Masturbation due to vivid dreams

I have searched and search, but have yet to find a thread asking exactly what I need to ask.

I converted to Catholicism this year. Before becoming catholic, I believed masturbation was okay.

Since becoming catholic, I am still trying very hard to quit in case the church it right. (It is not a dogma, therefore it’s rule that doesn’t preach infallibility. Here is the link explaining different teaching of the catholic church

I believe I am or was addicted to masturbation before becoming catholic, as I’ve been doing it for over ten years. Started when I was 10 or 11 and I am now 22. The longest I’ve gone was three weeks without doing it.

I tend to have extremely vivid sexual dreams that often cause me to masturbate. I must stress that I am awake when I masturbate, however sometimes it right after I awake. These dreams greatly trigger me and it is so difficult to stop myself. What am I supposed to do when my triggers are my own dreams that I cannot stop? Am I under mortal sin every time? I definitely feel like it’s against my will to have those dreams and be so triggered, but maybe I could fight the urge harder? I even tried to get up and distract myself one time, but still failed.

The Church’s teaching on the sinfulness of masturbation is an infallible teaching.

It is best to speak to a confessor about this. Due to your history of addiction to masturbation, your culpability might be mitigated, but a priest would be the one to help you figure this out.

No. It falls under authoritative doctrine. " Authoritative doctrine includes teachings that the
magisterium proposes authoritatively, but not infallibly, to guide the faith of believers. "

It is linked to the offenses of the 6th Commandment- thou shalt not commit adultery . It is not adultery per se. It involves the sex organ, and purpose of the sex organ which was designed by God for the propagation of the human race. And this is done in the union of male and female in marriage. So the act is a divergence from its original purpose, and instead of being a means to an end (propagation) it has become the end in itself(the sensual pleasure of sex) For every act that that is not morally right, if committed frequently, it become a vice. To overcome this bad habit, vice, one has to oppose it frequently in order for the habit to become a virtue. This will be a spiritual battle that must be waged with determination, with all the spiritual help available. eg. frequent confession, much prayer, mortification of the eyes, and the sensual pleasures of the body. Avoid all occassions to this sin This won’t be easy, as you are adicted to this habit and the world won’t make it easy for you either So don’t be surprised if you have vivid dreams and sometimes fall. Be a good warrior, with God’s help. If you get knocked down, turn to God and get up. You have a dirty fighter against you, Satan. Don’t let him push you around, and hit you below the belt. He knows all our weaknesses. Keep up the good fight, you will win with Jesus in your corner.

From Persona Humana of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith

The traditional Catholic *doctrine * that masturbation constitutes a grave moral disorder is often called into doubt or expressly denied today… Whatever the force of certain arguments of a biological and philosophical nature, which have sometimes been used by theologians, in fact both the Magisterium of the Church - in the course of a constant tradition - and the moral sense of the faithful have declared without hesitation that masturbation is an intrinsically and seriously disordered act. Vatican Website

The grave sinfulness of masturbation is a doctrine taught by the Magisterium of the Church from constant tradition. Doctrines are infallible.


Doctrine The word doctrine comes, by way of the Latin doctrina, from the Greek word doxa, meaning belief. The doctrine(s) of the Church, therefore, are those teachings which must be believed by the faithful. These include 1) dogmas, teachings which the Church has solemnly defined as formally revealed by God, and, 2) other teachings definitively proposed by the Church because they are connected to solemnly defined teachings. The first (dogmas) can be called doctrines of divine faith, the second doctrines of catholic faith. Together they are said to be “of divine and catholic faith.” Both kinds of doctrine require the assent of faith. Both are infallibly taught by the Church. Dogmas require it because they are formally revealed by God. Doctrines definitively proposed by the Church require it, because the infallibility of the Church in matters of faith and morals is itself divinely revealed. A side note, doctrine shares the same root as orthodox, meaning correct belief. Those who hold the Church’s doctrines faithfully are thus orthodox. EWTN

So, we follow that ‘rule’ because it’s tradition? I find that quite foolish.

Basically, I only don’t do it because of fear. Fear that the church may be right, but every single thing I’ve read has never convinced me that it is absolutely sin. It’s such a silly little thing and I don’t understand why God cares

ynotzap answered it for you. He cares because he wants it done the right way but how can you get pleasure from a woman if you are desentized to it because your brain only sees and responds to you because it is so use to you that it blocks out anything else(I need a phychologist to explain it, i failed at that.) but it is a real brain issue.

I think St. Paul made a very easy definition of sin when he said, “anything not from faith is sin,” and, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Taken to its logical end, any form of pleasure for itself is sin. Any act that does not serve God is sin. Eating when you’re not hungry is sin. Getting a back massage for no legitimate reason other than pleasure is sin. Watching tv for entertainment is sin. Ignoring someone who needs help is sin. Masturbating is sin.

Everytime a Christian sets out to do something, no matter how insignificant, has to be first judged in light of the question: will this serve God? And if the answer is no, then what other activity can be done instead?

Maybe this is why Jesus said, “the road to life is narrow, and there are few who find it.”

I’m sort of hesitant to be baptized for this reason. Maybe it seems a bit extremist, but when I think about Jesus’ words and the way saints lived, it’s intimidating.

I suppose it can be said that love is an act of the will, and that “to love” is to act, rather than say it or think about it. I read somewhere that pain can be defined as that which contradicts the will, and that what pain is to us, sin is to God (because to sin is to contradict God’s will).

Quitting masturbation is not a hard thing. I’m 26 and I managed. It’s certainly not as hard as being one of the Christians executed by ISIS or the government in North Korea.

Really? You think any form of pleasure is a sin? That’s way too extreme

I really don’t think it is.

I don’t really pay attention to private revelation, but there was one from a few centuries ago that got my attention. If I remember correctly, Jesus said that thousands of people had died that day, and all but two went to hell.

That is not quite right, but seems to echo the thoughts underlying the Cathar heresy that saw the physical world and pleasure as evil.

Physical pleasure in of itself in not sinful. Simply doing something pleasurable instead of something holy is not a sin either. It is when that pleasure is sought outside of its proper place or to the exclusion of all other things that it becomes a problem.

The use of the sexual faculties is meant to be used in marriage for procreation and strengthening the marriage bound. The sexual faculties is to join the two in one flesh and should be a gift from one spouse to the other. Masturbation is gravely disordered because it takes a gift from God, intented to allow mankind to share in the act of creation, and turns it to a selfish act. Just like you wouldn’t take consecrated hosts and cover them with cheese whiz for horderves, you shouldn’t take the sex act and turn it into something not intended by God. It also can involve the denigration and objectification of other people if they are used as a “prop” in a person’s sexual fantasies. In all cases masturbation is about the self and not about a bound with a spouse as intended.

We believe it to be a sin because God has told us it is through His Church which cannot err on matters of faith & morals. It is not just some sort of man-made tradition, but something that God has revealed to us centuries ago. It is not a trivial matter to masturbate, otherwise it wouldn’t be a mortal sin. God made the reproductive system to reproduce within the bonds of Holy Matrimony. When it is stimulated by one’s self for the sake of pleasure, it is an action that is contradictory to its God-given purpose and thereby an act against the Will of God, which is sin.

Doctrines are not per se infallible.

Some are via the universal and ordinary Magisterium but it would not be correct to say that all doctrines are infallible.

That though does not change the reality that we receive and live the Teachings of the Church -be they infallible or not…

(this post there is though only addressing those three words. I am not addressing the subject of Masturbation)

Yes. There is no question - such an act is grave matter for mortal sin. It is intrinsically and gravely disordered.


"Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action."138 “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of “the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.”

As to the moral culpability -that is a matter a regular confessor can assist with. In order to commit a mortal sin there need to be not only grave matter but full knowledge and deliberate consent. And there can be factors that lessen culpability - (one still though is to avoid such and avoid near occasions etc). Ones confessor can assist one.

Thank you for the correction. I suppose I should have said “doctrines that are concerned with faith or morals are infallible”.

There are doctrines that concern faith and morals that are infallible sure. But just because a doctrine concerns faith and morals does not make it infallible.

Anyhow as noted we receive and live the teachings of the Church. And this one is very clear as has been noted - tis intrinsically grave.

Could you give an example of when a Church teaching regarding faith or morals is not infallible? I always thought the Church was infallible whenever it spoke on these.

Your confusing the definition of Papal Infallibility - part of the criteria of which is that that it must be a matter of “faith and morals” (so the confusion is understandable here). Matters that are infallible via the universal ordinary Magisterium also of course will regard matters of faith and morals. As well as when such is done via an Ec. Council.

But all these both cases there is more to them being “infallible” than merely being a matter of faith and morals - otherwise there would not be other criteria needed for them to be infallible.

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