Hey everyone, ever since 9th grade I’ve been masturbating and every time I went to confession I could go maybe one day at tops without masturbating. It’s one the biggest problems I have. When I started it, I did not know that it was actually wrong until one day my theology teacher told us masturbation is a sin. I’m 21 as of now and majority of that time I have masturbating, I’ve known it was wrong and feel ashamed after each time I do it. It causes so much lust in my head but it seems like it’s impossible to stop, each day I keep telling myself “oh I’ll just stop tomorrow” and a good 7 years have passed by. Although last February I was able to stop when I met this girl and just the simple fact of talking with her helped me stop masturbating because I thought to myself how will I ever love her if I watch porn and lust after other women? Then she left and I barely see her anymore. Then I just stumbled upon an adult film on Youtube towards the end of July. It made all the lustful thoughts to come back again and on the 31st of August I started watching porn and masturbating all over again. On the 7th of August this girl I was talking bout messaged me and I started talking with her and explained my problems to her. It gave me some relief and I stopped masturbating for 3 days and yesterday I did it again. So I decided to do check up on some videos on how to stop and found the youtube channel for catholic answers and I took some advice and every time I feel like watching porn or masturbating I pray to God. I’ve tried praying to God before but sometimes it doesn’t work. I just really need to stop masturbating and watching porn but it’s so addicting. My whole life, just the presence of this girl is the only thing that’s helped me stop watching porn but she is busy with college and other obligations so we talk like once a month at tops.
Do you do face-to-face confession and do you have a regular priest that hears your confession? If not, this may help.
Also, consider finding a spiritual advisor (doesn’t necessarily have to be the priest who hears your confessions) to talk to about what’s going on.
Usually I do non face-to-face confessions and I go for confession at my parish church, the priests I go to vary. As for a spiritual leader 90% of the people I know regardless Catholic or not tell me something like “masturbation is natural” or “everyone does it”. As for today I’ve wanted to masturbate at least like 3 times today and prayer is really helping.
I too had problems with this (and still feel the temptation). I also had an addiction to porn.
I have two pieces of advise:
every time you feel the urge to masturbate, start praying as many Hail Marys as needed until the urge goes away. I priest told me this and it really works.
Check out this book called Delivered from Matt Fradd mattfradddelivered.com/
You can buy it in paperback form or eBook from Catholic Answers via the link I provided.
In regards to a spiritual advisor, if you can’t find a lay person who is in line with Catholic teaching, ask your priest if he will be your spiritual advisor.
Also, if/when you have any questions (besides talking with your priest) you can also call the Catholic Answers apologist line at 619-387-7200 (they are open Monday–Friday, 9 AM–4:45 PM, Pacific)
If I can ever be of help, please feel free to PM me.
You are appealing to a Catholic forum to receive a personal and profound answer to your affliction. You are right in realizing that what the Church teaches is counter-cultural. The world absolutely tells you something different. There are plenty of resources out there for you to read up on and have access to. You can search this forum for an answer to hundreds of other questions asking exactly what your asking… But it’s still not enough…? Does someone’s personal testimony and/or another’s account of how they overcame their affliction not enough?
You need to understand the implications of your actions and what leads you to this sin. Do you have too much free time? Are you engaged in hobbys? Do you distract yourself with things that can help you? Do you avoid things that cause bad thoughts? Are you accountable? Are you truly fearing The Lord? Are you in scripture?
Look into your heart and seek the wisdom of WHY it doesn’t feel right to continue to endulge in self-gratification. Only YOU know yourself so intimately as to figure out what causes you to sin so greatly. Pray, seek counsel, be accountable… And please relax and know that God loves you.
While masturbation is a grave sin, and a lie, it’s based on some of the most amazing human truths. It is so desirable to be able to separate the truth from the lie if you want peace on this. (Though rock-hard faith to the cross can solve the answer too, you still won’t understand the nature of your battle.)
If you’re humble and intelligent, I recommend studying a Theology of the Body course, my favorite being the free Naked Without Shame series (12 hours) by Christopher West. Here’s the link: giftfoundation.org/products_naked-audio.cfm. He really brings Pope John Paul the Great’s words to life in a beautiful way, advocating freedom over repression, love over shame. It’ll help you see sex as beautiful instead of evil and you will regain, at least to some extent, your purity. When you finish it, do it again so you really begin to master it.
If a priest or lay spiritual director is telling people that there’s nothing wrong with masturbating, you need to call your diocese and:
A) alert them to this, and
B) get a referral for an orthodox spiritual advisor.
While masturbation is a sin, it is not your biggest problem apparently.
Even those who say it really is a normal life function don’t go near saying that there is anything normal about watching porn. If you were able to stop masturbating completely and still watch porn, you would have to have more self-control over your body than anybody alive. You need to stop the porn FIRST. That will lead you to stop the other stuff. Porn is fake. It’s totally useless. Get out of that trap, by praying or whatever else you want to use, and the rest will probably take care of itself.
If you want to see it in a parable form here it is. What you are doing is like coming upon a wooden bridge whose slats have broken and fallen off after the support beam was broken. When rebuilding the bridge, a foolish man would make new slats and fill in the gap left by the broken ones. He will then try to cross, only to have the slats break under his weight, and he will fall to the rocks below. The wise man will fix the support beam, then come back and replace the slats. Because the bridge has strong support, he will then be able to cross the bridge without another collapse happening.
Please see the following thread for additional insight and advice:
*] List of Catholic Websites for Battling Impurity
*]Specific Questions About an Old Topic: Masturbation