Sexual arousal and sin


I met a girl at a youth conference this past weekend, I held hands with her on the bus ride back to the parish, but I couldn’t help getting aroused/erection. Was this a sin? I plan on having lunch with her this Saturday, is it a sin for me to hold hands with her knowing I will get aroused/erection?


just means you are a perfectly normal male. So few of them left in USA.
If you didnt get attraction we should be worried. Course it could easily lead on to ‘sin’ so you need to moderate your touching etc. Body is just signalling that you are ‘normal’.


You know this is a good question. And I have many like this. If not so much for me some other young people I know. Is there a good source of alot of this type of information? I’m a single older man but I know a lot of younger people and they need this. Especially from a Catholic point of view.


It’s normal for a man to be aroused by women. And you aren’t obligated to tell her you’re aroused by her when you’re holding hands or even exchanging a chaste few kisses. A) she probably already suspects this since it is both common and natural and B) sometimes it can be a case of TMI that causes embarrassment.

I have talked to a few men about this very subject and I tell them this “It’s no sin for sexually arousing thoughts to cross your mind. This is normal. The sin is entertaining them.” It’s like the difference between seeing a co-worker in the hall and politely nodding vs seeing a co-worker in the hall and inviting them over for dinner and conversation. Don’t feed the thought. Give it a nod and send it on it’s way.

Basically, acknowledge the thought and then start thinking of something else. As in “Yes, I have just had a sexually arousing thought about X. I know this is not appropriate in this context, so I am going to think about .”


Indirect sexual arousal may happen with good actions (like holding hands) - one is of course not to consent to such or seek it.

One is to make good judgments via the virtues of chastity, modesty and prudence. Such as one might change the situation etc.

It is difficult to advise somewhat in the abstract - but certainly for particular advice ones confessor can also be of assistance. (there is an article on EWTN which one can search out called “dating -whats too far” that can be of good help - I do not link it here due to their copyright notice- so not sure if they allow links) - I would add though- that when they say “as soon as he begins to enjoy…” under “pure intent”… it would mean before knowing consent…)


God made our bodies the way they are. He, in his infinite wisdom, decided to give men the ability to become aroused and erect on the slightest provocation. :smiley: That’s just how your body works and probably will work until your hormones die down a bit.

So no, it is not a sin! Or even close! It’s part of what makes you human and alive! You aren’t masturbating furiously; you shared an intimate and very, very sweet moment with a young lady. Any arousal that occurred is natural and very obviously against your will.


I read that article, but then there was a different article on ewtn (search Heavy “Petting” ewtn) that states

All sexual arousal waits for marriage. We
can happily enjoy watching attractive members of the opposite sex,
but we avoid doing what we know will induce sexual arousal or desire
for sexual activity. If we find ourselves inadvertently aroused or
desirous, we stop whatever is causing it. All sexual arousal and
desire outside marriage is a mortal sin if it is engaged in with full
knowledge that it is sinful and if there is a deliberate decision to
do it anyway.

which seems to contradict what I have been told on here, so i’m worried.


This is different from a situation where chaste affection causes a bodily response. You are a young man and this is a very common thing for young men courting young women they are interested in and attracted to. My own husband took me to dances in high school (we were high school sweethearts) and it happened to him spontaneously a couple times. We were not being provocative, simply dancing near to each other. Of course, since I was very attracted to him, too, I became aware of it and it was flattering but we didn’t encourage anything further. Just finished our dance and went to get some punch. Another situation where chaste affection can cause unexpected arousal in young men.
Similarly, holding hands or chaste kisses on the cheek or lips can be enough to cause this. You do not need to avoid any chaste affection merely because this happens. Just focus on discretion (mostly to avoid embarrassment) and your enjoyment of the company of the young lady. Your body will become more accustomed to her presence, and it will settle down.

I do hope things work out with the young lady. It sounds like you are quite attracted to each other. Good luck!


Thank you for the support, but could you explain to me how the “heavy petting” article is different?


Because it is addressing heavy petting and other such behaviors. It is not the same thing as chaste affection such as hand-holding and little kiss on the cheek or lips. Being close to an attractive woman you are courting may be enough to cause incidental arousal for a while, as your body gets used to following your will in this respect, but that does not mean that you must stay away from woman you find attractive in order to avoid incidental arousal.
The caution to avoid activities that lead to arousal is addressing things that might be better reserved for the context of marriage. Heavy petting is meant to cause arousal. Hand-holding is not meant to cause arousal, but it may sometimes occur, especially while you are young and in an early stage of relationship.
When you notice arousal within yourself, that is just a sign that you really are attracted to this young lady, and you can just mentally move on, as you refocus upon your conversation or shared activity. It is nothing to worry about. It is not a sin to be aroused. What would be a sin in to purposefully seek that arousal out, to encourage and prolong it, to entertain it with fantasizing. You have mentioned none of those behaviors being involved in your experience, so what has happened is merely a natural and passing occurrence and it gives you a good sign that your body is healthy and working properly.


The article I mentioned breaks things down more and note the second article you mentioned is addressing a very particular act -which is in the “do not do” section of the other article…(direct arousal).


thank you all for the help:)

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