How can I break my habit of masturbation?

I started masturbating 4 years ago when I was 18 and mixing with the wrong sort of people. Ever since then ive been trying to stop, I do it at least 3 times a day, sometimes a lot more, though there have been occasions where I have stopped myself from doing it for at least a day. During those 4 years I refused to receive communion or go to confession because of it.

I did try when I was 19 to go to confession, but I was too ashamed to confess to my own parish priest about that, so I held it back. After that I didn’t try to go again, because I thought I needed to try to stop it altogether and then id be able to confess. But I was never able to stop so this year for Easter I decided to go to confession at a different parish far away from my own, I thought that maybe by going it would help me to stop. After I left the confessional, I felt so happy, happier then I had been in ages, I thought that was it, that I would never do it again, but I gave in and did it again only five days after, and have been ever since.

Im so ashamed of doing it, and I think I am truly sorry for doing it, because I’ve cried about it, ive prayed to God and Mary to help me be truly sorry for it, and to help me to want to stop. But at the times when I am tempted to do it, it becomes more important to me, like it’s the only thing that I want and I start to block all thoughts of God out of my head, and I knowingly do it even though I know it’s a sin. I keep telling myself to stop and try to remind myself what kind of person I want to be and that this is not pleasing to God, but then I go ahead and do it any way.

I don’t know what I should do, ive become very ashamed of praying to God and to Our Lady Mary. Ive started trying to say “O Mary my Mother, keep me from mortal sin”, and ive started trying to pray morning and evening prayers, but im still doing it and I feel so horrible for praying while im still doing it. I feel as though if I was truly sorry then I would be able to stop and never do it again, so every time I ask for Gods forgiveness and apologize it feels like im being insincere. I cant even look at the holy pictures in my room anymore, I don’t feel as though I am worthy enough to look at them.

I want to go to confession again, but I feel as though its inevitable and that im just going to end up doing it again. I was so happy receiving the Eucharist during Easter, I was intending to go to mass every single day but then I went and did “it” again and I haven’t had communion since. Im too ashamed to talk to my Parish priest about it, I know I shouldn’t be but I am. I think im going to try to start saying the rosary daily, but what if even then im still unable to stop? I feel so ashamed already.

Im really sorry, i didnt mean for this to be so long!

Just do OPPOSITE of the Nike slogan.

It sounds like an addiction, at this point, which may reduce your culpability. I would suggest talking to a priest as soon as possible. Chances are your parish priest would not be surprised by anything you could tell him (having likely heard it all before) and, if anything, would be impressed by the fact that you confessed it and are trying to fix the issue, however much trouble you may be having. But if you prefer and are able, you can talk to a priest at another parish.

Long story short: you’re fighting two battles here. One against masturbation. One against despair. To be perfectly honest, it’s more important to win the battle against despair first.

It doesn’t matter if you think you’ll certainly do it again. Get to confession. And if you do do it again, get to confession again.

Because it sounds like you have an addiction, your confessor may tell you that in your case culpability is reduced enough so that that particular sin does not stop you from receiving the Eucharist. If he does, then do what he says and go to mass often and receive often even though you still have the problem.

If he doesn’t, or doesn’t immediately, then do your best to go to a confession right before a Mass and then go to that Mass and receive. If that doesn’t work, go to mass and don’t receive.

Again: your primary problem right now is that you’re too discouraged to even get better. You’ve decided that it’s inevitable, and so are avoiding all of the things that you should be seeking out at every opportunity.

So I say again: get to confession. Don’t wait until you think you can stop. Then worry about everything else.

Start by cutting back on the number of times a day - even if you were married your partner would be highly unlikely to cope with 3 or more times a day - even if you could find the time. Because in marriage you are not having ‘quickies’, you are investing in an emotional exchange with your spouse.

Once you are to once a day, try to make it once every two days.

Slowly wean yourself off the habit, as if you were giving up smoking. Get your body used to doing without the ‘hit’ you crave.

And get something else to do with your hands!!! Holding a rosary might make you think twice about putting it down to do something else. Try making rosaries - each one takes a couple of hours, and you may find that you will think twice about using hands that make sacramentals for sinful occupations.

Jesus says “It is not the healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come for the righteous, but for sinners.”

We are all sinners, each with our own faults and failings. It is during times of temptation and sin that we need to pray even more. Our Lord gives us many examples. In the desert before starting His ministry, He prayed. When He was ministering to the crowds, He would just up and leave to remote places to pray. During His agony in the garden, He prayed. I’m sure He wasn’t feeling particularly good those times. While He was sinless, He still could feel the human conditions of stress, tiredness, and weariness.

I do think you are focusing a little too much on your faults and not on your strengths. Try to see your strengths, for example, your love for God and your faith. Do you keep the other commandments of the church? Are you kind to small children and animals? Do you try to love others around you? Find consolation in your good qualities and the courage to confess and pray about it. Jesus is not ashamed of you, so you shouldn’t be ashamed of yourself.

Remember that no one is too unworthy to pray. Prayer, in fact, will unlock your heart towards the grace of God.

God Bless,
MC

I would suggest the following try starting to pray the rosary at least once a day.

Also find another parish and go to confession.

The priest has already heard it, it will not shock him, this is probably the most common sin nowdays.

When praying the rosary ask the blessed mother to help you break this habit.

I will pray for you :thumbsup:

Been struggling with this since 1989 so know that you are not alone. Take heart, in mid-April, I had an abstinence period of 11 days! I have slipped some since, including watching porn last weekend for the 1st time in a long time. I have no excuse but the Lord knows these struggles. Confession tomorrow and I will do my best not to do this act again.

I am doing better than in years past, but it’s tough. Just know you’re not alone and God bless!

I was born and raised without religion so I masturbated fairly continuously from about 13 till I decided to convert, when I was close to 26. So, basically, at least once a day, every day, for half of my life. I wouldn’t say I’m quite over it but I’ve made far more progress than I ever thought possible.

First, be aware of the enormity of the task to which you’re setting yourself. Your body has become accustomed to release and it is going to throw a fit at not getting that release. Be aware that just as you conditioned your body to expect release, so too can you condition it not to expect it, and that the transition time will be monumentally difficult.

Prayer is really the most important thing here. When I lapse it almost always comes after a week or so of neglecting prayer. So make changes to your life in a way that allows you to devote more time to prayer. Go to Mass and receive communion every day if you can. If it’s an inconvenience but not an impossibility, go anyway and offer up the inconvenience as reparation. Pray the rosary beforehand, while in church, to get a plenary indulgence. Apply that indulgence to yourself (if you’ve recently confessed masturbation) or to one of the holy souls in Purgatory if you don’t need it. Ask that soul to pray for you. Always include an increase in chastity in your rosary and Mass intentions both. Go to Adoration as often as you can, at least 30 minutes at a time.

Custody of the eyes and thoughts are extremely important too. It’s easy to think that one or two passing thoughts won’t hurt but they will. They snowball very quickly. I have had days where, in the morning fog where I’m “awake” but my eyes haven’t yet opened, I’ve entertained lustful fantasies and I can assure you that they ruin your day. That lust will burn in you all day like a low-grade fever. Don’t let that sort of thing happen. If you catch yourself thinking lustful thoughts, pray to Mary for help.

Attendant with custody of the eyes and thoughts is taking steps to keep yourself out of positions where you might be tempted to let either wander. Avoid TV shows with even remotely suggestive themes, at least for a while. Probably avoid nighttime TV altogether since the commercials can be raunchy. Avoid places where you are exposed to lots of flesh, e.g., the beach. My parish is very Hispanic and tends not to be overly concerned with modesty so I prefer to go to Mass either on Sunday evening or the 7 AM Mass (where it’s a smaller and older crowd). Etc.

Eventually you will begin to effectively subject your passions to the dictates of reason and will, and you will find that your body stops reacting to every passing stimulus because you have stopped rewarding those reactions with immediate orgasm. At that time, maybe, you will begin to react these restrictions somewhat, and go to the beach in summer. I’d still be careful, and I definitely wouldn’t let up with prayer.

Sorry, but I just have to ask. What did these people do that caused you to masturbate?

Hey so addiction huh?? Well I struggle with such an addiction as well, but I have been fighting it as best as I could with this book by Jason Evert, I forget the title. A possibility to why you say you might be ashamed is because maybe you believe people will criticize you or be soo taken aback by the sin. In the end shame on them because no one but Jesus is the sole judge and they have no authority to put you down as they are sinners themselves. If that doesn’t make you feel better ill tell you this…one Friday at our youthgroup for our local parish a brother and sister during a sharing exercise shared that they were in fact addicted to pornography and felt no worry to share because why try hiding it if God himself knows all our sins and wrongdoings. Also like others have said try pushing yourself to reducing the amount of times and be proud of yourself when reaching your goal. Then after that set a new goal a little higher and go from there. Oh and saint Theresa of Avila once said, " I know by frequent experience that there is nothing which puts the devils to flight like holy water" so if you can try to have some with you and make the sign of the cross with it. Remember prayer and patient perserverance will help you succeed, you fall go to confession, you fall again go to confession again, don’t let the devil tempt you with the thought of “oh you are confessing again no need to do so, you won’t win” but through grace all is possible!!!:smiley:

Try saying a Hail Mary and an Our Father before bedtime :slight_smile:

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