Specific Questions About an Old Topic: Masturbation

Peace of Christ,

   I'm seventeen years old. I attend a Catholic highschool and I'm in the CLC (Christian Life Community), the pro-life club, and am a Junior Minister. I would like to think of myself as a devote Catholic. I have a scapular around my neck and a rosary in my pocket. I attend daily mass (almost) before school and go to adoration. Despite all of this, I still am struggling with masturbation. Each time I go to confession I make that firm vow to use that new start to never commit that sin again. However it seems within less than a week I am slipping back into habit, tempted by impure thoughts. This has been going on for about 2 years now. Priests tell me different things, that its naturally for a boy my age and don't worry about it, that only through regular confession can I overcome it, and that its just natural. Sometimes I feel like I'm being scrupulous because I feel like its more of a venial sin. I know that its grave matter and that its a mortal sin, but I despise this sin, I want to be rid of it, yet I fall back into it everytime. 

I recently started dating my best friend, she has always been someone I love, I am worried that because of the sin of masturbation I cannot truley love her, or God.

Thanks for any help you can give.
Thank you.

Pray to Saint Michael. He is a powerful Saint when it comes to overcoming tempation. Also pray to Our Lady to help you with these impure urges. She will protect you.

There are a lot of techniques that can be used for this particular sin and it sounds like you’re on the right path with some of them.

Prayer, rosary, scapular, frequent confession – those are excellent. Mass and communion is a powerful remedy also.

After that, you should keep the thought of God in your mind. Don’t hesitate to affirm to yourself that you are a good person, in the grace of God. You want to be a gentleman and God wants you to be successful in His plan for you.

You can never remember enough that God loves you and His mercy is endless for you. He will wash away all your sins and make you pure and a true man for Him (and for your wife).

All of that said, there are some things that many do not want to accept. The first is that this can be a very addictive vice. This is what I think you’re suffering from.

Think of it like trying to quit smoking cigarettes – only much harder. I hate to say it like that, but it can be compulsive.

It’s a tricky sin to handle. Temptations will come upon you without warning and they can be strong. You have to be prepared with grace and strength and a strong mental formation. You become prepared by your daily effort.

I’ll mention just a couple more remedies, and there are others.

The first is aversion therapy. This is something you do yourself, you don’t need a therapist for it. Basically, you are taking pleasure and comfort for yourself – taking them from what is reserved only for marriage. So, a good way to stop is to give yourself pain each time you have a lustful thought or if you fall into that sin. Give yourself a sharp pain of some kind (not going to extremes). You will then know that this sin carries a price in pain.

Cigarette smokers do this. They make the cigarette taste bad and then they don’t want to smoke them.

For you, it’s doing something that hurts (basic idea of penance) every time you fall into this. It’s best when you just get a feeling for this sin – like you’re drifting towards it.

You also have to investigate what triggers this kind of sin. Is it the TV shows you watch or music you listen to? Eventually, you may find that something pushes you nearer to sin – in that case, get rid of it from your life.

The final remedy is the one St. Paul recommended – rather than falling into sin all the time, it’s best to get married. This will provide it’s own challenges with chastity, but you’ll have the sacrament of marriage to help you.

Unfortunately, in our day and age, nobody will recommend that a 17 year old should get married. Thus, people wait a long time and they have a lot of temptations to deal with.

I don’t know what to say on that really, except I don’t think getting married at 18 or 19 is such a horrible thing if both parties are mature and truly are friends (as you mention) and have the Catholic Faith in them.

But in any case, this sin is extremely common and very few people really work on overcoming it. Your efforts will be blessed – you’ll gain courage, wisdom and strength in the battle.

No matter what, don’t give up. If you fall, take it to confession.

You might also try a spiritual director to meet with – that can be one of the best things to do. Someone to talk with about this problem can help to bring it out of a secret sin and something that you can work on each day and each week to overcome.

God bless.

Reggie’s is great advice. Aversion therapy has proven to be successful in many cases, whether or not they pertain to masturbation.

Also consider positive reinforcement, which, combined with aversion therapy could very well help you conquer your struggles with masturbation. Have a sort of contest with yourself, and keep track of how long you can go without masturbation. Set goals and maybe even rewards, like a small treat if you can make it ____. That will make it easier to stay on the right track, and you will find that the less you masturbate, the less you want to masturbate… so eventually the temptation isn’t even there!

It can be quite the struggle, particularly for young men. This is complicated by the fact that masturbation is natural (all higher mammals do it), but as you know, just because something is natural does not necessarily mean that it is right. Through continued prayer and steadfast dedication, I’m sure that you will overcome your troubles. It IS possible, and you will be in my prayers. May God bless you!

The positive reinforcement is an excellent idea, Blizzard. It’s like trying to quit anything – it’s good to have a reward after some success. Thanks.

Ditto what’s already been mentioned. I also encourage the OP not to fall into despair when he falls off the wagon. The Devil wants you to hate yourself…Christ wants you love others as you love yourself. So when you fall, dust yourself off, go to confession if you need to, and try again. Jesus has an endless supply of do-overs. He wants you to keep trying even if at times it seems you fail more than you succeed. He doesn’t love you any less. The fact that you recognize and agonize over the sin is a wonderful grace in itself.

Buddy–when you feel tempted to perform the act, say an Our Father, Hail Mary & a Glory be for spiritual strength to resist the temptation. If you fall, get to confession as soon as possible. We’re all sinners & we all fall–the important thing is to get back in the grace of God & do your best not to sin again. God knows what is in your heart & will give you the help you need.

Pick up a copy of “The Good News About Sex & Marriage” by Christopher West and read that. It will help you to understand what it truly means to respect a woman and to respect sex. It will change your view on masturbation.

Just my :twocents: added to the other advice already offered.

BTW, the priests that tell you that it is “natural” to do are absolutely 100% wrong Sorry they are!

Also remember not to think of it in terms of “I’m never going to do this again.” Although that’s the ultimate goal, thinking of it that way can be daunting.

Think of it this way. Football teams at the begining of the season have the goal of winning the Superbowl, but you’d be hard pressed to find a coach who says, week 1, “we’re going to win the Superbowl.” If they were to say that, there would still remain that pesky reality of 16 regular season games not to mention 2 or 3 post season games. So instead they go about it one week at a time. Is the mantra of every coach in the history of athletics “the most important game’s the next one.”

This sin should be approached in the same way. When thinking about chastity, you’re goal shouldn’t be to over come every and all temptations for the rest of your life but to beat them moment by moment, as they come up.

No one expects a perfect season, but they all intend to win every game, one at a time.

Hope that’s clear and helpful
God Bless.

Great analogy. Works for everyone except New England Patriots fans. :slight_smile:

If you are looking for a totally pure sexual relationship, I think you will be disappointed. Love can be real even if slightly defective, even if extremely defective in fact.

Almost certainly marriage is a long way ahead. In the meantime you will make no meaningful promises to the girl you are dating. Above the level of “I’ll hand in your library books” promises to a person you are dating are not morally binding, unless it is a formal offer of engagement. So it doesn’t really matter whether you “truly” love her or not.

Picked up the great quote from another Forumie, gmarie:

“The more time you give to God, the more strength, He is able to give to you.”

I’m 14, and I get this. SO… that said, I’ll reiterate some advice I gave to someone else having trouble with this:

First of all, identify areas of temptation.

If it’s in the shower, use cold (it doesn’t have to be freezing!) or neutral water. (Oh, and sing! Not kidding! Sing “Amazing Grace” or “Jesus Loves Me” or some hymn you know by heart.)

If it’s when you’re anxed and have a lot of energy, work out. Do pushups or situps till you’re exhausted–or till you feel you’ve gotten rid of the anx. (Plus, just think how much more appealing you’ll look to your new g/f if you’re ripped. lol)

If it’s when you’re on the computer (maybe you’re tempted to look up not-so-good stuff, IDK), then put the Saint Michael Prayer up as your background and pray it each time you log on. If it feels insincere, keep praying it and thinking about the words till you think you can handle being online. If you simply can’t, shut the computer down and come back later.

If it’s before you go to sleep at night (or when you wake up), wrap a rosary around your hands and pray it till you fall asleep. Repeat it over and over again in your mind till it becomes automatic.

Also, before confronting ANY of these areas, say a Hail Mary or Saint Michael Prayer… Pray persistently, like Jesus in Gethsemane, till your Father gives you strength.

Take some time and spend it in Scripture. Read the second half of 1 Corinthians 6, Romans 12:1-4, and the Sermon on the Mount (especially the parts about “plucking out” whatever it is that causes you to sin and the part about lustful thoughts). Also, read Hosea so you can see how in love God is with you and why it is he wants you faithful. Imagine yourself in his arms, in his embrace, him holding you tightly near his Heart. The same goes for Mary, your Mother, and one that exemplifies chastity.

Also, you can make great use of the Jesus Prayer. It’s one of my favorites… Push everything out of your mind, get in a quiet place, and do this:

  1. Inhale, thinking, “Lord Jesus Christ…”

  2. Exhale, thinking, “Son of the Living God…”

  3. Inhale, thinking, “Have mercy on me…”

  4. Exhale, thinking, “A sinner.”

Do this till you can do it in regular breaths, as many times as necessary. You can use rosary beads to count. You can do it till you feel it’s sufficient. In the Eastern Churches, they do this hundreds or thousands of times… Soon, it will become internal and will constantly be repeating inside of you. Practice this again and again.

Oh, and don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re not a freak or anything (at least… I think… JK!). Pray to Mary Magdalene (John 8, Luke 7:36-50, John 12:3-8) if you want to talk to a saint that didn’t always act so saintly in her lifetime.

Christ doesn’t want you to be chaste for the sake of being chaste. He wants you prepared to meet him and be in his presence. He wants you prepared to receive and give to others the fullness of his love, and this just HAPPENS to involve chastity.

God bless, man.

(Don’t be so hard on yourself! Love God, love others. It’s not as hard as it sounds! You just have to LET God and others love you first… Got it?)

Pax

You’re 14?? God bless you! Wow!! I’m in my forties and I don’t have your wisdom. Keep up the good work. The world needs more young people like you. You should be so proud of yourself. I’m sure that God is…teachccd :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

If you pretty much do all of what the truthinator says you should be good! I had to get my little notebook out for some of those…as we all suffer from sin, especially this one.

What I can bring add is where the sin comes from. For me, it starts with a very obscure idea, which i dwell on for a little, and then it turns into something else and before i know it i’m in full fantasy mode. And then it torments every single one of my thoughts and i cannot rid myself of it, until i find myself in the act. And then as soon as it’s done, i feel like an idiot, and all the prior thoughts are gone.

You must cut the temptation off at the root! If you have viewed pornography in the past it will be even harder, because your imagination will have images it can recall for you. As soon as any benign thought comes in fight it out!

If you already hate the act you’re on the right path. I say read truthinator’s post again…pick yourself up and go round again!

Don’t get discouraged! God hates to see us eaten alive by sin!

thank you everyone, this was more and better advice then i had hoped to get. thank you so much.

BuddyJack,

My advice is deep devotion to our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary. Pray the Rosary and learn to deeply meditate on the mysteries by studying the related Scriptures (also use a good Rosary meditation book).

Beyond that, RUN and I mean RUN to our lady whenever your are tempted. When you go to bed at night, believe that she is right there AS YOUR MOTHER to help you be pure and to cuddle and comfort you as an innocent little child. Hold on to that image.

As a Catholic you know that Mary was the purest human being (apart from Christ) who ever lived. She is FULL OF GRACE and therefore as she mothers you, she is able to impart complete purity to you.

There is one more thing. It is a myth to think that the vice of masturbation ends once you are married. Believe me, if you cannot conquer prior to marriage, you probably won’t be able to stop completely once married. This will diminish your sexual capacity for your wife in all dimensions: spiritual, physiological, and psychological.

Also, masturbation makes it impossible to truly and truthfully enter the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. It can distract you from choosing the right young woman to marry and from the holy focus you’ll need to complete pre-Cana and prepare to take your vows. Please don’t rob yourself of Christ’s highest purpose for your future married life by settling for a few moments of pleasure right now.

Buddy, I would look into hidden reasons behind why you turn to masturbation to begin with. I have been struggling with this sin since 9th grade and now I am 22. For me, I was shy and couldnt relate to girls so it became a way of dealing with my problems. You can also fall into it in times of loneliness, anger, fear etc. I myself can sometimes only go one or two weeks no matter how hard i try. Sometimes we slip up. You just have to follow everyones advice and try to avoid trigger situations like I mentioned and replace them with exercise or another wholseome activity. Best of Luck;)

Everybody goes through this, even priests. How do i know this? I actually asked a priest, sort of. I was no different than you, asking for forgiveness. Once i recieved my commings, I asked him, “Did you ever, you know?” To my surprise, he said, “yes”. Naturally i asked him how he was able to overcome it, and was it possible for me to do the same.

He told me to complete a twenty day fast. The idea, he offered, was to streangthen my will through something i could easily control. Noticing a perplex look in my face, he told me that while i fasted and streangthened my will, i would be ridding my body of the impurities which kept it from fuctioning as the good Lord had intentioned it.

Having nothing to loose, I decided to give this holy man’s method a try And yes, it was difficult, but in truth those grumbling noises coming from my stomache, day and night, reminded me of my purpose.

And he was right. As the fast progressed i noticed my breathing became sounder. Smells became more distinct. My taste buds became alive with the simpliest of foods. My intuition and spirituality became heightened. And i stopped the masturbation.

When I told this wonderfull priest of my results, he simply said to continue with what i had discovered. To this day i still fast, but it has become more of a lifestyle. I owe alot to that priest.

If a twenty day fast seems ardious, start with a two day fast a week for a month. Then move to a three days a week fast, Continue in this fashion for three moths. From there, it’s up to you to continue until you reach the desired 2O, 30, or even a 40 days fast.

P.S.
Almost forgot, i prayed like a mad man. In the morning, in the afternoon and at night. I even prayed in between, and in the between between’s. It actually became second nature. Normal you might say.

What do you mean by a fast? Do you eat food at all during this period? Or do you eat according to “fasting” as on Good Friday and Ash Wednesday (1 large meal, 2 small meals, and nothing in between)?

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