Is petting always automatically a mortal sin? I’m a (struggling) gay man who suffers from a lot of disorders, including exhibitionism. There is a constant desire for me to be sexually objectified. Regardless, I’ve been going to confession regularly, and whenever I fall into sins against holy purity, I make it a point to go to the sacrament of reconciliation immediately. As part of my struggle, I do my best to go to mass daily.
I just had confession yesterday, a Sunday, and went to work this morning. While on the bus, I noticed the guy beside me was making signals for something illicit. After a while, he pulled my hand to his pants. I didn’t budge at first but then moved my hand to his instead and we held hands. Now I’ve never had any sexual relations with other men and have never been in any romantic relationship before, so just the mere act of holding his hand aroused me and filled me with a lot of adrenaline rush. Before he alighted, he pulled my hand back his private area. I never put it inside his pants but did briefly “press it” for the lack of a better term and also briefly rubbed his thighs. After he alighted, this immense guilt has overtaken me and I’m already restless thinking about how I’m going to go to confession so soon after I just had one.
I’ve struggled a lot with these impulses and tend to falter on these sudden occasions, from random stimuli that can lead to an overstaying impure thought to the above-mentioned encounter. Add to that, while I do go to confession regularly, I have this bad habit of being overly scrupulous and paranoid.
Had I been younger, I would have looked at the encounter as a minor event. But over the years and since I started working, I’ve been attending several means of formation, doctrine classes, and the like which, while helpful in many ways in my road to conversion, have also made me very paranoid and scrupulous especially when it comes to the sins I commit. I’ve read confession guides stating all sins against holy purity are mortal and now feel terribly bad of the encounter. A part of me really feels it was a sin as I consented to the encounter. But now I feel so exhausted and very discouraged that even these slight encounters can make me trip and fall.