactly be ready for relationships or marriage after you would conquer porn and deal with whatever other issues you have. Thank god for Covenant Eyes. I’ve had them for the past year now and I’m looking through their blog and e-books for extra help needed outside of my therapy.

      Reply
    6. Dr. Harry Schaumburg on

      What if our current manner of dating is as much a problem as the pervasiveness of porn? We have quickly moved dating from the front porch to the back seat! So you control your porn problem and jump in the back seat! You get married and often the wife feels like a sexual object. You will return to porn because you never addressed the core problem of the heart.

      Reply
      • MJ on

        Hey Dr Harry! I’m the author of this post and I totally agree with you that our current manner of dating is sub-par. In fact, our mission is to prepare students and young adults for relational success, by (among other things like quitting porn) teaching healthy dating habits. Hope you’ll check out our site. There is a link a the end of the article above, or you can go there here. http://f-m-u.com/ God bless!

      • Derek on

        Is there a certain amount of time of sustained sobriety that you recommend before dating? I’ve heard of the recommendation of 3-6 months of not acting out before telling a spouse, especially if they do not know of your addiction. Would that apply similarly to entering into a dating relationship (3-6months of sobriety), with the actual disclosure part coming later at an appropriate time?

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