Can it ever be a sin to have consensual procreative relations with your spouse?

Take this scenario, for example: A married couple have a lot of kids. They have so many that they need to get a bigger place before their little ones grow up. The couple are having relationship issues and the wife is wanting to separate for awhile (let’s assume she has legitimate reasons for wanting to do so). One night, she has a few drinks with a friend to relax a little. She comes home and is feeling very attracted to her husband. She asks to have sex. The husband knows she is a little intoxicated and knows that sex with her would likely result in a pregnancy. He knows that another pregnancy would jeopardize her health. He knows they are already working very hard to care for the children they have. But, his wife wants to have sex with him and he is trying to renew their relationship and win her back. They have sex. She becomes pregnant. She is now upset with him.

Did he sin?

NO!!!

I disagree with the previous poster. Even in marriage being capable of giving consent is a requirement in order to respect the human dignity of both parties when engaging in intercourse. He knew she was unhappy, that she had been drinking and most likely she was not of sufficiently sound mind to think rationally about her desires. We are called to be chaste and resist temptation in marriage as well as in single life, and being chaste sometimes means saying no to what would normally be a licit and even desirable interaction with our spouses.

For him to really show respect for her as a human being and as his spouse means that he, in such a case should practice being chaste when she is incapable of making a sound choice, especially in the circumstances which you describe. In fact, he should respect himself and think of more then a physical temptation in such a case as to not lower himself to taking advantage of another human being’s state in general and most especially in the case of his relationship to his wife, her drunken condition, no matter how troubled that may currently be.

On the other hand, the wife’s getting into this trouble is a prime example of why the Church prohibits becoming inebriated/stoned/drunk what have you. Just bad judgement all around and she -should- take her share of the responsibility for what happened insofar as the state that she allowed herself to get into. Still NO excuse for him to take advantage of it, however.

A husband should protect his dear wife at all times. A husband should love his wife with Christ’s love because he knows how much mercy Christ bestows on him every day for his own failings and weakness.

We must love our wives which means we must care for their needs, not our own.

I am loath to envisage such scenarios within a valid marriage. I have enough trouble in the real world. Time to get out of other people’s bedroom. Too voyeuristic for me. Sick of picking up the stones after the Catholic mob of Pharisees has past the young couple’s window.

If she is drugged, or drunk, struggles against the act and/ or if she says no.
Then it’s rape. I would think that this is a sin.
Married or not, no means no.

I agree.

But that is irrelevant to the OP’s scenario. Read it through.

@ OP: I imagine that would be a sin of poor judgement, for the reasons FaustinaJulia gives largely. Probably a venial sin.

I’d question whether it was actually “consensual” if he had reason to believe that she’d be unwilling when in full possession of her faculties, but she was simply drunk and unthinkingly acting on impulses. He’s in control, she’s not. He needs to man up and do what’s right.

The scenario is definitely disrespectful, probably sinful.

If one was to remove the part about knowing a pregnancy would jeopardize her health, or at least be clear it was a minor risk:

She had a few drinks to relax and is only a little intoxicated. Certainly in that state, she is capable of making a valid decision. No doubt the decision is because she is feeling a little buzz, but still perfectly valid and non-sinful. The scenario sounds like she even initiates the idea.

Heck, I could say it is a good thing. Nothing better to help a marriage through a tough spot than increasing the amount of fun in the bed. Nothing better to hold a marriage together than a child.

Edited to add: an since she is the one who asked for sex, and it seems a reasonable request, it would be sinful for the husband to refuse.

They both used poor judgement and have to bear responsibility. Not sure if either rises to the level of sin.

A married couple have a lot of kids. They have so many that they need to get a bigger place before their little ones grow up.

Good for them, they are blessed.

The couple are having relationship issues and the wife is wanting to separate for awhile (let’s assume she has legitimate reasons for wanting to do so).

They need to fix this immediately. Separation is a serious step. Not a procreative one.

She comes home and is feeling very attracted to her husband. She asks to have sex. The husband knows she is a little intoxicated and knows that sex with her would likely result in a pregnancy.

I’m sorry, you posted that this was consensual sex. A drunk partner is not consensual. You made a point to bring alcohol into the scenario. Now, it is no longer consensual. If she was intoxicated to the point that she makes a different decision than she would sober, then it is a sin on her part. The Husband has no idea how intoxicated she is, he was not with her while she was pounding them down.

The husband knows she is a little intoxicated and knows that sex with her would likely result in a pregnancy. He knows that another pregnancy would jeopardize her health.

If the wife is intoxicated to the point that she is jeopardizing her health she is sinning.

He knows they are already working very hard to care for the children they have.

That is called life.

But, his wife wants to have sex with him and he is trying to renew their relationship and win her back.

Win her back with his sex? She already knows what the sex is like. It is doubtful that would “win her back”

She is now upset with him.

Did he sin?

She is upset with him? Hmmm she drank, she thought it was a good idea…

The marriage is in trouble. Not really “sin” involved with the sex. But there is sin in the decisions leading up to it.

You said consensual. I am not sure that is true here.

No that would not be a sin.

I’m not sure if it would be sinful for him to refuse.

Willingly jeopardizing the health of a loved one is always immoral. I may not be interested in women but if I was in love with another man I wouldn’t engage in things that I believed could harm him. I also wouldn’t take advantage of him while he was under the influence of inhibition altering substances if I knew he would not be interested in me if he were not under the influence of those substances.

The brass tacks of your scenario seems to be this: a man rapes his wife while she is drunk, knowingly endangering her health. You have a conscience: does this sound like love to you? Does this sound like a sin to you?

There was nothing in the OP about rape.

Person A
Sober consenting adult who agrees to have sex with:

Person B
who is inebriated and makes a different decision because of alcohol than they would have sober.

Per the OP, Person A knows person B is intoxicated.

While I don’t necessarily think it was rape, there are many colleges that would term this as rape and notify the authorities.

If one removes the part about another pregnancy jeopardizing the wife’s health, I think it is safe to say it would have been sinful for the husband to refuse sex with the wife.

If we leave that part in, there is not enough information provided.

Yet it is not rape as no force was used. That it is justly illegal between unmarried couples does not make it rape.

hmmmmm Not sure where you live but rape does not necessarily require force. One may be drugged or incapacitated another way.

Honestly I think it is silly to use the “rape” claim here. BUT there can be a case made for the fact that the husband knew the wife was intoxicated and then proceeded to have relations. Now, if the husband did NOT know then the full “blame” if there is any would be on the intoxicated wife.

Rape is a specific species of sin. It is a graver sin than the sin of disobedience to civil rulers. As such, it is not possible for civil law to make an act rape which is not rape.

I suppose you would have to educate me more on the subject. Are you saying that rape in the sinful sense has to include violence or force?

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