Last updated on October 5, 2020
I am 16 years old. When I was much younger I had discovered pornography and became addicted to it out of curiosity, but I always felt guilty afterward. One day I promised to stop watching pornography to God, and I began to pray every night. However, I have begun to watch it again, and honestly, I do not know what to do. I assume it is hormones now that cause me to watch this and later on in life I will not do this anymore, but I want to know: Should the promise I made as a 9-year-old be kept now that I am 16? I also promised to pray to Him every night. Am I still expected to keep the promise about pornography? I intend to pray every night, and I have been since then, slipping up only a few times when I fall asleep that I could probably count on my hand. At this point, I have been trying to step away from pornography but as the time prolongs the more I feel the urge to watch it. When I give in, I end up watching it for a lot of time, worse than before I tried to stop. This lasts for some time until it blows over and it is still regular but far more spaced out than before.
Please tell me if my promise as a boy is still going to bind me as I grow up.
There is a very basic flaw being your questions that we first need to discuss. Things don’t become right or wrong because you promised to do (or not do) something. God tells us what is right or wrong and we are expected to follow His commands because they are good for us. When you say you are not going to watch pornography because you made a promise that puts yourself as the one determining what is right or wrong. The reason Christians are not to watch pornography is that it is wrong — it causes harm. See: Lies Pornography Tells Men. Whether you promised to stop watching pornography or not, it still remains a sin. In the same way, Christians are told to pray. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18). This takes prayer out the realm of personal choice and makes it into a requirement.
What I frequently see are young men who confuse their need to ejaculate with a desire to watch pornography. Too often they get into a habit of only masturbating while watching pornography. What generally happens is a guy decides to quit pornography, but since we focus on the physical they believe that means giving up all ejaculations. That works for a short while, but eventually, the seminal vesicles get full and the body increasingly demands relief. The boy mistakenly decides it is an urge to look at pornography and so he battles it. But eventually, something has to give because the seminal vesicles can only hold so much semen. Instinct takes over. Searches on the Internet get more risque until the next thing the boy realizes is that he is watching porn and his pants are down. He might even be thinking the whole time, “I shouldn’t do this,” but he can’t manage to stop himself.
Once the dam is broken, two things come into play. One is the idea that I’ve already sinned, so I might as well continue for a while. The other is that ejaculation doesn’t fully empty the seminal vesicles and since there is too much in reserve, the body wants to empty out the seminal vesicles in case you stop again for too long. It is very much like a dieter binging when he breaks his diet. Eventually, the seminal vesicles get empty and it actually is uncomfortable to ejaculate, so the guy stops. He vows once again to stop and the cycle repeats.
The answer to avoiding pornography is to recognize that your urge to look is really a need to ejaculate. Either use masturbation or allow yourself to have a wet dream so that the pressure is relieved on your seminal vesicles. You will find that for a period of time after ejaculating, you will have no interest in sexual things. Then it will build back up again. Basically, you take control of your body and manage it instead of it managing you.
In regards to the promises, stop making promises for things you should be doing (or not doing) anyway.
Thank you for your reply, sir. I will take what you have said to heart. And thank you also for the advice. I really appreciate this message you have written for me. God bless you.