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  #1  
Old Nov 6, '09, 12:44 pm
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tedfay tedfay is offline
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Default On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

This thread is for guys, especially those men who despair that they cannot stop the lust or the sin of impurity - but what I say can help women too.

First, I'll share my "qualifications." I am a recovering sex addict for the last three years. I used to commit the sin of impurity *hundreds* of times a month. My pornography collection took up many gigabytes spread over several computers. I fornicated with several women, and personally hurt them badly both spiritually and emotionally. There was hardly a female that I walked past that I didn't undress with my eyes and lust after.

I was trapped and schackled. Thank God for sanctifying grace and for Catholic radio.

There is an escape, and you probably know what it is already, otherwise you wouldn't be on this website - Jesus.

Oh yeah, I laughed at this idea too. Jesus doesn't help, and he probably doesn't care either. Even if he did care, all that stuff is for "saints" who have iron wills, not weak sinners like me. No way I can stop it. Lust feels too good - I miss sex and impurity too much when I'm not getting it.

Nothing could be further from the Truth. Entering into a true life with Jesus works. But, you have to accept that it will be hard. Here's what I did, at least some of the following all the time.

Zeroth thing to do. That's right zeroth - because nothing else will work till you do this. Say the perfect act of contrition (look it up online if you have to). Then *destroy* your porn collection - permanently. Then, do as much as you can of the following: get rid of all TVs and you stop watching the horrible garbage that's even on supposedly family friendly networks, avoid your computer except for work or specific innocent things, permanently end all adulterous or illicit relationships (and don't count the cost), throw out anything that incites lust in you, stop drinking anything caffinated and you eat as little candy as possible - these things stimulate you and make it harder to resist temptation.

First, if you are already Catholic, go to confession. Confess *all* of your sins as specifically as possible, including numbers of times, even if it's 100,000 times of lust, impurity, and adultery each. Don't shortchange it, be brutally *honest.* DO THE PENANCE THE PRIEST GIVES YOU. You will feel a TREMENDOUS weight lifted off of you.

Second, go to daily mass if you can - but never accept the Eucharist if you have engaged in a mortal sin (like impurity) until you have been to confession. Pray before the blessed sacrament, I recommend an hour per day. If you can't do that, then half an hour once a week is better than nothing. Accept no excuses for not adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament!

Third, pray almost constantly. Say the rosary and the chaplet of divine mercy once per day at least. Pray for all of the women you hurt, especially those you didn't know who were on the other side of a camera. That's right - you hurt them because you encouraged them to get into the porn by you watching it. Pray for all of the people exploited by the porn and sex industries.

Fourth, FIGHT! You feel the lust coming on, then get up and go do something else. Surround the places where you commit impurity with blessed sacramentals. Put a picture of the Blessed Mother and her Infant Son on the ceiling over your bed. Open your door at work. Don't look at the women walking past you, look somewhere else, or look only at their hair and faces.

Fifth, offer up the pain of your temptations to be united with the Cross for the salvation of sinners. Remember that every time you sin you wound the body of Christ, and you literally added to Christs' suffering on the cross.

Sixth, constantly remind yourself. Remind yourself that every woman you meet is literally a royal princess, a daughter of the most high King. Remind yourself that what you do unto her you do unto Jesus! Remember that she has her hopes and dreams, just like you. Remember that she was once a little five year old girl, hopefully full of joy and innocence. Remember that sex is beautiful in the context of life-giving unity of spouses.

Seventh, meditate on the fact that lust leads to not only pain and misery now, but everlasting death later. Read the visions of Hell by some of the saints, like Saint John Bosco - just google it, and you'll be scared to life.

Eighth, if you are married, then ask your wife to help you. You will be ashamed to admit it to her, but if your wife is serious about her vows then she will help you. I was terrified to tell my wife, thinking she would scorn me, but once I did she *cherished* me.

Ninth, change your language, both inside your own head and externally. Stop using foul words. Speak of sex reverently, do not indulge in sexual jokes. Get rid of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues and their ilk. Get rid of any posters of beautiful women, even if they are clothed. You have a higher bar than people that aren't sex addicts.

Tenth, don't ever get up. If you fall, go back to confession. Unless you are truly remarkable or blessed, you will fall. Last week I fell twice with impurity and several more times in lustful thoughts about women. However, I went to confession and I will not give up.

You know when I fall down most? When I get "busy" and stop what I described above. Nevertheless, don't give up, absolutely don't give into the lie of despair!

Yeah, you can say, "but you fell down and you still haven't broken the lust." I say, "maybe, but look at where I *was* and compare that to now." By the grace of God I am improving - and the joy in my heart grows every day. I'm happier now than I have *ever* been in my life.

Is it hard and tough? You betcha. However, if an incredibly weak-willed sinner like me can do it with Jesus' help then so can you. I promise it works. I guarantee it.
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  #2  
Old Nov 6, '09, 1:08 pm
Em_in_FL Em_in_FL is offline
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

What a beautiful testament... may God continue to work wonders in your life and through your prayers. God bless you and keep you!
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  #3  
Old Nov 6, '09, 1:24 pm
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tedfay tedfay is offline
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

Thank you, Em. God bless you and your family.
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  #4  
Old Nov 6, '09, 1:38 pm
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Eucharisted Eucharisted is offline
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

You should write a short catechesis on the power of God's grace
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  #5  
Old Nov 6, '09, 1:45 pm
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

Eucharisted, thank you for kind words. I'd bet that Jason Everet's "Pure Love," available on this website, is much better at catechesis. Mostly I wanted to offer a testimony to those who have fallen into lust and despair as I did, and that there's a guaranteed path out for even the weakest sinner.
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  #6  
Old Nov 6, '09, 2:05 pm
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

Try fasting.
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  #7  
Old Nov 6, '09, 2:50 pm
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tedfay tedfay is offline
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

AC, yes, fasting works. I've done that too. I forgot to include it. Thank you.
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  #8  
Old Nov 7, '09, 6:19 am
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Simon X Simon X is offline
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

Good post Tedfray, you summarized a lot of good points. I actually need my coffee, but since I only drink it (stimulates) in the morning, it's not really a big issue with me. But you might want to include alcohol to the list. Even a beer or a glass of wine can break down our resistance to do things we wouldn's ordinarily give a second thought to. It's another way temptations can creep into our lives.

Regrarding falling down and not giving up. You are right. We can't dispair, but go to Confession and keep on keeping on with the fight. I once heard a Priest say that stopping the sin of lust is like trying to turn a huge ship around once it has gone too far off course. It takes time and effort to get it back where it needs to be. But it can be done..

Thanks again for posting...
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  #9  
Old Nov 7, '09, 2:22 pm
SarahR SarahR is offline
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

The part about your wife was especially beautiful. May God bless her and your marriage, and grant you a deep respect for women 100x more powerful than any lust you ever had for them. Thank you for sharing your testimony...a wonderful way to help many men who read this.
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  #10  
Old Nov 7, '09, 6:34 pm
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

Beautiful! This is something every one of us female porn/mastrubation addicts needs to read, too! What especially gets me is the knowledge that you don't *fail* by falling, you *fail* by refusing to get back up after you fall.

Yours are words to read every day if suffering from this kind of addiction. The world wants us all to sin and we should all know better. Bless you for coming forward and for helping out in this way~!
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  #11  
Old Nov 10, '09, 7:17 pm
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words. Your prayers are appreciated. I will keep you in my prayers, as well.

I know that this issue is something that plagues MANY people, even those who think of themselves as otherwise good people. What makes the problem worse is that lust and masturbation have the illusion of privacy - you are by yourself or you are an "anonymous" computer user - so you are tempted to think that lust and masturbation are private sins. But that is far from the truth.

I'm glad sharing my experience can help some of you. If even one person is reached or helped, then it's worth an hour of my time to post.

Thinking back on it, my first sin was pride - thinking that I knew better than the Church regarding what constitutes sin in the area of sexual morality. I figured as long as I "window shopped, but ate at home," I was OK because there was no physical adultery. However, that trap lead me down the dark path. I started to realize how unhappy I was, how my marriage was negatively affected, and all kinds of other problems. Took me a while, but I finally realized through the grace of God that what I was doing was wrong.

Then I started learning more about the Faith and the Church's teachings. Real eye opener, especially the passage in Matthew (?) where Jesus says that if you even lust after a woman in your heart you have committed adultery with her.

Since working hard at this issue, my marriage has improved. While my wife (who is not Catholic) and I still have problems we are more together now than ever before. I'm certain that this is no coincidence. God has a *reason* for the rules.

Next post, I think I will describe some of the real problems in my life caused by masturbation and lust. Hopefully they will reach someone to try to stop, or help support those who are trying.
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  #12  
Old Nov 10, '09, 8:01 pm
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

Real problems caused in my life by lust and impurity:

1) Mortal sin quashes your connection to God. If you die in this state unrepentent, then it's possible that you will be surprised by Hell. God will respect your decision to scorn him.

2) Losing your connection to God also leads you to other sins: pride (I know better), despair (I can't stop), sloth (Don't want to clean house or work, just sit with my porn and put my hands where they shouldn't be), deceit (lies to keep the porn hidden), anger (when caught, to self justify when challenged), gluttony (chompin on Cheetos and candy in front of the computer), envy (that you can't have all those "hot chicks," but rather are stuck with your overweight, boring, and mean-spirited wife), greed (the desire for more porn and lust never goes away, it gets worse), and of course lust itself.

Sound familiar? Those are the seven capital sins, and I found myself committing all of them in the context of choosing to remain addicted to porn. That, of course, brings you back to point 1.

These first two are directly spiritual, and the most important. Choosing to be addicted to porn, lust, and impurity had other bad effects too.

3) Physically, it was much harder to have marital relations. If you masturbate as often as I did, your body just isn't ready.

4) Marital relations were not satisfying. After all, I had already slept with hundreds of women in my mind's eye. The mysteries of being with my wife were turned to boring dust.

5) I objectified women. Instead of being individual people with intrinsic dignity, they were there simply to satisfy my base desires. This, in turn, led me to not really care or think about hurting even individual women - up to and including my wife. Ironically, I *NEVER* thought of my young daughter this way. In fact, looking upon my beautiful little girl was one of the things that really motivated me to stop objectifying women. I was HORRIFIED that I had treated someone else's little girl as a sex object. I was ANGRY and TERRIFIED that someone might treat my beautiful, innocent little girl like that.

6) 3, 4 and 5 lead to an erosion of intimacy with my wife. Erosion of intimacy lead to more fighting. More fighting lead to more discontentment and more desire for porn. Ultimately, especially given my other problems with her (probably normal marriage issues) I succumbed to *hating* my wife - a hate so intense I actually *prayed for her death!.* That's pretty ugly. Of course, I'm sure God did not receive these prayers well.... Wishing someone death or harm is also a mortal sin - so go back to points 1 and 2 above....

7) I was unable to have children. When men masturbate 100's of times a month your sperm count necessarily goes way down. You'd think that because my activities were directly anti-life (as in preventing it) I'd realize the depth of trouble I was in - but often you are blind when you are in the addiction. That's where the sanctifying grace comes in.

Men - do NOT think you can stop tomorrow and have kids later. In my case, I had my daughter. However, a urologist told me later as I got older that I could NEVER have more children because (for some unexplainable reason unrelated to masturbation) my sperm morphology had gone bad. So, as I have grown older, my counts are up but the sperm is all bad. So, for me, there was no tomorrow with respect to having children.

One note of the beauty of God's forgiveness: in a total and genuine miracle I have attributed to the intercession of St. Padre Pio, my wife is pregnant again. Please pray for her and the health of what will probably be my last child. You have no idea how overjoyed and greatful I am even if there is a miscarriage (God forbid!).

8) Work suffered. I was too busy engaging in impurity. That lead to less income, which affected my whole family.

9) I actually jeapordized my job by engaging in impurity in my office. Countless times I was nearly "busted," but I was always ready to take the risk. Losing my job could have lead to tremendous hardship for me and my whole family.

10) My relationships with others were hurt. I think people could somehow feel the "vibe" that something wasn't right with me - or maybe women knew from experience full well what I was thinking. Women, espeically the "good women" shied away. Even guys don't like the ugliness. Before I was married, I repelled women that I should have sought, and instead attracted desperate women or women having my same problem. That always led to disaster.

I probably could go on. The upshot is that the sins of lust and impurity can *dominate* your entire life, and even extinguish the life of your soul. Thus, you simply *MUST* try to fight it. As I posted before, the key is to rely on JESUS to do the heavy lifting - all you have to do is try and then get back up and go to confession and do everything else if you fall.

By the way, I do have an ulterior motive for these posts, especially the long ones. They help me to recognize 1) what is good and 2) what is evil, and then act accordingly. Hopefully they'll also bring real encouragement to others, or maybe even reach someone who is still in pain.

I want to end on a positive note. Jesus died on the cross, of his own free will, to redeem me - and all of us - even for sins that directy and intentionally hurt God who is Love. What incredible love. Let's return just a little of it back!

God Bless
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  #13  
Old Nov 10, '09, 8:36 pm
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

Excellent story! Sadly, this is something that many young men my age have grown up, thinking that it is perfectly fine. We have allowed the demon of lust to seduce us. I have fallen into it's traps, too. Thanks be to God, He has saved me from it. It's a tough battle, and it's getting harder and harder to avoid.

I really recommend reading a piece by St. John Cassian in the late 300s and reading the life of St. Moses the Ethiopian. St. Moses was originally a bandit, who struggled with lust and incontinence for years, even after converting and becoming a monk. His spiritual father recommended that he pray, fast, and keep vigil.

Ss. John Cassian and Moses of Ethiopia, pray for us sinners!

In Christ,
Andrew
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  #14  
Old Nov 11, '09, 11:17 am
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

Andrew, thank you for your words. I found the following passages in your citation helpful:



Quote:
Therefore we must so join battle against them that everyone spies out the vice by which he is particularly besieged and struggles chiefly against it, fixing all the care and attention of his mind on fighting it and keeping watch on it, brandishing the sighs of his heart and the many darts of his groans against it at every moment, employing the effort of his vigils and the meditations of his heart against it, pouring out the unceasing tears of his prayers to God, and insistently and continually demanding an end to the assault on him.
For it is impossible for a person to deserve to triumph over a passion before he has understood that he is not able to obtain victory in the struggle by his own diligence and his own effort, even though in order to be cleansed he must always be careful and attentive, day and night.
When he finds himself freed from it, he should once again and with similar intensity shine light on the hidden places of his heart, locate for himself whatever is still more horrible that he notices remaining, and move against it in particular with all the arms of the Spirit. Thus, when he has consistently overcome more powerful foes, he will have a quick and easy victory over the ones that remain, because the mind too becomes stronger through a succession of triumphs, and subsequent struggles with weaker foes make for readier successes in the battle. So it is with those who are accustomed to fight for prizes against all sorts of beasts in the presence of the kings of this world.
And this:
Quote:
This [final victory] will never happen. It is impossible for one who is concerned about the purification of his heart and has armed the attention of his mind for fighting any given vice not to have a certain fear of all the other vices and a similar watchfulness with respect to them as well. How indeed will a person deserve to obtain victory over the passion from which he yearns to be freed if he makes himself unworthy of the prize of cleansing by being contaminated with other vices? But when our heart's chief concern has been directed to fighting against one passion in particular, so to speak, we shall pray more intently about it and be especially careful and assiduous in our supplication, so that we may be worthy to watch out for it more diligently and thus obtain a swift victory.
And this:
Quote:
Therefore we should be certain from experience and have learned from innumerable scriptural texts that we cannot conquer such great enemies by our own strength but only with the support of God's help, and that every day we must attribute to him the sum of our victory.
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  #15  
Old Nov 12, '09, 8:47 am
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tedfay tedfay is offline
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Default Re: On How To Defeat Lust, Impurity, and Pornography

Reminder to you married guys out there who let your eyes wander behind dark sunglasses.

Quote:
But I say to you, anyone who stares at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 5:28.

Adultery is a mortal sin.

And if that is not enough for you, your WIFE out there DOES notice. She is hurt and wounded by your wandering eyes.

Do what it takes to stop being a slave to lust. Go to confession, frequent communion, pray, adore the Lord in the tabernacle, say the rosary, give yourself to your wife.
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