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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. Ifeanyi

    hey
    Have been watch porn for like 10 years, and it really killing me slowing, I tried so many time, read many books just stop masturbeting and stop doing those act, it becomes harder for me everyday, I can’t stay in one week without watching porn,
    I becomes frustrated and depress after the act, I becomes guilty of everything. I believe God almighty can deliver me, my faith is weak now, I release that I can’t stop this dimonish act on my own. Plz pray for me.

    • Samantha Groll

      Hi there,
      We are alwayshappy to pray for anyone who needs it!

      I feel like it’s important to tell you that you are not alone. Your struggle is felt by many, many others, and you can overcome this! The first step is always admitting that there is an issue. We have a TON of resources to help you through this process, and judging by what you have told us, I think this might be a great place for you to start.

      Good luck on your journey. We are rooting (and praying) for you!

      Samantha

  2. Junior

    Am so young but am now siriously addicted to sex but please if you are in the same problem this is what you have to do pick up a photo of the almighty God. look at the picture for a moment and say I belong to Jesus but not porns do it every time you feel to watch it after off your phone and try to watch something funny. I was in the same problem but now am free because of God pls do it not for your self but the almighty thank you for trying/doing it

  3. Indeed this quite impressive. Leaving and overcoming the addiction of pornography is not only a physical effort but equally spiritual.

    This article really delves deep and provides really good information.

    I just want to say a big thank you for putting time and effort in publishing this.

    God bless you.

  4. Tina

    Hi,
    after reading the comments I feel determined to stop. I started masturbating at the young age of 12 and watching porn at 17 . I wasn’t serious on quitting and didn’t know it was an addiction until I tried to stop. Am 22 now and still struggling. I have tried to stop several times can go weeks and even months without watching porn but then the urge become so strong I eventually give in. I have also tried installing an anti porn app and praying about it and for a while I find the strength to overcome it but not for long. I seriously need help, this addiction makes me depressed and is affecting my goals and my relationship with God. I feel so ashamed to talk about it with someone, and afraid of being judged. Any advice or suggestions on how to defeat this add would be extremely helpful , God bless you .

    • Moriah Bowman

      Hi Tina,

      Thank you for your honesty! Expressing your desire to be free is the first step towards recovery! I know that it can be scary to talk about your addiction with someone else, but doing so will lift a huge weight off of your shoulders! Do you have a close friend or mentor whom you can talk to?

      Remember, you are not alone in this. Addictions can make us feel like we are the only ones struggling, but in reality, that could not be farther from the truth. We all struggle with sin, and we need to have that human accountability. If you do decide to talk to someone about this, I would encourage you to read this article first!

      Blessings,
      Moriah

  5. E.E.E.

    I also have this problem of quiting, only to return it. Any help? Please, i’m afraid of the effect. I’m in need of new options.

    • Moriah Bowman

      Hi friend,

      Thank you for reaching out and asking for help. Are you using Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability? If not, I highly recommend that you find an ally (a trusted friend) who can use this software with you and hold you accountable.

      I would also encourage you to look into joining an online recovery group! Pure Desire has some great options. Ultimately, cling to God as you seek recovery. He is the Master Healer, and in him we find ultimate freedom!
      Blessings,
      Moriah

  6. Eghe

    Hey
    Am a guy I just turned 17
    And am addicted to pornography
    WOW CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST SAID THAT
    but to be honest am sick and tired of it I want to stop but don’t know how to. I just woke up God has countlessly showed me his love. I just can’t keep betraying him. PLEASE I NEED HELP AND GUIDANCE.
    the addiction is over 6 years and am sick of it PLEASE HELP

    • Moriah Bowman

      Eghe,

      Praise God that you desire to be free from this addiction! For many, admitting to this struggle seems impossible, but you have done just that! I commend you.

      Do you have a close friend, mentor, or church leader whom you can reach out to and ask for prayer and accountability? Overcoming any addiction is incredibly difficult to do on your own. But, having an ally to check in on you daily and ask how you are doing (and, pray for you!) makes a huge difference. You can also use Screen Accountability with them, which will hold you accountable do what you do online.

      I would also encourage you to look into recovery groups! Check out Pure Desire for current groups that you can join online. Above all, be fervent in prayer and Scripture! Cling to God in times of weakness and strength! You CAN overcome this.
      Praying for you!
      Moriah

  7. Laura

    I totally understand your pain 😭😭 but so far im doing good I stop like 2 weeks and it’s be working really I’m a girl too btw

    • Moriah Bowman

      Laura,

      Two weeks is amazing! Overcoming addiction is not easy, and I am so encouraged to hear that you have been free for 2 weeks! Keep fighting!

      Blessings,
      Moriah

  8. Bright

    Hello
    I am a girl and in my early twenties
    I just discovered this article today
    The truth is, I have been addicted to porn for about 7 years now, and for these 7 years I’ve been trying to quit watching porn but i have been unable to stop……i have really cried to God countless number of times to forgive me
    I even doubt if God can ever forgive…….I feel like I’ve exceeded my limit, i feel like I have taken his mercy for granted…..i always feel terrible anytime I watch it but i can’t control that urge anytime it comes……..I feel like I am really far from my lord.
    Anytime I go to church or even pray i feel like I am not worthy to do so, it looks like I have lost that chance
    I really feel guilty. Anytime i want to talk to someone about it i feel they are not trustworthy, like they are going to mock me
    I am fed up i don’t know what to do anymore.
    But this time around i really want to quit

    • Moriah Bowman

      Bright,

      1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
      Note that it does not say that there is a limit to God’s forgiveness! We are all sinners, and we will need God’s forgiveness until we take our last breath someday. So, you want to quit porn. Keep praying and asking God for the strength to turn from porn and rely on God as your ultimate source of joy and satisfaction.

      I would also encourage you to talk to someone about your struggles! We all sin; do not feel ashamed to step forward and ask for someone to walk alongside you and pray for you.

      I am praying for you!
      Blessings,
      Moriah

  9. Hi i am miracle, am really struggling with porn addiction.i first started watching porn since 2011 and through all those while i haven’t looked back. the more i tried to persuade myself to quit it and stay farther away from it,the most it seems very complicating for me to overcome it.i have tried all in my effort and even prayed and begged God.please i really need your help on this because it been acfecting my mind, not to concentrate and also forget things easily at work and at home.

    • Moriah Bowman

      Miracle,

      Please be encouraged to know that you are not alone in this. Overcoming addiction is not easy for anyone. Keep clinging to God for strength and hope. I also want to encourage you to reach out to a friend, leader, or mentor who can walk alongside you in this and pray for you! On our own, overcoming sin is incredibly difficult, so it is important to have an ally.

      I am praying for you! Keep fighting, friend.
      Blessings,
      Moriah

  10. i really appreciate moriah for your advice and i believe in God that He is going to help me out through this struggle

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