How Do I Renew My Mind After A Porn Addiction?

Heath Wise, LPC

Pornography

QUESTION


I stopped masturbating and watching pornography awhile ago and God set me free from it but the way I look, think about, and treat women is totally wrong. It’s like porn has left an imprint on me of wrong lustful desires. How do I tackle this problem?

 

SEX THERAPIST’S ANSWER

I am glad that you are noticing this and want to do something about it! It really does leave an imprint – that is a good way to describe what happens when you look at porn. Our brains change with patterned, repetitive, focused attention over time. So when you look at porn, you are changing your brain because it is patterned, repetitive, focused attention over time. You are rewiring your brain to think about women in the way that porn depicts them even if you do not want to do that. So the way to change it is with patterned, repetitive, focused attention over time – you just want it to be about women the way that God sees them.

A helpful exercise is to write down the messages that you got about women from porn. Do something like this: “women are (blank)” and then answer what comes to mind. Don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it or you will edit out what you really think. So just write down the first things that come to mind. Be completely honest – don’t put down what you ought to think but put down what you really think. No one has to see this but you. I find that people are surprised by what they are really thinking. But once you are aware of it, you can change it. So look at the list and ask yourself, “Is this true?” Then if it is not, change it to what is really true. Even if you don’t feel like you believe the truth, put the truth next to what you wrote down. If you don’t know, then ask other Godly men what they believe about women, how God views women

I would recommend the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge – it will open your eyes to amazing truths about women.

Then because you have negative images of women in your head that are from porn, go through the Bible and read the stories of real women there. Read about Deborah, Esther, Abigail, Ruth, Elizabeth or Mary. Then imagine that you are there with them. Ask God to make them real to you. Then imagine what they were like from the stories that are in the Bible. Begin to see what a real woman is like – she has a body but she is not only a body. There is strength and depth of character. Deborah is a judge and a warrior. Esther uses her beauty with wisdom in a way that is alluring without being seductive. See what each of these women is like. They can teach you how to think accurately about women. Then begin to use those traits as a context to thinking about the women in your life. Feel the feelings that go with right thinking about women such as joy, delight, hope, peace. Find a list of positive feeling words on the web and focus on noticing those feelings when you are thinking about women in this way. If negative feelings come up for you, then write them down and ask God to show you what that is about. But continue to focus your attention on the positive feelings and thoughts about women.

Begin to see real women in your life as made in the image of God, as the apple of his eye. Because she is the apple of his eye, she is so worthy of honor and respect. To love her means that you treat her in a way that is consistent with how God views her. That means that you love her, not use her for your own pleasure.

A bottom line question for me is always, “What does love look like?” If you ask that question, you will treat women with honor because loving someone means that you have their best interest at heart. I had a professor that used to say to men, “You want to treat the women that you date or are in relationship with as if they are someone’s Eve. They might not be your Eve but they are someone’s Eve and you want to treat them in a way that they are better off for having been in relationship with you. You are saving them for the man that they will ultimately be with. You do not want them to have to overcome damage that you have done in order to be in relationship with someone else.”

When you intentionally do these things – you pay attention to what you are thinking and actively change it, you are retraining your brain. The good news for you is that you are actively wanting to change it – you see it as a problem. That is so encouraging – I wish that more men who have gotten free from porn would realize their distorted thoughts about women. Bless you as you renew your mind!

3 Responses to “How Do I Renew My Mind After A Porn Addiction?”

Leave a Reply