Celibacy within marriage?


I have a good question. Is it okay to practice celibacy within marriage? Do you need a good reason within marriage?

My fiance and I are engaged and will be married next May. :smiley: I have a dream to get my doctorate in psychology after I graduate with a Bachelor’s in December 2008.

I have explained to him that I am open to children and he has a similar mindset. We plan to practice NFP but I have said that throughout one year of the program it would be quite inconveinient to have a child, so we will have to be sure to do it perfectly. I also said that even if God was to bless us with a child in that one year we would figure something out and love the child all the same. :thumbsup: : He has said that if it is that important to me maybe we should try a year of celibacy. I am concerned that this would be against Church teaching… but I know Saints have done it and didn’t Mary and Joseph do it? Where does the Church stand on this? :signofcross:


that is an oxymoron. celibate means unmarried. If you mean, is it okay to practice continence or abstinence in marriage, the answer is yes, for a time, by mutual agreement, to devote oneselves to prayer and good works or for other good reasons. Periodic abstinence, as practiced in NFP, is an example. If you are not ready to have children, in general you are not ready to get married, as I say that is a general statement. For pastoral guidance in a particular situation, the engaged couple should discuss it with their priest.


Sorry, I should clarify, you are right, it would be abstinence within marriage.


I advise you to get some good solid training in NFP. Don’t fear it… it DOES work! :thumbsup:


Are ya sure? Uhu…tell that to me and my 12 week pregnant wife…:stuck_out_tongue:


actually, you will not have a valid marriage, hence the term “consumating” your marriage with the act of sex. If you do not have sex you don’t have valid marriage until then. This is why the Church won’t marry people who can’t preform!


I know this is a bit off topic…

but perhaps you didn’t… um… do it right?

NFP DOES work, but it is not “coitus interruptus”, and it does take knowledge of one’s body.

I sure wish I could organize a class at my church!

OH… and mad CONGRATULATIONS on the new one for the family! (May not have been what YOU planned, but it was planned!)


Apryl - PennitentMan and his wife have a genuine method failure pregnancy (this has been discussed extensively on the boards). I think he would agree that usually NFP works, but I also would understand his irritation right now! :slight_smile:

To the OP - abstience within marriage is licit, as long as 1) the marriage is consumated and 2) both spouses agree.

However, complete abstinece, for a year or more as you seem to indicate, would likely be very difficult for most married couples, but especially for newlyweds. I encourage you to check out NFP resources. NFP can be used very conservatively with good results for most people. There are method failures (as with PennitentMan), but they are rare. It sounds like you and your fiance are dedicated to each other. I wish you well in your marriage.



I think you owe PM an apology, especially since you insinuated that he was pulling out and called it an NFP failure.


Thanks for the congratulations…nope, we did it right.

We charted my wife’s cycle, we were aware of the day of ovulation (with all the signs) and waited 9 days after that to have intercourse…
We even took our chart to the doctor’s office and have him analize it, and he also didn’t have an explination.

Don’t put too much trust in NFP…it’s not always the operator’s error.

I do see this as a gift from God, but it’s not as “fool proof” as everyone here advocates.


Nah, not to worry Marybee, it’s all good! :slight_smile:


Thanks, WE also had a huge surprise during a supposed anovulatory cycle!

ahh more than once. :smiley:


Anyway, to get this thread back on course:

I would council caution with one year of abstinence.

If you feel that strong about not having intercourse (for whatever reason) can you consider postponing the wedding?

The whole dynaic changes when you are married…even just the fact that you will now be living together. You will sleep in the same bed, snuggle up to each other…have shower/baths together…etc. you can see where this leads.

It’s extremely tough to stay the course of abstinence for a full year.

I’m wondering (and Iknow I don’t know you or him at all, so this may be very presumptious of me) that your soon-to-be-husband is maybe not thinking this through, but maybe agreeing more out of love than rational thought?
Forgive me if I’m wrong, but for the reasons above, I’m wondering.

I’m also saying this since I’m in a situation where I am very sexually inactive in my marriage…and it’s driving me stir crazy! And that’s with a once every month or once every two months frequency…

Planned/forced abstinence a tough thing to do and it lends itself to all kinds of evil temptations.




Where is that in church teaching, please? A marriage isn’t valid because the couple temporarily chooses not to have sex? If that is the case, then someone could be tempted to call into question everything else the church teaches on sex (me, too), and very easy for non-Catholics to say “See! The Catholic Church does control sex!” or “It is a cult thing!”. It makes no sense for the church on one hand to say when we can and cannot have sex (nothing other than intercourse in between fertile times in NFP) and then emphasize it to the point someone’s marriage is not valid until they do it? What of the couples - God bless them - who follow NFP from the get go and cannot have sex until weeks into their marriage - is it not valid?

Mind you, I take things literally. I’ve been Catholic all of my life and have never once heard that from anyone - priest, friends, teachers. I’d love to see it in black and white.


I can’t site from Chruch teachings, but I have heard of this point, usually when people speak of anullment…if they did not have sex in the marriage it would be easy to anull…

I cannot confim the teaching, but I have heard of that being asked before.


Off topic but related. Would Pennitent man like to speak with my colleague, a physician whose 3rd child was born 13 months after her second, even though she was scrupulously taking the pill?


I do not doubt that all birth control methods have a failure rate, but to elevate it to the level that some folks here do, and then assure other people of the total reliability is take a bit too far.

That was the point of my post.


Ditto - leads to all sorts of temptations, for both of you individually and as a couple (sex other than intercourse).

I would suggest the best idea I’ve read here so far is to postpone the marriage if kids are not to be in the picture right away, or be open to and trusting of NFP. We have been kind of/sort of just the opposite of PM - we get pregnant very easily and so when we had our four kids, it was knowing we were intimate in a fertile time. We never had a child otherwise. NFP works, *but within God’s plans *- and that can be plain tough.

And I completely relate to and understand PM on the lack of frequency - it is maddening sometimes and can hurt overall intimacy (not true for everyone, but some).

Pray, seek priestly counsel, discuss the true feelings in your fiance’s offer (love vs rational thought), and we’ll all be praying for you.


I know that. But somehow, with NFP, the perfect assurance mentality people have about the pill isn’t usually present. People expect the pill to work! BTW, my colleague is a physician. She was absolutely committed to delaying the birth of another child for at least 4 years by using the pill.


So, If you knew and understood the point of my post, then I don’t understand why you posted. :confused:

Here’s the thing that I see.
Sure, people expect the pill to work, just like they expect condoms or NFP to work.
But, when the pill fails, they talk about it’s faiure rate…
When NFP fails, they talk about the operature’s failure to use it correctly.

My point is that they should be careful and tell the people the whole truth and not elevate it to something that it is not…

When you give people half the info, you set them up for serious surprises.

And yes, yo did mention that your colleague is a physician in the first post

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