The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I still have a problem with pornography, but I want it to end. I eventually told my parents about it, but it still didn't end. What should I do? I want this to end, even if it's just me not looking at porn anymore and still masturbating. I can't avoid it, even if I try my hardest to avoid it all, I always go back.


Answer

What have you tried? Did you install a filter? Why do you think you are giving in? What are the circumstances that make you want to look at porn?

I did install a filter, but I can delete it and install Google. I would make it to where I can't go to the AppStore on this thing. I bet I could get someone to wipe this thing, but now I got an iPhone. I should get my mom and dad to disable app downloading on it, but I could just get them to take away every electronic device I have. I wouldn't mind, if that's what it takes, but I don't want to make a scene in my family. My mom and dad are the only ones who know. But when I have the "Feeling" I work against the need to stop, so I have to outsmart myself. I don't know, but I got to get this to work.

I would like you to memorize this verse: "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13).

Now I know where you are at so let's lay out a plan that will work better. We're going to take this from two different directions at the same time.

First, since your parents know and understand your struggles, ask them to put K9 Web Protection on your iPhone and have your mother hold the password. Tell her that you want to reduce the temptation by making it harder to get to things you shouldn't see. This will block using the web browser for finding porn. Having the apps disabled is a good idea. When you need an app you just ask your mom to get it for you. If your usual time for looking at pornography is at night, then I would like you to put in place a simple rule. At the end of the day, all phones and computers are turned off and given to your parents to hold overnight. If something, like a desktop computer is too bulky to move, just have your parents hold the power cord for the night.

I know it isn't perfect and that you can get around it. What we are looking for is not a perfect barrier but one that is difficult enough that it might give you a chance to think before you give in. Even getting rid of all your electronic devices won't be a perfect solution because electronics are everywhere. What we need to do is strengthen your self-control in the face of temptation.

This brings me to the second half, which is reducing your desire to want to look at pornography. My apologies for being blunt, but is the only time you masturbate is during or after you look at pornography? When you try to stop are you also trying not to masturbate at the same time?

There is a strong tendency in people to overgeneralize problems. Here are some examples:

  • Eating is not a sin, but gluttony is a sin.
  • Picking up something at the store is not a sin, but stealing is a sin.
  • Shooting a gun is not a sin, but murder is a sin.

What happens is people fail to make a distinction as to what exactly is sinful. We have a tendency to take the lazier way out and declare that everything connected with a sin is therefore a sin.

Pornography and lustful thoughts about having sex outside of marriage are sins. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (I Thessalonians 4:3-5).

However, the Bible never defines masturbation as a sin. It can be used sinfully in connection to pornography and lust for fornication, but the action itself is not called a sin. See Is masturbation sinful or not? Notice that the sin is defined by what God said and not what anyone thinks. A common mistake is to impose rules on yourself where God gave none. "Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations -- "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using --according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh" (Colossians 2:20-23). What you are finding is that those rules don't help.

The feeling that you need to relieve yourself is due to the fact that your seminal vesicles are getting full. That feeling will increase until something gives.  Few guys are able to last that long and since you have a strong habit of looking at pornography before masturbating, when your body is demanding relief you break down and pull out the pornography.

Here is what I suggest you do instead. When you need relief, go ahead and masturbate, but do it without looking at pornography. I would like you to do it without lustful thoughts of sex outside of marriage as well, but I also know that that will be harder to accomplish at first. Therefore, the first goal is to get rid of the junk that you are entering into your brain.  Wherever you choose to masturbate, it has to be where there is no electronics to be tempted to look at before or during. The initial goal is to realize that you can ejaculate without pornography being directly involved.

The second step is a bit harder, but it is doable after the first step. The second step is learning to control your thoughts while you masturbate. To do this, you first try to spread the time between masturbation and keep track of when you really need to ejaculate versus just bored and want to ejaculate. When you get to the point of needing to ejaculate, do so, but if you mind wanders into thought of the pornography you've seen or thoughts of having sex without being married, you force yourself to stop. Later on you can try again. Each time your thoughts stray, you stop. Eventually you're going to ejaculate before you realize it just because the build up gets strong. That's fine. Over a few months time you'll learn to do it without any particular thought in your head other than vague "sexy" concepts.

If you would like, you can let me know how things are going, successes and failures. Hopefully I'll be able to offer suggestions to fine tune things until you build up your self-control. I also have passages from the Bible I would like you to learn as you go through this.