Hi everyone! I know this is one of those questions that should best be dealt with a confessor, but I do value your own experiences and thoughts on the matter. As far as I understand, if impure thoughts are dwelled upon, they become mortal. The confession line should surely be out the door every week! I have been having a hard time lately battling lust and such as my wife is in late stages of pregnancy and copulation has not been an option, nor have other forms of release due to the strict guidelines of sexuality morality the Catholic doctrine proscribes. I was having a sexual dream, and in the midst of it I woke up. In my desire for release I tried to fall back asleep and keep the dream going. There were lustful thoughts, but I was also half-asleep. Should I give into my scrupulous conscience and go to confession, or brush it off and give myself a break? Lack of knowledge on gravity of the matter and implications of consent of the will seem to apply, but maybe I am fooling myself. Yikes, it would be much easier if I didn’t have to worry about these things!
First thing to understand is that what was going on is only a natural, healthy, and normal function the body performs. And who created the body? This is something that is healthy for the body to do to continue functioning in the correct way. That is why a person has this. So it is important to see this not as something bad but as something that God made to happen to help. As you thank God for the food you eat which is good, so also thank God for other functions which are good as well.
The correct outlook on this is very important. If this is overlooked then a person will always feel sinful which is not what should happen. If God made it this way then it is good and there is nothing to be ashamed of, but rather grateful as we are for all of his blessings.
The other premise is that we know that we may not indulge in sex unless it is done as God wills it to be done…in marriage. And so if this healthy function of our body begins, then we should try to keep from entering into the act in a positive way. And since this urge is so strong, a person later may think that they could have done more to divert their attention. This may be the case but certainly would dilute the sin in any event, which means it would not be serious.
Unless a person knew that they broke down and entered into the act with deliberateness and fullness, then our faith teaches us it is not a serious offense, and probably not even a minor one, but is an act of virtue which pleases God.
I believe your desire to please God was the right one…and…
May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.
Dear Needleskane. Peace be with you. A week ago, I attended classes on moral that was given by a very competent priest who had more than 30 years of experience and a doctorate in theology. He said that NOT all natural things are good. For example, it’s natural to be angry when corrected, but it is against charity. Another example would be revenge. It is natural to feel or take revenge, but again, it is Charity. You cannot sin by dreaming since it is an unconscious act. HOWEVER, since you have mentioned that you were half asleep, the case is different. Let’s examine what happened.
You had a sexual dream. (this is unconscious so there is no sin)
You woke up an DESIRED to continue the dream. (if by using the word desire you mean FEEL; then this is not yet a sin but a temptation)
You were half-asleep and continued the dream. (The sin is here since you did the act consciously)
You may have questions like,
- It’s just a thought, why is it a sin?
Remember what Jesus said about committing adultery in Matthew 5:27-28
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”?
In the teachings of the Catholic Church, we can commit sin through our thoughts, words, and actions. However, the graveness of the sin vary depending on the moral object, circumstance, and intention.
- It’s my wife, I can do that to here since we are married.
According to the moral laws of the Church, the virtue of Chastity should still be practiced in marriage. This is to remind couples that even if they are already one and belonging to the other. By virtue of their dignity as children of God, they should not treat the other as an object- that is, as an object of lust or sexual pleasure.
My advise is that you go to confession and then continue to struggle to be chaste in thoughts, words, and deeds. this is a great time to show your wife how much you love her.