Did Mary and Joseph have marital intimacy

We all know that the Church has long declared the perpetual virginity of Mary and therefore it teaches that she never engaged in the marital act while Married to St. Joseph.

That being said, Did Mary and Joseph still experience the intimacy that comes with marriage? Such as kissing and sleeping together. Did they do just about everything married couples do except sex? What was their relationship like?

No one knows. You can ask them when you get to heaven…


I differ to the Protoevangelium of James. Which is not scripture and NOT without error. However, it is and early writings that expressed the original beliefs about the relationship between Mary and Joseph.

It says that Mary was a consecrated temple virgin. When she got older it became unlawful for her to live in the temple. They drew lots and it fell to Joseph. An older man who had grown kids.

It was more his duty as a pious Jew to take the temple virgin into his home. The relationship would have been more like a father daughter relationship.

I certainly like this explanation !

Steve, I’m not a grammar nitpicker who will nick you on every misspelling or misapplied apostrophe, but the difference between “differ” and “defer” would be a serious one, here! :wink:

Anyways, I agree with the idea that they did not have normal marital contact. Uzzah was killed for touching the Ark, though he did it out of good will towards God. That’s not to say that physically coming into contact with Mary would be enough to kill you, but physical intimacy I think is likely exempted if we look at the Ark as a type for Mary.

With a little consideration, it’s easy to imagine that, no matter how saintly both of them were, they would have had enough prudence to refrain from anything that would lead to an occasion of sin.

Darn autospell. i missed that one

Yeah my understanding was that Mary was in her young teen years and that Joseph was an old man when she was taken into his household. So I always sort of thought that Joseph operated on a practical scale, more like her guardian than a husband.

God makes it clear in his scripture through the gospels of Mathew, and Luke.
Luke writes 2:7 “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
This is a clear indication that Joseph and Mary had other children.

Here is clarity that they did have other children:
Mathew writes 12:47-49 47 “Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’
48 He replied to him,‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers.’”

Note the fact that Jesus poses the question of relationships. Pointing out that spiritual relationships are more essential.
I am not trying to make anyone upset here, I am only sharing the word of God with you to try to clarify the matter. Peace to all!


I appreciate that you are trying to spread understanding-- but unfortunately the real lack of understanding is caused by a shift away from the Church and teachings.

Almost no person, even (as far as I’m aware) the original Protestant fathers, believed such heresy as that [the argument that Mary had children other than Jesus]. However, after years of being away from Church teaching, people began to see with inexperienced eyes and believe these heresies about the Virgin Mother of God.

The people most suited to understanding the Greek text, those being the Church fathers, unanimously agreed on what the text did and did not mean. It is through the inexperienced eyes of modern readers who lack guidance that we misinterpret these words to mean something else.

I won’t go too far into it, but one simple example is this: Lot and Abraham are not brothers. Why, then, is Lot called Abraham’s brother? Does calling one Jesus’ brother make him his literal brother?

Please look into a Catholic (heck, even Orthodox) article enumerating the many reasons that Mary was a Virgin and the misapplied and unfortunate theology that plagues modern generations.


Read these short bits on Mary’s virginity to see the Catholic understanding.

Your understanding of the above scriptures is distorted based on a modern interpretation instead of taking it in context to the time it was written and the audience to whom it was written. “Firstborn son” was ALWAYS used to describe the firstborn son whether or not there were more children. There were rights and responsibilities for the firstborn son among the ancient Jews. Thus, they always identified the firstborn son in such a way. In no way does it indicate that there were children later.

Secondly, how does the second scripture indicate that there were biological brothers and sisters born of Mary? Yes, Jesus is saying that those who do the will of God are His family. This is exactly what Mary did. As to the disciples being called brothers, that was very common in that day as well. Spiritually they were his brothers. Biologically they were not. Lot is called Abrahams brother in Genesis 14:14 but it is clearly written that Lot was his nephew in other passages. “Brothers” was a term used for familial relationships (cousins or the like) or, as you pointed out, spiritual relationships. Another Scripture that shows this is John 20:17-18 where Jesus tells Mary Magdalene to go tell His brothers “I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Where does she go? To the disciples.

I can appreciate your effort to spread the word of God, as I am a Scripture lover myself. But Scripture was not written in the modern era and even though God’s word is timeless and can be applied to us in many ways, these letters were written for ancient audiences who would have understood the customs of the day. Context is very important to a proper understanding of Scripture.

PS. Interestingly Zechariah 12:10 speaks of the Messiah in the following language " they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and they will grieve for him as one grieves over a firstborn"

I have never thought Lot to be Abraham’s brother as my text refers to him as his nephew.
As far as church fathers go, if their name is not on the foundation of the walls in the new Jerusalem than they are not qualified to be called church fathers. It is the apostles who planted the church and the doctrine is contained in the Holy scripture.

2 Timothy 4: 2-4 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Romans 14:22-23 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.[a]

Believe what you believe, but make sure it is right before God or you will be condemned. May the grace of God be with you. p.s. Sorry for being off topic but it had to be addressed.

I do not condemn you, Doug, and am always happy to have believers in the Lord in this day in age. After all, as Catholics we believe that all Christians are our brothers in Christ. Have you read the Catholic links I listed? I am well aware of the Protestant side offered, and I find it lacking when compared to the arguments of the Catholic side. Especially when, like I said, even Calvin and Luther believed in Mary’s perpetual virginity… it becomes readily apparent that this unbelief is a modern heresy.

Remember. The Church was established by God and would not ever succumb to Death. Heresy is sin. The wages of sin are death. Did God leave his Church in Death for the last 1700 years before this modern belief arose in the lack of Mary’s virginity?

Bear in mind also that many of the early Church fathers had contact with, or knew those who knew, John and Mary (who had been given to John to be taken care of… a stunningly offensive thing to do to his “brother” who would have been the next in line to take care of Mary. Remember, this isn’t the modern age. Jewish law was very explicit about these sorts of things, and considering that his “brother” James would go on to lead a life as an apostle, I don’t see any reason to have heaped shame and ridicule upon his family)

Yet the Apostles in scripture make it clear that the word of God is not contained only in scripture but also is handed down by word of mouth.

***“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” 2 thes 2:15

scripture says these teachings have been handed done throughout the ages to church leaders

***" And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others." 2 tim. 2:2 ***

the Apostles also make it clear that deriving doctrine on your own through scripture is dangerous and can send you to hell.

" He (Paul) writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2nd Peter 3:16

So scripture says that there are teachings not in scripture, and these teachings have been handed done to church leaders. these church leaders are the ones to interpret scripture not individuals. Sounds an awful lot like the Catholic church to me.

Were do you think you will get these teachings that were handed down by word of mouth and are not in scripture? The church that’s been there from the Beginning (the Catholic church) or the church that wasn’t (all others)

Yes, I believe that Joseph and Mary had intimacy and children.

Even though there is no direct biblical or other evidence. It’s more of a Protestant tradition of men in reaction against the Catholic position, which is the biblical position bolstered by the witness of the earliest Christians.

This is a modern concept of marriage. In the time of Mary and Joseph, such romantic ideas of marriage did not exist. I have been told that sleeping in the same bed came about in the 1800’s do to the industrial revolution.

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