How Can I Keep My Mind off Sex?
“I FIND myself thinking about girls all the time—even when they’re not around,” says a young man named Michael. “It’s ridiculous. Sometimes I can’t even concentrate!”
Do you, like Michael, spend much of your waking hours daydreaming about the opposite sex? If so, you may feel that you’re at war with your own brain. Thoughts about sex may march into your mind like enemy soldiers. “These thoughts can consume you,” says Michael. “They can make you take the long route to your car just to pass a cute girl or get you to walk down a store aisle when you don’t really need to just to take a closer look at someone.”
Remember, though, that sexual feelings aren’t evil in themselves. After all, God created man and woman to have a strong attraction for each other, and satisfying sexual desire is proper within the marriage arrangement. While you’re still single, you may experience intense sexual urges. If that happens, don’t think that you’re inherently bad or that you’re just not cut out for moral cleanness. You can be chaste if you choose to be! But being successful at your endeavor will require that you keep thoughts about the opposite sex under control. How can you do that?
Examine your associates. If your classmates start to talk about immoral sex, you might be tempted to join in—just so you don’t stand out as different. Really, though, this will only make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts. What should you do—just get up and leave? Certainly, and you need not feel awkward about doing so! Often you can find a way to leave without appearing self-righteous and inviting ridicule.
Shun immoral entertainment. Of course, not every movie or CD is bad. Still, much of today’s entertainment is designed to arouse improper sexual feelings. The Bible’s counsel? “Let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in God’s fear.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) Steer clear of any entertainment that might stimulate immoral sexual desires.*
The Problem of Masturbation
Some youths attempt to alleviate sexual arousal by means of masturbation. But serious problems can result from this. The Bible urges Christians: “Deaden, therefore, your body members that are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite, hurtful desire, and covetousness.” (Colossians 3:5) Masturbation is the very opposite of ‘deadening sexual appetite.’ Indeed, it stimulates and nurtures that appetite!
Masturbation can make you a slave to your desires. (Titus 3:3) One way you can start to conquer the habit is to confide in someone. A Christian who struggled with masturbation for several years comments: “How I wish I could have summoned the courage to talk to someone about it when I was a youth! Feelings of guilt plagued me for many years, and it seriously affected my relationships with others and, above all, with Jehovah.”
Whom should you talk to? A parent is often the most logical choice. Or perhaps a mature member of the Christian congregation can help. You could start by saying, “I’d like to talk to you about a problem that’s bothering me a lot.”
André talked to a Christian elder, and he’s glad he did. “As the elder listened to me, his eyes filled with tears,” André says. “When I finished, he assured me of Jehovah’s love for me. He told me that my problem is a common one. He promised to check on my progress and to bring me more information from Bible-study aids. Talking with him, I resolved to keep up the fight—even if further relapses occurred.”
Mário decided to talk to his father, who proved to be very sympathetic and understanding. He even admitted to Mário that in his youth he himself had found it difficult to overcome the habit. “My father’s honesty and sincerity encouraged me greatly,” Mário says. “I reasoned that if he had been victorious, I could be too. I was so moved by my father’s attitude that I broke down and cried.”
Like André and Mário, you can find help in your efforts to conquer the habit of masturbation. Even if you encounter setbacks, don’t give up! Be assured that you can win the battle.*
Controlling Your Thoughts
The apostle Paul said: “I pummel my body and lead it as a slave.” (1 Corinthians 9:27) Similarly, you may have to be strict with yourself when improper thoughts about the opposite sex seem to invade your mind. If the thoughts persist, try some physical exercise. The Bible says: “Bodily training is beneficial for a little.” (1 Timothy 4:8) A brisk walk or a few minutes of physical exercise may be all that you need to help you fight off the distracting thoughts.
Above all, don’t overlook the help that is available from your heavenly Father. “When I feel sexual urges coming on,” says one Christian, “I really make myself pray.” No, God won’t take away your interest in the opposite sex. But with his help, you can discover that there are many other things to think about.
Recreation and entertainment are discussed in greater detail in Section 8 of this book.
For more information on masturbation, see Volume 1, chapter 25.
“Whatever virtue there is and whatever praiseworthy thing there is, continue considering these things.”—Philippians 4:8.
If you’ve relapsed into the habit of masturbation, don’t give up the fight! Analyze what led to the relapse, and try not to repeat the same pattern.
DID YOU KNOW . . . ?
What you allow your mind to dwell on can shape your personality and affect your actions.—James 1:14, 15.
When I need to get my mind off the opposite sex, I will ․․․․․
If conversation with classmates becomes suggestive or lewd, I will ․․․․․
What I would like to ask my parent(s) about this subject is ․․․․․
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
● Why should sexual feelings not always be viewed as “the enemy”?
● Why do you need to keep your sexual feelings under control?
● What types of entertainment might cause you to dwell on thoughts about the opposite sex?
● Why is it important to walk away from a conversation that has become suggestive or lewd?
[Blurb on page 240]
“What helps me is to change the subject—get my mind off the thoughts that cause me to feel excited. I remind myself that the feelings or urges will go away in time.”—Scott
[Picture on page 239]
Would you allow viruses to invade your computer? Then why invite immoral thoughts into your mind?