"I wake up in the morning and feel guilty"

Dear Father,

Again, many thanks for your website. Truly a blessing. I know you have received many questions on masturbation, but I'm going to ask another one that I have not seen.

Is it "as wrong" (is there a lesser degree of culpability?) if it is not used as sexual arousal but rather to fall asleep? I find some nights that I just can't go to sleep, well, to be blunt, the release of hormones or whatever it is knocks me out and I sleep soundly. Until I wake up in the morning and feel guilty.

I don't spend time on the internet going to porn sites, or trying to get aroused, but like I said, after hours of tossing and turning and saying rosaries (that in itself used to put me to sleep...not an offense against our Lord or Blessed Mother; who doesn't want to fall asleep in total peace with them?) when I'm still lying awake it seems the only thing that puts me to sleep for a good night.

Please tell me - am I going to burn for this....or is this permissible (altho maybe not encouraged)?

Peace,

bg

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Dear bg,

Sorry to be slow getting back to you. I really don't know exactly what to say. St. Paul talks about a "thorn in his flesh," but whether it was some moral lapse he couldn't overcome or a physical ailment is hard to determine. Obviously the degree of culpability in your case is lower than the person who deliberately seeks arousal. It's also hard for me as a man to comment because I know these temptations are different for a woman. My best advice is to keep praying, keep focused on your daily duties, do the things which help make sleep easier (exercise during the day, correct diet, relaxing with some music in the evening, whatever). It is not the greatest moral problem one can have, but still you want to give yourself totally to Jesus, soul, mind, heart, and body.

Prayers. Keep me in yours, B.

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom

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From Grace MacKinnon at Catholic Exchange: Masturbation: Mortal Sin?

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