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To say that we are living in a new world these days would be an understatement. In a few short weeks, our society has transformed into one full of work from home employees, home school teachers, virtual church attendees, and curbside shoppers. COVID-19 has affected us all by forcing us into social distancing and isolation. In many cities, we are only supposed to leave our homes for necessary or essential services. As a result of this, the world has seen a rise in demand for masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and apparently, toilet paper. It has also seen a rise in something else, something more sinister. That something is porn

Ways to Stay Porn-Free During COVID-19

One of the biggest porn sites on the Internet posted an 18% increase in the United States alone after self-isolation became mandatory across the board in March. With more and more people at home all day instead of being in the office or at school, there are increased opportunities for people to fall prey to the trap of pornography. The porn industry is taking full advantage of the things people may be feeling, such as boredom, anxiety, stress, and depression. It is almost as if they have keyed in on the most common triggers people have. So knowing all of this, how do we avoid the snare of pornography? What are the keys to staying porn-free in this pandemic? 

1. Identify and understand your triggers.

First, we need to start with the very thing the industry is preying on: our triggers. In order to stay porn-free in this time of isolation, we have to identify and understand these triggers. You can’t stop watching porn if you don’t know what gets you started watching it in the first place. A lot of times when we act out through pornography, it is because we are feeling a certain way. We may be bored, angry, depressed, lazy, tired, or stressed. We need to identify what our individual triggers are so that we can begin to identify our danger zones.

Once we become familiar with these, we can start to realize what will inevitably come next if we don’t take our thoughts and feelings captive. Understanding our triggers and realizing when they happen is crucial to staying porn-free at this time.

2. Don't set into motion the activation sequence.

The second thing we need to be aware of is our activation sequence. Simply put, these are the steps that follow our triggers. Once we have given into a trigger, we set into motion the steps it takes to engage in porn. These may look like excusing yourself from company, grabbing your phone or laptop, and making your way to whatever private place you can find to view the content.

If you have been partaking in porn use often, you probably can think about these steps and recognize how you get from point A (the trigger) to point B (the opportunity) in your life. It is crucial that we not only identify our triggers but our own activation sequences as well. The more familiar you are with both, the better equipped you will be to stop the process before it starts. 

3. Have an accountability partner in place.

The third thing we need to have to stay porn-free is accountability. The odds of us defeating porn on our own are slim. We need people in our lives who we can trust and call on when triggered. Much like an alcoholic has a sponsor to lean on when triggered, a person struggling with porn is in need of the same type of support. For example, you may find yourself being triggered and on your way to beginning your activation sequence. It is at this very moment that having someone to call or text is crucial.

We need a person in place between the trigger and the start of the steps we take to engage in porn. This can be a spouse, a friend, a family member, or a person in your small, faith-sharing groups. As long as it is a person who cares about you and is trustworthy, it doesn’t matter so much who they are, as it does that you have them in place. 

Having an accountability partner is very important but it isn’t the only means of accountability that we need. We also need filters and software in place to keep us from ever getting to pornography. Knowing that you can’t access it on any device in your house is a good deterrent in and of itself.

If you are using something like Covenant Eyes, you have the ability to tie the aforementioned types of accountability together. You can set up your accountability partner within the software so that they receive an email if you try to access pornographic material or uninstall the software. The tandem is a huge advantage in staying porn-free during this or any other time. 

4. Desire a virtuous and wholesome life.

Lastly, staying porn-free is about our desires. We should want to live virtuous, wholesome lives. This is not possible when we are giving into pornography. We have to realize that we cannot love anyone in our lives properly while engaging in porn. We just can’t. When we begin to give in to the bane of pornography, it begins to quietly change who we are. We start to objectify everyone and everything in our lives. It feeds on the innate selfishness that we all have within us. Most of the time we don’t even realize it.

It is no coincidence though that a person who has become addicted to porn often has a wake of broken relationships in their life. We start to see everyone and everything as a way to gratify our own needs and desires. That is the danger in porn. People often tell themselves that it’s no big deal, or it is just a way to blow off steam. That is not the case. Every time you watch porn you are releasing chemicals in your brain that your body begins to seek out. That dopamine release is what your body recognizes and longs for. That’s how so many people go from experimenting with porn to being addicted to it.  

We cannot fool ourselves with those excuses anymore. Especially in these times, we find ourselves in. It is so important to realize that our decision to engage in porn isn’t just about us. It affects everyone around us. 

I realize these times are strange. I sympathize with anyone who has been struggling with porn before, and during, these difficult days of isolation and social distancing. We must remember that we are not alone though. There are communities and programs out there to help you. You have things like Covenant Eyes and programs that will give you a plan to break free like STRIVE: A 21-Day Detox from Porn. As we all engage in the fight against porn, let us remember to identify our triggers, understand our activation sequence, institute accountability, and strive to live wholesome, virtuous lives. Making a commitment to these key elements will give you a strong foothold to make your stand against pornography today and in the days ahead. 

Resource
Strive

STRIVE: A 21-Day Detox from Porn

Description

STRIVE: A 21-Day Detox from Porn by Matt Fradd has transformed the lives of men from all around the world. It is a step-by-step plan to finally break free from porn, delivered each day. Powerful videos, challenges, live events, a free trial to Covenant Eyes, and a world-wide community included. 

Audience: Men ages 18 and over 
Language: English
Resource Type: Detox Challenge

Cost: Free 

John Edwards is the founder and executive director of Pew Ministries, a catholic apostolate with the mission of bringing the person of Jesus Christ to the person in the pew. John is also a catholic speaker and evangelist that has spoken in Canada and across the United States and has been featured on catholic media such as the RISE Membership, The Guadalupe Radio Network, The Jon Leonetti Show, and EWTN’s Catholic Cafe.  John is the host of the popular Just A Guy in the Pew Podcast and is a columnist for the West Tennessee Faith Magazine. John’s greatest blessing is being the husband to Angela and the father to Jacob, Allison, and Katelyn. He and his family live in Memphis, TN.