Abstinence in marriage


NFP is not working, so abstinence is our only option right now to space our child.

What I would like to hear in this thread are people’s positive experiences of abstinence. Can it be beneficial to a marriage? If yes, how? Please give me examples.

God bless,


Maybe I don’t have enough faith but I can’t see how that could be helpful. I’m sure there are some other people who will give you better answers though.

I think of St. Paul who tells us, and I’m summarizing here - If you can’t control your desires, get married. So why would get married only to not be able to fulfill those desires with our spouse?..



jwashu - I am sorry that NFP is a struggle for at the moment. I am not sure which aspect is not working for you and I do not want to be too nosey and ask for details. Do you think total abstinence is necessary? What about pinpointing just a few days a month, or even one day when you know for a fact you are not ovulating - such as when period cramps and symptoms start?


I know you mentioned in another thread about struggling with NFP during breastfeeding.
I highly suggest meeting with your NFP instructor.**

It is DEFINITELY possible to use NFP while breastfeeding and to detect fertility despite the fact that you often don’t have a regular menstrual cycle. I’ve done it 3 time successfully!!


As someone who is currently experiencing it I would highly recommend against long term more then a year of abstinence in marriage. It hasn;t done any good for us and if anything has helped us grow apart not together.


I guess the answer is Abstience is bad.

Thanks everyone.

God bless,


I was responding to the OP. We know and understand NFP, it just won’t work for us. I just believe abstinence in marriage, long term that is, isn’t a good thing.

There was no reference to my own marriage. What steps we / I have taken to allow us to be a loving family on all levels are still between myself, my Priest and God ATM - I would rather not discuss.


PS - thank you though for your concern and thoughfulness!


Sorry that wasn’t intended for you. As I was typing my eyes didn’t follow back up to the top of the post and I thought your name was OP! In other words, I was responding the OP post not yours, but I typed in the wrong name. Sorry again. If the limit hadn’t run out for me to edit it I would!


It did no good…it was hell on earth.
No good came from it.


Heh, no worries - I still appreciate the thoughtfulness even it was sorta subconscious :slight_smile:


I think we may be going down your path PM. Its wreaking our marriage.

I’m still holding out hope.

God bless,


I’m so sorry to hear that. I truly am.

In my opinion (not that anyone asked :slight_smile: ), this is one of the things that I find wrong with the church.
The fact that by directly obeying a rule of the church, marriages get ruined. And all they tell you is that you have to keep following the rule, otherwise you condemn yourself to hell.

Ask yourself…Do you really think that the All-Loving god will prescribe such harsh teachings, to the point of ruining a marraige to those who try their hardest to follow him? I mean is the road so narrow that you have to seperate from your wife to get in heaven? I thought god insittuted the sanctity of marraige and blessed it…also didn’t St. Paul write taht you should only be seperated from your spouse for short times?
I can’t see how these teachigns are from god…
For me it was exacrtly the same and I asked myself these questions, but our situation was slightly worse…my wife was on the verge of committing suicide as a result of following some of “these” teachings.

Sorry, my un-asked-for 2 cents.


No worries. I was aware of your situation a year ago when I saw your threads.

Our situation just doesn’t make sense.

Or maybe its because were Canadians. :slight_smile:

God bless,


St Paul also suggests that periods of abstinence can be beneficial. Additionally, while it isn’t talked about much now, it used to be encouraged that couples practice abstinence at times; during Lent, Fridays, pre-Mass fasts. These were all times when no sex was the norm. And couples used to be told it was avery good thing to choose to live as “brother and sister” once childbearing was done. Not that it was required, but it could be a good choice for some. (The Orthodox are always abstinent when they fast, which is half the year. You might look to see if any Orthodox writings have good practical advice on this issue.)

I think you need to consider what the problems with no sex are, and what the advantages, and how you can minimize the former and take advantage of the latter.

Obviously, it can be hard tot to have an outlet to sexual desires, and that can lead a person into temptation. Most of the strategies for that are the same ones employed by any celibate person. A time of temptation is not necessarily a negative thing though - remember that it was very important in the life of Christ, and many other Saints. It can give great spiritual benefits. (I love the story of St Dunstan.)

As well, that can make one partner feel resentful toward the other, even if he or she knows it is silly. Sex can sometimes bring the couple together or smooth things over in times of difficulty. It is a way to bring intimacy, and can be especially important to very tactile people.

So - you will need to develop ways to do these things without that kind of physical intimacy. You can treat that as a disaster, or as an opportunity. Pray together, take time to do things that have meaning for you that you enjoy, talk, whatever. You will need to put time and effort into it, or you will indeed drift apart.

Try not to cut out all physical affection, though especially at first, it can be hard when you really want sex. But people also need non-sexual touch and affection to thrive.

Good luck!


Lol! Yeah, maybe god doesn’t like Canadians, so he has it in for us! :smiley: Very plausable.

Good luck friend. I hope you find peace and happiness.



Let me give this conversation some historical context. For tens of thousands of years, human beings have grieved because their children didn’t survive into adulthood. Large families were considered the greatest possible blessing, lack of fertility the worst possible situation. Now, in the modern day, we’ve turned this around, and spent a great deal of energy “protecting” sex from its natural outcome.

This “protection”, however, also shields us from the work of God in our lives. Artificial birth control is called *artificial *for a reason. It is a cosmetic we put into our lives to make our lives more orderly.

But our “orderly” lives do not conform to God’s order, so they are not orderly at all! People may say that this is an impossible call, but it is not. We must be faithful, even at the risk of being saints. In the end, the blessings of a large family far outweigh the complications.

I am painting with a broad brush, however. There are extreme situations, where having another child would actually be dangerous. These situations must be discerned prayerfully, and there are a number of steps that could be taken (total abstinence being one of them).

But most people just don’t want another kiddo, at least not yet. But our wants do not conform to God’s plans for us…and God help us if they did!

(For the record, PennitentMan, I wouldn’t worry about making the wrong decision and being condemned to hell. The depth of God’s compassion for us is such that, unless we willfully abandon Him, He will gather us up like the lost sheep. Many Christians are far too legalistic, but God is not the least bit legalistic. He is love.)


The sanctity of marriage is to have children. If you inhibit this from happening, then you are sinning against the sanctity of marriage. I’ve had a vasectomy back when I wasn’t too much of a church-going person. I sinned. But I don’t blame that church for having a rule that is too “hard” for me to follow. I must carry my cross and live with what I did and pray for God’s forgiveness.


Just to back you up-
I’m totally in agreement with you on this one.


WHOA! :eek:… before we start leaving the faith over this… hold your horses!

OP - care to share more details about your situation? I know on another thread you mentioned difficulty with discerning fertility while breastfeeding?
Are you truly in dire straights needing to avoid conception? If so…
Have you spoken to your NFP instructor?
Have you tried another NFP method?

This thread was not started with church-rule-bashing… so let’s get back to the point…
Unless… you’re just looking for an *EXCUSE *to leave the faith? :shrug: :rolleyes:


Thank you, Em, I thought I had stumbled onto the “why I hate the Catholic Church” thread…

I think to make extended abstinence work, both husband and wife need to be on the same page–communication is extremely important, and the reason for the abstinence MUST be very grave–because it’s not going to be all roses, sunshine and lollipops. I don’t think anyone is of the opinion that abstinence is easy, just that sometimes it’s the only choice. Perhaps the couple could have small goals of abstinence (say 2 month or 4 months) and then reassess. If it’s breastfeeding related, then that’s not going to go on forever. If it’s health related, perhaps the concern will lessen and cycles will be easier to figure out.

I second Em’s suggestion of talking with NFP teachers (or better yet, an NFP understanding Doctor) or find a method or combination of methods that work for you. I can’t remember exactly what the issue is with why NFP doesn’t seem to work for you? Maybe a brief explanation?

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