I’m a 17 year old Catholic male. I’m very involved in my church’s youth program and consider myself a very strong Catholic, who agrees with the Church’s teaching on any/all issues. I’m posting today because I have a serious problem. I am/was addicted to porn and masturbation. I didn’t even realize what I was doing was wrong at first, it was actually an accident the first time it happened. But, once I started I gradually became more and more addicted, without realizing I was hooked. Last spring, I began to finally battle back, but I looked at my first real porn and that became a new, powerful temptation. I’ve been struggling ever since. I’ve had my moments, lasting days, weeks, or even a month where I’ve been completely “clean”, only to relapse and start the process over, discouraged. I guess what I’m looking for is someone who knows what it’s like, and can help me stop. I’ve gone the past 2 weeks to the day without porn/masturbation, but I feel a relapse coming, it’s a terrrible feeling. I have complete and full knowledge of the sin that it is, and know when I need to go to confession. I know it’s wrong, but I need a strategy. I can get rid of the porn, but the urges are very hard to suppress. If anyone has any advice for me, it would be well appreciated. Thanks, and God Bless!
Some of these urges are a normal part of our sexuality. So try not to think of this aspect as a sin. It is the giving in that is the problem and this is a common human battle in the fight to be chaste. You are not alone.
Just the act of not engaging in watching porn, reading it, or even going to movies that may include strong sexual content is a good step. I would suggest staying busy with volunteer work at Church, your schoolwork and other activities like sports or hiking and such. The more time we spend occupying our minds with good habits the less time we have to be distracted by our temptations. And what ever you do, keep praying for purity. Try the praying the rosary before you go to bed at night.
If you do give in to these urges, then go to confession. I was taught that masturbation could be confessed as a form of “self abuse.” I guess because we are using our body in away that is against purity and the fact that we are the temple of God. So anyway, simply confess that you have given in to “self-abuse” or “pleasuring yourself,” accept the penance the priest gives you and then continue to make honest efforts at avoiding the sin.
I will pray for you in this regard. Remember you are not alone. And don’t think there are priests out there who never struggled with this as a young man. They have.
In our sex-saturated culture your far from being alone. I’ve struggled with recurring sin myself (I wrote some reflections on that HERE which you might find helpful). Keep at it, realize that it takes time to overcome a deeply seated sin and that you’ll probably fall a few more times than you’d like. Keep fighting and praying for purity and God will free you. God bless.
Try not to think about it. Usually we get so worked up and stuff thinking about it that we get worn out and cannot continue fighting so we give in. If you get the temptations, go out in public and be around people so you will not be tempted. do not be alone with yourself and if you are going to sleep and are tempted, pray hard brother, and think of Our Lord’s sorrowful passion. There is no greater tool to combating temptation than to contemplate Jesus’ passion. St. Francis would get strong sexual temptations (yes even saints are tempted and sin) and when he did he would go fling himself naked in the snow and roll around in it til the temptations fled. Bodily suffering/mortification is another great weapon, particularly in fighting sins of impurity. Try fasting or giving up one thing you really love that gives you pleasure. try drinking only water and no other drink for an entire week. That way, as you get stronger, your NO to tempation will be stronger and overcome more easily. Lastly, if you are aware that you are about to sin, think of how much you are hurting our Lord who suffered so much for you. Think of his sorrow in the garden. while he was agonizing, he saw all the sins YOU personally would commit in your life. he was thinking about you, and those sins caused him much pain (not to lay on the guilt trip) be strong brother.
Pax in Iesu
Another good trick is fasting all day to dinner. Learn to fight hunger pains, and you can build strength in fighting other urges.
And if you fall off the wagon in fasting, it’s not a sin to eat.
the word is mortify the flesh–
the story goes that Pope john paul2 – would wip himself-- on his body–
Mortification of the flesh is the institutional expiatory act of a person or group’s penance for atonement of sins and path to sanctity. The term is primarily used in religious and spiritual contexts. The practice is found in many cultures, most notably the Roman Catholic Church and their penitential saints.
The term “mortification of the flesh” comes from Saint Paul in this quote:
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.”
. The same idea is seen in the following verses: “Put to death what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry”;
 “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”.
According to Christian exegesis, “deeds of the body” and “what is earthly”, refer to the “wounded nature” of man or his concupiscence (evil inclinations due to forming part of the Fall of Man); humanity suffers the consequences of the original sin.
Thus, Jesus expected believers to ‘put to death’ (obsolete sense) the deeds of the body, and thereby subdue the flesh’s desires (subsequent, second sense) through such self-discipline: “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes”.
In its simplest form, mortification of the flesh can mean merely denying oneself certain pleasures, such as permanently or temporarily abstaining (i.e. fasting), from food, alcoholic beverages, sexual relations, or an area of life that makes the person’s spiritual life more difficult or burdensome. It can also be practised by choosing a simple or even impoverished lifestyle; this is often one reason many monks of various religions take vows of poverty.
Traditional forms of physical mortification are the cilice and hair-shirts.
In some of its more severe forms, it can mean causing self-inflicted pain and physical harm, such as beating, whipping, or piercing.
In the same way that people who change their appearance through painful means will sacrifice and deny themselves in order to attain some physical or material goals, some people voluntarily perform self-inflicted sacrifices in order to receive spiritual or intangible goals, e.g. union with their god, a higher place in heaven, expiation for other people’s sins, self-realization, or the conversion of sinners. The root of the modern-day perplexity over mortification, according to some theologians, is the “practical denial of God,” a denial of any but material realities.
The Rev. Michael Geisler, a priest of the Opus Dei Prelature in St. Louis, wrote two articles explaining the theological purpose behind corporal mortification. “Self-denial helps a person overcome both psychological and physical weakness, gives him energy, helps him grow in virtue and ultimately leads to salvation. It conquers the insidious demons of softness, pessimism and lukewarm faith that dominate the lives of so many today” (Crisis magazine July/August 2005).
Members of the modern Church of Body Modification (CBM) believe that by enduring pain they make a connection to their spirit. Some indigenous cultures’ shamans believe that endurance of pain or denial of appetites serves to increase spiritual power.
Some theologians explain that the redemptive value of pain makes pain lovable in its effects, even though by itself it is not. Pain is temporal and limited, thus to undergo it is worthwhile to gain the real benefits.
For those with this viewpoint, pain is seen as a means to an end.
Thus, a modern Catholic saint, Josemaria Escriva said, while consoling a dying woman who was suffering in a hospital, "Blessed be pain! Glorified be pain! Sanctified be pain!"cita
I would highly suggest going to reclaimsexualhealth.com. This is a great and very powerful program that has helped me immensely. I know it’s not free, but it’s definitely worth the small investment.
Firstly, know that you are not alone and that God loves you. No matter what, God’s love is greater than any addiction you struggle with. Never give up hope.
Frequent confession is a great start. Try to go to confession regularly, even if you haven’t committed a mortal sin. This will help you to nip the sin in the bud. Bring up venial sins of lust in confession before they turn into mortal ones.
Penance will also help. Fasting, sleeping on the floor, taking cold showers, etc.
You should try to get a spiritual director, if you are able. Talk to your local priest about meeting with him monthly about the habit.
Finally, develop a devotion to the Blessed Mother. Pray the rosary daily, pray a Hail Mary every time you feel tempted, ask her for help.
I wish you all the best. No matter what happens, do not give in to despair, and don’t give up!
For additional advice and insight, please see the following threads:
*]Specific Questions About an Old Topic: Masturbation
*]List of Catholic Websites for Battling Impurity