How does one manage sexual desire in a healthy way?


A little background, I’m going to college and I experience SSA. I think there’s still attraction towards women too.This weekend drove me crazy. Hung out with a friend Friday night, felt this desire to cuddle up next to him, it was irritating. I felt sad driving back home, was longing for something more. I felt such an intense feeling/desire that night. My whole body ached, I was yearning for physical touch so much, it drove me crazy. This lingered into the next day. I felt this ache, and I just wanted it to stop. I ended up getting drunk Saturday night and gave back into porn/masturbation. I went 3 months without, and now that streak is gone.

Sunday I was feeling so much shame/guilt. Felt so unworthy to be around people, was invited for lunch and went but felt like I didn’t fit in. I went home after that, I cried. Texted a friend of mine, he recommended me to goto adoration. So I did and cried there a bit too. Felt calmer afterwards. Yet, that night I just felt that intense desire again. These sexual images with women just kept popping in my head, I entertained them but didn’t masturbate or anything. I felt like if I could’ve hooked up with someone then, I would’ve. That scares me.

So now it’s Monday night. I talked with a friend about some of this, it was helpful. I went to confession. I think I now realized I’ve been suppressing a lot of stuff. I’ve told myself it’s wrong to feel that way towards women. After the events of this weekend, I’m pretty sure there’s a desire there.

So, how do I manage these desires without going crazy? “Don’t suppress them but don’t act on them.” I assume God gave us this desire to be ordered towards Marriage. Sex is very good in that context. But when I feel this, and it’s towards a guy, that’s not going to work. I don’t really intend to do sexual acts, I just want to cuddle, have a feeling of closeness but I think that’s just using him. Even if I intend for it just to be cuddling, it can lead to something more.

Deep down I have this desire for closeness. To get as close as I can to a person. I desire intimacy, I have felt so alone for so long, I’ve gotten so many good guy friends now but I feel like what I want is deeper. Should I try dating women now? I still feel like that initial attraction isn’t there, or maybe I’m still suppressing stuff. Yet I know if I ever end up getting in a relationship like that, and I feel that erotic feeling, I’m not sure if I would be able to resist doing something sexual. I guess that’s why you set boundaries and try to avoid the near occasion of sin.

I feel so much confusion, oh how I wish I didn’t feel this way towards men. I feel like it’s hard enough being attracted to one sex, let alone two. I want to be able to live a chaste life while not suppressing my attractions. So how do I fulfill this desire for physical intimacy in a healthy way?


Sweet child of God,
In the scheme of things, there are 3 vocations. Single, Religious& married. Of the three, only married ppl may have sex for procreation. Chastity is required of all souls. That’s not accdg to the world.
Jeremiah 29/11 starts Gods plan for us.
Matthew 6:33 shows our next step.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God , and his righteousness; and all these. things shall be added unto you.
The Bible is our map to heaven. Get into a Bible study.
The sexual revolution in the 60’s, turned sex into a god. Romantic love in marriage is our goal after our Salvation.
Pornography—that is someone’s daughter or son in those pictures & films. Your worse nightmare would be to have a lovely daughter, that adored you. She turned 16, spit in your face, left & became a porn actress. Her pictures are in Hustler(?) The enemy here is Satan. Why did she leave? Your family didn’t say the Rosary together? The kids were in public school & work prevented you from getting them to CCD? Believe me! Going to church most Sundays as a family b/c you love God & want to go, isn’t enough. Feel the broken hearts of the parents, if you pick up Porn, again. Think about, when you have your family, how do you keep it Holy & healthy?
SSA but you still have erotic thoughts w girls! Today’s exposure about sex & it’s mighty traps are tempting. Heterosexual ppl, think,” Could I be gay?” Because it’s before us. There is too much on.a plate that should be empty. YOU HAVE TO EMPTY YOUR PLATE! How? Throw out the PORN. Remove PORN FROM YOUR COMPUTER & PHONE Sanitize movies, music.
Where you socialize & with whom, you socialize, you have to re-evaluate.
Loneliness, physical! KEEP YOURSELF BUSY W CHURCH OR CHARITABLE THINGS. Serving at the Salvation soup kitchen is good. You are doing your SOUL work to keep your body tired & FULFILLED. Take a night course in History(?) or Writing (?) There are ppl on CAF, who read church writings of the Saints. The male Saints had to deal w some of your issues. One Saint put wool gloves on his hands to prevent touching, while sleeping. Some male feelings are just “there.” You have my sympathies. BUT God gives us Fruits of the Spirit. SELF CONTROL
Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.——
Google prayers for chastity, purity. St. Joseph & St. Thomas have good ones. Print them out & make a prayer book. Say them every day. Do not go to clubs. Your choice is to walk w God first. He will give you strength. You cannot serve God & the world.
Hugs come from family. If you’re involved in church, they give great hugs. Having exposed yourself to Porn. You’ll have to put other images in your head.
Sex is not love. Sex is lust. It comes from Satan. Reject him.
Lust pushes for immediate gratification. Love will not compromise virtue.
DM me, if you’d like. You, w Christ, are Victors of your soul. The body ROTS, the soul lives on.
In Christ’s love


I think this is critical because it can lead to something more (since it is the near-occasion of sin) which is precisely why we are all called to not put ourselves in these situations.

You mention that you desire a deeper longer and everyone does, it is human. But our desire can only be filled by God, no human can do that, not even the person people marry.

I suggest that you check out the YouTube channel Ascension Presents as they have plenty of good and relevant content on this. Specifically, check out Matt Fradd who is GREAT talking about masturbation and pornography (I watch him a lot because I struggle myself).

Here are two specific videos for you, this one is on Chastity advice:

This one is from Jason Evert (he is one of the best Chastity speakers out there!) on SSA:

I will be praying for you and ask St. Benedict to help protect you from all temptations of the flesh. May God’s peace and all that is good be with you always!


I think I’ve watched both of those before. Maybe I should again. It’s just this desire has never been so strong before and it can be very overwhelming.


I would say sex within marriage with the openness to life is a very good thing. The sexual act is the only way that new life gets brought into this world, at least naturally. Seems like people have two extremes, glorify sex and give into lust or just suppress everything. I think the best response is somewhere in the middle, all are called to chastity.


Hormones are crazy, man. Especially at your age (since I presume your college aged).
Very common to be driven nuts by them, so don’t feel bad. You’re very very normal.
Try not to give in.
Pray the rosary and give your anxieties up to Mary. Tell her what’s bothering you, she is the great sponge for all our tears.
I realize this may sound impractical, but she has helped me with similar difficulties with much success, just be persistent.
God bless you, stay strong.


I would say that dwelling on these things literally empowers them. Physiologically you actually strengthen the neurons and connections between them which of course are of a like. So from a physical point of view it’s not a great idea.

As a Catholic you have probably developed a sense of a higher self, at least you have higher ideals which can guide your more base inclinations. So as a spiritual person you might understand these urges and show some empathy towards that part of your biological being but kindly lead yourself away and towards your higher aspirations.

Our brains are extremely ‘plastic’ and you can retrain it according to your wishes to a great extent. Therefore ask and it shall be given is a powerful remedy since by asking you steer your mind and receive help from God.


I sadly know what your feeling :slightly_frowning_face:. I’m sorry to hear that this is happening to you.


It may help to consider that your mind is the captain of your ship, or the driver of your car. It’s affected very strongly of course by the vehicle but you are or should be having the final say in what is acceptable and what isn’t.

A philosophy of life built around your physical needs is a house built on shifting sands. Your biology will alter over time and the hormone levels will drop. So too will your mind alter because of those depletion’s and other changes which will take place. Youth is a stage of development and though it may seem stable it isn’t, it will pass and your ideas will change accordingly.

So as a good captain, driver or temple custodian you choose how you handle your vehicle or house, which battles to fight and which drives to give victory over you. As Catholics we can draw on powerful assistance to help us with these things.


Are your emotional needs met in general? I.e. Do you have good platonic friendships in your life? Sometimes we yearn for romantic/sexual connections when what we actually want is intimacy in general. Kind of like how we may feel hungry when our bodies are dehydrated. You think you want the food because most food does contain water, but you’re not satisfied because it’s not the hydration your body needs. Likewise there’s intimacy in porn/lust/cuddling/whatever, but it’s actually not what you need.

Alongside with whatever tips people here may give you when it comes to managing lust directly, I would recommend you perhaps finding a community of friends/mentors and also praying more to address that need for closeness.


I have friends I can be open with about things and trust. Real friendship. I had about none of that before this semester, it’s been so amazing. I’m in a bible study too.


That’s great! Sounds weird to say, but you have something many people in the world are desperate for.

What about your family? Any other personal issues bothering you? Any insecurities about romantic relationships? You don’t have to tell me if you’re uncomfortable obviously, but just wondering if there’s any area in your life you think is in need of some attention.

I’m not an expert in controlling lust because I generally divert my attention almost immediately, but one thing I do recommend to people is to practice self control in general. People who have enough discipline to sit at a desk and study/stick on a diet/schedule etc may find it easier to avoid lust because ultimately you would be using the same cognitive resources. Self control is generally a (cognitive) skill that needs to be trained. We generally live in a culture that relies on instant gratification in many aspects, so I’m not surprised that we struggle with discipline


For all the words you’ve written, these are the three that sum it up. You desire intimacy. We all desire intimacy. For whatever reasons, you have taken that natural desire for intimacy and turned it into something erotic and out order with the divine plan (and I’m not just talking about SSA).

I think the first step is prayer followed by spiritual direction, more prayer, and a focus on forming health friendships with men and women.

Intimacy does not have to be solely sexual in nature. Platonic friendships are also intimate. In our modern context we seem to forget this. Having healthy intimate platonic friendships might help you to address some of the desire for intimacy and the loneliness you feel. That, in turn, might help you feel better able to manage sexual desire.


Talk to your good friends. Hug your family, hug your friends.


I really don’t want to talk to my family about anything sexual related, especially SSA. I haven’t even told them I’ve been going to counseling. I really haven’t gone home that much. I was home for thanksgiving, I just feel lonely there. I have my parents and siblings but no friends, it’s a rural area.

I haven’t really had good friends in the past so I guess I have the tendency to cling onto someone, fear of losing them. Not sure how much time I get to spend with them, I guess I still could get to know them better.

Yeah, but one can only do that so much until they feel totally exhausted.


I don’t know if this might help, but instead of stressing about the sex thing which is frustrating but totally normal (and the stress from that feeds itself btw, so it becomes a cycle), it’d be nice if you could put your energies into an interest. What truly is your passion? And then from there, go volunteer or involve yourself in that. Working out, being thankful, and learning relaxation techniques also helps with the stress that feeds it.

It would also be nice if you could find a support group for your struggle. AA was started by a Catholic nun who basically organized the Catholic faith into an applicable way of life. She broke it down into 12 concrete steps, which became a success.

The best thing about a small 12 step group is that you have a built-in set of warriors who are going through the same thing and bond with you, support you as an accountability team. Celebrate Recovery has groups all over the nation, as well as an app which can locate the nearest church group towards you.

As far as the SSA thing, this is just my personal observation and insight, but it seems like most men who have a strong physical drive and are viewing porn can face the danger of falling into that. The sex drive especially for men, is a visual conditioned response which can easily be warped into strange fetishes if the response is practiced in unnatural contexts. Do not reinforce this response. Men and women both appear in porn, and your eyes will see men and associate that with that response. Don’t make that more of what it is. A man’s physical response comes and goes. Don’t overthink it. Just observe it as objectively as you can.


Sometimes it’s not enough to just tell yourself “don’t think about it!”

I’ve struggled with desires too.

After a while, not thinking about it only made me think about it.
It’s like when went you tell someone not to think about a pink elephant, they’re going to think about a pink elephant!

I’m at a place now where I double down and make myself “not think about thinking about it”.

Confusing I know.

Positive distractions are a good thing.


I love love love this . Makes a great deal of sense thank u


Have you tried finding a Courage group to go to?

PRAYING FOR YOU because I am sure you speak for many many many people in this world with the same feeling as you. All I can say is CONTINUE to go to Confession as often as needed, spend as much time in Adoration as possible as often as possible, Say your Rosary Daily and know GOD LOVES YOU! Ask Him for the grace to overcome the feelings you don’t need to have and to have the feelings you do need to have to do His will.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be


Sorry, I just can’t resist :slight_smile: Cyrano de Bergerac

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