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Eddie wrote:

Hi guys,

My wife has almost completely lost her desire to have sex and when we do, I feel like I am forcing myself on her.

  • I know the Church teaches against masturbation but is it a sin if I do it, just to relieve myself?



  { Since my wife has lost her desire to have sex, is it OK to masturbate just to relieve myself? }

Eric replied:

Hi Eddie,

Alas, it is, which I know is not what you wanted to hear. No dispensation for relieving pent-up sexual tension.

You are in a difficult position, though no more difficult (and no less common) than that of the average single man who strives to remain chaste.

I would encourage you, if you have not already done so (though I'm sure you have), to see if there is any change in approach or behavior on your part that can make sex enjoyable for your wife. Perhaps she senses that you are using sex to fulfill your own needs more than you are using it to make a sincere gift of yourself to her and to communicate your love.

Maybe it's become more lust than love; I don't know since I'm not familiar with the situation, so don't take this as a personal rebuke, just as a list of things to consider. Don't rule out marriage counseling, either.

One thing I'd highly recommend is to listen to a series on the Theology of the Body, an excellent teaching on marital love from a Catholic perspective that I guarantee will blow your socks off.

It's called Naked Without Shame by Christopher West, and it's available for free from the Gift Foundation. You can't go wrong with this price.

When your done perhaps your wife will be interested in listening to it too, and perhaps it will re-ignite  her desire for sex.

Meanwhile, fight the good fight of chastity. Dismiss thoughts that arouse you, flee from temptation. Make a decision to renounce masturbation and stick with it as much as you can.

If you find yourself overwhelmed and feel compelled to do so, remember the advice of Scripture:

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Hebrews 12:3-4

And, No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

However if you do fall after manfully resisting, take comfort knowing that this is less of a sin than giving in without any pressure.

Always avail yourself of the Sacrament of Confession before you go to Mass again. I've found it a tremendous help. Then get back up and on your feet again, ready to fight another battle.

Yours in Christ,


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