Do find yourself drawn to pornography on a daily basis, whether it be internet, magazines or videos? Do you find yourself being aroused more by pornography than your significant other? Do you find yourself visualizing the images you saw in pornography as you are being intimate with your significant other? Finally, is pornography and self-gratification your drug of choice when you are stressed or emotionally upset?
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, pornography addiction is a part of your life, man or woman. I know firsthand because I was addicted for 30 years, helplessly caught in a repeating cycle of pornography and excessive sex and/or self-gratification like a pothead who couldn’t put down his joint or a drug addict who had to have just one more fix. Pride had me too shame to call out for help or even admit that I had a problem at all.
You see that’s where this addiction is the most dangerous – in your secrecy, in your shame, in your denial, in your guilt, in your feeling too unworthy to be used by God, in your stubbornness to admit that you do indeed have a problem in this area. For the longer you stay quiet the stronger the addiction gets and even allows you to justify to yourself that this is just normal behavior. It wasn’t until I gave my life to the Lord and sought to live like Christ that I began to see a turn around. Scriptures began to ring in my head (see ) and every sermon on television, in church or on the radio seemed to be talking about the dangerous spirits of lust and what the Word says about them.
That’s when I realized that this addiciton was truly spiritual warfare; good vs evil, the “old you” vs. the “new you”, the lustful horny you vs. the you who has those lusts under control. I have been delivered from pornography addiciton for 19 years now at the time of the writing of this blog and delivered from self-gratificataion addiciton and sex for over 9 years. Why didn’t they happen at the same time, you might ask? Because the devil actually had me believing that self-gratification was very important in a marriage so that it keeps one satisfied and also keeps one from cheating on their spouse. What a lie that was? I was so busy celebrating my victory over pornography addiction that I didn’t realize that sex and self-gratification had become my new addiction. It hit me like a ton of bricks one night when I realized that I was not allowing my spouse to arouse me. It was the fantasies in my mind, like the pictures years before with pornography, that was getting me aroused. Then I simply transferred the arousal to my wife.
Sexual fantasy addictions causes you to compare your significant other with your fantasy in a number of ways; by comparing their behavior, their beauty, their sexual skills as well as their willingness to want sex any and everytime you want it. It is these comparisons that are breaking up marriages and long time relationships. Sexual addictions and fantasy effects a man’s view of women as a sex object, ready for sex all the time. Women become addicted to the sex toys rather than to her man. Both sexes are effected and destruction is sure to follow if you don’t call out the problem and share with someone else about your struggles.
My “cold turkey” deliverance was not clinical, according to several counselors and sex therapists. Normally, sexual addictions take a lot of sessions to help you work through what caused you to choose this addiction early in life. Why do some just pass through these addictions in their teenage years and keep going, while others get trapped for several decades until someone helps to pull them out?
After the Lord delivered me, He specifically instructed me to share my testimony with all those seeking freedom from sexual addictions. And to let you know that you can enjoy life without having to constantly think about sex. If you are married, control over your lust will enhance the love life between you and your spouse. For the first time you will not only be in love with who they are, but aroused by who they are. If you are single, it is a little more difficult because you have to recognize in advance what arouses you and then make sure you never get yourself into a situation past the point of no return. In both cases, for control, the key is keeping your mind occupied with the Word, your goals in life, creative projects, poetry, writing, music, exercise. As the old saying goes, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” So you have to make sure your mind is not idly sitting around doing nothing but fantasizing about sex. Once you plant that thought in your mind, your body will not stop until you have fulfilled that lustful thought.
Immediatrely after my deliverance, the Lord assigned me to write, “Men Let’s Talk: Pornography, the Quiet Addiction“, a book about my testimony in dealing with pornography addiction, followed up by a workbook by the same name, to share scriptures, revelations, scientific facts and statistics on your way to victory over this devastating addiction (http://www.menletstalk.org ). It took 4 years to write the book and another year to write the workbook because pride had me feeling to shameful to let anyone know I was struggling in this area. My latest book at the time of this blog is, “The Victory Over Lust Survival Handbook”, which takes surviving temptation a step further by revealing all of the things we have control of in our lives that will either help make us strong facing temptation or make us weaker and give in to temptation.
Since my deliverance, I have come to learn that what is a weakness in the world can be a strength in ministry as I can be used as a tool or beacon light to let others know there is a way out through the Word of God. I am a living example.
Let’s talk! Looking forward to your comments. And please, take this topic serious. Many have joked about it not realizing it takes you farther away from your healing, Not everyone is addicted, but all of us knows at least one person who is struggling in this area.
God bless! (Prov.3:5-6)
Emmanuel! Emmanuel! I greet you all in the powerful and holy name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am a young man, aged 24 from Botswana. I want to share my testimony with you. My testimony goes like this: In 2015, I got a job as a security guard in a hotel while I was still using a phone that didn’t have internet. All my colleagues at work at that time had phones with internet. I was surprised when I saw my work-mates watching videos and listening to music on internet.
At the end of the month, I went to town for shopping and when I got there, I bought a new smartphone. After three days, something clicked in my mind to search for porn videos for me to watch during my duty time. After few days had passed, I realised that when I watched porn videos, I couldn’t fall asleep any longer and I would just be awake the whole night until morning would break. I realised that I couldn’t continue like that so instead of watching pornography, I started watching Prophet T.B. Joshua on YouTube and the urge to watch porn disappeared!
Now, I no longer watch porn or masturbate. I believe I am delivered from such evil sprits through watching Emmanuel TV. I am happy and highly appreciate Emmanuel TV.
Thank You, Jesus, I am free!
How do you handle the solo sexual stuff? How do you deal with masturbation and pornography as a Christian?
I’m writing about this because you asked. You send me questions about this almost every week, and you deserve an answer. As both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Ministry, I’ll do my best to offer you both truth and hope on this topic.
For starters, if the gospel isn’t big enough to have answers for this kind of touchy stuff, what good is it? There is no problem in our lives for which God does not have an answer. The answers may not be simple or easy, but that’s why we’re talking about it.
Pornography and masturbation are not the same. I don’t believe God judges them the same. I’m addressing them together because they often go together; masturbating while watching pornography.
If you’re struggling here I encourage you to read all the way to the end of this article. I’ll share with you a dramatic story of how one person found amazing freedom from her private sexual hell. I know Jesus can do the same for you!
How you are affected
Here are some of the people I’ve heard from:
- The husband whose wife is physically unable to have intercourse, feeling guilty for masturbating occasionally
- The single woman feeling an overwhelming spiritual oppression that keeps her compulsively masturbating
- The wife who feels lonely and rejected because her husband spends hours watching pornography in the basement instead of spending time with her
- The husband filled with shame and guilt because of watching pornography while sleeping in a separate bedroom from his wife
- The Christian minister struggling to stay free from pornography while he and his wife wrestle with marriage issues
- The single woman addicted to pornography, wondering if she is the only one
- The man wondering if it’s a sin to masturbate as a way to relieve sexual tension because his wife is unwilling to engage in sex
- The couple struggling with sexual intimacy who want to try viewing pornography together to see if it would improve their relationship
These are real people with real names who I have either spoken to personally or received written messages from. Your story may be different, but it’s certain you are not the only one wrestling with the issues you are facing.
I answered each of these individuals personally, and my answer was not the same to all of them. I hope you’ll see why as you continue reading.
What’s the Problem?
Here are the primary issues pornography and masturbation bring up for you as a Christian.
Shame and Guilt
There’s not one person I’ve heard from on these issues who is not wrestling with some measure of shame and guilt about them – some more, some less. This fact in itself should confirm that we need to bring the gospel to bear here.
But simply saying “Ask God to forgive you, and don’t do it anymore” is not enough. You’ve tried that, and nothing changes. You desperately want, need, forgiveness, but you need something more too.
The world’s answer is, “Just don’t feel guilty about it. This behavior is normal.”
Yes, there is true guilt and false guilt. But if you’re reading this, I don’t have to tell you that saying “It’s all OK” doesn’t satisfy. And it’s certainly not what God would say.
So what’s OK? What’s not OK? What’s sin in this area? What’s normal? What can God bless? What does He realistically and truly expect? And what do you do about it?
I’ll attempt to answer those question below.
God built into human beings a biological/psychological drive for sex. He must have thought it important, because He certainly also knew how much trouble we would experience over our sexuality.
The Bible is clear; God intended sex to be ravishingly enjoyed by one woman and one man in a life-long commitment in marriage. Sex outside of that boundary brings all kinds of trouble including guilt, pain, broken hearts, and more.
But not everyone is, can be, or wants to be married. And not every marriage is healthy sexually. What are God’s children to do in those circumstances?
If you’re wrestling with masturbation and/or pornography as a way to deal with sexual needs, keep reading.
The research is clear and your stories are clear. Pornography and compulsive masturbation have the power to insert their claws deep into your brain, controlling you without regard for your wellbeing. They make an exceptionally cruel taskmaster.
Not everyone who masturbates occasionally or comes across a pornographic image becomes addicted. I believe there is a biologic propensity here that leads some people to become almost instantly addicted, while others are not.
It’s not unlike alcohol. Some people can celebrate with an occasional glass of wine and leave it at that. Others cannot. Like Donald Trump refusing to take even one drink, if you’re at risk the only safe thing is to not even try it once!
That said, if you think you can control your consumption of pornography, you’re fooling yourself. This is one reason I believe viewing pornography is always sinful. (There are other reasons also.)
If masturbating has become compulsive, you also know the power that it can hold over you. (More on that below.)
Pornography damages marriages. Pornography damages your soul and spirit. Period.
Pornography provides an experience of sexual stimulation and release without connecting with another human being. It’s always taking rather than giving. That’s another reason I believe pornography is always sinful.
Each experience viewing pornography lessens your ability to become sexually aroused by and connect with a real live person – your spouse. Regular use before marriage can lead to seriously failed expectations with one’s spouse when marriage does happen. Use while married takes away from the sexual intimacy your spouse deserves, and from your determination to pursue your spouse. Viewing together with your spouse does not bring you closer together physically/emotionally/spiritually.
Compulsive masturbation does the same when it lessens your sexual connection with your spouse and makes sex only about meeting your own physical needs.
I can hear some of you right now: “My spouse refuses (or is unable) to engage in sex. So I’m not taking anything away. Intimacy is impossible.”
If you’re married, your job is to continually seek to connect with your spouse – over and over and over again. That holds true regardless of how “cold,” unreasonable, or frustrating that becomes. Your spouse’s refusal or inability to engage in sex is absolutely no excuse to indulge in pornography.
If you’re wrestling with whether your marriage is too destructive to save, check out this article. If you need some help to Re-Connect with your Spouse, this Resource Guide may be helpful.
What’s Sin? What’s Not Sin?
You’ve realized by now that I believe pornography is always sinful. On a practical level, here’s why.
- Pornography always exploits someone. The person photographed/videoed is always being used for the sexual pleasure of someone they have no relationship with.
- Pornography damages your ability to connect with your spouse, taking the sexual/emotional energy you should invest in them.
- Pornography is seriously addicting. It makes you do things even when doing so harms yourself or others.
- Pornography sears your brain and damages your soul.
It’s difficult to NOT be exposed to pornography in some form. That’s not sin to the person who is unexpectedly exposed. It’s the second look, the choosing to go back, that becomes sin.
Is masturbation sinful? I tread cautiously here. This is where true guilt and false guilt can become confusing.
There’s no question that compulsive masturbation is sinful. It controls you, damages you, and takes sexual/emotional energy from what you should invest in your spouse.
Dr. James Dobson recounts a conversation he had with his father as a young boy. His father told him (my paraphrase), “I want to relieve some guilt for you ahead of time. Masturbation is something you are certain to face. I could wish you wouldn’t do it, but you will. I don’t think it has that much to do with your relationship with God.” Some will disagree with this, but it’s an important perspective for you to know about.
Biologically, God created both men and woman with a way to relieve sexual tension outside of intercourse. Men may call this “wet dreams.” Women may experience something similar. Occasional masturbation can simply be part of this mechanism.
Here’s my bottom line as a “Doctor-Doctor”: periodic release of sexual tension through masturbation may be OK for the single person, or the married person whose spouse is unable to engage in sex. Compulsive masturbation is a sin; periodic release of sexual tension when you don’t have a spouse is not.
It’s dangerous for me to say that because it’s fuzzy. It risks lessening the guilt someone feels who is being convicted by the Holy Spirit that their compulsive masturbation needs to stop. Like alcohol, if “occasionally” works for you, OK. Just be aware that for some, “occasionally” turns into “compulsive.”
It’s also dangerous because it doesn’t answer the question “how much?” Clearly several times a day is dangerous, sinful, and compulsive. Beyond that, I can’t give you a number. I’ll leave the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. Please let Him do so!
Someone feeling guilt over occasional masturbation needs to find freedom right here. Your guilt may be false guilt. If this troubles you, take it before the Lord. Let Him speak to you and heal you from false guilt.
Freedom from Pornography and Compulsive Masturbation
Jesus can set you free! That’s always the case. And it’s the case here.
Deborah was set free, and Jesus can set you free too. She gave permission to share her story (slightly edited for space), and I think you will find it inspiring.
I am from Senegal, born in a Muslim family. In December 2002 I came to America to study and met with some Christian friends but I did not want to hear about Christ. Sometime later I started watching pornography and self-masturbating. As a result I started experiencing an ongoing daily supernatural and unwanted sexual relationship with a demon – a “spirit husband”.
One day I was just sick and tired of my life and asked God to show me the way to follow for my life, even if it meant Jesus. I went to bed, and when I woke up I could hear, “Jesus”, “Jesus”, “Jesus”. My friend gave me the number of a pastor who used to be a Muslim. He led me to Christ that day and I told him about that spirit husband. He prayed over the phone and commanded that spirit never to touch me again and I have not had that kind of encounter again.
As soon as I said the prayer of salvation, I felt a huge load being taken off my shoulders. It was physical, like when you are carrying something very heavy on your shoulders and someone stronger just picks it up for you. The Lord delivered me effortlessly from so many fears. I now can look at tombs without being afraid of death. What a relief!!! The Lord also delivered me from the spirit of pornography and masturbation. All these deliverances took place without me having to make any effort; I guess it just came with my salvation.
When my family found out I had become a Christian they disowned me. For four years they completely ignored me but Jesus has started to work things out. I have a much bigger family now since I joined God’s family, so many people who love and care for me and I have never lacked anything.
Remember, what He’s done for others, He will do for you!
How to Find Freedom
I hope Deborah’s testimony makes you hungry for freedom!
You may wonder why you have not experienced freedom even though you’ve prayed for deliverance many times. Remember that God works in every person’s life in a unique way. The important thing is that you don’t give up!
Deborah is right: freedom is part of salvation. Sometimes it comes over time, but it’s there for you!
If you want deliverance from pornography or compulsive masturbation, know that God has it available. Here are three important steps.
1. Give God permission to work on your heart.
Don’t hold anything back. Nothing. No excuses. The most lasting change comes when God makes you Fully Alive – from the inside out. When He brings up something painful for you to deal with, face it. When He tells you to do something, do it. When the Holy Spirit puts His finger on something in your life, let Him have it.
Don’t underestimate this step. You can’t expect God to set you free in one area if you are rebelling in another. That means giving everything to him; your time, your money, your body, your job, your future, your marriage – everything.
2. Get in community!
Shame thrives in the dark. Bringing it into the light disarms its power. You do that by joining with other believers who are also committed to experiencing freedom.
If you’re married, enlist your spouse. No secrets! None at all! But you must also connect with other same-sex believers who can understand and support you and help hold you accountable. If you have Christian friends who you can be open with, do so. If not, here are a few more invaluable resources for finding community.
- www.xxxchurch.com – resources for men and women struggling with pornography and their loved ones
- Every Man’s Battle – resources to help men live with sexual integrity
- Woman at the Well – help for women struggling with sexual brokenness
- Covenant Eyes – internet filtering software to help protect you from pornography
- Be Broken Ministries – resources to help adults find freedom from sexual addiction and brokenness
3. Keep Fighting Spiritually
Finding freedom from pornography or compulsive masturbation is a matter of spiritual warfare. Jesus wants to set you free! And your role is to live out that freedom.
Plead the blood of Jesus daily over your mind, heart, and life. You dare not take one more step without the covering of His blood! The enemy will try to shame you into giving up. By continuing to place yourself under the blood of Jesus and walking out His victory in your own life you are demonstrating to the enemy that Jesus has won – and that you are standing on His side.
I hope this has stimulated you to choose to fight for the freedom from pornography or compulsive masturbation that Jesus has for you. Let me know – either in the comments below, or using this confidential form. I read each one personally.
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Are you Hungry to live in Freedom?
Jesus wants you FREE! Our free Resource Guide will outline some specific steps along the journey to freedom from compulsive sexual behavior, and provide some guideposts along the way.
I Want to Live in Freedom!