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  #1  
Old Jun 9, '13, 10:37 pm
newbie25553 newbie25553 is offline
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Default Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

I am posting this because I am *guessing* I am not alone in an ongoing dilemma I have in my marriage.

It really boils down to:

My wife respects my views on the Church's teaching about sexuality very much, but isn't attracted to me for it (sexually).

I realize this is a false dilemma, and ideally we should have both (respect and attraction).

We both brought baggage into our marriage, and it seems as if her previous sexual experiences were wrapped up in lustful "games", and so true intimacy is a new experience for her.

Unfortunately, it feels at times that when we go there, she completely shuts down, and getting anything started takes a really long time (if it happens at all). It feels very one sided as well - as she does not seem to be very emotionally open or available during the act.

I want to be a good husband and a good man, and with many Graces from God have overcome some barriers to true intimacy myself (masturbation and pornography). But, I want our connection to be stronger in our marriage. I want the Church's teaching on sexuality to help us flourish in that act - not to be a barrier in us connecting in that way.

I am looking for advice that anyone might have - both from men and women who have found themselves in this type of situation before. Are there women (or men) who found it hard to transition from a lust-filled sexual past to a love-filled marital union? What helped you in that transition?
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  #2  
Old Jun 10, '13, 12:35 am
LoveJesus13 LoveJesus13 is offline
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

Hi Newbie,

I don't know why there aren't any responses yet but I wanted to offer you my prayers for you and your wife. I am not married yet so I can't give you much advice but I do appreciate your openness about this issue and I think it is important as I've heard of this myself.

So is there NO sexual compatibility at all? I do wonder what if your spouse is everything you have prayed for but when it comes to sexual compatibility there just isn't any?!

What have you done to rectify this issue? Had you known about her feelings about sexually being intimate with you prior to marriage? How were the pre-marriage cunseling classes when you've had to discuss sexual intimacy? I suggest you talk to her, be honest about what you're feeling and definitely try to pray together about it.

Prayer to St. Joseph will help and when you both can, attend daily mass so that you offer this to the Lord sincerely and He will do the rest.

God bless you and your wife
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"ALL things work for the good of those who LOVE (and serve) God."
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  #3  
Old Jun 10, '13, 3:10 am
MrsHappy MrsHappy is offline
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

I'm a woman and i found it hard, completely my own fault due to my previous sins, in my case I was and still am totally attracted to my husband but because I had commited lust sins prior to marriage/knowing him, I found it difficult to 'make love' and not turn the marital act into something 'wrong' or forbidden....lame, but true. The best thing that helped me was being able to talk about it with my husband (communication is key) as he is also practicing catholic, and going to confession, mass and holy communion and much as possible. And daily rosary. Masburbation and porn is killer for true intimacy in marriage, and unfortunatley, the effects begin way before marriage if the individual is commiting those sins. It can take years for images to leave the mind/memory. I wish I had known the long term effects of it ages ago!!!!
Stop that for good and the journey to recovery can properly begin. Is your wife catholic? It can be harder if she's not, but just talk talk talk as much as possible....I think that because I world is so rife with sinful sexuality everywhere, a lot of catholic married couples have these same struggles. Daily rosary is a huge help - maybe your wife could say a small prayer with you occasionally about it if she also wants the intimacy to become more genuine etc.
Praying for your marriage.
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  #4  
Old Jun 10, '13, 3:50 am
Phil Marinus Phil Marinus is offline
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Smile Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

Lust only lasts a short time... So enjoy it while it lasts.....
After a short time things settle down,,,, from vague intimacy to hallway sex at its worst ,,
Most people I know loose intimacy,, my first wife lost all interest after our third child,,,
After that went years without it,,,
If you find a way to reignite it let me know
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  #5  
Old Jun 10, '13, 4:54 am
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JRKH JRKH is offline
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

I guess that I am unclear on what the problem is. Is it that your wife is uninterested in having relations, or is it more a matter of her desiring certain acts etc. that you are not comfortable with....

If it is the latter...I have to say that, within reasonable limits...I know of few actual restrictions placed on us by the Church in regards to what might be thought of as foreplay so long as the act is properly consummated.

So - I suppose that part of the issue, and possible solution, might depend on just what these "lustful games" are and whether you can at least in part accommodate your wife's desires out of your love for her...She, for her part, should be similarly willing to adjust in order to accommodate you and your needs out of her love for you. By this method, you should eventually reach a good combination and a happy relationship.

If you'd like to discuss this in a bit more detail - but not openly - feel free to PM me.

Peace
James
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.... if I have all faith so as to move mountians but have not love, I am nothing. - (1Cor 13:2)


The Best book on Spirituality that I ever Read: "The Fulfillment of All Desire"

Oh my God , I will continue
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  #6  
Old Jun 10, '13, 4:57 am
Prodigal_Son Prodigal_Son is offline
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

Newbie,

You talk about "real marital intimacy". I wonder what you mean by that. In my experience, intimacy is a matter of really knowing my wife, and my wife really knowing me. This means that we talk authentically about our feelings, our motivations, and -- in gut-wrenching detail sometimes -- our pasts.

Once this stuff is on the table -- and stays on the table -- we feel closer. (OK, sometimes we actually get very angry with each other. But then we feel closer, after a while). And when we feel closer, there are seasons when we become inflamed with attraction toward each other.

I'm not sure, either, what you are calling lust. Lust is the desire to use another person for your own pleasure, without respect for their dignity as a person. Lust is NOT wild abandon. Wild abandon and loud voices are proper to the bedroom for some of us. If your wife is at all like my wife, she wants you to care more about being a passionate man in the bedroom, rather than to care about doing everything the "right" way. Of course, I'm not saying to sin. But I think God wants a man and a woman to be "unleashed", as it were, when they encounter one another.

There may be need for more personal freedom, on one or both of your parts, before this can happen. But this can happen.

God bless your marriage!
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  #7  
Old Jun 10, '13, 6:12 am
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Lasting faith Lasting faith is offline
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

There are more to a marriage then sex. We tend to blame "bad sex" on just about all that goes sour.

Sex is a part of the marriage, and important, yes. But sometimes it feels better just to be togheter, close, having that feeling that it is all you need.

A long time ago, when I was a teen-ager, there was that girl I was very much in love with, but could not get her. One friday the "gang" of ours was sitting and talking about all and nothing. and the evening did turn in to night, and the night in to early morning. All others was gone by then, only that girl and I was left. Sleepy, tired, but not really wanted to go home yet. We had this room rented where we did hang out and there was a sofa. I don't really know what happen, but we did lie down on it, and just before we fell asleep I did put my arm around her. She did not resist, actually she did move a bit closer to me. For a split-second I did understand that I could do what ever I did fancy, but all I did was to kiss her neck before we both did fall asleep. That was the best thing I have ever done in my life. For the first time in my life I was sleeping on a sofa with a girl, and a girl I love really much, and I did not do anything, and I felt closer to her then I ever have felt before, or after. Those hours was the best in my life. And I can tell you that it was better then sex, much much better.

So, sex is important, but never build a marriage solely on that. No, a marriage must be founded on love, understanding, trust and respect. If even one of theese things is missing sex will not mend what is not there. Love is the greatest force in the world, understanding is wisdom to handle love, trust is to have the courage to let go and know someone will catch you when you fall, and respect make theese to work togheter. Sex belongs in a marriage, but is worthless without what cement it to all other factors.
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  #8  
Old Jun 10, '13, 7:03 am
newbie25553 newbie25553 is offline
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodigal_Son View Post
Newbie,

You talk about "real marital intimacy". I wonder what you mean by that. In my experience, intimacy is a matter of really knowing my wife, and my wife really knowing me. This means that we talk authentically about our feelings, our motivations, and -- in gut-wrenching detail sometimes -- our pasts.

Once this stuff is on the table -- and stays on the table -- we feel closer. (OK, sometimes we actually get very angry with each other. But then we feel closer, after a while). And when we feel closer, there are seasons when we become inflamed with attraction toward each other.
I think this hits the nail on the head. We have had many of these types of conversations/experiences that (to me) seem should normally lead to this inflamed attraction (which I believe is healthy and good for marriage!). However, she seems "stuck"; like there is an elephant in the (bed?) room preventing her from reciprocating those feelings.

All of your insights/prayers are much appreciated. It is very good to know we are not alone in this.
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  #9  
Old Jun 10, '13, 7:06 am
newbie25553 newbie25553 is offline
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Join Date: January 25, 2011
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsHappy View Post
I'm a woman and i found it hard, completely my own fault due to my previous sins, in my case I was and still am totally attracted to my husband but because I had commited lust sins prior to marriage/knowing him, I found it difficult to 'make love' and not turn the marital act into something 'wrong' or forbidden....lame, but true. The best thing that helped me was being able to talk about it with my husband (communication is key) as he is also practicing catholic, and going to confession, mass and holy communion and much as possible. And daily rosary. Masburbation and porn is killer for true intimacy in marriage, and unfortunatley, the effects begin way before marriage if the individual is commiting those sins. It can take years for images to leave the mind/memory. I wish I had known the long term effects of it ages ago!!!!
Stop that for good and the journey to recovery can properly begin. Is your wife catholic? It can be harder if she's not, but just talk talk talk as much as possible....I think that because I world is so rife with sinful sexuality everywhere, a lot of catholic married couples have these same struggles. Daily rosary is a huge help - maybe your wife could say a small prayer with you occasionally about it if she also wants the intimacy to become more genuine etc.
Praying for your marriage.
Thank you, it is helpful to have a woman's perspective here as well. We're both Catholic, and desire to become closer in this way. Your insights are very appreciated.
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  #10  
Old Jun 10, '13, 7:08 am
newbie25553 newbie25553 is offline
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Marinus View Post
Lust only lasts a short time... So enjoy it while it lasts.....
After a short time things settle down,,,, from vague intimacy to hallway sex at its worst ,,
Most people I know loose intimacy,, my first wife lost all interest after our third child,,,
After that went years without it,,,
If you find a way to reignite it let me know
If I could pen exactly what I do not want our marriage to become, it would be this. I am a firm believer that you do not need to "enjoy lust while it lasts", but that "inflamed attraction" so eloquently described by Prodigal_Son earlier does exist and can be healthy medicine for a marriage.

I know marriage needs to be based on more than sex, but I desire greatly to experience truly emotional, binding unions with my beloved. We have our first on the way, so I am sure this will be a huge example of such a binding union that is not sex! (rather, one of the beautiful outcomes!)
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  #11  
Old Jun 10, '13, 7:18 am
Boswell Boswell is offline
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

Don't be too uptight about what is right and wrong (acceptable and unacceptable) in sexual relations between husband and wife.

I don't believe the Church gets too involved in the bedroom activities of married couples, other than declaring there be no contraception and finishing the "marital act" (how I detest that term) in the proper way.

One's history makes us what we are today, so complete candor with one another about one's needs, wants and "don't wants" is important. I'm a big believer in counseling (my wife is a counselor by profession). It has helped us immensely over the years.



God bless you,

Boswell
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  #12  
Old Jun 10, '13, 7:20 am
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie25553 View Post
I am posting this because I am *guessing* I am not alone in an ongoing dilemma I have in my marriage.

It really boils down to:

My wife respects my views on the Church's teaching about sexuality very much, but isn't attracted to me for it (sexually).

I realize this is a false dilemma, and ideally we should have both (respect and attraction).

We both brought baggage into our marriage, and it seems as if her previous sexual experiences were wrapped up in lustful "games", and so true intimacy is a new experience for her.

Unfortunately, it feels at times that when we go there, she completely shuts down, and getting anything started takes a really long time (if it happens at all). It feels very one sided as well - as she does not seem to be very emotionally open or available during the act.

I want to be a good husband and a good man, and with many Graces from God have overcome some barriers to true intimacy myself (masturbation and pornography). But, I want our connection to be stronger in our marriage. I want the Church's teaching on sexuality to help us flourish in that act - not to be a barrier in us connecting in that way.

I am looking for advice that anyone might have - both from men and women who have found themselves in this type of situation before. Are there women (or men) who found it hard to transition from a lust-filled sexual past to a love-filled marital union? What helped you in that transition?
I don't know what you mean by "lustful games," and I don't need to know. I believe that it *should* be possible to learn what true sexual intimacy consists of, when we have been warped by porn, masturbation and other perversions, but I don't know exactly how to do this. It's like I grew up believing that I only had one leg, although it was strapped behind me the whole time, and even though I now have unstrapped my leg, I can't walk on it, I just don't know how. I don't have any feeling in that leg, and I find myself hopping around as I always have.

For many people, sex = intimacy. There isn't any other way to be "intimate" with your significant other. So trying to get more directly intimate meets with confusion and a stalemate. That might be where you are, or it might not be. Your respective pasts will not disappear and you will likely fight some aspect of this for a long time. I don't mean to be a downer, but there are temporal effects of grave sin. I know because I live with it myself.

How long have you been married? Are you using artificial contraception? Is your wife Catholic? Does she regret her sexual past? All are important considerations.

Counseling may help you find ways to be more intimate outside of sex, and help with communication of desires, needs, etc.
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  #13  
Old Jun 10, '13, 7:48 am
Prodigal_Son Prodigal_Son is offline
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie25553 View Post
I think this hits the nail on the head. We have had many of these types of conversations/experiences that (to me) seem should normally lead to this inflamed attraction (which I believe is healthy and good for marriage!). However, she seems "stuck"; like there is an elephant in the (bed?) room preventing her from reciprocating those feelings.

All of your insights/prayers are much appreciated. It is very good to know we are not alone in this.
It sounds like you're coming at it from the right perspective, brother.

Now I'm just going to go out on a limb. There seems to be something that prevents your sharing with each other, your intimacy, from really touching her. She is not free to receive your love. I would expect, then, that there is some time in her past where she was hurt, and decided not to let people in. This is likely to be very early in her childhood -- and this is where the brokenness later in her life came from, the brokenness that manifested itself in lust.

Sorry to sound like a psychologist. But I think that she needs emotional and spiritual healing. You can help with this, but -- in my own marriage -- I've found that wives often need to discover these things for themselves. She needs a community of believers (or at least two or three friends!) who are willing to be really intimate with her, and show her love. Real sexual love is an expression that flourishes in the presence of safety. I don't think she feels safe -- not because she isn't safe, but perhaps because she isn't ready to trust you fully yet.

(Anything I said above might be off base. Take it for what it's worth).

You have my prayers!
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  #14  
Old Jun 10, '13, 8:11 am
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JRKH JRKH is offline
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie25553 View Post
I think this hits the nail on the head. We have had many of these types of conversations/experiences that (to me) seem should normally lead to this inflamed attraction (which I believe is healthy and good for marriage!). However, she seems "stuck"; like there is an elephant in the (bed?) room preventing her from reciprocating those feelings.
As difficult as this can be, now is the time where you show her your great patience and desire that SHE be comfortable. That it is her comfort and her pleasure that is utmost in your heart. For most women, there is nothing more attractive than an understanding husband who seeks to please and pleasure her.

Quote:
All of your insights/prayers are much appreciated. It is very good to know we are not alone in this.
You are definitely not alone in this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie25553 View Post
If I could pen exactly what I do not want our marriage to become, it would be this. I am a firm believer that you do not need to "enjoy lust while it lasts", but that "inflamed attraction" so eloquently described by Prodigal_Son earlier does exist and can be healthy medicine for a marriage.

I know marriage needs to be based on more than sex, but I desire greatly to experience truly emotional, binding unions with my beloved. We have our first on the way, so I am sure this will be a huge example of such a binding union that is not sex! (rather, one of the beautiful outcomes!)
Since she is pregnant there will be many changes for both of you.

Peace
James
__________________
.... if I have all faith so as to move mountians but have not love, I am nothing. - (1Cor 13:2)


The Best book on Spirituality that I ever Read: "The Fulfillment of All Desire"

Oh my God , I will continue
to perform, all my actions
for the love of Thee
Amen.
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  #15  
Old Jun 10, '13, 8:27 am
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Respect vs. attraction in the marital embrace

Oh, I missed the post where the OP said his wife is pregnant with their first child!

This is wonderful and will bind them together as not only husband and wife, but as father and mother to their new baby. It is new territory for both of them, uncharted waters, and will draw them together and create an entirely new family!

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