Porn Is Destroying Your Productivity

There are heaps of good reasons not to look at pornography. But let me add one more to the pile: Porn destroys productivity.

Porn leads to relational difficulties and emotional problems. Porn supports sex trafficking and trains people to demean image-bearers of God. But most importantly looking at porn is a sin against God (Matthew 5:28).

When compared to disobedience to God, it might sound trite to talk about how porn affects our productivity. But the reason porn destroys productivity is that it leaves you with a guilty conscience. And a guilty conscience is no trifling matter.

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The Conscience: Our Moral Alarm System

God has etched His rules onto the heart of every man, woman, and child in such a way that we act as judges of our own behavior. Like a moral alarm system, your conscience is that little voice in your head warning you and making you feel guilty when you do something wrong.

“They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them” (Romans 2:15).

When you walk in integrity, you don’t experience that nagging sense of guilt. Because when you have a clean conscience, you know you have nothing to hide. But people who use porn habitually know they have a secret to hide. You can make excuses for it, tell yourself it’s okay, but your conscience ain’t buying it. And believe it or not, this is affecting your work.

Here are three ways porn hijacks your conscience to destroy your productivity.

1. Porn Wastes Your Energy

People naturally seek to hide their porn habit from others because it’s shameful. And shame is draining. Even if no one else knows it, your conscience is ever aware that you’re carrying a secret. And secrets sap us of our energy, undermining our productivity.

A secret is a burden that gets heavier the longer you carry it. When you’re hiding a secret you’re always a little distracted. Some part of your mind has to always be working to ensure you don’t slip up, that no one finds out.

Any time a believer tries to hide sin, the guilt eventually begins to crush us. Look how King David describes how it felt when he tried to hide his sin from God:

“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah” (Psalm 32:3–4)

Heavy.

Porn destroys your productivity because when you’re hiding sin your conscience will never let you completely relax.

But porn doesn’t only force you to keep secrets. It also trains you in another form of sneakiness, avoiding problems.

2. Porn Trains You to Avoid Problems

Porn is a shortcut to positive feelings. That’s why porn can be so enslaving, even becoming an addiction.

Here’s how addictions work:

  • First, we learn that a certain substance or behavior can give us an immediate “high.” We like that high and want one more it. But part of us recognizes we shouldn’t have it all the time.
  • Second, when we are experiencing a low—maybe from stress, sadness, or even just boredom—we turn back to that thing we know can instantly make us feel happy again.
  • Third, we do this a few times, and a pattern forms. Suddenly, whenever life gets tough, we don’t deal with our problems God’s way. Instead, we look to that substance of behavior for instant relief. In this case, porn becomes a way to cope.

But retreating to a quick high leaves the source of our stress unresolved. So when our unsolved problems pop up again, we start feeling bad again, and it’s back to porn for instant relief. Like a skipping record, this becomes the every-repeating experience of people enslaved to a porn habit.

A productive Christian, however, overcomes problems in God’s way. They mend fences, build bridges, and conquer difficulties. They do this not by running from problems but by facing them head-on, armed with integrity and God’s resources. Productive believers experience relief from their problems through hard conversations, fulfilling responsibilities, and turning circumstances over to God in prayer, not by hiding.

Porn makes you unproductive because it trains you to run from problems instead of solving them. But there’s still one more way, porn hijacks your conscience to destroy your productivity.

3. Porn Exterminates Self-Control

Long-term porn usage degrades your ability to exercise self-control. In brain science, this is a condition they call hypofrontality.

The prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain that has the job of keeping the reward center in check. When you finish that whole tub of ice cream and think, “maybe I’ll have just one more tub.” It’s your prefrontal cortex that says, “No. Stop or you’re going to get huge!”

Hypofrontality describes when the prefrontal cortex experiences decreased control. The reward center of the brain starts running the show unchecked. Imagine how out of control your life would get if you only did things that gave you pleasure. That’s what hypofrontality is, unchecked hedonism. And it’s been shown that people who repeatedly give themselves to addictive behaviors start to lose their ability to self-regulate other activities as well.

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But that’s all just a fancy way of saying repeated exposure to porn will make you less self-controlled in other areas of your life. This leads to all kinds of life problems.

Not only has God called us to be self-controlled (Titus 2:12), but it’s impossible to get anything meaningful done without self-control. Good luck leading a productive life, with diminished faculties of self-discipline.

What God commands, however, He also supplies. And as Christians, we have the ultimate source of self-control, the Holy Spirit. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, after all (Galatians 5). And there’s good news: Our patterns of self-indulgence can be reversed and redeemed. You can walk in freedom and self-control. But it starts with repentance.

Conclusion

If you’re indulging in porn, you aren’t doing something harmless. You’re sinning against God and literally sabotaging yourself. Porn turns your conscience into a brow-beating, productivity-destroying enemy. And that is just one more reason, to deal with this problem once and for all.

But there is hope.

If you struggle with porn, there is freedom in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Confess it as sin, and ask for His help. But don’t fight the battle alone. If you recognize the seriousness of this problem, humble yourself and seek accountability with a brother or sister in Christ. And proactively flee temptation by using anti-porn software like CovenantEyes.*

Take action. But be encouraged. Porn can be beaten because Jesus has already defeated sin.

*This is an affiliate link, meaning I receive a small percentage of the sale if you sign-up using my link. I use CovenantEyes myself and highly recommend it. Get 30-Days Free of Covenant Eyes with Promo Code ROSE.

Helping people get more done for the glory of God. Creator of Redeeming Productivity, husband, & father of two.

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1 comment
  • This topic is one I’ve thought around and the direction of how it trains you to avoid problems struck me as a fresh point. Thanks!

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