5 SIMPLE (BUT ESSENTIAL) REASONS TO STOP WATCHING PORN TODAY
He sat there, broken and exposed like never before.
“I didn’t think it would end like this. I didn’t think it would go so far.” He whispered the words through tears and gritted teeth.
I had worked with people suffering from pornography addiction very closely for the past three years, but I hadn’t seen this level of loss. A marriage destroyed. A family severed. A high level career in shambles. A man at the brink of giving up on life.
I broke the silence. “What? What wouldn’t go so far?”
“Pornography.” He looked me square in the eyes. “Porn just grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t let go. It consumed my life.”
This man’s story is like many men’s stories. Porn has a way of sinking its talons deep into our lives and not letting go. Many people don’t think that porn will have a negative effect on their life. They don’t know the full ramifications or the incredibly adverse effects that continued exposure to pornography can have. That is, until it goes too far.
So, whether you are just getting started or find yourself stuck in the quick sand of pornography, let me give you five straightforward but essential reasons to quit today.
1. Better Relationships
Did you know that there is a 300% increase in divorce for homes where one or more people in the relationship regularly look at pornography?¹
In Scripture, Jesus says, “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28).
There is a connection with those we ‘lust after’ that will get in the way of our relationship every time. Our eyes and attention are called to be in one direction, but porn has a way of diverting our attention in many different directions.
Giving up porn will remove the massive barrier standing in front of our relationships and focus our attention on restoration.
2. Free Space in Your Mind
Porn happens to be fantastic at forming new, long-lasting pathways in the brain. Over time, these images or videos become burned into the brain, taking up space. These memories can turn into objectification of the people you see every day, repeating these images in your mind over and over again.
As these images or videos increase, so does the space that is stored up in our minds. There is an acronym often used to describe the effect that these images have on our mind and our daily interactions. It’s FOE. It stand for “fantasy,” “objectification,” and “euphoric recall.”
Porn will increase the amount of FOEs that we face each day.
Quitting porn, however, will free up space in your mind that can be used for good, not objectification.
3. Better Sex
Some of you are wondering why I didn’t start with this one!
Did you know that porn can cause erectile dysfunction in men? That’s right, no more erections! In fact, psychiatry professor Norman Doidge reported in his book The Brain That Changes Itself that removal of internet pornography use reversed impotence and sexual arousal problems in his patients.
I am reminded of the words of Jesus when he said, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and life abundantly” (John 10:10).
Isn’t it just like the devil to entice us to see all the sexually explicit things that we want, and then have the ability to enjoy sexual activity with another stripped away? You deserve to have great sex and that starts with taking the pornography out of your life.
4. Less Stress
Watching porn has a natural way of increasing stress and releasing cortisol (a steroid hormone) into your system. However, think about the stress you feel every time someone is on your computer, looking at your Netflix queue, or asking to borrow your phone. That stress would be completely lifted off by quitting porn. There will no longer be that fear or shame of “being caught.”
I heard a saying the other day that went like this: “The best gift you can give yourself is the gift of a clean conscience.”
How true this is! I have been on both sides of the coin. I have had that fear and stress controlling me, and I’ve also been on the side of a clean conscience. There is no question as to where I’d rather be. I’m grateful for less stress.
5. Living in Integrity
Integrity has been described as “living with the lights on” or “acting the same in front of people as you do when no one is watching.” Some would describe this as living with authenticity—being true to YOU. By quitting porn, many begin to live in truth and integrity.
I have never found someone who said, “Watching porn is helping me become my best self!” In fact, the reaction from everyone I’ve talked to has been quite the opposite. Pornography has caused them to live outside of their values, keeping secrets and lying to those they love the most. When you live in integrity, you are able to be the same person no matter where you find yourself.
One of my favorite conversations can be found in the book Alice in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll. There is a scene where Alice is lost. She is trying to figure out where to go, but there are all of these signs pointing in different directions. As she is trying to make the right choice, the Cheshire Cat shows up.
Their conversation goes like this:
Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
The Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Alice: “I don’t much care where.”
The Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”
Alice: “… So long as I get somewhere.”
The Cheshire Cat: “Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
For some reading this article, you’ve walked long enough. This is your moment. Change is sitting right in front of you, but you will have to take that first step. You will have to make the decision of where you “want to get to.” Is it a life free from porn? Is it a place of honesty and integrity? Is it living authentically?
¹ “Internet Pornography by the Numbers: A Significant Threat to Society.” Webroot. n.d. Web.