How to Overcome an Addiction to Pornography? Help For Struggling Christians

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Believe it or not, even Christians are struggling with pornography.  Pastors are not immune either.  Women are increasingly becoming addicted to pornography at an alarming rate.  What can be done to overcome such a stronghold? What weapons can we employ to fight this mind-numbing addiction?

The Internet and Pornography

With the coming of the Internet, its popularity has been soaring, but so too has been a scourge of the worst kind; pornography.  Everyday, there are new porn websites that go up.  Just how systemic is the problem of Internet pornography?  According to the very reliable statistics of Family Safe Media (familysafemedia.com/pornography):

Every second – 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography
Every second – 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines
Every 39 minutes – a new pornographic video is being created in the United States

Another alarming fact is that over 42% of all Internet users are connecting to pornography on over 4.2 million pornographic websites.  Governments are helpless in shutting these down because for every one that is shut down there are 20 more that take its place.  If there was a disease with such an alarming growth rate and the problem was so widespread among the world’s population, this would be on every network television station in every nation of the world. In reality, it is worse than any disease epidemic because we are powerless to stop it and there is no inoculation against it.

The High Cost of Pornography

Not only is pornography wrecking marriages and single men and women’s lives, it is also ruining them financially.  How?  Every second – $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography. That is over $180,000 every hour.  This adds up to well over four million dollars every single day.   Worldwide, the total cost is over $97 billion dollars annually.   These are dollars that feed the sin of pornography and enables it to churn out more garbage of the mind.  It’s like feeding a dragon that is devouring millions of people through their minds. This is truly one of the biggest revenue makers in the world; bigger than Amazon, Microsoft, Google, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, EarthLink, and Netflix combined!  This is money taken out of the mouth of family’s bank accounts, money taken out of business revenues, out of world revenues, and literally, money out of the mouth’s of children.

Christian Help For Overcoming Pornography Addiction

A web filter is a great way to screen out potential Internet websites that contain pornography.

Christians Are Not Immune

Sadly, 47% of all Christians say that they have major problems with pornography.  Even among the discipleship group of the Promise Keepers, 53% of these men viewed pornography in the last week!  An April 6th, 2007 CNN poll revealed that over 70% of Christian men and over 20% of Christian women are already addicted to some sort of Internet pornography.  In the year 2000, Christianity Today completed a shocking survey that revealed 33% of the clergy (pastors and priests) admitted that they had visited a sexually explicit Internet website in the past week.   Fifty-three percent of the clergy had visited pornographic websites several times in the past year.   In a survey of pastors by the National Coalition in Seattle, a full 98% had been exposed to porn while 43% intentionally accessed a sexually explicit website.

We can see from all of the above statistics that this is a true epidemic and it is growing at an alarming rate and it is not just a problem for those outside of the church.  Given the fact that Jesus said that “that anyone who looks at a woman [or a man if a woman is looking] lustfully has already committed adultery with her [or him] in his [or her] heart. (Matt 5:28).  Pornography is still sexual sin, even if the physical act is not involved.

Overcoming Pornography Addiction

Now that the problem of pornography has been identified and that it’s not just a problem with the guy next door, we can turn to solutions for those who know someone or who are themselves addicted to this sin of the mind.  One of the pastors that I know of and who is a close friend of mine has had a lifetime battle with pornography.  Not only that, this godly man has had problems with looking at women with lust in his heart.  Mind you that he is happily married and has a wonderful family.  He has confided in me privately and asked me to pray for him so one way to help is to ask someone that you know well and trust completely to pray for you or to pray for someone that you know has a pornography addiction.  Out of the 6 close pastor friends that I have, 3 of them have regular problems with pornography.  All of these men need accountability partners and all but one of them has one.   One of these men confides in me and contacts me when he is struggling with this.  We often hold each other up in prayer for different things but there are more solutions available besides prayer for the person battling the addiction of pornography.

Strategies for Overcoming Pornography Addiction

A web filter is a great way to screen out potential Internet websites that contain pornography.  And one of my friends has let me set the password and I have promised him that I would not reveal it to him no matter what he tells me.  I have to customarily add some websites to his “safe” list so that he can browse certain sites that are non-pornographic because the web filter is highly word sensitive to websites and sometimes blocks even harmless websites due to unknown images.  This is a small price to pay though for having the protection that he so desperately needs.  In some extreme cases, I have recommended that the Internet be accessible only in the living room where his family is.  My daughter has a computer but it’s in the living room so that we can easily monitor it when she is on it. Her primary use of it is for homework but of course she is allowed to spend some free time browsing for things that she enjoys reading about.

Jesus once said that if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell (Matt 5:30).  Jesus did not mean this literally as He was speaking in hyperbole.  The principle is that if a person has tried everything and just can not stop browsing the Internet for pornography websites, they should just take out the Internet.  This sounds drastic but when problems are so devastating, the measures should be severe if necessary.  Another solution would be to have a password protected computer and the pornography addict can only access the computer in the living room when family is present.  There are also so highly effective Internet Filters available on the market.  One of the best and least expensive is from the website and non-profit organization, Family Fellowship (familyfellowship.com).

Confess Your Sins

The Bible tells us that we are to confess our sins to one another.  James 5:16 has two things that are very important for all Christians…who by the way are also all sinners!  It says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.“ James says two things here:  Confess your sins to one another and then pray for each other so that “you may be healed.“   It seems that confessing to other believers and then praying for one another is conditional for us to ”be healed.“  Even though I am a pastor, I continue to confess to my church when and where I fall short and before I became their pastor, I told them every single thing that I did before I was ordained.  I thought, surely they would not want me after I confessed my past history.   I told them and I am telling you that I was a drug addict, a drug dealer, a thief, and I ended up in prison.  After I told the church that this is what I did several years ago, they actually felt better about me becoming their pastor, much to my surprise.  And for me, it was like the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders.   I felt free…I felt joyful and indeed, there is something joyous about being completely transparent in front of others.  They also let their guards down and everyone feels all the better after we confess to one another our faults and sins.  Ironically, God often uses the disqualified so that He may be glorified.

The pornography addict needs to take the first step that the drug addicts or alcoholic must take.  Admit that they are addicted.  Friends and family must realize that the addict will often lie just to be able to access the Internet just as drug addict or alcoholic lies to drink or take drugs.  They will make all kinds of excuses but there must be a zero-tolerance policy established if the addict is to recover.  They first have to tell someone or there will be no hope of ever overcoming this stronghold of the mind.  You can surround your self with friends who will pray for you, even if it’s an “unspoken need” but until you admit this addiction to someone, you will have precious little chance to overcome it.  That is the first thing that they will tell you at an AA meeting.  Step one:  Admit it.   Prayer and support from others is vital if the porn addict ever hopes to recover.  We can not overcome by ourselves but by prayer and the Bible teaches that we can do all things through Christ Who will strengthen us (Philippians 4:13).

Other ways are to spend less time alone, change your routines, and identify triggers that make you want to go to the Internet to browse pornography.  Also realize what was said earlier…that pornography is a sexual sin, even if the physical act is not involved, and if you are married, it is the same thing as committing adultery to God (Matt 5:28) and we all know how God feels about that.  How would your spouse feel about it?

There are also Christian or faith-based pornography support groups in many cities.  Even those that are not faith-based can be very helpful.  There is actually some comfort taken in the fact that there are a lot of others who are battling this same addiction.  Will power and avoidance can sometimes make it worse.  You need people to surround you who have a similar addiction and prayer warriors from a faith-based group or your church.  And there is something that is freeing when you tell others about this addiction.  You might be surprised about how good it feels to actually confess this to someone and they might surprise you too by telling you that they also struggle with this addiction.  Don’t keep it a secret.  Get it out and let others know.  Who cares if you are embarrassed…isn’t it worth it to try to escape from this deadly disease of the mind?

Don’t spend a lot of time alone on the Internet and resist the urge to get up in the middle of the night when everyone’s asleep. When you get this urge, call your accountability partner, wake your spouse, call a friend, read your Bible, look at yourself in the mirror or just fall on your knees and ask God for help.  Other strategies are just go outside and go for a walk, ride your bike, go to the gym, do some gardening, look at family photos, take a shower…anything!   Pray and then pray some more.  Above all, make sure that you get a password protected Internet Filter and give it to a friend that you know will not betray you and give you the password.  There is hope for those who want to overcome their addiction to pornography.

Please, if you are a porn addict, get help, tell others, pray, confess your sin, get a filter, and ask Jesus for His power.  He will not forsake you and not leave you alone.  Have faith in God for Him to deliver you.  He is a Strong Tower for those who are weak and He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor 1:8).  This is so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ (Phil 1:8).  Then you, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6).

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Bryan February 11, 2018 at 4:31 pm

Hello, I’m a recovering porn addict, I’m 41 years old and have struggled with porn since my late teens, and for me it wasn’t just porn but I was addicted to sex, but because of porn, it distorted my view of sex, I’m divorced, and my marriage was a casualty of porn and sex addiction, because I watched it a lot, and we allowed it to warp our marriage, we got into the swinging lifestyle swapping partners with other couples, and had an open relationship where we’d have sex with others outside of our marriage. It got to a point where it drove a wedge between us and destroyed our marriage. I’m in a new relationship and it’s something God is helping me through. This morning while I was in church, I felt God speaking to me that he wants me to start a ministry to help those affected by porn and sex addiction. I’d ask for prayer and support as I en-devour to get started in this…and pray for me that as I’m still recovering that God gives me the strength to avoid the temptation to look at that garbage.

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Bruce Davis July 3, 2018 at 11:20 pm

I really do not consider myself an addict. I got into pornography because I could not get sex from my wife. I knew I wouldn’t have to try hard to get it outside the marriage but I refused to cross that line. I rationalized viewing porn to be acceptable in my situation.
I saw attractive women many attractive women in the public and on TV. I dwelled on some images in my mind and that led me to porn. I stopped and started back 3 times but the last time my wife caught me when she looked at her youtube. (each of us has each other google accounts on our phones so it’s mixed.)
She pointed out how hurt and betrayed my action caused her. She even talked to our Pastor about it. He gave me a book to sever the activity. It helped. I have not Looked at it since. Problem is I do feel the urge to at times. Singing gospel music or simply listening to it turns me away from the desire to search for porn on the net. The desire still returns. I read Proverbs chapter 5 and get emboldened to look at porn! I have no sex life though I am married. I say to my self ” I have no cistern to drink of my own.” It makes me angry for I know of willing coworkers whom I have explained the covenant of marriage in order to make my position clear. I’ve said I must be crazy to punish myself. I deserve nothing yet God has blessed me with much! Eternal life being something no amount of suffering in this short life could be traded for.
Even so, my flesh still desires it.

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Martin Jr August 15, 2018 at 1:15 am

Wow. Bryan I love the testimony and change. I have learnt something from it. One thing for sure is that God will not fail you in His works simply follow the advise from Jack and allow the Holy Spirit to use you. Amen…

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Joseph February 24, 2018 at 10:22 am

I need prayers to stop this porn addiction. It is ruining my family and my relationship.

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Ques March 21, 2018 at 3:26 am

Gotcha bro…prayers going up now. Take every escape route that God provides

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Daniel March 23, 2018 at 4:29 pm

Hi I am a porn addict. I really need help. I confessed it once at a fellowship session, we were about 7 of us. However, I am still struggling with this sin and am really stuck. I was chosen as a Youth Leader and I nearly refused to accept the role because I know I would only preach gospel and drink wine. Now I am in a leadership position with 6 other guys but I never allow myself to assist them in ministry because I am always guilty of my actions when am alone. I feel so helpless I have been praying and trying to read Scripture that can help but to now I haven’t. Please keep me in your prayers and help me where you can.

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Jack Wellman March 24, 2018 at 10:59 am

Praying for you Daniel. I am so sorry brother.

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Bruce Davis July 3, 2018 at 11:35 pm

I prayed for you brother. Please pray for me as well. I am active in ministry in my church as well but I stay in the background. I even fear telling others about the gospel for my lack of fortitude under pressure. I am not happy. It’s hard to tell others to adopt my faith.
I know it is the only reason I am still in this body. We are commanded to tell others of the gospel. Satan is laughing hard because he has a hold on me.

Pray for me to be free of all sexual desire. Porn will never drag me down again!

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Bruce Davis July 3, 2018 at 11:39 pm

I prayed for you brother. Please pray for me as well. I am active in ministry in my church as well but I stay in the background. I even fear telling others about the gospel for my lack of fortitude under pressure. I am not happy. It’s hard to tell others to adopt my faith.
I know it is the only reason I am still in this body. We are commanded to tell others of the gospel. Satan is laughing hard because he has a hold on me.
Pray for me to be free of all sexual desire. Porn will never drag me down again!

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Lans March 31, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Pls pray for me, Im also got into porn addiction. Ive been a Christian since I was a kid together my whole family. This was pretty big challenge to me as I’ve keep promising to God and praying that I will not watch porn anymore. However, these past few days while all alone, the devil keep corrupting my mind and tempted to watch. I really feel bad for my self, ashame and guilty…
Thank you

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Jack Wellman March 31, 2018 at 12:31 pm

Praying for you now Lans.

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Thiefwhore March 31, 2018 at 1:22 pm

I’m a worthless thief who steals from families and I cannot stop.

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Jack Wellman March 31, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Hello my friend. No one that God calls and saves is worthless. Please speak with your pastor. Counsel privately with him. There is hope in CHrist and so I pray for you and love you as a fellow saint. Prayers for you.

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N.B.K April 3, 2018 at 6:01 pm

I guess this is my first step admitting it. I am a porn addict and I have tried hard to stop. I started watching when I was young due to being molested at age 9 through 13. After being molested, I had lost my virginity early. Since then I have 2 children, and a third one on the way with my husband. He too has an addiction but he overcame his even though he’s had a slip up. I am trying to be better but I feel ashamed anytime I give in. Please pray for me.

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Jack Wellman April 3, 2018 at 6:39 pm

Prayers for you N.B.K. Don’t give up. God is working in you and it takes time my friend….praying!

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Tim April 20, 2018 at 9:03 am

Someone pray for me please. I haven’t been a Christian my whole life and I just want to live for god but I can’t if I keep running back to this

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Jack Wellman April 20, 2018 at 9:47 am

Hello Tim. You need to sit under good Bible teaching/preaching, Sunday school and Bible study just like I do, but please call your pastor and tell him and ask your church to pray for you as we are commanded to do (James 5:14) as we need one another (Heb 10:24-25) and seek to do what Jesus commands us to do (Matt 25:34-39) as we do it to Him (Matt 25:40) or we do nothing for Him (Matt 25:41- and that’s not good (Matt 7:21-23).

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Hilary April 24, 2018 at 9:22 am

Hie i have watched porn, but i don’t regulary watch it how do i get out of this please pray for me to have self control and for that edge to stop

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Jack Wellman April 24, 2018 at 9:31 am

Hello Hilary. I would get rid of your source (INternet or cable or DVDs?). The solution is in this article but you must seek a community of believers to pray for you, even if it’s for unspoken needs. You need a female accountability partner. YOu need to confess this to at least one Christian woman. Read this again and go over the solutions. Seek God’s help and your Christian mentor.

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Hilary April 24, 2018 at 9:31 am

How do i know that i am addicted and also how do i know that God has forgiven me

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Jesus saves May 8, 2018 at 7:29 pm

Please help me i been a christian for 8 yrs and im struggling with porn and masturbation, i was elected youth leader and was praying to God to help me i feel unworthy to take title , and many look up to me, i feel ashamed

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Jack Wellman May 8, 2018 at 7:43 pm

I am praying right now brother. You took the first step in overcoming this. Confessing it to God and to others and saying you are unworthy (the fact is, none of us are worthy), but I know this can come close to adultery of the heart. I would find a trusted Christian brother to make your accountability partner. Destroy the source (Internet, DVDs, smartphone?), and take drastic action. I am praying and now find an accountability partner who will tell no one about your private battle.

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Jose May 10, 2018 at 10:29 am

Please pray for me . I am jose from Peru and I am a habitual porn addict. I really want to be free from this.

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Jack Wellman May 10, 2018 at 10:40 am

Praying now my brother. I know you want to be free and can be. Please read this again and try to follow what you can do my brother.

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Marcel July 11, 2018 at 9:47 pm

I am a Christian and I still struggle with mastrubation due to the corruption of my mind. I have often looked at porn in the past few years and I really want to stop forever. I’m addicted to sex and it makes me miserable.I know God has forgiven me , but I still fall and I feel like liar. I get angry and annoyed easily because of my guilt. I feel like I’m always watching my back never knowing if I’m gonna be found. I talked to my mom about it and felt good for awhile but I fall again. God has helped through the tough times, but it’s a never ending battle to stay pure. Please pray for me. Pray that my mind may be healed thx

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Jack Wellman July 11, 2018 at 9:55 pm

Prayers for you Marcel.

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Daniel August 3, 2018 at 3:50 am

Im not sure if is adiction 2 years went by i know afew websites by heart.but i did not go there.then i starter on the darksite of youtube .mild content.till finally went to see what i chose not to for 2 years..there i was..there is always some tricks that satan uses to make us trip ans stumble.i dont do drugs anymore.i am alcohol free for 6 years.i thank God for it .is been a blessing and more.i know have a 3month old baby.my first one.my name is daniel and our creator has provided and protected me/family till this day

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Need Help in Jesus Name August 5, 2018 at 2:54 pm

I am too like you guys.. i hate it.. i want to live for Jesus.. please guide me.l someone.. i am an introvert.. please, if someone can talk to me, share me Gospel.. encourage me.. please please.. do we have skype group or something? look guys, it is only us and Jesus who can defeat this demon.. as a group, we cant be defeated.. we need to group up

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Jack Wellman August 5, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Hello friend in Need of Help in Jesus’ Name. Please follow the simple steps in this article. Make sure to find a trusted and close Christian man to help be your accountability partner (female if it’s a woman in need of help). You need community (Heb 10:24-25) and confess this to someone in your church who you know won’t share this. Get rid of the source, get an Internet filter, find an accountability partner…you have the answer. Yes, you need a group and it’s called the Body of Christ, the church.

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Loraine August 7, 2018 at 5:10 am

I have tried to quit but eventually after some time I visit those sites to satisfy myself when I’m not with my husband. I’m a teacher yet I can’t teach myself. I’m not addicted but I watch porn when my feelings are triggered. I have always prayed and made promises but after a while I’m regretting for watching it. It’s a constant battle. Pls pray for me. I want to quit once for all.

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Jack Wellman August 7, 2018 at 2:12 pm

Praying right now for you Loraine.

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A.E. September 23, 2018 at 7:11 pm

I have this issue with porn even when I am only a teenager, my parents had found out about a year ago but I fell again and they told me they wouldn’t stand me repeating that mistake again. I don’t know how to stop and I end up feeling so guilty, I don’t want it to affect my life anymore, I want it to end. Please please pray for me.

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Jack Wellman September 23, 2018 at 7:17 pm

I am praying for you as I write this A.E. I am sorry for this heavy burden. There must be an accountabiity partner who is a trusted CHristian friend in your church, and not someone in your family, that can help you in this struggle. Ask for prayers from your church as “unspoken needs” and the other saints will join with me to pray for God to help you break this bondage. Only God’s Word and prayer and some use fasting, to break this addiction.

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danny September 27, 2018 at 9:21 am

Hi my name is Danny and I am a porn addict…been doing it for 4 years now… and I really want to stop….I do pray to God to help me ..and to grant the spirit of self control. ..I can’t just control myself …please pray for me …I really need to stop watching porn ….thank you

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cameron October 2, 2018 at 9:44 am

ive been trying to confess and everytime i do i start up again i feel so guilty being in my youth groups and telling lies i sometimes think whats the points if you maybe put me in your prays it would mean so much to me i just want to be done with porn and live without it thats all i want

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Jack Wellman October 2, 2018 at 11:13 am

Hello Cameron. Please don’t give up. At least you are striving to let this go. Have you followed the steps given in this article? How have they worked so far? Have you tried any of them? There is power to cleanse our lives by the washing of the water of the Word, or the Word of God, so just like I do, you need to sit under good Bible teaching/preaching, Sunday school and Bible study just like I do, but please call your pastor and tell him and ask your church to pray for you as we are commanded to do (James 5:14) as we need one another (Heb 10:24-25) and seek to do what Jesus commands us to do (Matt 25:34-39) as we do it to Him (Matt 25:40) or we do nothing for Him (Matt 25:41- and that’s not good (Matt 7:21-23). You cannot overcome this in isolation without the Word of God and the power of God and the people of God and their prayers.

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