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  #1  
Old Jun 14, '11, 9:00 pm
Mark David Mark David is offline
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Default Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

Would beginning to masturbate - then ceasing to continue (well before climaxing) - constitute a mortal sin, or a venial one, since it has been denied its ultimate purpose? I'm guessing that it's still a mortal sin - but I definitely feel (on a personal level at least) that ejaculating is much worse, as the temptation has been temporarily fulfilled - as opposed to resisting it half way.
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  #2  
Old Jun 14, '11, 9:11 pm
PiousTemplar PiousTemplar is offline
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

Yes. Mortal sin. You knew it was bad by the sounds of it, and continued to do so.
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  #3  
Old Jun 14, '11, 10:10 pm
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acarlson acarlson is offline
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

Unfortunately, it seems like you might be in a state of mortal sin. From the CCC:

2352: Masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure.

From what you've given us, it seems like you were aware that masturbation was grave matter and still undertook "deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure." No where in there does it state that climax is necessary. I'd get to confession as soon as possible.
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  #4  
Old Jun 14, '11, 10:34 pm
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The_Scott The_Scott is offline
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

The purpose of masturbating (even without climaxing) is still selfish pleasure.

Whether or not one ejaculates, masturbation is still a sin - it mocks the natural purpose of the genitals, AND stimulates selfish and perverse emotions.
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  #5  
Old Jun 14, '11, 11:33 pm
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Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark David View Post
Would beginning to masturbate - then ceasing to continue (well before climaxing) - constitute a mortal sin, or a venial one, since it has been denied its ultimate purpose? I'm guessing that it's still a mortal sin - but I definitely feel (on a personal level at least) that ejaculating is much worse, as the temptation has been temporarily fulfilled - as opposed to resisting it half way.
I will refrain from assuming you are personally guilty of this and will treat it as a hypothetical situation.

I'm not sure if the scenario you describe means doing all this intentionally, planned out in advance, or if you mean beginning to masturbate then changing your mind and stopping.

If it is planned out in advance, then yes the person has committed the grave sin of taking sexual pleasure outside of its proper marital context, and the level of planning would suggest to me a high likelihood that it is sufficiently deliberate to constitute a free moral choice, and therefore would be mortal if there is sufficient knowledge of the objectively evil nature of the action.

Now, there is also the possibility that the person began to masturbate, but in the midst of the action reflected further on its moral character and made the decision to stop. In this case the decision to stop would be a highly admirable action. We would still need to look at the action beforehand though and evaluate it on its own merits, regardless of what happened later. It may well be that the initiation of the act was so spontaneous that it did not constitute a mortal sin, and that as the person reflected on the situation they then made the correct moral choice and ceased masturbating. In this case a mortal sin would not have been committed. On the other hand, the initiation of the action may have been sufficiently conscious to be a mortal sin, and the person simply had a change of heart afterwards, but before the biological climax of the act. In either case stopping was an admirable action. Objectively speaking though the issue of whether a mortal sin has been committed depends on whether that initial free choice to stimulate one's genitals was made, whatever happened after the action began.

When in doubt, generally a person should confess the sin. Almost certainly at least a venial sin was committed, but it can be tough to distinguish venial from mortal in grave but spontaneous sexual matters. Better to confess a venial sin as if it were mortal than fail to confess a mortal sin.
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  #6  
Old Jun 14, '11, 11:42 pm
PiousTemplar PiousTemplar is offline
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

Don't be like me, back when I used to struggle with this sin, and hide behind excuses like 'Nahhhh I didn't go the full way! I'm fine!!! etc..

With God's Grace I quit 6 months ago, and counting! Never had the temptation since!
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  #7  
Old Jun 15, '11, 2:17 am
Mark David Mark David is offline
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

Good answers. Though having only returned to the Church this past month, I'm already pretty scrupulous regarding Reconciliation. Upon further reflection: lust is almost always being gratified once a person begins to masturbate, so it'd be difficult to argue even for spontaneity as an excuse in this case. Blurrier, though, would be a thoughtless, three second rub of the genitals whilst clothed - that could possibly be a venial sin. Maybe not, though; the CCC doesn't seem to split hairs on this issue. Lust being a mortal sin pretty much settles everything else related to it, I suppose. As for unzipping those pants... no way; there's enough time to decide, and I knew that. Being pure is both a case of God's grace and self-mastery, as the CCC makes clear. It may take some time for me to adjust from a state of mind where masturbation seemed not only alright but essential and healthy. I trust in Jesus Christ, in any case; I will not be discouraged in this area. Like any sin, we shouldn't even allow our minds to go there for a moment. I recall several days ago being confronted with a sexual temptation and quickly resisting it - and it was unbelievably liberating (in the genuine, spiritual sense). Anyway - thanks, guys.
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  #8  
Old Jun 15, '11, 2:24 am
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JABA JABA is offline
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark David View Post
Would beginning to masturbate - then ceasing to continue (well before climaxing) - constitute a mortal sin, or a venial one, since it has been denied its ultimate purpose? I'm guessing that it's still a mortal sin - but I definitely feel (on a personal level at least) that ejaculating is much worse, as the temptation has been temporarily fulfilled - as opposed to resisting it half way.
I fail to understand how masturbating and stopping before ejaculation, would equate to a mortal sin. It's like saying, you got aroused and kissed your girlfriend on the lips, therefore this means you had sex with her. It's the same with masturbation. It's spilling the seed what makes masturbation a sin.


I would say venial sin at most in this situation, and this also depends on the circumstances, as each person and situation is different.

When it comes to sexual urges in most people (especially in adolescent males), unless you are an asexual or have total control of your sexual urges. Masturbation is not exactly a totally voluntary action, or one at the time where you think clearly of your actions and their consequences at that time. You thinking and behaviour is under the influence of hormones. We don't blame women for getting mood swings during their periods.

I would see masturbation as a mortal sin, if you masturbate to ejaculation and during that time you know it's a sin, you can stop yourself from masturbating, but you choose not to. So in this case, masturbation is a voluntary action and you are not under the influence of any urges.
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  #9  
Old Jun 15, '11, 3:09 am
Mark David Mark David is offline
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JABA View Post
I fail to understand how masturbating and stopping before ejaculation, would equate to a mortal sin. It's like saying, you got aroused and kissed your girlfriend on the lips, therefore this means you had sex with her. It's the same with masturbation. It's spilling the seed what makes masturbation a sin.
One possible interpretation, of course... "Deriving sexual pleasure" for me, at least, meant (ultimately) climaxing and not depriving myself of that. It does often feel like smelling the food before consuming it. Self-willed deprivation is torturous once in the act; it's actually easier for me to abstain altogether (as with other sins). But the CCC obviously doesn't define sexual gratification in such a liberal, self-serving way; and it doesn't follow that a good action fully cancels out a bad one - this is why we have Reconciliation, after all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JABA View Post
We don't blame women for getting mood swings during their periods.
Good point. True, it is instinctual for most men to procreate (whereas some other sins may be learned); and, yes, one is more or less culpable depending on various factors, such as personality, experience, maturity, circumstance, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JABA View Post
I would see masturbation as a mortal sin, if you masturbate to ejaculation and during that time you know it's a sin, you can stop yourself from masturbating, but you choose not to. So in this case, masturbation is a voluntary action and you are not under the influence of any urges.
Done that too - but no, not in this case. Yes, your views do deserve some consideration - but it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to misunderstand or deliberately get around the phrasings of the Catechism.
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  #10  
Old Jun 15, '11, 7:45 am
Mark David Mark David is offline
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

No, I retract some of my earlier comments - they didn't come from the Spirit or a good conscience. There's no getting around it:

Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes. CCC 2351

You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

Let's encourage each other in doing and loving good works, not sin.
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  #11  
Old Jun 15, '11, 4:07 pm
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copperblade copperblade is offline
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

The very fact that you're here to ask about it indicates previous instances were probably not mortal. However, now that you know, in the future anything less than a true effort on your part could likely put you in mortal sin. Also read the CCC where it specifically talks about masturbation as a mortal sin.

You should be trying to avoid all sin, whether people tell you it's mortal or not. Jesus said you must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect. What that means is you shouldn't allow yourself to do something just because you figure it's not mortal.

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Last edited by copperblade; Jun 15, '11 at 4:23 pm.
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  #12  
Old Jun 16, '11, 12:03 am
Mark David Mark David is offline
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

Thanks Copperblade - too true. Being that type of "Catholic" is akin to a lawyer trying to find loopholes in the system. It just isn't the right spirit... an earnest, loving spirit. As for venial sins, it seems that they're (more often than not) a doorway to mortal ones anyhow. There are no shortcuts or easy ways; we must all take up our crosses.

CCC 1863
Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God's grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness."

While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call "light": if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession.
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  #13  
Old Jun 16, '11, 6:35 am
hunter123 hunter123 is offline
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

Maybe I am missing something, but I thought masturbation was a venial sin? Or are you saying because by stopping before climax you are therefore planning it?

I cant believe some of the posts on here. Why is a man, particularly an unmarried man, not allowed pleasure or relief? Imagine the mood of a guy who is single and unmarried, if he never masturbated. I am married, but If I never relieved myself as an unmarried man I would have been ready to kill someone. I guess its true what they say about Catholic guilt.

BTW where is the "graphic content'? lol
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  #14  
Old Jun 16, '11, 9:05 am
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Default Re: Masturbation and mortal sin (graphic content)

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Maybe I am missing something, but I thought masturbation was a venial sin?
Only a particular instance of sin can be either venial or mortal. The act itself is defined as a "grave matter" which is one of the requirements of mortal sin.

Quote:
I cant believe some of the posts on here. Why is a man, particularly an unmarried man, not allowed pleasure or relief?
The CCC seems to go out of its way on this issue to give some details to encourage you not to assume that masturbation is mortal. You'd have to read it and decide for yourself. I think it implies it's not usually mortal for teenagers (maturity), for example.

More conservative Catholics like to err on the side of mortal because "it's better to be safe than sorry."
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