Ask Bish – Masturbation and Porn Are Against My Religion

Advice to a religious reader on how to give up masturbation and porn.

Hi there, I am a teen boy, almost 16, living in the UK. I have problems with porn and masturbation. I started watching that filth when I was 12; it’s been an addiction and it’s been going on for about 3 years. I like-or liked-it, obviously, but at the same time, as I grew older, I just felt guilty about it; I believe it is an insult to human dignity, especially, in most videos, to women, and I wanted to give it up as well. I recently, about a month ago, managed to stop it completely by enabling parental filters for my internet connection. I have not watched porn since, for about a month and I am glad.

My religious beliefs conflict with porn and masturbation. It’s totally wrong and prohibited for me. Although I’ve stopped watching porn, the effect it had on me of making my desires and fantasies stronger, meant I am finding it difficult to give up masturbation. I only use my willpower, which is quite weak.

Although you may say masturbation is ok and all that, I want to give up this filthy practice; please advise me! I don’t find either of these things affecting my studies or anything like that, I am doing excellent at school, but it does disturb me morally. About porn, I just feel guilty about the future; how can I marry and have a wife knowing I have looked indecently at other women before? It’s a disgrace!

Hi there

Thanks for your really great question (which I’ve edited down a little bit, hope that’s OK). You seem to be really struggling with this, so I hope I can give you some advice that may help you a little bit.

You Vs Porn

The reason porn is not meant to be watched by under 18s is that usually young people haven’t had the time to learn about sex and relationships enough to help them understand what is happening in porn. As you started watching from a very early age you may have seen stuff that has upset you. My A-Z of Porn may help you with this (I’m up to M). You could also think about talking (confidentially) to a counsellor about this? There may be someone at school you could talk to (school nurse, counsellor, pastoral support)? Or your local young person’s clinic might have someone you could talk to (a Health Adviser or someone to refer you to psycho-sexual counselling).

You’ve stopped with the porn for now – good for you. Many people worry that they are looking/watching/reading porn more than they want (some people call this Porn Addiction) so it’s great that you’ve taken control over this and taken steps to reduce how much you look at it. Using filters was a good idea. You could also only use computers in public places (so long as you don’t then wank in public – bad idea) or turn off your phone before bed time.

However sexual images (or images which we might see as sexual) are in lots of different places (TV, magazines, ‘SFW’ websites, music videos, your brain …) and sometimes they might be hard to avoid. Also, sometimes, you might just feel really really horny. So you might want to think about some other strategies. Perhaps you could get into mindfulness and/or prayer? When you’re feeling really horny you don’t have to act on it, just notice it, sit with it and wait for it to go away (it will). Just like when you get hard ons in the morning or on the bus.

Look For Wriggle Room

Maybe what you can do is to try and find a little bit of wriggle room. I think the most important thing is to act according to your values and who you are as a person – but remember that you and your values always change a little (or a lot). If you don’t want to wank at all, then I don’t think you should. But you are clearly very distressed because part of you really wants you to do it and another part really doesn’t want you to do it. If it’s a battle, maybe you could call a truce.

You’ve interpreted your religion’s views on porn and masturbation very narrowly. You could try talking to someone in your religion (you don’t say which) about this. Enforced chastity is something that many people have tried and many people have found extraordinarily difficult – you could ask someone you really really trust about this. Alternatively you could do a bit of research into other views from within your religion on masturbation and porn – you might find lots of different views that may help you refine your views a bit. For instance check out these different Christian perspectives.

Be Easier On Yourself

Are there ways that you can be a bit easier on yourself? Instead of being very black and white about it (not wanking = good, wanking = bad) perhaps you could try and find a middle ground. If your goal is to reduce the amount of times you masturbate, remember that every time you don’t wank you’re achieving more of your goal. Maybe if you set goals which allow you a bit of wanking time but which also made sure that you had time for school, family, friends, prayer, hobbies you might be a bit happier?

Maybe there are images that are sexual which you would be more comfortable masturbating to? (Though the people in those images – such as underwear adverts – haven’t consented to you doing that.) Do you allow yourself to fantasise about sexy things? Are there stories you could write for yourself, or imagine, that are hot but also in keeping with your values? You mention the idea of a wife, what might sex with her be like do you think?

In porn and ‘real life’ sometimes sex is gentle and equal. Sometimes it is harder and involves one person in power over an other. One isn’t more ethical or moral than another – so long as everyone involved is consenting (IMHO). You have no idea what kind of sex your future wife might like, or what her views might be on your past porn use, or what you fantasise about – because you haven’t asked her yet. You also don’t know what you might like yet either So try not to beat yourself up about your future just now.

I admire your determination to deal with this and it’s so great that you’ve written to me so honestly about it. I hope that I’ve given you some good advice here. I think the key message is that you’re not perfect and nor am I. You might get things wrong now and again or you might do things that you aren’t happy with – but being really hard on yourself is not going to help you.

Best wishes

Justin

 


Comments (3)

  • Avatar

    Anon-666

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    Thanks (it’s me, the questioner) for ur reply; i hope i can get over this, thanks for being so frank. I just want to think over what u said and maybe forget about this; u know, just stop seeing it as a problem and get on with it, ‘sit with it’ as u put it, and wait for it to go. and if u wanted to know, i am a Muslim. islam, actually, is quite relaxed when it comes to sexual practices within marriage, forbidding only anal sex and sex during a woman’s period, leaving everything else to the couple. but anything outside marriage is totally forbidden, and it’s this frustration about this that i have. hopefully as i get older, these feelings should subside a bit. hopefully. in the meanwhile, thanks for that Justin.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      bishtraining

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      Lovely to hear from you 🙂

      I hope it works out for you. All difficult feelings come and go. The key is not to make it harder by being hard on yourself.

      Fancy writing a little blog post about Islam and sex for Bish? I think a lot of readers would find it interesting.

      Justin

      Reply

      • Avatar

        Anon-666

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        Yeah sure, why not? How would you like to proceed?

        Reply

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