Does Catholicism teach that marital relations should only be had for child creation?

I always thought that Catholicism taught that sex should be for procreation. Debates I have recently had people claimed boldly that this is not true. So I guess I’m just wondering what the official position is. Is there maybe a link that makes the Catholic church’s stance on this issue clear?

No, in Catholic teaching there are two essential elements of the marital act (unitive and procreative). Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae:

  1. This particular doctrine, often expounded by the magisterium of the Church, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.

The reason is that the fundamental nature of the marriage act, while uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy, also renders them capable of generating new life—and this as a result of laws written into the actual nature of man and of woman. And if each of these essential qualities, the unitive and the procreative, is preserved, the use of marriage fully retains its sense of true mutual love and its ordination to the supreme responsibility of parenthood to which man is called. We believe that our contemporaries are particularly capable of seeing that this teaching is in harmony with human reason.

The marital act should not seek to frustrate its procreative nature, but that need not be the direct intention of every act.

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