how to quit porn

How to Quit Porn

Several months ago, a video went viral regarding pornography from an unlikely source. Comedian Russell Brand discussed his battle with porn, the negative effect it has had in his life, and his desire to have it out of his life. First, he shares his belief that: “Our attitudes toward sex have become warped and perverted and have deviated from its true function as an expression of love and a means for procreating.” He goes on to personally confess, “[Porn] is something I haven’t been able to make a long-term commitment to not looking at, it’s affected my ability to relate to women”.

A study by one of the top neuroscientists, Valerie Voon, from Cambridge University may explain the reason. The June 2014 study revealed that compulsive porn watchers experience the same reactions in the brain as addicted drug users. Can the effects of porn on the brain be reversed? Is there hope in quitting? The answer to both of those questions is Yes. Here is a game plan for how to quit porn.

Face the Truth

You need to admit your porn watching to someone. If you are married, I highly recommend telling your spouse if they don’t know, even if it causes hurt feelings. Secrets keep us enslaved. When secrets are brought into the light of day, the ugliness is exposed. Face it and own it. This is the first step towards being free.

Breaking the Cycle

When porn is viewed, neurotransmitters called dopamine flood the brain (similar to heroin use). When the doses are too high, as is the case with habitual porn viewing, the brain adjusts to restore balance by reducing the amount of dopamine available. This causes a decreasing amount of pleasure experienced. So we need to consume larger amounts of porn and potentially more graphic images to receive the pleasure we had before. Lower dopamine levels can make us feel depressed, causing us to go back to porn to stimulate more. It is a cycle. The good news is that when we quit watching porn, the brain readjusts and corrects its dopamine levels. It’s simply a matter of breaking the cycle by not feeding the appetite. In time, the appetite will decline by not feeding it. The most difficult days are in the beginning. It will gradually get better. There are support centers that do week long intensives that are great at beginning the process.

Group Support and Encouragement

You can’t do this alone. The great news is that you’re not alone. Find a group of like-minded people that you can meet with regularly and be completely honest. Make sure it is a group that is high on accountability and encouragement. Find people that will be real with you and pray with you about it. Perform a search of porn addiction support groups or seek out churches with programs in your area. Another alternative or preferably done in conjunction with a support group is one-on-one counseling. They can give specific coping techniques when the urges come calling, act as another level of accountability, and uncover unseen triggers.

The Choice for More

The key to a full life is found in relationships. Porn alienates us from one another and causes relational difficulty. It trains our brains to live in a fantasy world, rather than connect with real human beings. Selfishness is nurtured because porn is instant gratification at the expense of people getting dehumanized. That leads to guilt, loneliness, and isolation. It is a short-term exhilaration with a long-term lower quality of life. Intimacy takes effort, patience, and investment, but the reward is abundance. Relational intimacy refines selflessness and our ability to love. Quitting porn is a choice for more. Commit to that choice every morning, every hour, and every evening. [Tweet This]

Sound Off

Have you ever tried to quit watching porn and couldn't?

BJ Foster

BJ Foster is the Director of Content Creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.

  • Brian N

    Such a strong topic…what would be considered an “addiction?”

    • Addiction- you want to stop but can’t. That’s my laymen’s definition.

      Porn is interesting because there are different levels of use. Some use compulsively, daily while some use weekly or even monthly or go months in between. But if you want to never do it and you keep going back, you’re addicted, IMO.

  • Nathan Andrew Warden

    The art of manliness has an excellent article that goes a little more into depth check it out here: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/10/09/how-to-quit-porn/

  • CJ

    If you are committed to change, then the best way is to get involved in an in-depth men’s group. Last year, I joined the Pure Desires series called the “7 Pillars.” It is a year-plus group of men that I get together with on a weekly basis and we hold each other accountable throughout the week. It is a 2- to 5-year process to change your brain and transform. I have been in this group for nearly a year now and we are only halfway through our workbook. You must be transparent and really let God heal you to get past this addiction if you ever want a truly healthy relationship with God, your wife, your kids and the opposite sex. You can find more about this program at http://www.conquerseries.com/. It is truly the best program out there if you are committed to changing your life!

  • Reigning Champions Book

    I am living proof that there is hope for overcoming the trap of lust addiction. You can read my story and find God’s help by following this link to my book… https://www.google.com/#q=Reigning+Champions+by+Joel+Ishler

  • Joe Y.

    If you’re looking for group support this is a great forum. People with all kinds of sexual addictions talk about how they’re dealing with it and ways that they’ve succeeded or failed. It’s not a Christian forum, but it is helpful, and most importantly it will remind you that you aren’t alone in your struggle.

    http://www.yourbrainrebalanced.com/

  • Our goal must be to overcome lust, not just to quit using porn:
    http://www.overcoming-lust.com/articles/understanding-lust/

    • Paul_Sp

      Agreed!

  • Paul_Sp

    “Huddle up with your group of guys and ask them to hold you accountable.”
    Would like to….but alas, no group of guys found.
    “The key to a full life is found in relationships.”
    Agreed….that too is hard to make happen.

    • Paul, I have thought and struggled the same way for years. Here’s my experience: It wasn’t until the very beginning of this year that I found a group of men that are keeping me accountable. I found that the more I reached out, there were more people willing to help. I personally found a Celebrate Recovery group along with a few others friends. The nature of this issue is to keep you in isolation and not let you find a support system. One of the other things I have found is that is common for many of the men struggling in this area to not have many close guy connections. And and many cases to not have many close connections at all. I encourage you to keep trying. Make it a daily committment to find or build accountability for yourself.

      • Paul_Sp

        I don’t have many close guy connections for sure. Most guys I know aren’t interested in that, only in guy talk, playing sports, etc, certainly no hanging out that leads to a close enough friendship where accountability could work.
        Or, because I’m single, they aren’t as interested in being a friend if they’re married.
        I actually do have a couple of very close female friends that help me stay accountable, and do a very good job of it, better than any man I know.

        • Bill Collins

          Why are you single?

          • Paul_Sp

            And how is this relevant?

            Friend, how about you answer the questions I asked you hours ago, on this topic, first.

          • Bill Collins

            Because it might play a part in your desire for porn, and why you are not getting satisfaction. I think you mentioned your porn addiction, on the other article?

            I replied to several of your questions on the other article

          • Paul_Sp

            I don’t have a desire for porn, nor have I a porn addiction. When I briefly checked it out years ago, found it rather ridiculous and too much like what I imagine voyeurism would be.
            Have no interest in watching others have sex, or fondling themselves, whatever.
            IF I were going to be sexually unrestrained, it would be with live women, not crap on a screen.

            But I have beliefs based on morality that gives me inner peace and strength, and am satisfied without needing sex.
            If I had a woman I loved and was in an exclusive committed relationship with, I’m sure things would be different.

            Thank you for replying to my previous questions.

  • Eric James

    Thanks for writing this article! I recently joined a group using the “Conquer Series: Battle Plan for Purity.” You guys should check it out to help with this addiction. I’ve never heard the information before. Watch a preview here: http://www.conquerseries.com

  • And take it one day at a time. I have learned that God gives me grace for TODAY…I can make all the plans and declarations I want but I am forced to live my life one day, and one decision at a time. He is there in the daily struggle offering victory if we’ll just take it. I am 14 years porn free this September by the grace of God alone. He’s been with me day in and day out – He’s never left!

  • Gary Moreau

    I have not sought group support. I agree the battle is one day at a time, and do not celebrate victories too long else I fail. The main problems for me are making better choices mostly late at night when bored – such as prayer, Bible and exercise. Also how to handle it when my post menopausal wife has no sexual attraction to me. Solution – I cannot solve this but Jesus can. Turn to Him and give this problem away. Also give your marriage to Jesus then see what He does with it.

    • CB

      Hey Gary, I am praying that God will help you to lose any desire that you have for porn. I also pray that God will help to change your wifes heart and that you two will grow together in God’s love. Stay strong and keep fighting the battle!

    • Andrew Mayer

      Hey Gary,

      I just wanted to say that you’re not alone in this! It sounds like you’ve got the right perspective (trusting that even though you can’t solve this on your own that Jesus can). Keep holding to this perspective, even when it seems challenging. I know as a random guy on the internet, my opinion won’t be as significant as the opinion of someone else who’s already a part of your life, but I hope this is encouraging! Keep fighting, Gary!

    • Lauren

      Praying for you brother! Thank you for sharing. It’s so encouraging that you are looking to Christ.

  • Abe Butbush

    The only worthwhile factor mentioned in this article is the possible reduction in dopamine response, which is not clinically/scientifically supported. Porn doesn’t increase sexual aggression, probably quite to the contrary. Porn, like any fictional narrative, can influence one’s view of reality, including relations with other people. So can watching too many cartoons.

    I vehemently disagree with “admitting it” other than to yourself. It can be taken as infidelity, and infidelity is rarely is ever, really forgiven.

    Learning about and being sensitive to female sexual response is interesting, and can help you help women achieve orgasm, if not in direct physical contact with you, then with the thought of you after you have a human non-obsessed non-objectified non-douchebag conversation with her.

  • Johnny

    A strong internet filter is a good start. Use one like K9, then give the password control exclusively to your wife. Not foolproof but it’s a good start

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Huddle up with your group of guys and ask them to hold you accountable.

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