What do you know about pornography addiction?
Any Christian who is engaging in sexual immorality of any kind is a person in conflict. They are a person who believes one thing, but whose actions do not match up with those beliefs. Often it starts by viewing pseudo-pornography–things like modelling sites, chat sites, personal home pages, and other sites that often contain seductive images, but may not be classified as pornography.
Very quickly this kind of online behaviour can spiral down to a place where these images don’t cut it anymore–and the viewer begins to “need” more intense images to be stimulated. Often you will hear someone who has gotten addicted say, “I have no idea how I got here–it started so innocently.” Pornography is both very alluring and very addictive. The websites that are distributing the material are designed to draw in the viewer, dangling free content and easy sign-ups in an attempt to capture a new user.
Are you addicted?
Help you determine if you have unhealthy sexual behaviour. We are not going to attempt to reproduce those here, but we will offer this simple definition and challenge:
If your life is being controlled by your sexual desires and activities instead of YOU being in control of them, then you have a sex addiction and should consider getting help.
Questions you can ask:
- Here are a few questions you can ask yourself about the symptoms of sex addiction and its stages:
- Has a pattern of behaviour (which we’ll define as “acting out”–for example, looking at pornography) gotten out of control?
- Has your acting out increased in frequency since a year ago?
- Has your acting out increased in intensity since a year ago? (For example, maybe a year ago, you were enticed by a swimsuit magazine, and now are not.)
- Have you tried to stop the “acting out” in the past, but not been successful?
- Has your acting out intruded into your financial life? (Have you spent your savings on prostitutes or pornography?)
- Has your acting out intruded into family life? (Have you, on many occasions, spent valuable family time away from your family indulging your sex addiction?)
- Has your acting out entailed personal, professional, or legal risk? (If you have looked at porn on the job, had sex with a prostitute, or had an affair, you have most likely created significant risk.)
Here is another way to evaluate:
Every Christian man and woman is in one of these three groups:
Every Christian is “targeted” by Satan. Just like every young person is a target for cigarette ads because every young person is a potential smoker, so too, every Christian is susceptible to sexual sin. Your walk with God, your faith, your ability to lead a church, your ability to be a strong spouse and parent, your ability to be a person of honour… all are under attack by sexual sin. If you are not “Tempted” or in the “Trenches” (see below) beware that you are not moving in that direction.
People in the “Tempted” group are those who are already seeing sexual sin or sexual temptation impact their life in some way, have recognised that it could be a significant problem if not dealt with, and/or have recognised a propensity to struggle with lust or sexual compulsivity. Most men fit into this group.
We are somewhat regularly hit with sexualised messages (TV, magazine stands, movies, banner ads, etc.) and often are exposed to pornography without their consent (spam emails, etc.). If sexual temptation is dealt with, is out in the open (via accountability relationships, etc.) then often it can remain just that–a temptation. But in many cases, just as our bodies, if left alone, will naturally decay–i.e., our bodies, on their own, don’t get “fit”–so too, your sexual purity will naturally decline without specific work to stay pure and move towards Christ.
Those in the “Trenches” are those whose lives are in some large part, being controlled by sexual sin. This could be in the form of internet pornography, an extra-marital affair, or other behaviour. Maybe at one point, the problem was limited to the occasional viewing of a pornographic email or quickly viewing an inappropriate banner ad–but has now escalated into hours of pornography consumption per day. Being in the “trenches” is, by our definition, synonymous with addiction. Other common symptoms of sexual addiction include behaviours that have caused or could cause legal, employment, or financial damage (seeing a prostitute, looking at pornography on the job, and using your family savings for online pornography are all examples of this).
10 Steps to Overcoming Pornography Addiction
- First, you must acknowledge the addiction exists. Many who are caught in the trap of addiction will adamantly deny the problem. He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. – Proverbs 28:13
- You must recognize that what you are doing is wrong. Addicts find a way to justify their problem in their mind. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. – I John 2:16
- You must not blame others – “If my wife/husband were just more affectionate.” … “If women/men were not so seductive.” Adam blamed Eve and she blamed the serpent. Instead, you must begin to take responsibility for your actions.
- Make yourself accountable to a spiritual authority, perhaps a pastor or mature believer. Everybody needs a “safe” person to share their struggles with. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. – James 5:16
- You must recognize that “will power” is not the answer. At a weak moment, your “will” may fail you. By admitting that you are in need of God’s help, you open access to His supernatural intervention in your life. You must yield your will to God’s will. That’s when He can begin a new work in your life.
- Study the Word of God concerning sexual purity. Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the Word implanted, which is able to save your souls. – James 1:21
- You must destroy any pornography in your possession. You can’t wean yourself off pornography. Think of the hidden pornography in your home as a ticking time bomb that will ultimately destroy your family.
- You must learn to flee temptation. Self-deception may enter when you think you can play with fire without getting burned. Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it. Turn away from it and pass on. – Proverbs 4:14,15
- Give yourself time to work through the process of recovery. More often than not, God chooses to take us through a learning and growing process, that can be very painful. Victory over addiction should be viewed as a marathon, not a sprint.
- It’s cliche, but you must approach your addiction one day at a time. Look for little victories and rejoice in the progress you’re making. Recovery is a cinch by the inch, but a trial by the mile.
GREAT BOOKS TO HELP:
INTERNET FILTERS: K9 combined with X3watch (accountability software)
- ‘Drug of a New Millennium’
- ‘Worshipping on the Altar of Sexual Idolatry’
- ‘Every Young Mans Battle’
- ‘Every Young Womans Battle’
REAL PEOPLE’S STORIES: http://www.purelifeministries.org/free-resources/whats-new