How Many Pastors Are Addicted to Porn? The Stats are Surprising

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to you when I say that the porn industry generates about $13 billion each year in the United States. It’s a heartbreaking reality that 9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls have been exposed to pornography before the age of 18; the average age of first exposure is about 11 years old. And that men are 543% more likely to look at porn than women.

Unfortunately, the secret is out. It’s become a sad reality that our world is obsessed with sex and pornography. And it’s not just a problem with those in the world but also those who consider themselves not of this world.

A survey taken at a Promise Keepers rally revealed that over 50% of the men in attendance were involved with pornography within one week of attending the event.

And that was 20 years ago.

Fifty percent of Christian men and 20% of Christian women say they are addicted to pornography. And the most popular day of the week for viewing porn is Sunday.

The problem, however, isn’t limited to people outside the church walls or the bodies that inhabit the church pews. Statistics show that pastors and lay leaders also struggle with keeping their eyes, the lamps of their bodies, pure.

There is a great resource called Porn Free Church from Covenant Eyes, an online accountability website, that I encourage you to download for free. In it, author Bill Perkins notes that although the stats are quite shocking, he doesn’t need them: “I don’t need stats, because I’ve talked with enough pastors to know plenty of them are tainting their souls with Internet porn, as are many lay leaders. This creates a problem, not just for the pastor and leaders, but for the church as well.”

Many pastors say pornography is an addiction.

Fifty-one percent of pastors say pornography is a possible temptation. Nearly 20% of the calls received on Focus on the Family’s Pastoral Care Line are for help with issues such as pornography and compulsive sexual behavior. And of the 1,351 pastors that Rick Warren’s website, Pastors.com, surveyed on porn use, 54% said they had viewed internet pornography within the last year and 30% of those had visited within the last 30 days.

Several pastors struggle with sexual addiction.

Patrick Means, author of, Men’s Secret Wars, reveals that 63% of pastors surveyed confirm that they are struggling with sexual addiction or sexual compulsion including, but not limited to, the use of pornography, compulsive masturbation, or other secret sexual activity.

However, concerning online activity, most pastors do not hold themselves accountable.

Seventy-five percent of pastors do not make themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use.

This is a problem, as I’m sure you can already tell, but I don’t think all hope is lost. Bill Perkins goes on to say that something can be done: “For a pastor to maintain sexual purity, he needs a band of brothers with whom he can be open and honest.”

But let’s take it a step further.

“If our accountability groups are going to be successful,” as Traylor Lovvorn, author of the article “Beyond the Checklist: Casting a Vision for Real Accountability,” writes, “they must be full of real, great, and hard-boiled sinners where our sinful, broken human condition is understood and the solution is not ‘trying harder’ but deeper surrender.”

Mike Foster, founder of People of the Second Chance, suggests a similar depth of accountability:

“I have seen leaders every year go away for a week and meet with a coach or therapist and have this time be very effective,” he wrote. “They dump a ton of junk, begin working strategies in their life, and start dealing with significant character issues. To be frank, I would rather have us have one week of brutal honesty than 52 weeks of semi-honesty at Denny’s.”

Sexual sin runs deep. Accountability should run deeper. If you find yourself in a situation where sexual sin has taken over or you’ve considered entertaining the idea, find someone to talk to. Be open and honest. Sign up for free internet accountability at Covenant Eyes or x3watch.com. Download Porn Free Church and Nothing to Hide and start reading articles. Visit Focus on the Family’s website, ThrivingPastor.org, or call their Pastor Care Hotline at 844-4PASTOR.

But don’t do nothing. Because nothing always leads to something.

Sources to studies found on Covenant Eyes, Blazing Grace, XXXChurch, and The Alabama Baptist.

POSTED ON March 25, 2014
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  • disqus_5T2jXBEN10

    I am a single Christian male who does not watch pornography. I am assuming that many of these Pastors who watch pornography are married. Paul says it is better to marry than burn, if you are married and you are still burning you have a problem. Without holiness no man will see God, if lovjng God and loving your wife doesnt make you accountable you are living a lie.

    • Ben

      So basically watch porn and burn wether married or not. Also, sure If am married and I am watching porn isn’t that an issue between me and my wife not fact that I should be burning for simply watching old videos of usually a consensual nature. Why is eternal damnation/ burning always the answer for christians yet ya wonder why so many leave this religion. So basically either way we are fucked for simply not being married or watching porn. Use logic dude.

  • learner

    Well the behavior of men coming to light like this just indicates to me that most men are perverts I am sorry to say. Disqus_5T2jXBEN10 where are more men like you hiding? Far and few between to be sure.

    • SteelWill

      Most men and/or women who partake in such sinful behavior tend to be from abusive backgrounds. This is not an excuse however, it does explain that there is a deeper issue than them being labeled as “perverts”! That sort of self righteousness keeps believers in the shadows. You can hold someone accountable without being degrading or belittling. Also, it’s my experience, as a counselor of many who confront this issue, that these men tend to have relationships (marital) that are out of balance. Sex, and for that matter intimacy altogether (not the same thing), tend to be pushed further down the list of priorities when he is an overseer of so many lives. The first step is to deal with the underlying issue of abuse, then you can address accountability. Pray for these pastors instead of playing God and judging them! These people are propped up and revered by other people and it’s not their fault that you expect them to be perfect! Only Jesus was without sin!!!

      • D. Jr

        Excellent reply from a a humble reader who understands the root of the issue. Your words are full of grace, and wisdom. Calling people names and labeling them using derogatory words drives them deeper into hiding. I think the deeper issue is a self-righteousness heart that believe they have not sin. Good reply my friend.

    • disqus_5T2jXBEN10

      Not sure how old this post is, but I am sure this topic is still relevant. Let me be more specific, I NO longer view porn, the reason is, it is an absolute insult to my Lord. All sin is an insult, but as it says in Scripture sexual immorality is of particular offense to the Holy Spirit which dwells in me. As a single man, and missionary, I can say I have been tempted to a breaking point, but God is faithful when I am faithless. I pray and feel for the Brothers who are being overcome by this sin, but truly Jesus paid a unfathomable price to set us free from sin let us not walk in it.

      • Barry

        So disqus_5T2jXBEN10 , how is that going for you today? THREE months totally clean??

        • disqus_5T2jXBEN10

          Barry,

          year later clean by the blood of Jesus

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  • j-dude

    Men are 543% more likely to look at Porn than women yet 6 out of 10 girls have been exposed to pornography, this “statistic” was clearly made up on the spot because it doesn’t add up. I think what he might mean is 543:100 as a ratio which means that 5.43 men look at porn to every 1 woman that does?

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  • Tony Conrad

    I don’t watch porn but occasionally pick up things. Something I hear about in a sermon even. I get curious and end up looking at ancient greek pictures or something. So called classical but there is a porn element in them. I think maybe we will always be tempted but have to be overcomers and create good habits like bouncing your eyes off of women who are dressed in a certain way. Modesty seems to have gone and we are now exposed to a flood of sensuality even when we are not looking for it.

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Bo Lane is the founder of ExPastors, a community that strives to offer help, healing, and hope for expastors, pastors, and church leaders, and author of Why Pastors Quit. As a media professional with more than 15 years of experience, he has developed marketing and brand strategies that have revolutionized churches and businesses, both large and small. Bo left full-time ministry after serving more than a decade in churches in Oregon, California, and Iowa. He is also a writer, filmmaker, woodworker, husband and father.