Top 10 Tips for Quitting Masturbation
I actually wanted to write a post giving my top 10 tips or the lessons that I learned as I gave up masturbation, but I’m having great difficulty putting down my thoughts. I mean, I know what I want to say but I get lost in the details. I wanted it to be separate from this series, but oh well I don’t think it can be. So read on if you want to know the 10 essential lessons I learned in my abstinence journey thus far.
- 1. Acknowledge that you have a problem.
- This is a no-brainer but many people, including yours truly, do not want to admit they have a problem. My reasons for wanting to give up masturbation though were driven by the belief that masturbation is contrary to the Lord’s will. I already spoke about this in a previous post.
- 2. Surrender to God.
- I could not have gotten to where I am if it were not for God. He has given me faith in times when I had none. My belief in Him and the high standards He calls me to kept me going when I really wanted to give up even when I had suicidal thoughts and the couple of times I tried to act on them during my teenage years. If you are going to win this fight with yourself (and the powers of darkness), you will need to surrender to the Lord Jesus and realise that masturbation is as much of a spiritual act as it is a physical one. We are called to do our best in fighting it physically but are powerless when it comes to the spiritual side of the battle. The Lord has His work and we have ours. We cannot expect Him to do for us that which we can do for ourselves. But, in our moments of weakness He is there to bolster us with new strength too to fight our side of the battle.
- 3. Identify your triggers.
- This is your job. Most people masturbate because of loneliness, overwhelming sadness, depression, anger, frustration, feelings of unworthiness and worthlessness, anxiety, to name a few. Certain situations give rise to these thoughts and feelings. So, if you can try and avoid them. If you can’t avoid them, learn how to manage them. Stress and anxiety is a part of (my) life. I can’t avoid them so I had to learn coping mechanisms. When the anxiety gets too much, I use the tools that I learned. So you can too.
- 4. Understand that not all erections are sexual.
- Understand that just because you have one doesn’t mean that you must have sex or that you have to masturbate. What makes an erection sexual is the person’s intention and desire. Men get involuntary erections and even erections when reading or viewing suggestive material, but that doesn’t mean that sexual desire is behind it. I wrote about this already.
- 5. Get support.
- When things get tough, it’s great to have someone you can go to for help. It’s comforting to know that other people have your back. The support also keeps you accountable since most of us are driven by the desire to please or not to disappoint others. I struggled for years to stop masturbating but to no avail. That was until I realised that the single thing that’s holding me back is the lack of support. After went looking for it at a psychologist, I came across an online forum and an article that showed me where I was failing spiritually. These proved helpful.
- 6. Read up on the withdrawal symptoms others have experienced.
- It’s always encouraging to know what you can expect and that others made it.
- 7. Resolve to stand by your decision to quit no matter what.
- When you have to travel by foot from one town to another in a blizzard in the dead of winter, all you can do is to clench your teeth, tightly wrap your coat around you, lower your head as you place one foot in front of the other. You know that if you stop walking you will freeze to death. Your only hope of survival is to make your way to the town in the blizzard. Stand by your decision no matter what.To this end I sacrificed a lot of sleep. I even removed my clothes so that nothing can rub against my genitals by accident. Thus the only way I could masturbate was by consciously deciding to touch my genitals. And I wasn’t going to do that.
- 8. Take it one day at a time.
- You can’t go from day 1 to day 3 000 overnight. It takes three thousand days to get to day 3 000. So, don’t rush the process. That’s the mistake I made prior to this abstinence period. I tried to rush things and failed dismally. I had worked myself up into such a state that the only relief I could see was through the very thing I despised. But, I learned my lesson.
- 9. Never give up.
- This applies to many endeavours, but is truly applicable in giving up masturbation. Although you shouldn’t expect to fail, know that failure is part of the process. Fortunately or unfortunately, we learn through our failures. Always try to see the positive when you fail or are tempted to fail. If you ask God He will help you, but you have to do your part too.
- 10. Keep track of your progress.
- It helps you chart your course. Your journal becomes a place to vent, share your thoughts. It’s a good way to keep you motivated towards your goal.
These are only a couple of lessons I learned. I hope they help you.
I got through the day alright. I finished a podcast and am transcribing it tonight.
I had a lot of sexy thoughts yesterday. But, I just diverted my mind from them, by God’s grace. And the usual anxiety was there too, accompanied by a couple of tension headaches.