Masturbation and Addiction

How does one know if their masturbation issue is an addiction and, thus, mitigate consent? I ask because I find the issue confusing. It is like I can sometimes go a couple weeks without falling into the sin, but then I end up back on it. Earlier today, I fell into that sin and also presumption (I assumed I would just go to Confession later, which I did, Confessing both the masturbation and the presumption), but then the urge comes back.

According to Addiction and Grace, that going without for a period of time and then binging (sp?) is the third stage of the addiction process (the first being the formation of the addiction and the second being the addiction in full-swing as it were).

And different Priests say different things. One Priest, a Jesuit, told me awhile ago that, pretty much, it is an addiction and thus not (mortally) sinful. Obviously, others may or may not disagree. And certainly presumption of God’s grace/mercy is a serious sin (just read the Baltimore Catechism’s discussion of it).

I am told by Priests that I go to Confession too much (Scrupulosity issues) and that is even during times when I am in that ‘going without’ period of time. Being told that it is an addiction and is not a sin only worsens the issue because then becomes a rationalization and then I worry that that then triggers ‘full consent’ because I am thinking this through before I sin (i.e. rationalizing that it is an addiction and thus it is not a [mortal] sin since one Priest said so).

This is a sin that I struggle with as well. I’ve had priests say the same things to me- some say that I am addicted and thus it is not serious. Others, it is a selfish and extremely serious sin and that I need to overhaul my life because it is destroying my relationship with God. :shrug: I go to weekly confession and so I have been accused of scrupulosity as well with the issue. Since I have been told by my spiritual director that, in his opinion and because of his experience with dealing with high school and college spiritual direction he firmly believes I am addicted to the sin of self abuse I guess I am. Now, I have not gone a week without committing this sin in years but just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t addicted. I have also thought a lot about the rationalization of the sin before committing it and what that means. Honestly, since I am still very much struggling with this the only advice I could give you is to continue to go to weekly confession and just treat it as serious regardless of the fact that you may or may not be “addicted” whatever that means! Go to mass frequently and place this issue before Our Lady. That’s all I can do in my case, I don’t know what else to do or recommend to you.

pax tecum

I just wanted to say, your point about presumption was one I’d never heard of before, so thank you. I guess in a way, I’ve always just assumed the Confessional was always there, that redemption was at most, only six days away…I suppose I’ve been taking God’s Mercy for granted…Now I shall despair! :crying:


Anyhow! Thanks for that! Presumption and despair are two of the sins that are rarely ever covered well in many Examinations of Conscience.

I think it’s fairly important to realize than any addiction, I think, has both physiological (sp?) and spiritual elements to it. So realize that it’s not just your body and your brain, but also demons weighing in on your soul.

Point is, a healthy, active body is one that isn’t given over so easily to disordered desires. Proper diet, plenty of exercise, all these lead to a better physical being. A rotten body is one that can more easily be tempted. So I feel!

And then comes the spiritual aspect of addiction, which is why I join Fr. Corapi in saying “Use the 9-1-1 method”, 9 Memorares, 1 Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and 1 Rosary.

And of course, the Sign of the Cross was often used to chase away the Enemy. If at once you don’t succeed, try, try again. Our foe has not the stamina to stand against a zealous heart.

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I confess I just a little while ago did the sin of masturbation (for me, it plays out in these online sexual role-playing games, and thus also involves lying and being a stumbling block/scandal), but I just went to Confession today.

I think you are certainly doing the right thing by asking advice and I think it’s best to go to confession whenever you can.

However, I think that sometimes when a sin overwhelms you so much it is because of a lack somewhere else. The devil finds your holes and knows exactly where to tempt you. By this, I mean we must build our walls, our moats, our castles. We must sharpen our swords and our lances. If we are being attacked we can’t just wish the attacker to go away and if we ask God, God certainly hears our prayers, but as every good Catholic knows we believe in faith and works. I think that your prayers are certainly a good thing, a great thing actually. As, way too many people just succumb and say the hell with it, I can’t do anything about it anyway, I’ll just do it. You’re fight must be two-fold though. The best battle against sin is to not be idle and still. This is when you are most vunerable. Always pray, pray constantly. Read apologetics. Read papal encyclicals. Study some latin. Do anything other than the idleness that will cause you to be cornered. Once you find yourself in the situation of, “oh man, I’m gonna do it. I don’t want to, but I’m gonna do it” go somewhere. Call someone. Go for a run. Get yourself out of that situation. And if it’s 2am and you’re about to go to bed and you find yourself being tempted say the liturgy of the hours.

The fight will not be easy, it will be bloody, but with Christ you will not fail in the end.

I think it can become very easy to just focus so much on avoidance and to forget that we must find something to fill the gaps. Hopefully, they will be good and holy things that fill the gaps. Instead of committing sin you can be doing something to make yourself a better person and to strengthen your defenses.

I know that my words may not help. But I pray that you find a way to rid yourself of this sin.

Single men who have a natural tendency toward a high sex drive will have the most difficulty refraining from masturbating from time to time. Some men have a naturally low sex drive and control isn’t that difficult. My hat is off to you guys that can refrain 100%.

The truth is, most men will do this occasionally for the majority of their adult lives no matter how much they wish they didn’t. The bigger sin is allowing the guilt to interfere with your ability to enjoy the life that God has given you along with your ability to be helpful and of service to others.

Prayer and confession are always helpful, but you must never torture yourself emotionally over this issue. God knows your heart. Do your best. Ask God to take this habit away (on his time table) and ask him to help you turn the guilt you feel into desire reach out to others and do some good deeds.

Be at peace~


Very, very good advice.:slight_smile:

That is why I am a serial seducer of women :stuck_out_tongue:

It seems to me that a good place to start would be to stop playing these games. :wink:

Also keep away from Playboy

Being addicted to a sinful act doesn’t take out the sin from the act, all it does is it mitigates a person’s culpability as compared to someone who commits the sin maliciously. In other words there is nothing to be proud about being an addict as if it will totally destroy the sinfulness of the act. All it does is reduce the extent of sufferings in hell as compared to someone who does it out of malice. Of coarse this only is true if the person dies unrepentant.

I struggle with this as well. I came across They have the way of Purity course if you desire to break free from sexual impurity.

May God grant us a quite night and a perfect end

Nobody who feels even a shread of guilt after masturbating could have done it out of malice. Catholic men who do this on a regular basis and feel some level of shame are very likely addicted to one degree or another. Repentance has nothing to do with addiction and recovery. I’ve read Fr. Schouppes book called “Hell”. and it’s companion “How to Avoid Hell” As far as I am concerned these books are nothing short of spiritual abuse and do untold psychological damage to someone struggling with sexual addictions.

Your reply doesn’t make sense at least with regards to anything i said. Who mentioned guilt, repentance, recovery and those books you named?

It would seem to be difficult to masturbate w/ ‘malice’. After all, malice, in a legal sense, means the “evil intent on the part of a person who commits a wrongful act injurious to others”. Well, I know, personally, my ‘goal’ in masturbation is not to do evil, but to pleasure myself.

It doesn’t matter if your goal is masturbation in the legal sense of Malice. If you accidentally kill someone while robbing them then you are guilty of malice under the law. If adam committed such a great sin by taking an apple because God told him not to, then certainly you’re justifications about you not “trying” to do evil, doesn’t matter. Eve wasn’t trying to do evil when she took the fruit.

Well, under Church law, you might not be guilty of the malice of murder, although definitely of the robbery. What things like addiction do is possibly reduce the consent (lack of full consent=not a mortal sin).

No, it is a mortal sin but culpability is reduced. There is no escape.

That is not what I have had Priests tell me.

I’m not surprised. Some Priests don’t label the act a sin.

Let’s clarify this. If the act has become habitual in the person, responsibilty and culpability are lessened, but it doesn’t free the person from the responsibility of the sin.

Make sense?

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