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Now Reading: Give Up Porn for Lent

Give Up Porn for Lent

henri05.thumbI know, I know, I’ve been writing about porn and purity a lot lately.

But there’s a good reason—It’s a HUGE problem. 

When 64% of Christian men admit to watching porn at least monthly, and at least 21% of youth pastors admit to being addicted, there’s no point in pretending it isn’t happening. As my good friend Matt Fradd is wont to say, “Why do we preach to the choir about porn? Because the choir is looking at porn!” It may be unpleasant to talk about, but it is altogether necessary.

So if you are one of the many men who struggles with pornography, I want to issue a challenge to you: Give up porn for Lent. There is no better time to conquer this sin once and for all than this focused season of purification and conversion leading up to Easter.

Why give it up?

When a sin has been a part of your life for a long time, it is easy to justify its presence. We make excuses or tell ourselves we’ll give it up someday, but not yet. The fact it is a mortal sin is reason enough to fight porn, but if that’s not sufficient for your, here are three more reasons to give up porn today.

  1. It hurts real women – One of the chief seductions of porn is that it feels so harmless at the moment. We rationalize by telling ourselves that we aren’t really hurting anyone, and that everything we see is consensual. The problem is, that isn’t true. Many women who’ve left the industry tell heartbreaking stories of abuse, drug addiction, coercion, trafficking, and more. The porn industry is a horrible place that destroys women and then discards them. When you look at porn, you are contributing to the misery and degradation of countless women. How does that make you feel?
  2. It rewires your brain – Neuroscience is revealing that our brains are not unchanging, but are rather plastic. That means that our brains can be trained and shaped by repeated actions. And guess what? Repeated viewing of porn rewires your brain, and not in a good way. If you want to be an overgrown manchild with a smaller, more infantile brain, go ahead, watch porn. But if you want to be a real man, a man who has control and can make mature choices, you’d better give up porn.
  3. It gets worse – The problem with addictions is that they are almost impossible to compartmentalize or control. Once you are addicted, it always gets worse. That’s just the way our brains work. So perhaps you start out looking at stuff that’s relatively tame. But before you know it, it won’t get you excited anymore. You’ll need something racier and more extreme. And then you’ll be looking at acts so horrible you never could have imagined them, all because that’s what you need to get aroused. Do you really want to end up like Jared?

There’s so much more that could be said, but put simply, porn ruins lives and relationships. People have lost their jobs, their spouses, and even their lives, because of porn. Don’t be a slave. Give it up.

Three Weapons for Breaking Free

I hope you want to be free of porn. Deep down, you must want to or you’ll never make it. If you are sick of porn’s presence in your life, here are three powerful tools that can help you break free.

  1. Accountability – One of the most foolish things we can do in our struggle against porn is refuse to be accountable. Sure, it is embarrassing to tell someone else about your struggle, but it is also healthy and freeing and immensely helpful. In fact, I would argue that it is impossible to really break free from porn unless you are accountable to someone else. One of the easiest and most powerful ways to stay accountable is accountability software. When you know someone else is going to see exactly what sites you visit, it provides a lot of motivation to stay clean. Click here to sign up for Covenant Eyes, the leading accountability software out there. Even better, for the entirety of Lent, you’ll get a free 60 day trial of Covenant Eyes. Just use the code “lentchallenge” when you download the software.
  2. The Blue Label Challenge – Speaking of motivation, sometimes we need a little pain to stay motivated. That’s where the Blue Label Challenge comes in. It’s a simple contest between friends: You challenge a buddy to stay clean from porn, and if they fail, they buy you something expensive enough to hurt. And vice versa–if you fail to stay away from porn, you have to buy your buddy something too. For some people, being out $50 could be enough motivation to stay clean. For others, maybe it’s a Blue Label bottle of Scotch that costs hundreds of dollars. The point is, you have the motivating threat of a serious expenditure hanging over your head the next time you’re tempted to look at porn. It’s a great reminder that porn costs—in the short term and the long term. So what are you waiting for? Take the challenge.
  3. Retrain Your Brain – As I mentioned earlier, neuroscience is proving that our brains are trainable. Through repeated actions, we can teach ourselves to act in a certain way. The good news is, several groups have harnessed this new discovery to help fight porn. Catholic Apologist Devin Rose has a multi-week Catholic course helping men conquer porn. Reclaim Sexual Health offers a neuroscience and faith based program. And finally, the Fortify Program takes a completely secular approach to beating porn. All of these tools can help rewire your brain in a positive, porn-free way.

You Can Do It

For 20 centuries, Lent has been a time of fasting, penance, and prayer. It is a time of rooting out sins and practicing virtues. There is no better time to fight porn intensely than this holy season of conversion.

But whatever you do, don’t believe the lie that you are trapped forever. It isn’t true. Despair is the enemy. Reject it. By God’s grace, you can be free of porn. This Lent, make a commitment to beat this sin once and for all. Focus all your energy on that goal, and use all the weapons at your disposal.

Finally, entrust yourself wholly to our Lord Jesus Christ who is able to help you. Call out to him like the blind beggar in the Gospels, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” and never forget that he can heal you and save you.

You can beat porn. And there’s no better time than Lent to begin. Ready, set, fight!

PS: For the next three days, get a FREE Kindle edition of Matt Fradd’s book “Restored: True Stories of Love and Trust after Porn” that shows that porn can be beaten!

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Sam Guzman

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36 People Replies to “Give Up Porn for Lent”

  1. Michelle Padich

    Very helpful indeed. I found a software to find and remove all porn images and videos from our family PC. It aided in the porn addiction recovery path of my husband. It is called Content Cleaner and can be found at:

    http://contentpurity.com/cleanintro.htm

    Hope this helps others. God Bless.

  2. Dennis

    The above recommendation comes with a warning; Covenant Eyes is non-Catholic and some of the advise is dodgy i.e it’s ok to masturbate so long as you don’t have lustful thoughts. Sounds like a challenge to me! This obviously contradicts Catholic moral teaching. The videos on The Cycle of Porn Addiction looks sound though. There does seem to be an internal contradiction here though as advising someone with porn addiction that it’s ok to masturbate is asking for trouble. Guess it’s a good example of what happens without the clarity of Catholic doctrine; Confusion

  3. Dennis

    I recommend Covenant Eyes and the videos on The Cycle Of Porn Addiction. Porn use is the end result of the cycle which begins with Desire, then Enticement, Conception and Birth. Looks at Triggers which can be external or internal and the parts of the brain involved in addiction. A lot of porn use is getting away from ourselves. A refuge. But the cycle starts with desire.

  4. MG

    Yes! Give up porn! You don’t want to go to Hell for eternity for a fleeting moment of filthy pleasure. I have reservations about the accountability method you described though, unless it can be more or less anonymous. Maybe the software you mentioned is? It seems like something you shouldn’t need to let others know about unless absolutely necessary.

  5. Dennis

    We need the help of Sanctifying Grace through the Sacraments of Penance,confession and Holy Communion. Also the sacramentals especially the Rosary. It’s humiliating to confess to watching porn and masturbating and Satan wants us to give up and give in but, no matter how often we need to go back to Confession and admit “the same old sin” it’s the only way to break the grip of this powerful addiction.

    Confess, receive Holy Communion and pray the Rosary. Don’t give up!

  6. This Sunday the Gospel relates the story of the woman caught in adultery. The real story is the effort by Satan to destroy Christ. Satan’s purpose is to destroy humanity. He does this by making humans behave like animals and by coercing them into acting on behalf of God in a most ungodly way. (Isis is Satanic). Jesus reacts by showing complete contempt for the religious zealots working for the prince of darkness. He assumes a disinterested posture and draws noughts and crosses on the ground (who knows what he wrote). He waits until the mob have exhausted their rage and then without being drawn into an argument he throws the responsibility back onto them. Finally he restores the woman her dignity which is how God wants us to be. Porn makes humans act like animals. It is Satanic.I don’t like to give Satan free publicity but we mustn’t ignore him.

  7. Vercingetorix

    Porn addiction(and the resulting action that is paired to it) is, in my opinion, a clear sign that we are not men, but boys. That a culture that has spent the last 50 years(or longer) telling us how flawed we are for one reason: being male. This is not something I have discovered by happenstance.

  8. RJ

    Brothers, this is great advice. More likely than not, if you’re reading this, you’re struggling with porn. I did for a long, long time. Maybe it was never “hardcore”, but a sin is still a sin.

    For a couple years, I did not want to admit it was a big deal, so I didn’t consider giving it up for Lent. After I had a girlfriend and still found myself seeking pleasure, if you will, I knew it was a problem. For 5 long years, this was my Lenten penance and I struggled. Sadly, it wasn’t until I really “fell” and hurt myself with impurity that it all came tumbling down.

    The rebuilding process was terrible and I really loathed my action, but could feel forgiveness at hand. It was this God experience that was the final push I needed to eradicate it from my life. Since then, I have been “clean”.

    I just write to encourage you to make an effort to erase it from your life before you leave a scar. I’m afraid it was too late for me, but the end result brought me closer to God. Be strong, brothers. I’ll pray for you all.

  9. Dennis

    Great idea to use Lent for giving up porn. One way to break the ritual which is part of addiction. As for giving up masturbating as well, we should always be aiming to give this up! However to avoid falling into despair I would say if you really can’t overcome that urge then do it without looking at porn.

  10. Blade

    I gave it up 12 years ago and have never gone back, thanks be to God. A priest gave me huge help in the confessional by urging me to take a cold shower every time I felt the urge. You can do it!

  11. there is a concept in AA for newcomers that strongly suggests that they attend 90 meetings in 90 days (known colloguially as a ” 90 in 90″). Many find the idea a daunting one and push back as an impossible task given their other commitments… The newcomer is directed to the full schedule of meetings in the area, and is reminded that if they are “willing to go to any length to achieve sobriety”, then they will PLAN their day around meeting attendance, and go wherever they need to in order to stay on track.

    I think this concept is a good one to appropriate for anyone who is trying to rid themselves of sexual addiction(s)… That is, they should try to attend “90 Masses in 90 Days”. Mass is exactly where we receive the medicine to combat the spirit of lust: that is, the Eucharist. We must receive, receive, receive, ALL of the Grace we can…in concert with frequent confession, and/or spiritual direction, so that we may better cooperate with the Lord’s Grace. A prospect may resist due to work and/or family obligations…but like the AA newcomer, they should look at the Mass schedules of all of the parishes in the area…both at home and near the office. Early morning Masses, noontime Masses, and evening Masses are available…IF the person is willing to look for them and commit to going.

    It will be hard, at first… then, it will become easier… then, it will become the most-anticipated event of the day, and indeed, the event that sets the tone for the day itself. It becomes essential

    to borrow another AA concept, if we truly desire freedom, we must surrender absolutely (humility)

  12. Veronica, unbelievable that the worker is work his wages.

  13. Unbelievable someone is using lent to make money

  14. Daniel

    Like Jesus in the desert I have found replying with scripture most effective in fighting temptation. Lately I have repeated this verse whenever temptation has arisen: ““You have heard that it was said ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28.

  15. Eric Borger

    Last statistic I saw, porn touches 50% of the adult population. More, if you consider that man or woman has influence with innocent spouse or children. When you give up a long term habit, may I recommend replacing it. Don’t leave it a vacuum for the evil one to find some other worthless thing to fill. Giving up chocolate for Lent, for example, should be paired with a positive, if only a decade for the Holy father’s intentions.

    I wonder what the actual average weekly hours total when it comes to those struggling with porn? I have a sneaking suspicion the hours could handle the weekly yard work for two elderly couples (depending on how serious the addiction is). May the Lord break us where we need it and rebuild us in this time of Lent

  16. John Heinen

    Great article Sam. Blessings to you and your ministries. I pray that your Lent is a time to deepen and continually receive the gift of Faith!
    Yours in Christ through Mary, John

  17. Gerard McCullough

    Pat_H, I agree with you on Saudi Arabia not passing the missionary test, however the point I was really making tongue in cheek is that all printed porn is strictly banned and all e-porn is automatically blocked! So it’s an easier environment to give it up.

  18. Gavin

    Really inspiring and helpful. Thank you!

  19. John

    When abandoning porn, is it wise for one to abandon the act of masturbation as well?

  20. Great article except for the Blue Label bit. As a college student, many of my friends and I can’t afford to just drop huge amounts of money; in addition, buying a consumer product doesn’t seem like a proper sacrifice for giving up the habit. I’d argue tithing an extra amount to your parish if you fall, or if money is a problem giving extra time for service in the community. Things we should be doing anyway, of course, but offering more when we’re weak.

  21. Singapore might be an easier path on that one. Or, at least based on when I was there over 20 years ago, South Korea.

    Saudi Arabia doesn’t pass the “Mormon Missionary Test” That is, I feel it should be a test of whether a nation is an adult, modern, nation worthy of being in the family of nations that, no matter how much you might disagree with them, a Mormon Missionary can show up at your door without fear of being arrested.

  22. Totally off the topic, what’s the story behind the great photograph on this one?

  23. Gerard McCullough

    Another solution – move to Saudi Arabia! A bit radical but it worked for me.

  24. In addition to what Sam said, he also linked to my course, which includes a 30 day bootcamp, one action per day, including: Mass, Confession, Rosary, Angelic Warfare Confraternity, Cord of St. Joseph, novenas, scapulars, and every supernatural help I know about.

  25. Andrew Markich

    I would like to suggest praying the rosary, going to Mass and confession regularly. Rosary daily – Mass at least Sunday and Holydays and confession at least once a month . We need supernatural grace to overcome this and all vices .I would suggest also joining the Angelic Warfare Confraternity.org

    1. Sam Guzman

      Hi Andrew, Great point. I have written about these spiritual weapons for fighting porn multiple times before. Here is one instance: https://www.catholicgentleman.net/2013/10/lets-talk-about-porn/

      I focused more on natural helps in this post, but I agree that grace and spiritual weapons are essential in the quest for purity. Thank you for your thoughts.

  26. Pawel Cetlinski

    That’s great what you suggest for Lent and I am going to make use of a lot of stuff from here for my Lenten practice, but what about positive actions as working on some of your passions. I neglected my guitar playing, so I am going to make specific time daily to keep developing that talent. Anyways you’re website is great and I am a regular reader from Poland. Dude, this website is your ticket to heaven.

  27. Jordan Callaway

    I was addicted, and with God’s grace I gave it up. You can do it as well. I am praying for you. Please pray for me.

  28. Liz

    Hello there. I clicked on the link for the free book but it is not free. It shows a price in Amazon of 9 something. How can I get the free copy please? Thank you.

    1. Sam Guzman

      Hi Liz, I’m sorry for the confusion. The e-book version is free.

  29. You can do it my brothers!

  30. Faustina Nyarko

    This is very helpful


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