5 Reasons to Stop Using Porn…Now

woman covering eyesNow and then, I see pornography statistics in one source or another — the percentage of people using porn, the amount of money spent, the number of hours consumed, and more. Although I’ve long recognized porn as a huge problem, the stats never fail to surprise me in some way.

Maybe it’s how young people are when exposed. Maybe it’s how much free porn is now available online. Maybe it’s the percentage of people who believe porn is a morally acceptable practice.

Why exactly am I surprised? Because the damage is so clear for anyone willing to look at statistics, studies, and marriages impacted by porn. If you’re using pornography, it’s time to stop. Here are just five reasons why:

1. It messes with your brain. There is absolutely no doubt that watching pornography alters your brain function. Brain research and measurable outcomes are clear. Viewing porn retrains your brain to see sexual imagery as the main way to achieve sexual pleasure, to desire greater and greater variety and even cruelty as part of the experience, and to objectify potential partners.

Strong effects are seen with as little five hours per week. Unfortunately, some view five hours in an afternoon. If you really want to know how pornography is messing with your brain, check out Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain by William M. Struthers, Your Brain on Porn (free ebook from Covenant Eyes), and/or this TED Talk: The Great Porn Experiment by Gary Wilson.

2. It makes real sex less satisfying. I cringe every time some secular “expert” suggests a couple watch pornography to kick-start their sexual intimacy. Because the real data show a very different result. Those who engage in pornography tend to miss out on the more meaningful and fulfilling experience of sexual pleasure with their mate.

Pornography focuses on imagery and the physical aspect of sex, and it contains many myths about sex. Users, therefore, become less satisfied with the real thing — expecting sex to look like what they see on screen (or read). Their disappointment can lead to seeking greater and greater highs, all the while missing that true sexual fulfillment isn’t all about increasing your physical pleasure quota. Rather, sex involves a real person (your spouse); includes mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects; and satisfies when it represents a commitment and relational intimacy.

3. It encourages abuse. If you’re viewing porn, you need to think very carefully about how your consumer habits influence those who put out the product. A lot of abuse occurs in the porn industry, and our societal support has a detrimental effect on those involved. Think of it this way: If a lot people attend cock fights, more roosters will fight and die (one reason it’s illegal here). Likewise, the more people who watch porn, the more porn actors will be injured, contract sexual diseases, and take drugs to numb their senses. (See Why Do Women Pose for Porn?)

Plus, the prevalence of minors being used for porn imagery has greatly increased. Make no mistake: The increasing demand for porn will be met in part by kids under age 18. Sex traffickers are more than willing to use their victims for pornography. I believe the vast majority of people would cringe at the idea of involving children in the making of porn, but it happens whether the larger population is aware or not, because of high demand and ease of anonymity.

4. It dishonors your spouse. I was once in a wives’ prayer group in which one woman claimed her husband’s pornography habit didn’t bother her because “that’s what men do.” But you could tell that it did bother her, that her husband constantly looking at other women sexually conveyed a message — a message that she wasn’t enough. Just sitting here thinking about her, my heart aches.

When you gaze longingly, lustfully, sexually at others, you dishonor your spouse. You send a message that they aren’t enough to arouse and satisfy your sexual desire. I’m not talking about a stray thought of a gorgeous person passing you by on the street, but the dwelling of your mind on someone else and using that to titillate your sex drive. Porn is definitely in the category of allowing someone besides your spouse to arouse you sexually. And what does that communicate to him or her?

Frankly, most of us have enough built-in insecurities that having to compete for attention with a porn star is a big ol’ slap-in-the-face. Spouses should be reassuring of their focus and love and commitment to one another, and one another alone. There’s a reason why the song “I Only Have Eyes for You” hit the top Billboard charts three different times. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your marriage partner had this attitude?

You are here and so am I
Maybe millions of people go by
But they all disappear from view
And I only have eyes for you

5. It is a sin. If we go looking for a commandment that simply says, “Thou Shalt Not View Pornography,” you’d be right to say there is no such thing. But short of an outright statement like that, the Bible can’t get much clearer that pornography is not God’s intention for sexuality. So let’s take an honest, no-excuses approach to whether porn is sinful.

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. For what is our lot from God above, our heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong? Does he not see my ways and count my every step?” Job 31:1-4

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5

That’s just a sampling. Moreover, many scriptures talk about guarding our hearts and our minds, so we remained focused on the things of God. Yes, the “things of God” include sex — with your spouse as He designed. But involving a third party, even in the form of an image, detours from His path. Pornography is simply wrong.

Let me add that many people approach this subject with a “what can I get away with?” attitude — wanting to know how far they can go before crossing some imaginary line. The better question is: How can I honor God with my sexuality? Then seek that higher goal.

That’s five reasons why pornography needs to get off your computer or other device and out of your life. There is a better way. Do what’s necessary to seek that better way.

What negative impact has porn had in your marriage and your life? What other reasons can you name to stop using porn?

15 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Stop Using Porn…Now

  1. Tamara

    I agree with your post. Porn damaged my marriage but it did not wreck it completely. We have since left it alone and things between us are much better. One of the many problems with porn is that we become immune to it and we need to see more and more explicit demonstrations. The other problem is you cannot erase it from your brain. Years later I can still bring up the images in my mind. With God’s help I am learning to let it go and send it packing when it comes up.

    1. J Post author

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Tamara. I’m glad you’ve gotten out of that. I pray that over time, as you retrain your mind, those images will fade more and more.

    1. J Post author

      Hmmm. Honestly, I’d like to see more studies done. Because I’ve read quite a bit at variance with this study. That said, I don’t actually buy into sexual addiction theory. I think it’s more like conditioning quite frankly. But somehow, still — and maybe this is my Christian bias speaking — I feel this stuff cannot be good for your mind. God seems pretty concerned about what we dwell on. Now I’m wondering just how deep the effects go. Thanks for the article, though! And especially for your work as a Christian counselor. Blessings!

    2. Barbara Brown

      You sir are absolutely wrong. Porn DOES mess with your brain and it re-programs it and it is hard, very hard, to un-do it. You need to read Pure Desire by Ted Roberts.

  2. Larry B

    Tamara’s comment tells of an increasing tolerance to porn that requires ever more explicit scenes or acts to achieve the same feeling of stimulation for users. This is similar to what people addicted to alcohol and drugs experience, and compulsive gamblers. They need heavier dosages to get the same “high”. I think I have heard that there are now groups to help individuals who are addicted to porn, or who cannot break the habit of using it.

    Porn and sexual promiscuity (which is promoted in porn) are harmful for many reasons. One way they harm people is by selling the idea that it is okay to separate sex from love and commitment. One might say this dehumanizes sex – when there is no emotional feeling for, nor commitment to, the other person. These also cheapen and distort what is meant to be very special – sexual intimacy.

    In my opinion, porn is part of the problem but also is a symptom of another, larger problem in our society. Our society seems fixated on or obsessed with sex. When standing in line at the check out in the super market what does one see? Racks of popular, widely read magazines that on their covers frequently hype “sexual secrets” or “sex tips”. What does one see on TV? Constant sexual innuendos, crude jokes, etc. that serve to lessen one’s respect for sex in its proper context (of a loving marriage). (For some years now, I have not watched much TV and do not miss it.) There is much talk of sex, at times very explicit, in some forms of modern music. One wonders about this societal preoccupation with sex.

    Yes, J, it is very disturbing that our children are exposed to this cultural obsession with sex (including porn)
    at such a young age. Young children are very impressionable and also very vulnerable. Parents need to play an active AND ongoing role here to help protect their children, and to instruct them in the value of sexual intimacy within a loving marriage. Peer pressure notwithstanding, parents still have a strong influence with their children when they (parents) make the effort.

  3. Delia

    So true! And I want to say to every man or woman involved in porn: make it stop because it will ruin your relation. My husband ‘did’ porn for years, I knew it but was so embarassed about it that I did ignore it and acted like it was not happening. We looked like a happy couple and we thought so too, but we weren’t! The anger ruined me inside without knowing. Iiked attention from other men and I had an affair. I regretted and told my husband. I also immediately confronted him with bad habbit. In that night we began a long journey with ups and downs. We did THE Marriage Course and got to know each other totally, finally after 17 years together. The porn addiction was completely over. With the great help of God we survived an affair and porn addiction an now we are the happiest couple on earth

    1. J Post author

      Bless you for this testimony! I’m so glad for your marriage.

      “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Thanks for being willing to tell your story in hopes of helping others.

  4. Sharon Mavis

    The porn user is both the abuser and the abused. As the abuser he needs to understand how he is part of a complex evil that wounds people deeply. As the abused, he needs our compassion and support to escape the clutches.

    1. J Post author

      Interesting take. Especially since the men I’ve known with deep pornography problems were exposed to completely inappropriate material as kids, a terrible thing to do to an innocent child. I wish we could pull everyone out of this madness.

  5. KR

    This issue has plagued my marriage for years, causing a distance that we didn’t know how to combat. We have an otherwise strong Christian marriage, but my husband was raised to think this desire for porn images was just part of being a man. I have a background of abuse which unfortunately has limited my sexual expression. Through your blog, we’ve been able to address these issues and have made great strides. I shared this recent article with my husband and it opened his eyes. While he has significantly curtailed his viewing, it was out of respect for my views and not any true feeling of “wrong”. The different reasons for abandoning porn listed in your article made it more meaningful to him. It helped me to see it as his addiction/problem an not equate it to any inadequacies on my part. You other articles have also helped me to “loosen up” and let go of the past. We’re working on the same page now and growing closer. Thank you fir encouraging your followers to broach this matter with open, honest, loving communication.

    1. J Post author

      I’m so glad. It’s wonderful that you are still communicating about it and trying to make progress. I pray that he can focus all of his sexual energy on YOU. Many blessings!

Comments are closed.