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Chastity - A Guide for Teens and Young Adults
Holy Spirit Interactive Youth: Chastity - A Guide for Teens and Young Adults: Some Practical Applications - Involuntary Sexual Stimulation

Some Practical Applications - Involuntary Sexual Stimulation

by Fr. Gerald Kelly

As a final practical help, we consider certain situations which occur fairly frequently and which are apt to be a source of great annoyance if one does not know the principle which must guide him in such circumstances. We refer to the question of sexual thoughts and sensations which are entirely involuntary, which arise, for instance, from fatigue, from some local irritation, from nervousness, or some glandular condition, and other such things. In other words, they are more or less spontaneous, and do not arise from any action which is under our control and which can be measured by the principles already explained in this chapter.

Sometimes these thoughts and sensations tire merely transitory, its is the case in passing thoughts or sensations aroused by inadvertent glances. In such cases, the best thing to do is to pay no attention to the thoughts or physical reaction.

At other times, especially when these involuntary sexual disturbances arise from physical causes like those mentioned above, they are apt to be very prolonged and to be the source of very severe temptation. They frequently become especially bothersome when one is trying to rest. They may begin very suddenly, or they may be a sort of climax to a two- or three-day period in which one realizes that he is particularly responsive to sexual stimuli. For trying times like these, keep the following rules in mind.

1. Such involuntary notions become mortally sinful only when one makes them perfectly voluntary by deliberately promoting them or deliberately approving of and enjoying them.

2. They are not sinful at all if one does what he reasonably can to be rid of any temptation involved in them. Such reasonable efforts differ with individual cases. In general. everyone should adopt such simple schemes as the following: make a brief, calm act of the will, "I don't want it"; say a little aspiration for grace; try to divert the mind to something else that is interesting, especially to something humorous make a brief change in external occupation, if possible. Such simple devices can be employed by most people without tiny nervous strain, and for people who are accustomed to controlling themselves, these means generally suffice to protect the will against sin. Those who have allowed themselves to fall into a habit of sin may often have to be more strenuous in their opposition and must at this time especially recall the strongest motives they know for keeping chaste.

People who are accustomed to lead a chaste life and who are suffering these temptations merely because of some physical condition should keep in mind that it is neither obligatory nor prudent to deprive themselves of sleep or do things which will augment a nervous condition in order to show that they don't want these sensations. They show that sufficiently by one of the simple devices mentioned above. So long as they safeguard their will by such things, the involuntary sexual passion is no more sinful than a headache.

Evidently, things which take place while one is sleeping cannot be sinful. A more difficult situation occurs when one is half-awake. In general, unless one is fully awake, he has not sufficient self-control to commit a serious sin; but sometimes there occur doubtful cases in which one is not sure whether he was fully awake or not, whether he consented or not, and so forth. The presumption is that people who try constantly to lead a chaste life do not sin at these times; on the other hand, the presumption is against those who ordinarily lead an impure life and are in the habit of giving in to temptations.

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