Five Steps on How to Quit Porn

Porn addiction is real.

There’s no denying this. People can argue whether or not it’s moral, but you cannot argue that it has a devastating effect on society, young men in particular.

According to Covenant Eyes, 63% of 18-30-year-olds watch porn multiple times a week, and 79% view porn at least once a month.

Also, porn use is cited in 56% of divorces.  It has been shown to increase anxiety, depression, low testosterone, and isolation.

Pornography addiction is also leading to issues of erectile dysfunction among an increasing number of men.  Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction is caused by men viewing porn so much that their brain requires pornographic stimulation to achieve an erection and they are unable to perform when they try to have sex with their partner.

I have experienced the damage of porn addiction firsthand.  I was addicted to pornography and sex for over 15 years.  What started as teenage curiosity turned into destructive compulsive behavior that led to extreme depression, destroyed relationships, and nearly ended my marriage.  My sex addiction also escalated from watching porn to viewing webcams, to chatrooms, and even into online hookups, sex clubs, and orgies.  It led me to the behavior I otherwise would have found abhorrent.

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Yet, I broke free from all of it!  How?  I was exposed.  My behavior was uncovered and revealed to my significant other, my family, my friends, and all my loved ones.  It was hidden for years, but having my behavior brought to light was a wake-up call.  I had tried to quit many times before but fell back into my sex addiction every time.  Yet, this last time was different.  Enough was enough.  I looked myself in the mirror, hated what looked back at me, and decided I finally had to get serious help.

Through a combination of coaching, counseling, great mentors, a whole lot of prayer, and the love and support of my family, I quit porn and masturbation once and for all.  It wasn’t an easy battle, but I never quit.

Maybe you’re feeling the same way?  Maybe you’ve been battling this addiction for years, keeping your secrets in the dark, hoping they’ll go away, but never being able to actually quit. Maybe your wife found out and gave you the ultimatum: quit or else.  Maybe you’re just sick and tired of the cycle of shame and regret that porn addiction causes.

Whatever your reason, you want to quit porn or you wouldn’t be reading this article.

A whole lot of work goes into quitting a compulsive addiction like pornography, much more than can be explained in a single article, but here are five things you MUST do if you want to quit porn.

  1. Have Accountability

You cannot defeat porn addiction alone.  You’ve probably tried for years now and have gotten nowhere.  You must have someone who is battling alongside you, encouraging you, and making sure you’re staying on course.

In my book and video series, Living Porn Free: 10 Steps To Recovery, Redemption, and Renewal, I discuss the importance of having a “Nathan.”  Nathan was the prophet who called King David out for his sin of adultery with Bathsheba. David needed a friend with the courage to keep him accountable.  He needed a brother to help him realize his errors and seek redemption.

I wouldn’t have made the progress I’ve made in my own recovery from porn addiction if I hadn’t had friends who supported me and kept me accountable.  Having an accountability partner who you can go to with complete confidence and knowing they’re going to tell it to you straight is essential if you’re going to quit porn.

2. Get off the devices

We all know we spend way too much time on our phones, computers, and in front of the TV. This is a problem for almost everyone these days.  But electronic devices hold a greater danger for men who struggle with a porn habit.  Many men do their porn viewing exclusively on a smartphone.  You have constant, free access to porn in your pocket anytime, anywhere.

It’s so easy to be mindlessly scrolling social media, see a triggering image, and next thing you know, you’re on an internet porn site and your hand is creeping down your pants in an urge to masturbate.  You may think you’re strong enough to avoid all the “models” on social media. Trust me, you’re not.

If you’re going to defeat porn addiction, you have to defeat device addiction first.  Establish the habit of turning off all your devices for a set amount of time each day.  Turn off notifications too.  You don’t need to be notified of everything.  Turning off devices after a certain time each night before bed is especially helpful.  Many men, myself included, struggled the most at night.

Removing access to your device removes access to porn.

3. Get Active

Continual masturbating leads to isolation, lethargy, and anxiety.  These things also lead to the urge to seek online porn for relief causing an endless cycle.  One of the best ways to fight against porn addiction is to stay active.

Physical activity provides a healthy way to release stress and anxiety.  It fights off depression and anxiety.  It improves mood, releases stress, and leads to an all-around healthier lifestyle. Physical activity has been shown to improve mental health.

When you find yourself tempted, get up, and move!  Don’t keep staring at the screen. If you feel like you need a release of tension, go do something physical.  Run, lift weights, ride a bike, whatever you can do to refocus your mind and body.  You cannot live a sedentary lifestyle and expect to defeat porn addiction.

So many men use porn as a release from stress.  In order to quit, you need a healthy way to alleviate that tension.  Get outside, take in some sunshine and vitamin D.  During my recovery, I lost 35 pounds.  Every time I felt an urge, I did push-ups, went for a walk, played sports, or engaged in some sort of physical activity.  To defeat porn, you must get active.

4. Establish Routine

Building a routine is vital to quitting porn.  Routine keeps you consistent, encourages good habits, and helps avoid triggering situations.  Regular routines also help to achieve small victories throughout the day to build momentum in your battle.

In my battle as a porn addict, I had to establish new daily routines.  My old way of life made it too easy for me to succumb to the temptation to watch porn.  So, I build new routines to avoid any situation which could cause me to relapse, while at the same time providing a way to decompress and reduce stress.

Some things you can do as part of your routine are to journal, read books, meditate, and exercise.  Exactly what you do as part of your routine is up to you.  The important part is to stay consistent.  Regularly keeping your routine will avoid the times where temptation could get the best of you.

5. Work through emotions

The most important thing you must do to quit porn is to face your emotions.  Porn addiction rarely has anything to do with your sex life.  But it has everything to do with how you handle pain and emotions.

You use porn to “escape” emotional pain, trauma, anxiety, and depression.  Eventually, your brain rewires itself to seek out porn the instant you’re faced with any negative emotion so you became addicted not to the porn itself, but to the dopamine rush you used to self-medicate pain in your life.

That’s why quitting is so hard.  It’s not just breaking bad habits, it’s learning how to properly cope with that pain you’ve been using porn to avoid. You must learn to sit with those emotions and feel them, process them, and manage them in a healthy way. You need to grieve any loss, forgive wrongs, and dispel the painful lies about yourself you have come to believe. This process is what breaks you free from the bonds that hold you captive to your addiction.

Coaching and counseling can help you work through these emotions and learn how to process pain in a healthy way.  This is what I’ve helped hundreds of men work through to find freedom from porn addiction.

Defeating porn addiction requires revealing the true cause of the addiction.  The cause isn’t a higher sex drive or perversion.  The cause is something deep with you that you use porn to escape from.  To finally quit porn for good, you must work through those emotions.

Putting these five things into practice will help you to quit porn.  It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but you can do it, brother.  I believe in you.  If I can turn my back on porn addiction after 15 years, so can you.

Just remember to always keep fighting, stay strong, and never, ever give up and you can quit porn for good.

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