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Briana wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am 16 and I struggle with masturbation; I want to know if it is a sin and, if so:

  • Under what circumstances is it okay to masturbate if you are a Catholic?
  • Is it even okay at all?

Please reply soon.

Thank you!

Briana

  { Under what circumstances is it okay to masturbate if you are a Catholic? }

Paul replied:

Hello Briana,

Thank you for the important question.

According to God's plan the purpose and meaning of our sexuality is to unite with our future spouse and potentially procreate. Union and procreation, in marriage is the double-purpose and, hence, proper use of sex. Masturbation, therefore, is a grave misuse, or abuse, of ourselves.

If performed freely (without overwhelming force of habit) and knowing it's a grave matter, it is a mortal sin.

Knowing this, the aim must be to keep away from situations that would lead to this temptation.
It could quickly turn into a habit that could be difficult to overcome. Nevertheless, grace enables us to overcome whatever is outside of God's will. Take advantage of the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion as much as possible.

Peace,

Paul

Mike replied:

Hi, Briana —

As my colleague Paul said:
It could quickly turn into a habit that could be difficult to overcome.

The key is:

  • keeping a solid prayer and sacramental life
  • and not doing DUMB things, like receiving Holy Communion without first going to Confession, if you have struggled throughout the week with this sin.

All Catholic parishes I know have Confession's every Saturday afternoon.

Use them. Jesus established this sacrament for YOU.

Finally, many times, people, especially the youth, get frustrated because they believe this is something they can't overcome or control. The end result is they start beating up on themselves for not doing what the Lord expects of them.

This specific struggle, that both men and women have, will only be over when they are six feet under the ground. (buried and dead.) That said, don't beat up on yourself. If you fall, just get up again, find a compassionate priest [and|or] confessor who can hear your Confession and start fresh again.

Most importantly, remember, Jesus was a man like us in all things, but sin, so He understands.
I don't intent to rationalize any mortal sin by my comments, just put them in a proper perspective.

Hope this helps,

Mike
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