Are there any other ladies like me who struggle with masturbation and/or pornography? We’ve seen plenty of discussion here about the guys, but not much about the gals. Masturbation has only been a minor problem over the years for me, but recently much more troublesome even to the point of doing it several times a day and several days a week. A severe downward spiral is taking place. Pornography has recently entered the picture. There is emotional distance between by husband and I which is rooted in other issues. I have been working to close that, but it has been widened by this escalating masturbation and pornography problem. I’ve been going the Mass/ confession/ prayer/ spiritual director route. Knowing God’s grace is there, it has to be helping though sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. It’s getting much more difficult to overcome the temptations. Suggestions? (without condemnation, please. I’m doing enough of that myself.) Thank you.
I’m not a lady (sorry!), but my advice in these sorts of situations is always to do your best to avoid the occasion of sin.
If internet pornography is the problem, do not go online late at night. Make it inconvenient to do so, if you must, by shutting the computer down, unplugging it, and putting away the power strip.
You could also put The Vatican website as your homepage so that you are reminded of your faith everytime you go online. Put up a picture of Jesus or Mary or the Pope so that you can’t help but see them everytime you are on the computer.
Another option is to put the computer in a more high-traffic area within the home (i.e. the living room as opposed to a an enclosed office). Do not let yourself be alone in those times when you typically falter.
Of course, prayer is the most essential thing, but these are a few suggestions that might help.
Many people have this problem. I am not a woman, but I can tell you that praying and making sure that you stay away from what causes these urges to override your faith is key. You did not state whether or not you have spoken to your husband about this, but you must because it involves him more than you may think.
I had the same problem, and have just prayed and tried to abstain from committing the sin by making sure that you are talking to your priest. It is difficult, but is your marriage, and your soul worth it, I thinks so.
Keep up the good fight, and just remember that even a misstep is one step closer to your goal!
Clean of both for over 2 months now and counting… it gets easier over time, I promise!
twhite, you will be in my prayers.
You havent said how long this has been a problem, but I will undoubtably not be something that can be conquered overnight.
In addition to prayer, confession, and spiritual direction (as well as the other good ideas mentioned by the other posters), you may wish to consider “parental control” software for your computer. COnfigure your computer to restrict all access to pornographic websites. Provide the password to a trusted friend, then destroy the password you may have written down.
God bless you.
Have you maybe tried discussing your issues with your husband? This sounds to me a possible cause of your struggle.
I have not spoken to my husband about this, nor can I fathom the thought of doing so right now. Taking baby steps to begin to close that gap of emotional distance from him is a huge risk for me. Taking a giant leap is just unthinkable at this point. I pulled up pornography in February for the first time. I was in a horrible depression at the time. That really hasn’t been nearly the problem as the masturbation.
Coming from someone who doesn’t object to masturbation, several times a day is a bit (and by a bit i mean alot) extreme.
Yes, I had a mighty struggle when I reverted a few years ago. Like an alcoholic, I’d never dare say I’m completely cured, but at least I’m doing a fair impersonation of someone who is
It certainly wasn’t easy, much prayer was involved. I think the key is to find (ask God to help you find, He surely wants to!) other things to fill those needs that you currently try to fill with porn.
Every day, every hour if need be, remind yourself that your body is HIS instrument to be used in doing HIS will, and consecrate it to His purposes.
Replace porgographic books or magazines with others on other topics you’re interested in. Likewise videos or whatever other form you indulge in.
If it’s internet, as has been said, put the computer in an area where others can see what sites you are surfing. Turn the TV off or walk out of the room if there’s an intimate scene in the show. Don’t listen to music with suggestive lyrics - find good clean wholesome stuff to enjoy.
I understand what you are going through.
Resolve to avoid occasion of sin. When temptations come, get out of that environment (get out of bed, go have a snack in the kitchen, read a safe book, or go for a walk or something like that). Do what you can, trying as much as you can.
When you do fall, don’t be so hard on yourself. Yes, of course understand the gravity of it, but don’t beat yourself up. Go to confession when possible, resolve to try again. The more you beat yourself up, the harder it can be to put forth the effort to avoid this sin (when you beat yourself up too much, you begin the downward spiral of “I tried, I didn’t succeed, I won’t succeed, so if I won’t succeed, why bother trying anymore”).
These are things that both my counselor and spiritual director have told me. I hope this helps!!!
Immediately stop condemning yourself. Masturbation is a lot like overeating or any other habit of excess. It can be very complex habit and there are many things that can be driving it in both women and men. In teenagers, it is usually strictly hormone driven. In adults stress relief comes into play.
The pornography is nothing more than a tool to enhance the physical power of the release. That release of climax causes a powerful cocktail of endorphins, and other brain chemicals that cause immediate physical calm throughout the body and brain and central nervous system.
The biggest trouble with pornography is that it really does poison the mind and rot the soul.
Religious condemnation puts us into a shame spiral that results in shackles of guilt which produces more stress, fear and anxiety that produces in us the desire for release. That’s how masturbation can become a terribly viscious cycle.
It sounds like this might be your situation and it has absolutely nothing to do with lust. Starting today, skip the porn phase of this habit. Nobody really needs that stuff to engage in this practice. Besides, these days, that stuff isn’t even pleasant to look at. Most of it is just plain gross. Immediately let go of the guilt and start to focus on doing what you can to improve your relationship with your husband, Begin to seek alternative methods of stress relief. Physical exercise helps too.
Don’t expect this habit to immediately go away, but you can start skipping days… Then skip two days… and on and on. Before you know it this can fade from your life. Pray about the things that are causing stress in your life and ask God’s for God’s guidance in dealing more appropriately with them.
It took me decades to figure this out myself.
Be at peace dear lady.
I was doing the exact same things before I was aware of God’s will about masturbation. When I read that it was a mortal sin I thought,“Well, I’m doomed, I might as well give up now.” Then I read what the CCC has to say about it and realized God loves us very much and He understands. That knowledge helped to to cut it down to almost nothing. Things that help me:
- Avoid pornography - the images taint your mind, like the bible school song says, “Input, output.” 2) Get a brown scapular - if you’re going to masturbate, take it off. This helps me reinforce that it’s a decision I’m making. Plus are you really going to put on the garment of Mary with “sin-stained fingers” EEWWW. Think about how close you want to be to Our Lady and how this decision has come between you. 3) Saint Bernard’s Prayer for Deliverance and prayers to Saint Michael. 4) Remember when you choose this sin you are opening the doorway for satan to tempt you in other areas. Do other things when you are tempted - get some chores or housework done, something active and PRAY. 5) Remember that God loves you! If you fail, take your sin to God, we are ALL unworthy sinners with nothing to offer Him, all goodness comes from Our Lord. Now that you’re convinced, ask His forgiveness and bask in His unfathomable love.
God bless you and keep you. --Kimberly
You are correct about the pornography, but the rest of your advice is guaranteed to leave this poor woman in an ever deepening “shame spiral” in times of imperfection which can easily drive one deeper into this habit’s clutches. She already knows that this isn’t a good thing to be doing. Removing scapulars, etc will make her feel like she is rejecting God. Although these things are helpful, sometimes all of the prayers, cold showers and housework in the world serve only as a temporary delay of the inevitable. I bid her peace.
These are things that helped me. When I deliberately choose sin it separates me from God. What helps me is recognition of my sin. I’m not in a “shame spiral” but if I feel one coming on I’ll go see a psychologist; when I feel tempted to sin I’ll do something else, pray for it to pass and if I give in, I’ll pray for forgiveness–it makes me feel closer to God.
There are some awesome, insightful and compassionate people here! I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me.
A few things:
You hit the nail on the head. There are two battles going on: the one against the habit and the one against shame/condemnation and questioning God’s love (“how can He love me when I’m so bad?”) Stress and anxiety are definitely more a source than lust, though that can’t be totally discounted.
I shouldn’t have even mentioned the porn because it has generated the most comments and is the least of my problems. I have viewed pornography intermittently, but the fact that I’ve done it at all is a problem. But you are right. So much of it is very unpleasant to look at. The last time I did I think fixed me for good. Gross. In fact, what has happened is that it has caused me to pray for the people involved in that industry as well as those who are addicted to porn, which I am not.
The need is that of emotional intimacy with my husband, and that is what I’m working on, but why I can’t get that mastered I don’t know.
Wow. Powerful stuff.
It’s helpful to know (a) that other women deal with this and (b) what helps - for everyone. That doesn’t mean it will work for me but it’s sure worth consideration. Thanks so much. :o
Many good suggestions.
A good confessor will tell you not to beat yourself up over this, and not to expect perfect results in a short period of time. This may take years. I suggest you fill your time with prayer and look at the times when you are most tempted. Are there any adjustments you can make when you feel weakest?
To get moving! Several recommended this and it is a tremendous help.
This “dialogue” in this forum has really made me examine the situation. I hadn’t realized how anxious I’d been feeling lately, which would explain the increase in activity. I haven’t used anti-anxiety meds that were prescribed last winter during a rough time for months. I probably never took more than 7 days worth at that time. Maybe taking those for a few days will “give me breather” and help me reset.
My relationship with God has understandably suffered, despite frequent trips to confession and time in prayer. The earlier recommendation about praying the prayer to St. Michael is something I’ve done, as well as the Memorare.
One day at a time.:o
You got it!
*Hi twhite, I stumbled upon your thread here, and just wanted to offer prayers. My dh and I used to view porn together in our marriage–and at that time, we didn’t realize that it was ‘bad.’ We viewed it together, how bad could it be right? But, years later, looking back at who I am now as a Catholic–yikes, that stuff is poison for the mind!
I would also suggest that is it possible you use masturbation as a form of escape? There can be physical reasons behind it, but escaping your marital issues through masturbation, might very well be the culprit, to a degree. Praying that you get past this habit, and as others have said…go to confession often, and don’t HATE yourself. God created you–you have fallen into sin–and He doesn’t hate you at all…He loves you, and wants you to heal. Christ came for all of us sinners, to heal us…and get us to heaven. He died for you, and for me…for us all. Your “shame” is good in the sense that it helps you to not ‘want’ to remain in sin, but don’t let it eat you up. Once you go to confession, and offer a good act of contrition…then, keep trying to not sin. I would reaaaallly try to get at the root of the issues between you and your husband…because when a marriage has problems, you might stop masturbation, only to turn to something else for gratification. Not saying you will do that, but my hunch is that masturbation is a form of escape and a fleeting source of happiness or a ‘high’ so if you give it up…and the marriage problems still exist, the temptations might still be there to fall back into the same pattern.
I will hold you in my prayers…*
Dang, that seems like some great advice to me - for guys and gals!
I’ll keep those suggestions in mind to deal with my own problems with sexual sins. Thanks!
whatevergirl: Thanks for the prayers and great words of wisdom. I’ll take them to heart. Your comment about it being a form of escape sure seems like it might be the case. Anxiety, emotional distance - yes. Escape? A different twist but definitely is the case. It really is a complicated picture - dealing with (for the first time this past year) sexual abuse, thoughts and feelings about another guy (which probably are the result of the same root problem). It’s kind of a tortured world I live in if I’m not careful, and I try to be. So your prayers are appreciated. It’s those of others, as well as frequent reception of the sacraments and prayer that are helping. And helped me get through one day today! Yeah!