Foreplay when pregnant a sin if it doesn't go any further?

My question is, if you’re already pregnant, is it still a sin if you have foreplay without completely making love? You already have life inside of you, so you’re not opting out of creating life.

Just a thought that I would like answered b/c my husband and I engaged in foreplay and it stopped there. I knew by how tired we were that it would likely just be foreplay also.

Did we still sin?

To my knowledge the Church would say that to do so is a mortal sin. However by posting this question you obviously were not certain about the Church’s teachings and therefore did not sin in what you have previously done. Remember for something to be a mortal sin you have to KNOW that it is and willingly do otherwise. There are other things as well in which some would say could reduce the culpability further but that would be a discussion between you, your husband and your Priest. :slight_smile:

Bottom line is that I don’t believe you would be in a state of mortal sin now for what you have done but if you continued to do so, you might place yourself in that state.


I’m confused as to why it would be mortal sin because isn’t the point of marital embrace is to bond, re-new your marriage vows and be open to life?

If we already have life, then why can’t we just embrace? I am having a very hard time believing that this would be mortal sin. I would like to see proof that embracing without the “final encounter” is a mortal sin when you are already pregnant. If we are loving eachother and not using eachother, then we are acting and husband and wife who have proven that they are open to life.

I hope I’m not coming across as sounding harsh…I in no way intend to come across that way at all. I would also like to thank you for your response.

It took me a while to understand why foreplay alone is a sin, and I have to come to realize that the reason it seems so alien to us is because our world has completely perverted, in every sense of the word, what marital love is. We have reduced sex to basically a toy, something to make us feel good. We have made it a very selfish act and instead of life giving, it has actually come to destroy life. A major reason for sex is to, of course, strengthen the bond between a husband and wife, but it must always, always, always be open to life. The relationship between a husband and wife mirrors the relationship between God and the Church, and God’s relationship with the Church is always open to life, specifically, new spritual life. To not be open to life in the physical act of sex is to take the precious gift that God has given us and trash it. In a physical way it is akin to desecrating the Blessed Sacrament.

It is true that if you are already pregnant, you have certainly been open to life. But you can’t just take the precious act of marital love and trash it now, perverting it.

Thank God that the Catholic Church still has this understanding and how not thrown it away, as the rest of the world has.


Simply because you are already pregnant does not mean that sex cannot be “procreative”. Procreative means that the marital embrace must be completed in a way that could (fertility permitting) bring about life. In layman’s terms it means that the husband must complete inside the wife… yes, even when she is pregnant. :o

From the Catechism (my emphasis in bold):

Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment. So the Church, which is "on the side of life,"151 teaches that **"it is necessary that each and every marriage act remain ordered per se to the procreation of human life."152 “This particular doctrine, expounded on numerous occasions by the Magisterium, 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.”**153

My understanding of Church teaching is foreplay with the direct intent to not finish with intercourse is mortal sin. Now, that’s different than if you start with the foreplay with the idea of intercourse still open but then something comes up, you realize you are just too tired, etc, then it is not a sin. You have to engage in the foreplay with the intent of not finishing, kwim?

This rule doesn’t change regardless of if you are pregnant or not.


Serap, I have tried and tried and still don’t get the reason we can’t do this. Neither does DH. We pretty much resigned ourselves - God’ll tell us when we see Him. :D. Til then, I’ll just listen to what everyone says. It bites (esp. if someone puts you on pelvic rest:(…), but I figure, whatever. It can’t hurt. My pregnancy mantra is from saint Paul: “Suffering produces endurance. Endurance produces character. Character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.” I just recite it in my head when stuff gets bad (m/s, can’t sleep, UTI…). Doesn’t always totally work, but it helps.

:confused: You can have foreplay…as long as it doesn’t lead to “finishing” without intercourse. If you “finish” it has to be within the context of intercourse.

As long as you don’t “finish” in any other way, you can express love and affection in physical ways to each other. You are married.

It is difficult to discuss these things in an open forum, I do know of a Catholic forum with a private women’s forum where intimate marriage issues can be discussed. It is part of Steve Ray’s website, PM me if you want a link.

If you are engaging in masturbation to the point of orgasm, even if you are married, it is still masturbation and still serious matter.

so does that mean that if a husband and wife engage in foreplay that to avoid sin they must complete the act?

Hugging and kissing certainly don’t need to be “completed”, but foreplay, which can be defined as acts intended to sexually arouse and not just to show affection, must be completed or you have misused the sexual act and that is serious sin. It all comes down to the meaning and reason for the marital act. It is not just for pleasure, it is not a toy that God has given us. If we treat it as that, we have committed serious sin.

This is my understanding as well.

I’m not trying to be a smart guy here at all, but I sincerely ask, what is it that you don’t understand? Does it make sense to you that openness to life must always be part of the sexual act, and that it can’t just be a selfish act to fulfill our own desires? If all you are doing is pleasuring each other, then you have misused the sexual act, because that is not its main purpose. There really is no way to understand why foreplay without completion is a sin if you don’t understand the meaning and purpose of sex. God has given us something beautiful that is extremely pleasurable, but the pleasure is not the reason for its being. The world thinks that pleasure is all sex is really about, and if you happen to have a baby as a result, you can take it or leave, and that is why they are destroying themselves with it.

Does that make any more sense to you?

Ahem…:blush: “Finishing” isn’t required…the only requirement is that “finishing” happens in the context of intercourse.

A couple can engage if foreplay and not finish in any other way, and that’s fine, no sin involved.

If a couple is sexually arousing each other, that is a sexual act, and it must be completed. Hugging and kissing are not necessarily sexual, and certainly there is no reason to bring that to “completion.” But to use any manner of sexual foreplay other than in a completed act is sin.

You need to back up such a statement, and I don’t think you can. Please be very careful when you make such statements so as not to mislead others.


Often our sexual sins are the result of many factors, weakness, hormones, failure of will etc… not out of an act of will to directly disobey God or the Church. I would talk to my Priest about this and other matters.

For example, most Priest would not consider teenage boys masturbating a mortal sin, at least not from what I have read or experienced. Why? hormonal and other factors are mitigating circumstances. Even an habitual sin, if truly a habit, can be considered not a mortal since because of the lack of control and mortal sin requires the clairty of thought to specifically disobey God right?

No, I’m NOT suggesting moral relativism I’m just saying that the way the CCC is written there can be mitigating circumstances. Things aren’t always as black and white as they seem. Why? I believe it is because we are all at a different point in our Journey toward Christ…

We can offer advice here and quote personal experience or the CCC, however your Priest and confessor is the person who knows you best in regards to your sins on this earth. Talk with him and pray for grace and guidance from Christ.

You guys are in my prayers!

Where are we getting these things from? Certainly we sin because of weakness, but that is why we have the beautiful sacrament of confession. Maturbation is a mortal sin, like it or not. A priest’s personal opinion doesn’t really matter, it is what the Church teaches that matters. If you don’t accept the teachings of the Church, you’ve got a problem. I once had a priest tell me in confession not to pray the Rosary because it’s nothing more than a mantra and doesn’t mean anything. Should I accept that just because a priest said it?

Please, people, we are getting into very dangerous ground here. When you say something, please back it up. Don’t just give your opinions. This is life and death stuff that we are talking about.

The sexual act is…the sexual act, intercourse. Foreplay comes before the sexual act. If climax occurs, it must happen with the completed act (intercourse)

If climax isn’t the goal, but instead physically showing love, then foreplay is fine.

If foreplay is used to have a climax without intercourse, then that isn’t allowed.

I’m not making this up out of thin air. Gregory Popcak’s book “Holy Sex” talks about this, especially in the chapter on NFP.

Holy Sex, Gregory Popcak, page 173For example, if you and you mate were trying to avoid pregnancy in a given month and the fertile phase of the wife’s cycle lasted ten days, then on each of those days you would make a date with your partner to do any or all of the following, cuddle together, make out without going all the way, play a game, work on a project, go out together, and so on.

Who is Gregory Pocak and what gives him the authority to make this statement? Not trying to argue but to understand.

Sex involves more than just intercourse - it’s the whole deal. That is the way God created it, and why it is so beautiful.

Everyone is “getting it from” the Church’s teaching.

To say that masturbation is a grave act and can be a mortal sin is completely correct.

To suggest that it is always a mortal sin would suggest that one is privy to the circumstances surrounding the act, namely, the knowledge and intent of the perpetrator. That is impossible.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit