Overcoming Masturbation

I am trying to overcome masturbation and the use of pornography but I keep falling back into it, sometimes I can go without it for a few weeks but I always fall back into it and do it daily for a few days. Any tips on how to stop?

Thank you!

Although temptations are so troublesome and grievous, yet they are often profitable to us, for by them we are humbled, cleansed, and instructed. All the Saints endured many trials and temptations, and profited by them; but those who could not resist temptations became reprobate, and fell away. There is no Order so holy, nor place so secluded, where there are no troubles and temptations.

No man can be entirely free from temptation so long as he lives; for the source of temptation lies within our own nature, since we are born with an inclination towards evil. When one temptation or trial draws to a close, another takes its place; and we shall always have something to fight, for man has lost the blessing of original happiness. Many try to escape temptations, only to encounter them more fiercely, for no one can win victory by flight alone; it is only by patience and true humility that we can grow stronger than all our foes.

The man who only avoids the outward occasions of evil, but fails to uproot it in himself, will gain little advantage. Indeed, temptations will return upon him the sooner, and he will find himself in a worse state than before. Little by little and by patient endurance you will overcome them by God’s help, better than by your own violence and importunity. Seek regular advice in temptation, and never deal harshly with those who are tempted, but give them such encouragement as you would value yourself.

The beginning of all evil temptation is an unstable mind and lack of trust in God. Just as a ship without a helm is driven to and fro by the waves, so a careless man, who abandons his proper course, is tempted in countless ways. Fire tempers steel, and temptation the just man. We often do not know what we can bear, but temptation reveals our true nature. We need especially to be on our guard at the very onset of temptation, for then the Enemy may be more easily overcome, if he is not allowed to enter the gates of the mind: he must be repulsed at the threshold, as soon as he knocks. Thus the poet Ovid writes, “Resist at the beginning; the remedy may come too late.” For first there comes into the mind an evil thought: next, a vivid picture: then delight, and urge to evil, and finally consent. In this way the Enemy gradually gains complete mastery, when he is not resisted at first. And the longer a slothful man delays resistance, the weaker he becomes, and the stronger his enemy grows against him.

Some people undergo their heaviest temptations at the beginning of their conversion; some towards the end of their course; others are greatly troubled all their lives; while there are some whose temptations are but light. This is in accordance with the wisdom and justice of God’s ordinance, who weighs the condition and merits of every man, and disposes all things for the salvation of those whom He chooses.

We must not despair, therefore, when we are tempted, but earnestly pray God to grant us his help in every need. For, as Saint Paul says, “With the temptation, God will provide a way to overcome it, that we may be able to bear it.” So, let us humble ourselves under the hand of God, in every trial and trouble, for He will save and raise up the humble in Spirit. In all these trials, our progress is tested; in them great merit may be secured, and our virtue become evident. It is no great matter if we are devout and fervent when we have no troubles; but if we show patience in adversity, we can make great progress in virtue. Some are spared severe temptations, but are overcome in the lesser ones of every day, in order that they may be humble, and learn not to trust in themselves, but to recognize their frailty.
-The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, Chapter 13

Becoming more informed about the physiology of this addiction helps a lot – fightthenewdrug.org is a good starting point.

Great post, Robert Sock - thank you!

There is really nothing I can add. but along the lines of tackling the temptation in its early stages, you must do everything you can to eliminate near occasions of sin. If you do happen to give in, in your contrition, try to really examine where you went wrong - what you could do better next time to resist and choose God’s will, and what it was that “put you over the edge”, or even what triggered these evil thoughts in the first place.

In any case, know that some people are able to overcome this quite quickly, but more often, overcoming these particular sins is going to take time - so do not despair, and if you fall, know that God loves you and will welcome you with open arms as long as you come to him with contrition for your sins.

Before starting RCIA classes last Fall I was seriously addicted to porn and masturbation. I have been pretty good at avoiding it since then (though not perfectly). This may sound strange but one thing that has helped me A LOT was installing a free parental control software program on my personal computer (I used this: www1.k9webprotection.com). There are tons of little unwanted triggers out there on the Internet. If you’ve frequented porn sites, there will be tracking cookies on your computer that will send this information to Google who will customize those little AdChoices ads to be “porny.” They know what gets your attention. It’s unbelievably evil (so much for Google’s slogan). The software will help block these images. This way you won’t be drawn into temptation. Of course, you can always turn the parental controls off and still look at porn, but you will be making a conscious decision with full knowledge. This makes it much more likely that you won’t do it, and if you do you will have to hold yourself accountable for it. Getting off the porn will make it way easier to quit with the masturbation. The two really go hand in hand. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of anyone that had a bad masturbation problem that didn’t have a bad porn problem. Get rid of the porn and the rest will follow. If you don’t have porn images constantly entering your subconscious you won’t feel the urge as much.

Also, OP are you married or single or in a relationship? I assume you are a man?

I suggest you stop viewing pornography and find other healthy hobbies. Try painting or learning a musical instrument,or perhaps some type of woodworking. Focusing your mind and talents on healthy pursuits could definitely overcome your addiction to orgasms.

Thank you all for your advice!

Thomas1981: I am a single man.


“With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.

I am a 29 year old man who struggled with these sins from a young age. For most of my adult life, I used pornography on a daily basis. Pornography has a devastating effect on the brain and is extremely difficult to give up once the habit is ingrained. Until you become Catholic, if you fall, drop to your knees and ask God for His mercy and help. With God’s help, you will over come it. I did for two years now. I think most men (and women) will tell you that giving up these sins is a daily struggle. It is for me. Pray if you feel tempted. Put a rosary next to your computer that you can easily grab. If you don’t have a rosary, buy one and ask a Priest to bless it.

Have you read anything by Matt Fradd? If you want something free, search for some Catholic Answers Live pod casts he has done on pornography. They are wonderful and helped me.


Ok, well that makes it a little easier and a little more difficult. Easier because you don’t have to tell a spouse about your sinful addiction, more difficult because you don’t have a wife to focus your sexual energies on. May God give you the graces to overcome this. It can be done.:thumbsup:

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