Sexual sins and doing schoolwork at home


I am an eighteen-year-old guy who has a general problem with a lack of self-control, and particularly a problem with the sins of lust, masturbation and occasionally pornography (I say “occasionally” because more often than the others my internal revulsion at the idea of porn is enough to stop me from giving in to temptation, but I know it should be “never”). I can go for weeks or months without being seriously tempted, but usually when I am seriously tempted (and sometimes when I’m not very tempted physically, but just desire the pleasure), I give in.

I am most vulnerable to temptation if I am home alone, so I try to spend as little time home alone as possible. However, if I’m really tempted, sometimes even my mum, dad or brother being in the house is not enough to stop me. If my mind is on lustful things and I have a strong desire for the pleasure and/or physically feel in need of release, it’s hard to concentrate properly on doing schoolwork or useful things, and I usually feel slightly violated after doing it, which has sometimes lost me sleep when I’ve done it in bed at night. Therefore if I’m in that situation sometimes I’d rather just get it over with there and then and then concentrate on work and get a good night’s sleep.

At the moment I’m in a phase of a low sexual drive and little temptation to sin sexually, yet I still try to stay on at school or go to a public library to work, even at the weekend, rather than stay at home with the risk, however small, of sinning sexually. However, I’m also working on some history coursework which is quite long overdue, and since I’ve used quite a few heavy books which I can’t all carry to one place unless I carry my big suitcase with me (maybe I should, come to think of it), it’s considerably better if I just stay at my dad’s house, where I’m staying this weekend, and get it done there.

Since I usually take much too long to start work at home, on Saturday I’ll probably take a few books to the public library in the morning and start work there anyway, but then I’d rather come home for lunch with my family and then work at home in the afternoon. I could go back to the library and take books I need for a particular section but I’m working on cutting down the whole thing. I have lots of notes but often I need to look up a particular quote or statistic in the book itself for context. I’ll soon be working on an evaluation of the relative utility of the sources for which it’s better for me to have all the books to hand, though I could do it just from memory.

If I’m still in a position where I’m very unlikely to sin sexually by working at home with my dad and brother in the house (though it’s slightly more likely at my dad’s house than my mum’s house, since his house is bigger), do you think it’s right for me to work at home even though I’m putting myself in a position where there is a small chance of me gravely sinning? I acknowledge Matthew 5:27-30, and that my soul is more important than my studies, but you can’t avoid drawing the line somewhere. If I wanted to completely minimise the chance of sinning sexually, I’d sleep on the streets, but I have no obligation to do that.

Being indecisive generally, these decisions of whether to work at home or stay in the library stress me out and lead me to procrastinate and waste time that should be spent working. And if I work at home while not being sure whether I should be doing it or not, it makes it hard to concentrate on the work. I think though that it’s mainly that I’m afraid that I’m sinning by working at home and putting myself in that position, rather than being afraid of sinning sexually.

I’d greatly appreciate any advice.


Addiction to porn and masturbation is not uncommon. The fact that you recognize it as a grave sin and attempt to avoid it and the occasions of sin is a big plus. You know where and the conditions the temptation is the strongest and are trying to avoid them. Unfortunately, we live in this world and temptation is all around us so the battle is continuous.

Fortunately, we have a great ally to combat sin: Our Blessed Mother Mary. When you feel the urge to sin (any kind of temptation), stop what you’re doing, put yourself in a prayerful mode, and pray to Mary for her help to avoid the temptation. The Blessed Virgin is always there to help us and her intercessory prayers to her Son Jesus Christ are the most powerful tool that we can invoke. Through God all things are possible and Our Mother wants to help us.

God Bless you for your faithfulness and keep praying! Have a Blessed Lent.:thumbsup:


Here’s my two cents. Yes, you have an obligation to avoid the near occasion of sin. But there’s also such a thing as the necessary near occasion of sin, which you cannot avoid because it is deemed morally or physically necessary. You have to go home sometime, and of course you shouldn’t give up your studies, which is a great moral good, and in most cases necessary if one is to get a good job.

I’m not a priest, but I have a feeling that any good priest would tell you not to worry about the time you spend at home alone or the time you spend in your studies. What happens when you move out and live on your own? Being in a house is a state of living, and is necessary.

Also, you state that at times you have strong desires, and at other times you do not. This means that being at home alone is not always a situation where you fall into sin, which means that it probably doesn’t even meet the condition of being a near (or proximate) occasion of sin, because it only attacks you at intervals.

I don’t know if you have temptations toward scrupulosity or not. I do, and I fall into a similar thought pattern, which is why I bring it up. You might want to talk it over with a good priest if it worries you, but try not to worry too much.

Yes, go to confession when you sin, and firmly resolve to sin no more and to avoid whatever leads you to sin. But also be confident that God loves you, that he brings good even out of the bad things we do. I’ve seen this manifested in my life over and over again. Even when I do very evil things, God brings forth such tremendous good that I can’t help but be in awe sometimes.

Praying for you.


Hi Jon,
I think mrbean has it right when he says you have to go home at some point regardless. We’re all going to experience some times alone, so you’re going to have to face this one way or another.

I’m not sure if you would classify yourself as “addicted” or not to porn? They say about addiction is there’s a difference between being “sober” and being in “recovery”. In other words, just because you don’t use porn for a few weeks or a few months doesn’t mean that you’ve changed. If you feel you may be addicted (or want to get an idea of it), I’d recommend the book Integrity Restored by Peter Kleponis.

I just read it. I am in the middle of the addiction myself, so I know exactly where you’re coming from. If you are addicted, then will power isn’t going to be enough, you’ll need some help. I began attending a support group months back, and that helped tremendously.

I will pray for you


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