Sexual sin/engagement/self-control


I am 23, graduating college in May. Cradle Catholic. Uneducated in much about our religion by my parents, though they practice Catholicism. Deluded and naive early in my teen years, educated briefly in sexual matters, but not in morality or in terms of the Church very well.

Now comes the issues:

  1. I was a pathological liar/thief from childhood after recognizing the benefit (in my eyes as an 8-year old) from lying/embellishing
  2. I found myself masturbating in my early teens, perhaps in blissful ignorance of the truth of the severity and longevity of those sexual sins.
  3. It’s still a problem today, and actually porn is not the issue, and somewhere psychologically there is probably an element of addiction, although I don’t know how “engrained” it is.

As for all the lying, that is basically resolved. I lied to my fiancee back when we were dating about the stuff I was hiding and some painful infiedlity also. A deluded and perhaps a bit deranged in my first couple college years, progress would be an understatement to where I am now. I fessed up to her completely with lots of icky details a few years ago, and she hung on to let me try to change, and I have been changing… but here I am stuck again at a sort of plateau. The lying and all that is gone, as well as the infidelity (and some alcohol use that was with it), but I’m REALLY struggling to gain much ground on the sexuality stuff on my own and within my relationship with Future Wife.

I may already know some of the answers, but I suppose I’m posting here to get my feet wet and listen for good advice.

What I have so far is:

  1. Stop laying down together on a bed EVER when in private.
  2. Remember the severity of the actions, chastity will help lead to a successful marriage that lasts forever, including abstinence issues during NFP, post birth, and at other random times
  3. Actually treat the sins as mortal sins, instead of feigning ignorance and allowing them to “count” as venial in my mind.
  4. Reopen communication with my fiancee about the masturbation problems – and that they aren’t improving.



I am currently listening to a tape set by Fr. Emmerich–spiritual advisor to Mother Teresa and he was just talking about sexual sins. He is a big advocate of Sex Addicts Anonymous. is his website

Detaching with Love: Principles of the Spiritual Life. In this series of five, one-hour lectures, Fr. Emmerich presents the principles of the spiritual life, addressing the nature of true detachment, self-rightous behavior, the necessity of self-knowledge, the role of the passions, problems of purity, and the need for appropriate boundaries. Realizing that inner peace is a gift from the Risen Lord: “Peace is my farewell gift to you”, Fr. addresses the reasons why we seldom find the peace of Christ dwelling in our hearts. We make the mistake of looking to the world - how others behave, treat us, or what they think about us - as the source of our serenity. In this series we learn us to “detach with love.” The series comes on 5 CDs for $35.00.

is the tape set to which I’m listening.

St. Augustine would be an excellent patron for you.

God bless.


I just finished listening to the tape on sexual sins. Father Emmerich emphasizes that the secretive nature of addictive sins allows them to continue. He is a big advocate of 12 step programs.

but, if that’s not available to you, I’d suggest talking frankly with your confessor, asking him to be someone who could hold you accountable on a regular basis. Then, some of the consequences of secrecy would be abated.

Some of the SAA literature looked really good.

Also, I forgot to mention how commendable it is that a young man of this era is reforming his life with such determination! Persevere!

St. Augustine waited until he was 30 to reform his addiction to lust. In the mean time, he caused all manner of pain to God, his illegitimate child, his lover and of course his mother.

I don’t think you should marry until you have made significant progress on lust. There’s enough stress in marriage without starting an intimate life with these kinds of patterns. But, I think you will progress quickly. Look how far you have come.


Thank you for the feedback on this. I understand the significance of the issue, and what impact it can have on my near, mid-range, and even distant future. The problem is holding all that closely so that when temptation occurs, it’s not blinding.

As for the marriage - being open with FW has been very constructive for us in so many areas. Her opinion matches yours in the lustful matters. We both have trouble separating “healthy desire” from crossing into lustful patterns, and I think a lot of attention to surroundings and private settings can be a true gateway to chastity.

As for the confessor - that’s the biggest obstacle for me right now, as I don’t really have a consistent confessor, because I go to a big cathedral and also feel scared to go back to the same priest and confess so many of the exact same sins as my last confession ---- seems like the accountability could really be a big hitter.

I have a priest in mind at a local church nearby. It can only be for the next couple months since I’m moving soon, but it’s better to move on it now instead of waiting.

closed #5

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