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Education of the sexual instinct

Education of the sexual instinct is especially necessary because the lower level of mental activity is antagonistic to the will, is very strong in this matter and there are very frequent and powerful exterior incitements to vice.

Difficulty from an Erroneous Attitude

Many let themselves be mastered by the sexual instinct because they think it irresistible or because they are ignorant of the hidden force of their will, others because of an erroneous persuasion that resistance can cause illness. Very many yield because they expect to find satisfaction in it. They expect to satisfy that thirst for the happiness which all humans seek. However, they seldom reflect upon the transitory and cheap aspect of disordered sex pleasure. It cannot fulfill the noble and unlimited aspirations of the spiritual soul. But they discredit the experience of innumerable people who are physically or mentally sick because of this vice. They count for nothing the testimony of the medical profession, sentences of judges and warnings of moralists. All of these show the brutal excesses of this instinct once the reins have been loosened by the first concessions.

And on a higher level, they have no suspicion of the deep joys, delicate feelings, mental clearness and agility of pure souls. They forget the abjection and sadness, despair and emptiness of vice, the tormenting remorse of conscience and the threatened punishment of God.

All education should begin with ideas. When these are modified then acts are easily corrected. Then by means of acts the feelings and force of the unconscious are controlled.

Is Chastity Possible And Useful For Youth?

If chastity were not possible and useful, no one could will it in earnest, not even if it were imposed merely for social convenience. For the instinct is a brutal one and that barricade very weak.

Whoever recognizes that chastity and continence are possible will hardly have any sexual problems to bother him. In view of the spread of venereal diseases, the results of an unfortunate heredity and the moral evil inseparable from an impure life, chastity, a pure life for both sexes, is conformed to the best conditions for physical, moral and mental health. It is above all necessary to teach male youth that not only are chastity and continence not harmful but on the contrary these virtues are to be most highly recommended from a purely medical and hygienic point of view. Chastity is not only possible but also beneficial and to be recommended for health's sake.

Thus we could multiply testimonials from the most eminent doctors of the entire world in order to silence the pseudo-intellectuals or would-be wise men who take pleasure in spreading the opposite idea. And from still another standpoint we know that what God commands all men in the Sixth Commandment cannot be impossible or harmful to health.

Moreover, the sexual glands, in addition to their external, propagative function, benefit the organism with the production of hormones specific for the sex of the individual. These hormones are necessary for the physiological well-being of the organism.

A Special Difficulty

Acts against purity at a tender age, from 6 to 11 years, even without knowledge of their malice frequently throw the lower mental activity out of equilibrium by fixing in the unconscious an abnormal inclination toward pleasure. Or early indulgence may transfer the instinct to the wrong method or sex (sexual inversions), depending on its first realizations. And it leaves a strong tendency to look for comfort, ease and pleasure in everything, and to flee from a hard life, inconvenience and pain.

Wrong satisfactions during puberty engrave this emotional pattern even deeper. And it results in an unconscious tendency to reproduce images and memories of pleasure. Persons or circumstances similar to those met in past indulgence at once arouse sexual thoughts or tendencies and impulses to realize them. The environment movies, beaches, magazines or pornographic advertising multiply these incentives until it is extremely difficult to resist passion. This is a difficulty, yes, but not one which it is impossible to conquer.


Preventive Remedies: Watch our children lest they learn or practice dangerous acts, urged on by bad companions or the example of immoral movies and pictures. In the case of adolescents who feel the awakening of instinct and are capable of reflection, teach them in private with dignity and clarity the sublime purpose of Providence in the sexual instinct, the possibility and utility of controlling it, and the grave moral obligation not to go beyond its wise norms. We should calm their nascent curiosity and prevent their satisfying it with corrupt companions. We shall then be able to have them elicit that free will act without which all will be lost.

Curative Remedies: First of all, if erroneous ideas are held these of course must be corrected.

To counteract the unconscious influence of feelings toward pleasure arouse contrary feelings and tendencies by accustoming your body to work, a hard life, mortification and even pain (dignified by Faith), and by withdrawing it from comfort and pleasure. Healthy, vigorous sports are no little aid to this end.

Avoid persons, objects, reading, conversations and spectacles which involve a less pure association of images and tendencies.


To will chastity, yet not avoid these incitements, is like setting out to walk on a slippery hill.

When evil tendencies or thoughts appear resist them at the very first moment, “while they are still weak”. Do this by opposing other images (conscious sensations, voluntary concentrations, acts which require attention) and other tendencies (wanting to avoid Hell, win Heaven, please Jesus Christ, save souls).

Whenever one very chaste and virtuous young man met friends and relatives of the other sex, he would be disturbed and attracted by impure thoughts without knowing how to avoid them. It was enough to advise him to practice consciously associating other images with the idea of woman for instance, the excellence of the mother who bears children for Heaven, the Holy Ghost dwelling within her by Grace, the sublimity of the Virgin Mother of God. In a few days he returned to express his gratitude. This new, voluntarily induced association of ideas had done away with the other subconscious and instinctive ones. and he felt tranquil and happy.

To attain better resistance avoid lower states of mental activity (alcoholism, romanticism, somnolence, mental vagueness, daydreaming). In these your imagination or subconscious feelings have free rein. And your will and reason are, as it were, asleep. Then the whole man is at the mercy of the first impulse. The first impulse will rise up in a rolling wave, especially if you are also in a too comfortable bodily position. This latter, because of an unconscious association with the sense of touch, awakens the lowest instincts. You will indeed have the power to resist even then, and for this reason will be responsible for your acts.

Against the ideas which impel you to perform an impure act, oppose the feeling that you are able to avoid it and the Concrete will act of an opposite movement. For example, command your feet not to go into a certain place or your hands to remain cross on your breast for a definite length of time. Do this in order to strengthen your character, develop your personality, please our Lady, merit Heaven. (Do nothing “in order to avoid sin,“ for such a reference will awaken the ideas and impulses which you are trying to control.) Made concrete in this way you can feel these acts as possible and you will really want them.

Once you have done all you humanly can in this very difficult matter you still need recourse to God to obtain supernatural strength by prayer, Confession and Communion. This grace will never be denied you when you seek it with entire humility, confidence and perseverance. The experience of many centuries, by all races and men of every intellectual and social position, demonstrates that these supernatural means do conquer the special difficulty of remaining chaste.

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