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How to Avoid Pornography

Three Methods:Minimizing TemptationHealthier HabitsHelping Others

The Internet is a big and wonderful place, yet it holds many temptations and dangers for many people. No matter if you're protecting yourself or others from ever encountering porn or if you're trying to combat a pornography addiction, you'll find helpful advice below.

If you struggle with compulsive sexual behaviors, including porn addiction, see the Additional Resources section at the end of the article.

Method 1
Minimizing Temptation

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    Clean up your computer. If you find that pornography is ending up on your computer, either willingly or unwillingly, you’ll want to start avoiding pornography by cleaning up your computer. You’ll want to start by deleting any pornography saved onto the computer itself. After that, there are a few other things you can do, depending on the problem that you’re having:
    • Clear your browser. Clear your browser’s cache, history, as well as your Google search history. If your computer remembers you visiting porn sites (even if it was by accident), it will think you want more porn and display more advertisements for pornography and unsafe sites.
    • Check for viruses. If you notice that you get porn pop-ups even when you’re visiting trusted sites or maybe even as soon as you open your internet browser, you might have a computer virus. Call an expert to get the virus removed and then install anti-virus software that can protect you for the future.
    • Be careful about what search terms you use and websites you visit. Some phrases are frequently attached to pornography and some websites are more likely to give you viruses and lead to pornography. Turn on Google Safe Search to protect from unsafe searches and try to only visit sites that you absolutely trust.
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    Set up an internet censor. There are a number of ways in which you can set up a censor that will keep you and others safe from pornography on the internet. You can block all but a few sites, only sites that are marked for adults, or you can just block certain sites. Choose a method that is right for your needs:
    • Use StayFocused. StayFocused is a browser add-on for Chrome browsers that allows you to control what websites you can access and how much time you can spend on those sites. It’s great for policing your own behavior, if you’re the one struggling with porn.
    • Alternatively use Stop Procrastinating App that allows you to block internet access or filter websites on all web browsers, not just Chrome. It is impossible to get around and also offers users goal setting options to help them focus psychologically on breaking their addiction.
    • Use Microsoft’s built-in content filter. If you’re trying to protect your family and you have a Windows Computer, take advantage of Microsoft’s built in parental controls. These are powerful controls that you can set to whatever the needs are for your family.[1]
    • Set up OpenDNS to block all objectionable content across all devices in your home. You can set up the OpenDNS software, which is available for free, to block all objectionable content in your household. This is the program frequently used by schools and it functions very well for protecting your family.[2]
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    Cultivate your media. Certain types of media will be more likely to subject you and other people to objectionable or dangerous material. Because of this, you might want to limit how much you use certain kinds of media. Movies are easy to choose because of their ratings, but TV might be harder to control. Limit the channels you receive and make sure to do your research on a show before deciding if it’s right for you and your family. Internet is the hardest of all to regulate, so make use of a censor or significantly limit how much your family uses the internet and where that internet usage happens.
    • For example, did you know that YouTube has a content filter that can help you protect yourself and your family from adult content on that site? Scroll to the bottom of any YouTube page and you’ll see a button that says “Safety: Off”. Click on that and YouTube will be instantly safer!
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    Spend recreational time in a space with your family, rather than alone. Move any computers in your home into family spaces and keep an open door policy for any private rooms where computers will be staying. This open policy will help keep all family members, yourself included, honest and allow them to better control urges and bad habits.
    • So, for example, move your son’s computer from his bedroom and into a corner of the living room.
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    Adjust where you spend your time in public. Certain public spaces may be more prone to displaying offensive material in readily visible places. For every area this will be different, but if you find that you’re exposed to the materials while out in public, it might be a good idea to think about how you can change your where your time is spent.
    • For example, downtown areas and city-outskirts are known for attracting more objectionable material than other parts of cities.
    • If you know you tend to see this problematic material while driving or walking to work, for example, try changing your route.
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    Avoid negative reinforcement and physical punishment. We’ll often hear the advice to snap a rubber band at our wrist when trying to stop our own bad habits or that we should physically punish our kids if they don’t stay away from material we find objectionable, but at least when it comes to watching pornography, you’re going to want to stay away from these practices. They work because they cause the person being punished to associate pain, discomfort, shame, and humiliation with whatever they’re being punished for. When these feelings are applied to sex, however, they create unhealthy feelings and may even prevent the person from having normal sexual interaction in the future. Avoid negative reinforcement for any kind of sexual practice as much as possible.
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    Create positive reinforcement. Whether you’re trying to keep yourself away from pornography or you’re trying to help your family, using positive will be much more effective at creating the behaviors you want to see.
    • For example, reward your teenage son with extra spending money for very week where he spends less than 5 hours on the computer.
    • You can give yourself positive reinforcement too: try giving yourself a piece of candy every day that you don’t view pornography.
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    Evaluate the problem. It’s also important to really understand the problem that you’re having. Sometimes, viewing pornography might not be as bad as you think it is. You should look at your situation from an outsider perspective and really decide if you want to go to really great lengths to control the situation.
    • For example, if your son is having trouble with viewing pornography, it might be that this is just a phase. Increased sexual feelings at a young age are normal and pornography might be a safer outlet for releasing those feelings than if he stopped and then went looking for release elsewhere. You might want to just let him be, but at least offer him some advice about why pornography can give you bad ideas about sex and why it’s important not to let it control your life.
    • If you’re worried, for example, that you’re just seeing objectionable material through no fault of your own and what that could mean for your religious life, talk to your spiritual adviser. Many religions teach that transgressions which are out of our control are not our fault.

Method 2
Healthier Habits

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    Replace the bad habit with a good one. For most people that look at a lot of porn, the impulse is simply a habit. One of the best ways to overcome a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit; you need to give yourself something else to do when you would normally be looking at porn. What that is will depend on who you are, but you can try:
    • Exercising. When you reach the time of day when you would normally start looking at porn, go out and get some exercise instead. Go for a jog around your block or do some jumping jacks. You can even do some more involved but fun exercises, like going swimming at your local pool.
    • Cleaning your home. You’ll probably know the basic things to clean (dishes, laundry, etc) but don’t forget about all the cleaning that a lot of people forget about, like cleaning around the toilet and scrubbing the bathtub.
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    Get too busy for porn. Pornography is easy to fall back on if you’ve got a lot of free time. By keeping your day booked solid, you’ll easily be able to keep yourself away from porn because you’ll have too much other stuff to do! Try taking on a new hobby (editing on wikiHow is good), teach yourself a new skill (learning a language is useful and fun), or finding another way to occupy your time (spending more time with your friends and family is always good).
    • For example, you can begin teaching yourself a new language online using free services like DuoLingo. Learning a new language will help fill up your time and keep you busy (and away from pornography) but it will also help you for the rest of your life too!
    • If you want to try something away from the computer so that you’re not tempted, try martial arts. The Japanese martial art of Aikido is designed for people who might not be all that strong and uses minimal movements to achieve the greatest effect, making it a good one for people who don’t have much experience or aren’t in very good shape. You can usually find Aikido classes as local community centers, universities, and community dojos.
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    Look for spiritual guidance. If you’re really having trouble getting your habit under control, you should consider seeking guidance from a spiritual counselor. While religion can’t help everyone with this problem, it does help some people and shouldn’t be dismissed. Do whatever works for you and don’t worry about what other people say.
    • Go to the local place of worship for whatever religion you believe in and ask to talk to a priest, imam, or rabbi. You might need to set up an appointment but someone should be available to talk to you.
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    Find a better sexual release. It shouldn’t be the first thing you try, but finding another way to get a satisfying sexual release might help you kick your habit. Find a sexual partner that you can be on the same page with about what you expect from your relationship and try to develop a more satisfying sex life. By keeping your sex life varied, mutually satisfying, and fresh, you should kick a lot of your desire to look at pornography.
    • If you’re already in a relationship, do what you can to spice up your sex life with your partner. You’ll probably have to make some real effort, but it will be worth it.
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    Think of all the reasons to stop. For some people, keeping in mind all the reasons why they should stop is enough to curb the bad behavior. With significant enough motivation, if you can find it, you should be able to control your urges. However, this will work best if you combine significant motivation with the other behavioral techniques we talked about, like giving yourself something else to do and setting up an internet censor.
    • Consider the impact on your family. For some people, the effect that their porn habits have on their wives, girlfriends, or the fear of what their children might see is enough to deter them and help them control their habits. The same goes for if you’re young and still living with your family. What would your little sister think if she saw what you watch?
    • Consider your own feelings and free time. For some people, it’s easier to be motivated knowing the negative impact that pornography has on yourself. Survey’s have shown among men who stopped watching porn, 60% saw in increase in their sexual performance. Almost two thirds felt more energetic and productive. [3] Porn can be very time consuming for those with really bad habits, so just imagine what you could do with all that reclaimed time.
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    Get counseling if this problem continues to bother you. If you really can’t control yourself, think about talking to a doctor or psychologist. You may have larger problems that need to be addressed and if this has a negative impact on your life then that alone makes it important enough to deal with.
    • Talk to your family doctor about your problem. Even if they can’t help you themselves, they should be able to refer you to someone who can help.
    • You can also find specialized resources, like Sex Addicts Anonymous. Groups like this one deal specifically with this problem and they will know what you’re going through and how to help you.

Method 3
Helping Others

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    Don't be judgmental. The first thing you should do when trying to help other people stay away from porn is to stop being judgmental. Do not see or portray the situation in a way that makes them bad for what they do. Sexuality is very normal and human. Even most religions teach that it is not anyone’s place to judge their fellow man (but is instead the job of the Creator). It’s also bad to judge people because it tends to turn them off from what you’re trying to do. Many people that might be open to change will become defensive if you judge them and become even more set in their ways.
    • Stay calm when you talk to them and avoid any judgmental language like “Why can’t you be more like Michael?” or “Watching pornography will turn you into a pedophile!”. Don’t make assumptions about how they think or compare them to other people, since language like this tends to shut people down.
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    Talk to them about your concerns. The best place to start is to talk to the person you’re concerned about. Tell them why you’re concerned. Sometimes, people might not realize that they even have a problem or how their problem might affect other people. If you’re open and honest, you’ll be much better able to reach them and connect with things that they can understand.
    • Say something like, “Will, I know that this is something that you enjoy, but I’m worried about what it’s doing to you. There is so much more to life and so much more that you could be doing right now to make yourself happy, but you’re spending all your free time in your room. I want you to get more out of life than just this.”
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    Help them see how the behavior is hurtful. Talk to them about the negative effects of pornography. Make sure to use lots of different types of evidence and reasoning though. If someone is religious, you’ll want to focus on religious arguments but if someone’s not, then that won’t work, right? Instead, pull on real-world evidence, logical arguments, emotional arguments, and whatever else you can. Using a combination of argument types will be best if you don’t know how the person will think about the problem.
    • For example, make a logical argument like, “Think about what this is doing to how you think about sex! You’re becoming accustomed to being able change who gets you off by just pressing a button. That’s going to make it very hard to have a satisfying relationship later in life.”
    • Make an emotional argument like, “What would happen if your little sister saw that? What would she think about you? Seeing things like that, when she’s too young to understand that it’s all make believe...she might become afraid of how men interact with women and what she can expect as an adult.”
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    Give them a new focus. Using a new behavior or a new activity is the best way to stop an old behavior in its tracks. If you want to help someone to stop looking at porn, give them something else to do instead. You can try:
    • Offering to take a class with them at the local community center. Consider paying for you both to take a cooking class together at the local community center during the time of day you know they’re most vulnerable.
    • Give them something to do around the house. Give them a responsibility to take care of around the house. For example, if your son spends a lot of time in his room towards the end of the day, task him with taking the dog for a walk around the neighborhood every day instead.
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    Plan for failure. This is a difficult behavior to overcome and it may take time and a few mess ups before things feel right. You need to plan for failure so that both you and the person you’re trying to help don’t become disappointed with the events that happen. Disappointment can lead to harsh feelings and judgement, which might derail the whole effort. Expect that it will take some work and that a change won’t happen overnight.
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    Release your feelings of responsibility. Realize that at the end of the day, you can’t be responsible for everything that someone else does. Whoever you’re trying to help, they’re either already an adult or they’re getting to the point where they really just have to make decisions on their own. This is a part of the world that they’ll be exposed to one way or the other and they’ll need to find their own way to cope with it. You can’t control other people and it’s not your responsibility to. If they feel negative consequences after you’ve done what you can to help them, that’s their responsibility. You did what you were capable of and no one can ask anything more from you.

Additional Resources

Organization Phone Number
Sexual Addicts Anonymous 1-800-477-8191
Sexaholics Anonymous 1-866-424-8777
Sexual Compulsives Anonymous 1-800-977-HEAL


    • Try taking a cold shower or drinking cold water.
    • If your body needs to release (masturbate), try to do so in a clean way without looking at any pornographic images. The brain will crave pornographic images less and less over time and you will soon have a more manageable drive.
    • Plan specific activities that you will go do (go to the gym, read, paint, etc) the next time you feel like watching pornography.
    • Outdoor activities and sunshine will alleviate porn cravings. Take up good hobbies and sports like gardening, golf, running, swimming, walking, basketball, bicycling, chores, etc.
    • Religious people can reflect on their belief system for help and talk to others who share their beliefs, including church leaders.
    • During the day go over the list of reasons why you want to avoid porn and the list of things you will do to avoid a relapse.
    • Try to mentally categorize your life activities into three types: 1 - Green (safe activities that won’t lead you into temptation); 2 - Yellow (dangerous behaviors that could lead to porn, such as home alone channel-surfing); 3 - Red (activities that lead directly to porn use).
    • When you feel yourself moving into a "Yellow" zone, it is time to react: stop and find something safe to do instead.
    • How badly do you want to be free from porn? Becoming porn-free may entail sacrifice. Ask yourself: Do I really need the Internet at home? Do I really need cable TV? Or even any TV? That may seem fanatical, but if you don't have TV or Internet, your access to porn will be severely curtailed.
    • Don't spend time alone with the computer.
    • Throw away your ethernet cable or leave it with someone, and only use the internet at the library. After developing alternative behaviors, managing triggering thoughts, and developed a plan, you might start using a cable at home again.
    • Install a filter/history program on your computer that someone you trust can use to hold you accountable.
    • If something looks questionable, don't let curiosity get the best of you. Delete it or close the window.
    • Be wary of sites that exist in countries with more lenient laws about Internet pornography. The last two or more characters of a domain name designate its country of origin (ie: www.somesite .de is a German domain name).
    • Be careful about going to any video sites like youtube; many videos there have at least soft porn. Stay away. if you must see a video, watch that one and then leave. Don't browse around.
  • Do not register for pornographic sites. Even if you delete a previous account, the site moderator will still have you on file.
  • Think of your family and friends, how disappointed they would be to know this is what you're doing with your free time. How would you feel if your son/daughter was watching this sort of material? Even if you don't have children, or they're young, how would you feel if when they were older they'd be watching porn?
  • Watch out for porn-oriented spam in your email. Filter and block it. Change your email address if it won’t stop.
    • If you fall into the trap again, don't give up. Give it another try. Don’t stop trying.
    • Pornography addiction can be made worse by feelings of shame, loneliness, and hopelessness. If you seek out help and guidance and talk to your pastor, family members, and friends, you will probably find some emotional support that will help you. See if there are any support groups you can join.
    • After falling into the temptation again, go back and review what specific things might have triggered you. Eliminate all the things that caused the problem and you will have a more manageable task in stopping it altogether.
  • Use filtered search engines or reputable directories to find the information you need.


  • Too often, pornography advertisements exist on less-than-reputable sites that host topics related to software piracy, hacking, cracking, and online gambling.
  • Avoid illegal websites offering keygens, Cracks or illegal software. These websites usually have explicit pornographic banners that might tempt you.
  • Do not follow links in email that is unsolicited. If it is a link you want to visit, copy and paste it into a browser instead of clicking on it. Often spam and phishing email (Identify-and-Resist-Phishing-Bait) will hide script behind their links.
  • Do not guess website addresses. Many pornographic sites have similar addresses of non-pornographic sites. Use a search engine instead.
  • Do not search for ambiguous terms such as "girls," "pump," "bagel," or "pony." Think carefully before typing a key word search.
  • Don't think that the number of days you have abstained is the most important thing. You can abstain for a year or more and still have a relapse. Although you should be encouraged if you've abstained for a long time, you're better off asking yourself: "How far away am I from porn right now?" In other words, beware of complacency.
  • Do not open attachments in unsolicited emails. To secure against pop-ups and other bad scripts, use a free web-based email service to complete online registrations.
  • Although getting help from a spouse is important, you need to think carefully about how and when to break this news. If your spouse doesn't know about your interest in pornography, it may be devastating news.

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Categories: Addictions