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Anders wrote:

Hi, guys —

I hope you could give a Catholic response to this interesting question. I think of this a lot but I don't know Catholicism very well.

We often hear that it's normal to masturbate — people just do it. We often hear it being said that masturbating is way better than experiencing impulses to do sexual things with people who look good.

It is also said that we are sexual beings that need to express our sexuality and we love people of the opposite sex.

People sometimes say that if you are afraid of doing something sexual (just because you want to be morally and ethically good) you will not have such a good life.

  • What is your awesome Catholic response to this?

Anders

  { Can you give me an awesome Catholic reply to these pro-sexual, pro-masturbation statements? }

Mike replied:

Dear Anders,

Let me take a shot at your question. I cannot guarantee an awesome answer but I am sure we will give you want we know the Church teaches.

I searched the knowledge base for you and found a portion of this answer that should answer your question:

You said:
We often hear that it's normal to masturbate — people just do it. We often hear it being said that masturbating is way better than experiencing impulses to do sexual things with people who look good.

If people just do it, it is probably because they have not been catechized correctly on marriage and sexuality or they have and have chosen to ignore the Church’s teaching.

You said:
It is also said that we are sexual beings that need to express our sexuality and we love people of the opposite sex.

You are not going to get an argument from me. I agree!

This is properly fulfilled in marriage, a life-giving, life-long commitment to raising the next generation of Christian children.

You said:
People sometimes say that if you are afraid of doing something sexual (just because you want to be morally and ethically good) you will not have such a good life.

So young Catholic men being called to the priesthood and religious life will not have a good life. <I disagree.>

There are many groups and individuals out there writing articles with a specific bias or agenda in mind. Many times, they will justify hedonistic, self-centered principles, while putting the societal responsibilities of bring forth the next generation of Christians on the back burner for purely selfish reasons.

This can mainly be seen in various homosexual groups and lobbies. No one in the homosexual community cares at all about bringing forth the next generation of Christians. (e.g. having children . . . because biologically they can’t.)

They want to equate the self-sacrificing nature of Christian marital love with a self-pleasuring nature of a gay union. To compound the problem, they steal our Catholic vocabulary and try to re-define marriage as gay marriage, when there is no such thing as gay marriage. The Christian term marriage implies a sacred covenant between three parties: a man, a woman, and God.

Finally, nobody is denying that the struggles with the flesh are easy to handle. Jesus told us as much when He said:

The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

Those at AskACatholic and the Church would say, if you struggle and get pulled down by lust, go to Confession on Saturday and renew your Covenant with the Lord on Sunday. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven. Period.

My colleagues may have a different take but that’s mine.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Paul replied:

Dear Anders,

Human beings, like most of the animal kingdom, are sexual beings. But unlike the rest of the animal kingdom we have a spiritual dimension with powers of intellect and will, able to objectively know the truth and choose the good.

  • What is the true and the good?

When it comes to sex it is that God made us for interpersonal communion, and with a body to be expressed sexually for the two-fold purpose of permanent union and potential procreation. (Bonding and babies; Love and life.) This is why misusing sexuality for the fringe benefit (pleasure) while perverting its meaning and purpose is objectively both selfish and sinful.

Sexual misuse (i.e. abuse) is similar to eating disorders inasmuch as they are habit-forming, which can easily turn into vice, obsession, and even addiction. One must discipline the self in ways that could re-establish an openness to God's grace and a healthy lifestyle and this includes using our minds as well as our bodies. Confession and Communion coupled with serious resolutions to consciously eliminate lust in the heart by practicing discipline of the eyes and of the imagination is a good start.

Life is a challenge this side of Eden to overcome the wayward world, flesh, and devil.

Responding to God's love with a yes takes effort, an effort that is infinitely worth it.

Peace,

Paul

Bob replied:

Anders,

People who suggest that you won't have a good life by trying to do good and avoid evil or wrongdoing will be in for a shock, both in this life, and the next.

Jesus said,

10 "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."

John 15:10-11

God gave us sexuality for a purpose that is consistent with his whole plan of creation. Our sexual desire and appetite is ordered toward the fruitful Union of man and woman. This is a share in the Divine creativity in bringing new persons, made in Gods image, into being. (Same sex attraction is somehow a disorder of our natural innate biological sexual appetite.)

Therefore, the natural object of our sexual desires should be our complement in sexual reproduction. Unfortunately, since we have experienced the fall of humankind, we have misplaced that desire in a myriad of ways. Masturbation is just one expression of that disorder that mankind now experiences.

So the short of it is this: God didn't make us for sex with ourselves, but for a real mate, a complementary sexual partner of the opposite sex that can fulfill our natural reproductive ends, and be a helpmate and loving spouse.

Peace,

Bob

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