Four Things I Learned while Battling Masturbation

It has always been interesting to me that many young men and women struggle with masturbation, but seldom will you find people talk or write about it. As a teenager, I struggled with masturbation and when I look back and reflect on the journey that led me to freedom from my sin, I realize there were several life lessons that challenged me.

 Like many young men and women, I justified my behavior because I thought I wasn’t hurting anyone. Around my junior year of high school, a series of events in my life led me to become motivated to try and stop. I suppose I may have seen it as a challenge. It wasn’t until I began battling the sin that I realized how much I was enslaved to this behavior. Why was masturbation a problem? I couldn’t stop – and having no control over my actions was something that scared me. Looking back on that time in my life, I realize that sexual sin had infected everything in my mindset, my relationships and my personal identity. The scariest thing that I discovered about myself is that I had grown cold to love. My sexual behavior had led me to treat every woman that I met as an object to feed my lust instead of a person to be treated with love, dignity and respect.

The battle took time, but there were several things that I learned while dealing with my own sexual sin:

Purity is impossible without grace. When I first tried to stop, I routinely failed. It wasn’t until I started praying that I began to find some strength and support. I began to turn to the sacraments as a place for accountability and support and I quickly realized that, while the chains to my sin were not something that I could break on my own, with God’s grace, I found strength that I did not realize that I had.

The Battle is won in the mind. Masturbation and other sexual sins are bad habits – and like any bad habit, it sometimes only takes a few weeks to change the habit. The real battle is in the mind. Before the action ever happens, the imagination leads a person to lust and the action of sexual sin follows the thoughts that preceded them. In order to cut off the action, you have to battle in your mind. This is best accomplished by eliminating pornography, trashy shows and lonely behaviors and replacing them with positive friendships, encouraging media and messages, Scripture and healthy habits.

You will find confidence every time you win a battle. The more often you defeat temptation, the more you will find confidence that you can win every time that temptation comes. At first, the battle against lust is very difficult, because you are not accustomed to resisting temptation. Every time you win a battle, your confidence increases and the power of the temptation decreases. If you win the battle consistently, you will find the temptation to lust loses its power and eventually, goes away almost entirely.

It is better on the other side of the battle. I will never forget the moment when I realized that this habitual lust no longer had power over me. It was a life changing realization of freedom. The experience of joy and freedom was so tangible that I gave my entire life over to God – I had discovered that the love of God in my life and His blessings were far greater than the chains of addiction that had enslaved me for years.

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Everett Fritz works in Catholic Youth Ministry and enjoys speaking on the topics of chastity, discipleship, and youth evangelization. He is the Content Development Coordinator for YDisciple at the Augustine Institute and holds an MA in Pastoral Theology with concentrations in Catechesis and Evangelization from the Augustine Institute. He also holds a BA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Everett resides in Denver with his wife Katrina and their three children.

 

20 Comments

  1. What a gift this blog is for you to honestly share about this struggle. May God bless you abundantly ask you speak the Truth in Love and help other captives be set free. Ralph Martin speaks and writes about the struggle to break a sin habit. One thing he said that helped me break a sin habit was to give up “the affection for the sin” which he explains that you think about it somewhat yearningly, fondly recalling it- like an alcoholic wishing he/she could still drink.
    So the battle field of the mind is definitely the thing- to replace those deceptive thoughts with God’s Truth, with pure love and break free of sin and shame. God is so good! Our faithful Father whose promises are true. God bless you in your vocations of being a husband and father and in your ministry to the Church.

    By Nancy | 3 years ago Reply
  2. It is definitely better on the other side of the battle. I’ve been free from masturbation
    for over 14 years and I’ve never felt freer !!! At the height of my addiction I would masturbate up to 4 times a day. Pornography, sex magazines – I was addicted and it was a battle to overcome it. Thank the Lord I’m free.

    By Anonymous | 3 years ago Reply
  3. This is all so, so true. As a young person having gone through the same struggles, I really wish that this message would reach others who are going through the same thing. Its hard to fight this when you’re alone, and for me personally, just coming to the realization that I’m far from the only one out there having struggled with this is encouraging in my fight for chastity. I find it extremely hard to talk about this with anyone, though after starting with confession, I’m slowly feeling more prepared to face it and talk to others about it; in fact, I wish I could help and encourage others who are struggling, but as you mentioned, it really is something that very few people ever talk about, which makes it rather hard.
    Anyways, thank you for posting, you really nailed the matter; great article.

    By Anonymous | 3 years ago Reply
    • Just over a couple weeks ago I made a vow to my future wife that I would stay pure for her until the day we will wed. Though I have not met her yet, I am doing my best to follow through with my promise. Having struggled with it yourself, might you be able offer any advice to resist temptation? I am struggling to fall into my old ways of sexual acts with other women and masterbation. Sometimes I feel as though prayer is not enough. If you have any advice I would greatly appreciate it.
      Thank you and God bless!

      By Austin | 3 years ago Reply
      • Hey, I’m sorry I didn’t see your reply sooner! The number one thing I’d advise is frequent confession! Like seriously, every single week. It can be a challenge to make yourself go, but it is so important in this battle to make use of this amazing source of grace. It’s also really helpful to be able to talk to someone about this, and a good priest can be the perfect person to turn to. As far as battling temptation itself (particularly temptation to masturbation) when it shows up, whats really helped me is immediately finding something positive and pure to focus on in order to turn away from lustful or impure thoughts. Its really important to banish those thoughts as soon as they start coming to mind, but sometimes its really, really hard to do so. In order to turn to a more pure train of thought, what I found out is that its extremely helpful to have something on hand that will encourage a non-lustful thought, such as a holy card with a favorite short prayer or quote, or else anything that could uplift your mind to something beyond the temptation of the moment. Possibly a pocket crucifix or small statue of the Blessed Virgin to have on hand to contemplate for whenever temptations may arise. Also, its important to identify in your life the things that are instigating the temptations, and if its something or someone in your life that can be removed (which it usually is I believe), do so. It’ll probably be hard, but its worth it.
        Finally, remember that these struggles are a means to becoming a saint. Its not that you’ll become a saint ‘despite’ your sins, but by using these temptations and learning to grow from them, you can become something great.
        I hope this helped a bit, I’m really just going off from my own experiences and am not quite sure how much it may vary for others, but I really hope you’re able to get something out of this. Anyways, sorry for such a long post, and I’ll be praying for you, God bless!

        By Anonymous | 3 years ago Reply
        • The Sacrament of Confession # 1

          By Homer | 3 years ago Reply
  4. Thank You for these comments. I have been struggling with this sin for 3 years, and I am so encouraged to know that there are other people just like me who have succeeded! God Bless You!

    By anonymous | 3 years ago Reply
    • Thank you. I too struggled for this and the temptation is still there. I’ll totally always pray for you everyday. But God is my strength and my rock and I have not fallen since I have gotten closer to him. And as for you EVERRET thank you for having the guts to share your testimony, I really appreciate it. Even more because you share your name with us. And I’m glad you’re letting people know they are not alone. Because these kinds of evils are the things Satan is using right NOW to DESTROY vocations. I’m glad that my church has implemented these types of helps and talking about this when others are unwilling to talk about them.

      By Anonymous | 3 years ago Reply
  5. Hormones are the death of my battle. I always feel that I have it mastered, always feel that I’m firmly rooted in things that are good… then comes that part of my hormonal cycle where desire is at it’s worst, and I fail. If I can get through just a month and a half without failing, I know from then on it won’t have as much power over me. I just haven’t yet. Last time I was able to forgo this temptation for a long period of time, I was praying the rosary daily. Maybe that’s why I’m afraid to start praying the rosary daily.

    By H. | 3 years ago Reply
  6. thanks for this post, I have been struggling with this habbit for the last many years . visiting this site gives me hope that my victory just started

    By daniel | 3 years ago Reply
  7. Hi , I was glad that I read this blog and some comments. Knowing I’m not alone who suffers in this kind of sin. This sin turns to my bad habit and its like embedded on my body system. There are times. I felt tired on confessing but I remembered what St. Frances De Sales said ” Be patient to yourself” ., Its a long quote. I just wrote what I remember. I pray that like them , I will overcome this and be chasted like all of you. God bless us!

    By Karen | 3 years ago Reply
  8. Thank You for this uplifting article. I have been struggling with this sin for 2 years but can now see the light at the end of the tunnle.

    By anomous | 3 years ago Reply
  9. I’ve struggled with this for 12 years. Hoping for some freedom. I like what I read in the comment section, espec. about praying the rosary daily!

    By Anonymous | 3 years ago Reply
  10. Hi Everett!! first of all let me tell you my short. I am an Indian.Masturbation and sex have always been a taboo here.I was blessed by the ALMIGHTY with many natural God gifts. I was better in many & many ways from others . God had sent me to do something great for the world.In my childhood I was extraordinary in many things but when I was caught in the claws of the devil masturbation, all my talents were started decreasing. My nature is exactly the same as was yours. I am trying very hard to win the battle over masturbation which I am losing for about 15 years. If I can defeat that sin then I can do many good things for me and for the world. By your this article I have become your fan!! If I win this battle over that sin and if I do anything good in life then I will specially come to meet you and contribute to your noble cause . You are truely a very good person but a little advice from me is that try to make behemoth efforts to erradicate that sin from youngsters . Hope we will meet someday while doing anything good for the humanity

    By indian | 3 years ago Reply
  11. u guys shud pls really pray for me trying all my possible best and everytin seems like it is nt working out…deep down I know this is nt d real me involving myself in this I really need God’s mercy av nva loved dis…pls pray for me…

    By samuel | 3 years ago Reply
  12. masturbation nearly destroyed my life… but thanks to God HV been found. you peepz to can stop God makes d difference it is well. . I know my God is ready to save

    By samuel | 3 years ago Reply
  13. I have been struggling with Masturbation for over 3 years now. I hate it so much. Its constantly a guilt in the back of my head, Satan telling me that I should have known better, or that I should not have done it. I need real serious help. I want to be free! I find my self constantly objectifying women while I am on campus (going to Community College.) Where ever God leads me in the future, I want to be into it free! I want to be free! I need help! Please! It had plagued my life long enough. I have grown numb to the pain to the point where I hardly feel bad when I commit that grave sin. I try and go to confession every week, but that soon becomes a safety net to masturbate during the week knowing I will go to confession Saturday. Please help me!

    God bless
    Evan

    By Evan | 3 years ago Reply
  14. someone once told me that only people with great destiny are tempted to fall. now just like the comment of third to last person,this is not me. it is unlike me to commit such sins. masturbation has gradually led me to losing my virus a young boy. am tired of this long term sin and I want to preach again with pure heart as I have been doing in time past.pls I need prayers and motivatvative assistance. thank you for your courage. GOD bless you

    By OSAZEE Friday | 3 years ago Reply
  15. its indeed a very hard habit to break except with the grace of God

    By Cynthia | 3 years ago Reply
  16. Thanks I really appreciate the help. I really wanted to get rid of the temptation , it undermined my brain power.

    By Anonymous | 3 years ago Reply

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