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5 Simple (But Essential) Reasons to Stop Watching Porn Today

Last Updated: August 17, 2021

Greg Hintz
Greg Hintz

Greg Hintz is a purity coach, author of Porn Again: Three Keys to Living Porn Free, and teacher of the class “How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography.” In addition to personal and family coaching, Greg regularly speaks in churches and schools about the dangers of pornography.

He sat there, broken and exposed like never before.

“I didn’t think it would end like this. I didn’t think it would go so far.” He whispered the words through tears and gritted teeth.

I had worked with people suffering from pornography addiction very closely for the past three years, but I hadn’t seen this level of loss. A marriage destroyed. A family severed. A high level career in shambles. A man at the brink of giving up on life.

I broke the silence. “What? What wouldn’t go so far?”

“Pornography.” He looked me square in the eyes. “Porn just grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t let go. It consumed my life.”

This man’s story is like many men’s stories. Porn has a way of sinking its talons deep into our lives and not letting go. Many people don’t think that porn will have a negative effect on their life. They don’t know the full ramifications or the incredibly adverse effects that continued exposure to pornography can have. That is, until it goes too far.

So, whether you are just getting started or find yourself stuck in the quicksand of pornography, let me give you five straightforward but essential reasons to quit today.

1. Better Relationships

Did you know that there is a 300% increase in divorce for homes where one or more people in the relationship regularly look at pornography?¹

In Scripture, Jesus says, “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28).

There is a connection with those we ‘lust after’ that will get in the way of our relationship every time. Our eyes and attention are called to be in one direction, but porn has a way of diverting our attention in many different directions.

Giving up porn will remove the massive barrier standing in front of our relationships and focus our attention on restoration.

2.  Free Space in Your Mind

Porn happens to be fantastic at forming new, long-lasting pathways in the brain. Over time, these images or videos become burned into the brain, taking up space. These memories can turn into objectification of the people you see every day, repeating these images in your mind over and over again.

As these images or videos increase, so does the space that is stored up in our minds. There is an acronym often used to describe the effect that these images have on our mind and our daily interactions. It’s FOE. It stand for “fantasy,” “objectification,” and “euphoric recall.”

Porn will increase the amount of FOEs that we face each day.

Quitting porn, however, will free up space in your mind that can be used for good, not objectification.

3. Better Sex

Some of you are wondering why I didn’t start with this one!

Did you know that porn can cause erectile dysfunction in men? That’s right, no more erections! In fact, psychiatry professor Norman Doidge reported in his book The Brain That Changes Itself that removal of internet pornography use reversed impotence and sexual arousal problems in his patients.

I am reminded of the words of Jesus when he said, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and life abundantly” (John 10:10).

Isn’t it just like the devil to entice us to see all the sexually explicit things that we want, and then have the ability to enjoy sexual activity with another stripped away? You deserve to have great sex and that starts with taking the pornography out of your life.

4. Less Stress

Watching porn has a natural way of increasing stress and releasing cortisol (a steroid hormone) into your system. However, think about the stress you feel every time someone is on your computer, looking at your Netflix queue, or asking to borrow your phone. That stress would be completely lifted off by quitting porn. There will no longer be that fear or shame of “being caught.”

I heard a saying the other day that went like this: “The best gift you can give yourself is the gift of a clean conscience.”

How true this is! I have been on both sides of the coin. I have had that fear and stress controlling me, and I’ve also been on the side of a clean conscience. There is no question as to where I’d rather be. I’m grateful for less stress.

5. Living in Integrity

Integrity has been described as “living with the lights on” or “acting the same in front of people as you do when no one is watching.” Some would describe this as living with authenticity—being true to YOU. By quitting porn, many begin to live in truth and integrity.

I have never found someone who said, “Watching porn is helping me become my best self!” In fact, the reaction from everyone I’ve talked to has been quite the opposite. Pornography has caused them to live outside of their values, keeping secrets and lying to those they love the most. When you live in integrity, you are able to be the same person no matter where you find yourself.

One of my favorite conversations can be found in the book Alice in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll. There is a scene where Alice is lost. She is trying to figure out where to go, but there are all of these signs pointing in different directions. As she is trying to make the right choice, the Cheshire Cat shows up.

Their conversation goes like this:

Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

The Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

Alice: “I don’t much care where.”

The Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”

Alice: “… So long as I get somewhere.”

The Cheshire Cat: “Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”

For some reading this article, you’ve walked long enough. This is your moment. Change is sitting right in front of you, but you will have to take that first step. You will have to make the decision of where you “want to get to.” Is it a life free from porn? Is it a place of honesty and integrity? Is it living authentically?

If so, you’re in the right place. So, take that first step today! Decide where you want to get to and begin your journey to a porn-free life!

Recommended reading: 


¹ “Internet Pornography by the Numbers: A Significant Threat to Society.” Webroot. n.d. Web.
  • Comments on: 5 Simple (But Essential) Reasons to Stop Watching Porn Today
    1. RickyB on

      Do I really “deserve” better sex? I have never seen that message given to husbands except as a carrot dangled in front of them to get them to quit porn. The rest of the time men are told they don’t deserve squat in the bedroom unless they are romancing their wives to the hilt, doing their fair share of housework, and “presenting themselves as worthy of their wives attention and desire” (as Al Mohler would say).

      I was told directly by a licensed Christian marriage counselor that I didn’t need nor deserve sex in my marriage because (a) I wouldn’t die without it and (b) Sex was not a marital entitlement but the result of successfully nurturing my wife so that she would feel comfortable with physical intimacy.

      I guess the counselor was just channeling Clint Eastwood, who said in the movie Unforgiven: “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”

      Reply
      • GP Hintz on

        There are many different opinions on what a spouse ‘deserves’, however I would say that nurturing a committed and developing sexual life with your spouse is something that you both ‘deserve’. This will often cause both parties to be willing to do some difficult work, heal some past wounds and become vulnerable and open with their spouse. Depending on the damage that has been done in the past, this may take some time. However, it is possible.

        It’s important not to enter into this season with an entitlement mentality, however. This increases the pressure put on the spouse and negates your responsibility to truly nurture and love your spouse unconditionally. I don’t know your story, but would be happy to give you a couple quick steps to work on:

        1. Examine the damage. Often, we can negate the damage that our actions have caused or the amount of pain that our spouse is in. Truly consider this. Spend some time praying about this and owning your side of the issue.

        2. Find a marriage counselor that you both ‘want’ to see. Sometimes, the first counselor isn’t the best one. I am sure that your counselor is a great person, but if you are already building resentments towards them, it will be difficult for you to receive from them in the future.

        3. Start praying with your spouse daily. Just grab hands and pray. Not for ‘great sex’, but for love and closeness and intimacy. Pray for God’s best in their life. Pray for humility and grace to be evident in the marriage. And, more than anything, pray that you both will be brought closer to God. As you draw closer to God individually, you will draw closer to one another. (Imagine a triangle. God is the top point and you both are the bottom points. Inevitably, as you both draw closer individually to God… you get closer to one another.)

        If there’s ever anything I can do for you, I help families and individuals experience change. http://www.CoachingPurity.com. I’m here to serve! I will be praying for God’s BEST in your life.

        Blessings.
        GP

      • Joe on

        I don’t think it was supposed to rely that you deserve sex..it’s that you deserve BETTER sex. That means if you are sexually active with your wife without porn it can transcend into the better, more connected more enjoyable act it’s self. No one deserves sex, or relationships or Anything. It’s all earned and blessings and gifts from God. Rejecting these negative things like porn will only help you be happy and live a more Godly life. I think you should look at what sex is. It’s not an act that need to be fulfilled. It’s meant to connect so deeply and become so intimate with someone you love, and to procreate. To birth another life. No one is deserving of that in it’s Self. No one is entitled to that. But for when you do both parties deserve it to be for the right reasons! You can’t fully connect with Someone while lusting over Others, and that you deserve. That connection it’s meant to be.

    2. M_Collins on

      Your wife is not simply a spectator who watches while you nurture her and then judges your performance as pass or fail, with a passing grade resulting in sex. Your job is to nurture her so that she will give herself freely in the act of sex. Her job is to nurture you so that you will give yourself freely in the act of sex.

      “But of course I would give myself freely to her,” you might say. “I am the man, after all. I am the spouse who actually WANTS the sex.”

      Therein lies the problem. You are both required to give yourselves sexually and you are both required to WANT to give yourself sexually, meaning without reservation, without resentment, and without begrudging.

      Your willingness to give yourself to your wife without reservation, however, is compromised by porn and masturbation. If you go down that path, you are making investments in behaviors that radically diminish your willingness to invest in your marital sex life. That deprives your wife of the sex she needs to have to feel close to you. Many wives are acutely aware of this state of deprivation and see porn as a competitor to their affections that they would love to give freely.

      But obviously, there are many wives who are not aware of their own need for sexual intimacy and sometimes may see it as a bother or interruption in their lives. Wives like this are often unaware of the damage that porn is doing to their marriages because they don’t miss the sex. The problem is, they SHOULD miss the sex. And if you are not pursuing them, they may spend years in sexless marriages that they don’t mind but should mind.

      So now both of you are in a big mess. The fact that you are depriving her is coupled by the fact that she is happily and willingly being deprived. And it is further complicated by the fact that once you stop the porn you have the unfortunate situation of now trying to get her dormant sexual desire awakened after perhaps years of neglect. This reality which is obvious by her sexual apathy acts a further deterrent to leaving porn behind. Nothing is more depressing than become porn free while still existing in a sexless marriage with no obvious prospects for improvement.

      And if your wife is okay with sexlessness it is obvious she has significant damage herself. Some wives might be okay with sexlessness during certain seasons of life. But if she is okay with it as a defining feature of her marriage than she has significant problems that will probably require as much external intervention as you getting off porn did. Many churches have ministries to get you off porn. Few have ministries to get at why your wife was okay not having sex for years.

      Reply
    3. M_Collins on

      @Joe
      “I think you should look at what sex is. It’s not an act that need to be fulfilled. It’s meant to connect so deeply and become so intimate with someone you love, and to procreate.”

      This is consistent with the “love sanctifies married sex” ideology and is unbiblical re: 1 Corinthians 7:3:

      Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

      Modern Christianity is uncomfortable with the idea of sex as a marital right and duty because it conflicts with our western American libertarianism of “my body my choice” and the primacy of personal autonomy. The idea of marriage being an institution defined more by commitment and duty goes against our hyper-freedom mentality. So sex within marriage is optional and consent must be based not on the existence of the marriage covenant but based on whether the husband has earned sex by properly romancing his wife or by sufficiently assisting with domestic chores.

      I often read so-called “Christian” counselors attack the use of this passage in scripture by calling it “weaponizing the bible against your wife”. But forget the idea of a husband quoting this to his wife, which I don’t recommend as a seduction strategy (duh). For that, read poetry instead.

      But when debating others in the comments thread on this blog, 1 Corinthians 7:3 is highly relevant to those who try to argue on the right of sexual refusal that may exist in civil and criminal law but does not exist in biblical law.

      As the late great R.C. Sproul said “When you get married, you move from a situation in which physical intimacy is forbidden to one in which it is commanded.”

      https://renewingyourmind.org/2019/03/28/sexual-problems-in-marriage

      Reply
    4. RickyB on

      @GP

      “I am sure that your counselor is a great person, but if you are already building resentments towards them, it will be difficult for you to receive from them in the future.”

      I picked this counselor because he was on staff at our former church. Once I realized his advice was toxic I ended the sessions. I believe he was guilty of counselor malpractice. Your attempt to defend him and make my “resentments” the issue is a reflection of your own bias.

      As far as getting a counselor we both like, my wife wants nothing to do with counseling and wants nothing to do with sex with me. She associates sex with the abortions she had back in high school and college and has essentially cut off that part of our marriage. The marriage counselor was giving advice based on pre-conceived notions that HE brought into the counseling. Counselors are human and sometimes bring biases into the counseling process. The temptation is to put people in boxes that fit the counselor’s area of experience. When something goes outside that experience, they fall back on what they know. This counselor did that because he didn’t find out until several sessions in about her abortions. I didn’t want to bring the issue up until my wife was comfortable with him. Once he told her that I didn’t “need” sex and there would be no pressure to deal with our sexual dysfunction, she was willing to continue because she felt “off the hook.”

      But once the abortion issue came up, the counselor’s tone changed dramatically and he began to realize that this wasn’t just another case of a bad husband not loving his wife enough. Gee, who thought that was possible? Fix the husband and fix the marriage. Isn’t that the usual boilerplate?

      That does seem to be the tone of just about every counselor and purity coach I read. They are so fixated on whipping the husband into shape but when it becomes obvious the wife is a huge problem they suddenly have nothing. No five point plans, no twelve steps, no listicles, no handy little tidbits of wisdom. They just tell you to go to counseling. If you’ve done that, then they say go to a different counselor. Husband get your act together and pray. Rinse, lather and repeat.

      And so I continue to search for the counselor that will have the sophistication and experience to leave the bias out and actually find out who my wife and I really are and not just what their stereotypes tell them. Maybe somebody who has expertise in post-abortive sexual phobias. Maybe somebody who has experience dealing with sexually rejected husbands. Maybe somebody who thinks sex in marriage is an actual need and not just a minor little bonus that some married couples enjoy when all else is going perfect in their relationship.

      Reply
      • Penny on

        There definitely are ministries for post-abortive women (& men!) Abortion hurts in emotional & spiritual ways that need care. Google “post-abortion counseling “. One excellent place is Rachel’s Vineyard, but often your local Christian crisis pregnancy center will have resources too.

    5. Leslie on

      Porn does not “sink it’s claws into you.” That’s victim talk. YOU choose porn every, single, freaking day. YOU, and only you, are responsible for your porn use. Period. I’m so tired of those who have chosen porn and srx trafficking and adultery using victim language. You are perpetrators, NOT VICTIMS. Your choice of porn makes victims of your spouses, your children, your workplaces, those who are in porn. But YOU, the choosers and users of porn, are not the victims in this battle. You are soldiers of darkness, willingly drafted to the front lines.

      Reply

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