Pornography Addiction


#1

Hello all,

I’ll preface this by asking for your forgiveness for the awkward nature of the topic, especially given mixed company, but it’s important to me.

For many years I have struggled with an addiction to pornography and masturbation. This behavior started when I was very young, as I had access to that material. In most aspects of my life I feel like I’m a decent person, but in that aspect I have an incredible amount of guilt and self-loathing because of my weakness and repeated failures.

I have tried almost everything and now I’m set to talk to a group of guys that deal with the same struggle, so hopefully that will help. I do now know that it goes back to mental/emotional issues I’ve got to deal with in order to stay balanced, etc. I’m sure it’s like a 12-step program type thing.

But back on topic … Honestly I usually end up going to confession twice a week because of this. I am truly sorry when I fall but I fall so often, I feel like it’s compulsive and my free will is compromised, almost it’s like a drug addiction for me. I’ve heard different things from different people, and even been given ambiguous advice from my spiritual mentors … for someone in my shoes given my history is it still considered a mortal sin? I know the Catechism talks about “mitigating factors” that include addiction or stuff like that.

Basically I’m NOT looking for an “out”, but I am wondering whether I need to continuously go to confession, when some have told me I need the grace from the Sacrament of the Eucharist to combat this problem.

Thanks and God bless.


#2

Am praying for you, knowing how hard it is to stop something like that.

I am unsure about the confession thing, I think you need to go each time you fall, but really need to have the attitude of WANTING to change this behavior to be forgiven. I’m sure others will chime in on this, as I’m not positive.

Hang in there, I am abttling a potty mouth problem, that I can’t seem to kick, we can work on it together…


#3

Thanks, and I definitely do WANT to! It’s just a matter of learning how to actually stop. :blush:

My biggest consolation is that I’m sure some incredible saints have dealt with the same issue, and that He isn’t done with me yet.


#4

I honestly believe that this issue is universal to modern man. The vast majority of men struggle with this very same sin. Isn’t it odd how Satan has nearly convinced you that you are the only one who does this? A lot of us guys get started with this stuff as boys… long before we even know what we are doing. If you are trapped in daily sin… start by skipping days here and there. Anybody can do that. The idea is to simply interrupt the cycle at this point.

Also, try this temporary strategy: If you feel that your are about to fall to the sin of masturbation and you either can’t or won’t stop… skip the porn. This really is a two part sin. After the release, you won’t really want to look at that garbage. Pornograpy only has power because it can intensify the brain chemicals associated with our reproductive systems. Without masturbation, pornography is nothing but a source of frustration. Not to trivialize the issue, but It’s a lot like eating before going to the grocery store. You won’t be tempted by the junk food.

You also need to start rooting out all bad television shows, movies, music and “friends” from your life. Keep your entertainment “G” rated!

Many people will take offense to this temporary stragtegy, but if it helps to break the cycle of guilt, shame stress, and release, it needs to be viewed as progress. Breaking this chain can be looked at as chopping down a mighty oak with a hatchet. It might take a while, but it CAN be done! This habit can be eliminated from one’s life and that is the goal because it is a sin. The second part of the plan is to focus on serving others, prayer, and reading scripture. You already have cultivated a hatred for this sin and that’s a good thing!

Be at peace my friend.


#5

thanks so much for your advice! and yes, I know it’s not a “license”, but that is a good idea. I think to understand the compulsion you have to have experienced it. I pray that the temptation is taken away and I turn from the sin altogether, but yours is not a bad idea.


#6

I read a really interesting book called The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D. He has a chapter in the book on pornography and the changes it causes in the brain. According to the research he’s done, porn actually causes physical and biochemical changes in the brain just like other addictions. Your brain gets desensitized to some things and you end up having to search out more and more kinky things on the internet to get the same rush you once got. The good news is that your brain can change back to a certain extent once you cut out the porn.

I agree with the last poster that once you stop looking at porn the masturbation will become much less frequent. Have you thought about putting some porn blocking software on your computer? Even if you keep the password yourself, it might provide enough of a delay that you could catch yourself and change venues until the urge passed.


#7

I agree with posters above. Very good insight as I have also done much research on this also. If the Computer is the problem, only go to this site or your work site (if need to). You really need to avoid the near occasion of sin. The more days you can put behind you, the better and the stronger you will get. Maybe this isnt a mortal sin due to addiction or compulsion or maybe it still is. Either way, continue to go to Confession in my opionion, as it will give you focus on Christ and Graces. After Confession, you always can have the knowledge that you are forgiven and you’re trying to overcome this sin. I believe the devil does try to break us down in our most vulnerable areas, we have to remember that God is always stronger than evil.

Hope it helps…

Will pray for you and all who have this struggle.


#8

Hi StMichaelFan1,

I have a very similiar story as you. Batteling the problem with pornography for years. Sometimes I fall after a tough fight, sometimes I fall more easily. I bet you analysed your problem from every angle, tried to figure out, how it happens, what it triggers… I read everything that came through my hands, ordered every talk (Steve Wood, Jeff Cavins…), but it is a battle. It is frustrating and sometimes confusing as it may feel as an abuse of the sacrament (to show up 3 times a week for the confession and pretty much the only thing to confess is the same stuff you confessed 2 days ago…)

For my part I go to confession every time I fall (anywhere 1 - 4 times a month) and with God Mercy there are now more times when I go to confession when I do not fall in this area.

If anything I would want to encourage you to keep fighting, does not matter what! Pornography is a cancer and if untreated will lead to death. Have patience with yourself, GOD is not going to give up on you, just keep the good fight. Is not about how many times you fall, but how many times your get up.

I have a friend from my prayer group who struggled with the same problem and because of it - he lost everything. With God mercy he was able to start again. I was thinking for a long time to find or start a support group that would deal with pornography. I talked to my friend and he is open to that idea. We have desire, but nothing else. If you could share your experience from your group, I would greatly appreciated.

If anyone has a good resources, ideas, directions, links or contacts on how to start or lead support group for catholic man addicted to pornography, that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

May God bless you!


#9

The nice thing about going to confession is that when you are done with it, you know you are forgiven. Being able to seek forgiveness is a good way to strengthen your soul, as long you are fighting hard against your wrong doings. Keep going to confession, and definitely keep seeking out the sacraments. When you open yourself to the sacraments, you open yourself to God. That will help you immensely in your fight.

Your fight is one that many people, including myself, participate in. Unfortunately the majority of men today do not see their actions as being a problem. That makes our fight a lot harder. But when we win, we will do so knowing we have one less master (pornography and its related sins) in our life.


#10

St Augustine talked about it:

(From Wikipedia)

Augustine struggled with lust throughout his life…In the Confessions, Augustine describes his personal struggle in vivid terms: “But I, wretched, most wretched, in the very commencement of my early youth, had begged chastity of Thee, and said, ‘Grant me chastity and continence, only not yet.’” At sixteen Augustine moved to Carthage where again he was plagued by this “wretched sin”:

*There seethed all around me a cauldron of lawless loves. I loved not yet, yet I loved to love, and out of a deep-seated want, I hated myself for wanting not. I sought what I might love, in love with loving, and I hated safety... To love then, and to be beloved, was sweet to me; but more, when I obtained to enjoy the person I loved. I defiled, therefore, the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence, and I beclouded its brightness with the hell of lustfulness.*

(Confessions 3.1.1)

For Augustine, the evil was not in the sexual act itself, but rather in the emotions that typically accompany it. To the pious virgins raped during the sack of Rome, he writes, “Truth, another’s lust cannot pollute thee.” Chastity is “a virtue of the mind, and is not lost by rape, but is lost by the intention of sin, even if unperformed.”

Augustine viewed erections themselves as involuntary: at times, without intention, the body stirs on its own, insistent; at other times, it leaves a straining lover in the lurch.

As the saying goes, “The greater the sinner, the greater the saint!”


#11

StMichaelFan1,

I praise God that He has decided to include you in His family!!! You are not called to fight against your selfishness unless God has placed His call into your heart. I pray that you will come to understand that blessing, and that He is calling you out of this darkness so that you can truely LIVE the life He has intended for you.God will not fail if you use your freewill to follow His call. Step 1 is already at work.

Jesus gives us clear instruction on how to rid ourselves of sin. I refer to the process as RADICAL AMPUTATION. If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out, for it is better to be blind than to be thrown into hell with your sight. Step 2 is one that really gets alot of guys into trouble because we justify all manner of reasons to not participate in it or participate only in part. Both of which will lead to failure. REMOVE ALL ACESS TO PORNOGRAPHY FROM YOUR LIFE! I did it by placing effective filters on every computer to which I had access, the blocking codes MUST be held by someone else, burn all magazines ( this step was actually strengthening), destroy all videos. Radical amputation.

Confess to a trusted friend free of this sin. Step 3 is also tough, pride tells us not to, afraid of what they may think.( choose this person wisley and with prayer).
Grace is as powerful as we allow it to be. Confession and the eucharist were given to us as flowing rivers of grace. I applaud you and encourage you to continue to participate. CONTRITION was the problem for me. Although pornography made me feel guilt and held me in bondage, deeply I really desired it and only when I allowed myself to see THAT truth, did I begin to move towards a true loathing of that desire in me. Contrition is a DETESTING of a sin AND a resolution not to participate. Without those 2 working together the full measure of the much needed grace in these sacraments are not given to us who need them so. Many of us must be broken down by God to a place of REAL suffering to truely learn to detest our sin. Pray that His mercy will be given to you in this manner.

Step 4.Realize that you cannot resist temptation. God cleary calls us to RESIST satan, toe to toe mental brawling. Satan works in our minds and convinces us that we are unworthy of love; that we cannot win; look at how many times you have fallen; just look at bikini models–no porn; you deserve a bit of pleasure; LIES LIES LIES FROM THE FATHER OF LIES. FIGHT with prayer. Outloud right then.PRAY PRAY PRAY.
God clearly calls us to FLEE temptation. You cannot resist temptation any more than a hungry child can resist food. Do not try. FLEE!

Develop tender devotion to Mary. A greater intercessor we do not have.

Strive for a spirit of generous self denial. Do some real penance not only the 3 Hail Mary’s priests so often give. Ask for more significant penance. Teaching ourselves self denial is a extremely useful habit when combating sins of the flesh.

Lastly, be patient with yourself. Disappointment in ourselves is the easiest and widest avenue we take to our next failure.

I now imagine myself as a miserable sinner,on my knees,humbled before my KING and miraculously made whole IN Him. My humility before God is my strength. Allowed to, HE will do great things for you!

I have prayed for your liberation.


#12

My friend, others have given wonderful advice. Let me just offer this-

I’m an addict as well, but not to porn. I found out that temptation never leaves, but I can leave the situations that tempt me. I avoid, avoid, avoid old haunts and sadly, friends. For you, it might be convience stores that sell porn. Maybe ask the cable company to block the stations for you? Or, have a friend block them, then have him never tell you the code to unblock them!

Good luck to you, and God Bless!


#13

Viewing porn various types and degree is not going out of style and never will. There is soft, hard core, hetero, gay, videos, photos, books and magazines is a big business and sex sells worldwide. The easy answer for a single man might be, hey it’s a guy thing and I’m not hurting anyone as perhaps you are single and have no sex partner to share intimacy. You have needs, to eat, sleep and have a sexual release just as a woman menstruates monthly. Bodily function of healthy young people. Hard to fight it. For some young men, it will happen sometimes in their sleep. An exotic dream and an emmision can happen. You can dream about porn. There are very pretty and hot bodied women around 24/7 on the P/C. They are eye candy and very tempting.

What seems very wrong and can be hurful to others is when you have a sex partner, spouse, and you are viewing porn as a preference to your partner and ignoring her emotional and physical needs. That said, we know of women who accept it and live with knowing about their husband’s “stash” and perhaps share it but most females will consider it smut and perhaps feel they can’t compete. It can be hurtful to them and ruin or make worse a long term relationship or if it intefering with your everyday life single or married.

Just sharing some rambling thoughts. I do not speak for any church’s official position on this topic.

Blessings for a great weekend.


#14

Read the readings from last Sunday, where Christ told us if our hand causes us to sin we should cut it off because it is better to go to heaven with one hand than to go to hell with both.

If your computer causes you to sin, cut off the internet connection. You can go to the library and use the public computers to do homework.

If your friends cause you to sin, then, do not hang with them.

Realize that in order to be healed, sometimes there has to be surgery.


#15

Hi there

I just want to wish you all the best. I HAD two struggles in my life and one of them made me have to go to confession once a week. Overeating and premarital sex. I thought there was no way out of any of them. I kept falling but I always kept close to God, please always do the same, as you are doing now. Never let yourself eat the Lord’s precious body without having confessed this sin first. I could never really accept the sin in my life because I knew I could not receive Jesus without confessing first. And how I hated confessing the same old humiliating stuff.
In the end, by His great grace, I was freed from these sins. I think we all have to develop and will go through various trials. I don’t understand how men can be addicted to porn, if my husband watched porn it would hurt me more than anything. Maybe if you can think of such things that are connected to your sin, maybe you will learn to detest it: How it will hurt your future spouse, how the people in the sex industry are often deeply hurt and many are even sex slaves, how the people who do these things are far from God in their sin and you are actually enjoying their damnation.
I don’t know if any of that helps you.
I wish you all the best, keep up the good fight
A


#16

I think one thing you need to consider is how much free will is involved in your problem and at the same time what are you doing to strengthen your free will. To sin gravely one needs to know that it is sin and freely consent to such a thing. I believe in some cases individuals who are addicted may not be sinning gravely. The best course of action is to share with a priest, maybe during confession and get a priestly spiritual evaluation and response. If you need confirmation of what one priest thinks, then visit another, In any case, don’t make these kind of moral judgements by yourself.

Also to strenthen your will condsider a life with plentiful prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments. The last suggestion I have is keep distant from these areas of temptation.

I don’t know about women but I suspect most men if honest have, to different degrees , trails in this area. What works for me is prayer, good works and the sacraments.

Hope this helps a little. george


#17

Drop the self-loathing, remember we are strong in our weaknesses. Now I’m not suggesting that some level of an anger response, at your self for giving in to something you know is wrong and you wish to correct isn’t both appropriate and helpful on some level. But I would suggest trying to redirect it as an energy to affirm your commitment to stop.

It might also help to picture a battle going on around you (and in fact there is one). One between good and evil, God and Satan. At least for me when it comes to trying to prevent my self from sinning it helps to visuallize satan or one of his daemons trying to influence me. Trying to ruin my soul in his effort to drag down humanity with him (which, effectivly is what he wants). Now that will get you angry! And it will give you an appropriate outlet for your anger!


#18

You are in my prayers…I believe that since you are trying it should be worth something or mean something but unfortunately you have to be willing to try and not do it again, I believe in order for the confession to really count??? Not sure so please don’t quote me…But just keep going to counseling, it’s a long rocky road but you will be able to make it through GOD’s grace… I too am dealing with a problem, dirty mouth, I cuss up a storm, in both spanish and english! My parent’s every other word was a cuss word in spanish, really hard habit to kick!!! :frowning: So ashamed but I am seriously trying, I try to hold my tongue as much as possible, sometimes I succeed other times the thought of the cuss word comes out and it’s like DOH!!! :frowning: lol But it’s a serious matter…And I am trying to take it one step at a time and one day at a time and one thought and word at a time…It’s a slow and long process but I am trying!

I do hope you continue praying as well…It’s a heavy cross to bear but hopefully soon you will be able to live sin free…And hopefully soon I will too! :slight_smile: Or at least super close to being sin free… God bless…


#19

Ah, the old pornography temptation. Yeah, this is one of those things that kind of sneaks up on you and one thing leads to another.

Porn addiction is perhaps extremely strongest among Gen’Xers, simply with such easy on-line access to content that makes your uncle Richie’s playboys look like late Classical Greek art. Not only that, but with such a lapse in understanding the concepts of right and wrong, and WHY, people our age are ever more susceptible to ‘moral relativist’ brainwashing.

I can even run off the sequence of thought that led to the behavior from when I was younger to the rationalizations for such behavior to then having considered such deviancy as acceptable in certain circumstances to then reading the medical and health ramifications of such acts, to then, a sickening sensation in my soul as I began to ,for once, truly began to understand why pornography is wrong.

If not for myself, then what of our brothers and sisters who have committed those acts while unaware of the fate that awaits them nearer the end of this world as well as the next.

To take joy in the folly of others engaging in potentially homicidal and suicidal behaviors is such a revulsion that I can no longer give rationalization or moral relativism for this.

In order to give a visual aid / pop culture reference, I felt/feel like Theodan, King of Rohan during the beginning of the Lord of the Rings, The Two Two Towers, with Satan as Sarumen and The Holy Spirit personified by Gandalf. Thinking that it’s only ‘Gandalf the Grey’, Sarumen believes himself prematurely to be the victor over controlling Theodan, only until Gandalf the Grey reveals his evolution to Gandalf the White blinding him (Sarumen) with intense light and power, that Theodan is released from his poison.

I’m still not entirely sure I understand the whys as to masturbation as being evil, though with associations to pornography, I can see the rational argument against it, and possible other abuses.


closed #20

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