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The Torah teaches that, if you're an unmarried man, watching pornography is harmful to your soul. See, for example, this article by Chabad rabbi Tzvi Freeman. (If you're married and need to watch pornography in order to get aroused, see this responsum instead.) If you already have a habit of watching pornography, how can you quit?

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Related: How can I curb my sexual desire? –  HodofHod Jul 10 '12 at 6:20
@teahill - Referring the couple to their Rabbis is another way of saying it's ossur. No Rabbi would ever be matir such a thing. –  Yehoshua Nov 3 '12 at 20:48
@Yehoshua: if there'd be no other way for the couple to have children, are you sure their rabbi wouldn't find some leniency? P.S. my user ID starts with "teal", not "tea". :) –  tealhill Nov 6 '12 at 16:54
I really don't think this question is on-topic. This seems much more a matter of psychology than of religion. –  Avi Apr 24 '13 at 7:02
@Yehoshua Actually, that phrase normally means there can sometimes be room for leniency depending on the situation. –  Double AA Aug 11 at 3:18

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Guard Your Eyes has a useful website, including forums, videos, an e-book entitled The GYE Handbook, et cetera. Here are some ideas. I have been taken some of these ideas from their materials.

  • You can install filtering and/or monitoring software. If I recall correctly, R' Yisroel Belsky writes on pp. 153-154 of Shulchan Halevi in English that everybody should install both. As of the year 5775, the free version of Qustodio is a good choice for many people. You can install it on each of your computers and each of your mobile devices: see for advice. If you live in your parents' home, see all three pages of this thread.

    • WebChaver correctly point out that filtering smartphones and tablets, in general, is difficult to do correctly. On Android 4.0 and up, they add, this is especially true. I agree with them wholeheartedly. They write that Android 4.0 and up include a gigantic loophole. One way to plug the loophole is to cancel your data plan, to use MAC filtering on your router, and to never bring your device into a place with free Wi-Fi. There are also two other ways to close the loophole. But perhaps the wisest move is never to buy a smartphone or tablet in the first place. If you absolutely must buy one, perhaps the wisest move is to choose a non-Android device such as an iPhone or iPad.
  • You can anonymously join the Guard Your Eyes 90-day journey.

  • You can anonymously join the Guard Your Eyes forums or telephone support groups.

  • You can replace bad habits with good habits. You can get more routine in your life. Work, school, exercise, twelve-step meetings, and/or volunteering. The same day and time every week. I suggest a minimum of one hour per week; preferably more.

  • If you can't go cold turkey, or you don't want to, then you may want to at least reduce your pornography usage gradually.

  • Pornography can be addictive. Counseling can help.

    • Some people can get free counseling: most schools, and many insurance plans, will shoulder the costs.

    • Other people can get counseling for US$20 per hour or less: do a Web search for the name of your hometown plus the words [ family services agency ], or contact your country's United Way.

    • Or you can get in touch with your local society of addiction medicine.

      • Please note: Some countries' addiction medicine societies are quite small; but the ASAM is immense, with members worldwide. I suggest that you also type your country's name into the ASAM doctor search box.
    • Certification is not a guarantee of skill. Not all certified professionals are good at their jobs. Look for online reviews, or ask around, to find out whether or not a counselor is good.

  • You can also go to twelve-step meetings. Guard Your Eyes runs twelve-step phone meetings. I've tried live NA and SA meetings, and I recommend both.

    • Here's information on what to expect.

    • There are special meetings for those struggling with sexual acting out: SA, SAA, SLAA, SCA, SRA, and PAA. Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) is best for frum men, according to R' Avraham J. Twerski. See here before joining, though I'm not sure I agree with all the warnings on that page. For more information, email me: tealhill at gmail dot com.

    • If you feel that the above meetings aren't for you, then you can still go to general-purpose twelve-step meetings.

      • If you like, you can attend special Alcoholics Anonymous meetings called "open meetings". (The general public is welcome to attend such meetings.)

      • If you consider yourself a "pornography addict", you can also attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings. (If you read their Steps carefully, you'll see that you need not be a drug addict. This has been my personal experience as well.) Note that, before or after the meeting, people will probably ask you what you're addicted to; though I suppose that you technically don't have to answer.

The following organizations may have helpful websites and/or telephone hotlines.

  • Technology Awareness Group (TAG).

    • They can install filtering and/or monitoring software on all of your devices, at no charge.

      • To install software on your computer, they can use remote-control software.

      • If you have a cellphone or tablet, ask them if they can connect to it using the TeamViewer mobile device support add-on. Otherwise, they can either give you telephone advice or in-person help.

    • They have dozens of offices around the world, but not all their offices have websites. Do a Web search. If you can't find a phone number for an office in your city, phone any other office and ask for your local office's phone number.

    • You can reach them 24 hours per day. If you phone an office when it's closed, your call will be routed to an office in another city which is open.

  • Guard Your Eyes: +1 (646) 600-8100 / +972 (1599) 500-119. They have quite a good website.

  • Ichud HaKehillos LeTohar HaMachane: +1 (855) 424-8333.

  • Atzat Nefesh: +972 (2) 654-1899.

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Should I move the list of organizations out of this answer and into the question? –  tealhill Jul 10 '12 at 6:00
I don't think that would be a good idea. –  Double AA Jul 10 '12 at 6:19

Fine yourself 50 dollars (to be paid to tzedaka) for each time you view pornography, enforced with a neder (vow), and with a maximum of 100 dollars per day. Make a condition that the neder be valid only if you remember it beforehand and that it is valid for one or two weeks only. (You can renew it after.)

You'll squash the habit in no time.

However, this assumes you will not transgress a neder under any circumstance. Otherwise, it wont work, and you'll be worse off in that you'll likely be violating a neder. (see the book Orech Apayim on anger which discusses this technique and suggests not eating anything until the fine is payed)

This technique is extreme but, if you have yiras shamayim, it works and is a gold mine. I've used it successfully to break some deeply ingrained bad habits (not pornography related) that I'm convinced I would never have succeeded in breaking without this method. (although for some things like not getting angry, it wont work since it's too vague and too hard. must be action related things such as not smoking or not hitting your kid.)

Warning: Making a neder/vow is very serious and can incur severe punishments from upstairs. always check with your LOA first.

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Interesting idea. Let me add: The section of The GYE Handbook entitled "Making Fences" discusses vows in more detail. It also suggests some less-extreme vows you can make which may also work. –  tealhill Oct 21 '12 at 18:12
related –  Double AA Feb 26 '14 at 18:51
@tealhill I doubt any of the above will work unless someone is really determined. The simple answer have something else ready to watch. Any film will do. It will take your mind off it. –  preferred May 25 '14 at 12:47
@preferred it's not for everyone. nedarim are dangerous. always consult your LOA first. if you're rich then up the fine and it will most definitely work –  ray May 25 '14 at 18:09
@ray Not sure why your comment is addressed to me. It is not I who suggested nedarim. –  preferred May 25 '14 at 19:38

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