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Concerned Carolynne wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm a 20-year-old female with a family. I have been a Catholic all my life. My question is:

  • Is sleep masturbation still a sin?

I woke up this morning feeling different and I couldn't put my finger on it (no pun intended), but later on I realized that I might have masturbated in my sleep. I had flashbacks during that night, but I was asleep, so I don't know.

  • Is this a serious-enough sin that I should go to Confession?

Thank you,


  { Is sleep masturbation a sin and is it a serious-enough sin that I should go to Confession? }

Mike replied:

Dear Carolynne —

You said:

  • Is sleep masturbation still a sin?

If one was asleep, and unconscious, there was no sin.

If one was partially asleep, they did not have full consent of the will, therefore there was no either no sin or it could have been a venial sin.

For a sin to be mortal it must include all three conditions:

  1. It must be a grave matter.
  2. We need sufficient time to reflect upon the sin we are about to commit and then must make the decision to sin anyway.
  3. We must give full consent of the will to commit the sin.

If the person (as in this situation) does not have full consent of the will, there is no mortal sin.

You said:

  • Should I still go to Confession?

For sins like these, I would personally recommend going to Confession.

Don't be scrupulous, just mention the sin to the Confessor and say:

  • You want to make good holy Communions, and
  • Offer the Confession up for others around the world that struggle with this prevalent sin.


Concerned Carolynne replied:

Thank you, Mike —

I really appreciate you taking your time and answering my question. I will go to Confession this week and say what you suggested.

Again, thank you very much.

Concerned Carolynne

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