The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Hi Mr. Hamilton,

I hope things have been going well for you and your church. I don't know if you remember me, but we've spoken before. It was about my struggle with pornography. Unfortunately, I'm still slipping up. I did what you said to do -- ejaculate without lust -- which helps; I don't get the urge to look at pornography as much, but unfortunately from time to time the urge comes back.

Well last night, it happened and I convinced myself "I'll just give it a look and won't do anything sexual" but ejaculating isn't the sin, it's the lusting. And once I looked I had this "I don't care what I do attitude" and it didn't bother me. A couple of hours later I started feeling dirty again, and I even cried. But that always happens, I feel sorry, but I don't know how to change. I really need your help and advice. I know that the Bible says "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." But I feel as if, this same mistake has happened too many times. I sin, I regret it, I try to repent, succeed for about two weeks, and then I willfully sin again. And that what bothers me. I willfully choose to look at pornography, which means that I don't care about God, at all. I hate it, I really do.

I know we've been over this before, and please don't be angry. I'm sorry I just kind of disappeared. On a positive note, you truly have influenced and helped me in so many ways. That was the longest period, I ever went without pornography and it actually affected my life extremely.

Thank you, truly.


Answer

I might scold, but it isn't because I'm angry. I want the best for you, so when you do things that harm yourself, I'll tell you why it is wrong and what you need to do to get right because I care about you.

I assume you are ejaculating regularly now without pornography and at a rate that is greater than once every two weeks. I also assume that you thought yourself strong enough that you didn't need a web filter on your phones and computers. If that is the case, I again urge you to put such filters in place. Do it while you are strong and it will be there when you are weak. It isn't a perfect cure, but perhaps it will slow you down enough that you can think better.

The question is what are the triggers that causes you to want to look at pornography. Is it boredom? Something that happened during the day? Or something else entirely? This is something you'll have to let me know because I can't read your mind.

I know you are frustrated, but don't forget that you did improve, which means you can make further improvements. So instead of focusing on beating yourself up, let's look at how it is that you gave into temptation. "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).

The first mistake is that you told yourself that looking wouldn't matter so long as you didn't pull your pants down. As you noted, you made the act of ejaculating at the end the sin instead of seeing the lust at the beginning as being the problem. This is exactly the problem Jesus addressed with the Jews, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). The Jews were convinced that as long as intercourse didn't take place, then it didn't matter what they thought or did before the actual act.

People still do it today. I get notes from people all the time who are convinced that as long as the guy doesn't put his penis in the girl, then whatever they do before that isn't so bad. The problem is they ignore all the sins that come before fornication, such as lust and lewdness. They get so wrapped in those sins, the passion of the moment carries them further than they originally intended. The next thing they know they are having sex and wondering how they got to that point because it wasn't their intention.

The same thing happened to you. You tried to compromise with sin. You drew an artificial line but before you knew it the passions of the moment carried you further than you intended. Because instinct was now running the show, you couldn't make yourself care until the course set in motion had completed its run. "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice" (Romans 7:19).

Thus, you can't let your body and its instincts run your life. That means you can't compromise with evil. It isn't smart to think you can let your passions take over temporarily and then stop them at some arbitrary end. It isn't that you don't care about God; it is that you can't keep God in mind while you are sinning.

Yes, I am able to ejaculate twice a week now without pornography. Unfortunately, I was being a bit arrogant and convinced myself that I was able to handle temptation on my own. What is the name of the filter?

I don't quite know 100% what triggers it, but I have a guess. I usually look at pornography when I'm stressed or feeling really down, it's pretty much always after work, and it always happens at night. I never get the urge to look at it during the day. It always comes when I lie down to go to bed.

One filter that is free is called K9 Web Protection. It has to be installed on each computer and phone that you have. Another choice that I recommend is OpenDNS. It installs on your router, and thus everything that connects to it is automatically filtered.

Since the urge comes when you go to bed, an additional thing that you can do is simply leave all your computers and phones in another room and make your bedroom an electronics free room.

Neither solution is perfect. They can be easily defeated. But they both make it just a bit more inconvenient to look at pornography. It will give you a little more time to think.

Now as to why it is happening at this particular time is due to a combination of reasons. After ejaculating the body releases a set of hormones. One, prolactin, triggers the recovery period needed after sex. It also causes drowsiness. Oxytocin and vasopressin are also released and known to cause sleepiness. Some guys unknowingly use ejaculations as a sleep aid. "Secondly, research using positron emission tomography (PET) scans has shown that in order for a person to reach orgasm, a primary requirement is to let go of “all fear and anxiety.”" [Melinda, Wenner, "Why do guys get sleepy after sex?", Scienceline]. This is due to the release of oxytocin. Thus, when you are stressed, the temptation is to use masturbation as a way to release stress. Oxytocin is also a mood elevator, so masturbation helps you feel better. Even though these things are temporary, it is still enough to cause a guy to seek out masturbation, especially when he is having trouble sleeping.

On top of all this, as you start getting sleepy you are more easily aroused. As you drift off to sleep you go through the dream stage and you have an erection during this stage of sleep. This is the stage when wet dreams occur. Of course, being sleepy means you don't think things through as well either. It is easy to drop your guard during this time. My guess is that this is the time of day you most often masturbate and so you associate ejaculating and release with going to bed. Then too, this is a time of more privacy when guys take off clothing and wear little to bed, which means you are more conscience of your genitals.

These explain the natural desire to want to masturbate at these points in time. The struggle is convincing yourself that pornography is not the proper means to indulge in this desire. Satan is using your body against you to convince you to do sinful acts. "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed" (James 1:14). Knowing this, you need to find other ways to help you relax or improve your mood that doesn't involve sinning.

I don't have internet at home anymore since my family and I moved, so I have to use the computer at the library; which is a good thing actually because I don't have easy access to porngraphy. But this only temporary, eventually the Internet is going to be back on but this time I'm going to install the the web fitler. Also, instead of looking at pornography to help me relax at night , I should just excersise or read a book.

Thank you for taking the time to help. I hope next time I give an update on how things are, it won't be about slipping back into my old ways. Hopefully it will be something much more positiive.