Caught my dad in sinful action


So when I walked downstairs tonight to check something on the computer downstairs, I saw that my dad was watching porn on TV and masturbating. I am extremely saddened by this. It is not the first time I have witnessed this either. My question is - what can I do? I really don’t like the idea of talking to him about it. But would it be a sin to not talk to him about it? My head is spinning.

Thanks in advance.



I’m sorry you had to see that, that must be tough to see. Well, I think maybe telling your mom??? Or, is that out the question? Not to like snitch on him, but to just tell her what you saw and than maybe she could talk to him about it. Or maybe ask a priest what you should do.


Shaun –

I am sorry that you saw this. It’s not easy to see those we look up to at their moments of weakness. I am guessing he is Christian? Catholic? It’s going to be awkward to bring up, but there is a good chance he knows its wrong, and he has merely given in to temptation. This happens to be his weakness. I suggest praying for him. He needs strength just as all of us do, and the prayers of a child for their parents are strong!


Are you an adult, or still a minor living at home? It’s inappropriate either way but it’s even worse if you are under 18. Does your mother or another adult live in the home with you? If she does I urge you to speak her about this.

If there is no other adult living in the home with you and your father then maybe writing him a note explaining the situation would be a way to handle it without having to talk about it face to face. While what he is doing is sinful, the biggest issue is that you not be exposed to such acts.

If this is your elderly father and you are his adult caretaker then you need to make it clear to him that it’s unacceptable that he masturbate in public areas of your home. Sure, it’s a sin and you can talk to him about that, but you can’t physically stop him from doing it and I’d put the emphasis on the fact that he has crossed the line of decency in doing such things in your living room. I’d also look into getting parental controls or blocking software on your tv and computers.


Best estimates are that 60% of professing christian men will admit to sinning in this exact same way in varying degrees of frequency. I would guess that 85% of us men have done this at least once in the past 12 months. We have a sinful human nature and this sin has gotten a lot easier due to the availability, annonymity and ease of access to this garbage. My point is that you need to know that dad isn’t unique. It is the universal male struggle of the 21st century.

In spite of what others might say… don’t dump this on your mom unless you have solid evidence that he is engaged in illegal or dangerous behavior such as going to strip clubs, hiring prostitutes or having affairs.

You probably should talk to him about it. Let him read my reply and ask him to consider weaning himself off of this stuff by any means necessary.


As you can see, the above poster is NOT Catholic and has the typical secular view.

Most men of integrity do not do this. Masturbation has existed since time began, it has only been accepted as “normal” in the past few years - that does not change the fact that it is a sinful practice.

Your mother needs to know about this. If you cannot tell her, write her a note. This is between your mom and dad and the family Priest. Pray for your parents marriage!


Are you kidding me? Are you so prideful to suggest that men of integrity no longer commit sin? You think I have a secular view regarding this? Have you turned on the television lately? The secular view actually celebrates pornography! It appeals to the flesh of man where no good thing dwells.I would suggest that this is a problem of sin and the issue is between this young man’s father and God Himself. There is a call to repentence, confession directly to God and prayer. We are all sinners under God’s wrath. Christ is the only way out.

Leave Mom out of it unless there are dire circumstances as I stated before. There is no reason to break her heart without sufficient cause.

"I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature."
Romans 7:18


Kage, this is really unfair to TLM08 to discredit his advice simply because he is not catholic!

I know lots of good men, catholic and otherwise who have this struggle. It’s a very common thing. Porn is the easiest thing to access on the internet. And of the sites that don’t provide it, the ones that aren’t advertising it are making jokes about it. I am happy for you that you do not have this struggle, but an overwhelming number of men (and even women!) do. We can’t just deny that a good man doesn’t do this, we need to know that even the best of men can easily succumb to this temptation, and pray for them, and offer them love and support to overcome.

I DO NOT reccomend telling the wife. As the husband repents and moves away from the sin, he should tell her himelf. It really should NOT come from someone else. That would be making a bad situation worse (more humiliating) for her. Unless he is out and out cheating on her, or quickly moving that direction by seeing other women, then let him own up to it himself.


That is hardly the typical secular view. The typical secular view is that porn is ok, and not garbage as TLM08 appropriately called it.

The truth of the matter is that most men do struggle with lust whether wives want to believe it or not. I have heard many, many stories from men about how shocked and crushed their wives were when they found out what goes on when their husbands are alone (including mine). Porn is an awful thing, and very addictive.

I don’t know what advice to give. Does your father know that you saw him? Is he Catholic/Christian? How old are you? I would say talk to your Priest as someone suggested.

"There are depictions of male masturbation in prehistoric rock paintings around the world. Most early people seem to have connected human sexuality with abundance in nature. A clay figurine of the 4th millennium BC from a temple site on the island of Malta, depicts a woman masturbating."


Thank You BPW… I might add that some men have a much more difficult struggle than others. In many cases the person using the pornography is using it as a stress reliever more so than for illicit pleasure. The cocktail of hormones and brain chemicals involved in sexual arousal and release are hundred fold more powerful than crack cocaine, all without the risk of criminal legal and health consequences. The kicker is that the rush is over in just a moment or so and the assiciated guilt and shame opens the door to more anxiety and stress. This leads to a vicious cycle.

Wives would be shocked to learn that marital satisfaction has little to do with why men do this. Men who are married to some of the most physically beautiful and wonderful women in the world can fall prey to this sin just as easily as the man who’s wife has let herself go a bit. My point is that women should not blame themselves for this. Sin living within the heart of man is the source. Christ is the cure.


Very well put TLM08. I’d also like to mention that it’s not just men either. Wives fall in to these practices as well. Pornography is a horrible evil in our society.


I think the mother should know… She is part of the family, and so is the son. They should all be involved. But, that is just my opinion.



Now you see your dad not as a demigod, as we do growing up, but as a man with all of weaknesses and flaws of other men. This does not diminish any of the good in him, or the good he has done for you. It is shattering precisely because of his potential for good.

This happens in marriages far more often than not. I would not tell your mom right away. I would not even sit with your dad right away. The shock and embarassment, the deep shame may precipitate an explosive reaction. I would simply write him a note telling him that you passed by and noticed him watching porn. Don’t mention the masturbation. That might be too much shame for him to bear. A letter is something that he can read, and reread without a confrontation.

Tell him how much you love him and want him to get away from this, precisely because he is a much bigger man than this stuff; that he has been, is, and will always be the biggest man in your life. Tell him you are not being judgmental and want for him all of the same goodness and wholeness that he has always wanted for you. Be positive and protect his dignity!! You aren’t out to score points here. You are out to protect your dad and maintain your relationship with him. Get a good book on getting away from porn and leave it with the note. Tell dad that you are willing to talk with him if he wants to, and if not, that’s fine too. Tell him he’s still the greatest man in the world and that that job is securely his!

If he does not get away from the porn, you may need to talk with mom. Start by giving him the dignity that he deserves. Family-wide shame is a tough thing to live down.

Do it with great love, with great respect, with great deference. Or don’t do it at all.

And above all, pray for him.


That is awful, the same thing happened to me when I was a teen…I was mortified and it still is in my memory some 25 years later…I did not say anything but I should have said something to my mom…


The secular attitude I speak of is “ohhh, everyone does it”.

Everyone does not do it.


Yea, I hate when people speak like that. It’s like saying it’s ok to do it because everyone else is doing it. Like, when I tell people certain morals or values that I have, people always say “oh well it’s 2009 , or everyone’s doing it now.” It’s like why would someone’s morals or values change because everyone is doing it or what year it is. These things are not normal!!!



I agree with all that TLM08 has written except for this. It would be mortifying for your dad to learn that this has been the subject of an internet thread on a moral theology website.

Before you write to him, I do have some of the questions that others have asked. Plus a few of my own.

  1. How old is he? How old are you?
  2. Does mom live with you guys?
  3. Is dad an alcoholic or drug user? Is he prone to violent outbursts?
  4. Does he go to church? Does mom? Do you go as a family?
  5. Are you guys on speaking terms? How good or bad?
  6. How many other siblings live at home and what are their ages?
  7. Has dad been in any trouble with the law or child protective services where this could spell big legal trouble for him?
  8. Has he ever beaten mom?
  9. Has he ever beaten you or your siblings?

These things matter, and I’m sorry for running on only two brain cells and not mentioning them in my first post a little while ago.

Remember this. You are not out to act as a member of the morality police. DON’T even MENTION morality to him. That’s not the issue here. The reason why porn is immoral is because of its destructiveness. So that’s the issue.




I just noticed that you are the same person who started another thread where you talk about being porn-free for six months, but that you have watched incest and child porn in the past. This changes the entire complexion of your issue with your father.

Does he know of your past issues with porn? Is this leading you deeper into temptation? I’m sure it’s a major threat to you. How threatened are you by this? Does your mom know of your past issues with porn? Has there been sex abuse in your family?

Treat these as rhetorical questions. I think what you really need is to get the name of a good clinical psychologist from your priest and talk with that person about the whole thing. Disregard my suggestion for writing a letter. There is WAY more here than a simple matter, and THIS IS NOT THE PLACE TO BE DEALING WITH THESE SPECIFIC ISSUES IN YOUR LIFE!!!**

**My prayers are with you on this, but there are a host of other issues in your home fueling your porn addiction and your dad’s. A really good psychologist can help you get to the bottom of it all. He/she can communicate with your priest, with your permission, to best help you. Do it! There are no short-cuts in life. The sooner you do it, the better for all involved. **

**Make a copy of all the questions you asked here, the threads you started. There seems to be an issue of scrupulosity, which points to some deeper hurt or wound. In good counseling, that can be healed, and you can enjoy a degree of liberation that your soul will rejoice in. Click on your name and scroll to the “Find All Posts By ShaunH” link. It’s all there. Show it all to your confessor and get going on the help. It’s very doable, and your activity here at the forums demonstrates your capacity to do it well. Not many people have the gift of honesty that you have about yourself. That should speed you along to healing and wholeness in no time at all. Use that gift Shaun. It’s the Holy Spirit alive and active in you.

God Bless You. You seem like a great guy. Your parents are lucky to have you. :bowdown::bowdown::bowdown2::bowdown2: :highprayer::highprayer:


There is something worse going on here when the person is doing this in an open area where they may be seen by a child in the house. Go tell Mom.

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