Fortress gets a lot of requests on how to stop the addiction of lust. Now an addiction is a state where you cannot get enough of what you are addicted to. In the case of lust, you can't get enough of what you are lusting after, and few people can contain it just to their thoughts! Ultimately we have to "act out" or live what we believe, and are thinking about it. Therefore lust is a main contributor to fornication, adultery, masturbation, homosexuality, and perversion (and sometimes murder). Once we have given into lust in our lives, we are inevitably drawn to higher and higher levels of imbalance, and perversion. (I am using perversion in the sense that something is being used contrary to the way it was designed to be used. In this case, against God's design for love, sex, marriage, etc.) We can liken it to starting to climb a ladder - we start at the bottom and climb to the top. (in this case, a "biological hand-grenade " ladder :) )
The Bible tells us that, "God made man upright, but he sought out many witty inventions." Since the Fall in the Garden of Eden, man has sought out matters, that in his innocence, he should have avoided. As Paul put it, "As concerning evil I would have you be as children." It is not God's intention that we learn how bad evil is by EXPERIENCING it, but that we BELIEVE what He says about something, and spare us the hurt, agony, shame , and bad habits that develop as a result of us introducing ourselves into areas that should have been avoided. Now that we are Fallen, we have the inclination to look into matters (its called natural curiosity) that we shouldn't, and we do, unless we obey the Spirit of God. If we "give in", then we find that it has a "magnetic" tendency to draw us back for another view, or exposure, or trial.
Society preaches to us
In the matter of lust, our society with its wrong perspective, incites us to believe that it is normal to develop desires and tendencies that are inappropriate for moral people, and we think we are NOT normal if we don't behave like other "red-blooded" humans. Even in pre-adolescence (when we might not have any natural interest) we are encouraged to stimulate (or fake) the interest until we do have it (an imbalance!). And it doesn't take long until we are addicted to lust!
Do you want to get off the ladder? (Do you REALLY?) Then, based on all the experience answering people with the problem of lust addiction, our first observation is this: How can you expect to overcome lust when you spend all your time pouring gasoline on the fire! Most of you just want to continue stirring up lust, but not lust! What a contradiction.
You have to make the hard decision of whether you will do what is necessary to overcome lust and get off the ladder. If pornography is your snare, you will have to give it up "cold-turkey". You need to burn what hard copy you have, erase what electronic copies you have, turn off the computer, set your browser limits higher so that it can't come up on your screen, erase the URLs you look up, stop going by the stores you view (or buy) at. Simply stated: Stop making it easy for yourself. Stop making provision for the flesh. "Avoid it, pass by it...etc."
- Stop viewing pornography;
- Stop coarse or dirty jokes (Eph. 5);
- Covenant with your eyes that you will not look upon a woman with lust (and if necessary avert your eyes!), etc.
- A very practical "technique" that helps many is, when you start getting tempted to lust (or fantasize), turn the temptation into prayer! In this way: Either pray that the object of your interest might be saved, or that she will develop the character of Christ, or, immediately pray for someone else that you know would do great harm to the work of Satan if they got saved, and pray for their salvation. If you used temptation as MOTIVATION to pray in this way, most people find that the temptation diminishes.
If you claim that the more you try, the more you fail, then you need to seriously admit you cannot do it, and that you need God in your life, or you have no hope. There is another article on "Is a life without lust possible?", that addresses the way that God can overcome sin in your life. Rather than depend on your own devices, I would recommend you let the Lord Jesus Christ take over. A hand grenade can explode, and the biological hand-grenade ladder lends itself to that end. It is worth getting off the ladder, whatever the cost! :)