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Defeat Lust & Pornography 14 minute read

How to Stop Watching Porn: 6 Essential Steps to Quit

Last Updated: March 5, 2024

How do you stop watching porn? For some, pornography might seem like a harmless pastime, a not-too-serious guilty pleasure, or an embarrassing habit. But maybe you’re one of the many who have realized the devastating effects that porn has on your life and relationships. Maybe you feel trapped and like you can’t stop.

If you’re wondering how to quit, you’re not alone. Skim through the hundreds of comments below, and you’ll see. Quitting porn doesn’t have to be complicated, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Read on to learn the best way to stop porn for good.

Dr. Weiss’ 6 Essential Steps to Quit Porn

If you want to stop looking at porn, it takes intentional work, and I encourage you to familiarize yourself with these six steps: 


1. You need to want to stop watching porn. 

2. You have to be willing to try quitting porn a different way. 

3. You need to be brutally honest with another person. 

4. You need to get rid of all your porn. 

5. You also need to block porn from coming in. 

6. You need a friend to help you stay on track. 


Note from the editor: Since 2012, Dr. Weiss’ six essential steps for quitting porn have helped over a million people on their journey away from porn. We’ve had so many comments and follow-up questions on this article that we expanded on the original points to help you understand how to finally quit porn for good. Dr. Weiss’ original thoughts are included in each step.

Step 1: You need to want to stop watching porn.

Man who has resolved to quit porn.

“The first part to quitting porn is you really have to want to quit porn. You need to be sick and tired of porn and the sickness that it causes you in order to quit. If you are not committed, you will only be quitting until the next time you look. Deep inside you have to want to stop.” – Dr. Doug Weiss

Is your porn use really a problem?

If you feel like you’ve got porn under control and you can watch a little bit here and there without any problems, then chances are good that you don’t bother trying to quit. In fact, the most popular advice today will tell you that watching a little porn won’t hurt you. If that’s you, I recommend checking out these articles:

What are the signs of porn addiction?

Are you concerned that someone you love may have a porn addiction? Check out these posts for more help:

Even a little porn can cause problems, but porn addiction can wreak havoc. Here are some common signs that you may have an addiction:

  1. You spend lots of money on porn.
  2. Your porn use has escalated.
  3. You can’t stop thinking about porn.
  4. You experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop.
  5. You take risks, like watching porn at work.

For more, check out this article by licensed therapist Dr. Peter Kleponis, Am I Addicted to Porn?: 6 Symptoms of Porn Addiction.

Do you have a strong reason to quit?

People who quit porn are people who recognized their need to change. For some of us, it takes a life-shaking event, such as getting caught by a spouse. For others, it’s simply the desire for something better than the emptiness of porn.  

You’ve got to understand that it’s a long-term commitment and keep your reasons for quitting in front of you. You’ve got to really want it so you can go on to step 2. 

Understand the benefits of quitting porn.

Try visualizing your life without porn: 

  • Would your marriage be better?  
  • If you’re single, would you feel more confident to pursue a relationship?  
  • Would you find freedom from guilt and shame? 
  • Would you free up wasted time to pursue your dreams?  

Make a giant list of every possible way you will benefit from quitting porn, and then post your top 1-3 reasons somewhere you’ll see it every day. To help you get started, we wrote a blog post on creating a unique list of how you’ll benefit from living porn-free.

When we turn to porn, it’s not always because we like porn itself. Some addicts hate pornography. But we want what porn promises: comfort for our loneliness, pleasure for our eyes, sexual fulfillment, etc. Don’t believe the lies. Porn won’t deliver what it promises you. 

Step 2: You need to be willing to quit porn in a different way.

Woman thinking of a different way to stop watching porn.

“You have to be willing to do things you haven’t done before. Seriously, if you keep trying to quit porn the same way, you’re likely to fail again. To stop for good, you have to give up what you’ve been doing and do what you have to do.” – Dr. Doug Weiss

Identify and manage your porn triggers.

To quit porn, you need to quit whatever it is that triggers you to watch porn. What are your vulnerable moments? Is it a particular TV show? Is it having your laptop and mobile phone next to your bed? Perhaps it’s having a computer/device without accountability software on it. Ask the following questions (better yet, have a close friend or ally ask you): 

  • What was I doing? 
  • What was I thinking?  
  • How was I feeling?  

As you begin to find patterns in your temptation, you’ll need to create a game plan to navigate the vulnerable situations or avoid them altogether. 

Educate yourself on the psychology of porn use.

When we understand the science of what’s happening with porn, it allows us to create a better plan. Learn about brain chemicals and porn.

Step 3: You need to be brutally honest with someone.

“You have to tell someone else about your struggle and desire to get free. This person may be a male friend, your wife, a person of clergy, a life coach, or a 12-step group person.  Somebody has to know the truth about your porn usage for you to get and stay free.” – Dr. Doug Weiss

Porn plays on the power of secrecy and shame to trap people. We feel shame and embarrassment, which make us fearful of reaching out for the help we need. One of the biggest lies of porn is that you’re better off hiding your struggle than admitting to failure.  

Confess your problem to someone.

Maybe you’ve followed the breadcrumbs and learned to recognize some of your triggers. But, you will not be free from your struggle with porn until you open up about it.

Get counseling or therapy.

Seeking professional help may feel scary or shameful. But speaking to a qualified counselor or sex addiction therapist can change your life. An expert will understand the root causes of porn addiction and help you walk through the steps of recovery.

We’ve written a post to help you find a Christian counselor or therapist.

Step 4: You need to get rid of all your porn. 

Image of cleaning a computer to stop porn.

“Next, you have to do what I call “clean house.” You have to get rid of the porn you have. Throw away the discs, magazines, anything you have used as pornography, and make sure to dump and clean out your computer. This is just a start; you have to clean house regularly. ” – Dr. Doug Weiss

In addition to Dr. Weiss’ suggestions, you may want to run a malware scanner and cleaning program. Porn sites are notoriously riddled with malware and adware that can stay with your computer after you delete the porn files and stop going to the websites. Depending on the type of sites you visited in the past (particularly sites that offered free downloads), you may need to take it to a computer repair shop for a professional tune-up.  

Get rid of other triggering content too.

If you want to stop, it makes sense to get rid of your porn. But, you also need to get rid of any other content or media that triggers your porn use or is just unhelpful in your porn recovery journey.

Remember, in Question 2, we talked about identifying your porn triggers. If you identified any media habits that often precede porn use, stop using that type of media—maybe it’s certain music, shows, or social media in general. Just get rid of it. If you want to quit porn, you need to be intentional about all the types of media you consume.

You need to be honest about what’s triggering for you and be sure to put it aside. You may want to involve your ally in the process to help you make tough decisions as well as to keep you on track. You should also cultivate some new habits to help you stay away from porn.

Step 5: You need to block porn from coming back in.

A porn blocker alone won’t be enough to quit porn. But, a porn blocker can play an important role in your porn recovery journey, especially for those early in recovery or those deeply enmeshed in porn. Make it difficult to access porn! Dr. Weiss says:

“The next step is you have to block entry points. This means have a porn blocker and accountability software like Covenant Eyes on your phone, computer at home, and at the office. If you have people sending you compromising emails, block them. Unsubscribe from porn websites. You may have to decide if credit cards are a problem. You know how porn is coming into your life. If you had a gun to your head you could block entry points in a minute.”

Some people will ask someone to hold on to a tempting smartphone or computer for a time until their porn habit is better under control or other protections are in place. As with Step 4, the key here is being honest with yourself and your allies about where porn is coming into your life and then doing whatever it takes to remove access to it.

Too extreme? Remember Steps 1 and 2: How badly do you want to quit, and how willing are you to try something new to keep making progress on the journey?  

Step 6: You need a friend to hold you accountable.

On a difficult journey, the people alongside you can determine your success or failure. And, if you look back over the previous five steps, you can see that you really need accountability for each one to make it stick. Accountability is the glue that holds your plan together.

Remember Step 1? You often need accountability to remind you of your reasons for quitting porn in the first place. Step 2 is about trying something different, and accountability can show you where you’re falling back into the same old patterns that have kept you trapped in porn for so long. Admitting your failures to someone is step 3, which is a critical part of accountability.

If you attempt steps 4 and 5 on your own (get rid of all porn and block new porn from coming in), it’s easy to leave yourself loopholes. When you ask someone to keep you accountable, you’re asking them to help you lock down the loopholes that have always allowed you to slip back into porn.

Since most people access porn on their computers and smartphones, it’s essential to have an accountability app. Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability monitors your devices for porn and sends your partner a report of what you’re looking at on your devices.

Find an ally to keep you accountable for quitting porn.

A trusted friend or mentor can make a great ally. The resources below share helpful info on finding the right ally for you:  

What does accountability look like in quitting porn?

Having Covenant Eyes removes a lot of the ambiguity in your accountability relationship. When you have it on your devices, it removes the secrecy and helps you live honestly and openly with the people you trust the most. This is vital because secrecy and shame are powerful forces that can drive you back to porn.

It’s not enough to download an app. You need to connect regularly with your ally. Accountability often fails when people only meet sporadically. Dr. Weiss and many others advise daily check-ins, and this is especially important in the early stages of quitting porn. (Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability reports go out daily by default). Connecting with your ally could be as simple as replying to a Covenant Eyes report or following up with a text message.

A porn-free life is a better life!

Dr. Weiss adds:

“You have to decide that you are worth living porn free. I decided that almost 25 years ago and just passed a polygraph verifying my freedom. I believe you’re worth it but your behavior will show you if you are. Don’t believe your words. Believe only your behaviors; otherwise, you can be in denial as to your commitment to being porn-free. 

One of the most effective tools I’ve found to quit porn is Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability™. It helps with four of these six essential steps. Not only can it block porn before it gets to you, it also provides a report of your device use to a trusted friend–forcing you to be brutally honest and making it easier than ever for you to have the open and honest relationship needed to beat your porn addiction. 

Remember, you are not the only one being affected if you are married or want to be married. Your spouse is affected by your porn usage. Your children are being affected as well. They deserve your best. You decide. Do they get the porn-drunk you or the porn-free you? I recommend the porn-free you. It’s the better you.”

  1. Cool Post today’s must needed content in this article. The blog clearly describes bad effects of watching porn in mobile and other devices. it is the worldwide problem. There are many apps to avoid watching porn like mobicip.

  2. Little sunshine

    I have read the bad effects of porn , I have read what the pain of porn stars , I have tried my best, I have promised God so many times but …but I can’t stop.

    Somebody help me please , I can’t take it anymore …I hate it , I hate myself , I fucking hate it … I really can’t take it anymore.

    I am hurting people , I am hurting myself , I told my friends but they aren’t encouraging me to stop …. I don’t know what to do ..

    I am sure God hates me so much by now … I am bisexual , I masturbate and even love porn now? I am disgusting…

    Just help me somebody please help me … I don’t know what to do … please please help me .

    • Kay Bruner

      Hey there.

      I suspect that the shame you’re experiencing around your sexuality and your expression of your sexuality has taken on a life of its own at this point. The porn is probably really not the issue. It’s the shame. I know for sure that God does not hate you, and I know for sure that God does not want you to hate yourself. God doesn’t hate you if you masturbate, God doesn’t hate you if you look at porn. God doesn’t hate you if your bisexual or gay. That’s the whole point of unconditional love: it’s unconditional! Our shame is what tells us that we’re unloveable. And so shame is the thing I would focus on. I think you’d do well to find a therapist who can help you process what this shame is all about. (Be sure to choose a therapist who is LGBTQ affirming, who will not shame you for being bisexual, but will affirm your worth as a person, including your sexual orientation.) I think once you aren’t feeling so horrible about yourself, you’ll find that the compulsive need to do things you feel ashamed of–that will diminish. Meet the underlying need, and you won’t need the surface behaviors.

      Peace to you, friend,
      Kay

  3. David Sommer

    I hope and pray I can keep this up: 23 months porn free and 11 months masturbation free but I get worried I’ll go back cause I love acting out and did it for 53 yrs. I know it’s Jesus that does it for me , but worried my flesh will take over. Just saying. Good luck and love you everybody else, masturbation is THE toughest addiction I’ve ever faced.

  4. Owusu George

    I want to stop this act.

  5. CoolGospel

    To be able to quit porn you need to replace it with something, maybe pray, sing or exercise.

    But the ultimate is the Holy Spirit, he can help you quit porn.

    • A

      I totally agree with you

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