The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I'm addicted to masturbation, and I really want to stop. I always try to stop masturbating, and I always fail. Please, help me I really want to stop! I feel that when I masturbate, God does not listen to me, and all the promises I have in my life won't happen anymore because of this masturbation. I never told this problem to anyone because I'm really ashamed of it. I need your help! How do I stop it?


Answer

"Addicted" would be the wrong word. You are no more addicted to masturbating than you are to eating. You have a habit of masturbating that you want to break, just as some people have a habit of eating too much and want to lose weight.

Before you can successfully make changes, you need to understand what you are dealing with. First off, I want you to understand the proper biblical viewpoint of masturbation. For that, I want you to read two articles, and most importantly, I want you to take your Bible and read all the passages cited and think about how they fit in. The articles are: "Is masturbation unacceptable?" and "I'm still confused about masturbation. Is it right or wrong?" What I hope you get from the articles that the act of masturbation by itself is neither right nor wrong. What can make it wrong is overindulgence or using pornography to get yourself aroused enough to masturbate.

But before I discuss what needs to be done, I have to ask you some personal questions:

  1. How often are you masturbating?
  2. When do you usually masturbate?
  3. Are you looking at pornography or something similar when you masturbate?

Knowing what you are dealing with, I can better guide you into making changes.

Thank you so much for your time! I really appreciate it!

On to the questions you asked me:

  1. I usually masturbate once a week, and sometimes twice a week. I've been able to manage going two weeks without masturbating twice in the last three years.
  2. Afternoon
  3. Yes. I always watch pornography when I'm masturbating. Not anymore because I saw your article about it.

Thank you very much for caring about my problems. 

It might be hard to believe, but you aren't as bad off as you imagine. I've talked with boys who compulsively masturbate multiple times a day. Given your frequency, I would guess that you end up masturbating when your seminal vesicles get close to full. For young men that usually happens about once or twice a week -- for some guys it happens more often and for a few guys it is less often.

I didn't word my second question well enough. I was looking for what it is that causes you to decide to masturbate. In other words, you typically masturbate in the afternoon, but you don't masturbate every afternoon, so what is different about the afternoons that you do masturbate?

Many habits we build up over time have triggers. You might have a habit of having a snack when you get home from school. It might not be a bad thing, but if you always have a snack, whether you are hungry or not, you will eventually have problems with your weight. I am wondering if you have developed a trigger for masturbating so that you do it more by habit than by need.

I'm glad you've given up pornography because that is where the real problem lies. It is designed to sexually arouse you, but the more you're aroused, the faster your seminal vesicles produce semen. The more often the seminal vesicles are full, the more you crave looking at pornography in order to ejaculate. Thus, a vicious cycle occurs that never ends. Like other sins, pornography gives temporary pleasure, but it doesn't fully satisfy and comes with a lot guilt as baggage.

So, my second question for you is how long has it been since you stopped looking at pornography? The reason I ask is that the impact pornography has on your thinking fades over time; it doesn't stop immediately.

Now, one more point to keep in mind: you aren't going to get to the point where you don't ejaculate. The male body is designed to constantly produce semen and sperm. Those products have expiration dates, so to keep the supply fresh your body gets rid of the old to make room for the new. So as you slow down or end your masturbation your body still needs to get rid of the old semen. What will happen is that you will start having wet dreams, where you masturbate in your sleep. These will come infrequently at first, but as your body adapts, they will come more frequently until the proper balance is found.

Thank you so much for your time.

I feel good to know that I'm not as bad as I imagine. :)

Regarding the second question, the afternoons that I usually masturbate are the ones that I'm alone. I'll try to explain you what happens on those days. My dad or my mom usually invites me over to some place, like my grandma's house, but I'm usually not up to this activity. Automatically, I always get this voice in my head saying: "if you stay here alone, you'll fail." But I always think that I'll not masturbate, and that I'll stay away from the computer. I usually end up masturbating. And I get a horrible feeling that the more I masturbate, the more God will 'retire' things from my life. I don't know how to say this exactly, but I'll give you an example: if I masturbate, God won't let me have the job that I've always dreamed of, and sometimes I feel like my parents are going to get killed because of my masturbation. I know they're kind of stupid, but right after I masturbate that's how I always feel.

I'm sorry for the statement I made when I said that I quit porn. The day I saw your article about it, I decided not to look at pornography. That was the same day I wrote you. But I'm pretty convinced of the porn problems and won't look at porn anymore.

I have another question: Is it wrong to look at naked women? Is it a sin? And what if I masturbate once a month or twice a month, will I still be able to to take the Lord's Supper? 

I'm looking forward to your answer.

In answer to your question, I want you to read, "Is it a sin to view naked girls?" Then I want you to honestly tell me why you want to look at naked women.

Now that I have a better idea of what is happening, let's start putting solutions into place. Right now the masturbation is a side-effect of your use of pornography. The disgust you feel about yourself isn't so much that you ejaculated as that you are filling your mind with trash in order to ejaculate. So, let's clean out the trash first. I want you to download a free program to install on your computer, called K9 Web Protection. It will limit your access to pornography. If your computer is one shared with your family, you need to let your parents know that you are adding the blocks, which means you have to mention that you have seen pornography and don't want to see it again. It doesn't mean you will have to go into details, I suspect that just a brief mention of it to your dad will be sufficient since he knows what it is like to be a male. (I'm assuming your dad is a religious man.) This won't totally keep you away from it and if you were determined, you probably could figure out a way around it. But the aim is to make it a bit harder to seek pornography and during that extra work, you will have time to consider what you are doing, and hopefully talk yourself out of it.

The second thing I want you to do is write to me if you do fall back into the temptation of looking at pornography. "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). Knowing that I'm here praying for your strength and safety should give you extra encouragement to stay away from the filth.

The third thing is that at least in part you use masturbation as a way to entertain yourself when you have nothing else to do and you think that no one is looking. If possible, put your computer where others in the family can see what is on the screen. Knowing that at any moment someone could come home and see you masturbating will take some of the "fun" out of it. Along with that, plan in advance things you can do that are profitable when you have nothing else to do. Tell yourself that at the very least, you can't masturbate until you finish everything you need to get done. Hopefully by that time, you will have control of yourself once again.

In all of this, the aim is to break the compulsive desire to masturbate simply because you are alone in the house.

In regards to the Lord's Supper, many people misread Paul's statement. "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body" (I Corinthians 11:28-29). It doesn't say that the person eating must be worthy of the memorial. In a very real sense, none of us are worthy of what Christ offered to us. What Paul did say is that the manner in which the Lord's Supper is partaken is to be done in a way that gives proper honor and respect to Jesus. So being disrespectful of Jesus, treating the memorial as a common everyday event, thing about everything else but the Lord's death on our behalf, altering what is being used to symbolize the Lord's death, etc. are all ways we can not honor the Lord and his wishes. The Bible never says you must be perfectly sinless to partake of the Lord's Supper.

Now it is true that a person who thinks he can be acceptable to Christ while remaining in his sins is both fooling himself and being disrespectful to Christ. A young man who spends his free time poring over pornography has his mind in the world and not on Christ. To think you could remain in that sin and God won't mind is foolish. But every male ejaculates, the body God designed requires it. Having a wet dream or masturbating without putting your mind in the gutter (which some men have a hard time not doing), isn't necessarily a sin.

Thank you so much for your reply. I already downloaded a porn blocker. I blocked the sites that I used to go on, and I blocked some key words, such as porn and sex. My notebook usually stays in my bedroom, but I just moved it into the living room. Be sure I'll keep you updated about my journey. You helped me a lot. God bless you.