How do you stop watching porn–from a completely practical standpoint?

So often the approach to getting someone to stop watching porn is to tell them how bad porn is–and I definitely thinks there’s a role for letting people know about the negative effects of porn. But just knowing that this is bad for you doesn’t necessarily stop the habit. Unless it’s paired with a more practical strategy, it can actually build shame.

Recently my daughter Katie made a video about how to stop watching porn, and I thought I’d use it as a jumping off point for discussion. Here she is:

Here’s what I like about the video: it’s practical, and it doesn’t assume that the person watching porn is male. In her demographic, a lot of porn users are female. We need to stop talking about porn as if it’s a male problem, and we need to realize that porn is a humanity problem.

So here are 3 practical to-do steps she talks about with how to quit porn:

  • Recognize WHEN you’re more likely to use porn
  • Do what you can to avoid those situations
  • Keep electronics out of your bedroom

She also has some super important points about talking to God about it and dealing with shame, but I really want to talk practical for a moment.

I’ve never been addicted to internet porn, but I have had to quit an addiction. I know this isn’t to the same level, and I don’t mean to minimize or belittle someone who is trying to quit something much worse. But I had a real issue with Diet Pepsi. I had to drink one every day at 11:00. I yearned for Diet Pepsi. But I don’t drink them at all anymore. I quit about 2 years ago after reading some books from one of the Ultimate Healthy Living Ebook Bundles.

But here’s the thing: what I realized was that I needed to recognize that everyday at 11:00 I would yearn for a Diet Pepsi, and if I didn’t have another plan in place for when 11:00 came around, I would fall.

If you don’t have a plan, you create a vacuum. And then you’re just going to fall back into the same patterns. It’s like the parable from Matthew 12:43-45: If someone gets rid of all the evil spirits, and sweeps their house clean, then one day those spirits will come back and say, “hey, look! It’s totally empty! I’m going to move back in and bring a ton of my buddies!”

The moral: It’s great to get rid of bad stuff, but unless you also FILL IT with good stuff (like Jesus), the change won’t last. You’re only going to make it worse.

So if you watch porn, think about this: what triggers the porn use? Stress? Boredom? Being alone? Have a plan for what to do when that hits. That can help avoid those moments when you’re drawn to it.

Now I haven’t had time to write a super long post this morning–I was busy yesterday with my book launch, and we’re packing to leave for Colorado next week where we’re recording for Focus on the Family.

But I did want to bring this up, and I think it’s a great opportunity for discussion. How do you stop a bad habit? How do you avoid that “vacuum”? And how should we deal with the fact that porn is not just a male problem anymore? Let’s talk in the comments!

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