I, as a male sex addict (like recovering alcoholics we are always addicts even if we are presently sober – so far – in my case, masterbation to pornography and mental fantasies), second what Michael Howard says in the above post.
On the spiritual level, Jesus tells us that if we look at a woman lustfully, we have already committed adultery with her in our heart. And St. Paul also tells us not to live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. I think most men who act out do so looking at images of women or think of themselves with actual women they know or have seen, like my neighbor’s wife.
Masterbation is also selfish because it involves being in love with oneself in terms of fantasy and my own self-gratification above all and before anyone else. If my wife were not such a saint, she would have divorced me long ago because I was too busy acting out with my “fantasy girlfriends” to share a loving sexual relationship with her. As my need for sexual gratification escalated, my helpless wife could no longer compete with the always-willing, always-stunning, super-sexy women in my mind and imagination, or the make-believe porn queens on the computer screen who could be all things to all men in the realm of fantasy. Thus, masterbation has robbed my wife and I of a divinely ordained sexual relationship and obligation to each other, has distracted me from growth in my spiritual life and relationship with God, and has exposed me to financial and legal risks. I am talking as a male (I don’t know about the dangers of masterbation for females; they are drawn more into love relationship addiction).
At the present time I can only hope in the Lord’s mercy towards my compulsions and weaknesses and abandonment of my wife in favor of self-gratification. I look to the Holy Spirit for His grace and strength to continue the battle.
For men, who lust with their eyes as many men do, it is extremely difficult to avoid stimulating images–even in Church these days. Don’t let yourself be deceived into thinking that a “little” self-indulgence will stop there, or that the physical benefits or psychological “normality” of masterbation is license to get into it. This is the message from the World, Flesh and Devil.