Staying Sex-Free


I know it is the Catholic belief that one should be virtually “sex-free” until marriage. Being a Catholic, I try my best to abide by this, but sometimes my 19-year-old male hormones make it very difficult. I realize that this commitment to chastity means not only no sex, but it also mean no messing around (like deep make-out sessions), no masterbating, no lustful thoughts/images, etc. Basically, until marriage, anything related to sex is sinful, and we aren’t to do it.

Basically I wanted to post this to find out if any other men have had any level of success with this. With our hormones and sex-drive being what they are, this commitment can be somewhat of a daunting challenge, and one that is certainly not easy to undertake. I am currently in a relationship and plan to be married in about 3 years (because of college), but sometimes 3 years seems like a loooonnng time to wait. Can anyone offer any encouragement or prayers?

Thanks everyone.


Dear Kepha,
First I want to say God Bless you in your courage to take up your cross daily. My story is someone what up your alley in the sense that I was at one point planning to marry after I graduated, but my engagement during my junior year was not ment to lead to marriage and so almost four months past my graduation I am now dating a wonderful woman, but we both have four years of grad school ahead. This can seem like a daunting task especially with the pressure in society to become sexually active as a way to love and explore a premarital relationship and the fact that we seem to be at a point in our sex drive hormonally for men.
The source of the strength though is in that daily cross because it is a burden that is truly light when we know Christ is carrying it with us. Everyday is a struggle and many times I make use of quick statements like ‘Get behind me Satan, for your thinking as man thinks but not as God’ (no offense to Peter, but it is a pretty strong statement) when I experience lustful thoughts. Having quick prayers like this that one trains oneself to say at the moment of temptation is powerful. Also, I pray to the BVM in my rosary and also attempt to find activities that neither tempt my gf or myself. Sitting around doing nothing by yourselves is also a recipe because an open inactive mind is when Satan can take greatest advantage. Usually we play Go Fish (which she usually wins) or Uno (which I usually win) or we dance to one of our favortite songs together.
In the end three years can seem like forever, but the time goes quickly and I would say, dont worry about tomorrow, just think about winning the victory today, then it wont seem daunting. And in the end, turn to the Lord if you fail for his mercy exceeds all sins. I won’t stand here and say I have been squeaky clean, but I think the tools of prayer balanced with fun safe activities will be a path to purity… besides in my opinion, one can get just as much fun and happiness out of a relationship w/o sex and it won’t seem so bad waiting. That way when you get married, sex will be so much better because you learned how to love and finally give yourself completely to the other. I am not married, but I bet the married posters here would back me up in saying that sex is best experienced as God intended, in marriage and that outside of marriage it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.
Best wishes,
you and your gf are in my prayers


Hey, we’ve all been teenagers - including Our Lord himself, and Mary, both of whom doubtless went through most or all of the temptations you are having. They certainly understand where you’re at at any rate!

It’s difficult to keep yourself from sin in this situation, sure. Many things worth having and worth doing are difficult. And I don’t know anyone who has waited for marriage who has regretted it, but plenty of people who haven’t waited have.

I’m not pretending to be perfect in this regard :nope: but prayer really helps - to Jesus, Mary, St Michael, your Guardian Angel, all your heavenly friends. Thank God every day for the gift of your body and your sexuality (because they are gifts!) and ask his help to use these gifts wisely.

Reading Theology of the Body to get an understanding of the framework God has given us for human sexuality is also probably something you’d find helpful. Much easier when you can understand WHY the Church teaches as it does.

Try to see chastity as a positive thing that you’re doing to help yourself, and out of love and respect for God and your future wife. And on the benefits - freedom from worry about STIs, the security of knowing that your girlfriend loves you as a person and not just in a physical way, and vice versa for her.


:smiley: Hey kepha, don’t forget about the gals.

I’m not a frigid ice woman!

And maybe because I’m a woman, my plan of action won’t work for guys…but I have found exercise and busyness to be the best preventors of temptation.

Exercise is good to just use up your energy and it does release many of the feel-good endorphins and raise seratonin levels in the brain. Maybe your body just needs some good hard workouts to reach maximum mental health, and that is being expressed sexually right now. A good hard run can do wonders. Couple that with praying the rosary for added power. :cool:

The other thing is a bit harder to describe, but it involves not letting the embers burn. I have heard this more from guys themselves rather than experienced it. There seems to be a seductive dance with temptation: almost as if the guy will play with the idea in his mind, pretending to reject it but using that rejection as an excuse to think about it. Forbidden fruit only becomes more lovely by the moment. Just like that itch that you vow not to scratch!

Also, I wanted to address your part of the post on what the Catholic Church teaches. The Church does call us to strive for purity and chastity, but everyone is human. Imagine Christ’s Church as a spiritual hospital. Just as the doctor says, “You have hypertension, eat healthy green foods and exercise” so is the church calling us to practice healthier lifestyles. Often times we fail, or are already failing when we get the diagnosis. That is okay! It is a good time to change and receive grace through the sacrament of confession.


Hey Kepha-

I’m also a female, so you weren’t exactly seeking my advice, but I thought I’d throw a few things in there.

My boyfriend and I really have come a long way in our understanding of chastity. I know you said yourself that “deep makeout sessions” aren’t okay, but I’d like to make sure that you’re including any french kissing/passionate kissing in that category. It was a huge step forward for us when we cut that completely out of our physical relationships. It really helps you recognize the beauty of the other person when you just can simply kiss them and not have it get so easily tied up in thoughts and desires.

Another suggestion–read Karol Wojtyla’s (JPII’s) Love and Responsibility, together. That’s what we did… well, we read the book separately, and would underline and such and then go out for coffee or find some time together to talk about everything the pope says. Not only does he have some great insights into the workings of the minds of men and women, seeing God’s plan for love just explained so beautifully is inspiring. Understanding it all really makes it much easier to avoid temptation. If JPII’s philosophy is a bit too dense for you, try Christopher West’s Theology of the Body for Beginners. Anything of his I’ve heard is wonderful, and it will only strengthen your relationship to talk about it all!

Finally-- go to Mass regularly, and go with your girlfriend as often as you can. Encourage each other to go to Confession. Pray together (out loud! really, it’s so different from praying next to each other silently… simply hearing the words, having that openness and vulnerability… it’s amazing.). Go to Eucharistic Adoration together. Basically grow in spiritual rather than physical intimacy.

That’s it for now! You’re in my prayers!


Such GREAT advice.


Like hasikelee said, busyness and excersize are always good. Idle hands are never a good thing. That’s why God has us work 6 days a week don’t you know!


I know there are some books on this that might be helpful. Unfortunately I can’t think of any titles right now, but Christopher West has a DVD (or CD) that might be helpful called Winning the Battle for Sexual Purity. ( I saw it here: )


I don’t really have any advice on how to make the general urge go away, but I can advise you to avoid temptation. Avoid impure books and movies if you find they wind you up. And, most importantly, avoid being alone with your fiancee. That may sound harsh, but it WILL help. Don’t snuggle with her on the couch, alone, in front of the TV. See her outside your homes, in public places, only. Or in groups of people. Tell her that you’re doing this and ask her to work with you on this.

I was lucky in that my husband lived in another country during our courtship. When he came and visited, I had a rule about no kissing on the couch. We could only kiss standing up. Sitting on the couch could lead to being horizontal too easily!


crabby old lady response to the question, how can a young person remain sex-free? since I have to go on what I think you mean (avoid genital sexual activity alone or with others, outside marriage), since that expression seems very odd, here goes.

a 19 yr old can direct his thoughts, energies and actions to the activities that are proper to his state in life, generally completing his education, discerning life vocation, discerning career, (if this were a Catholic forum we would call this discerning God’s will for one’s life and preparing to carry it out). Learning right judgment, learning how to form relationships–a task that is irreprably hampered when anyone we encounter as a possible friend is viewed as a possible sex partner. Completing the task of adolescence, namely discovering and differentiating one’s identity, which by the way does not stop when one discovers one’s sexual orientation.

There is no room for sexual experimentation in this stage in life, it serves no useful purpose biologically if you are not married since its only biological functions is reproduction. Its psychological and moral effects are damaging. Yes, the circumstances surrounding it may (or may not) lead to some self-knowledge and experiential learning, but the same gems of understanding may be obtained at far less cost in the traditional way: listen to your elders, particularly those ordained by God to teach you.


Many struggle, it is soooo difficult to even refrain from masturbation at times for many, though they try and try. Remember there is also something called: SEX ADDICTION. A good group I heard was SEX Anonymous?


Chiming in with the excersize thing, here’s a quote from Rich Mullins on this:

But the raging hormones and sexual struggles remain, and how can the average single cope? Rich Mullins releases that tension with a surprising solution. He runs. “In general or from women?” we ask. “Both,” he replies. “We live in a society that constantly pumps us with sensuality and then we also live in a culture where our lives are so sedentary. I think a lot of time what we really want more than to kiss someone real hard is to get a good sweat up. So I think exercising really does do something for us that we need done because otherwise sex becomes less appealing.”

When I read that awhile back I saw the practical wisdom in that.


Yup, many guys too have groin pain if they don’t release the tention, through solitary sin, etc. I wonder WHY this happens? Literally, there is discomfort and ache.


Well, that is only if we get ourselves “excited” in the first place. It’s not like if we go a week without masterbating that our groin is going to explode.


Yes and no. The groin may hurt anyway.


Really? That’s never happened to me. I know that if I make out with my girlfriend for a long time it does (I know…that’s wrong, I’m just making a point), and my groin (area) hurts really bad for a few hours if I don’t have a “release”. But if I don’t…I’m never in any pain.


I heard of a doctor who prescribes masturbation for us guys when we get groin pressure, but yes, it happens when we get excited, don’t do anything, then one is NOT excited later on the same day, the pain.


Christopher West’s Good News About Sex and Marriage Read that together, and it will change your lives (for the better!) It is freaking a-w-e-s-o-m-e! :thumbsup:

Another source of more info: Christopher West’s website.


Yeah…my doctor did back before I knew what was causing the pain. Instead of listening to his advice, however, and sinned even more, I just decided to stop the sin I was committing to cause the problem in the first place…and it worked wonders. I’d recommend that treatment for anybody.



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