Why does this keep happening?

You may find yourself stuck and unexplainably returning to pornography again and again. Maybe you have tried different solutions. You may even experience progress for a time, but somehow you find yourself returning to pornography.

Being honest with yourself and others about your pornography use will help you make progress on your journey to change. One way to do this is to think carefully about your triggers. A trigger is something that creates a need or desire for you to seek out pornography. For example, some people feel triggered to view pornography after having experiences where they feel dismissed, unimportant, or unloved.
Take a few minutes to think about and write down triggers that may have led you to seek out pornography in the past. You can add to your list as more ideas come to you.
Some examples of triggers include:
Internal triggers:
  • Anger

  • Grief or depression

  • Feeling unloved

  • Stress

  • Boredom

  • Anxiety

  • Loneliness

  • Low self-esteem or feeling disconnected from God

  • Post-traumatic stress or remembering past instances of abuse

External triggers:

  • Difficulty in a relationship

  • Financial problems

  • Family issues

  • Specific time of day or night

  • Unexpected life changes

  • Substance use or abuse

  • Unexpected exposure to a sexual stimulus

  • Friends or cultural environment

When you feel ready, review each trigger you’ve written down.

Can you connect this trigger to a specific instance in the past where you turned to pornography for comfort or distraction?

Can you recognize any patterns in your past behavior?

If you are in a similar situation again, what could you do differently? For example, instead of turning to pornography, is there a trusted friend, family member, or counselor you could contact?

You could talk to him or her about how you’re feeling, or you could just engage in small talk.  Other ideas include physical activity, listening to music, writing in a journal or reading a book, or providing service for someone else.

This process can be a step toward freeing yourself from behaviors that defined you in the past. In the past, you may not have thought about when and why you turned to pornography. You may have justified your behavior or blamed other people, places, or things. But now you can begin to take responsibility for your actions, even though you may need to acknowledge painful, embarrassing, or difficult events. Being honest with yourself and others about your pornography use will also open your heart to receiving help from your Father in Heaven and the Savior and will prepare you to discover insights that will lead toward repentance and healing.

Take Action

  • Examine some of the thoughts you have about yourself. Which of these thoughts align with your sprititual and Gospel truths? Which of these thoughts may not be true at all?

  • Discuss healthy sexual behavior with your spouse. It may also be helpful to talk with a mental health or medical professional who shares your values.

  • If you’re married, talk with your spouse about what he or she is experiencing as a result of your pornography use. It can be important and useful for you and your spouse to share how you are both feeling.