Porn and masturbation: how can i quit if i don't always want to?

I don’t know if I’m posting this in the right place or not, but here it goes.

I’m a woman in my early twenties and I’ve been battling an addiction to porn and masturbation for over a year.
There are times when I want to quit, because I know it’s hurting me and hurting any future relationship I might have. But there are times when I don’t want to quit, because I feel the need for a release.
Thankfully, it’s not always a daily addiction. But I haven’t been able to go more than a couple weeks without those vices.
The inner battle between wanting to quit vs. not wanting to quit can become tiring at times.

So I guess my question is… How do you quit when you don’t want to 100%?

I can’t speak from a woman’s perspective, but up to Palm Sunday 2015 I had a masturbation and porn addiction, even while married (which has certainly makes it easier to stop). I wasn’t fully back into the faith at the time, but i knew the Church’s teaching, and simply tried to challenge myself to go without either. It was a game, and I thought I could think of it the same way workplaces do about workplace accidents: “7 days without an accident.” And somehow I went a week. Then two… Then a month… Then six months… Now it’s been about eight, I think.

If you had asked me at the beginning I would have said that was absurd.

The biggest thing for me was nipping fantasies in the bud. Indulging them is like watering a weed – it just grows overwhelming far too fast to be controlled. If I became aroused, I forced myself to focus on other things. I said some prayers, made a cross on my forehead as a reminder to guard my thoughts. I didn’t try to go to the edge of the “legal limit,” I just stayed as far away as possible. And by God’s grace, it’s worked.

I don’t know if that helps, but good luck.

The battle is tiring, however, I encourage you to spare no expense in fighting it, for you will be victorious since The Holy Spirit makes it possible to overcome this temptation. If you have wasted money on media, I encourage you to get rid of it no matter what the cost. Because sexual activity is used to seek compensatory pleasure, avoid unpleasant feelings, or respond to stress such as work difficulties or interpersonal problems, it helps to address those issues. Cognitive psychology has many techniques to help positively change the way we think.

A great resource for you may be Matt Fradd’s book Delivered. Other books dedicated to exposing porn and masturbation for what it really is and does to a person long-term are great daily reads, especially in the mornings. It seems to take advantage of the psychological phenomenon of priming.

Filters and accountability software can also be key. We often find any reason to submit to temptation when the temptations are great. The release experienced is a good end, but the means to achieve it are bad. Each time you resist the temptation to selfishly indulge you build upon the gift you will give to your future spouse. That’s not just poetic talk, but real physiological build up.

Please don’t be afraid to reach out to someone in your life! It’s okay to admit that you are attracted to sin. If sin weren’t attractive, no one would ever fall. Continue to strive to build virtue and the vices will melt away. Good luck and thanks for sharing your struggles! It helped remind me to renew my commitment to the destruction of my own vices.

Pray that you’ll want to quit

I have “Delivered” and you are absolutely correct!

Well, based on your last question, I would postulate that you actually do want to quit 100%, except that you know that you will likely relapse.

I can’t really offer much advice since I am not an expert on addictions, but I would say this: just by the fact that you’re asking how to quit despite being aware of your weakness shows that grace is working in you. Grab hold to it, intensify your prayer life and develop a personal relationship with God in his Word and in the Eucharist. It will be difficult, and it will take years. But never give up and never stop calling on God for help, and never, ever stop going to confession. For as long as you maintain this desire to quit and have this sincere intention to keep going, you have sufficient resolve to not sin again. If you fall, run to confession.

And of course, the practical side is necessary. Avoid the near occasion of sin, which may mean not being in front of a computer alone. And I know this is easier said than done because we have such beasts as smartphones and tablets, but where possible, consider an accountability partner as well. This will not prevent porn access, but will alert your accountability partner if any attempt is made to access pornographic material (check out X3 or Covenant Eyes). Have a trusted someone, perhaps the accountability partner, do the software install and keep the admin password, not revealing it to you.

These are some items one can try to overcome the habit. And as trite as this may sound, pray, pray, pray.

Good luck, and God bless. You will overcome.

All of the suggestions here are excellent. Praying, accountability partners, taking it a day at a time… The important thing is to persevere. It’s a long hard road, but it is possible, through God’s grace, to prevail!

You may also consider speaking with a counselor. He or she can help identify how far the addiction goes, and possible steps from a counseling perspective that might be helpful. Just make sure you get one that will support your journey to follow the Church’s teaching!

In the meantime, I will be praying for you. Don’t lose hope! :slight_smile:

Sometimes masturbation is a way to handle uncomfortable feelings of anger, loneliness, bordem, resentment, etc. Orgasm releases feel-good chemicals in the brain (I think dopamine and serotonin) so we do feel better, but it is only a “quick fix”; afterwards we usually feel regret and remorse.

I would suggest counseling with someone who understands the Catholic perspective; you do not need a counselor suggesting “it’s natural, everybody’s doing it!”.

Stay close to the sacraments (mass and confession) and daily prayer.

I’m currently overcoming a similar problem and making reasonable progress. As with any addiction, the first step is wanting to quit. The second step is to recognise that you will not stop 100% overnight and not to despair if you fail at first. A priest once told me that stopping pornography is the key. If you don’t look at porn, you have less stimulus to masturbate, to think impure thoughts. Ultimately all of these things need to be stopped, or at least you need to do the best you can to stop them. But put the most focus on the biggest problem first, the porn. Temptation arises everywhere. This morning I was desperately trying not to look at a pretty girl sitting in front of me at Mass in skin-tight jeans, so even in church we are not safe from temptation. But we can at least not go out looking for things to tempt us in to sin.

As others have said, stay close to the sacraments. I’d recommend weekly confession at least until you have things under control more. Go to extra masses in the week if you can. The more you (in a state of grace of course) receive Jesus in the Eucharist, the stronger you will feel in your battle against temptation. I’d also strongly recommend a penitential act before bed each day. This is my prefered form, but what ever works for you in this regard. The advantage of this one though is its written in language that makes you feel humbled.

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men: We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we from time to time most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A good routine would be a brief examination of conscience, the penitential act, then maybe an Our Father and a Hail Mary and the Prayer to St Michael the Archangel. Then ask Mary to watch over you that night and keep you safe from sin (night time is usually the worst time of temptation for me).

I wouldn’t try counseling at this stage. Try prayer and increased confession and Mass first for a few months and see if you make progress. Using this method, I have beaten porn and significantly reduced masturbation and even fantasising.

Lastly, saying the Rosary would also give you a lot of blessings to resist temptation.

Pax Christi

Peter

Hey!

I’ve had a similar problem as you before I forced myself to stop. One of the resources that I used that helped me was LifeTeen’s The Victory App. It’s free and it was extremely helpful for me! You should check it out!

This is just an observation but I couldn’t help noticing that the motives you mention for wishing to quit are focused on self, rather than on God. I think it will help if you can alter your perception on this.

The things that have helped me, so far, have been 1) the realisation that it offends God. 2) the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 10:13 which tells us that no temptation is too great that we cannot overcome it. 3) noticing certain triggers to my behaviour and avoiding them. 4) praying the Rosary. 5) putting my trust in God to help me. 6) being truly sorry about it. 7) feeling shame while confessing. And 8) (which I’ve only considered much more recently due to praying the Rosary) that Jesus suffered so much in the flesh with the scourging at the pillar for our sins of the flesh, our impurity.

This is key! Of those whom I know who were able to overcome this, all of them worked hard to shift their focus from self to God.

Not much to add, but I suggest that you get a spiritual director if you don’t already have one, and a regular confessor.
If it’s the same priest, so much the better, in my opinion.

Avoid idleness.

Pull these temptations out from the root (whatever it might be).

Have unlimited confidence in God, and ask Him for a clean heart in which He can make His dwelling. Guard this Pearl of Great Price with great fidelity!

Keep an image of Jesus or Mary on hand to look at when tempted. Keep holy images in places of temptation, too. They will become places of praise and contemplation instead, by the all-powerful grace of God.

Thank you for all of your responses! I truly appreciate your advice!
Please pray for me… I can use all the prayers I can get!

That you can be assured of! Hang in there and trust in Him! :slight_smile:

Please look into the Angelic Warfare Confraternity. You can google it. They have an excellent website! It’s very powerful! Don’t ask me how I know :).

One tactic is to keep indulging in lust and suffer the consequences like I did. Then you’ll want to quit.
Real bad.

I don’t recommend that tactic. Plenty of good advice above.

Join the Angelic Warfare Confraternity

angelicwarfareconfraternity.org/

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