How do I understand the doctrine of Mary's perpetual virginity?

I find myself somewhat confused about the doctrine concerning Mary’s perpetual virginity. Why is it important to believe Mary continued to be a virgin after Christ’s birth? Does the church believe that all sexual intercourse is inherently sinful, even in marriage?

The following links should help you understand the Church’s position on Mary’s perpetual virginity. If you have any further questions, please contact Catholic Answers directly.

Recommended Reading:

*] Doesn’t Scripture imply that Mary had children other than Jesus?
*] Did Jesus have brothers?
*] Perpetual Virginity: Why is this important?
*] Mary: Ever Virgin

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