The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I'm a really religious guy and I'm 14. Even though I've tried really hard, I can't seem to break my addiction to porn. It started when I was 12. I had a friend who talked about it all the time at school and I didn't know what it was, so of course like every other person would I googled it. Oh! Behold were the results.

I watched it without being caught until about 13 when my parents found out a couple days before I was going to go on my church's missons trip. They sent me off to missions trip while they figured out what to do. During the trip I talked to my pastor. He said when he was young he had the same problem. Then he gave me some advice on safe search engines. When I came home I told my parents. They decided to install Net Nanny on my electronic devices and for a while it worked.

But about a month ago, I figured out I could see porn on one of my favorite social media sites. Every day I've ''used it.'' It's scaring me because three months ago I got an amazing girlfriend who is everything you would want in a girl and more. Oh, did I mention she loves God. I feel like every time I do this I become less worthy of her and God.

I need help. I don't know how to stop. I'm worried I'm going to try to pull a move on her one day that possibly could lead to sex one day. I really don't want that to happen because I respect her, God, and myself too much to do that without a fight. I'm sure she wouldnt give in to those advances, but then it would be akward and she might leave me. I mean if for her safety I have to leave her because I don't want to do that to her, but that's my last resort.

Please tell me your opinion, Mr. Jeff. Thanks.


Answer

Your concerns are legitimate. The problem with sins of lust is that they wear down your defenses. See Lies Pornography Tells Men. While you recognize the potential problems pornography can cause you in the future, I suspect that you don't see the immediate problems. I get the impression that though you know it isn't right, you don't see looking at pornography as a sin. You see it more as an annoyance. Yet, Paul told us, "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).

You are willing to be prevented from seeing pornography, but you don't make it a personal responsibility to avoid it. In a sense, you are taking the lazy way out. "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13). It is time in this matter for you to start acting as a man and take responsibility for your actions.

Now during the period when you first were blocked from pornography, you managed to survive without it. I'm assuming it was a period of several months and I'm also assuming you still had ejaculations during that time. This proves that you can manage your need to ejaculate without the use of pornography. It isn't required to relieve yourself.

Therefore, since pornography is in itself a sin, the first order of business is to stop looking at it. The first rule is no electronic devices in your bedroom. If you are going to use a computer or tablet, it has to be in the "public" areas of the house. Net Nanny like other similar products give your parents control over what you can access. If you have trouble resisting looking through this one social media, tell your parents that there is a hole and ask them to block the site. If you typically look at night, ask your parents to put blocks in so that you can only access the Internet during the daytime. None of these are perfect solutions. They are opportunities for you to start getting control over yourself. I'm sure you can find ways around these, but what I want you to do is not even try to find a way around them.

If you find the urge to look at porn is growing strong, it means:

  • You are leaving yourself with nothing to do and porn is a time waster. If this is the case, start finding productive things to do with your time -- things you enjoy doing that accomplishes something.
  • You are stressed and you see porn as a distraction from problems. If this is the case, go do something physically active -- walk, run, ride, exercise -- until you are tired. These also relieve stress and they benefit your body.
  • You are waiting too long to ejaculate and your semen is building up. If this is the case go some place private where there is no Internet access and relieve yourself. Once you ejaculate, you will find your desire to look at porn will disappear for a while.

In this way you practice self-control. Once you see that you can control your actions, then you will realize that you can also control your behavior with your girlfriend. The way not to do the wrong this with her is not to start. See: How much sexual stuff is too much?