How does a woman break free from pornography?

The thing about breaking free from lust is just that, you don’t just break free. It isn’t a wall to be torn down, or a window to be broken. It’s not a bad habit to shake. It can’t be throw in the trash can, or poured out on the ground. Lust becomes a part of you.  You don’t break free from lust; you have to get untangled.

I spent eight years of my life battling a pornography addiction. That was just the pornography. It didn’t include the masturbation, lust, or the world of fantasy I had created. I thought when I finally stopped doing it I would be able to live life normally. I waited for that one moment – the moment when it clicked, when my heart, mind, and body all got the memo. I waited for the moment when I could say, This! This is the moment I was finally free.

I set out on a journey for that moment, only to find that there isn’t a moment. Freedom is not a moment. Freedom is, in fact, the journey.

So many women write me sharing their own struggles with pornography, lust, masturbation, and fantasy. They ask me, How can I be free? I hate that I don’t have six simple steps to give them. There just isn’t one. Every woman’s struggle is as unique as her story. Behind her addiction to lust could be the broken-hearted daughter from a torn family, or a frightened victim of sexual assault.

Lust never comes alone, and it doesn’t just affect our bodies. It affects our bodies, minds, and, ultimately, our hearts. Lust twists love, trust, satisfaction, and God. It messes with everything. When a woman is searching for freedom, she isn’t asking, “How can I stop looking at pornography? What she is really asking is, How can I be whole again?

It’s a good thing for us that God is in the business of making women whole again. If we are willing, He will work that same redemptive grace in our lives, but we have to be in it for the long haul. We have to understand that it isn’t just the lust. He won’t stop there. He will dig down into the depths of our broken heart to fix how we view others, life, and ourselves. This is a major overhaul, but certainly worth it! So how do we start?

First, you need to tell someone. I know that can seem like the scariest thing. Many of us would rather swim in a pool of snakes than share this type of struggle with someone. However, it is important for us to tell someone who can offer us specific counsel and help us work through the underlying issues. That may be a Christian counselor, your mom, a woman in your church, a friend.  You need to get this sin out into the light.

Second, don’t be afraid of pain. Many women turn to lust, pornography, masturbation, and fantasy in order to cope with pain in their lives. We haven’t learned proper coping mechanisms. Remember that our Saviour experienced human emotion. We live in a fallen world – a world of pain – and it is OK for you to feel disappointed, hurt, frustrated, broken, etc. When you acknowledge that, it can be healed!

Third, know your triggers. Every woman’s struggle is different. Something that triggers your struggle may have no effect on someone else. Perhaps it’s an emotion, a time of day, a certain situation, a certain movie or book, a song, or even a smell. Try and figure out what your triggers are. This helps you avoid them but it can also point to root causes of your struggle.

Last, and most important, take it one step at a time. So often, we can look at a goal and think, Oh, I can never get there, so we never even try. When you are trapped in the depths of pornography or lust, freedom can feel impossible. It can feel like you will never be able to be normal. I promise you, though, God is more than able to free you, heal you, and restore you! It is His desire to conform you to the beautiful, pure image of His Son. Let Him perform that change in you – one step at a time.



By Jessica Harris | Founder of Beggar’s Daughter  (Used with Permission from Visit Jessica’s website for additional resources – Beggar’s Daughter. And “like” her facebook page to stay up to date with the amazing things she is doing.



  1. Very useful but i don’t understand is does this techniques apply for guys too? And what is how do we find our own triggers?

    By Aloysius Charles | 8 years ago Reply
    • Aloysius,

      I am sure it can apply to guys as well. Being a woman, though, I write as a women, to women, for women. It wasn’t to say, “These steps are only for women.” I’m sure men could find them useful as well!

      Finding triggers: what triggers your struggle. This might be a more ‘woman’ question than a man question. For men, I think often the trigger is in their own thought life or body. For women, it seems that we are usually triggered by something external- something we see on TV, something we read, a certain situation, a certain emotion, etc. So, I encourage women to try and figure out what triggers their struggles. When do they feel most tempted?

      Hope that helps!

      By Jessica Harris | 8 years ago Reply
      • Thank you Jessica Harris, thank you for sharing your experience, it have given me more courage to keep fighting

        By Emmanuel | 8 years ago Reply
  2. Thank you for this beautiful article Jessica. It’s so helpful and wise, and I appreciate the time you took to help us women. Please continue to share the truth.

    By Making It | 8 years ago Reply
  3. This is wonderful! My struggle has been long and painful. It was painful the first time that I acknowleged my addiction as a bad thing and went to confession about it; I thought that I was the only girl like this (I’ve since then found this not to be true). My priest was so understanding and I go back to the confessional again and again. It’s a lifelong struggle. Thank you, thank you for posting this! I almost want to cry! Maybe someday I’ll be strong enough to talk to other girls about this. They need to hear that other GIRLS have this problem too. My biggest fear was that I was so much like a boy; that only boys had this problem. Thank you!

    By Delany | 8 years ago Reply
    • Delany,

      I am pretty sure every woman who struggles with this feels like she is the only woman who struggles with this. It’s like we all believe we’re on this island all by ourselves, but then, when the sun comes up we realize that we are on a huge continent filled with sisters in Christ! We need each other and it’s so sad that there isn’t more connection.

      By Jessica Harris | 8 years ago Reply
      • and Brothers too :0)

        By Emmanuel | 8 years ago Reply
  4. Thanks you so much! I’m a younger girl struggling with these issues and I just want to know how you motivate yourself to keep trying because that’s something really hard for me… And also, do you know any really common triggers? Thank you again, it’s nice to know that there are others out there who have the same issue

    By Sarah | 8 years ago Reply
  5. Thank you for your sharing. Another thing that I wish to add is the power of prayer. When the temptation rolls in, I have to kneel over and implore for the graces from Heaven to help me overcome the bitter chalice that I face. I especially call on the grace of the Blessed Virgin Mother, the model for purity and chaste love. Or St. Joseph, the protector of divine beauty and purity.

    By Me | 8 years ago Reply
    • Thank you ‘ME’

      By Emmanuel | 8 years ago Reply
  6. Thank you very much for this article! It would help to solve some problems I have in dealing with some young women that are addicted to pornography. Please keep on the good work. I will remember you in my prayers. May God bless you!

    By Fr. Innocent | 8 years ago Reply
    • Thank you Fr. Innocent

      By Emmanuel | 8 years ago Reply
  7. I found this blog super helpful, and I also found going to confession, praying to Mary, and reading chastity books (like those by Jason Everett) super helpful. Thank you!

    By Sarah | 8 years ago Reply
    • Thank you Sarah

      By Emmanuel | 8 years ago Reply
  8. Thanks for sharing. Been having this problem for 9 years. How you actually try to push yourself away from your triggers? Like me for instance, my trigger is internet but Internet is very important to me as a student to do my assignment etc. What should I do?

    By Wanda V | 8 years ago Reply
    • I once complained to a priest that I wanted to throw my iPod bec. it leads me to sin… No, he said. “it is actually our self-control(together with prayer) that will solve the problem, not the throwing of the
      gadget” hope you see my point here. Internet is very good. It helps you and me and others to do their work faster and so much easier! And when you find yourself using it in the wrong way, pray and self-control. Remember, we cannot get rid of the Internet. We are all normal people in the middle of the world. We just need the right intention why we uses such things.

      Sorry for long reply. Hope I somehow lighted you up a little bit…

      By Irene | 8 years ago Reply
  9. thank you so much for this article. It made me realized that I am not alone in struggling with these kind of issues…. It also gave me hope that I can get out of my old habits with the help of Our Lord, Our Lady and St. Joseph. Thank you so much again! God bless!

    By Irene | 8 years ago Reply
    • Thank you Irene

      By Emmanuel | 8 years ago Reply
  10. hello , i need help , for 16 years i watch porn, since i was a little girl

    By anonima | 8 years ago Reply
    • Will pray for you Anonima, (this is based on my personal experience) it would be better if you can speak to a Christian Counselor as they are trained to help you, above article by Jessica gives few suggestions you can work on. Confession helped me a lot too, praying the rosary, spending quiet time in front of Blessed Sacrament, prayers would be good tools too.

      I was very blessed to meet with Christopher West in a recent conference in Melbourne, Australia. In his conference he mentioned that lust is missing the mark of God’s perfect plan; therefore work through your struggles. I sometimes struggle too but God knows the plan for you and me.

      Don’t give up if you fail, just keep working on it :0)

      By Emmanuel | 8 years ago Reply
  11. Thank you all sisters and brothers for the beautiful comments and sharing your wisdom. It will help me with my struggle(s) too. Will include you all in prayers too.

    Think of it this way; we are all warriors in this world in our path to sainthood and with God in our side we can get there, one step at a time.

    God bless you all and love your courage

    By Emmanuel | 8 years ago Reply

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