I’ve lost count of how many men and women have asked me how to break free from porn. Usually, I offer what advice I can, and then recommend they view the videos, blogs, and articles on our site, here. However, because I’ve spent so much time telling people how to stop looking at porn, I figured it was time to write a blog offering all the best tips for how to remain trapped in a porn addiction for as long as possible.
Why would I do such a thing?
About 75 years ago, C.S. Lewis penned the book Screwtape Letters. In it, he crafted a fictional series of letters between one demon (Screwtape) to another, explaining how to ruin a person’s soul. It’s a spiritual classic on how to resist temptation because he unveils the tactics of the enemy. When a person understands the strategies of the devil, one is better able to reject his advances and combat one’s sins.
So, I’m going to try the same approach with the topic porn, and give you the top 15 tips to stay stuck in porn. Keep in mind this is all backwards:
1. Believe in yourself. You can conquer this alone. If you go to others for help, it will only make them think less of you. Don’t humiliate yourself and become a burden to others in the process—most especially your family. Even if you have failed to overcome this vice for ten years on your own, keep at it. You’ll break through if you just try hard enough all alone. This way, your pride will be spared, because you can’t afford to take a hit there. Whatever you do, don’t use something like Covenant Eyes, which will block impure content from your devices and notify an accountability partner to keep you strong. Don’t bother with that, or with Accountable2You.com. It’s too much effort. If you can keep everything a secret, then you can continue to hate and love your sin without having to deal it a lethal blow.
2. Pretend that your only problem is lust. If you realize that there are underlying issues such as boredom, stress, loneliness, anger, self-pity, and entitlement that might need to be addressed, then you might end up uprooting the addiction. Don’t go to the root. Just keep hacking away at the weed.
3. Don’t pay attention to when and where you fall. If you pay attention to these things, you might end up discovering a pattern that could be addressed and you might end up replacing bad habits with good ones. Don’t be so obsessive about it. Its not like there’s an app that could help you keep track of that stuff.
4. Avoid counseling. If you have a persistent porn addiction, don’t go to a counselor. Counselors are only for crazy people who have debilitating mental health problems. You’re fine. Besides, where would you find a good counselor near you or one who would help you through Skype?
5. Remind yourself that no one is getting hurt. Porn is a victimless crime. Your soul isn’t hurt, your brain isn’t being damaged, porn doesn’t fuel the sex trade industry, and porn stars are well-adjusted and happy individuals who are thriving in their personal lives. Also, your future spouse and children won’t mind your little habit. Even if you think they won’t like it, you’ll overcome the habit by the time they come along. No rush.
6. If you ever fall again, this means you’ll never be free. Give up now. Don’t bother going to confession, because you’ve said it all before. What’s the point? If you insist on going to confession, make sure to priest-hop. In other words, don’t stick with the same priest more than once. That way, none of them can follow the trail of the scent of your sin. After all, you would only disappoint him by falling again. What would he think of you? He’d never look the same way at you again. No priest could relate to you anyway. If you go to a new priest each time, it’s much less humbling. Again, humility is to be avoided at all costs.
7. Your flashbacks will never go away, so just accept them. When memories of your habit come to mind at the most random and unwelcome times, just take that as a reminder that you’re never going to be free. Whatever you do, don’t take it as a reminder to pray for healing, or even worse—to pray for the healing and conversion of the person in your flashback. Don’t do that. Don’t transform temptation into intercession. Temptations are supposed to entice you towards hell, not remind you to bring others closer to heaven.
8. Consider lust and the temptation to be the same thing. As long as you think it’s a sin to be tempted to sin, then you can rest assured that you’re perpetually displeasing God by having sexual desires. That’s a healthy place to be. You won’t go neurotic. Indeed, keep telling yourself that if you become really really holy, then all of your sexual desires will evaporate. So long as any sexual desires persist, you’re a failure. After all, the annihilation of desire is the goal of purity. You must become numb to the beauty of others. Otherwise, you might discover that the beauty of creation leads you to its Source. Finally, if you realize that temptations to sin are opportunities to practice heroic virtue, then you might begin to break free from sin, and who would want to do that? Everyone knows that sin brings you deep joy and lasting satisfaction.
9. If you’re a woman, you’re the only one who struggles with this. To put it plainly, you’re a freak of nature. Lust is a guy problem. Something must be seriously wrong with you that you would fall into such a guy’s sin. You should be struggling with exclusively female problems like immodesty, gossip, and emotional things (guys don’t EVER struggle with those). Because you’re so unusual, you should definitely not confess this. You’ll just scandalize the priest and end up being the first woman on earth to confess such a horrid and unwomanly habit. Do yourself a favor, and live in shame. Give up, because you’re the only one who struggles with this. No one would ever admit to this habit, let alone write a book about it to give you encouragement and freedom.
10. If you’re a guy, you’re just like everyone else if you look at porn. Seriously, what guy doesn’t? Sex is natural. You just appreciate women. Women have a right to be in this industry, and you’re a champion of their first amendment rights . . . by spending countless hours in isolation gawking at your screen. Why should any man feel the need to rise above such base inclinations? Take it easy on yourself, don’t waste months of your life transforming it with something like Exodus 90 or Strive. Who needs a spiritual six pack when you can pamper yourself?
11. If you feel called to the priesthood or religious life, scratch that off your list. Nobody called to those vocations would ever struggle with lust in this manner. Lust is only a struggle for the people who aren’t called to be celibate. For celibates, purity comes naturally.
12. Stay away from websites like Fight the New Drug and E5men. Stick with other websites, if you know what I mean. Those three sites might make demands on you and ask you to sacrifice to kill your habit. Don’t follow fanatics like @MattFradd on Twitter, or use apps like Victory. Instead, make sure to click on every possibly immodest Twitter profile picture you see. You have to click. You’ll probably die if your curiosity isn’t satisfied.
13. Stay away from that Lady. You know, the one whom the old women ramble on about in their Rosaries? Don’t even mention her name, especially not when you’re tempted. While you’re at it, stay away from sacramentals in general. No need for holy water, crucifixes, holy images, etc. That’s all superstitious stuff anyway.
14. Don’t go to Mass too often, and steer clear of Eucharistic Adoration. The flesh of God might just be the antidote to the addictions of the flesh of man. So, stay away. The Bread of Angels is overrated. It’s not like you could find a Mass or adoration chapel near you, anyway.
15. You don’t need to kill the habit today. Tomorrow would work better. Actually. tomorrow is quite busy as well. Perhaps next month would be ideal.
Jason Evert founded chastity.com has spoken on six continents to more than one million people about the virtue of chastity. He is the author of more than ten books, including How to Find Your Soulmate without Losing Your Soul and Theology of the Body for Teens.