Battling Impurity at Night


So… this is kind of embarrassing, but it is a genuine problem that I’ve been dealing with for some time. Thanks be to God I overcame the habit of masturbating during conscious waking hours a long time ago. However, I am still plagued by sexual thoughts some nights (circa once a week).

On these nights, arousal begins, normally without the slightest stimulus from me, but once it has arrived there seems to be nothing I can do to get rid of it, nor can I get to sleep. Thoughts gradually overwhelm my sleepy mind, no matter what spiritual means I invoke. Normally, I eventually either sleepily (but consciously) masturbate; or, I have an ejaculation, not by direct masturbation, but just by becoming ‘overheated’ and wriggling (again not fully willfully, but nevertheless consciously. Either way, it is causing me to have real scruples.

On nights when this arousal begins, I am left with two choices. Firstly, battle on trying to sleep - but knowing from past experience that it is nigh on 100% that I will not sleep till I have ejaculated one way or the other. In the alternative, I can get up and do something else, which always calms the arousal; but, without fail, it returns the moment I attempt to sleep again, and I’m back to square one. In the meantime, I’m losing hours of sleep, and not apparently even avoiding the impure thoughts/illicit ejaculation.

At what point to I just have to accept that sleepy but conscious masturbation is unavoidable? How far is reasonable in denying myself sleep to avoid this?

I would be grateful for any informed advice.


This may be a problem for your doctor to solve.


Do you pray the rosary? If not, I’d suggest praying 5 decades before you go to bed. If, after 5 decades, you’re still awake, pray until you fall asleep. Here’s how:

I would also recommend talking to your doctor to ensure there isn’t an underlying medical issue.


Hello I have a somewhat similar problem… though being female… so here is some things I have tried to do, though they require effort… and also I might advise–you might consider trying some kind of sleeping pill, or even better, try some kind of natural sleeping remedy like valerian root, or some kind of herb. You could do some research on how to fall asleep quickly so you pretty much fall asleep as soon as you shut your eyes.

But, what I do is have an audiobook playing all night… so as I am falling asleep, or when I randomly wake up, it is there to focus on–you don’t have to get out of bed. You don’t have to interrupt your effort to sleep. Just pick a clean, interesting audiobook and listen carefully. Keep turning your mind to it. Make sure there is nothing that could be sexual in the audiobook, as that would probably be counterproductive. I like to listen to The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis… Jack London…pick something that would interest you and change it up so you don’t hear the same thing over and over… or else you could get bored and stop paying attention.


What kind of things are you watching before you get to sleep? Your body is probably just used to creating sperm, because of your (old) habit.


Sexual thoughts come to you because you’re a healthy, viril man who is created by God, and you are ordered to unite with a wife, love her, and have a family with her. If you didn’t desire sex, something would be physiologically, psychologically, and even spiritually wrong with you.

When these thoughts come to you, which they will, offer up thanks to God for the gift of your sexuality, and look forward to the time (if you believe it is your vocation) when you will eventually express this sexuality in marriage, and then move your thoughts towards prayer and thanksgiving towards your many blessings, and towards petitions towards yourself and others, for forgiveness for any sins, and for God’s will to be active in your life. Do not respond to temptation with negative or frustrating thoughts, and do not - as many do - act surprised or afraid when these temptations come. On the contrary, you ought to be surprised and shocked if temptations do not come, since our Prince has promised that they will. Remember that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, not of Frustration. When temptation visits you, thank God for the opportunity to be honed and better perfected, and allow your heart to soar with love and excitement for the future, knowing that you are growing and being pruned.

Mary is an invaluable heavenly gift for shielding us from degenerating this gift into acts of impurity or lust. If you are not - at an absolute bare minimum - as intimate and trusting with her as you would be with your earthly mother, then you should change that immediately. Purity is a gift, accepted in humility. We do not acquire it through willpower, and if you do acquire it through willpower, it means that you have lost something even more valuable in its place (such as defeating impurity as a matter of pride).

With your description, there is also a possibility you have something medical going on . Ejaculating without physical stimulation is irregular.


A doctor?? The urge to orgasm is normal, natural and difficult to restrain. We are designed that way for procreation. If you want to restrain yourself the answer will be in the spiritual realm. There is no medical anomaly here.


I actually meant a mental doctor …this goes beyond normal temptation!

BTW…I guess our priests stay up all night, “restraining themselves.” :rolleyes:


Ive never had a problem with this thankfully, and probably wont, as I take opioid painkillers, and those pretty much kill any level of sex drive, but I do feel for those that struggle with this, when I was younger, I did ‘run around’ quite a bit, sleeping around with different girls all the time, etc. I grew out of this phase in my mid 20s though.

Ive always thought it strange that God would even create people with such sex drives, I mean, we are literally hard wired for sin already given original sin, seems like giving humans crazy strong sex drives is almost cruel, like throwing a big juicy steak in front of a hungry lion and continually telling him he cannot eat it, not even think about eating it…?? LOL but his nature is to devour that steak.

There are lots of different animal species where sexual reproduction is not something they look forward to, its uncomfortable for them, sometimes deadly, but these are animals, why would God create humans and then give them this kind of terrible burden to suffer with, when he could have made sex uncomfortable and undesirable for us too?


This is totally unmedical and makes you look uneducated. For a he althy male the body produces sperm all the time regardless of habit.


You also are medically wrong. nocturnal emissions are a natural event and the problem this guy is having is “catholic guilt” over beimg aroused at night which is normal and feelimg he is being sinful if he gives himself relief. I am not catholic at all and don’t believe it is sinful. just found myself haunting this site as a guest and saw too many medically inacurate posts here amd had sign up to correct them.


Yes, but he didn’t say he was having nocturnal emissions. I occasionally have nocturnal emissions. He said he was consciously laying in bed before going to sleep and ejaculating, which is irregular if you’re not actually stimulating yourself.

This is a Catholic forum and it is doctrinal teaching that deliberate sexual stimulation outside of conjugal relations with your spouse is sinful. The OP doesn’t live under a rock on the lunar surface and I presume he is aware that the majority of people in the world don’t enjoy the happiness & freedom of obedience to this, but he clearly desires to become a part of that privileged group.


Pray to God for an answer & a way to deal with the problem.


Well I won’t argue with you other than it is not happiness and freedom to have to be obident to others rules like that and I am thankful personally that I escaped that “privilege” of being part of a group of sexually repressed people.


I love doing this as well. Some nights I’ll use the radio or a soundtrack instead.


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