Catholic engaged couples and sexual arousal


I have a question regarding arousal. Is it a sin to any degree to experience arousal when it is NOT directly sought out, NOR dwelled upon?

My fiancé and I spent some time this weekend together and during our time, we would cuddle up close, hug, hold hands, exchange kisses on the cheeks and just goof around, like play fighting and tickling. I am a very affectionate person it comes to my fiancé and I just like to express my love to him in this way.

Sometimes during our time together, if we are cuddled up close or if I notice a certain change in him, I might ask, “are you aroused?” And If he responds “yes”, then I stop whatever we are doing. If the answer is “no” then we are good. Also a few times during our time together, I would find myself mildly aroused after being close. When this happened, I would somewhat remove myself from him and then allow the feelings to pass.

Arousal was NOT sought out during our time together, and if it did happen, then it was NOT dwelt upon. Throughout our time together I actively resisted any feelings of arousal. None the less, I’m not entirely sure of what the Catholic view on this is, and if we sinned in any way.


No. Involuntary responses are not sinful.


I remember you struggle with scruples, so I think you should take this to your Priest.


Let’s go ahead and try to head this all off by getting @edward_george1 to give a priestly statement and get this closed up.


As others have said, involuntary responses aren’t sinful, and since you struggle with scrupulosity, you should not seek out advice online. Speak to your priest.



Arousal at certain times means your body is operating correctly.

Emotions, such as horniness/hunger/fatigue/indignation/excitement/boredom need to be filtered through the rational intellect and acted upon accordingly.

All of these emotions can be directed in a way to elevate fellow man and God.

If you feel horny, remind yourself that said person was created by God and thank Jesus for his passion and dying for that person. Physical attraction is like seeing through a glass darkly compared to God’s supernatural love for that person.

If something makes you feel indignant, immediately think of the indignation that Christ suffered and thank God that you can participate in it in a small way, and allow yourself to grow through the experience.

If you are bored, it likely means that there is something better you could be doing with your time. If possible (minors sometimes have limited options) respond to that feeling by finding something rewarding to do.


When sin enters a person, it becomes more like the horse is in charge rather than the rider. You are led around by your impulses, and since our impulses tend towards evil, we commit many injustices. Silence, daily prayer, spiritual reading, the sacraments, and works of mercy are all bulwarks against attacks and empower us to become the people God desires us to be.


It’s not a sin to be sexually attracted to your future spouse but it is important to have clear boundaries, to avoid any behaviour which you know will provoke physical arousal and to stop immediately and cool things down. Sounds like you are doing the right thing, you just need to be a little more cautious.

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