Stop the insensitive platitudes


Numerous men have come onto this message board and asked for help in their struggles with lust. What do they get? Something along the lines of. “God created your sexuality. Use it the way He intended.” Do you have any idea how insensitive that statement is? If you are all happy and cozy in your marriage, perhaps you’ve forgotten what the plight of the single man is like. If you are an unmarried man, there is NO Godly use for your sexuality. It is nothing but a horrible burden and struggle that when used can only bring us AWAY from God. (Unless He chooses to bring good out of our sin, but even so, that doesn’t justify our sins.)

If someone came onto this message board and said, “I’ve lost the use of both of my legs in a car accident, and the doctors said that it may be a permanent paralysis,” would we respond by saying, “Picture the wonderful use God would have for your legs, if only you could use them?” How heartless and uncharitable would a statement like that be? Well, that is EXACTLY what the aformentioned type of statements about sexuality are like when spoken to an unmarried man.

In other words, we need to really think about what we’re saying before we say it, rather than spewing out cliched rhetoric and platitudes.

Furthermore, a man can not picture the “proper use” of his sexuality, without furthermore falling DEEPER into the sin of lust. Lustful fantasies are not suddenly acceptable or no longer sinful when picturing ourselves married to the person that we are lusting after.

The Catholic Church, without compromising doctrine, really needs to make a better effort in finding ways to marry off those who desire marriage, rather than poorly catechizing us, and then throwing us out to the wolves, knowing nothing about relationships other than that everything regarding our sexuality is sinful and wrong unless we are married. The Church really needs to develop programs that make St. Paul’s concession about marrying to avoid lust a reality for everyone who needs that escape from this deadly sin that is gripping so many unmarried Catholic men, and women, too.

That’s my rant for the moment. Thank you.


I have not seen such advice of “use your sexuality the way intended” given to a single person on this board, but I take your word for it. But do I understand you to see no value in refraining from “using your sexuality” as a single person? There is tremendous value in celibacy (or carrying any cross) for those who can accept it, as Scripture says. Also, I hear your suffering…I understand it and empathize with it.

Your criticism of the Church’s need to better catechize is well taken. Don’t forget your own capacity to do so. And don’t forget your own role in advancing yourself toward your calling. :smiley: Hang in there.


Guilty as charged. I have encouraged people to recognize that sexual feelings are a gift from God. And by the way, being married isn’t the cure for lust. Just because you can technically, legally, whatever, have sex doesn’t mean you’re having it for the right reasons. One can lust for his spouse just as easily as the single guy lusts for a woman he sees on the street.

So if sexuality is not a gift then is it a curse?

My apologies if I have offended you or anyone else. I’m wide open to a better way to describe it.


Speaking for single people, I don’t think marriage is seen as automatic immunity from lust. I think bearing the single life can be a specific cross of passion that even St. Paul eluded to1 Cor 7:9 in contrast to those that married people have.


There’s your main problem. This is not true. Your sexuality comprises and affects your entire person, the way you relate to others and the way you relate to the world – it’s not just concupiscence. Priests, for instance, need to demonstrate a strong masculine sexuality (and, incidentally, it is precisely because of his sexuality that the man can serve as priest where the woman cannot).

Your sexuality, even the desire you feel for women, can motivate holy desires: desires to safeguard, honor, and respect women and their bodies. This is, in my opinion, a mature sexuality.


As a married man, I am going to have to agree with others that have stated, why is it that only single people can fall victim to lust? When you are married you can lust after your wife. it is possible. This is something that is possible so to isolate it to a problem only for those that are single is a misconception.

Marriage is a gift, not a license for one to indulge in their sexual fantasies and to now have sex for the sheer pleasure and “release” of your sexual tension. If that is one’s thought of sex within marriage then you are sadly mistaken and need to take the time to read about sex within marriage. One needs to learn what that marital embrace is all about.

So since God gave a man a penis he should be allowed to use that in any way that he wishes? Without limits? Complete freedom?

I feel that those that respond to these issues that come up very regularly on this message board do respond charitable (with a few exceptions) and do their best to explain the church’s teachings. What you have to understand is that when someone is coming here asking for advice about these issues they are somewhat biased. They like what they are doing, but somehow feel guilty and want to change, but they still like what they are doing and want to justify it. Therefore they will argue it and try to “prove their point” and this get done over and over again here. Their excuses as to why they feel it is right changes each time, but the Church’s teaching remain the same.

Really? We cannot picture the proper use? Once you understand why you have this gift of sexuality I think that you can. This does not cause you to fall deeper into lust because you know what sexuality is, you know what it is to respect your spouse and come together in one of the most beautiful acts that has ever been created.

No one has said that lusting in marriage is acceptable, actually quite the opposite. It has been taught that we, as husbands and wives, have to be careful not to fall into the sin of lusting after each other. It is not easy, it is one of the hardest sins to overcome and with the way that it is thrown in our faces almost every minute of every day, it becomes harder to deal with this sin. But there is hope. Again, it comes back to having an understanding of sexuality.

The Church needs to “find ways to marry off those who desire marriage?” Marry them off? So the Church should marry off those just so that they can have sex? I think that the burden falls upon the couple as well to search out ways to learn more about marraige and about the true meaning of sex. I think that you need to realize the the Church teach us about this, but it is up to the couple to take those teachings and follow them or to leave them aside. The information and the teachings are there, you just have to want to know the truth and follow it.


I appreciate the replies. Perhaps I may have been wrong on the point that there is NO Godly use for our sexuality as unmarried men. My real point, though, is that we need better advice in overcoming lust than to fantasize about using our sexuality the way God designed it.

I think the real key is to place our focus on God, staying in the Bible, while not thinking about our sexuality.
We need to squelch, supress, deny, ignore and neglect our sexual desires if we expect to be Godly single men. By doing such, the ravenous lust monster inside us will begin to shrink. It needs to be replaced, however, by thoughts of the things of God, such as the Bible, prayer, and the Sacraments.

We also need to be grateful for what we have, since that is the opposite attitude of lust which just says, “I want more more more more more.”


Here is a man who has the correct idea. Sexuality is far more than using one’s penis and thinking lusty thoughts. Ones sexuality is a lot more than sex organs. One can be a very sexual being without ever collecting any notches on his belt. :slight_smile:


The reality is that lust is not exclusive to unmarried men and women…it’s a state of mind. Not a state of marital status. The sooner we all understand that, the better we can deal with the issue. Do we suppose that priests and nuns don’t ever call prey to the tempation to think lustfully? I sympathize with anyone struggling with sexual issues…whether it be pornography or lustful thoughts…but, it has nothing to do with being married or not. If lust could be resolved through marriage, we’d see the divorce problem diminish.


Well first of all, men are not the only ones who are called to live chastely when they are single. The capacity to love is not limited to genital contact. What a sorry world that would be if it were so. Christ Himself in all his Purity is the World’s Greatest Lover. He is the example to imitate.

The problem is, men cause their own problem when they behave as if “love” is all centered in one small area of corporeal real estate. And when that’s all a man can think of, it causes women to head for the hills.

I would suggest to the original poster that if he showed the world that he was capable of loving with his whole mind and heart and all of his being, he would find someone to reciprocate. There is nothing more attractive than a man who can use his masculinity to serve, protect and defend with responsibility and self control. The man who asks “What can I give?” rather than “Why am I not getting any?” is far more desirable.

Sorry. No platitudes here. Christ promised us the Cross, not a lifetime of sexual gratification.

Take the OP’s words and substitute and see how absurd it sounds:
“If you are an unmarried woman, there is NO Godly use for your sexuality. It is nothing but a horrible burden and struggle that when used can only bring us AWAY from God.”

Our sexuality is an important part of who we are. But it is not the whole part. We are called to channel that energy to bring us toward God. Because in truth, we were made for God in the end. That beauty and ability to love that God created in us can be used to draw others toward God as well. A man’s masculinity and energy when channelled properly builds the world. God bless them all! I find that men who spend their time chasing after their own genital pleasure seldom accomplish much else in the world. To understand sexuality, one must stop calling it a burden and understand the difference between sex and love. Once that is understood, the rest falls into place.


Sexual feelings are not “lust.” If you don’t have them, you need to see a doctor.

That said, being married may mitigate the burden of one’s sexuality but it does not eliminate it. A woman I knew some years ago, who had a much stronger libido than her husband, and who was having trouble trying to conceive, confided to me: “The Lord seems to have given me the full burden of my sexuality with almost none of the consolations.”

She also told me that because she was Catholic (I wasn’t at the time), she great encouragement from knowing that Priests and Religious lived with these feelings without hoping ever to have them fulfilled. Their celibacy was a witness that encouraged her chastity.


yes, that is so true.


With this I would agree. Too often, advice can be lofty and idealistic, rather than practical. It is not enough to cite the catechism or refer to an apologetic on the objective ordering of things alone.

I think the real key is to place our focus on God, staying in the Bible, while not thinking about our sexuality.
We need to squelch, supress, deny, ignore and neglect our sexual desires if we expect to be Godly single men. By doing such, the ravenous lust monster inside us will begin to shrink. It needs to be replaced, however, by thoughts of the things of God, such as the Bible, prayer, and the Sacraments.

Undoubtedly, we need to become more steeped in things of God. Yet, I don’t agree with the concept of suppression so much. Likely, this will only allow things to stew below the surface. Rather, what we need is healthy integration such that these desires are channeled in a better way towards something of balanced sexual integrity.

We also need to be grateful for what we have, since that is the opposite attitude of lust which just says, “I want more more more more more.”

True enough.


I have to repeat my comments because too many people here are indicating that the sexual crosses for married people are the same as single people. They are not. Common sense should indicate this. Also Paul’s and Jesus’ comments would otherwise make no sense.

1 Cor 7:9 But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to be burnt.

Matthew 19:12 For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother’s womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it.


You are right, of course, that it is not the same. And we don’t need Scripture to tell us that. However, outside of marriage one can harbor the false impression that all is “easy”.


I had to laugh at your post about someone loosing their legs and not able to use them as a testicular cancer survivor. Can you guess what this married man could not use for a while? How insensitive.:rolleyes: Just kidding, but really, married men have lust issues too, even me. Ok my rant is over, Tim


Others have made great points in that sexuality is far more than the use of the genitals. God designed us as people WITH sexuality; not people AND sexuality. I struggle with lust far more frequently as a married man than before marriage. Think about it - as a single person, you are not sleeping in bed with someone every night, but once married, you are, and it is unreasonable to expect nightly conjungation! I, and others whether married or not, need to find other things to occupy the mind, body and manhood than genital contact. As you say, if you try to overcome lust by fantasizing about anything, that will lead to more lust. Not sure if that’s helpful, but a different perspective.

Great advice, try to occupy your mind and body with things not lustful - although that’s easier said than done. You talk about “squelch, suppress, deny, ignore and neglect” our sexual desires. I’m not sure that’s the right path. As you put it “a ravenous monster” must then grow before it will shrink. The feeling will be more difficult to overcome if kept, rather than cast off. Recognize what you are feeling, feel the tempation and cast it and satan behind you, and then let it pass without action. In essence, overpower the feelings (which are usually temptations from the devil), and cast them out. We have a choice to face temptation or fear it. I find great pride in overcoming lustful thoughts, and find much greater satisfaction in knowing I felt tempation, did not act, than in hiding from it, and eventually succumbing.


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