15 Coping Strategies to Help You Stay Porn-Free


By Dann Aungst

So, you’ve made the courageous commitment to stop looking at porn. Congratulations! A very commendable and healthy life change. However, reality hits. You find that just because you made a commitment, that it doesn’t necessarily equal success. In fact, you may even find that you are looking at porn more than ever! You feel like a failure and a disappointment. You tell yourself “why do I bother?”, or “I can’t do this”.  

Fact is, for most, stopping an addictive behavior, especially one as powerful as porn use is simply not a straight decision and action. Success requires strict behavior modifications, inner healing and serious plans to do battle. After all, stopping porn use is really a form of doing battle. You are usually battling outside influences that trigger old internal emotional wounds which lead to poor behavior choices to cope with these unpleasant emotions. And even if your addiction isn’t a result of emotional coping it is a behavior that has grown into an addiction that formed out of pure pleasure stimulus of the brain. 

In the process of recovering from a porn addiction, addressing underlying behavioral and emotional issues are required. While this article doesn’t address these underlying issues, we will address a step that is necessary with both of these. That is replacing a bad behavior with a good behavior. In the clinical world, a $100/hr psychologist will use terms like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. Simply put, it’s a coping mechanism to initiate behavior change. Porn has become a coping mechanism for stress, unpleasant life situations, relationship troubles, job troubles, etc. And in some cases, even a reward for a job well done. 

In our website www.roadtopurity.com, we offer numerous resources and direct help on porn recovery. One such area of help is what we call “Exit Strategies” or what many call “Coping Mechanisms or strategies”. Basically, it’s a method of changing direction when you feel you are tempted or going in the wrong direction.  The key factor is when you feel tempted, you ask “what do I do?”. 

You have probably heard the phrase, “the best offense is a good defense.”

When these circumstances come up, it feels like a huge magnet pulling you to your old behavior, a rut that is so deep you feel like it’s impossible to climb out of. This is what I call “in the battle.” In war, do you think that when the enemy attacks, the soldiers simply lie down and allow themselves to be killed? (Allowing yourself “just one more time” is in fact allowing your soul to be killed—just like a defenseless soldier.) No, they fight. They have planned defense strategies, AND THEY NEVER FIGHT ALONE! What’s more, the best armies have an offense. Imagine that!

Below are 15 such ideas for an offense and directing yourself to something other than porn to break the cycle

1. Call Someone. 

If you have an accountability partner, call them. If not, at least call someone, even if you can’t share your battle with them, the act of re-directing your behavior to a different action is the goal. Speaking to a friend, relative, etc. will serve to take your mind off your current trajectory and may even lift your spirits to help you out of the slump that was leading you to porn.  

Remember, the battle of two against Satan is powerful.

2. Read or Recite Scripture verses for battle.

Find a few scripture verses that speak to you and refer to them. A few ideas are below. We have over 100 scriptures specifically related to sexuality in our website at https://roadtopurity.com/scriptures-on-sexuality.  

Here is a few:

Psalm 101:3 “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;”

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and steadfast spirit within me”

1 Corinthians 10:13 “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing He will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”

3. Put Post-it Notes in Your Car or Around Your Home

Write scripture verses, empowering statements, etc. on Post-it Notes and place them on bathroom mirrors, your computer screen, refrigerator, etc. 

4. Automated Reminder

Daily or even several times per day, create an automated reminder on your phone or computer. This is great to keep you focused. Maybe have three different verses/statements that come up at different times.

5. Make one of these statements to yourself (out loud if possible):

Say with definitive authority:

“Father I abandon myself to Your hands—let Your will be done.”

“I will not give my power to that woman.” 

“Satan, this conversation is over!” or “In Jesus’ name, this conversation is over,” (the conversation is relating to the tempting thoughts)

6. Praying for the Woman You Are Tempted to Lust After

When you catch yourself having sexual thoughts about someone, you are objectifying that person. Your brain is seeing that person as a “thing” that you can “take” and use for your own satisfaction. You may already know in your heart that this is wrong, but your past history of actions, and the inaccurate training of sexuality by this world, has formed you to allow yourself to indulge in these lustful thoughts and objectifications. Even now that you know different, it is hard to “just stop it.” Praying for the woman who triggered this reaction is one edifying way of responding to this temptation.  

Here is a sample prayer in a situation where the woman is not dressed in a provocative manner, but just triggered you in some manner.

 “Lord, I ask You to change my thoughts I am having about this woman to thoughts that are respectful, loving, and complimentary. I ask Your forgiveness for my lust and objectification over this woman. Please help me to see her as You see her, to see her mind and her heart as the beautiful daughter of Your creation. Amen.”

Here is a sample prayer in a situation where the woman is dressed in provocative manner.

“Lord, I ask You to change the thoughts I am having about this woman to thoughts that are respectful, loving, and complimentary. I ask Your forgiveness for my lust and objectification over this woman. I also ask that You would reveal to her in some way that You see her as a beautiful child and that the manner in which she dresses does not respect her authentic God-given beauty, but instead represents to men that she is an object and does not deserve to be treated as the beautiful child of God that she is. Please inspire her to dress in the future in a way that reflects her humanness and the beauty that You created her with.”

Praying this way will interrupt your objectification thoughts and begin to put women in the perspective of “whole” people and as beautiful creations of God. 

7. Practice Selflessness

As you now know, objectification of women is the practice of being a “Gift TO Self.” If you are being a “Gift OF Self,” it is nearly impossible to practice selfishness. 

Mark 3:24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

Matthew 12:26 “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?”

To practice selflessness, do an act of kindness. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for the person you were objectifying. Just do something in general to change your focus to selflessness. Here are some examples:

  • Open the door for a stranger.
  • Anonymously pay for the coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks.
  • Smile and be intentionally kind to a person serving you (cashier, teller, barista, coworker, waitress).
  • Do a task around the house for your spouse without being asked. 
  • Shovel a neighbor’s driveway when it snows or mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn.
  • Volunteer at the local mission.

8. Rubber Band Technique

This is one way of retraining your brain and changing how to look at women. Place a rubber band on your wrist, and when you start to have sexually inappropriate thoughts, immediately snap the rubber band on the inside of your wrist. This will train your brain that sinful fantasy or objectification of women equals pain, rather than fantasy equals pleasure. Our brains will instinctively avoid pain and, eventually, fantasy or lustful thoughts will be instinctively avoided. 

9. Name the woman you are tempted with

Give her a name (Jennifer for example. Say out loud to yourself (not to her face) “Jennifer, you are someone’s daughter, Jennifer you are someone’s sister” – This dignifies “Jennifer” as a human being and not an object and will help curb the lust. 

10. Always Look Women in the Eyes 

       When you look a woman in her eyes, you see a person, not an object. 

Job 31:1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I look upon a virgin?”

11. Flee!

Genesis 39:12 “She caught hold of his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me!’ But he left his garment in her hand and fled and ran outside.”

12. Listen to Christian Music

Much of today’s secular music has lyrics that include lust, abuse our humanness, and train our thoughts to be directed to selfish choices. Christian music will redirect those thoughts and more properly align our perceptions toward God. This is the selfless versus selfish mindset.

13. Do a Quick Meditation

If you have developed a meditation, take three to five seconds and go right to the heart of it. See the images; recall the peace you have when in your meditation. This will not only redirect your thoughts and attention; it will also develop new brain patterns to redirect pleasure centers. (Note: Don’t do this while driving!)

14. Pray! Pray! Pray!

Prayer is actually the most important strategy. The battle scriptures and some of the statements to say out loud are excellent ways to engage prayer. I encourage you to actually have a conversation with Jesus. Talk to Him like He’s sitting in front of you. 

Even if you are frustrated or angry, yell at Him! Yes, I am serious—you can yell at God. He can take it. When you express your anger, you are showing Him your heart and your pain. He wants to see this so He can begin to heal it. No matter how mad you get at God, He will NEVER turn his back on you. 

After you talk, yell, cry, whatever you are moved to do, be sure to end your time with several minutes of silence. Listen to your heart. He may speak to you or just bring peace over you. Some people hear Him through inspirations or thoughts, and some hear words in their heart. Most just experience a sense of peace after expressing their heart. After all, the word “peace” appears over 400 times in the Bible. It’s a pretty strong and common message.

No matter how far from God you may feel, know that in truth He is right by your side. 

Know this as fact: Jesus is right with you, no matter what you have done or previously believed. He is right there waiting for you to let Him shower you with His immense love. 

15. Remind Yourself of your Motivation for purity!

Remind Yourself Why You Are Doing This—Why Sobriety Is Beneficial 

Remember, by working to break free from your sex and porn addiction, you can reap the following benefits:

    • Save your Soul
    • Save your marriage or relationships
    • Heal past emotional woundedness
    • Stop losing time in the activity—potentially increasing your income as a result
    • Reduce or eliminate anxiety
    • Avoid developing or stop existing erectile dysfunction
    • Become better able to deal with adversity of any type
    • Regain clarity of self and clarity of life’s purpose
    • Reduce or eliminate depression
    • Regain passion in life
    • Avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
    • Regain natural sexual energy
    • Reset pleasure centers to properly enjoy life
    • Live without shame
    • Prevent social isolation
    • Be more productive at work, home, and in society 
    • Reset your natural IQ—and increase your learning potential 
    • Live a life of integrity and honesty

Practice Fire Drills

Practice makes perfect. NFL football players don’t just get on the field and learn by playing. If they did, they would definitely lose and probably get seriously injured in the process. The same is true here. Every time you see a provocatively dressed woman, you know you shouldn’t lust, but you do. You might even go home and act out. You just lost this game because you were not in shape (emotionally) and physically (no exit strategy or coping mechanism).   

Develop your exit strategy, ask your support person or accountability partner to drill you with scenarios where you play out what could happen during your addictive cycle. Practice these and refine your strategies. If something triggers you, you have your partner on the phone or with you to work through it. 

Above all – Stay Motivated!

“The struggle is the sign of holiness. A Saint is a sinner that keeps trying.” 

—St. Josemaria Escrivá

For more information on the author of this article and the founder of Road to Purity, click https://roadtopurity.com/about-the-founder

Need help in recovery? Now available is our Best selling program 40 Days to Freedom – Online. Check it out at: https://40days.roadtopurity.com

Use the code: BLOGfree to waive the normal $50 cost of the program. 

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