Why is it SO hard to let go of lustful desires?

I’ve been putting up a real fight for the past few weeks against my habit of lust and the sins to go with it. Its so difficult! I am happy though because a part of me is starting to truly realize its not getting me anywhere, committing this sin over and over again. I desire something which this sin doesnt give me. Even though I know its wrong, why is it still so difficult to let go? I’ve been dealing with this for about 7 years now and I’m starting to realize that I wouldnt want to be this way if I were looking for a future spouse. I want to be the best I can be for her and for God. But still, why is it so hard? I get tempted and I always hear, just hold out until you forget about it but when I try doing that, it goes away for a time but then comes back all the stronger until its almost all I can do to say no and then I give in. And it persists for days even when I try to forget about it and think of something else. Always sitting there in the back of my subconscious, that itch to commit this sin against purity. Recently though, Ive been putting up a hellofafight (no pun intended :P) against this sin so I know theres hope, but its just really difficult to say no to this addiction. Any advice? I pray and read but I know I should make more time for it. When a priest tells me, “give the temptation to Jesus and ask Him to take care of it,” I try to do that but I really don’t know how to do this. Do I simply tell Him like if I were telling my mom or dad to help me with something important that I cant do on my own, and sincerely mean it that way, or do I approach it a different way? When I tried ways like this, it gives me hope but I eventually (in the past) would end up falling out again. I guess its because part of me desires to go to places where I could be tempted (in the most subtle of ways, I’m serious - I dont realize anything is wrong until it pops up into my head like thirty minutes later and Im like, why am I thinking about that person like that? It could be a stinking friendly conversation with a lady friend and I have no foul intentions at the moment but it comes into my head afterwards without my asking for it) I am 18 so I know about all that hormone stuff, but I just didn’t think it would be THIS difficult to simply say no to sin and yes to God. Again, any advice or comments would be welcome concerning this. I really don’t want to be this way anymore and Im doing my best to fight this. :slight_smile:

I’m a convert… for the first 40 years of my life, none of this stuff mattered to me… so I can truly understand your difficulty

  1. A stumble is not a fall
    What I mean here is if you do fail, forgive yourself, go to confession with a new resolve.
    For me, 40 years is a long habit to break and Fr. understands and I’m sure so does God.
    Satin likes to play in your mind and make you doubt yourself. By trying not to think about it, you are then thinking about it… see the circle.

  2. Buy a keychain rosary… keep it with you and either pray the rosary or the divine mercy whenever you feel yourself falling. Remember, it takes both intent and knowledge to commit sin

  3. Acknowledge that God made beauty in this world and it is one thing to acknowledge that a woman is physically beautiful and yet quite another to lust after that same woman (or replace woman with man as the case may be) purely for carnal knowledge.

  4. If your church has adoration, sign up for an hour.

  5. Get a good NAB-Catholic edition. Start in Luke, I think it has the most stories and then Matthew, Mark, leave John for the last… then work your way thru the Acts. From there… start at the beginning and read.

  6. Be PATIENT!

And as an aside… please learn to add some white space to your posts… one huge block of text is hard on the old eyes to read. (^_^)

Many people are on the same boat. I am. But I try my best. Pray the Rosary daily:

Give it your best shot at avoiding sin. Pray as much as you can.

“God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try”.
-Mother Theresa

If you fall, get up and try harder. Ask God to forgive you and keep trying. TRY. With God’s grace, we can overcome it.

LUST …** Lust** …lust … LUST … Lust … lust

How does a person reduce the amount of Lust in his Life?

The are many different emotions we can feel.
But, most people will have ONE emotion that is the Most prevalent.

Lust is an easy emotion to obsess about . . . especially for males.
The human URGE : to mate
The obsessed human’s URGE : think about women who will NOT mate with you, and feel the supreme amount of wanna … Boy, do I want her.

In a way, it is a Control Issue.
You have NO Control over the fact that she will not have sex with you.
And, you resent her lack-of-Availability to service your desire to mate with her.

One way to deal with this problem is to find a person who MIGHT have sex with you.
Then, at least, you are thinking lustful thoughts over someone who is Possible.
And, in this situation, it forces you to think of more than Lust (for instance, Love … and Like …).
This is how some men get over lust after they are Married.

In my mind, the Best way to avoid ultra-Lusting, is to find something else to get excited about.
Some people become a monster Football Fan . . . some become Altar Servers … or whatever Fantasy pulls them.
And, Truly, if you can find an exciting thing to obsess about, you will have much-less-Energy to obsess about Lust.

But, the issue here is : You have nothing Better to obsess about . . . than Lust.
And, part of the result of Lusting a lot … is Guilt.
Then, this Guilt creates more pain … and the easiest way to stop those pangs of Guilt … is to Lust even MORE.
People call this a vicious cycle.

So, one way to help ease Lusting is to “forgive” yourself for lusting.
With all of that added Pressure gone, there is LESS pressure to Lust.
And, one day, you will be able to Laugh at those days when Lust controlled your Life (as Impossible as it may seem right NOW).

Give yourself the benefit of the doubt, and say to yourself : I am a Good person.
And, when you can BELIEVE this statement … you will be a Better person.

Jesus cuts people A LOT OF slack in Life. Most people have at least ONE stone that they trip over again-and-again.
WE are imperfect. Jesus created us to be imperfect … Jesus WANTS us to be imperfect.
You have the Power to Create a way out of your “hole” … so, go for it.
If at first, you don’t succeed, then try, try, again.
Love yourself the way you are. This will help facilitate you being able to change.

I’d remind you that to ever vice, there is a virtue that is the opposite of such vice.

One way to overcome temptation and capital sins is to work towards living a virtuous life. By focusing on vritues it will be natural that temptations will occupy less and less time in your daily life, because we will be getting each day closer to perfection and holiness.

The virtue that control the desire of lust, is temperance. By practicing temperance, you direct all your desires, whether in food or love to what is good in moderation.

However, it is very easy to forget and fall to the first temptaion. Christ gave us a very powerful weapon that we can use to keep vigilant: Prayer. If everytime and everything you do, you are in a prayerful state, your heart will be strong in choosing virtues over vices. Even if I am not praying explicitly, every action I am going to make, I meditate on the Gospel, the saints, angels. When my flesh gets weak, my spirit compensates.

Lastly, above all there is one virtue that can destroy any temptation: charity. Charity is loving God above everything with all your heart. If you have charity in your heart, God will be enough.

P.S: Use paragraphs, please! :smiley:

It’s important to distinguish here to distinguish between sexual desires and true lust.

First, let’s talk about true lust, which actually puts you in grave danger of sin. True lust is the viewing other people as having no value aside from their value to you as sexual objects. Needless to say, people who view others has having no inherent value tend to treat others as having no inherent value. However, if you were truly indulging in lust, you would most likely not be troubled by these thoughts. Your distress signals that you are concerned about the feelings and well-being of others. However, unless you are acting on your desires regularly, which I doubt, your distress is likely mostly unwarranted. Barring specific neurological abnormality or significant trauma in formative years, it generally takes a great deal of mortal sin to disable your capacity for empathy with others.

It’s more likely that you’re experiencing repeated, intrusive sexual thoughts. The thing you need to understand is that sexual thoughts are not sinful in and of themselves. We live in a time where reason and science have outpaced evolution as an adaptation mechanism for solving difficulties. A consequence of this is that there are many aspects of humanity that are no longer useful, but that at one time served to help us develop to the point where we, as a species, could begin to love and understand God. In that sense, your thoughts are actually good, even if they’re not particularly useful.

You also need to understand that these thoughts will likely continue to cause you problems if you continue to see them as sinful. The hardest thing in the world is to try to avoid a specific thought. For example, try not to think about a panda.

I told you not to think about pandas!

If you want to reduce these sexual thoughts, you need to view yourself with self-compassion. You need to accept these thoughts as a morally neutral part of who you are as a human being. These thoughts are not, by themselves, good or bad. They’re just there. Only your relationship with God can define who you are.

One caveat is that if these thoughts tend to be especially violent or morally abhorrent (e.g. thoughts of raping or torturing a small child), you may be struggling with some symptoms associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. If this is the case, consult your doctor about seeking help with a combination of medications and therapy. Also, take some solace in the fact that these thoughts are recurrent BECAUSE they are unwelcome, and people suffering with this affliction rarely (if ever) attempt to act them out.

Prayer is where you start.

It is/was always the hardest for me too.

I think it will always be there even in old age.

Pray, pray, pray.

I struggle with this same thing, and all I seem to do is fail. I can offer only one piece of advice: Do not despair. Whatever you do, do not despair. Do not succumb to evil, but pursue ever more boldly against it.

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