Gaining 'comfort' with sex as a newlywed



I’m sorry that my first post is of such a nature as this, but this question has been on my mind as a concerned Catholic newlywed.


My DH and I are newly married (the nuptial mass was three weeks ago) and both of us are practicing Catholics. Neither of us had ever engaged in any sexual activity before our wedding night, and for me it was actually very painful. My DH and I have been trying to make it such that I can gain pleasure from intercourse to make it a fuller experience for both of us. However, we are currently practicing NFP to postpone pregnancy and I have very long “fertile”/phase 2 periods (up to 19 days). Because of this, my DH said that it would be OK if we explored/pleasured each other manually for a few weeks (during the fertile time) at the start of our marriage just to learn more about our bodies until it would be prudent to have intercourse again and so that we feel more comfortable in this intimate time.

So my question is this: What do you think? Is a few weeks of “experimenting” morally acceptable (in the eyes of the Church) for newly wed couples as long as it does not replace, but is meant to enhance intended intimate experiences?

Thank you for your consideration.


Doing what you describe, without the proper end is considered sinful.


While I definitely sympathize with trying to become more comfortable with the intimacies of married life, you are not allowed to manually stimulate each other when the completed marital act does not either precede or follow. Doing so is simply mutual masturbation and is removing sexual pleasure from its proper context of being unitative.


Congratulations on your wedding :slight_smile: wonderful !

Your husband is probably is not aware that what he is suggesting is masturbation and its a sin according to the Church.
We can all understand his desire for intimate contact at long last with his wife and also your desire to sort of demystitize this thing which was quite uncomfortable at the beginning for you.
I am not sure about the degree of knowlege your husband has about sex, but women mostly, if not always, need foreplay in order to get ready for intercourse. If you just go right at it then it will be quite painful. The body needs to get aroused and ready and then the union wont be painful.

Just in case you did not know this.
I hope it all works out for you…

ps … my respect for you both for waiting till the wedding night :thumbsup:


Thank you, Geek, Grace, and kevinsgirl. That was my inclination. I know that my husband means well, but we’ll just refrain from sexual activity until phase three and try to approach it slowly and prayerfully.

Are there any resources for Catholic married couples on this subject? We want to live out God’s plan for our sexual lives as fully as possible.


Best one I’ve personally read to date is “The Good News about Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West. It is a wonderful book based of the Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II. I really wish it had been around when I was a newly wed.


No, this is not morally acceptable.

I suggest you guys get a copy of Greg Popcak’s new book Holy Sex!

Regarding your NFP method, you may want to look at Creighton or Billings, which may afford you more days (or maybe not). Each method is slightly different.

And, from a practical perspective, if you aren’t already using a lubricant, get some Astroglide.


Ok, here is the perspective from 27 years of marriage:

It takes time.

It takes time to know each other in this special way.

It takes time to give oneself totally and completely.

It takes time to know what works and what doesn’t.


You have time.

You have time to get to know each other in this amazing way.

You can practice giving yourselves totally and completely time and again.

Over the course of time, you will understand the truly amazing gift that God has given married couples in allowing us this amazing pleasure through complete union with your other half.

Don’t rush it.

You have time.


Have you been to the Doc and been checked out for problems??
Really past the first time or 2 it shouldn’t be painful. Also, lubricants will help in the comfort department. As other posters have said, what he suggests doing is NOT okay and inline with the Church’s understanding of marital relations.


As many pp’s have mentioned, not so much on the mutual stimulation without marital completion- but, the IDEA your hubby had was good. You can become more used to each other that way- consider it foreplay, just MAKE SURE you complete the unitive act after. You may find that it makes the “real” act more pleasurable to have that “warmup” period before.


I depends on what he means doesn’t it? If he means mutual masturbation that is a mortal sin according to the Church if it does not lead to intercourse.

You are newly weds, I’m not saying you should chance a kids right now but on those days you were safe I would do a lot of “exploring”

Find out what works, don’t wait until 10:00 and you are tired. Take a day off, hang out and explore all day on a weekend etc… most of all, take your time, go slow and don’t be nervous. Your love and acceptance between one another is one of the greatest gifts God gives us on this Earth.

West book is great as well, it will help you understand what the Church teaches and doesn’t. You will be surprised by somethings! :thumbsup: in a good way!



I just want to offer the OP some words of sympathy and support.

My husband and I were virgins on our wedding night, and sex has been a constant struggle. It was quite a surprise - we were chaste, knew the mechanics, and assumed it would be easy.

One year later we’re finally starting to get the hang of it. If we hadn’t been best friends going into this, I don’t know where we’d be now. But it’s actually brought us even closer together.

We don’t use NFP to avoid, so we have more “time”. We always intend to finish the act as intended, but often have to stop because even after extensive foreplay, it’s just not going to happen. My husband isn’t willing to force it and cause me a great deal of pain.

We’re not quite sure what the problem is. We’re both highly physically aroused, both mentally there, I have no problem achieving orgasm during foreplay (always intending to finish with intercourse)…lubricant wouldn’t add anything that isn’t already there, I’ve been to the doctor and it’s nothing that can be fixed. I’m just too narrow down there. The doctor said having a baby would help, but hey, I’m finding step #1 in having a baby to be mostly impossible.

It’s very frustrating and was a huge shock. We did everything right, the way we were supposed to, were 30 year old chaste virgins, were expecting to be able to fully enjoy the martial embrace…I admit at times I was very angry with God. It felt like a cruel joke. So many people are fornicating happily and without obstacles, and I feel like we’re being tested. I’m tired of being tested! I just want to enjoy my husband and our marriage bed.

Keep talking, keep trying. If you fully intend to finish properly, that is what is important and you can feel free to explore. It does get better, even if it feels like it never will. We’ve had some recent successes :blush: :smiley:

I’ve also done a lot of reading and discovered this is more common than people think. For many women it DOES hurt more than the first couple times, and it’s not psychological.

Keep close to your husband, and remember you’re in it together. Try not to feel guilty. It’ll work out, though it may take longer than many people feel is normal. And there’s nothing wrong with that.


I agree with everything everyone said above. Especially the “time” post. Time is all you need. And don’t feel bad you are not alone. I can’t even rub my husbands back or chest he gets so arroused so easy. So I limit my “touchyness” during times that we must control our desires. We have been together 20 years and we talk alot about everything so we both know what page we are on and theres understanding.

Congratulations on your vocation of holy matrimony!


Good post, I actually have similar concerns being newly married. :o It’s been instructive to read all the responses. The one thing I would add is don’t feel like you’re obligated to use all your phase three days. Feeling like you have to make love every single night then is just too much pressure! Take your time and let things unfold naturally.


Patience, patience. You have many years.


I like the new KY his and hers…it works pretty well. I just got married on the 5th and have had no problems at all.


You’ve had this much trouble and haven’t even tried a lubricant? Sometimes it kinda helps get going and then you’ll dilate a little more which will help it to be easier I think. If he’s having problems finishing and you’re both virgins before, then maybe it’s not going all the way in. Usually guys have the opposite problem!


yea thats usually normal. I don’t want to get into too much detail. Like other’s have said make sure you do enough fore-play until you are ready. Also read up a lot, even some sites online offer a lot of tips and advice that are church friendly. Try different things and figure out what you like best and what sets you off the most.

About masturbation, the CCC only states it’s a sin if it’s outside of marriage.

While in marriage if the end result doesn’t lead to intercourse then it is a sin.

If it’s part of foreplay I think it is alright.

However, don’t rely on what people say on here, check with your priest. Consult numerous priests even and see what they all say.

The key is practice, probably stuff you already know.

I’m only in college so I probably have no business being here but things will work out with you good luck!


This is not true.

Masturbation is an act of simulation leading to orgasm out side of intercourse. Foreplay is not masturbation.


No, we’ve tried it. Many times, many kinds.

I seems to have the opposite of the intended effect on me.

And we also really, really take our time. We’re just freaks - me anyway. DH doesn’t have a “problem” finishing, he stops on purpose because it’s not going to happen where the church says it should.

You’re very lucky it’s so easy for you.

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