5 minute read

Strategies for Singles to Keep the Weekends Porn-Free

Last Updated: September 8, 2021

Keith Rose

Keith Rose holds a Master of Divinity degree from Reformed Theological Seminary and a BA in Sacred Music from Moody Bible Institute. Keith worked with the Covenant Eyes Member Care Team for 15 years. During that time, he also served as a worship leader, Bible teacher, and pastoral assistant. He lives in Rexford, Montana with his wife Ruby.

Millions of people face a choice every weekend: to look or not to look at porn. Whether you’re a man or a woman, young or old, the option to watch porn presents itself on a myriad of computers, gaming systems, and mobile devices.

One commenter on our blog wrote, “I don’t watch porn during working days but out of nowhere during weekends I just simply start watching porn…  I feel bad that I cannot go more than five days.”

The temptation can be strong for anyone, but if you’re a single adult it may feel impossible to overcome. As someone who was single into his mid-30s, I’ve experienced the challenge firsthand. How can you keep from relapsing on the weekends?

Watch Out for These Weekend Triggers

I spoke with a young man who was progressing well in his recovery from porn addiction—he was taking the right steps, checking in regularly with his ally, and monitoring his devices with Covenant Eyes. But weekends still presented a huge temptation. What are the factors that present such a challenge to singles? Here are some common weekend triggers that are particularly challenging for singles.

Loneliness

The young man I spoke with said the loneliness he faced on the weekend was unbearable. A single woman I spoke with said the same thing—loneliness is the hardest part of the weekend. Loneliness is a challenge for our culture in general. One recent report found that as many as 58% of women and 63% of men say they are lonely.¹ Whatever the numbers, a lot of single people find themselves alone and isolated on the weekend.

Loneliness is also a huge trigger for porn. Looking at porn can—for brief a moment—give the feeling that you’re not alone. It gives the brief illusion of a connection with someone. This can lead someone to relapse even if they’ve been successful in overcoming porn to that porn.

Awkwardness

Loneliness isn’t the only challenge. Before getting married, I often felt uncomfortable and out of place among my peers, most of whom were already married.  Lisa Eldred, the author of More Than Single, shares this experience: “At this point in my life, the hardest thing about being single in general is usually attending couples-only events, like weddings, which tend to be on weekends. If I feel called out for my singleness, it’s awkward.”

This awkwardness can be a trigger to look at porn. I once knew a young man who often struggled with feelings of social awkwardness, particularly around the opposite sex. After coming home from a social setting, he would often fall into porn.

Tiredness

Another challenge is simply being tired. After a long week, you may feel too tired to get out and do anything. As a single person, it’s easy to be “too tired to go to bed” and to end up staying up and getting into porn. When I was single, I’d often catch myself in a late-night Youtube or Netflix binge—from here it was only a short step to things I shouldn’t be looking at.

Lisa told me, “Tiredness is a huge trigger for me for a number of temptations. The later I stay up, the more likely I am to slip up.” For many singles, tiredness is a trigger on the weekend.

Stress

Like tiredness, the stress of the workweek has a way of piling up. On weekends, many people feel the need to “decompress” or “let off steam.” As singles, healthy outlets to release stress often seem limited. Porn can be used as a form of self-soothing or stress or anxiety.

“As a single person, I often felt a lot of anxiety and stress on the weekends—during the week I was too busy to notice,” a recently married person told me. “Masturbation [and porn] was a stress-relieving distraction that felt really good.”

So what can you do about these challenges? As a single person, how can you avoid the loneliness, awkwardness, tiredness, and stress of the weekends that drive so many to porn?

Here are some practical steps you can take.

Build a Supportive Community

It’s hard to overstate the importance of community when you’re fighting the temptation to lust and porn. There are other important things you need in your life to beat porn and the weekend slump, but community is a must.

Lisa says, “I’ve had a couple of long-standing friendships from grad school who still form a core of my community… During the pandemic, I started forming close friendships with people in a couple of online communities, and I’ve found a few good friends at my church.”

Don’t limit yourself to “inside the box” communities. I once had a single friend who was very extroverted, but his work schedule prevented him from gathering with other young people during normal off-hours. So he befriended a number of older women at a retirement home down the street and joined their weekly card games!

Still not sure where to look for community? Men can check out the Samson Society and women can go to SheRecovery. Building relationships with like-minded people is critical. Lisa went on to explain, “I have several friends—male and female—who I feel like I can reach out to at any time. The one who hears my deepest struggles these days is still my accountability partner.”

Avoid These Weekend Behaviors and Situations

You can work to minimize the triggering physical and emotional states listed above to put yourself in a better place to overcome porn. How do you do this?

Many singles plan weekend gatherings with their friends to make sure they aren’t home alone in the evening—more suggestions on this below. The important thing is, if being home alone on a Friday or Saturday night is a trigger for you, takes some steps to avoid this situation.

Overcoming awkwardness is not necessarily about avoiding situations where you may feel awkward. I’ve known many singles who do this, resulting in even deeper loneliness and isolation. However, you can put in some work to minimize your discomfort. If you’re going to an event where you know there will be lots of couples, bring along another single friend. If that’s not possible, schedule a phone call with a trusted friend or family member afterward, so you know that you’ll be able to talk through the situation with them.

If tiredness is a trigger, make a plan to get to bed early. Lisa says she is always careful to avoid staying up too late. Going out with friends is a great way to avoid loneliness, but make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure later on by staying out longer than you should.

There are many strategies for relieving stress. Make sure to avoid potentially triggering activities. One of the singles I spoke with avoids alcohol. For many people in recovery, even a few drinks may impair judgment and lead to an all-out porn binge. For many, kicking back with a favorite TV show is the perfect way to unwind after a stressful week. But make sure the shows you’re watching aren’t triggering, or if you’re browsing for something new that you don’t expose yourself to pornographic options.

What are the behaviors and situations that you find most triggering? You need to know your weak points and avoid setting yourself up for failure. To learn more, see “The Ultimate Guide to Identifying  (and Redirecting) Your Porn Triggers.

Plan Positive Weekend Routines and Activities

What are you going to put in the place that porn used to fill? Once you begin to overcome porn, this question is critical to your ongoing victory. Porn never would have gotten a hold of you in the first place if it didn’t seem to meet some real needs.

You don’t need to come up with anything complicated. “[My routines are] having family dinner, watching funny shows, spending time with a friend talking, shopping, or going out to eat,” one single woman told me.

Lisa said, “Besides church, I really try to cook at least one meal. I love going to the farmer’s market, and I’ll often tie that to a walk in the woods. I do some personal blog work on Saturday evenings and often follow that up with embroidery—my new hobby—while watching various friends’ Twitch streams.”

For more suggestions, check out our article, “50 Things to Do Instead of Watching Porn.” Lisa has also written an ebook called Hobbies and Habits, packed full of helpful suggestions for replacing porn with positive activities and routines.

As singles, the temptation to look at porn on the weekend can be powerful, but you can find victory as you follow these strategies!


¹https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/01/23/798676465/most-americans-are-lonely-and-our-workplace-culture-may-not-be-helping