The Benefits of Quitting Porn: What Do You Hope to Gain?

Do you think you’ll actually benefit from quitting porn?

It sounds obvious to say it, but the secret to successfully quitting porn is actually wanting to quit porn.

The unfortunate reality is that, deep down, many people don’t want to quit. They may think they do, but they’re either too scared by the thought of life without porn or too comfortable with their use to give it up. Sometimes that means they’d rather sacrifice their marriages or jobs than quit. They don’t believe the benefits of quitting porn outweigh the comfort they find from porn or the effort it’ll take.

The trick, then, is that if you know you should quit porn, you need to find reasons to quit and keep those in front of you. That means sitting down and seriously brainstorming what you’ll gain when you quit porn.

Common Benefits of Quitting Porn

In our 21 years as a company, we at Covenant Eyes have heard many stories of lives transformed when they gave up porn. Here are just a few of the common benefits of quitting porn we hear from people:

  • An overall sense of freedom
  • Restored marriages and family relationships
  • Improved relationship with God
  • Increased free time for more healthy hobbies
  • Increased energy and motivation
  • Decreased or cured erectile dysfunction
  • Greater confidence, especially when interacting with the opposite sex
  • Better sleep
  • Less depression and anxiety

Now, you may see yourself in some parts of this list, and others may not resonate at all. For example, a woman won’t benefit from “decreased or cured erectile dysfunction,” and an unmarried person may just roll their eyes at “restored marriages.”

The reality of this list is that it’s just a small set of common threads we’ve seen, but every porn user is different. The hurts that draw you to porn are different from mine. Your physical response to porn is different than mine. You are wholly unique, and your struggles will be different. A list like this can only go so far.

In other words, rather than rely on a list of the top 50 benefits of quitting porn, you should create your own list. What’s your reason for quitting porn? What do you hope to gain?

Creating a personalized list of how you’ll benefit from quitting porn will actually require two other lists first. Let’s get started.

The First List: The Negatives of Porn

As the first step to coming up with your own list, brainstorm all of the ways porn has negatively impacted your life. These can and should be personal! For example, your list may look like this:

  • Porn means I’m just not attracted to my spouse anymore.
  • I never get a full night’s sleep because I always stay up too late binge-watching porn.
  • I feel extra guilty when I go to church because of how much porn I watch.
  • I always feel like I’m lying to my parents about what I’m doing on my phone.
  • My computer keeps getting viruses from porn sites.
  • I’ve started spending actual money on porn.
  • My spouse doesn’t trust me anymore.
  • I got caught watching porn on the job and am facing disciplinary actions.

Again, these are all just ideas. Some of them may be applicable. Some of them won’t. The point is not to simply copy a list, but to see the problems porn is causing in your life.

The Second List: The Problems You’ll Face By Quitting

Porn is scratching some sort of itch in your life. Let’s be honest—if you quit porn, you will lose something. Minimally you’ll lose an easy form of pleasure, for example. So the next step to identifying the benefits of quitting porn is to create a list of the problems you think you’ll face or the things you think you’ll lose.

This sounds counterintuitive, but it’s an important step! By facing all of the supposed benefits of porn, it will be easier to evaluate whether they solve real problems or are just about preferences or cultural expectations, and then come up with a healthier plan to solve the same problems.

Your list might include some of these:

  • If I quit watching porn, I’ll lose the only form of sex I’m getting right now.
  • It’s how I unwind in the evenings.
  • It’s how I pick up tips for better sex.
  • I watch it to build intimacy with my partner.
  • I don’t know what else to do with myself when I’m bored.
  • It alleviates physical pain.

The Third List: Your Benefits of Quitting Porn

Now that you’ve created the first two lists, it’s finally time to generate your list of what you’ll gain by quitting. Use these first two lists to brainstorm benefits. For example, let’s say in the first list you listed “I’m just not attracted to my spouse anymore,” and in the second, you said “Porn is my only version of sex right now.” One of your benefits, then, might be along the lines of “After rebooting my brain, I’ll be more attracted to my wife and will be able to work on true intimacy with her.”

Of course, you will want to go beyond those initial lists as you brainstorm your benefits. Here are a few broad categories to consider:

Physical benefits

You probably brainstormed some physical problems porn is causing in the first list. The reality is that, especially if you’ve been using porn for a while, porn has neurologically rewired your brain; you’re most likely attracted to variety, not the specific features of your partner. Your brain probably craves that neurochemical hit of dopamine and testosterone. You might even have rearranged your life to keep feeding that hit on a regular basis and deal with irritability or sleeplessness when you fail to fill that craving.

So your list of physical benefits may include:

  • Reduced erectile dysfunction
  • Better sleep at night
  • More overall energy

If you’ve spent any time walking down the road to recovery before now and have started to identify triggers, you may have a hunch about some additional physical benefits that seem completely unrelated. For example, if you’ve already identified one of your triggers as hunger, you might focus on eating more nutritiously to avoid that hunger. In other words, you might list a benefit as “better overall health” or “weight loss.”

Mental and emotional benefits

Many people turn to porn thinking it will improve their mood or their confidence. Unfortunately, the reverse is true. For example, in 2005, a study of youth between the ages of 10 and 17 concluded that there is a significant relationship between frequent porn use and feelings of loneliness and major depression.

As you consider the mental and emotional benefits, look at your list of fears. Are you watching porn to numb feelings of loneliness? Porn may be strengthening those feelings and destroying your ability to create strong connections with real people in your life. So one benefit might be that you will be able to strengthen your real friendships and connect with more people.

Or maybe you watch porn because you’re depressed. It’s entirely likely that the shame you feel when you watch it is a contributing factor to your depression, and quitting porn will reduce it.

(It’s worth noting that a lot of mental and emotional issues have deep roots. Porn may be a contributing factor to depression, but it may stem from something else—childhood trauma and abuse, for example, or even a neurochemical imbalance. It may be worthwhile to seek medical help or counseling as you pursue recovery.)

Relational benefits

I’ve alluded to this multiple times now, but porn is almost certainly harming your relationships, particularly with your spouse. You’ve been investing time and energy in your own personal gratification instead of investing in them. Worse, your spouse may be experiencing their own mental health issues as a result. One survey of the wives of porn users found that 70% experienced symptoms of PTSD after discovering their husband’s porn addiction.

Not married? Porn is likely eroding your ability to form a lasting relationship in the first place.

Some relational benefits of quitting porn may include the following:

  • I’ll be able to restore my relationship with my spouse.
  • I’ll stop evaluating people based on how hot they are.
  • I’ll be able to strengthen relationships with other people.
  • I’ll be less focused on self-gratification and more focused on loving my family.

Spiritual benefits

If you’re a Christian, porn is causing harm to your relationship with God. This isn’t a question. Jesus says that even looking at a woman with lust is equivalent to committing adultery with her (Matthew 5:27-28). God will forgive us our sins, yes; but he will also allow us to harden our hearts and fall deeper into sin if we don’t repent and seek first his kingdom (Romans 1:18-32 is a good example of this on a cultural level).

In one of my deepest periods of sexual sin and temptation, I gave up my habit of daily Bible reading, and I suffered for it. I was more stressed and depressed and felt far from God. Repenting and turning away from that sin “restored the joy of salvation to me” (Psalm 52:12).

Your spiritual benefits from quitting might include:

  • I’ll feel less guilt and shame for constant sin.
  • I’ll feel hope and joy in God’s salvation.
  • I’ll be more willing to spend time in personal devotions.
  • I won’t feel like a hypocrite anymore.

Other benefits

The last few sections have been focused on helping you think through some of the common benefits and how they might apply to your life. The reality is, a lot of the benefits can’t be easily categorized and will vary wildly from person to person.

For example, former NBA athlete Lamar Odom admitted to missing the bus to games and having to pay massive fines because he wanted to stay in bed watching porn.

More likely, you have lost literal days of your life watching porn; one member once told us that he had spent an estimated 110 days—2640 hours—over the previous ten years watching porn, only to get a net of fewer than three hours of actual pleasure out of it. Maybe you’ve let a hobby lapse to watch porn instead. Maybe you’re having porn-fueled nightmares.

Remember Who You Want to Be

Really, what all of this leads up to is the question of who you want to be. How is porn holding you back from that? Consider crafting a one-sentence statement about it. Write it down and keep it in front of your computer. Turn it into your phone or tablet’s lock screen background. Porn is holding you back from being that wholly unique person.

The road to quitting porn will be long and difficult, especially at the beginning. You’ll probably hit points where you just want to give up. But if you keep that vision of who you want to be in mind, and you focus on everything you’ll gain when you quit porn, you can find lasting freedom. We believe in you, and we’ll be here for you along the way.

What are some of the benefits you think you’ll get by quitting porn? Let us know in the comments!