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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. Tabby

    Hello am tabby I’m really addicted to pornography and this was triggered when I was undergoing a very mild depression after my mum passed away. Am still a teenager i really need help. I will appreciate if I find a friend who can help me though this struggle. I really need counseling.

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Tabby,

      Thank you for reaching out! I commend you for your honesty and desire to change. If you are struggling to find a friend to help you through this struggle, I want to encourage you to start with prayer! Ask God for wisdom and strength to help you walk the road of recovery, whether it’s on your own or with a friend. If you are able, counseling is also an excellent next step, in addition to using Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability.

      I am praying for you!
      Moriah

  2. David

    Yes me too ,I have try different ways to stop watching porn but I can’t, plz who can help me out please

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Hi David,

      First, pray! Ask God to guide you towards freedom. Then, reach out to others for accountability. This can be a friend, relative, church leader, mentor—anyone whom you trust to walk with you and live with integrity. Finally, if you’re not using Covenant Eyes, use it! You and your ally (accountability partner) can even use it together.

      Ultimately, cling to Chris as you seek freedom. I am praying for you!
      Moriah

  3. For anyone under the yoke, never thought you can fight alone. You have to seek help. Discuss with someone you trust and you know he/she have the capacity to help. Until you are delivered, you are not free. Thanks for the post.

  4. Danny M

    I need help to stop watching online porn

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Hi Danny,

      Thank you for your honesty. It is commendable—truly! Are you using Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability? If not, I would highly recommend that you start there. I would also encourage you to find a trusted friend or mentor to help keep you accountable. We certainly cannot fight addiction alone, which is why accountability is such a huge part of our work here at Covenant Eyes.

      And, pray! Ask God for wisdom and strength to fight off temptation.
      Blessings!
      Moriah

  5. Joseph

    I was sexually molested when I was little, since then I’ve been addicted to watching porn, now am 26. . Although I pray against it when I go to church and even at home.. But some times the urge keeps coming back… Please what can I do to stop it permanently

    • Kay Bruner

      Hey Joseph,
      I’m a therapist, and in my opinion, you probably need trauma-informed therapy to help heal the wounds of the past so that you can make healthier choices in the present. I’ll give you a link to the Psychology Today therapist finder, where you can search via your zip code, and then filter your local search for therapists using a trauma-informed approach.
      I hope that helps, Kay

    • Stevenson

      I am so closed to everybody but still, I feel this loneliness inside me. I gave my life to Christ and became committed. I hated porn cuz I was a victim of it. Few months passed I thought I had breakthrough, but here I am still eating from my vomits I want my Jesus back.. I can’t even pray. I feel so guilty. Please what can I do to stop this completely.

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Stevenson,

      Many of those addicted to porn feel immense shame and guilt. This is normal! However, like all sin, porn is something that we CAN overcome by the power of God. I would encourage you to first turn to God and pray. Ask him for the strength and heart to overcome this addiction. Secondly, turn to others for accountability. Whether it be a church leader, friend, relative, counselor, etc. Thirdly, use Covenant Eyes! Our Screen Accountability will help you to stay accountable to both your online AND offline activity. It’s an incredible tool that has helped so many people in their recovery plan.

      Blessings to you, friend!
      Moriah

  6. I dont want to share

    I dont watch porn during working days but out of nowhere during weekends i just simply start watching porn and really I feel bad from inside and guilty that I cannot go more than 5 days. I dont know what to do ?

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Hi friend!

      Are you using Covenant Eyes? Our Screen Accountability software monitors your computer, phone, laptop, etc. and holds you accountable to what you are watching both online and offline. This has been an excellent tool to help SO many people overcome their addiction to pornography.

      Blessings,
      Moriah

  7. Jerry

    I am also addicted to porn but I don’t know how to quit anytime I watch it I get wet an I ask for forgiveness but after 2weeks I find my self in it again
    pls I need help on how to stop it finally

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Jerry,

      I want to commend you for reaching out and asking for help! This is no easy thing to do, but you are acknowledging your struggles and humbly admitting your need for recovery. Praise God for that!

      If you have anyone in your life whom you can trust (a spouse, friend, relative, mentor, counselor, church leader), I would first encourage you to share your struggles with them and ask them to hold you accountable in this path towards recovery. I would also recommend that you download Covenant Eyes onto all of your technology devices. This software will capture and monitor your device activity, including any porn that you are watching. It will report this activity to an ally you have chosen. Through this form of accountability, you can work to overcome this addiction.

      And ultimately, turn to God in repentance and ask him to change your heart. He is our Healer!
      Blessings,
      Moriah

  8. Sam

    Praise God to Holy Heaven, I have been delivered from a lifetime of porn addiction! I am also an alcoholic, 23 years sober, and my deliverance from porn is more amazing to me than my delivery from alcoholism. I showed God that I was willing to be free by keeping current on my porn usage with my priest at church, coming to confession week after week, and he told me, “Don’t feel bad, there are many, many men coming to me with this problem.” I was in my 8th relationship since my divorce in 1992, and hoped that this lady would be “the one,” and someday be my wife. But God just set me up for release from my addiction. She broke up with me, and this brought me to my knees. I have been on them ever since, making time to spend with God every single day without fail. The minute she broke up with me, (she didn’t know about my porn addiction) I knew what it was about as far as God was concerned: the porn addiction. And amazingly, miraculously, the intense emotional pain I felt over this breakup snapped the porn addiction and I have been free ever since. It has also broken me free from “relationship addiction,” and now I do NOT have to have a girlfriend in order to “be Ok” in this world. My primary relationship is with God, and if he wants to bring me someone else someday, fine, Ok with me. But if he does not, that’s Ok too. I am delivered from a host of demons, and so very thankful. I hope this note will be read by guys who are in the throws if this addiction and it will be helpful to them. Thanks to God!

    • Sam

      This is Sam again, just wanted to add: By the way I am NOT resisting temptation to look at porn. The temptation has been completely lifted, I feel no urge whatsoever, so that knawing urge that oppressed me for so long has been taken completely away. I want guys out there to have hope that they can be set free as I have been. When I think that I have not had the slightest urge to look at porn for the past 4 and a half years, I am absolutely amazed!

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Sam,

      Wow! Thank you for sharing your story. Praise God that he has freed you from the grasp of addiction and brought you closer to Him. May you continue to fight the good fight and cling to God as your only source of contentment.
      Blessings,
      Moriah

  9. Alright
    Anybody here, please I need help
    I’ve been looking/watching porn since I was tender and recently I found myself masturbating
    I’m tired, to be honest, but whenever I try stopping it after two days, boom I see myself going back to it.
    I’m tired.
    Anyone here? I need help please 🙏 🙏

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Caterlyst,

      You are not alone in this fight! If anything, this blog and the thousands of comments that have been posted are proof that others struggle with pornography addiction. So, do not give up hope! If you have a friend, relative, church leader, or really anyone whom you can trust, ask them to hold you accountable and be an ally in your fight to end this addiction. Also, I would highly recommend that you download Covenant Eyes and start using it to be accountable to your technology usage. An ally will be able to help you with this as well!

      Blessings,
      Moriah

  10. I need a friend to help me out of watching porn.

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Hi friend,

      First, I want to thank you for admitting that you need help! That is the first step towards recovery! If you don’t have a friend that you can trust to hold you accountable, I’d like to recommend a church leader, relative, spouse, or co-worker. I guess what I’m saying is that you have anyone whom you trust to be your ally and help you use Covenant Eyes, ask them for help! This is a battle that you cannot fight alone.

      Blessings,
      Moriah

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