Pornography and Sex Addiction Resources

You Are Not Alone

Many good people struggle with the sin of pornography and are striving to cultivate chastity. You are not alone.

Jesus is with you, and the Church offers you love and support.

Trust in the Lord’s mercy and his power to free and heal you.

Why Is Pornography Wrong?

Sexual love is a gift meant for marriage alone. “Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], no. 2354). All pornography is immoral and harmful, and can never be justified, including within marriage. Using and/or producing pornography is a sin against chastity and against human dignity. It reduces the body to an erotic stimulant. It harms viewers and does “grave injury” to those involved in its production (CCC, no. 2354).

The sin of pornography needs the Lord’s forgiveness and should be confessed in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Its use is also often linked with other sins, especially masturbation but also adultery and the crime of human trafficking. Pornography objectifies people and brings hurt and pain. It is an illusory substitute for real relationships and intimacy, which in the end bring true joy.

Pornography in Our Culture Today

Pornography today is a structure of sin. While rooted in the personal sins of individuals, pornography is so pervasive in society that it is difficult to avoid and challenging to remove. Several factors are important to note when evaluating pornography’s presence in our culture today.

  • Victims: The women and men portrayed in pornography have their dignity abused for others’ pleasure and profit. There is also the heinous crime of child pornography and pornography’s connections to sex trafficking worldwide.
  • Visibility: Pornographic and over-sexualized images are present in our culture as never before. It is commonplace to see such images while going about one’s daily life. Maintaining purity in this environment is a challenge.
  • Acceptability: Pornography is often misrepresented as a harmless pastime or even promoted as good, for example to help marital intimacy. Many describe it as “normal” behavior, especially for men.
  • Technology: The Internet has made pornography accessible, anonymous, mostly free, and endlessly novel. This potent combination continues to have devastating effects on many people.
  • Industry: Pornography is a big, moneymaking business. The industry is aggressive and savvy, constantly trying to entice new viewers. It is under-regulated and uses the claim of “free speech” to counter legal charges.
  • Content: Pornographic content available today is increasingly coarse, violent, and degrading. It communicates the message that sex is devoid of love and relationship, and even that sexual violence is acceptable.

Everyone is vulnerable to pornography. Many good people struggle with this habit, including faithful Catholics, married and single people, fathers and mothers, and so on.

Users and Effects: A Closer Look

Men are particularly susceptible to pornography because their brains are strongly drawn to sexual images. But pornography is not just a men’s issue. A growing number of women use pornography. Men and women might view pornography to soothe emotional wounds or for “recreation.” Women users are often seeking a sense of connection or romance and may feel isolated in their struggles.

Someone can start by occasionally viewing pornography but later can become a compulsive or addicted viewer. Because pornography use, usually combined with masturbation, directly affects the brain, it can be an extremely difficult habit to break. A person addicted to pornography may take risks to view it and continue the behavior despite adverse consequences.

Sadly, first exposure to pornography often occurs at young ages. Children may find images and videos by accident online or may happen upon a family member’s “stash.” Many young people also produce their own pornography in the form of sexual photographs and videos shared with peers. Being exposed to pornography can be traumatic for children and youth. It gives them a distorted image of sexuality, persons, and relationships, which can then affect their behavior. Tragically, some children are forced to participate in child pornography, a crime.

Parents today face increasing challenges in protecting their children’s innocence and many feel ill-equipped to monitor their children’s devices. Pornography use within the home has negative effects on a family’s life. It can, for example, undermine the credibility of the father and other role models who use pornography, and if the breadwinner becomes preoccupied with pornography, financial problems may result.

Pornography use within marriage damages the spouses’ trust and intimacy both because of the behavior itself and because of the deception often involved in hiding it. Its use can lead to affairs, requests for degrading sexual behavior, and even divorce. It decreases spouses’ sexual satisfaction and interest in marital sex. For the unmarried, viewing pornography can make it more difficult to maintain a self-giving relationship of mutual trust. Undoubtedly, pornography fuels the hook-up culture and discourages young adults from undertaking the work of relationships in the first place.

Mercy and Healing in Christ and Through the Church

The Church is called to be a “field hospital” for the wounded of the world.2 No wound is out of the reach of Christ’s redeeming grace. Christ is our hope! The Church proclaims the truth about love, sexuality, and the dignity of each person, and she seeks to provide the Lord’s mercy and healing for those harmed by pornography.

To those exploited by the pornography industry, you are beloved and cherished by God! The way you have been treated is deplorable, and we will work for justice for all enslaved men, women, and children. Come to the Lord and allow him to heal you.

To those guilty of exploiting others through the production of pornography, the Lord in his justice and mercy is calling you to repentance. No sin is too great to forgive, but we exhort you to repent, make amends for the damage you have caused, and turn yourself over to civil authorities if you have been involved in criminal exploitation.

To men and women who use pornography, be not afraid to approach the altar of mercy and ask for forgiveness. God is waiting to meet with joy those who repent. Counseling, spiritual direction, and accountability groups can all help you to reach freedom. Filtering software can help you avoid near occasions of sin. Cultivating chastity takes work and is a daily choice. If you fall, seek the Lord’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.

To those who have been hurt by their spouse’s pornography use, you are not to blame for your spouse’s choice to view pornography. You may feel betrayed and deceived and may have faced abuse. If you are in danger, seek safety. Find solace in prayer and seek out a trusted spiritual director or counselor as you work through powerful emotions. If your spouse desires to change, you can be a great help to him/her. Set clear boundaries and take care of your own health.

To all parents, you are the guardians of your children and should be their models for chaste love. It is your responsibility to teach your children the true meaning of sexuality and to protect them from pornography. Be vigilant about the technology you allow into your home. Foster openness and trust with your children so they can talk to you about images they have seen.

To all who work with children and youth, parents have given you a responsibility to protect their children. You can have a great influence on the children entrusted to your care. Create an environment suitable for learning chastity and be vigilant over technological access.

To young people, Christ calls you to be strong, courageous witnesses of chastity and hope. Be an example for your friends of the freedom and joy that come from living a chaste life. Reject the pressure to treat sex as recreational or to objectify your body or someone else’s. If you have used pornography, seek forgiveness from the Lord and ask for help from your parents or a trusted adult.

To pastors and other clergy, we are witnesses of the joy and freedom of chastity. Let us call the faithful to the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and make sure it is available. We too must approach the fount of mercy if we sin in this area. Let us preach on chastity and protect children from pornography.

To all people of good will, the Church is grateful to all who are working to acknowledge the harmful nature of pornography and build a culture where chastity and authentic love are esteemed and supported.

Pornography and Sex Addiction Resources



    The Bishops’ statement is in both English and Spanish. This page also has five articles on pornography in English and Spanish.
    This site overviews porn addition in marriages and offers links to Church teaching on chastity and pornography.
    Internet Filtering and Accountability Catholic site to equip people to protect themselves and their families from online dangers. In addition to the accountability software for computers and mobile phones, this site offers faith-based free resources on the dangers of pornography.
    This is a Catholic organization whose mission is to help restore the integrity of individuals, spouses, and families that have been affected by pornography and pornography addiction. They provide education, training, encouragement and resources. There is a special section just for clergy.
    Matt Fradd is a Catholic and the founder and executive director of the The Porn Effect. It is an apostolate dedicated to expose the reality behind the fantasy of pornography and equipping men and women to break free from pornography. This site offers a battle plan and articles and resources.
    This offers a science-based, Catholic Online Recovery Program, and other resources, for those who desire to reclaim God’s plan for their lives and the lives of loved ones impacted by pornography, masturbation or other unhealthy sexual behaviors.
    Pope John Paul II’s response to the lie of pornography. “There is no dignity when the human dimension is eliminated from the person. In short, the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person, but that it shows far too little.”
    A Catholic app that provides a strategic battle plan for victory in the struggle against pornography. It records set-backs, victories, and confession. It has an accountability button where people can be notified to pray for the person. The app also has resources with daily inspirations and articles.
    Its mission is to reveal to society the physical and spiritual devastation of pornography and sexual addiction while leading men and women to the truth of authentic love and sexual purity.
  • STRIVE 21
    This is a powerful 21-Day Porn Detox that helps men understand why they go to porn and equips them with the knowledge, tools, and accountability needed to quit porn. Equip the men in your church to live the life to which God is calling them with STRIVE.
Materials in Spanish
  • The Courage to Be Chaste by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR. A modern classic with many practical tips.
  • Be a Man! by Larry Richards
  • Boys to Men by Tim Gray and Curtis Martin
  • Breaking Free: 12 Steps to Sexual Purity by Stephen Wood
  • Every Man’s Battle, Every Young Man’s Battle and Preparing your Son for Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker
  • Hope After Betrayal: Healing When Sexual Addiction Invades Your Marriage by Meg Wilson
  • Integrity Restored: Helping Catholic Families Win the Battle Against Pornography by Peter C. Kleponis Ph.D.
  • Love, Marriage & …Pornography? by Robert Borys: The booklet is a great resource for those preparing for marriage, for those already married and for anyone interested in knowing about the harmful effects of Internet pornography on relationships, love, family and marriage. This booklet and other products can be purchased at
  • Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction by Patrick Carnes
  • Pure Manhood by Jason Evert
  • Restoring Trust: A Couple’s Guide to Getting Past Porn by Peter C. Kleponis Ph.D.
  • Treating Pornography Addiction: The Essential Tool for Recovery by Ph.D. Kevin B. Skinner
Catholic CDs and DVDs

The Pornography Plague and the Path to Christian Purity,” CD- Jeff Cavins
Winning the Battle for Sexual Purity,” CD- (A Talk For Men) Christopher West (also on DVD).
Face the Darkness, Illuminate the Night,” brand new, comprehensive DVD series on porn. Includes interviews with Christopher West. 
Cybersex and the Priesthood–Sex, Shame, Addiction,” CD- Fr. Stephen Rossetti, PhD, D. Min.
The Interior Gaze–A Remedy for Pornovision and Lust“–Byzantine Catholic priest and artist, Fr. Thomas Loya, demonstrates through design and art how to “see” the beauty of the human body as God intended
Pure of Heart: Breaking Free from Porn“, CD- Jason Evert

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