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Dear Fr. Angelo,

I am a girl who wants to obey God in everything, with my boyfriend I live in the wonders of purity and for this I can say that we love each other…. Only on one point I find myself confused: some say that, especially in adolescence, men need to “vent”…. To some people it happens naturally in the morning and therefore there is no fault, while others have to masturbate because it is a physiological need, they have to empty themselves somehow, because there is this organic production in them… Excuse the painful argument, but I would like to understand because on this issue I am unprepared and my boyfriend has doubts, although for now I believe he has never fallen into that temptation that is objectively degrading….

Thank you for helping us with the truth.


The Priest’s answer

Dear Mary,

1. I am glad that you and your boyfriend live in purity.

Purity is the condition for being able to keep one’s love intact. Above all, to grow in mutual esteem and trust.

2. I am glad that you want to obey God in everything.

This is how it is done.

That’s how you live.

Since the Old Testament the Lord has promised many goods for those who trust in him and his laws.

Its laws are intended to protect only our good.

3. The Author, inspired in the Psalms, reminds us that it is all in our interest to trust in the Law of the Lord.

Listen to some expressions: ”How I love your law, Lord! I study it all day long. Your commandment makes me wiser than my foes, as it is forever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, because I ponder your testimonies” (Sal 119,97-99). And also: “I have seen the limits of all perfection, but your commandment is without bounds” (Sal 119,96).

4. The inspired Author also had his temptations, but he overcame them. He states this when he says: “The wicked hope to destroy me, but I seek to understand your testimonies” (Sal 119,95). 

Those who tell you to give in to impurity, though perhaps unknowingly, actually want to ruin you.

Continue to trust His teachings: “More desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold, sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb” (Sal 19,11).

5. Now I come to what you have been told.

But I tell you right away that it is a big platitude, a prejudice. For some people, it is also a lie.

Here is what an author wrote about this point:

“To prove that masturbation is not a requirement of nature, almost an unavoidable behavior, but a phase that can be overcome, it is important to dispel a very frequent prejudice, that is, especially in men, there is an irrepressible sexual need. In other words, it is often argued that the male must exercise some genital activity (masturbatory type or intercourse with a girl) because his body would form a quantity of sperm higher than the normal one that must be expelled, otherwise it would be annoying.

It is a true prejudice that for the good of all and for the balanced development of the individual (and of so many girls who believe in it) must be debunked.

The neurological structure of sexuality helps us.

The gonads do not act in an autonomous form but under the direction of the pituitary gland through the intervention of hormones. That is why it has been said that the first sexual organ is the brain. So, if the physiological course is left free to follow its normal path regulated by the pituitary gland, everything works according to nature. This means that there is no need for extrinsic action. Everything is harmonized by nature which, in its rationality, acts in a normal and regular way. The “need”, a process that requires a forced external intervention to replace or integrate what nature has not realized, does not exist. To avoid “annoyances”, the same nature has provided for the maintenance of the balance through the phenomenon of pollution.

Basically sperm is not formed in excessive quantities; it would be irrational and would betray the rational character of sexuality. Medicine teaches that the overabundance of sperm produced is not the result of an inevitable physiological process but the consequence of a series of stimuli. Gonads on their part produce sperm in a constant minimum amount.

According to our latest knowledge, if we want to assimilate male gonads to glands, we should assimilate them to those types of glands that, like salivary, gastric, lacrimal… constantly operate at a minimum regime and that under appropriate specific stimulus sharply raise the functional rhythm with real secretive crises… At this point we understand how scientific observation has reversed the terms of the erroneous prejudice: there is in fact no “accumulation” that creates the need”, but it is the sexual stimulus that creates the accumulation”.

The same goes for excitement: it is a phenomenon that does not depend on the will. But the will can lay the foundations for the phenomenon to be produced by researching the psychic or sensory images capable of arousing the reflection or causing it with a mechanical stimulation of the skin of the genitals.

This balancing action or not of the will, indicates precisely that continence is possible: there are no impulses that man cannot control and contain. All this, however, requires a human maturity that does not come spontaneously, but is acquired with difficulty only in a certain space of time. Because if the will has been accustomed to yield always in front of something that it likes, it is logical that it will continue to yield also in this field. You cannot expect an individual to say yes all the time and then say no.

The will must be exercised to a control and a capacity of renunciation also to something in itself indifferent from the ethical point of view; it will serve as training. When the time comes to say no, the will is already trained and is not caught by surprise.

Sexuality requires continence not to be oppressed, destroyed, sacrificed, but to be better understood and lived in the totality of its richness and in the joy of its contents” (V. MATTIOLI, La difficile sessualità, pp. 77-104).

6. In any case it would be really bad to try a sexual approach with another person to satisfy a physiological need. At that moment the other person is desecrated, reduced to an object.

God cannot have placed in people’s hearts such unworthy and “objectively degrading” demands, as you yourself rightly pointed out.

I urge you to continue joyfully in the way of God.

And I assure you and your boyfriend of my remembrance in prayer.

I bless you.

Padre Angelo