Middle of the Night Sinning (culpability question)
#1
I have a somewhat infrequent issue where I'll go to sleep, then several hours later 'wake up' with certain desires.  Most of the time I can just wake up my wife and all is well as she almost never denies me the marital debt.  Unfortunately, she currently has a medical issue where this is not a good option (She says I can, but I know it would cause her pain.  She has what we believe is a slipped disk in her back which has been an on going issue for about 2-3 months now and likely to continue for at least several more months).  So...I have found myself in an act of self abuse.

My question here is this.  Is there a sufficient reduction of culpability because I"m still 'half asleep' (which is obviously a very vague concept, and is causing me a lot of confusion)?  I haven't succumb to this temptation during the day in years, and even at night usually I will catch myself after a bit of time and (with great difficulty) just force myself to go back to sleep.  Unfortunately, last night that was not the case.

So, should I refrain from receiving communion until I can go to confession, or does the 'half asleep' state reduce culpability enough to make it a venial sin.  I will be confessing this either way, but I will likely go to mass at least once before this occurs.  I am currently assuming it is a mortal sin just to be on the safe side, but I'm really not sure and don't want to deprive myself of the Eucharist unnecessarily. 

Any thoughts or answers would be appreciated.
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#2
IMO, you are culpable for self-abuse since I don't see any way you could carry out the act without being fully awake. This is distinct from an episode of nocturnal emission of semen where you experience an orgasm while you are asleep and have no culpability. I've fallen off the wagon in similar circumstances. Although I'm not married, I will go through a period of deep spiritual progress and then out of no where have this sexual fantasy in my sleep and bam it's like I'm back to square one. You should confess this as self-abuse and speak to your confessor for clarification if you are still not sure. Remember to explain to your confessor your circumstances in life as well that you are married and your wife cannot fulfil the marital debt for whatever reason. I suppose staying in a habitual state of grace can be thorny when you are in the married state so I would suggest prayer and fasting if you feel you have lost control of this issue.
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#3
It seems strange, but "sleep sex" is not unknown, nor is it unknown for people to "sleep eat," waking up in the middle of the night and eating. Sometimes, those who sleep eat have no memory of eating, will not respond if disturbed, and eat inedible substances or foods in strange combinations that they would never make while fully alert, like throwing random items into a blender.

It is conceivable that you might have some sort of sleep disorder, although it is rather unlikely. Night-time is extremely difficult for many of us, for various different reasons. Some of us wake up at night craving hard drink or feel an urge to eat despite not actually being hungry. There is something about the quiet of night, and the resting, sleepy mind that is particularly subject to the temptations of the Devil. He knows this is when our guards are down, so he chooses to present our unconscious mind with suggestions and images that excite desires. But when we are awake, we have the power, with the grace of God, to resist these temptations, yet we often freely choose to sin.

There is, in this, an element of spiritual warfare, as the purity of the marital bed is at stake. Just as you would drive off some strange woman, whispering into your ear, seeking to defile the marital bed, you must drive off the Devil. That is exactly what he does, and he is the one who presents those alluring and terrible things when we let down our guard.

In medieval thought, wet dreams were thought to have been caused by demons, who then used the male seed for their own evil purposes. That was the unconscious mind, not culpable when the Devil polluted the body. How much worse, then, is it to give demons one's seed willingly, at their suggestion. In  Jewish thought, masturbation is still thought to generate new life through the generative power in a man's seed, creating new evil spirits (mentioned in Talmud Tractate Eruvim), a concept elaborated upon by Kabbalists, who say you must then kill the spirits you have given life to, by means of fasting and prayer. Even if not really true, masturbation is nonetheless analogous to having intercourse with demons, willfully yielding one's most intimate members to be used as the demons desire.
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#4
Thank you both.  You've confirmed what I had already thought. 

This certainly couldn't be considered like sleep walking/eating, ect.  I remember it (with regret) the next day. 

Fortunately I have access to confession today at 12:30 at my local Cathedral (which offers confession several times daily).

Thanks for the advice and please pray for me.

Michael
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#5
Seems fitting to post this from Traditional Compline:

V. Grant, Lord, a blessing.
Benediction. May almighty God grant us a quiet night and a perfect end. Amen.

Short reading
1 Pet 5:8-9
Brothers: Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith.
V. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.
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#6
(11-07-2014, 07:17 AM)Cyriacus Wrote: ..............

In medieval thought, wet dreams were thought to have been caused by demons, who then used the male seed for their own evil purposes. That was the unconscious mind, not culpable when the Devil polluted the body. How much worse, then, is it to give demons one's seed willingly, at their suggestion. In  Jewish thought, masturbation is still thought to generate new life through the generative power in a man's seed, creating new evil spirits (mentioned in Talmud Tractate Eruvim), a concept elaborated upon by Kabbalists, who say you must then kill the spirits you have given life to, by means of fasting and prayer. Even if not really true, masturbation is nonetheless analogous to having intercourse with demons, willfully yielding one's most intimate members to be used as the demons desire.

This has to seriously be some of the most crazy stuff I've ever heard. Unless this came from God or a prophet it sounds like an old wives tale to me. I have a theory as to why men struggle with so much and it isn't because of hormones or demons per se. I think a lot of it has to do with what we believe about sex.....or don't. Male sexuality is looked upon, especially these days, as some aberration of nature. In part this POV was earned because the guys who abused their sexuality did so in such epic proportions that it just left people speechless. Here is where the cycle starts. Guy makes a mistake. Society piles down on him for it. He feels worthless and out of control. He slips further in his sin because he's constantly reminded his sexuality is out of his control and it just keeps spiraling down the pit of despair.

I think the biggest blow to a man's recovery in this area how women view male sexuality. In many ways men can't really reflect on their sexuality without women (and vice versa of coarse). Women however don't show much interest in male sexuality to the point I get the impression some just tolerate it because they feel they have to. If men had the opportunity to face the full heat of true female desire I think it would help a lot of guys take a step back.

Think of it like this. Imagine charging a mountain. Then imagine as you are headed up the mountain full speed it suddenly blows its top like a volcano. I bet all that momentum you built up charging the mountain will be sacrificed in an instant to do an about face before you get burned.
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#7
I would confess first to be on the safe side if i remember doing it...

can't be mortal if you don't have full consent of the will..  but you would still benefit from the graces of the sacrament
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#8
Even if it is not caused by demons per se (following tradition, I believe demons tempt us to lust and sexual sins, among many other temptations), it is useful to think of it as such. Our brains are social brains, designed for living in a society, dealing with friends and enemies, and resolving social problems. Externalizing our internal struggles, conceptualizing internal drives and desires as autonomous entities that we contend with, is a useful adaptation (at the very least). Societies all over the world, including great faith traditions and systems that have lasted for thousands of years, have a vision of the psyche at odds with modern psychology, seeing man's inner drama as a real, interpersonal experience with the invisible. Irrespective of their truth, I think such models of the psyche have been very helpful to people and suggest useful ways of overcoming problems.
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