How to Lose Your Desire for Porn and Lust

For many struggling with porn, their #1 goal is to stop looking at it. This is why we install Covenant Eyes on our computers and have accountability partners ask us if we’ve stumbled this week (all good and needed things). But is it really freedom if you’ve stopped looking at porn, yet desire it continually?

This is where a lot of Christians find themselves. It may have been years since the last time they have indulged in pornography, but there is a simmering discontent within their marriage or singleness. The aroma of porn still smells as tantalizing as it always did, even if they aren’t directly indulging. Their ability to stop looking has come about by controlling the symptoms, but the inner desire rages on.

Working in tandem with this desire is the byproduct of years of porn consumption: lust. When porn is no longer accessible, the men and women you run into every day become the fixations of fantasy. Your eyes involuntarily dart to chests and legs instead of eyes and you see people as sets of body parts to savor and consume, rather than as dignified souls worth much more than their bodies alone. These lustful glances and fantasies are so involuntary that they can hardly even be called habits, as habits feel breakable. Deeper than habits, they seem auto-programmed into our hardwiring to the point where it seems like nothing can ever change them and that there’s no way out. Again, this can hardly be called freedom.

Don’t get me wrong, it is inconceivably better to be done looking at porn and to be struggling with lust, than to still be looking at porn. I think everyone in this middle-point of struggle will attest to that. But I also think they will attest they don’t truly feel free, and have doubts that they ever will.

True Freedom from the Desire for Porn?

I do not presume to be the Answer Man on this subject, nor do I think that one blog post can do much fixing at all. But I do know there is a path of true freedom from the desire for pornography. That you can actually get to the point where you no longer want it or desire it. That is where I live now, and I’ve walked a path to get me here. (I still use Covenant Eyes, by the way, and always will!)  I’d like to share some characteristics of this path and invite you to begin walking on it as well.

It’s the same path that is leading me to the point where I will no longer desire lust. There is a subtle distinction that is so key here. I can tell myself, “Don’t look,” and can force my eyes away (which is much better than looking), but this is different than the freedom of not wanting to look in the first place. The distinction takes place at the automatic-process, hard-wiring level, where your automatic response to the opportunity to lust over another person becomes, “Why would I want to do that?” This is processed in the same way you (hopefully) would process the idea of stealing someone’s wallet. You don’t have to tie your hands behind your back as your only way to resist the theft. You don’t steal the wallet because you don’t want to. You know what it would do to that person and to your own heart.

For guys, I’d encourage you to walk this road with me over seven weeks in an online small group and I believe you will see the same fruit in your life as I have.

For ladies, reach out to Jessica Harris and the many soul-level resources she has available for you.

How to Lose Your Desire for Pornography

Cast your entitlement before a Holy God.

“God, you gave me a raw deal,” said the single person who feels like God owes them a spouse and is holding out on them.

“God, you gave me a raw deal,” said the married person who feels God owes them a better spouse and is holding out on them.

Entitlement often fuels our thirst for sexual sin. We aren’t getting our “needs” met by doing things God’s way, so we feel we have no choice but to look elsewhere.

This is where I was three years into my marriage and wanting a divorce. The solution was unexpected–God showed me his holiness and what it was I really deserved: eternity separated from him. This concept makes some feel uncomfortable, depending on your theological background, but what a sobering truth it is! God basically said to me, “Don’t ever ask me for what you deserve. Trust me, you don’t want that!”

The good news is, He didn’t end the conversation there.

We don’t deserve God’s mercy, but he lavishes it on us.

The key reason to understand I deserve God’s wrath is so I can then experience the wealth of the riches of what he has given me instead: his mercy.

This is the foundation for this life of true freedom. Despite the circumstances of our singleness or marriage, we can be overwhelmed with gratitude for the riches of God’s mercy toward us. A grateful person is a free person!

The contents of God’s mercy bring us what we’ve been looking for from pornography.

Realizing the quantity of God’s mercy is only half the battle. Ask yourself what it is you are desiring at the deepest level with lust or porn. The deepest level of this desire is not for body parts or physical sensation, it is for affirmation. We want to feel valued, embraced, comforted, and accepted and we believe this other person will make us feel this way.

If your stomach is empty, you’ll always desire the junk food.

I’ve been a Christian for most of my life, but it wasn’t until recent years that I discovered how to find my validation, affirmation, and acceptance from Jesus and my identity in him—a wealth of riches I’d been sitting on for so long but not applying to the deep places of my soul.

When you’re stuffed on the good stuff, the junk food loses its power over you. In fact, it becomes downright repulsive.

The rewiring begins.

With our soul’s insatiable thirst for value quenched, God can now begin the rewiring process on us. As whole people, we can learn how to see other men and women as whole people. We can begin to understand God’s “one flesh” design for sex and deconstruct the lies we believed that people are only body parts and sex is nothing more than selfish consumption—lies many married people have bought into as well. We begin to see men and women as the sons and daughters of God that they are.  Men and women whom we lose the desire to turn into objects and consume for our selfish pleasure.

When I see someone’s wallet, I don’t have to tie my hands behind my back to ensure I don’t steal it. I don’t want to steal it because I know what it will do to that person, and what it will do to my own heart. I can feel the same way about porn and lust, which is true freedom.

I hope this blog post gives you a taste of the true freedom you can experience. And I know you can experience it too because it’s not found in a blog post or an author, but in the unlimited power of the gospel. We sometimes just need a little guidance in how to untap it!