I was once addicted to porn and masturbation, but now thanks to the grace of God I am no longer under those addictions, but I find that I struggle with impure thoughts. The problem is, I am not sure I am “willfully entertaining” them or not. Sometimes, especially when I’m waking up in the morning, a pornographic image or impure thought comes into my mind and I find that I am drawn to it and aroused by it for a second, and then I realize what this is and push it out of my mind. Did I sin in this occasion or am I just being scrupulous? Also sometimes when I pray to God asking Him to help me fight impure thoughts, I find that impure thoughts enter my mind. I wish that God would just remove the memories I have of impure images.
I don’t know the answer to this, but would sure want to hear it.
I do think this happens to everyone, young or old, single or married, male or female. It almost sounds like part of the process of “detoxification”, almost like a release of something to be discarded by your brain.
Let’s say, [to use a computer as an example], sometimes documents get stored in the wrong file, and when going through random files looking for something else, one comes up with a document stored completely out of place. The best thing would be to place that document [image or text] in the correct file [delete bin], so that when we randomly look for something else in the future, this doesn’t happen again. Yes, maybe this will happen many times, if there are many out-of-place documents filed!
As to whether it is a sin or not. I’m no expert, but I do remember from catechism that in order for a sin to occur, there must be full/deliberate consent, freedom of will, as well as full knowledge of wrongdoing…it seems you’re missing all three there.
Remember, sin is in the will…not the thought. It’s normal to have these kinds of thoughts pop into your head, especially in the morning when one emerges out of dreams. And, unfortunately, such thoughts are often a residual effect of pornography. In a sense, we teach our minds to drift in that direction and it becomes a sort of mental habit. I find prayer to be the best way to deal with this. That, and simply getting out of bed when my mind becomes clouded with impure thoughts…sort of a physical way to removing myself from the near occasion of sin.
We are programed to be attracted to the opposite sex, having a impure thought is going to happen. I think its weather you dwell on it or not.
You can attempt to fight this with support groups and behavior therapy. Talk to your Priest or even your Dr, desentization therapy does work with this as well.
As StCsDavid said pray in the morning…i am rowing in the same boat as you(right now)…as mentioned you haven’t sinned yet because you rejected the thoughts before you dwell on them…for example oh yeah that was a “good” picture…this is what can and will get one into trouble…
.for myself i ask the Lord’s forgiveness for allowing that picture (scene) to become part of my memory,then give it to Him to purified in the fire of His loving mercy.
They will never go away completely. Regardless if you are a saint, or the most vial sinner with nothing but lust in your heart… part of being a man (or even a woman) is having sexual thoughts. It is how our brains and bodies are made.
Usually fighting these thoughts makes them worse in certain people. Even praying can make them worse because the brain can be rebellious. Do your praying during other times of the day. The best approach is to simply acknowledge that these thoughts are there and try to go on to other physical activities.
Changing your thoughts rarely works until you get your body involved in say… sweeping the floor… washing the car… whatever. My opinion is that there are two kinds of people… those who have sexual thoughts, and those who are in denial. The only difference is that some of us have more of them than others.
Talk to your priest about it and be at peace!
Thanks to everybody who responded to my question. I understand this issue a lot better now and feel more at peace, even though I still wish the thoughts and images would just disappear for good. I suppose this is another reason for why pornography and related sins are so evil. I really wish that I had been taught this when I was a pre-teen instead of learning about how to put on a condom at school, and I don’t think I’m alone in my generation in thinking that.
I thank God for leading me to believe the truth about this. It’s a difficult struggle now, but it’s a rewarding one.