I'm 20 years old and have been reading your site for a long time now. I'm currently dating a girl who has helped me grow a lot spiritually. I've struggled with same-sex attraction and masturbation for years and she helped me realize where all these feelings came from in my past. I still have the feelings but I'm working on forgiving those who have hurt me, basically I'm healing from past wounds.
Anyway, I have the daily urge to masturbate. I've gone back and forth with the idea of it being sinful. I know masturbation itself is not sinful, but when I do it I think about lusting after certain guys. I don't like that I do that and it's been two months since I last masturbated. I've been having wet dreams though, and some really gross ones at that which I hate. Whenever I would masturbate, she would know and it would hurt her so I wanted to stop it. Literally she would get some sixth sense that I was in the process of doing it and she would know.
Lately though I really miss the feeling of it and I fight every day with touching myself. I want to overcome my flesh - I know it's a daily battle but I'm hurting from not masturbating. She's proud of me that it's been two months but it's always on my mind. She knows how I feel because I tell her everything. It just feels like a real catch 22; if I masturbate I'll lust and I don't want to lust - just release.
What should I do?
First off, you need to get out of the habit of discussing personal things like wet dreams and masturbating with your girlfriend. These types of things are not appropriate subjects to discuss with friends of the opposite sex. These things naturally contain sexual connotations that can easily get off track.
Like most people, she assumes that what is true for her is also true for everyone else. Females don't have to deal with the need to ejaculate, so it is hard for them to understand why it can't be ignored.
Now, whether you choose to masturbate or not is up to you. As you have seen, the body will often shift to wet dreams to take care of the need to ejaculate. The problem with wet dreams is that clean up can be messy and you have no control over the dreams. The problem with masturbating is that many guys get into a habit of using either pornography or lustful thoughts to stir up their desire to ejaculate.
Lust is a strong desire to sin to the point that you find yourself accepting the sin and thinking of reasons why the sin would be justified. Since sin is never justifiable, involves lying to yourself. Tell yourself a lie often enough, you start to think it is true. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:21-23). It leaves you weak and vulnerable to the possibility of committing the sin in the future.
Therefore, lust itself is a sin. "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Notice that it doesn't matter what kind of lust is being indulged in, all lust is wrong because it involves an acceptance of sin. Lusting to have sex with a girl is just as wrong as lusting to have sex with a guy.
There is nothing wrong with just continuing to let wet dreams happen. If they are not happening often enough to keep your sexual desire under control, you can encourage them when the desire gets strong by changing how you sleep on those nights. Simply sleeping in the nude on the nights when the desire is strong is often enough to trigger a wet dream.
If you rather use masturbation to ejaculate when your desire gets too strong, you have to learn to do it without thinking about anything particular. After years of habitually thinking of lustful things, it will be difficult, but not impossible to change. What I suggest is having a place and time to do it that is private and where you don't have access to pornography. Taking care of the need while showering is one. To control the thoughts, wait until the need to ejaculate feels really strong, then masturbate. If you find your thoughts going the wrong direction, stop and wait until another time. What you will find is that very shortly it won't take much to trigger an ejaculation. Admittedly, it doesn't feel as pleasurable, but you aren't after pleasure but controlling your desires. Over time, you will build up the habit of masturbating without any particular thoughts.
Thanks for the response. What do I do about her being hurt by the actions? She would always know that I was masturbating, she told me she'd get a strong need to pray for me at the time I was doing it. Also, we tell each other everything because I see us getting married someday. She already knows the deepest and darkest parts of me and vice versa, it would be weird to all of the sudden be silent on the subject. How can I not hurt her and myself with this?
You taking care of a bodily need does not cause her any harm. Therefore, her claiming to be hurt when you ejaculate is false. You do cause yourself harm when you lust after sin, but again that doesn't directly involve her except that she should be wanting you to stay out of sin. My guess is that she knows when you are doing things you believe you shouldn't be doing from the guilt in your voice and body language. Women are very good at reading subtle emotional clues.
Even though you plan to marry this girl one day, it still is not an excuse to talk about subjects that are not fitting for unmarried men and women to be discussing. "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them" (Ephesians 5:3-7). It is far too easy for young people to get pulled into sexual discussions and from there into sexual actions.
If she wants to know why you are no longer talking about your private matters, simply tell her that a preacher pointed out that it isn't an appropriate topic for an unmarried man to be talking about with an unmarried woman, especially when they are interested in each other.