Washing Self: Self Abuse?


When washing your private areas, is it included self abuse if you get intrusive impure image thoughts? I have this fear when showering, that I must try as hard as possible to not think of a sinful image. I usually think of a golf course, for example. However, this makes my shower take quite long, trying to think of a safe image. How can I get rid of this fear?


If the images are “intrusive” and not voluntary, and if you aren’t trying to dwell on them, it’s not a sin.

Getting upset and worried about something that might come into your mind can actually train your mind to come up with those images you don’t want. So you want to be as matter of fact as you can.

So yeah, if “images” tend to be your problem, try and focus on something else entirely.

  1. Sing while you shower. Preferably something totally silly and unromantic, like a Weird Al song, or one of those incredibly long songs that kids know.

  2. Plan something, like how to arrange the stuff in your garage.

  3. Time yourself, and try and take the fastest shower ever.

  4. If you like golf so much, narrate an imaginary golf game that includes lots of cheating or ridiculously impossible shots.

Basically, something funny, absorbing, and relaxing to retrain your brain. That way, you won’t get upset about taking a shower; you’ll just take the shower.

Getting your mind off something is very difficult.

Getting your mind onto something COMPLETELY different is much easier.


I too get intrusive thoughts (of a sexual nature), although not while washing myself.

The whole point of intrusive thoughts is that they are intrusive. As long as you do not entertain (or enjoy the thought) then It is not sinful. For example: if they thought comes into your mind, and you say “oh this stupid thought again, please go away” There is no sin, even if the thought doesn’t go away. Now if you start enjoying that thought, then that would be sinful.

If looking down at your private bits triggers imagery in your head, you could try looking up instead. You dont really need your eyes to clean down there, that is once you use your hands properly. I can’t say this will work, but you could try it.


It amazes me that some people actually worry about such things, but I guess that there are!


Don’t sweat the small stuff, especially when it is truly nothing.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.