Pornography is a serious problem that is only getting worse. We live in a world of technology that some are taking full advantage of to make pornography more readily available than ever before. And as the pornographic industry continues to expand, more and more people are becoming enslaved to looking at sexually graphic images.
How can a person know if they’ve become trapped in an addiction to pornography? One of the surest signs is that you keep returning to something you know is wrong. If you have promised yourself over and over again that last time would be the last time — and it never is — then it’s likely that you’ve given yourself over to an activity that you believe you can’t live without.
A person who has become addicted to pornography will also identify with a number of the following statements:
- I regularly seek out pornography.
- I have an increasing need to view more pornography.
- I have a pattern of spending large amounts of time looking forward to viewing pornography.
- I shift between the extremes of feeling that my problem is either out-of-control or under control.
- I’ve noticed a pattern of neglecting work, social, family responsibilities in order to view pornography.
- I have a pattern of lying to conceal my struggle.
- I have a pattern of breaking my promises to stop.
- I have a pattern of minimizing the extent of my struggle.
- I have suffered serious consequences as a result of looking at pornography such as financial debt or the loss of my marriage or job.
An addiction to pornography is a serious matter. The more you minimize it the more it will master you. If you suspect that you are addicted, stop kidding yourself. You can’t deal with this alone. You need to seek help. Let your secret out. At the very least, tell a “trusted” friend or wise pastor that you have a problem with pornography that feels out of control. Confiding in someone is scary for sure, but you have the assurance that “he conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
If you don’t consider yourself addicted to pornography, you should not assume that you can occasionally dabble in sexually graphic images. First, any watching of pornography, whether it occurs once or a thousand times, is wrong and harmful (See the ATQ article Is a Man Harmed by Looking at Pornography?). Second, anyone who lustfully looks at pornography is in danger of getting hooked.