When do sexual thoughts become mortal sin?

At least a few times a day, a sexual thought will come to mind. Almost always, this thought is not conjured up, but more just pops in my head. When this thought comes up, it’s a pleasurable thought and because I am sensitive to that kind of stuff, just the thought itself causes my body to start to react. But I have trained myself to dismiss these thoughts when they come. Though some thoughts linger more that others, but they are always dismissed after a few moments, either by saying “Jesus help me” or “Lord!” as an attempt to “pray them away”. And now I’m wondering. If a thought lingers for a only few moments, have I sinned mortally? Or have only sinned venially because I attempted to dismiss and reject them?

If you realise you are having lustful thoughts but dismiss them quickly that is not a grave sin. On the other hand if you dwell on them and get sexual pleasure from them it is a grave sin.

Given your posting history, which indicates a struggle with scrupulosity, you should refrain from asking these questions here. Please speak with your priest.



I’ve struggled with that too. But I try to dismiss them right away once I realize what I’m doing.

It’s a grave sin if you deliberately and knowingly dwell on and nurture these thoughts.

Thank you so much for commenting Father! Though I don’t think this post is overly scrupulous…I just want to know the line between mortal and venial sin as it pertains to thought.

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As a general principle, matters of conscience are best dealt with in person and not broadcasted online, especially if there’s a tendency toward scruples.

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