Please Help: Masturbating & Mortal Sin


#1

I am 16 years old. I used to masturbate frequently, but since I found out it was a sin, I really started trying to stop. I’ve pretty much always had a very close relationship with God, but something happened last night. I always pray for forgiveness and the strength to stop masturbating each night, at times even when I don’t do it. Last night, I had the urge to masturbate, so I began reading about how masturbation is a sin online (to remind myself how wrong it is). The temptation was practically eating me alive. I read all about how it is grave matter and I got really scared. I kept trying to fight it and in the end I gave in and masturbated. I couldn’t believe it. I committed a mortal sin. I’ve been depressed ever since (and I’m a VERY happy person!) and last night after it happened I threw up numerous times because of the knot in my stomach, and I shed a few tears. I am so scared. I don’t know what I was even thinking (I didn’t really think it through), and now I’ve actually begun realizing that it’s something I REALLY need to stop immediately. I plan on never doing it again. My relationship with God means everything to me.

Being only 16, I can’t just drive to confession. This is not really something that I’m comfortable talking about with my parents, so I don’t know what to do. I also play guitar in my church’s youth mass… I can’t just not take the eucharist (which I understand is a sin when you’re under mortal sin). I am freaking out. I read so many posts that scare me about how I must go to confession right away or else I will go to Hell and I don’t have God’s grace… I’ve been praying ever since. Constantly.

Please give me some advice. I feel sick every time I think about it. I have never been so genuinely sorry about something in my entire life.

Thanks,
God Bless.

Andrew


#2

Can you also please confirm that this is mortal sin? I know about the 3 rules for it to be one, but the only thing is that I didn’t think it through. I read bad things about mortal sin and the temptation was just (once again) practically eating me alive and I just went for it. Does this still count? I’m actually freaking out right now. Curse you teenage boy hormones! :mad:


#3

CHAPTER 13 – On Resisting Temptations [The Imitation of Christ]

So long as we live in this world, we cannot remain without trial and temptation: as Job says, “Man's life on earth is a warfare.” We must therefore be on guard against temptations, and watchful in prayer, that the Devil find no means of deceiving us; for he never rests, but prowls around seeking whom he may devour. No one is so perfect and holy that he is never tempted, and we can never be secure from temptation.

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 manly 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 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.


#4

[quote="andrewp13, post:2, topic:298230"]
Can you also please confirm that this is mortal sin? I know about the 3 rules for it to be one, but the only thing is that I didn't think it through. I read all the bad things about mortal sin and the temptation was just (once again) practically eating me alive and I just went for it. Does this still count? I'm actually freaking out right now. Curse you teenage boy hormones! :mad:

[/quote]

From the Catechism:

Offenses against chastity

2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.

2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action."138 "The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose." For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of "the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved."139

To form an equitable judgment about the subjects' moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.

  1. Yes, its a grave sin.
  2. Age and addiction have an affect on how culpable someone is for their action however. Most people on here who have struggled with masturbation will tell you that its not something everyone is able to stop overnight. What you have experienced is a case where your will was unable to assert itself over a habit/possible addiction you have formed. Do not despair that you were unable to overcome it this time. Have faith in Christ and He will help you overcome this whether it takes a day, a month, or longer.

Get to confession when your able to and talk with your priest concerning your culpability for the act and your continued culpability for any future acts you commit as you attempt to overcome this sin. Don't feel embarrassed to confess this to a priest as he has heard it confessed many many times as it is a very common struggle most men face.


#5

[quote="Nate13, post:4, topic:298230"]
From the Catechism:

  1. Yes, its a grave sin.
  2. Age and addiction have an affect on how culpable someone is for their action however. Most people on here who have struggled with masturbation will tell you that its not something everyone is able to stop overnight. What you have experienced is a case where your will was unable to assert itself over a habit/possible addiction you have formed. Do not despair that you were unable to overcome it this time. Have faith in Christ and He will help you overcome this whether it takes a day, a month, or longer.

Get to confession when your able to and talk with your priest concerning your culpability for the act and your continued culpability for any future acts you commit as you attempt to overcome this sin. Don't feel embarrassed to confess this to a priest as he has heard it confessed many many times as it is a very common struggle most men face.

[/quote]

Thank you very much for this. Do you think that in my case it is a mortal sin? I'm concerned about that. I definitely plan on confessing this when I get the chance, but I'm concerned if I have committed a mortal sin and am not worthy of God's grace. Thank you.


#6

I will pray for you tonight!!

I fought this beast as well, please get to Confession and talk with a Priest. Dont give up, Its a good sign that you have recognized and are fighting!!

St. Maria Goretti and St. Joseph, Please pray for us!!


#7

[quote="mymamamary, post:6, topic:298230"]
I will pray for you tonight!!

I fought this beast as well, please get to Confession and talk with a Priest. Dont give up, Its a good sign that you have recognized and are fighting!!

St. Maria Goretti and St. Joseph, Please pray for us!!

[/quote]

Thank you! I really appreciate it. Do you think I have fallen under the category of mortal sin? You all are making me feel much better about this whole thing, but that is still my main concern. :(


#8

I have been trying to stop for five years. I continue to fail. It is an arduous fight I will likely be dealing with for the rest of my life, but Heaven is worth it, and God deserves the struggles after everything he’s done for us.

Do not despair, God loves you, and he knows you are trying to stop. Go to confession regularly, talk to your priest about ways to stop, and above all, don’t give up!


#9

[quote="ProdglArchitect, post:8, topic:298230"]
I have been trying to stop for five years. I continue to fail. It is an arduous fight I will likely be dealing with for the rest of my life, but Heaven is worth it, and God deserves the struggles after everything he's done for us.

Do not despair, God loves you, and he knows you are trying to stop. Go to confession regularly, talk to your priest about ways to stop, and above all, don't give up!

[/quote]

Thank you. I wish you the best with your fight as well! Do you think I have fallen into mortal sin?


#10

[quote="andrewp13, post:5, topic:298230"]
Thank you very much for this. Do you think that in my case it is a mortal sin? I'm concerned about that. I definitely plan on confessing this when I get the chance, but I'm concerned if I have committed a mortal sin and am not worthy of God's grace. Thank you.

[/quote]

For one, no one is worthy of God's grace by their own volition. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross has made us worthy of receiving his grace. You don't stop becoming worthy of God's grace when you are in mortal sin. Being in mortal sin, is removing yourself from God's grace not God removing his gift of grace from you. In other words being in mortal sin isn't God punishing you, its you punishing yourself if that makes sense.

In reference to your question I really hesitate to tell you either way as that is the job of a priest to look at your situation. I can tell you in general based on the situation you laid out in your post, it sounds like the culpability for sin is reduced to the point where it would not be considered mortal. The reasoning behind this is that the force of the habit prevents a person from being able to really willfully assent. I'm sure you felt like you had a gun pushed to your head forcing you to commit the act even though intellectually you knew it was wrong and did not want to do it. Talk with your priest and he can explain this idea further.


#11

Thanks. I will definitely speak to a priest when I get the chance. I guess I (or the people who’s posts I read) misunderstood the whole grace thing. Trust me, I definitely need and want God’s grace!


#12

[quote="andrewp13, post:7, topic:298230"]
Thank you! I really appreciate it. Do you think I have fallen under the category of mortal sin? You all are making me feel much better about this whole thing, but that is still my main concern. :(

[/quote]

Andrew, we can't tell you if you have mortally sinned. Only God knows. Personally, I think it is less than mortal, due to your habit &/or addiction. It appears you didn't want offend God, but succomed due to the compelled feelings. Don't let yourelf off the hook, though. Perhaps a priest might understand more fully and instruct you accordingly. He will also free you of any possible sin and guilt, through Confession.


#13

[quote="andrewp13, post:1, topic:298230"]
I am 16 years old. I used to masturbate frequently, but since I found out it was a sin, I really started trying to stop. I've pretty much always had a very close relationship with God, but something happened last night. I always pray for forgiveness and the strength to stop masturbating each night, at times even when I don't do it. Last night, I had the urge to masturbate, so I began reading about how masturbation is a sin online (to remind myself how wrong it is). The temptation was practically eating me alive. I read all about how it is grave matter and I got really scared. I kept trying to fight it and in the end I gave in and masturbated. I couldn't believe it. I committed a mortal sin. I've been depressed ever since (and I'm a VERY happy person!) and last night after it happened I threw up numerous times because of the knot in my stomach, and I shed a few tears. I am so scared. I don't know what I was even thinking (I didn't really think it through), and now I've actually begun realizing that it's something I REALLY need to stop immediately. I plan on never doing it again. My relationship with God means everything to me.

Being only 16, I can't just drive to confession. This is not really something that I'm comfortable talking about with my parents, so I don't know what to do. I also play guitar in my church's youth mass.. I can't just not take the eucharist (which I understand is a sin when you're under mortal sin). I am freaking out. I read so many posts that scare me about how I must go to confession right away or else I will go to Hell and I don't have God's grace.. I've been praying ever since. Constantly.

Please give me some advice. I feel sick every time I think about it. I have never been so genuinely sorry about something in my entire life.

Thanks,
God Bless.

Andrew

[/quote]

Andrew,
I'm a 32 year old version of yourself, only less fortunate. I wasn't tuned into God and salvation at 16 years old but I knew my acts of masturbation weren't healthy. I choose to not act on those gut feelings.

15 years later I found myself down road of turmoil and ultimately at risk of destroying my marriage. I still couldn't stop. Masturbation lead to pornography...pornography lead to promiscuity and then I got married. Once married I tried to stop....and it worked for awhile and it came back. Three times I was caught and my wife escalated each event finally threatening to leave. I failed again and finally realized no matter how much prayer I did it wasn't going to stop.

I talked to a Priest and got to a counselor for addiction recovery.

You may be thinking, wait I'm not an addict?! You may not be. I'm not sure if I'm technically an addict either. After 18 months of counseling I have never masturbated looked at porn or fallen. When I go to group 12 step sessions most people probably think that I don't need to be there because I don't have a severe problem and I have never relapsed.

Regardless if I'm an addict or not I found the true roots of my feelings and emotions that triggered the weakness to the temptation. I still get temptations, only I'm more powerful now. I can't say enough for a good counselor or priest.

Message me if you can't find anyone else. I don't want you to take another step down the wrong road.

Look up St. Maria Goretti, Pray to her.

God's peace be with you.


#14

[quote="Strawberriness, post:13, topic:298230"]
Andrew,
I'm a 32 year old version of yourself, only less fortunate. I wasn't tuned into God and salvation at 16 years old but I knew my acts of masturbation weren't healthy. I choose to not act on those gut feelings.

15 years later I found myself down road of turmoil and ultimately at risk of destroying my marriage. I still couldn't stop. Masturbation lead to pornography...pornography lead to promiscuity and then I got married. Once married I tried to stop....and it worked for awhile and it came back. Three times I was caught and my wife escalated each event finally threatening to leave. I failed again and finally realized no matter how much prayer I did it wasn't going to stop.

I talked to a Priest and got to a counselor for addiction recovery.

You may be thinking, wait I'm not an addict?! You may not be. I'm not sure if I'm technically an addict either. After 18 months of counseling I have never masturbated looked at porn or fallen. When I go to group 12 step sessions most people probably think that I don't need to be there because I don't have a severe problem and I have never relapsed.

Regardless if I'm an addict or not I found the true roots of my feelings and emotions that triggered the weakness to the temptation. I still get temptations, only I'm more powerful now. I can't say enough for a good counselor or priest.

Message me if you can't find anyone else. I don't want you to take another step down the wrong road.

Look up St. Maria Goretti, Pray to her.

God's peace be with you.

[/quote]

Thank you very much! Good to hear you're doing well. I wish you the strength to keep it up!


#15

[quote="andrewp13, post:9, topic:298230"]
Thank you. I wish you the best with your fight as well! Do you think I have fallen into mortal sin?

[/quote]

I cannot know that, it is between you and God. That said, I spoke to a priest about it just this last weekend, and he told me the church generally accepts that in instances of addiction, you are no longer engaging the will and giving full consent to the action, so there is a good chance that it is only a venial sin. That said, don't take it as carte blanche to stop trying to improve because at that point you -have- engage the will and committed a mortal sin.

I wish you the best of luck. I have found that praying the Rosary daily has greatly increased the periods of time between my breakdowns. I would definitely suggest it to you.


#16

All men struggle with sin.

Romans 7:13-25 these verses may help
Heres a bit

What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.
Now if I do what I do not want, I concurr that the law is good.
So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh.
The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not.
For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want
Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it,
but sin that dwells in me.
Romans7:15-20

Pray, Pray, Pray


#17

In your original post you wrote that
"I don't know what I was even thinking (I didn't really think it through)."

That seems to be pretty clear evidence that the sin lacked the necessary criteria for being mortal. Obviously that's not a free pass to do it again, but at least let it be of comfort to you that you are still in a state of grace, at least based on what you've revealed here.

The fear and discouragement you have are routine tricks of the devil. Yes, we should be afraid of mortal sin, but the evil one loves to lay on the guilt and doubt after the sin's been committed. Get to confession when you can, but the event you describe doesn't seem to rise to the level of mortal sin.


#18

[quote="surritter, post:17, topic:298230"]
In your original post you wrote that
"I don't know what I was even thinking (I didn't really think it through)."

That seems to be pretty clear evidence that the sin lacked the necessary criteria for being mortal. Obviously that's not a free pass to do it again, but at least let it be of comfort to you that you are still in a state of grace, at least based on what you've revealed here.

The fear and discouragement you have are routine tricks of the devil. Yes, we should be afraid of mortal sin, but the evil one loves to lay on the guilt and doubt after the sin's been committed. Get to confession when you can, but the event you describe doesn't seem to rise to the level of mortal sin.

[/quote]

Thanks! Of course it's not a free pass to do it again. It's not something I ever want to do again. It's not worth the effects and how I feel after, and also not worth damaging my relationship with God. Thanks again, to everyone! You've made me feel a lot better about my situation. I plan on confessing this when I get the chance.


#19

I cannot offer a great deal of advice except that which helped me.

I developed a "visual prayer"...After all, if we can "visualize" toward lust - why not "visualize" away from it...
So I prayed, "Father, take me to the foot of the cross", and then began thinking, visualizing myself there. Gazing on the scene of the one who died for my sins.
Hot, dry, dusty day.
The foot of the cross buried in the ground.
The wood of the cross stained black from blood and sweat.
The feet of our Lord.
Filthy and stained and dripping blood and sweat.
I did this - I put Him there - Not alone - but I helped.
Every time I sin, it is increases His pain.
If I refrain, it eases His pain.
Feel the heat of that day, the dryness of the air.
How thirsty He is.....
.....and so on....

How could I possibly sin while standing at the foot of the cross.

As a corollary to the idea of our sin putting Him there, consider how his cross is the accumulation of our sins. Each time we sin, the cross gets heavier…Each time we resist sin, the cross gets lighter.

Peace
James


#20

Over the past three years, I have also been going through this war for purity. :frowning: It’s been a long, and hard three years. At first, I barely knew what I was doing. But as I learned more about my actions, I grew curious to whether this act was acceptable to God, as I am a devout Roman Catholic, and religion comes first in my life. Upon reading about the grave consequences and just how much it can impact my relationship with God, I went into a deep depression, where I hated myself, and I had no motivation to live. I was so scared at the thought of confessing these embarrassing actions to my priest, and asking my parents to go to Confession, that I used to make myself sick. Until I could muster the strength to go to Confession, I would continuously ask God for the courage to go to Confession, and in the meantime, I would live life with a positive attitude, and try to live the purest life that I can. The following seven months were the best months of my life. Although I had the thought of Confession constantly at the back of my mind, my life had a dramatic turnaround. These months made me realize, how I in fact did not need to do this act to fulfill my desires, and how good life feels without the heavy and constant burden of guilt, shame and depression.
Then came the retreat for my Confirmation. The retreat included a day of Confession and a Healing Mass! The days before the retreat were spent researching how to do a proper confession, and preparing myself for a new beginning in my life, a fresh start. I chose to use appropriate and subtle words that made me feel comfortable, while letting the Priest know what I was talking about. I used words like “impure actions by myself,” “Looking at impure photos and videos.” The day arrived, and I chose to confess my sins to the fairly new priest, who explained why the act was sinful and what that part of our bodies was created for. As we ended my confession, it was like a re-birth, and I felt a weight being lifted off of my shoulders. I was the closest to God that I could be on Earth. Then, came the Healing Mass. At first, I worried about the reaction I would have, but I was very excited to potentially experience what my teacher described to me. I approached the altar, and the priest laid his hands on my head. The next thing I know, the helpers, the Church’s Knights, had caught me from falling. It was a surreal moment. I walked away with a warm feeling in my chest (literally), and I was so amazed that the Holy Spirit had entered my soul. :love::gopray::signofcross: That healing mass cemented my beliefs forever and I would never even think about doubting my religion again. And a word to people who want to or have attended a healing mass, believe in what you felt and DO NOT let ANYONE doubt or question that happened. Pray for them, to one day feel the same thing that you had felt. :gopray:
I thought that I would NEVER commit these acts again, but I had stumbled again a couple of months later. A browsing of the internet to help me regain focus brought me upon people claiming it was “natural,” there was “nothing wrong,” and they should “just do it.” Eager to find opinions that help me justify my desires, I listened to these opinions, and thought if everyone was doing it, “why shouldn’t I?” I began to think that it would be acceptable to God, as long as I didn’t lust or watch pornography. Oh how I was wrong. :rolleyes: Even though I tried as hard as I could, it was virtually impossible, and I kept finding that I was guilty and I felt impure. To keep myself from seeing any provocative images or videos, I downloaded a program that sensors websites, and created a strong and powerful password that I knew would help stop me from accessing the websites. I added God, or Jesus, or someone who you would make me feel guilty in the password. Plus, I felt uncomfortable doing the act with my huge cross with Jesus on it, and my statue of the Virgin Mary staring at me. I then realized, if I feel uncomfortable doing these things in front of the cross and the statue, there has to be something wrong with the acts. I realized that all along, the statues symbolized Jesus and Virgin Mary, and how they were watching over me, even when I was doing these things! The statues helped me stop and realize that if I felt like I needed to hide these things from God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary, then it probably was something I shouldn’t be doing! :idea: Keep Crosses and Statues as reminders!
This past Winter, I purchased Rosary Beads, as I heard and read of the numerous spiritual benefits that it gives you. I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW OVERLOOKED THE ROSARY IS! It works wonders. I learned to pray the Rosary, and learned about the mysteries using this website: catholic.org/prayers/mystery.php The first time I did the Rosary correctly, I was deeply shaken, in a GOOD WAY. Some of the mysteries were relevant to my life, and I felt a profound spiritual connection to the Virgin Mary. I was so touched, that I had goosebumps and I was shaking. How could I have overlooked the Rosary for all this time? The Rosary really helped me in my path to purity. I recommend it to EVERYONE!
Even though I am still going through this struggle, I look for inspiration to keep on going with websites like this, and hearing from troubled Catholics and Christians who have the same problem. I know that even though it seems humanly impossible, God works miracles, and he has a plan in store for you. Know that you are NOT alone, and God is the perfect companion to talk about your situation with. Don’t ever think for a second that he doesn’t hear you. He works in mysterious ways! :slight_smile:
Know that God is always there for you, and that there are people who are struggling like you are. I will pray for you, as I ask for you to keep me in your prayers. You always have someone out there who understands!


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