Since, my coming back to the faith a few years ago I have struggled off and on with masturbation and pornography. Thankfully through the sacraments, prayer, friends, and whatever other means of grace God has chosen, it is not the problem it once was. Sometimes it feels like a problem far from me, but others its a struggle I can’t seem to overcome. Recently, I have found the strength of will even in troubling moments to get to a better place, which gives me hope for subduing this enemy indefinitely one day soon. But that is when I am fully awake. When I am going to sleep, it is a different story.
Now i know there are things that happen at night that are out of my control. More or less natural processes. Night emmisions or whatever they are called. My problem is that when I am half asleep I will start masturbating. I can never remember the active decision to start, but given that it never happens when I dose off in public, i know my mind and will are involved even if dulled and even if i don’t remember. But as it goes on, I come back to consciousness and I have not yet found the strength to stop.
Any advice on this problem? I pray the Rosary, and the Angelic Warfare Confraternity prayers for chastity, and some of the Liturgy of the Hours. Or at least I try. The problem is definitely worse when I fail or forget to pray. But I want to make sure there isnt anything more I could be doing to address the problem more directly.
Second Question: While I have these problems, better and worse at times, here and “gone” at others, is dating an option? And if dating is an option, should I tell her that I have these problems at some point? If so, when?
If dating is not an option, at what point would I be in good enough condition to date again? How long should I wait to see if I have found the strength (in Christ always) to truly overcome these things, or if I am coasting on some divine consolations? What kind of failure would count as a relapse? What do I do if I fall after I have entered a relationship?
Thank you for any help you can give here. Or any resources you can point me to. But these two areas of thise issue have been vexing me for a long time.