Q. I am a single man, nowhere near ready to marry, and obviously not dating. I can understand why masturbation is forbidden and wrong for a husband, and also why it's a 'sin' technically for a guy like me, BUT clearly the husband has an advantage that he has a holy outlet for his sexual desires that a single man like myself does not have. How do I deal with this situation of not having any outlet whatsoever available to me as permitted sexual experience? Is this a unique test that I must conquer in order to merit a righteous marriage some day in the future? What are some advice and insights you would offer to help a man like me deal with this problem. I already know it's a sin and wrong to masturbate and of course it causes damage. But what are some ways to look at this challenge to keep me committed to stopping and keep me determined even in the moments when I'm feeling weak and there is no evident pressure of a wife that I would be hurting or relationship I would be hurting by caving to the desires?
A. There are really no black-on-white answers to these difficult questions. This is the test of our generation and G-d wants each of us to pave our own path. Every story of each sincere struggle is a priceless diamond in G-d's eyes. In previous generations, there were tests of poverty, of "enlightenment / hypocrisy", etc... In our generation, which is the last generation before Moshiach, the main test is sexual purity--which means we have reached the end of the line and we are dealing today with the lowest levels of impurity from what's left at the very bottom of the barrel, so to speak.
Some people's main mission in this world is indeed to do battle with this greatest of all tests and thereby bring G-dliness to themselves and to the world. If you accept upon yourself this mission with love, there is no doubt in my mind that in this merit you will be worthy of a excellent mate and holy offspring, not to mention a true connection with G-d for all eternity.
The addictive nature of pornography and masturbation requires a deeper understanding into the nature of addictions and how to conquer them. (I suggest reading our "Feature Story" and the advice that Rabbi Twersky gave this writer). I also highly suggest getting a reliable internet filter like www.theJnet.com. They have an advanced AI system (which you can ask them to sign you up for) that detects skin pixels on the screen and blackens them out. It works through the server, so you can't over-ride the system. See the "Internet Filters" section on the site for many different filter ideas...
The only way to survive this battle is to make for yourself fences upon fences. Learn the things that bring you to get aroused and/or to fall and start to avoid them like fire. Don't let yourself get to the point of no-return. See the many tips on our site to learn how to create barriers between you and the Yetzer Hara's enticings.
It is also very important to internalize the great truth that our sages wrote about the "small organ in a man that is hungry when fed and satiated when starved". See here for more on this important idea, and for personal testimonies on the veracity of this great fact..
I also suggest reading the stories on our site, especially the Recovery Stories, to see the paths that others have paved in their struggle. Each person who paves a new path in his personal struggle, makes it easier for those who come after him -- especially for your own future offspring. Truly all Jews are one body, and you are fighting on the front lines for all the Jewish people against the evils of self-gratification and addiction.
G-d is like a Story Teller. He loves beautiful stories, and that's one of the reasons he created the world. Very often in life we are given situations where there are no clear cut paths before us. G-d does this purposefully to see the beautiful stories that we humans will weave with our deepest emotions and with our love for him... Not everyone is worthy of living a life that G-d considers a beautiful story. But we create these stories with our hearts.
Your search for answers in these areas means that you are already in the middle of a beautiful story of self-sacrifice and of going against the odds for the love of G-d. Our daily struggles make up the words of this beautiful story. And each time we get up again after falling, another chapter is added.
May G-d give us the strength to make our stories all come to a happy ending!