Christians Suffering from Porn Addiction

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Sep 24, 2021

If you are suffering from porn addiction, but are too afraid to tell anyone because “Christians aren’t supposed to watch porn,” then you’re not alone.

Internet accessibility coupled with the seclusion of COVID-19 has led to an increase in porn addictions. The pandemic has caused the majority of non-essential workers to be stuck at home – lonely, secluded, frustrated, anxious, and bored. As a result, people, who used to only view porn occasionally are now visiting porn sites at alarming rates, perhaps to feel a connection with others or quell their boredom.

This increased interest in porn doesn’t just apply to certain groups of people – i.e., secular people or even men, it has also entered the lives of women, teens, and yes, even Christians. No one is immune from pornography – not even pastors. Although many Christians assume they are somehow protected from the ills of pornography; research suggests that Christians are viewing porn at nearly the same rate as secular men and women. One of the fastest-growing populations engaging in porn is Christians – both males and females of all ages.

So, contrary to popular belief, even “religious folks” view porn –sometimes to the point of it becoming an addiction. It’s in homes and churches, and for some, it’s wreaking havoc on their personal and spiritual lives. In fact, right this minute, there is a large population of Christians, who are secretly struggling with a porn addiction.

However, with Christians there tends to be an added element of embarrassment, guilt, and shame when it comes to viewing porn – an element not always shared by non-Christians. Pornography is largely frowned upon in the Christian community which can cause many Christians to hide their “porn habits” from others. A fear of damnation, often propagated by pastors, prevents many Christians from seeking help for their porn addiction.

Truthfully, it will be nearly impossible to “kick” your habit without porn addiction support. To “free” yourself from your dependency on porn, you’ll need to take certain steps, such as: acknowledging that you have a problem, accepting that you need porn addiction help, holding yourself accountable for your actions, acquiring the porn addiction support you’ll need to conquer the habit, praying for God’s intervention, sharing your testimony with others, believing in yourself, having extreme patience, seeking counseling, having faith, and turning to God.

But, with more and more Christians becoming ensnared in the web of pornography, it is imperative that you understand the causes and signs of porn addiction, so you can protect yourself from becoming an unsuspecting victim of this multi-billion-dollar industry.

The truth is if porn addiction is left unchecked, it can and most likely will damage your self-esteem, work prospects, sex life, mental health (depression and anxiety), and relationships. It can even lead to sex trafficking in some cases. So, if you are struggling with porn addiction, porn addiction treatment can help you overcome your “porn habit” and re-emerge victoriously!

The Emergence of Pornography

Dr. Alfred Kinsey, zoologist, author, and founder of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, first brought sexuality and pornography to the forefront of mainstream society. Dr. Kinsey boldly asserted in his 1953 book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, that the majority of Christian and non-Christian people regularly engage in clandestine sexual practices that are deemed “taboo,” “perverted,” “abnormal,” “kinky,” or “deviant” by the general population.

The Rise of Online Porn

With the explosion of smartphones, tablets, computers, and the Internet, it’s no wonder porn addictions are on the rise – even amongst Christians. The number of online porn viewers continues to soar day-by-day, minute-by-minute, and second-by-second with no definitive end in sight. Approximately 28,000 people view online porn every second, a new porn video is released every 39 minutes, and approximately 42% of porn-watchers visit one or more of the 4 million active online porn sites each day.

What is a Porn Addiction?

A porn addiction involves a dependency on porn to the extent that it takes precedent over everything in your life – i.e., maintaining a job, retaining friendships and relationships, and fulfilling adult responsibilities (i.e., paying bills, taking care of children, completing household tasks, and tending to hygiene needs). A porn addiction takes control of your life, leaving you feeling helpless and hopeless. This addiction presents differently in each individual, however, one thing that remains the same is the inability to stop or resist the urge to view porn.

Can Christians Become Addicted to Porn?

Absolutely.

In fact, 47% of Christians admit having a serious problem with porn. Research suggests that approximately 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women are addicted to porn. A recent survey revealed that 33% of Christian religious leaders (i.e., pastors, ministers, and priests) have visited porn sites within the past week. And, approximately 53% of Christian religious leaders have visited porn sites several times within the past year. Another survey found that 98% of pastors have been unintentionally exposed to pornographic material online. While another 43% admitted to deliberately accessing porn sites.

Thus, researchers have determined that porn has become a widespread epidemic – an epidemic that does not appear to be declining. Studies suggest that porn is not only affecting the “non-believers” and those who practice other religions, but also deeply religious Christians. However, Christians, who view porn are often left with residual feelings of guilt, shame, and/or a fear of going to Hell. Over time, these negative emotions can lead to anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

These Christians feel like they have no one to turn to in their time of need. They also feel like their friends, family, pastor, church congregation, and the Christian community would “look down on,” “abandon,” or be “ashamed of” them if they were to find out about their “porn habit” or porn addiction. Because porn is not readily acknowledged or addressed in the church, Christians, who view porn often feel isolated, unworthy, shameful, embarrassed, and “dirty.”

Bible verses can also add to the distress of porn-watching Christians. For example, Matt 5:28 states, “…anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” While Job 31:1 states, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” Bible verses like the ones listed above suggest that God would view porn or sexually explicit material as “taboo” or an “abomination.”

Then, there are anti-porn Christians, who believe that while porn isn’t technically a “physical act,” it’s still a sin of the heart, mind, body, and soul. To these Christians, watching porn for any length of time is considered a “sexual sin,” especially if the person is in a relationship. So, ultimately, it is a fear of being shunned by society, specifically their church family and Christian community, that prevents many Christians from seeking help for porn addiction.

Statistically, How Many Christians Watch Porn or Struggle with a Porn Addiction?

According to research

  • Approximately 70% of Christian pastors have had one or more teenagers ask for their help with a “porn habit” within the past year.
  • Approximately 68% of Christian men, who attend church regularly, and more than 50% of pastors admit to frequently watching porn on the Internet.
  • Approximately 76% of young Christian adults (18- to 24-years-old) admit to actively searching for sexually explicit material on the Internet.
  • Approximately 59% of pastors have had married men ask for help with a “porn habit.”
  • Approximately 33% of young Christian women (25-years-old and younger) admit to searching for porn sites on the Internet.
  • Eighty-seven percent of Christian women admit to frequently watching porn on the Internet.
  • Approximately 57% of pastors do not believe that porn is “damaging enough” to address it with their congregations.
  • And, only 7% of pastors have a Chrisitan counseling program in place to help Christians, who are suffering from porn addiction.
  • Forty-seven percent of Christians believe that porn is a problem.

Can a Christian Overcome a Porn Addiction?

Christians can definitely overcome porn addiction.

Porn addiction can be conquered with persistence, effort, time, dedication, faith, help, and God, of course. Still, the path to “salvation” will not be easy or quick. Understand that while other addictions (i.e., gambling, alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, etc.) are triggered by external stimuli, porn addiction is triggered by stimuli within the body, more specifically, within the mind (the parts of the brain responsible for memory, motivation, learning, and emotional responses).

Still, being dependent on porn can cause some Christians to experience a deep level of shame and embarrassment, causing them to feel as though God has “abandoned” or “shunned” them because of their behavior. Because of this “faulty” assumption, some Christians “turn away” from God, other Christians, and the church altogether.

How Can Christians Conquer a Porn Addiction?

If you are suffering from porn addiction, fret no more, because there are steps you can take to get on the path to recovery.

These steps include the following:

  • Be Honest with Yourself

    If you are Christian suffering from porn addiction, the first thing you’ll need to do to “free” yourself from it is, to be honest with yourself. More specifically, you’ll need to acknowledge and accept that we live in a sex-crazed world where sexual temptation via sexual images on television shows, movies, magazines, advertisements, commercials, books, and web content infiltrates almost every area of our everyday lives. We can’t escape it. And, being a Christian isn’t enough to protect you against it.

    Thus, the first step in “beating” porn addiction is to admit you are not exempt from sexual temptation. You are human. And, sex and sexually explicit material are all around you. You can’t move forward if you can’t or won’t acknowledge that you have a problem with porn. More specifically, you can’t fully accept help and guidance from God and others until you admit that you’re suffering from porn addiction.

  • Tell Someone

    You can’t heal from a porn addiction if you keep it shrouded in secrecy. Thus, it is important to tell someone you trust about it. Addiction prospers in the darkness, so to banish or kill it, it must be brought to light. In other words, hiding the addiction only causes it to grow stronger. It strengthens its hold over you until it steals your livelihood.

    Conversely, sharing your porn addiction with a trusted confidant can provide you with the porn addiction support you need to overcome it. Understand that this person doesn’t have to be a friend, family member, pastor, or someone from the Christian community. The only requirement is that you trust this person to tell you the truth, offer support, and respect your wishes.

    If talking about your behavior mortifies you – gather your courage, lean on your faith, and do it anyway. You’re not going to “kick this habit” alone, so you’ll need the support. If you could heal from your addiction alone, you probably would have conquered it a long time ago. However, you are still suffering from it, so it is time to tell someone what you’re experiencing.

    Furthermore, telling someone about porn-watching, makes you accountable for your actions. In other words, once you tell someone, you can no longer pretend it doesn’t exist. And, because, it is no longer a secret, you are likely to take action to remedy it.

  • Turn to God

    The Bible instructs “believers” to turn to God in times of sorrow and distress. So, the only way to truly combat a porn addiction, as a Christian, is to give the addiction over to God. If you turn to God, he will carry you through any trials (i.e., porn addiction) you experience.

    As mentioned above, both Christians and non-Christians experience sexual temptation (desire and lust) and everyone, regardless of religious affiliation, is vulnerable to porn addiction. However, having faith, believing in God, and confessing your sins, along with reading the Bible and praying can help you heal from this dependency. But, understand that God’s ability to help you overcome this “fixation” lies in the depth of your faith.

  • Change Your Routine

    One way to defeat a porn addiction is to change your routine and develop new habits. For instance, if your “porn habit” typically begins once your spouse and children have gone to bed, opt for a hot shower or warm bath, read, meditate, listen to calming music, or simply sleep instead of jumping on your computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Make a vow to stay off of the Internet during this time.

    And, if you are single or live alone and typically turn to porn, while eating dinner, use this time for non-Internet activities, such as calling a friend, turning on a funny sitcom or family movie, or listening to music. Remember, the goal is to avoid porn, which means staying off the Internet as much as possible.

  • Adopt Healthier Coping Mechanisms

    If you are using porn to deal with upsetting, confusing, or negative events and/or emotions, you’ll need to learn healthier coping mechanisms to beat your addiction. For instance, if meeting people and dating makes you feel uncomfortable, but you still want to feel a connection with someone, instead of turning to porn, focus on increasing your self-confidence by going out with friends, signing up for a class, developing a new hobby, joining a club or sports team, etc. The goal is to adopt healthier coping mechanisms, so you don’t feel the need to turn to porn when you’re bored, frustrated, depressed, lonely, anxious, or angry.

  • Stay Busy

    To distract yourself from porn, you’ll need to stay busy. Frequent porn use is a habit often triggered by boredom. In other words, some Christians turn to porn because they simply don’t have anything else to do. Research suggests that in this COVID age of social distancing and lockdowns, porn use to skyrocket amongst all populations. Porn has become entertainment for some Christians – a habit that “can” eventually turn into an addiction.

    Staying busy not only prevents boredom and occupies your time, but it can also help “squash” your “porn habit.” So, the next time you get the urge to watch online porn, take a jog around the neighborhood, immerse yourself in a juicy book, volunteer at your local animal shelter, sign-up for an interesting class, develop a new hobby, join a club, head to the gym, or hang out with friends and family.

  • Use a Public Computer

    If privacy is a condition of your porn use only use the Internet in public venues (i.e., library, school, coffee shop, or work) or when others are around. Move your computer or laptop to a common area like your living room or kitchen – places that people tend to frequent. And, refrain from surfing the internet in private (i.e., car, bedroom, bathroom, basement, etc.) The goal is to deter you from clicking on porn sites for fear of judgment and ridicule from others.

  • Attend Christian Counseling or Join a Support Group

    A porn addiction thrives in secrecy and isolation, so the best way to crush it is to bring it out into the open where others can see it. Seeking help from a Christian counselor and/or joining a porn addiction support group are two ways you can receive the porn addiction help and support you need to overcome your addiction. Sharing your concerns with a Christian counselor and/or members of a support group can also help remove the shame and stigma often associated with porn use.

    Furthermore, counseling and support groups can also reveal the root of your addiction (its origin), so can subdue your urges for porn. One of the best things about counseling and support groups is there is no judgment – only solutions. Counselors and group members not only teach you how to effectively cope with your urges, but also how to prevent relapses and rely on God and the Bible for comfort, strength, and reassurance.

  • Join the Stop Together Program

    If you are suffering from a porn addiction or if you have a “porn habit” that is negatively impacting your life the Stop Together program may be exactly what you need to get your life back on track. The Stop Together program is an online therapy program that provides you with valuable tools, and exercises that are designed to stop your porn addiction and help you regain control over your life.

    This program not only helps you connect with other porn addicts, but also offers you unconditional support and individualized therapy. Each program is personalized to fit your specific needs, so you not only reap the benefits of the therapy process but also do not feel the need to return to it in the future.