How can I overcome a masturbation addiction?

This is something I’ve really been struggling with. I go to confession every week mainly for this sin alone. I know why its a sin and I know it’s mortal, but my body feels like its addicted. If I go any longer than a few days, I feel really agitated and “horny” (sorry for lack of a better term.)
I’m almost 25 years old, and I’ve been doing this almost everyday since i was 12. (2-4 times a day) I recently converted to Catholicism this past April. (Easter Vigil Mass)
I can sometimes go for a week without doing it, but by then my body is driving me crazy. I’m almost constantly aroused by then, and I finally just give into temptation. I feel guilty afterwards because I know I’ve offended God and misused what sex was designed for, but I feel SO much better physically. What should I do? Should I just do my best, hold off as long as I can, and then confess when I finally cave? I feel bad after I do it and then confess, because I know in a few days to a week, I’m just going to do it again. I dont want to, but I cant help it. :confused:

In my experience, yes there’s a period of semi-perpetual tension but eventually it passes and you’ll feel normal again. And more importantly, after a long period of self-control the self-control itself becomes easier, so that while tempations may come that are as strong or stronger than in the past in terms of arousal, it’s actually easier to resist than lesser temptations were when you were in the habit of giving in to them.

When you confess the sin, make a serious resolution to stop in the future and really try, placing the matter in God’s hands and knowing that if (not when) you do fall again God’s mercy will be waiting for you again.

1 Like

I went to Adoration more and more often the tension slowly desapears.

You can try to go to Adoration often, the Lord will walk you through it.

God bless

I have the same problem and I’m still working on it. One of the best things you can do besides receiving the sacraments and praying is to occupy your time with other people’s needs. Maybe do some volunteer work and if possible, join a support group like Sexaholics Anonymous.

When it comes to vice, staying away from them is half the battle. The other half involves replacing them with virtue and yes this is easier said than done, so try to be patient with yourself. You didn’t get to this bad of a stage overnight and you won’t get out of it overnight. Perseverance is the key.

I hope the link helps.

try to relax about it and don’t beat yourself.

you have a normal sex drive and that’s good.

you don’t, however want it to control you.

2-4 per day seems a little much.

get yourself down to 1, maybe 2 and see how it goes.
maybe even every other day.
might even be a fun challenge that way.

i’ll never stop completely and i know that.
so i control it by limiting frequency.
that way it won’t affect your life.

that’s the best i can do.
others maybe better than me. i just know my own urges and how they affect me and this keeps me in the best balance.

so try that and go from there.
i’m just a regular guy so take it for what that’s worth.

This is also great advice. When you spend a lot of time around someone you start to imitate them; especially when you love them.

Do you watch stuff online? If thats the case, block all of them. I think there are programs made to block stuff like that. Try to get rid of anything that may trigger it, whether it be magazines, pictures, online sites, ect.

When you do feel like masturbating, find something else to do.

Right now you should make a list of things to do when you feel this so you can overcome it.

I will be honest, I don’t think you’ll ever truly stop till you’re married.

2-4 times a day is crazy. I can imagine thinking of sex that many times, but acting on it?

I’m not sure what else to say.

Like you, before I returned to the Catholic faith, I reglarly masturbated from the age of 13-24 (often several times a day).

That said, after a bad relationship I was in fell apart back last August I made a resolution to give myself fully to God. I resolved to stop masturbating and, thanks to God’s blessings, I have not slid back into the habit since that day in August (so, yes, it is completely possible to break this addiction…don’t let satan ever let you think otherwise).

There’s a lot of misconceptions that you have to break through, however, to get through this addiction. One is that there is some kind of physical benefit that comes from masturbating. I believe this is untrue, if anything your body is expelling valuable nutrients that otherwise wouldn’t occur during the fluid exchange of natural sexual intercourse. It wouldn’t even surprise me if there’s some truth to old stories that you can experience hair loss from excessive masturbation… this is characteristic of a deficiency in Zinc.

What I believe is another misconception is that your body needs to expell built up semen. You’re body is very effective at re-absorbing things like pimples back into your blood stream, so why wouldn’t excess semen be absorbed in the same way? While wet dreams may occur after you stop masturbating, these dreams usually involve vivid sexual fantasies which cause ejaculation…not a physical response by your body to desparately rid itself of its own fluids…

One positive effect I noticed when I stopped masturbating was that I became more attractive to women. I think this is because masturbation causes a man to see a woman as being a sexual object. Women pick up on this stuff and they resent it when men treat them like a piece of jewellery to be bought or acquired. If you stop masturbating, you will take a big step towards becoming a REAL man who can show confidence and demonstrate that he will be able to protect and care for his future family.

Maybe look at joining a Catholic brotherhood like the Knights of Columbus… it could help to see some living examples of what REAL men are like and what masculinity truly is in today’s feminized society.

One thing that is true is that you will experience a stronger sex drive after you stop masturbating… Satan, more then anything, wants you to fall back into the habit. This is where you need to pray the rosary every day… if you stand against Satan with God on your side, he will flee from you. Just don’t allow any of those misconceptions to weaken your resolve…masturbation is not healthy for you, not mentally, not physically and especially not spiritually.

God bless!

Masturbation, although a sin, is a symptom of the real problem. Find out what the underlying problem is and work to eradicate it. I can think of some underlying problems -

  1. laziness, sloth, etc.
  2. lack of love, fellowship, etc.
  3. pride

In your case, it could be any of the above or even something else.

I disagree with Pumpkinseed. I do believe you can quit the habit before marriage. Marriage itself, by the way, probably will not stop the habit.

Your description of feeling agitated and “horny” when going without for a few days is descriptive of exactly what you call it, addiction. There have been some interesting studies on sex addiction that show that the body goes into withdrawal when deprived of its addiction. Sex addiction feeds the brain the same chemicals that heroine and cocaine do-- mainly dopamine, and the body rages when it is deprived of its addiction.

The good news is addictions are beaten and yours can be too! You go to confession, great! But you also need to have

  1. an active prayer life
  2. cut out all the occasions of sin that lead to masturbation
  3. a relationship with the Blessed Mother, who is a great help in leading people to purity
  4. read spiritual books and scripture
  5. place holy images in your home/apartment

You may already be doing some of these things.

I struggled mightily with masturbation and then a little later, pornography. I’ve been free of masturbation for 25 years and porn for 16 years. It feels great to be free of these enslavements! It can be done. Starve a habit, and it will die. Yes, it will fight very hard for a long time if you deny it completely, but after awhile its power will begin to fade, just as is the case of any addiction. You may also want to consider joining a sex addicts group.

Hey brother!

Some thoughts on this:

I had the same problem: masturbated virtually every day of my life from my early teen years until my late 30s. It’s an horrendous addiction. Your body gets physically and mentally conditioned to it. I had the same physical agitation you described when I tried to avoid it. I couldn’t sleep if I didn’t take care of my needs.

I thought with age I wouldn’t need to do it anymore, but the desire never subsided. It continued on into my marriage. I didn’t even realize it was a mortal sin until later in life, and by then I really questioned whether I was ever going to be able to stop. But I knew it was bad for me for several reasons:

  • It’s a disordered use of the gift of sexuality given to us from God for the purpose of creating life. It was an absolute barrier in my relationship with God.
  • It’s a “gateway drug” if you know what I mean. The more you give in to sexual gratification, the more you want to take the next steps (e.g., pornography, fornication, etc.) to acquire the same high.
  • It made my actual sex life worse. My sex life with my wife suffered because my fantasies while masturbating were more stimulating, as demented as that may sound.

When I recommitted to my faith I tried to kick the habit for good. I knew that God wanted this habit out of my life, so I had that going for me. So I knew that what I needed to do was cooperate with his efforts to rid me of this destructive vice. I had a lot of failure in the beginning. If I went 3 days, I thought it was a miracle, yet I would get so down about my weakness. But I’m here to tell you that I ultimately prevailed over it, and I believe that every man can do the same thing. Here were my weapons:

  1. Fortitude. I never gave up trying. I never allowed despair to make me give up. If I failed, I picked myself up and tried again the next day. 3 days turned into 5 days, which turned into a week, etc.

  2. Sacraments. Going to confession was important, because confessing masturbation to a priest is EMBARRASSING. I dreaded doing that, and would dream about the day were I could go to confession without the dreaded humiliation of confessing this sin. But the accountability was a CRITICAL motivator in my efforts to kick the habit. That, and receiving our Lord in holy communion infused me with so many graces that helped change my heart.

  3. Prayer. Be blunt with our Lord. Pray every day and be specific: “Lord, I want to not want to masturbate. I want this sin out of my life. Please, Lord, I am weak. Help me!” The Lord loves persistence in prayer. Remember the parable about the unjust judge and the persistent widow (Luke 18: 1-8). Keep bringing it up, no matter how badly you fail trying.

After probably a year of trying I was able to kick the habit for good. My body actually, eventually, adjusted to the new norm. I haven’t masturbated in over a year. I still have temptations, but I’m able to resist them. My sex life with my wife has improved so much as a result. And resisting other sexual vices like pornography is so much easier without masturbation in my life. I feel like this major impediment in my relationship with God has been removed, praise be to HIM! My faith is growing. Sexual sins will always be a cross that I have to carry, but this was a major victory for the Holy Spirit, let me tell you.

Finally, let me say that if you are addicted, the Lord knows it. Just keep trying and know that it is possible for men like us to defeat it by the grace of God. Pray to Our Lady as well, who dispenses virtues to those who love her Son. Good luck, and God Bless!

You’ve gotten good advice. I’d just like to add the rosary! :slight_smile: "Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.” -Saint Louis de Montfort
Bless you brother, I’ll be praying for you!

I also struggled with this however I have not done it since Dec 2011. I suggest you pray 3 Hail Marys before bed. This was some advice my confessor gave me and it helped. :slight_smile:

My experience too.

I will give the same answer here that I have given elsewhere: A habitual masturbator is a person sitting in a dark corner, sucking on a lolllipop (masturbating) but afraid of what is beyond the dark corner.

For you, the bigger sin is not masturbating; it is marrying the fear of what is beyond the dark corner. You distract yourself from the larger issue of the propriety of sitting in your dark corner not only with the intense pleasure of masturbation, but with the concerns about the morality of it.

The problem is that dark corner you are sitting in. Not the lollipop.

Here is your assignment: Pray, pray, pray for a sense of humor; practice, practice, practice making the people around you laugh. Developing a sense of humor will be the hardest thing you will ever do, but the most worthwhile.

Next, work. Work, work, work.

After that, give, give, give.

These things are what God wants.

You are dwelling on the wrong things.

I have major depression and take Paxil. Paxil, in addition to treating depression and other symptoms, suppresses the sex drive. You may want to talk to your doctor about using Paxil as a suppressor of your sex drive.

Oh, my heavens!

Unless you are helping him to NOT overcome the REAL problem, which is usually a marriage to fear of the world, or shyness!

In which case, what you are doing is suppressing a NORMAL, NATURAL sex drive, and surrendering to the real problem, habitual fear.

Check this video out.

Whose to say what “normal” sexuality is. I believe we live in a hyper-sexualized world.

One of the reasons people change their behavior is they find another behavior that is more fulfilling, gratifying or rewarding. They replace one thing with another. This is different from simply doing without the former thing, removing it and leaving one with nothing to replace it.

When I had little children and they were doing something dangerous if I tried to take the thing away from them they fought to keep it. Say a three year old picked up an knife and was carrying it around the kitchen. Instead of simply taking it away I would offer them a toy. As they reached for it with one hand I would slip the knife out of the other and they were happy with the trade not even realizing the knife is missing.

Sex is intense physical pleasure. If we look around we can see it causes many people a lot of harm. It can be very dangerous. In a way it is like fire. It can keep your house warm and cozy or burn it down with you in it. You already know that what you are doing is not good, but simply removing this pleasure from your life leaves you without the pleasure.

For every vice there is an opposing virtue, or vice versa. I am drunk or sober. I am truthful or I lie.

The thing that will replace your addiction or vice is the virtue of purity. It is something that you do not experience and therefore can not know how or why it is so much greater, more fulfilling than the vice you do know.

Jesus said anyone who sins is a slave to sin. The slave has no power over himself. He does what his master commands. You find yourself in this situation. It will take someone more powerful than your slave master to set you free. You know who He is. Keep crying out to Him for help. He will take pity on you and not only take away the vice, but replace it with a great virtue.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit