The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Hello!

I have a very important question: I'm in my twenties old right now. I started to masturbate when I was 12, and then at the age of 14 I promised myself to stop. Since 15 I have never done it.

However, more problems arose. During that period of masturbation I was promising myself and swearing not to masturbate since I thought it can influence my health and my achievements. Basically I was thinking it's really bad and I stopped. But since then I started to have erections with pre-ejaculate. I would see it when I was aroused or was in the bathroom. All of this things combined with the idea that masturbation is really bad for my health and that it's a sin. It made me afraid of pre-ejaculate or erections.

If  I saw pre-ejaculate or had an erection, I started to feel that I am bad and had sinned. I started to blame myself. I thought that if I did something before it, such as read a book, that now I can't do it. Basically, I was really nervous about such things like erection or pre-ejaculate from both spiritual and mental viewpoints.

That was before I was 17. After that I still had that problem but I also started to have daily ejaculations during arousal. It was really terrible. Once it happened I would go into a depression for six months and feel that I was less developed, weaker, and lost everything I had before.

This continued until I turned 20. Now I have another problem. In terms of pre-ejaculate, I developed my own psychological treatment of the problem: as long as I have a wet dream after pre-cum, I become normal again since actual sperm includes pre-cum and wet dream will happen anyway given that I don't masturbate. But now I can't treat the problem of pre-cum and erections with wet dreams. Now if I feel pre-cum on my underwear the effect is the same as in terms of real masturbation or ejaculation - I start blaming myself for hours and days, feel that I lost everything I had before. I feel that I can't do the stuff I could do before. I go into depression, can't wake up in the morning, because I'm blaming myself all the time.

Recently it happened to me. I was barely aroused and felt pre-cum on my underwear when I was in the bathroom in the morning and since that time I'm blaming myself and can't stop, I can't do anything - only blame myself and that is it. I have the same feeling as before. Now I'm even afraid of a little arousal and of even little thoughts about girls.

I never had girlfriend in my life, never, and because of this problem, I'm afraid of the consequences.

Do you think it's a sort of answer to me because I was masturbating, which is bad? Or is it a psychological problem of me? How should I treat it? I know that it's not normal. Should I go psychotherapist?  Are there any particular cases like mine? Please help me! I have this problem for a long time, sometimes almost daily. Now I control myself, but it happens independently.

I really want to find a girlfriend and I want to love her, I'm not interested in any sex and stuff before marriage, but anyway if we are going to be boyfriend and girlfriend I'll be aroused and if this happens I will start to blame myself, go into depression again. How then I'll find a girlfriend?

I'm really tired of this, it has been years!


Answer

This would be much easier to address face-to-face, but let's see if we can straighten out some of your anxieties. It is not unusual for young men to develop obsessions and compulsive behaviors during adolescence. Usually is it a passing phase, but it becomes a concern when those obsessions remain. Some obsessions are mild. I knew one young man who felt he had to wear something black, it didn't have to be much, just as long as it was black. Another was obsessed by schedules. As long as the day went as planned he was fine, but if the schedule had to change he got anxious. What is particularly hard are obsessions about normal bodily functions. Some are obsessed with the idea of smelling bad and so constantly put on deodorant. Others are obsessed with the idea of germs and will wash their hands raw. You've done the same thing with a different part of how the male body works.

"Do not be overly righteous, nor be overly wise: why should you destroy yourself? Do not be overly wicked, nor be foolish: why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp this, and also not remove your hand from the other; for he who fears God will escape them all" (Ecclesiastes 7:16-18).

People have a tendency to take extreme positions without thinking about why they are taking those positions. In your youth, you decided that things dealing with sex are sinful, but I have a challenge for you. The Bible is the truth: "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17). It has everything we need to know about how to live godly: "as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue" (II Peter 1:3). You've stated repeated that you feel you sin when you are sexually aroused. Upon what passage of Scripture is this based?

I'm fairly sure you don't have one. I think you decided this on your own. You've added something to the truth and now beat yourself up mentally for not keeping your own made-up rules. "Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar" (Proverbs 30:6).

What is sad is that you picked normal bodily functions and labeled them as sinful. It is true that there are many people who abuse their abilities and commit sins with their penis, but it doesn't mean a penis is sinful. You are supposed to have erections, that is the way God made your body. Pre-ejaculate is supposed to drip from your penis when you get aroused, that is the way God made your body. You are supposed to ejaculate semen, that is the way God made your body. When you label these things as unhealthy, you are saying that God didn't know what He was doing when He designed the human body. The truth is that God knows far more than a teenage boy.

Some of your problems are derived from your extreme attempts to deny that you are a human male. In some ways you are like a person who decides it is wrong to urinate and then gets upset when urine starts trickling down his leg. You have glands in your body that produce semen. They can only hold so much before it has to come out. It is going to come out one way or another. It will come out regardless of whether you have been sinning or living righteously.

This is just scratching the surface. I don't know where you are, but if you can come by to see me we can go into more depth quickly. Even if you can't, I would like to hear your reaction to this so I know where to take the conversation next.

Yeah, I think you are right. But this problem was in my mind for a number of years. So, it's kind of difficult for me to throw it away.

I have, however, several questions:

  • Do you think it might be a good idea to go to a psychotherapist and tell him about such situation and hope it's possible to solve it?
  • Is it fine if I'm thinking about girls and sometimes occasionally become aroused because of imagining something related to girls, such as kissing? Do you think it might be because I don't have girlfriend right now and the body wants to produce pre-ejaculate and be aroused, so it's normal and fine for me to have such thoughts about girls, especially given that I don't have girlfriend?
  • Beause of this problem I have some problems with finding a girlfriend, but I really want to. Is it fine and can I kiss and hug my girlfriend, take her hand? I don't want to have sex before marriage, but can I do the things mentioned above?
  • I would also be glad to hear your advice on how to solve this problem with being afraid of arousal because of pre-ejaculate and sperm. Am I right when saying that this is all just in my mind because of my thoughts when I was 15-16 years old?

I'm not a fan of psychology, but I'm not opposed to someone going to a therapist if they really feel they need one. The general problem is that secular psychology's aim is to get a person feeling good about themselves as they are. There is an avoidance of moral judgment. In your case, you incorrectly made a moral judgment about some of your body's functions, so I think it would be better to solve the issue from a spiritual point of view. Now I know of several Christians who are also psychologists. They would be able to handle the combination of issues well, but I always leary of trusting someone who might approach the problem from an amoral or even immoral point of view. The decision on whether to see a psychologist has to be your own.

But your problem is solvable because the problems are caused by how you are analyzing right and wrong. I agree, it is hard to drop habits of incorrect thinking, but in reality that is what Christianity is about -- a change in the way we see the world.

Fears typically come from things we don't know or don't understand. We tend to imagine things being far worse than reality. "The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion" (Proverbs 28:1). When someone does wrong, the uncertainty of whether they will be caught makes a wicked person jump at the slightest thing. They imagine people seeing things that can't be seen. That same thing happens in other areas where fear exists.

The best way to handle fears to face them with someone who can keep your fears from getting out of hand. That's hard to do via email since there will always be a delay between the incidence of fear and the calm response. But you and I can address what it is you fear, why you see this as a cause of fear, and then apply a reasoned approach to the problem. That is why I asked you that if you see getting an erection as sinful, how are you coming to that conclusion. God defines the difference between right and wrong, so what is it about your penis getting hard that makes you conclude that you broke a law of God?

Your body's current responses have little to do with whether you do or do not have a girlfriend. It is simply doing what God designed it to do. There are reasons behind why your penis gets erect, why you produce pre-ejaculate, and why you produce semen even though you are not yet ready for sex because you are not married yet. Learning about those reasons and accepting that this is the way God made you will take you a long way to overcoming your fears.

In regards to girls, what Paul told Timothy to do is: "Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger as sisters, with all purity" (I Timothy 5:1-2). For most people this is a good guideline. Treat young women as you would a sister. Holding hands, chaste kisses, or a brief hug are not seen as sexual and are fine. Prolong hugs or touching other areas of the body can hold sexual connotations which need to be avoided. At the moment, you are a bit confused over what is actually a sexual situation. It might take a few months to get that issue straighten out in your head. Until that time, I would not suggest rushing to get a girlfriend until you are comfortable with yourself and how your body responds. If you happen to find one, there isn't anything wrong, but at the moment there doesn't need to be a rush.