Viewed Differently for Adults than Teenagers?

I have read your answer regarding masturbation as being a mortal sin. However, you said that there could be subjective mitigating factors.. Could you explain exactly what this means? Does this have anything to do with age (for example under 18)? or does it have to do with physical and mental condition? I guess the real question is.. Is it viewed differently for adults as it is for teenagers?? Are there any considerations when it comes to age or maturity?

Thank you for your time



That is a difficult question because we human beings are so mysterious. Where compulsion ends and freedom begins is often hard to determine. Age is certainly a factor since the urge to masturbate is often stronger for adolescents. However, it can become ingrained the longer it is practiced. In some cases a person might feel he has conquered the habit, but a certain image or even a few words can be like a baited hook. (In this regard, the Internet is insidious because it can deliver an individual's particular images or words with almost none of what makes sex beautiful and good.) How someone deals with masturbation is often similar to the way other addictions affect them. There are alcoholics who can achieve long stretches of sobriety, but for some reason fall off the wagon. Others are "maintenance" drinkers. They may not get into much trouble, but it is still most dreary.

Now, having acknowledged a few of the compulsive factors, do we not also recognize that moment (or moments) when we make a free choice? Every temptation involves tension. To kick the cat aleviates stress, but so does extending ones arms and saying a short prayer. Do you see what I am saying?

Fr. Phil Bloom

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