Why is pornography so addictive and how can I help someone stop looking at porn?




We were just hanging out after school as usual when one of the guys borrowed a mobile phone from a close friend of mine. There were six or seven of us and there were just two girls there.  Now this guy who borrowed the phone took a good look at the phone's features and the owner warned him with something like, "don't look at the videos, ok?" I am pretty sure you know why. I think the question was trying to motivate curiosity in what was in the phone.  I was sitting there innocently with the guy who owns the phone, the close friend of mine, although I knew what the guys would be looking at after they "had access to the phone's features." I admit that I was somehow tempted as well, but thankfully I was able to resist it.

There they are, enjoying the show, and I never knew that the girl I was with would be viewing them as well.  Thoughts came into my mind. She said, "Yuck! Looking at it closely freaks me out!" But she continues to view the clips. More thoughts came into my mind. I was a little glad that she said to me jokingly not to view these things. But I was also sad that my friends were engaging in watching porn, enjoying the "show," and even making comments on what was happening. Except for owner of the phone and I, we were the only ones who weren't looking. He was denying the fact that the videos were his, but that it was only sent to him by another friend. Yeah right. I know he was viewing such things too, you know. I wondered why he was denying it?

He then told us later of an incident long ago when the father of his cousin let his son, a young boy, borrow his mobile phone to know the phone's features so that the father could buy him one for his birthday.  My friend, the owner of the phone, was all sweaty and nervous as he told this story. Does this mean that he already knew it is wrong and yet has those clips in his phone? After all, what if that young cousin of his views these clips and then his parents found out? He is nervous because he can't seem to delete the video clips because there is this feature in his phone that blocks the option of deleting.  He was later relieved that the parent forgot about it. I guess he got away this time.

Teens are innocent until they get influenced by other people, as happened to the the owner of the phone. He was just in high school when his friends gave him a CD.  He viewed it along with his brother and at first, of course, was shocked, but after viewing it many times they "got hooked." Why do most porn viewers "get hooked"?

Then that's it; it becomes their pleasure.  And since we had access to the Internet, with the click of a button, it makes a big difference. I never knew that it could affect one's life so much.  I asked him, seriously why they keep viewing these.  I wasn't surprised at his answer: "Because since you ladies love shopping and the like, we guys love these."  I don't know if I am to be offended but the guys don't show rude behavior toward us, so far.

I am so sad every time I see my friends, or classmates viewing porn, even in the classroom, through their phones. I mean, why? Are they really just seeking for pleasure or is pornography just their favorite pastime? 

Is there anyway I can help my friends especially my close friends to stop viewing porn videos?  Is there any way that for a curious teen who viewed a porn video to be able to abstain or refrain himself from it?

I have read your topics regarding pornography.  Is it true that their purpose of viewing them is just for fun?  I think that is how they wanted us to look at it that way.  What will happen to them if they don't stop?  God forgives, but they can still be saved, right?  It's just so horrible that it may be improbable for it to be eliminated from earth, not until we see Christ soon.

This is from your topic on A Look at Pornography, under "It's not harming anyone": "Yet the viewer of pornography will argue that he has not engaged in fornication. This brings us back to Jesus' words in Matthew 5:27-28 which we examined earlier. To arouse a desire for sex with someone you are not married is no different than actually committing the act. In your mind you have committed fornication over and over again. It does not require the actual act to be guilty of the sin."  So no matter what reasons they say, the reasons of porn viewing is of sexual desire? If that's the case, then females will be viewed as sexual objects.

So fornication is being done as they view porn because of the desire to have sex in their thoughts.  That will lead to sex outside marriage. Guys I know are into porn I think, if I am not mistaken, since high school, or worse, elementary school. I am amazed though that they are able to resist having sex outside marriage. It's so hard to tell nowadays if someone is a virgin or not. Times change so quickly.

I hope you understand what I am saying. It's really hard for me to explain my question. Please feel free to make any corrections if necessary. Thank you very very much.

Your observations are amazing perceptive for one who is still young. I hope you keep that characteristic throughout your life.

I went through your story and extracted your question. I hope I cover everything, but if I miss something or if you have additional questions, just write again.

Why is pornography so addictive?

James tells us that all sins originate in temptations based on our desires (James 1:13-16). John tells us that these desires fall into three categories: Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:16).

One of the strongest physical desires that a human has is thirst. We cannot survive long without a drink and our thirst will drive us to distraction if we try to go without a drink for too long. Solomon compares the desire for a drink to the desire for sex. "Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress?" (Proverbs 5:15-20). There are many ideas we can pull from this description, but for now let us realize that sexual desire is a very powerful urge, similar to thirst.

Other physical desires, such as hunger or thirst, are present from the time we are born. Think about a small child. How easy is it for a baby to go without his mother's milk? He will scream and thrash about, even though his mother is on her way. But as he grows, he becomes more patient. He knows food and drink will be available later and that he can wait, at least for a moment. But think how many years it takes to develop that level of control over the physical desire of hunger and thirst. And all the while, the child's parents are helping him learn by providing feedback to him: telling him when he is being unreasonable in his demands, helping him learn to delay his needs a bit.

The desire for sex, however, doesn't arrive until the teenage years. It is a strong desire, like thirst, that seems to impossible to ignore. While sexual desire is strong in both boys and girls, it expresses itself in different ways. I'll speak in generalities, though there are always exceptions to the rules.

Girls tend to be aroused by the emotions of relationships between them and others. You will see girls sighing at movies over the romantic lines and looks given in the pictures. They imagine themselves in the role of the leading lady being wooed by the leading man. For the same reason, women are more interested in romance novels than men. The interplay of the relationships will get them sexual excited, though many girls do not recognize the feelings as such, at least not at first. Still, sexual arousal provides a strong, pleasurable feeling. Those feelings, especially when first encountered, causes the person to want to repeat the cause of the feelings over and over again. Soon, the person is hooked on the cause. I have seen grown women who feel they can't put down a romance novel or miss the next installment of their soap opera show, even though other things need to be done.

Boys are build differently. They tend to be aroused by their sight. And because their primary sexual organs are external, arousal is something that no boy can ignore. A boy's body forces him to be very aware of when he is sexually aroused. But just like a girl, the intense pleasure causes a person to want to repeat the experience over and over again. Soon the person is hooked on the cause, just like drugs hook a person on a substance.

Remember the three categories of lust? Pornography hits all three: it triggers a strong sexual desire (lust of the flesh), it uses visual elements to attract people to watch it (lust of the eyes), and it causes people to imagine themselves committing fornication and getting away with it (pride of life).

The difficulty is that teenage years are the time of a person's life when they want independence from their parents. Therefore, their parents struggle with providing them with feedback on how to master this rapidly increasing desire. Unfortunately, many parents think it is not worth the battle and allow their children to run wild. But, too, sexual feelings are very personal. Few teenagers are bold enough to tell their parents exactly what they are experiencing. And if a parent is told even a portion of it, they are often too shocked to deal with it. Parents have a hard time remembering that you are not eight anymore.

So what we have is young people without experience in sexual desire, trying to deal with those desires, and feeling that they can't turn to anyone else for advice. Habits set in that they carry with them through the rest of their life.

Don't they know that pornography is wrong?

As you observed, they obviously realize at some level that it is wrong. That is why they attempt to hide it. "The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, 'No eye will see me'; and he disguises his face" (Job 24:15). It is the nature of sinners to hide their sins. They know they are wrong, but if they don't have to face their sins, they can pretend that they do not exist. In fact, the very difficulty in hiding their sins makes the sin more exciting. "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant" (Proverbs 9:17). But it still affects them. In speaking of his sins, David said, "When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer" (Psalm 32:3-4).

Your friend is nervous that his impure thoughts will be exposed for others to see. Yet at the same time he wants to share his sins because if others are involved, it makes him feel that he is not so evil. "My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. If they say, "Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit; We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil; Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse" - My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path; For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood" (Proverbs 1:10-16).

Can a person hooked on pornography be forgiven?

Yes, but like all other sins it must be repented of. A person cannot remain in his sins and expect God to overlook them. "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).

"But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. "Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord GOD, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live?"" (Ezekiel 18:21-23).

How do you help a person hooked on pornography to stop?

It all depends on the person. You can't make a person do what is right if they don't want to please God. I could force a person from doing wrong, but as soon as I wasn't there to enforce the proper behavior, it will come right back. Therefore, the first order of business is to persuade a person that it is wrong. Hopefully, the other material on this site is sufficient for you to show your friend why, from the Bible, pornography is wrong and harmful.

Once a person is convinced they need to change, then what I have done in the past is sit down with a person caught up in the sin and discuss it in detail. My goal is to strip off all of its mystique and force the person to see how their senses and desires are being manipulated. This is not a subject I would recommend that you, as a female, attempt to discuss with your friend, who is male. It is not an appropriate subject to hold between people of opposite gender.

Next, I cover the harm that pornography has done and is doing to that person's life and the danger it leads to in the future. Mostly we talk about the harm it does to relationships based on I Corinthians 6:12-20. My goal is to get them to realize that they have been affected by their sin.

Finally, we take about strategies they can implement in their lives to make viewing pornography harder. Mostly, it is about making their lives more public -- making it more difficult for them to hid what they are doing. For instance, I tell people that computers should be placed in public areas where anyone can look over their shoulder and see the screen. For your friend, his mother should be going through his phone and room with his permission. Just knowing that he could be caught will tend to reduce the temptation.

But as I said at first, the person must want to please God. Without that first step, the rest is useless.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Pornography