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How can I overcome masturbation?

The first thing that you need to understand is that Masturbation is an addictive habit. It is important that you accept this before you do anything else. A masturbation addiction (like many sexual addictions) can get such a strong hold on your life that you seem to lose control, and feel helpless to do anything about it. If that is how you feel, then you are addicted.

So, the first step is to admit this addiction to yourself, and to God.

You must then make a decision that you want to be cured of this addiction. It is important to understand that this must be more than a hope or a wish to change - you must make a positive decision that you want to be free from Masturbation. If you do not make that decision, then nothing that we suggest will work for you, because without that definite commitment, you will slip back into your old patterns of behaviour.

So, make a clear decision that you want to stop masturbating. Tell God about it, and if there is someone you can trust, tell them as well. This is important because it makes you accountable to someone else. Secrecy is a big enemy for the Christian, because it enables Satan to work in the dark (the word 'occult' means 'hidden'), and confession to another person is a vital step in becoming free from addictive sins. There is then someone you can talk too, someone who can encourage you and pray for you, and someone to hold you accountable.

You also need to start some new habits to help you to defeat this addiction.

You need to make daily prayer a high priority in your life. Prayer is one of the Christians most powerful weapons against our sinful habits, and the temptations of this world. If you have slipped back into masturbation, then each day confess it to God, offer your body back to Him as a living sacrifice, and ask God to help you to live a pure and loving life. Keep on talking to God about every part of your life, and invite Him to be a part of everything that you do. The writer of Psalm 119 says in verse 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word (NIV), and this is a prayer that you need to pray every day.

The other thing you need to do each day is to read your Bible. Do this every day without fail, because this will get you focusing on God's truth rather than the devil's lies (Philippians 4:8-9). Either read through whole Bible books or look for an internet daily reading plan to help you with this. Memorise verses in the Bible that are important to you (start with 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Daily Bible reading is a vital habit, because you are retraining your mind to think in a new way. Every sin, and every sinful habit, begins as a careless thought that is allowed to continue and grow in our minds until it produces rotten fruit in our lives. So, be careful to live each day in God’s word.

Both these habits are essential if you want to defeat your addiction to masturbation. King Solomon taught that you should guard your heart, make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm (Proverbs 4:23-27), and these 2 habits help you to do that. However, there is one more thing that you must do.

You must live life away from temptation. You will not be able to stop masturbating if you have easy access to pornography, so get rid of any printed material, and stop using the internet unless other people are present. The truth is that we cannot stop wrong habits if we are living in the middle of the temptation that fuels them. So, examine your life, and get rid of anything that tempts you to masturbate.

Finally, it is important to understand the negative effects of masturbation. In moderation, there are no proven negative effects to your physical health. However, masturbation always has psychological side effects, because a masturbation habit will give you wrong ideas about sex, and have consequences when you get married. You will have a selfish view of sex, wrong expectations of your wife, and may also find that the habit is a continuing problem within marriage which damages your sexual relationship with your wife.