Posted by: Arden Compton | January 30, 2010

If I look at porn… then what?

Here is a helpful idea for those struggling with pornography cravings.  I don’t think this will get to the core of what is driving or triggering cravings for pornography, but when this can be helpful if a person tries this with the first impulses of a craving for porn.

When that first impulse or desire for pornography comes up, ask yourself the question, “If I follow this impulse, then what?”

Answer yourself. “I will get to look at a beautiful, exciting, naked girl” (or whatever your answer would be)

Ask yourself, “Then what?”

“Then after a period of time I’ll probably masturbate”

“Then what?”

“Then I’ll climax and I won’t feel the craving to look anymore”

“Then what?”

“Then I’ll feel ashamed of what I’ve done and feel bad?”

“Then what?”

“Then I’ll feel guilty for a while.  I”ll be unhappy with myself for days (or longer). My self esteem will be less.”

“Then what?”

“I won’t feel as confident at work or social situations. My ability to perform at my best all across the board will suffer. I may be afraid that my wife (or parent or someone else significant) will find out about it. My ability to earn will suffer, my relationships will suffer, I won’t feel like praying or approaching God. I won’t feel like being around good, worthy people. I won’t want to go to church. Everything good in my life suffer under the stress of this shameful secret. This is stressful.”

“Then what?” “Then I’ll start craving pornography again because I can’t handle the stress.”

“It isn’t worth it, I think I’ll say a prayer and go jogging to get away from this cycle.”

If a person has the presence of mind to begin asking the “then what” questions at the first impulse of a craving, eventually it becomes clear that this is so destructive and damaging, it isn’t even close to being worth it and the desire to engage in something so harmful lessens.

May God bless all of you who struggle with this.

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Responses

  1. Good article!!! I was with you 100% ’til the last paragraph. From my current perspective, judging any habit as “destructive and damaging” adds Resistance to the habit. And as we know, what we resist persists since resistance attracts more of the resisted thing to our lives. Saying “I don’t want X — X is bad” is identically as forceful an energetic attraction as “I want X– it’s good”.

    It appears to me that the key to changing habits (I’ve stopped using the word addiction–too much cultural baggage/belief attached to it) is to keep focus on what we want, completely ignore what we don’t want (turn away), and turn away again and again without chastising or judging ourselves “bad” about it. It takes as long as it takes. And EFT helps IMMENSELY until it, like all tools, is outgrown.

    Everything we as humans do with every breath is an attempt to feel better–that’s all we want! Our cultural/parental programming from 0-7 years old is our emotional template, and we keep doing the same habits because we think different habits would feel worse. That’s the beauty of specialists like yourself who have a view from a higher rung of the emotional ladder and can lead others up to better feelings. And as we feel better, our old habits fall away like old skin cells, redundant and un-missed.

  2. The ‘then what’ series of questions is never seriously considered while in the heat of temptation. We should ask ourselves these questions when we are not in the heat of temptation so that we can decide & identify the cycle ahead of time. When I was able to realize this nasty cycle of temptation, acting out, shame & guilt, feeling bad about myself…. back to the start… Then I could see and understand what I had put myself into & wanted to break out.

    • Brian, thanks for your comments, I appreciate your insights.


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