Defeat Lust & Pornography
Defeat Lust & Pornography 3 minute read

New Research on Porn Addiction and Accountability

Last Updated: April 18, 2015

by John Y. Lee

I still remember the first time I watched a pornographic video thanks to the Internet—it was an electrifying sensation that I cannot readily forget. That scene was immediately burned into my memory, and as I progressed through my college years I harbored what I thought was a shameful secret. Ironically enough, it was at a seminary, among other Christian leaders-in-training, where I learned that I was not alone. After becoming ordained as a pastor and working at a church as a youth minister for six years, I discovered that this affliction was more widespread than I had thought and painfully difficult to kick.

As I began my studies to become a psychologist and began considering topics for my dissertation, I naturally gravitated toward pornography. I searched the entire literature and was shocked and appalled to find only two empirical studies that evaluated formal treatments for pornography addictions. As a result, I set out to create my own. For my dissertation, I adapted concepts from Motivational Interviewing (MI) and applied it to pornography consumption.

What is Motivational Interviewing?

MI is a collaborative conversation to strengthen a person’s own motivation for and commitment to change. Originally designed for problem drinkers, MI focuses on exploring and resolving a person’s own ambivalence regarding a problem behavior and has been shown to be effective for a variety of conditions. For my dissertation, I created an MI intervention designed to help someone cut down their cyberporn use, and provided personalized feedback that was based on information that the participant submitted. The feedback contained statistics of porn use, calculated the weekly and monthly total number of hours dedicated to watching porn, and described the negative effects associated with viewing porn. The goal of the intervention was to allow individuals to become more aware of the amount of porn they are watching, in addition to informing them of the documented negative effects associated with pornography consumption.

Covenant Eyes graciously agreed to partner with me in this cutting edge research. As part of the research, they offered free of charge their service to randomly selected participants of the study. Other participants were randomly selected to receive the MI intervention, and still others were given both. To serve as a control, other participants were placed on a wait-list where they did not initially receive either Covenant Eyes or the MI, but eventually were given the option of receiving both interventions. All participants were asked to complete an initial survey that questions, such as the number of times porn was viewed in the previous four weeks. They were then given either CE or MI, and after a four-week period were asked how many times after receiving an intervention had they viewed porn.

Results of the Study

The results were promising! Individuals who received the MI intervention reported a 39% decrease in number of times porn was viewed (or relapse episodes), and individuals who received CE as their intervention reported a 44% decrease. Individuals who received both MI and CE reported a 66% decrease in relapse episodes in the four weeks after receiving the interventions, compared to the four weeks prior to entering the research study. Although the results are not statistically significant, they provide some profound implications regarding treatment of excessive pornography use.

First, not only can both CE and MI be effective in reducing the frequency of pornography use, many participants in the study were able to completely eliminate porn use after entering the study and reported zero relapse episodes! Second, CE and MI, when used together, appear to contain much promise in helping people really make a change in their pornography use patterns. Finally, another important finding was regarding the role of perceived confidence of one’s own ability to cease looking at porn. Participants entering the study reported low levels of confidence in ceasing porn use, but after participating in the study and generally experiencing some success in decreasing porn use, confidence levels rose dramatically (and statistically significantly).

A key to helping people who are having trouble decreasing their porn use might be raising their confidence (high motivation and believing that it is important to stop using porn does not seem to be enough to quit). Also, this research suggests that recruiting the support of friends or family members and having full online accountability (such as through the services of CE) is an effective tool against porn.

Do not dismay! Help is definitely possible if you are willing to allow others to assist you in this battlethis is one fight that does not have to done alone.

If you would like more information regarding this research, please contact me at jawnwily@gmail.com.

  1. franbear

    thanks

  2. This looks like excellent research! I was addicted to pornography for years and with the help of God and some outside motivation similar to what you’re doing here, I have been free for two years now. Thanks for what you guys are doing with this site; I ran across it today and it looks like a great resource. I recently started a blog I intend to use for open discussion and support for porn addicts, as well as to share my own testimony and insights. If you don’t mind I am going to link to your site from my blog, and if anyone wants to share their story or just shout out a prayer request or question, they can visit my site at pornomore.wordpress.com.
    GOD BLESS YOU ALL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related in Defeat Lust & Pornography

Editor's Picks

A teenage girl alone at night on her phone.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

I Clicked on a Link

Living with integrity in this world is quite difficult because our culture…

3 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

A solitary man on a scenic hike.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

My Journey and Liberation from Pornography

Many men and women struggle nowadays with addiction to pornography. Almost all…

3 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

A young man with his friends.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

Transparency: Tough But Always Worth It

Whether I care to admit it or not, porn is a big…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Young man wearing a hoodie praying.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

From Hopeless Addict to Follower of Christ

The journey I have embarked on to quit porn has been long…

2 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

A young man looking into the distance.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

All You Need for Quitting Porn (And for Everything Else)

What do you need to quit porn? 2 Peter 1:3 says “[God’s]…

6 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Silhouette of a young engaged couple.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

How I Found Freedom From the Binge and Purge Cycle of Porn

Since the age of 11 years old, I have struggled with pornography…

4 minute read

Read Post

Related in Defeat Lust & Pornography

A teenage girl alone at night on her phone.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

I Clicked on a Link

Living with integrity in this world is quite difficult because our culture…

Living with integrity in this world is quite difficult because our culture is so against it, but as a Christian God has called me to be different, and striving for integrity plays a key role…

3 minute read

0 comments

A solitary man on a scenic hike.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

My Journey and Liberation from Pornography

Many men and women struggle nowadays with addiction to pornography. Almost all…

Many men and women struggle nowadays with addiction to pornography. Almost all were exposed at a young age through no fault of their own and now seek liberation from pornography addiction. I was one of…

3 minute read

0 comments

A young man with his friends.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

Transparency: Tough But Always Worth It

Whether I care to admit it or not, porn is a big…

Whether I care to admit it or not, porn is a big part of my life. It seems shameful, but that’s the reality I live in, for better or worse. I have learned many lessons…

4 minute read

0 comments

Young man wearing a hoodie praying.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

From Hopeless Addict to Follower of Christ

The journey I have embarked on to quit porn has been long…

The journey I have embarked on to quit porn has been long and arduous. In fact, I don’t think it’s over. Covenant Eyes has been a significant part in helping me overcome my addictions and…

2 minute read

0 comments

A young man looking into the distance.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

All You Need for Quitting Porn (And for Everything Else)

What do you need to quit porn? 2 Peter 1:3 says “[God’s]…

What do you need to quit porn? 2 Peter 1:3 says “[God’s] divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” That’s a verse that makes me pause for a minute, especially…

6 minute read

0 comments

Silhouette of a young engaged couple.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

How I Found Freedom From the Binge and Purge Cycle of Porn

Since the age of 11 years old, I have struggled with pornography…

Since the age of 11 years old, I have struggled with pornography and purity. I Was Trapped in a “Binge and Purge” Cycle I can still vividly remember the day that my innocence was stripped…

4 minute read

0 comments