Pornography – Breaking the Habit
Pornography is any visual representation of sexuality, which leads into the pollution of the mind and body, heart and soul of any person. It stimulates the mind, thus gives sensual pleasure and urges to anyone who looks at it.
Pornography alters the sexual human attitudes and human behavior of anyone. Many are not aware of the negative and destructive effects of addiction to pornography.
Here are some but harmful effects of porn addiction to individuals, relationships, marriages and families:
- Porn addiction escalates (Desensitization): All porn addicts experience an increasing lust and seek for more perverse form. Eventually, “soft-porn” is not stimulating anymore, so they try the “hard-core”. They become more obsessed and go deeper into it.
- Addiction to porn is addiction to masturbation: Those addicted to porn are almost always addicted to masturbation. This is true since the sexual urges of the person become so strong that masturbation becomes the easiest way of release.
- One starts to act it out: Those who regularly view porn have higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality. Thus, they have greater tendency to act out those sexual behaviors on others, at all cost. This may include premarital sex, rape, group sex, having sex with children or old people, etc.
- It brings dissatisfaction into sex life: Researches reveal that spouses of porn addicts are affected as “sex does not satisfy the addict as it once did”, they loss interest in sexual intercourse. And since porn promotes “perfect sex fantasies”, men who look at it became dissatisfied with their wife’s appearance and performance and this, in most cases leads to dysfunctional relationships.
- It brings dissatisfaction into married life: Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Furthermore, it becomes a pathway to infidelity and divorce, and often the major reason in the destruction of family.
- It produces shame and guilt: Many adolescents who view porn initially feel shame, diminished self-confidence, guilt, and sexual uncertainty, but these feelings quickly shift to unadulterated enjoyment with regular viewing
- It puts un-erasable images in your mind: Men who are no longer view porn fight with mental images for years. These images just flashes in their minds both when they are awake or asleep.
- It brings a notion of women as objects: Men with prolonged addiction to porn form belief of women as properties, commodities or “sex objects”.
In our present generation of rapid development in technological advancement and mass communication, many people of all ages and status are under the influence of pornography. For so many years and it has penetrated the heart and mind of people of both gender. This influence only brings destruction to relationships, human behavior, emotion and family and life.
I have two reasons why we need to stop the habit of pornography:
- It destroys our relationship with God. Thus, brings us away from His glory (Romans 3:23).
- Because of the harmful effects which I mentioned above.
“Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:15).
Then how do we break the habit of porn? Here are some ways to break this habit.
1. Many people, who try to overcome the habit, practically find it impossible. To overcome porn addiction, we must first believe and be assured that it is very possible to overcome the habit. St. Paul said it to his letter to the Romans that where “sin increased, grace overflowed all the more” (Romans 5:20). The overflowing grace of God outmatches the productivity of sin. It is possible to overcome this habit “to him who believes” (Mark 9:23)
2. Elevate your motivation. The higher the driving force, the more we can overcome the addiction. It fuels your good intention of breaking the habit. Check your motivation. What motivates you to break the habit? Are you doing this because it is embarrassing and might get caught by someone? Elevate your motivation; break the habit out of your respect either to your sister, mother, wife, girlfriend, or to all women. Or best, do it out of your love and obedience to God and to become a good and worthy husband.
3. Be a man of prayer. Prayer is very powerful and effective way to anyone who wishes to persevere in purity. Hear Mass more often. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Have a devotion to the Blessed Mother Mary. Make it a habit to pray the Holy Rosary. Read the Bible everyday. “Pray that you will not fall into temptation” (Luke 22:40).
4. Do whatever you can to avoid the occasions of sin: the lusts of the flesh. Throw immediately all your pornographic materials, videos, magazines, posters, pictures, etc. I suggest that destroy them first before throwing to the trash bins. You don’t want anyone to pick them up and use them. Delete porn materials in your computer’s hard drives and also in your recycle bin. Wipe the internet history and it is helpful to install filtering softwares. You can also try to lessen your internet usage, especially when you don’t really need to use it, to lessen your chance to visit any porn sites.
Remember, destroy ALL! Do not even think of saving a single one because one pornographic material can escalate again the addiction and you will find yourself collecting these stuffs again.
5. Temptations are all around us. Sexy girls are being shown in TV. They are always present in the internet. They are in the magazine stands, movies to watch, etc. And since we are living in a generation of mass communication, we cannot get rid of all tendencies to sin.
A good friend of mine once told me, “If you come face to face with temptation (pornography), do not entertain it, JUST RUN!” We cannot totally remove them, but we can say no to pornography and “flee from it as from a serpent. That it will bite you if you go near it; its teeth are lion’s teeth, destroying the soul of men” (Sirach 21:2). God “will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
6. Find an accountability partner that will encourage you and build you up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). It would be better if this person is as the same gender as you. Look for a person with whom you can be honest about your habit and be accountable to him. A family member, a Priest, a Brother or Nun, a good friend, or brethren in your community or church that can help you fight the battle against your habit and pray for you so that you may be healed.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed…” (James 5:16)
7. I also suggest to join an organization or advocacy movement like “Live Pure Movement” to help you deepen your conviction to be chaste and help you in your fight against the habit of porn. You may visit livepuremovement.com for more information.
There is no short cut in breaking the habit of pornography. It is a hard, narrow path. It will take a person months or even years to overcome it. But with a strong desire of the heart to live a life of purity, one thing is very sure, “nothing is impossible to God” (Luke 1:37). And many people have already been victorious in breaking the habit and they have found a better life that offers great opportunities.
Jason Evert said “when a person looks at pornography, on some level he is looking for love.” It is true since the woman on it looks like she is entirely yours, though there are other more men who feel the same way as you do towards her. “…And through that woman’s beauty many perish, for lust for it burns like fire” (Sirach 9:8).
Selfless love is the only key for a man to properly love a woman. Getting rid of porn in our lives should not be seen as a lost, rather an opportunity to grow in that selflessness; to grow in love. Living a life of purity will not make a man less than a man. The virtue of purity will not rob you of your sexual desire. It will not take away your appreciation of beauty. Instead you will be able to learn to value woman as a special creation of God; as someone to be respected and love, and not just as sex object. Purity will open our eyes to see the real beauty in every woman which is inside her heart and not inside her dress. It will teach us how to selflessly love a woman which I believe every man desires.
Throw you pornographic materials and decide to love women and you will realize that the temporary satisfaction of porn was just an illusion, and we will also see that there are more things that illusion. Porn is the fantasy that promises us pleasure but actually destroys our life; it gives nothing but shallow promises.
I hope and pray that more and more men (also women) may find a deep conviction to live a life of purity and chastity, and decide to love women for the sake of love.
“Free your mind. Speak with grace. Be Chaste!” – Live Pure Movement