Do we have a moral obligation to always avoid sexual arousal?

I’ll be honest. I’m pretty scrupulous and I’m a male with same sex attraction. This causes many issues when it comes to arousal around other guys. One time my cousin started to wrestle with me, I love wrestling and I’m not doing it in order to arouse myself but let’s be honest that much physical contact with the sex you’re attracted to and arousal happens. So am I obligated to imediately stop whatever I’m doing that may cause an arousal? Sometimes even just giving one of my guy friends a hug, or even a handshake can cause arousal. So is it a mortal sin to do something that you know will arouse you even if in your mind you have no desire to become aroused?

I used to believe it was fine because of the principle of double effect but now I’m not sure.

I’m not a theologian by any means. I don’t even do my own taxes. But from here in the peanut gallery this seems like a pretty cut and dry non-issue. I mean, I know the church is down on gay sex, but gay people are supposedly just fine by them. And just like with straight people, arousal is a complicated biological… thing that can in many cases just kind of happen.

Don’t fall into the easy trap of believing your feelings are somehow “worse” than the equivalent straight guy noticing that some lady at the office is rocking a great shirt.

I’d say, if you’re putting yourself in those situations explicitly with the purpose of becoming aroused, that’s one thing. But if it’s incidental to the activity and you happen to notice some guy is hot and switches flip in your brain, it’s nothing you need to feel guilty about. But once again, that’s just my take on it. I’m sure smarter folks than I will be here soon to weigh in on the question. :slight_smile:

I understand your dilemma. I am also pretty scrupulous. Especially since I am newly back to my faith, therefore going from doing whatever I wanted to to a morally objective view has caused me to judge myself harshly. Arousal in itself is not sinful because it is a biological process in our body. We cannot help getting aroused and the more you think about not getting aroused you will probably get aroused. If you have no intention to get aroused and don’t entertain those sexual thoughts intentionally then it is not a mortal sin. Now putting yourself in a situation that may lead into sexual temptation and possibly sin itself can be dangerous for that exact reason. I also understand that the cross you bear of sam sex attraction may make avoiding these situations more difficult because I know personally I am around guys more then I am girls because I live with roommates.

Basically if you are not seeking sexual arousal for your own carnal pleasures and you just become aroused from randomly without it being intentional then I believe you are not in mortal sinful.

Remember mortal sin is when you do a sinful act with full knowledge and consent.

Example: You become aroused unintentionally (not sinful), but then you chose to look at porn and masturbate , even though you know its immoral (mortal sin).

Hope I helped. God Bless brother. Trust in the Lord and remember he is Love and no matter how far you fall he will always welcome you back if you! :smiley:

I would think it is at least unwise to continue to engage in activities that make you aroused, although as you note, double effect may apply if there is a proportionately good reason for doing the thing in the first place.

This needn’t be considered a particular issue related to SSA, but merely the issue of being aroused by people who you shouldn’t ordinarily allow yourself to be aroused by. What I mean is, for example, that I am a married man, so if hugging other women were to make me aroused, I would definitely avoid doing so. It would be a little more difficult if shaking their hands had the same effect, since it is virtually impossible to avoid shaking hands in everyday life. In this case, we might call it a neccessary occsion of sin.

There are also fairly obvious physical reasons when males should generally avoid activities with others that cause arousal. Or is it merely mental arounsal you are talking about?

I think there is a lot of nuance in this discussion, and that it is probably best handled by a trusted priest.

singer878, I find myself struggling with impure thoughts and sins thereof, too :o. As far as I know, if an action is morally neutral or good, and you are aroused, then there is no sin, so long as you do not seek it for lust or arousal. Some actions (like fornication) are sinful regardless of intent because it is considered morally wrong by the Roman Catholic Church. Just don’t put yourself in all too sinful scenarios, and I believe you should be fine. I don’t think you have sinned. God bless! † †

I hope the thread helps.

It’s called “avoiding near occasions of sin” Don’t place yourself in a situation where you know you might be tempted to sin. I think you answered your own question. You know what situations cause you to want to sin, so you avoid those situations. If I were to wrestle my very attractive neighbor Jill, I know what that would do to me so I just wouldn’t. You just want to avoid the whole thing. Don’t play with fire. God Bless

An Act of Contrition (prayer to tell God you’re sorry, etc. during the Sacrament of Confession):

Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for offending Thee.
In choosing to do wrong, and in failing to do good, I have sinned against Thee, Whom I should love above all else.
I firmly intend, with Thy grace, to do penance, to sin no more, to avoid near occasions of sin and to amend my life.
You sent your Son Jesus to suffer and die for us.
In His name, my God, have mercy.

Note the bolded part. Jesus teaches us to avoid near occasions of sin when He talks about how it’s better to pluck your eye out if it causes you to sin, better to enter heaven maimed than be thrown bodily into Gehenna. He’s using Rabbinic hyperbole to stress how important it is to avoid near occasions of sin.

So, in summary, “Yes,” you should do all you can to avoid responding negatively to same-sex attractions.

If you are scrupulous, you need to meet with a priest outside of Confession and find a spiritual director.

I find it very problematic if you feel you cannot even shake hands with someone without worrying about arousal.

In the meantime, please refer to this site:

Please note that you have to consent to sexual arousal for it be sinful.

Seminarian here. It really is up to you. Doing things because they arouse you could put you into a near occasion of sin, which is something you promise to avoid at confession. You shouldn’t avoid things like shaking hands. If you feel aroused/ attracted to someone who you’re shaking hands with, thats fine! But you need to guard your thoughts and not entertain sinful imaginings regarding that person.

Trust me, getting aroused at every promiscuously dressed woman (or man, in your case) is something that guys are going to go through. As you grow in your spiritual life, you will start to see the men who you regularly interact with not as sexual objects but as people, and through continued interactions you will be able to disassociate sex from them.

You aren’t obligated to not hug or shake their hands. You are obligated not to invite them over for wine and pizza alone. (Lol)

Now finally, even though you AREN’T obligated to not do those actions, you could if you felt like you needed to. Its ultimately your salvation and your relationship with God. Through prayer these problems should even themselves out eventually though. I know I’m not quite able to eliminate sexual arousal yet. Yet…

PM me if you’d like anything else.

Is it possible you love wrestling because it puts you in close contact with other males. In my opinion you should stop wrestling.

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