Overcoming Sexual Obsessions

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The "Sex-Free" Life

"Self-Abuse" Tract
Preachers: Avoiding Sex

"Being enslaved by one's animal passions is perhaps the worst slavery of all."

The mystics say happiness is within. It involves possessing your self (soul) and wanting nothing else. By looking outside your self, you displace your soul and become the thing you seek. This is the source of addictive behavior and unhappiness.

From an article by Mohandas Gandhi. Some contemporary terms replace the original for clarification. - Ray Jefferson.

"Godly Abstention" means the lifestyle which leads to knowing God . [Brahmacharya is the term Gandhi uses]. This lifestyle is impossible without practicing self-restraint. Not just SEXUAL self-restraint, but also restraint from anger, resentment and similar passions. For such passions place our confidence in our physical strength and mental abilities (the BODY instead of the SPIRIT). They lead us into continuous contemplation of how we may engineer the defeat of our enemies by cleverness or force. By this focus, we are removed from God.

When we don't experience the inflow of energy from God, we seek energy from the flesh: either from other people, or from ourselves by use of fantasies.

Self-restraint means restraint of ALL the senses. But ordinarily Brahmacharya is understood to mean control over the sexual organs and complete control over the sex drive. This becomes natural for the man who is free of anger, resentment, and similar passions.

Often those who make a grand show of being restrained sexually come across as if their one occupation in life is the display of a bad temper. These people disregard the ordinary rules of brahmacharya and merely aim at prevention of seminal discharges. They ultimately fail to achieve this, for anger awakens flesh gratification. Some of them appear almost insane. They are unable to prevent sexual discharge, and if they succeed in avoiding sexual intercourse, they think they've mastered the sex drive. Just abstaining from sex cannot be considered a God-inspired freedom from sex. So long as the desire for intercourse is there, one is not free from sexual addiction. Only by burning away sexual desire in its entirety does one achieve control over his sexual organ.

The absence of seminal discharges is a direct result of abstaining from ALL bitter fleshly passions - but that's not all. There is something very striking about a full-fledged brahmachari. His speech, thought, and actions all reveal his possession of a Vital Force. Such a man does not need to flee from the company of women. He does not desire it nor does he avoid it. For him the distinction between men and women almost disappears. A man whose sexual desire has been extinguished ceases to make a distinction between men and women. His concept of beauty changes. He doesn't look at the external form. A person whose character is beautiful will be beautiful in his eyes. The sight of a woman who's considered "beautiful" will not disturb or excite him. Even his sexual organs will begin to look different.

In other words, a man who has achieved full control of his sexual desires never gets erections. He's not impotent from a PHYSICAL inability to produce the necessary secretions of sex glands. Rather, his passions are redirected into a Vital Force that saturates his whole being. It is said that an impotent man is not free from the sexual desire. Some men desire erection but are unable to achieve one, and yet have seminal discharges. Such men have either become impotent or are becoming so from physical loss of the necessary secretions. This is truly a pathetic state. But the intentionally-developed impotence in a man whose sexual desire has been extinguished, with his sexual desires being converted into Vital Force, is a different matter altogether.

This should be sought-after by everybody. It is true that it's rare to find such a person. It is doubtful that anyone achieves perfect abstinence from sex, anger and the other depleting fleshly passions. Yet it has been attained by spiritual men, perhaps on a moment-to-moment schedule: "one day at a time" if you will. But the important thing is that it becomes the focused-upon goal of that individual. Then he will achieve increasing success in his abstinence and his closeness to God than he otherwise would have.

But no one can reach perfect abstinence without reaching sexual abstinence. To allow the waste of a secretion, which has the power of creating another human being, is gross ignorance. We must accept the fact that semen is meant to be used only for procreation and not for self-indulgence. That leaves no room for indulging in animal passion. Realizing that this vital fluid is not meant to be wasted should prevent men and women from going crazy over sexual intercourse. Marriage then has a different meaning, and the way it is treated today will appear disgusting.

Marriage ought to signify a union of hearts between the two partners. A married couple can be considered Godly Abstainers if they never think of sexual intercourse except for procreation. Such intercourse is not possible unless BOTH parties desire it. It must never be resorted to in order to satisfy passion, only the desire for a child. When intercourse has been performed as a matter of duty, the desire to repeat the process should never arise.

What I am saying should not be taken as "tabloid wisdom". I [Gandhi] am writing this from long personal experience. I know that what I am writing is contrary to popular practice. But in order to make progress we have to go beyond popular beliefs. Great discoveries were possible only by challenging popular beliefs. The invention of the simple matchstick was a challenge to the common experience and the discovery of electricity confounded all preconceived notions.

What is true of physical things is equally true of things spiritual. In the early days of many cultures, there was no such thing as marriage. Men and women, like animals, mated promiscuously. Self-restraint was unknown. Some inspired men went beyond popular culture and discovered the law of self-restraint.

I give here the rules for the conservation of Vital Force, as I know them:

  1. Sexual desire has its roots in the WAY we think. Therefore, control over all our thoughts is not necessary, we just need to DIRECT our thoughts like this: Never let your mind remain idle. Keep it filled with good and useful ideas. In other words keep thinking of whatever duty you have on hand. Don't worry over it, just think out how you can become an expert in your department and then put your thoughts into action. There should be no waste of thought.

    The repetition of God's name is a great support when idle thoughts haunt you. Contemplate God in the form you have pictured Him. While this focus on God is going on, no other thought should be allowed to enter one's mind. This is the ideal state. But if you can't achieve it and all sorts of uninvited thoughts invade your mind, don't become disheartened. Communion with God should be continued faithfully with a confidence that ultimate victory is bound to follow.

  2. As with our thoughts, so with our reading and talking. These should be healthy and clean. Erotic literature should be avoided. Idle, indecent talk leads to indecent action. It is obvious that one who does not wish to feed his animal passions will avoid occupations which tend to induce them.

  3. Like the mind, the body must also be cared for and usefully occupied, so that the fatigue of the day may lead to refreshing sleep. As far as possible, work should be outside. Those who cannot perform physical labor should make it a point to exercise regularly. In my opinion, a brisk walk in the open is the best form of exercise. During the walk the mouth should be closed and breathing should be done through the nose. Sitting or walking, the body must be held erect. To sit or stand otherwise is a sign of laziness and laziness is the enemy of self-restraint. Yogic exercises - asanas - are also useful. I can say from personal experience that anyone who keeps his hands and feet, eyes and ears, healthily occupied does not have much difficulty in controlling the animal passions. Everyone can test this for himself.

  4. A Sanskrit text says that a man becomes what he eats. A glutton who has no restraint in eating is a slave to his animal passions. If you don't control your palate, you will never be able to control your other senses. Since this is true, it is clear that one should eat just enough for the requirements of the body and no more. The diet should be healthy and well-balanced. The body was never meant to be treated like a garbage bin holding the foods that the taste craves. Food is meant to sustain the body. Your body has been given to you as a means of self-realization. Self-realization means realization of God. A person who has made this realization the object of his or her life, will never become a slave to the animal passions.

  5. Man should look upon every woman as his mother, sister or daughter. No one ever entertains impure thoughts of his mother, sister or daughter. Similarly, woman should look upon every man as her father, brother or son.

Anyone who observes these points should find it easy to overcome sexual addiction. A person who has a real desire for Godly abstinence will not give up the effort. Do not see these rules as impossible or only within the reach of one in a million. The effort is a joy in itself. To put it in another way, the joy of possessing perfect health is not to be compared with any other, and perfect health is unattainable by slaves. Being enslaved by one's animal passions is perhaps the worst slavery of all.

Now about contraceptives: Preventing pregnancy by artificial methods is not a new thing. Such methods were practiced secretly in the past and they were crude. Modern society gives them a respectable place and even brings them out in the open. The advocates of contraceptives and "free sex" say that sexual desire is a natural instinct - some call it a blessing. They say it is not desirable to suppress the urges. They say birth control by self-restraint is difficult to practice. They argue against self-restraint and feel justified in advocating contraceptives. They add that if births are not regulated, over-population will ensue. Families will be impoverished and their children will be ill-fed, ill-clothed and ill-educated. Therefore, they argue, it is the duty of scientists to devise effective methods of birth control. This argument has failed to convince me [Gandhi].

The worst danger of contraceptives is that their use bids farewell to the idea of self-restraint. In my opinion it is too heavy a price to pay for any possible immediate gain. Avoid contraceptives like poison.

Take up such activities as would keep your body and mind fully occupied and give a suitable outlet to your energy. It is necessary to have some healthy recreation when one is tired by physical labor. There should not be a single moment of idleness for the devil to creep in. In this way, true conjugal love will be established and directed into healthy channels.

Both the partners will make a progressive rise in their moral height. Finding the joy of true renunciation will prevent them from losing themselves in animal enjoyment. Self-deception is the greatest stumbling block. Instead of controlling the mind, the fountain of all animal desire, men and women try to force themselves to avoid the physical act, an impossible task. If you're determined to control thought and action, victory is sure to follow. Man must understand that woman is his companion and helpmate in life and not a means of satisfying carnal desire. We must clearly realize that the purpose of human creation was not the satisfying of animal wants.

Lord, empower me live without sex gracefully. Keep me from the temptation of becoming bitter or resentful, blaming you, the world, or anyone else.

Let me clearly see that this way of life springs from the strength that comes from self-respect and dependence on You.

Above all, give me understanding: the wisdom to sort out the complexities of the sex drive. It's too easy to confuse what the body wants with what my spirit needs. Deliver me from this confusion and don't let me be misled.

Remind me, Lord, that many people endure much worse afflictions and deprivations. And that people live happier, more purposeful, inspiring lives without sex.

Give me their vision, that I may join them.

I am to live without sex, Lord; therefore reveal to me how to express and use this great force you have given me for a significant purpose.


Looking At Actual Processes For Transforming Toward Celebacy

Sex simply wasn't designed to be used for anything more than producing offspring. Once you don't need any more descendants, there's no justification for sex.

That being accepted, we then need to find out how to live so that sex is not a dominant thought in our lives.

For starters, remember: God designed us to STOP having sex at a certain point. Therefore, He gave us the ABILITY to avoid sex! It's in there somewhere, in our collection of instincts. It's society that keeps awakening the drive when it is no longer needed. So how do we awaken our "NO SEX" drive?

How about starting with how you looked at life before puberty. The adventuresome youth (before he becomes the sex-addled adolescent). The healthy drives in youth center around exploration of new territory, holding on to fantastic dreams of the future (e.g., science fiction flicks, etc.), secret society rituals - primary drives that already exist within us. We don't have to create them, we only need to rediscover them and let them mature into adult uses.

"Sports and Pure Thoughts"

Next: Spend as much time outdoors as possible. The artificiality of interior environments gives the devil a stale atmosphere that makes fantasies look tastier than they really are. After spending 8 hours in a factory or office, it's easy to envision an entrapping sex fantasy. But if you're aggressively hiking toward a greater goal in the bright light of "God's Country", you've got a better chance of resisting a temptation. FATIGUE and FRUSTRATION are the number 1 enemies: When the body & mind are crippled by futility, the imagination seeks the easiest energy source in the psyche: sex.

Three: Remember the Proverb: Protect your spirit [heart] above all else, for from it flow the forces [issues] of life. (Proverbs 4:23). Keep your SPIRIT'S energy level up and you won't have to lean on the ANIMAL INSTINCT'S energy of sex for motivation.

Mankind cannot live alone; every individual must live and interact with others. The absence of interaction can cultivate a misinterpretation of what human interaction IS, leading to imagery of physical interaction. Conversely, the liveliness that is cultivated through healthy fellowship prevents these hollow fixations. This is the design of God, who encourages the routine fellowship of His people among one another.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. - Hebrews 10:25

A Guide to Self-Control

Overcoming "Self-Abuse" •  From a Guide to Mormon Youth

Pray, Speak, Sing

Pray daily, ask for the gifts of the Spirit, that which will strengthen you against temptation.

Pray fervently and out loud when the temptations are the strongest.

When the temptation to masturbate is strong, yell "Stop!" to those thoughts as loudly as you can in your mind. Then recite a portion of the Bible or sing.

Exercise Vigorously

Follow a program of vigorous daily exercise, which reduces emotional tension and depression.

Double your physical activity when you feel stress increasing.

Work On Self-Improvement

Work daily on a self-improvement program. Improve your relationships with your family. Increase your service to your church.

Be outgoing and friendly. Force yourself to be with others and learn to enjoy working and talking with them.

Change in behavior and attitude is most easily achieved by improving your self-image.

Spend time every day imagining yourself strong and in control, easily overcoming tempting situations.

Avoid Temptation

When on the toilet or showering, focus on the workday ahead. Draw attention away from the body. (*)

Arise immediately in the mornings. Don't lie awake in bed -- start each day with enthusiastic activity.

Avoid people, situations, pictures and reading material that might create sexual excitement. Throw yourself into work that produces success and superiority. (*)

Layered Clothing

Wear pajamas that are difficult to open, yet loose and not binding.

Put on several layers of clothing that would be difficult to remove while half asleep.

Hold an object -- for example, a Bible -- even in bed at night. Keep your mind on a project of high-purpose.

In severe cases, wear several sets of underwear. (*)

Be Alert To Emotions

Be aware of situations that depress you or that cause you to feel lonely, bored, frustrated or discouraged. These emotional states can trigger the desire to masturbate as a way of escape.

Plan to counter these low periods through reading a book, visiting a friend, doing something athletic, etc. - source site

"Inflict some corrective pain on the body and you bring the body's lusts under control..." - Anonymous


  • A period of self-imposed celibacy has special physical benefits for men. It is no secret that semen is a potent mix of powerful nutrients. Excessive ejaculation - either in the course of sexual binges or because of continuous self-gratification - will reduce the presence of these vital nutrients in the body. The effects of continual, excessive loss of these nutrients can reduce nervous endurance and mental acumen.

islamic comments

A great deal is being talked about and obscenities that seem to have taken deep roots in the society of the day. This contagion had been prevalent in the West. From there it has fast travelled to the East which used to be until not too long ago the cradle of modesty.

There are laws, censor and moral codes to deal with the problem. It, however, needs more than a mere crime-and-punishment approach. First, the mental outlook needs to be corrected by means of the right type of education and upbringing. The reform to control the animal instincts should go so deep, with sympathy and a kindly disposition, that the wayward should himself realise the sin inherent in his indecent and obscene behaviour.

To satisfy the sensuous instincts of human beings, God has laid down certain well-defined limits. One who crosses these limits is a sinner and, therefore, attracts God's displeasure and wrath and for him there is a blazing fire in the Hereafter.

We have ordained the stoning of adulterers and adulteresses, the whipping of fornicators and the killing of homosexuals publicly with a view to safeguarding people's honor, upholding moral values, encouraging decency and chastity and protecting society at large against moral deterioration and ultimate ruin.

Islam aims at creating a responsible and reliable society free of dependencies. It wants all the individuals in the society to keep their sobriety and soundness of mind (avoid alcohol), safeguard their property from unnecessary and exorbitant expenses (avoid usury)and protect their purity and good character.

Man is created innocent, pure, true and inclined to right and virtue.

• Marriage is recommended even for the impotent, for the stirring of desire is hidden and not susceptible to observation. Indeed, the recommendation to marry extends even to the totally castrated person who can never expect children, in much the same way as a bald man is recommended to pass the razor across his pate as others do (on Pilgrimage), following the example of the righteous ancestors. The original purpose of these was to demonstrate stamina in the face of the unbelievers, the imitation of this display of fortitude became the model conduct for later generations.

• The second benefit of marriage is to be safe from the machinations of the devil and to satisfy lust and hence protect the private parts. The Prophet said: "If a man marries, half of his religion is saved. Fear God for the remaining half."

• What is with you will end, and what is with God will last - 16:98 Q


as pertains to preachers

Edited from:

My suspicion is that as our culture becomes more sexually rebellious, things will only get worse. I would like to share some practical suggestions for fellow Christian leaders:

  • The only way to stay away from sin is to stay close to Jesus. Colossians says that we are prone to making a lot of rules, but that if we don't deal with the issues in our heart, we are fooling ourselves; holiness cannot be obtained by sheer white-knuckled will power. More than anyone, a Christian leader needs time with Jesus in Communion -- for their own soul, not just to make them a better leader. Death comes to every Christian leader who goes to Jesus and Scripture just to prepare sermons and not for personal nourishment.

  • Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. It is not uncommon for pastors' wives to really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he's trapped into fidelity, which makes them lazy. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about, is only encouraging her husband to sin.

    "If a man marries, half of his religion is saved. Fear God for the remaining half."
    Traditional proverb

  • Every "guru" needs a guru. Every pastor needs a pastor with whom he can regularly have accountability and build up one another.

  • Pastors should have their office at the church and their study at home. A pastor should come into the office for scheduled meetings, and work from home otherwise. Years ago when I didn't do this, lonely people, some of them hurting single moms wanting a strong man to speak into their life, would show up to hang out and catch time with me. It was shortly thereafter that I brought my books home and purchased a laptop and cell phone so that I was not tied to the church office.

  • Churches should use heterosexual male assistants like Timothy and Titus to serve alongside pastors. Too often the pastor's assistant is a woman who, if not sexually involved, becomes too emotionally involved with the pastor as an emotional and practical second wife. I have a trustworthy married male assistant who can travel with me & do business, without the fear of temptations or false allegations.

  • Pastors need to screen their email, deleting sexually implicit subject matter. Also, do not have a secondary email account from which to build a secret identity.

  • Pastors must speak freely and frankly with their wives about their temptations. Without this there really can be no walking in the light and sin always grows in darkness.

  • Pastors must not travel alone; the anonymity and fatigue of the road is too great a temptation for many men. A pastor should take his wife, an older child, an assistant, or fellow leader with him. If this cannot be afforded then travel should not be undertaken.

  • Lastly, the big issue is a love and fear of God above all else. Without this a man will fail to live for God's glory, and he won't endure.

This is a deeply rooted gospel issue. There's a way to master this, as it was designed by God. We need to bring it into focus and employ it. When done correctly, it's not a strain but a self-perpetuating flow.