Masturbation... I know it’s a sin

I didn’t know where to put this topic. I found this forum by googling about why mastubration is a mortal sin. I believe in the Catholic Church and know that this is a sin. I tried to give it up for lent. But I really don’t want to anymore. It’s awkward because I’m a female and usually males speak more openly or are the ones who do this more I think. Or it just seems more shameful to be a female saying I want to masturbate. So I know it’s a sin now and understand why, now what? I want to again. But I want to do what God wants. Am I sinning just by wanting to? I want replies to say “it’s ok you can fail and masturbate and God will still love you and you are still a Catholic” but really I DONT want those replies because I know they aren’t true.

I guess a little about me might help. I just did the RCIA last Easter was baptized. I’m 23 and just graduated college last year. I was sexually abused as a child and don’t like anyone touching me sexually. I don’t have a boyfriend and don’t really want one even if I feel attracted to a guy. I rationalized masturbation to myself by saying it’s normal since I don’t want to be married and ever let a man control me. I know I was lying to myself.

I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or anything like that. I work FT, I have great friends, no Catholic friends or family though. I go to mass and I especially like giving devotion to Mary. I put a miraculous medal under my pillow when I wanted to give up masturbation for lent to help me.

So I guess I’m writing this because I don’t want to give in and sin! Can anyone give me words to help please?

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The answer to your question is:

  1. Wanting to do something is not a sin and emotions are not sinful in and of themselves.

  2. God loves all of us and wants everyone to be saved

  3. We must flee from sin and not commit a single mortal sin.

Therefore, come up with a plan. Put on filtering software (Covenant Eyes) onto your phone if it involves pornography. If it involves sinning late at night, immediately fall into prayer as soon as a temptation arises. Identify triggers, make a game plan, and watch YouTube such as Matt Fradd and others who have excellent resources for avoiding this sin.

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Talk to a priest and a therapist. Praying for you.


Welcome to Catholic Answers!

Wanting to is a natural inclination you have because you’re an animal with sexual appetites. As also an intellectual being you’re capable of making rational moral choices based on your ends as a person and human being. You can recognize what our sexual faculties are for and make knowledgeable choices. The desire to masturbate is not sinful in itself, but you are called not to do it and not to indulge in lustful fantasies. Emotions and feelings are good and are to be experienced, but they should not run roughshod over reason.

Sexual expression has its place in marriage. I don’t encourage you to rush into marriage, but I think St. Paul recognized that some of us don’t have any easy time… er… not expressing ourselves, and why he encouraged some into this option. And the Church certainly considers marriage and relations between husband and wife to be a good and holy thing.

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Prayer can help immensely. Here are two simple, easy to remember methods, one from the East, the other from the West:

When temptation comes, and it will, say quietly: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me!” This is called the Jesus Prayer in the Eastern Church. It is powerful and has been used by countless saints over the centuries.

A Western method is to use what is called a binding prayer. When struggling with this, try saying: “In the name of Jesus Christ I bind you, spirit of lust (it can actually be used for any of the Seven Deadlies) and set you at the foot of the Cross to be judged by Our Lord.”

A few quick points. First, don’t expect these to be magical. Falls can, probably will, still happen. But remember that God sometimes uses even our falls to help us grow in the spiritual life - they give us humility.

Second, remember that, as other posters have mentioned, the temptation itself is not sinful - the vast majority of the human race has dealt with this sin in some way, shape or form. So you have good company! The important thing is to fight it, and to never, ever, give up. One of the early monks, when asked what one does in a monastery, replied, “We fall, and get up again, then fall, and get up again…” This is true.

Finally, don’t let the second, binding prayer, make you think all these temptations come from demons. Some might, to be sure, but many will simply bubble up from the simple fact that we are human with a fallen, damaged, nature. The demons are good at stirring things up, God knows, but don’t give them too much credit! Still, I have found this prayer very effective in getting my mind back on track.

It also goes without saying that the sacraments, especially those of confession and the Eucharist, are immensely helpful. God bless you!


I second that. Replace bad habits with good habits. Meet the evil at the doorstep and close that door.

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I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to each for the replies. It helped a lot maybe just to write this here and share how I was/am struggling. I read before phrases like prisoner of the flesh or being a slave to sin, and that you’ll feel free once you don’t give in. Well I don’t exactly feel free but I feel like I maybe broke one link in the chain at least by not giving in today. I wrote my post instead of indulging my sin. I like the suggestions here and will continue to use them. I installed the software and I have my rosary on my desk ready. Thank you again. I didn’t really realize how much this effected me until today! Crazy! It felt weird going out and not having done this and I was thinking how I thought sins felt good but really they don’t just in the moment but every sin ends up hurting us from lust to gluttony. Maybe they feel good but hurts our bodies and mind later. I was thinking maybe that’s why God says those are the mortal sins because they hurt us. Anyway I WILL do this with Help!


I would recommend getting in the habit of frequent confession. Especially in the case of overcoming this particular sin. Maybe seek out a spiritual counselor or Catholic therapist. Also, I didn’t read all the replies so I don’t know if anyone has said this but the term for the desire to sin is concupiscence. Something all of us are afflicted by in one way or another.

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I have heard it said that the basis of friendship is the moment where you say “you too? I thought I was the only one” and that this is often the experience when women tell other women about these struggles (I’m a guy so it is a bit different, though still awkward conversations).

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This may get me in hot water on the forum. Not all sins are equal. They desire is not the same as acting upon the ‘want.’ When the ‘want’ or desire is the result of childhood abuse I believe that mitigates the sin somewhat. Yet the sin is a serious sin. That you are trying hard to overcome this is commendable in the eyes of the Lord. Will you fail at times. Probably Will ‘pick yourself up’ continue to ‘go and sin no more?’ That’s up to you? Will it be difficult? Yes, but each time you ‘overcome’ you ‘win one for the Giffer.’ Don’t give up. Each time you give it a ‘win’ you are a little bit stronger in the face of your adversary. I know I should be telling you to go to confession, a host of platitude, seek counseling…but you already know these things…right?? I wish you peace and srength on behalf He who forgives all sins.

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I read all the replies and they are all kind and gentle and give good advice. Forgive me if I go off into left field at times. Peace.

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I myself as a teenage girl used to struggle a bit with masturbation. I have always been embarrassed to say that it was a thing I did.

The key is to be patient. Don´t let yourself be too upset each time you fall, but repent it. The lust and want to commit the sin normally reduces the longer you stay away from it.

The biggest lie the devil draws when you are trying to quit a sin is that you will be free if you don´t bring these limitations of acts to do and not to do upon yourself. This is a grave lie. You need to be set free from this sin and its powers over you.

Jesus is the one you need to ask for help from. Through His grace, you may be set free.
Pray and ask God to lead you and help you to quit this sin, you will be living more freely if you choose to take this battle against sin and the temptations of the devil.

For the record, you basically almost said that because of you being sexually abused as a child - you still struggle with sexuality and with men in a sexual way and in a relationship. I think this is something that could use to be addressed by a doctor or a therapist. This is something that you may process through the help of others.

I hope for you to grow in virtue and use this challenge as a way for you to grow personally.

In Jesus´ name I pray

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Lord, please give her strength to seek guidance and to be led towards virtue by Your holy Spirit. May she feel Your presence, and that you always stay with her.

Feel free to send me a PM if you need someone to talk to :slight_smile:

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Sounds like you are in a quandary or a delicate state. Any time we make a moral decision we have to consider what is involved. It is very complex. There are three variables involved when we look for the moral pathway and they are matter, circumstance, and intention. I’m not a moral theologian so you might want to ask a priest about how to differentiate the three into what you are experiencing. Anyone can see how complicated it can be and it would be difficult to help you navigate the passions based on the information you give. You can think of the passions as wild horses.
Sexuality is very difficult to understand. If you think of the soul as the image of a tree, the leaves above, are in the sunlight and that is what we are mostly aware of. The roots are in the darkness and it is not very easy to see. The problem with sexuality is that it can be obscured by our past experiences and it is an avenue to awareness that is confusing to navigate. In this context darkness is that which is not known not necessarily what is evil.
Pope John Paul 2 wrote a book called, “Original Unity of man and woman.” It relates our sexuality to the book of genesis.
Also, books about the, “Song of Songs.” This book is about the divine romance with the soul. I am thinking about St. Teresa of Avila’s, Song of Songs but, there may be other catholic writers as well. I don’t know if these books will solve the problem completely but, it will give you something to contemplate and you will be more aware of why you are drawn to ask questions.
Always know that God will always love you. God never changes.
Also, Jesus uses our weaknesses as an opportunity to give us grace.

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