Let’s talk about what to do when your friend justifies himself or herself in looking at pornography. A justification like this always contains a lie.
Here are some examples of justifications, and some of the lies they contain:
I only looked at a little bit.
- It still has an effect on you. A little bit can make you crave more.
“It won’t hurt anybody.”
- It can make you less satisfied with your partner. Pornography is bad for families, it leads to violence, and the porn industry is involved in terrible abuses.
I deserved it because
- You don’t deserve the problems that come with it, and neither do your loved ones.
It’s someone else’s fault.
- Okay, but when does it become your responsibility?
It doesn’t matter.
- Pornography kills relationships. We all need healthy relationships to be successful individuals.
I “accidentally” found it.
- This is a hard one because it’s true that pornographic content sometimes comes up unexpectedly. This should only happen rarely, if ever. If your friend accidentally sees pornography repeatedly, it could be that your friend saw the pornography “accidentally on purpose”, meaning they’re trying to find pornography without it being their fault. You could ask your friend if it was really totally innocent, or if he/she was actually deep down hoping to catch a glimpse of something pornographic.
When you hear something that sounds like a justification, call it out and ask questions to help your friend spot the lie. If you’re worried they might get defensive, you can start by asking their permission with a question such as “I heard you say it was an accident but I’m wondering if I can ask you more about that?” The lie in the justification might not be obvious at first. Here is an example of some questions you could ask to help find it:
What were your thoughts that lead up to it?
What would you say to me if I used that justification?
What effect did it have on you?
This is a 7-part mini-series on how to help your friend stay away from pornography.
Part 1: Why Do People Look at Pornography?
Part 2: Your Role as an Accountability Partner
Part 3: What Should I Do If I Discover That My Friend Looked At Pornography?
Part 4: Justification Sounds Like…
Part 5: What is a Trigger?
Part 6: The Long-Term Change Process
Part 7: In Case You Need More Help