Let’s Talk About Porn

DespairLet’s talk about porn. I know it it’s an uncomfortable subject, but ignoring it will do no good. The fact is, pornography addiction is a massive and growing problem—especially for men. If you don’t believe me, here are some shocking statistics:

  • 12% of websites online are pornographic
  • Every second, over 28,000 people are looking at porn
  • 40 million Americans are regular porn viewers
  • 70% of men aged 18-24 regularly look at porn
  • The average age children are first exposed to porn is 11 years old

I could cite many more disturbing stats, but you get the point. Keep in mind the above statistics are at least two years old, and the rate of porn use is increasing exponentially every year. These statistics are probably on the conservative side.

What porn will do to you

It is difficult to exaggerate just how evil pornography is. It will destroy your marriage (or religious vocation) and other relationships. It will corrupt your intellect, emotions, and will, filling your mind with thousands of vile images that won’t go away. It will pull you deeper and deeper in, until you are looking at perversions you could not have imagined. It will become a need so intense you can no longer function normally without it. It will drive you to act on evil impulses, perhaps leading to sexual violence. It will rack you with guilt, driving you from your Creator and Redeemer. It will become everything to you. It will consume you. It will destroy your soul and send you to hell.

Porn is not a harmless private habit. It is a cancer that will work its way into every area of your life, corrupting everything.  I don’t say all this to discourage someone who may be struggling with pornography. Rather, my hope is that, if you are struggling, you will take it seriously and get help as soon as possible.

What to do

Yes, pornography is a big problem, but guess what, Jesus Christ is bigger. He has conquered sin and death, and he can destroy the sin in your life through his grace. Never despair, never lose hope in the power and mercy of God. I want to give you 7 things to do right now if you are struggling with pornography.

1. Don’t trust yourself – The number one way to fall in your struggle against sexual sin is to depend upon yourself. The minute you trust yourself and your own self-control, you will fall very soon afterwards. Acknowledge you have a problem and have a healthy distrust of yourself. Then, do whatever is necessary to prevent a fall.

Install filters on your computers. In fact, get rid of your computer or smartphone if they are causing you to fall. Be radical. Jesus said, “If your eye offends you, pluck it out.” Whatever you do, don’t believe you can handle this by yourself, which leads me to my next point.

2. Get help – You cannot win this battle alone. You need the support of others, and you need accountability. As hard as it might be, find a man you can trust and ask if he will be your accountability partner. I strongly urge you to also enroll in a program like RECLAiM Sexual Health. This is a completely anonymous Catholic program designed to help men recover from pornography addiction.

3. Go to confession – Guilt has a perverse way of driving us to the very thing that can heal us from it—confession. Do not let guilt or shame drive you from confessing your sins. Force yourself to go even if it is the last thing you want to do. Penance is a sacrament that gives us grace and strength, heals our souls, and bathes us in the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Cheat the devil of his victory and receive the mercy of Jesus. If you need extra motivation, study the Divine Mercy message. No matter what you’ve looked at, you can always find abundant mercy in the confessional. Who cares how you feel. Just go!

4. Receive the Eucharist as often as possible – Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist is not a reward for good behavior, it is a remedy for the sickness of sin. Never receive him in a state of mortal sin, but also don’t avoid this most powerful sacrament because you feel unworthy. Go to confession as often as possible, and then receive Jesus as shortly afterwards as possible. The powerful combination of these two sacraments will change your life.

5. Consecrate yourself to Mary – Our Lady is the refuge of sinners and the hope of the guilty. She specializes in protecting and helping her children. That’s her whole job as your mother. Consecrating your life entirely to her is a powerful method for conquering the power of the devil. Do it today, and begin the practice of 3 Hail Marys for purity.

6. Join the Angelic Warfare Confraternity – I won’t go into all the details of this powerful confraternity, but suffice it to say that many men have found participation in it to be a powerful help against temptations to sexual sin. Find out how you can join here.

7. Be patient – Finally, never give up. We have a tendency to want instant results, and if we do not see them we give up and assume freedom will never come. That simply isn’t true. While radical transformations can happen, most of the time change does not happen immediately. If you fall, do not despair. Always look to Christ and his most blessed Mother. Pick yourself up and keep fighting the good fight.

(If you are feeling discouraged, read St. Maximilian Kolbe’s advice on repeated, serious sin.

Conclusion

Men, please, I beg you, do not take pornography lightly. It is so incredibly destructive. If you aren’t struggling with it, thank God for his grace, for that is the only thing keeping you from it. But never pridefully assume you are immune to it. If you are struggling with it, please get help today.

Never forget, Jesus loves you with all the love of his Sacred Heart. He died for you, he is on your side, and he wants to deliver you.

Finally, let’s be strong men of purity, chaste and holy and fighting to preserve the garment of salvation we have received in Holy Baptism. May God help us to do so.

32 Responses to “Let’s Talk About Porn”

  1. Everything he said is true. I was exposed to porn at a young age and have struggled with it for almost two decades. I got married thinking it would go away. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! I began to prefer porn and masturbation to sex with my wife. It was on;y with the birth of our daughter that I realized this had to stop. My life was out of control and I realized if I kept watching porn, I WOULD have an affair, despite the fact I love my wife dearly. I started going to Sex Addicts anonymous, seeing a counselor, and talking to a confessor I trusted. I’m finally starting to get some “sobriety” from porn. It’s making me sick to think about the thousands of hours of my life I’ve wasted on porn.

    If you think you might have a problem, please get help!!! There ARE other men out there who want to stop. You can too!!! You’re worth it!

  2. I was a cronic user of this as well. When I came back to the Church, I quit this stuff cold. It is nasty stuff. By the Grace of God I don’t have a desire to look at it anymore, that has been nearly 5 years now.

    One thing that you are correct on though is you can’t get rid of all you have seen. Satan will use it against you to try and wear you down and snare you. Hold fast and pray to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, St. Maria Goretti, and your Guardian Angel to protect you. Ask the Precious Blood to wash over you. With the help of the Saints and God you can and will overcome.

  3. Thank you very much for sharing this topic. I’ve been addicted to this stuff for a very long time. It really is a shame, but I have to confess, that I grew up with it and I can confirm what you are writing: It destroys you, NOT only your soul, but also your body, your mind…. your love. There had been times when I was not able to love, except in the sense of sexual statisfaction, but I would not consider this as love at all. It’s a love the devil inspires us to. It is horrible when you can hardly look at a woman without thinking of “it”, when you just want a girlfriend because of “it” and when you cannot think of other things. It is part of my life and this fact is so disgusting and I am so ashamed, sometimes I think I will never be free. I pray to our Lord that he has mercy with me.

    • Do not give up and do not despair! Keep fighting, and please get help as soon as possible. Check out the link to RECLAiM I posted above. It is a pornography addiction recovery program. May Jesus most merciful assist you in conquering this force in your life.

  4. Good article.
    I used to struggle with pornography as well, but through some (figurative) lightning strike of God’s grace and love, I hit rock bottom. It’s been a rough journey, but kind of like removing a tumor or operating on a festering wound, the feeling of liberation and of God’s love is overwhelmingly wonderful.

    Regarding the part where the images never leave your mind; it’s true. It’s been five years, and some of those images are still burned in my mind.

  5. This is a very important post. I thought that I could maintain my purity on my own. I lasted about three weeks and then I fell.

    There is a group in the Dallas area called St. Augustine Men’s Purity Group (http://www.catholicmenspurity.com/), but it’s only a local group. I have found it extremely helpful as far as accountability.

    • Only as wrong as losing your soul and going to hell???

      I was a addicted at a young age, but with much prayer and by the grace of God I quit shortly before Confirmation. I think of myself back before I was Confirmed, and it is almost like it was a different person, I person I am glad I no longer am.

      The effects of porn will continue to echo through your life, however it will slowly die away with time. Keep praying even after you are finished with the “stuff”. It will make you forever grow away from that ferocious evil habit, and bring God into your life. Lastly, learn to love Women the way God intended them for to be loved by a Man.

  6. While I understand why Going to Confession was listed third, it’s probably the most critically vital tool available. Also, it seems the link to the 3 Hail Mary’s is broken. Thanks for this post.

  7. Sergio Hernandez Reply

    This is a great article. Now, I have been trying to answer my friend’s question: whether masturbation/watching pornography is a mortal sin. I have researched the guidelines for what constitutes a mortal sin, but I honestly cannot give a clear answer. Is it?

    Also, “some demons can only be driven out by prayer and fasting.” I think FASTING should one of those things we men can do “right now.”

    Thanks again for a great article!

  8. Pornography addition is very similar to chemical addictions; both have genetic and non-genetic biological components.

    There is a very good TED talk on the biology of pornography titled “The Great Porn Experiment”. Don’t let the title throw you, nor take my referencing it as supportive of pornography being only a biological matter of concern. What is discussed is the observed effects on the physiology of the human brain that comes from immediate access to greatly varied pornography in contrast to what happened in the past when it was accessible only through magazines. The physiological observations explained in the talk is something every intelligent person – especially parents – should know.

    This much I will say about your thoughts Sam. Like in alcoholism, there are various states of pornography addiction. Just like there are 4 o’clock martini drunks and dry-drunks (AA terms), there are similar states to pornography addiction. Not everyone who is a drunk ends up a “bum in the gutter”, likewise not everyone who becomes addicted to pornography ends up the way you list. Satan does not need to bring everyone to the same level here on earth to lead them to Hell. Each person has their own journey to both to Heaven and Hell; the scenery and material of the path on those journeys are often quite different.

    So although I agree with all your “what to do” suggestions being positive. The error of treating every drunk the same results in the same end as your “this is what will happen” warnings above. The vast majority of those addicted to pornography are not in the states you warn of. So the vast majority of those you are trying to reach and help will simply write your whole piece off as ignorance.

    I have some experience with AA, there are very good reasons why AA members have as a principle that only the individual person can define themselves as an alcoholic. The principle is a very powerful tool to help bring those who need help closer to those who can help.

    Consider watching the TED talk, if you haven’t seen it already. It will give you some great scientific points from which to help keep those from falling to pornography and help those who have fallen to recover.

  9. Let’s talk about why men turn to porn. In a world where relationships between men and women are a land of shifting sand and impermanent relationships and not fully shared lives, I think that a man can turn to pornography out of despair of being able to have his heart’s true desire: The ability to promise his fidelity and love and shared life with the love of his life. I think there is also a despair of being able to, as Pope St. John Paul says (I paraphrase) to express oneself most fully within the framework of marriage. Properly oriented men desire this, it is engrained in our very being. It is this same despair which can draw men into unhealthy relationships.

  10. an anonymous Catholic man Reply

    I follow The Catholic Gentleman on Facebook and as a result of that I found this post. Though superficially a devout practising Catholic, in his mid-50’s, husband of 30 years and father of adult children I have been addicted to pornography and masturbation since my early teens; for 40 years. How much time, energy, and life I have wasted? But I though if I could keep it a secret it wouldn’t matter. Then, a few days ago I got caught looking at pornography on the internet. I tried the usual excuses, and whilst I’m sure I’m vulnerable to this addiction as a result of negative childhood experiences, these excuses just don’t wash. My wife thought she was marrying a man rather than a sexually immature boy. Even though I knew what I was doing was worng, and was harming me, and my relationships, I lied to myself. So I have come clean with my loved ones. I have accepted that I am an addict. I have accepted the need to change. To stop the lies. To stop the waste of time and energy.

    I have been to an SAA meeting. I have installed filters and swapped out my smartphone for a dumbphone. Today I made the first full and frank Sacramental Confession of my adult life – I confessed to a priest everything, including those sins that I had been keeping a secret for so long and had not been able to confess before – and asked for the Grace to begin again.

    I am under no illusions that this battle is won. I will always be an addict. I will never be able to fully make amends. But, please God, I can try to change.

    Pray for me.

  11. I worked for a very large online porn company for a while. You would be very surprised how porn companies work on the money side of things. How very componance things can be when you are around it all the time.

  12. I know I am late to the party, but this post is valuable to me and others precisely because we have heard one version or the other about the evils of pornography before and found it tedious. As Catholics we know it’s wrong, but most take it in the same way we see dating before marriage as wrong, and by dating you know what I mean….The culture and all of our daily life experiences point in one direction and that being the way to the Father of Lies. Until now I have taken it as a dirty little secret, but a harmless one that in moderation doesn’t hurt my family or myself.

    No longer. It hurts my libido with my wife. It breeds complacency and laziness. It dull the senses. But worst, it truly makes people of the opposite sex become pure objects. The daily thoughts that I see have been around for so long that I consider them normal, but now that I have some perspective, I’m literally a pervert walking around waiting for his next fix. I am not all that young either….

    Long story short, my first experiences with porn were of the VHS variety that my grandfather let me watch when I was 13. The absolute worst age for this. Not blaming, just sharing in the hopes that this helps. Porn gives you kinks that you would ordinarily never need or want. I literally ask my wife and prior to marriage, girlfriends, for all manner of trivial weirdness all the time thinking it’s just any old thing. Anal, facials, peeing, etc. But where did I get this? When I was with my first, all that was needed was a kiss and bliss would last for hours. Euphoria for normal love making even. But as I went through more partners and many much more porn, even the highs are nothing compared to those early days. And I am not some loner with a porn addiction for a friend. I have always had a girlfriend or three since I was 16 and yet, even with them in full harem mode, I would watch porn 4-7 times a week. IT is a drug. It allows you to control the object to your whims. IT is how visiting prostitutes are born. Not because it avoids rapes, but because the thrill of a novel woman doing whatever you want consequence free IS the essence of porn. Except with porn there are no illegalities (mostly),no STDs, no paternity or adultery issues, and there isn’t even a stigma to it any longer. But it will crush you just the same.

    I even watched a great talk by a Protestant minister of all things saying that God did not put others on this Earth to satisfy my desires and while it made an impression and the people there were enthralled, a few days later the effect wore off because we are weak and because we are prideful and do not put it all in our Lord’s hands. Submit to His wisdom. Let Him break you down so He can build you up the right way with the Holy Spirit. It cannot be done yourself. It must be done through Him. And when you let him in utterly it becomes so easy and so awesome. Go with God fellas.

  13. The first thing to understand is the porn star fakes their orgasm.
    And the last thing to understand is the porn star fakes their orgasm.
    Porn is evil but more importantly its not real.
    Namely the fraud cannot seduce me. Why?
    She is not real..
    The devil and his harlots are counter fit so who wants his faulty produce?
    “Here” said the devil “Would you like to watch my harlots being fake with each other”?
    “Would you like me to smile at you when I hate you” said his harlot.
    And now after this evaluation of the harlot and Satan, seduction is now in its reduction whether you are religious or not.
    A trip to the sewer am I tempted? Nah I like feeding pigeons in the park.. Anyway Satan and his whores are anti sexual anti nature anti life (that is his hidden message).

  14. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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