Quick Help Guides Pornography

What is Pornography?

Pornography is any visual medium, writing or speech that is viewed for the primary purpose of eliciting sexual arousal. Pornography use can quickly become a recurring behavior in an individual’s life, whether it recurs a few times a year, month, week, or day. Despite popular culture’s position that pornography use is “normal” and expected, viewing pornography can contribute to problematic outcomes, such as current/future sexual dysfunction and relationship dissatisfaction, shame/depressed mood, loneliness, and addictive behavior patterns. 

People often seek pornography for the “high” experienced from the flood of dopamine in the brain, physiologically similar to the rush after using heroin or cocaine.  Similar to other addictive behaviors, the physiological experience and recurrent use of pornography makes it difficult to avoid future use. However, as most viewers of pornography know, people do not tend to feel fulfilled, connected, or content after pornography use, instead feeling disconnection and often shame.

Pornography is free, always at our fingertips, and anonymous, making it difficult to avoid. Being aware of its influence, learning how to prevent exposure to it, and being held accountable by close friends are healthy steps to recovery.

Warning Signs

Answer the following questions honestly to find out if pornography may be an issue for you.

  • Are you drawn to websites or social media (e.g., Instagram, Snapchat), at times viewing images more for sexual arousal than for other interests?
  • Do you access sexually explicit online or print content?
  • Have you vowed to stop accessing pornography only to give in to the next temptation?
  • Do your sexual activities, pornography use, or fantasies cause you shame or depression?
  • Do your sexual fantasies and activities draw you away from your family, friends and God?
  • Do you lie about your activities or hide them from your friends and/or family?

12% of internet websites are pornographic, and some 40 million Americans visit these sites on a regular basis. -United Families International

Taking Care of Yourself

  • Acknowledge that you struggle with avoiding pornography – without denial, rationalization or minimizing.
  • Limit your accessibility to pornography.  If Instagram leads you to view pornography, delete it or take a hiatus.
  • Identify the environment and triggers around you that lead to pornography. Do you access it on your computer in the afternoon when you roommate is at class? Leave your door open, or study somewhere else when you might be vulnerable to seek it.
  • Determine boundaries of acceptable internet use. If you tend to view pornography on your phone in bed, leave your phone out of reach.
  • Join a support group facilitated by a professional or campus/church leader where you can receive support and discuss the issue.
  • Tell someone you trust. You will be surprised how many others struggle with this, and how talking to others can increase your ability to avoid it.
  • Establish an accountability relationship with a friend of the same sex to talk with and contact when you have an urge to access pornography.  This will help alleviate the pressure and isolation you are experiencing.
  • Install an internet filter such as CyberPatrol or Net nanny to block adult content.
  • Pray and enlist God’s help in release from this addictive pattern.

How to Help a Friend

  • Commend your friend for seeking help in matters beyond his or her control. Express your willingness to encourage and help where you can.
  • Assure him or her of your concern and validate her or his value and worth to you despite the behavior.  Shame is both a cause and result of pornography use.
  • Encourage your friend to take immediate action.
  • Encourage your friend to arrange for accountability on an individual basis or with a group of Christians with whom he or she can meet on a regular basis.
  • Recommend that he or she seek the help of a pastor, Christian counselor or psychologist.
  • Offer to pray with your friend, in addition to praying for your friend.

On Campus Support

Student Life Office: Room 209 Kerrwood Hall, (805) 565-6028

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) - westmont.edu/caps - (805) 565-6003

Campus Pastor’s Office: Clark B Cottage, (805) 565-6170

Your RA/RDs, Spiritual Formation Coordinator

Additional Resources




Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain By William Struthers

In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free of Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior By Patrick Carnes, David Delmonico, and Elizabeth Griffin

Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves By C. Terry Warner

False Intimacy: Understanding the Struggle of Sexual Addiction By Harry W. Schaumburg

An Affair of the Mind: One Woman’s Courageous Battle to Salvage Her Family from the Devastation of Pornography By Laurie Hall

Every Young Man’s Battle By Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker

Dirty Girls Come Clean By Crystal Renaud

L.I.F.E Guide for Men By Mark Laaser

Related Scriptures

God’s Faithfulness: 1 Corinthians 10:13

A Covenant with Your Eyes: Job 31:1

Clothing Yourself with Christ: Romans 13:14

Desire and Sin: James 1:13-15

What to Flee and Pursue: 2 Timothy 2:22

Becoming a Living Sacrifice: Romans 12:1-2

Maintaining a Pure Lifestyle: Psalm 119:9-11