Although the language in the Catechism is quite straightforward, and it is no question whether masturbation is forbidden, I have a question regarding sexual fantasies. Frankly, is there a distinction between the sin of masturbating (with or without climax) and the sin of entertaining sexual fantasies (with or without climax)?
According to the Catechism, masturbation is “the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure” (CCC 2352). This definition is quite vague, yet another source defines what “deliberate stimulation” includes, and one of the qualifications is “sexually stimulating pictures or imaginations (psychic masturbation)”(catholicreference.net/index.cfm?id=34784, emphasis added). Another source corroborates this claim: catholicreference.net/index.cfm?id=34784.
In most examinations of conscience, masturbation (with or without climax) and the entertainment of lustful thoughts (with or without climax) are two distinct sins. Furthermore, although majority opinion is a weak argument, people commonly make this distinction. However, according to these articles, the distinction no longer exists, and asa a result, fantasizing willingly about sexual acts (with or without climax) is equal to masturbation (with or without climax).
Does my argument follow, or is there perhaps something I have missed in my research? Any help would be most appreciated. Personally, I have not masturbated in, as it were, the classical sense, i.e., physical contact, but I have fantasized. Am I therefore guilty of masturbation? Keep in mind also that I am not trying to assess the gravity of either act, but which act is which, or are they the same?
**Visual representation of my conclusion:
Masturbation (with climax) = Fantasizing (with climax) (True or False)
Masturbation (without climax) = Fantasizing (without climax) (True or False)**