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IWannaQuit wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have been struggling with a very bad addiction and I don't even know what it's called. I don't watch porn — I just think that's disgusting, and I don't touch myself.

I just get turned on when I watch kissing scenes or imagine similar things in my head. Every time I do this, I can't even express how guilty I feel. I cry. I cry because I pray so hard to stop, but nothing I do seems to work!

  • How can God forgive a sinner like me?

I do this probably two times a week and ask for forgiveness each time. I don't understand how God can still love me when I continue to break my promise to stop.

Please, suggest to me anything; it would help me a lot.

Also, your prayers would be much appreciated. I know it might sound like I'm overreacting,
but I feel like a freak and it really brings down my self esteem.

IWannaQuit

  { How do I stop getting turning on by watching kissing scenes or imagining similar things? }

Mike replied:

Dear IWannaQuit,

First, I suggest you talk to a pastor or priest who knows you well and follow his advice but based on what you have said, I don't see any sin in your question.

As my colleague John said in a different posting:

We must distinguish between temptation and sin. Being tempted is not sin. Seeing an attractive woman [or man] and having an immediate physiological response is an indication that you're body is working the way God designed it to work.

The hunger for sex is as legitimate as the hunger for food but we can quickly cross the line from a natural response, to responding positively to the temptation, by nursing the thought, welcoming the temptation, and taking it to the point of sin.

We should never confuse the predisposition to sin or concupiscence with the actual sin.

You are not a freak and there is no reason to loose any self esteem; you seem very normal and human to me. Again, I would bring this issue up with a pastor or priest who knows you well and follow his advice.

Mike

John replied:

Dear IWannaQuit —

First of all, God loves everyone unconditionally, even the worst sinner on the planet.

  • What did the Lord say on the Cross about those who had just crucified Him?

"Father forgive them for they know not what they do."

God loves the souls in Hell and the only reason they are in Hell, is because they would not accept His Love and Mercy. God is not sitting up there just waiting to find a reason to send someone to Hell. People choose Hell because they can't handle the love and forgiveness that God extends to them and that love becomes a source of torment.

The only thing God hates is sin and He hates it precisely because sin harms us.

Second, you need to stop thinking you're freak or that you're a bad person. Lustful thought and masturbation are a sin. It's also extremely common so you're not some strange exception.

The fact that it's a habit tells you right there, that part of you doesn't want to sin, so the guilt is mitigated. I'm not making excuses. I'm simply saying it doesn't separate you from the love of God.

St. Paul makes it clear in Roman's Chapter 8 that "Nothing can separate us from the Love of God." (Romans 8:38-39) so you need to learn to forgive yourself, as God forgives you.

I recommend going to weekly Confession, because in the sacrament there is grace given to help you to help you overcome the sins that you confess and that grace also calls you back to repent when you stumble.

You're not going to begin to overcome this addiction until you get a proper understanding of God's great unconditional love and mercy.

John

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