How to stay pure as a guy without living in a cave

Hi there,

I’m having problems with the 6th commandment. I’m 20 and I try to do my best, but it’s so difficult to keep your mind clear in this world:

I watch a show on Netflix, and here we go, not even 30 mins in, the main chars start to banging
I go on Youtube to listen a cover of my fav songs and the singer isn’t wearing much
I visit grandma for lunch and again, woman not wearing much is on a cover
I go to a mall and there’s a billboard inviting you to erotic club
I try to listen to my first narrated story podcast and here we go again, mom threatening some guy she will make sure her daughter won’t sleep with him again if he doesn’t help the mom with some stuff
I like a song, so want to check out more from the band and the very first song I stumble upon begins something like … I want to feel your body on mine
I meet classmates from High School after 6 months and he starts talking about how he banged some girl
I read a detective/crime novel and there’s a guy threatening women to sleep with him or she will lose the custody of her son

I’m just fed up with this. Almost no matter how I try to avoid anything that would tempt me to do the stupid stuff guys do alone… it always appears somewhere.

I’m incredibly angry at myself every time I do it, every time I say that this was the last freaking time, but it never is.

My question is, should I just go on a hike, find some cave and start living there? Seriously, I don’t see any other option how to avoid the temptation. I got to the point that I don’t want to watch movies, tv series, anything because there’s always something… Even when some girl just casually mentions she slept with a guy, on one side I can’t handle the thought and feel sorry for her, on the other it somehow leads me to thinking about that stuff.

Is is even possible to live a normal life (watching TV, going to the mall, listening to music, etc) without falling into sin? Even if I manage to somehow hold myself together for a few days/weeks, I always give in.

If someone wanted to, please don’t recommend trying to find a girl, I have so much work & uncertainty in my life right now that it would be the most stupid thing I could possibly do.

I want to get married as soon as I finally “make it” in my career, but until then I want to stay clean of all of this. I hate the thought I will marry one day (hopefully) and yet I’m doing all of the stupid stuff over and over and over.

Thanks

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Have you spoken to your pastor?

What you write is beautiful and should be shown to those who say that “the Church is obsessed with sex”.

It’s not the Church that is obsessed with sex, but the world.

For the rest, I think you can benefit from:

• pray a lot
• find a group of peers where it is normal to live chastity, and attend them without abandoning all other things: however I cannot tell you which one, I live in another country, but surely you will have your serious groups, indeed more than we do.
In my opinion you need to see that, at least in one place, our ideal of purity for the love of God is lived.

‘Arm yourself like a man against the devil’s assaults. Curb your appetite and you will more
easily curb every inclination of the flesh. Never be completely unoccupied, but read or write or
pray or meditate or do something for the common good.’ - The Imitation of Christ

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Part of it is just being young and having a sex drive. You can’t really change that. Also, as you said, sex is everywhere because it’s sex. Most people do it at some point and it’s the reason our race continues to survive and yeah it feels good otherwise people wouldn’t do it. Maybe you need to stop focusing so much on it as that can just increase the obsessions and make temptations bigger. Focus on the positive like every day that you don’t give in and stay pure. And when you fall… we’ll that’s life, we all fall, we will never be sin less

Wow, I never really heard this, but man it rings true

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You can do it… even without living in a cave… but you should start to create a “little cave.” There is no other realistic way. Cut out a lot of this kind of media, at least for a while. Try getting into classic novels, or writings of saints, or histories… Safe things.

Here is my standard advice on these things:

There are monitoring programs (like Covenant Eyes) that can help with controlling electronic media. You could try using that with a trusted friend or mentor. Other than that, you need to put distance between yourself and the occasion of sin - keep windows and doors open, take cold showers, reduce (or eliminate temporarily) alcohol use around certain people/in certain situations, etc. Laughing more is also helpful, especially in the moment of temptation (rational delight filling the body - so watch more comedy!) as is fasting and other mild discomfort which distracts the body (holding your breath, biting your tongue, etc.)… just getting up and walking around can also give the space and time necessary to get a grip. Exercise also helps, in various ways, also in the moment… distracting and exhausting the body. Instinctively praying a decade of the rosary (meditating especially on one of the sorrowful mysteries) or singing a verse of a pious hymn will also create the time and strength of will you need to do what is right. Meditate also in the moment on the imminence of death, and always ask for the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph… and ask the Lord always for the help you need. Go to confession as needed, then return to receiving Holy Communion.

So this advice may sound a little prudish, but I’m okay with that. The very first thing I would recommend doing is changing your terminology of sexuality. If you think of and refer to sex by terms like “banging”, you’ve already framed it in the mindset that the secular world has. Sex is just a physical thing you do for fun. If you reframe how you view sexuality as a beautiful part of the sacrament of marriage, it may just be helpful in your struggle. It’s just a small piece of advice and won’t necessarily cure anything, but I have found as a mom to lots of boys, getting them in a mindset that sex is sacred is very helpful.

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