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3 Questions to Ask Before Turning to Porn

 

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Carl Thomas
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Pastor | Live Free Founder | Lover of Jesus, Philly sports, fitness, tattoos, sarcasm, and craft beers.

Let’s just get past the awkwardness and say what we all know to be true… Porn feels pretty dang good.

I know. There you go Carl… again.

Hey good or bad, wrong or right, the truth is the truth and if porn and/or masturbation didn’t feel good then there wouldn’t be so many of us who’ve struggled with it or continue to struggle with it.

This is why behavior modification or guilt tactics hardly ever work, at least in the long run.

Sure, anyone can say no today, or tomorrow, or even for a week. But eventually, white-knuckling fails us all, and before you know it, you’re right back in the soup wondering how you got there… again.

And this is why so many men and women continually feel like they are stuck in a vicious cycle of winning and losing, because they never look past the behavior to ask why they want to engage in the first place.

Feelings are a very powerful thing.

They need to be because in more primitive times, feelings were what kept you from getting eaten by a wild animal. They act like your body’s warning system to alert you that something may not be quite right and action needs to be taken.

But feelings are not facts. And often, feelings will send you down a path that, in reality, is not the best choice.

Yet so many people live their lives based on what feels best instead of what is actually best.

And when it comes to unwanted sexual behavior, it’s no different. This is why I believe that increasing your awareness levels is so important when it comes to your recovery efforts.

Simply being aware that there are better decisions to be made that will make you feel way better in the long run can be a huge help when feeling the urge to, let’s just say… indulge. But in order to get into that critical mindset, you need to have the presence of mind to ask some questions when faced with an opportunity to act out, or not.

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Here are three to start with.

1. If I act out, will this improve my current situation?

Most of the time, when we feel the urge to pursue unwanted sexual behavior, it is because we are experiencing some sort of emotional pain or challenge that our brains don’t really want to deal with.

So we then “feel” like escaping and avoiding the unpleasantness of real life.

But numbing out with porn or masturbation will only help you feel better for a short time, and then you are right back where you started.

  • That job deadline is still looming.
  • That fight with your spouse still went down.
  • That uncomfortable conversation you need to have with a friend still needs to happen.

Nothing has improved, and your situation has probably only gotten worse because now you have even less time to deal with whatever needs to be done. And so when you realize the gravity of your situation, ask yourself…

How am I going to feel then?

2. If I act out, how will this improve my emotional health?

Like I said, a large reason we choose to act out in unhealthy ways sexually is because we are trying to escape emotional distress. Rejection, stress, abandonment, and inadequacy are all legitimate stressors and can send our brains into pleasure seeking escapism overdrive.

Yes, if you watch that video and rub one out, you’re going to feel better. No denying that.

But how does that help you emotionally?

  • Is it going to make you more emotionally fit?
  • Is it going to make you more emotionally resilient?
  • Is it going to make you more emotionally balanced?

The answer is, of course, NO.

When you escape reality and process your emotional pain in an unhealthy way, you only worsen your emotional health and continue to create unhealthy avoidance patterns for dealing with the realities and challenges of life.

Emotional fitness is key to a healthy mind and life, and acting out is not going to help your cause.

3. What am I saying NO to by saying YES to this?

I tell my kids all the time, there’s always a trade-off.

Want to not clean your room right now?
You’ll just have to do it this weekend.

Want to push that homework off for another day?
Ok, now you have twice as much homework tomorrow.

Want to skip practicing your lines today?
Ok, but it may cost you the part in that play you want.

There’s always a trade-off.

And with our unwanted sexual behavior, it’s no different.

When we say yes to the things that we know are no good for us, we say no to a bunch of things that could be the best thing for us.

  • We say no to continued healing in our marriage.
  • We say no to pursuing that calling we feel on us.
  • We say no to living without chronic shame and regret.
  • We say no to finally healing the real pain in our life.

Porn and masturbation may sound real good right now, but what are you putting off that could even be better?

Listen, I get it.

Sometimes the pull is strong. The struggle is real. But if you take the time to ask yourself some of these questions, your unwanted sexual behavior may lose some of its luster and appeal, and you’ll be in a better place to make a healthier decision for yourself.

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