Illicit Sexual Activity During Pregnanacy


#1

Married or not, sexual acts such as masturbation and oral/anal intercourse (wherein the sexual act is completed) are clearly wrong and to be rejected. However, if a married couple was already pregnant; would these acts still be seen as immoral?

ARGUMENT: All licit sexual activity must embrace and be open to the unitive and procreative expressions of the sexual act. While the unitive aspect of these acts may be in question, they do not possess any procreative potential, thus they must be rejected. Despite the fact that the wife is already pregnant, the act, in and of itself, must not be divorced from either aspect, practically or theoretically. Much like a couple too old to or incapable of conceiving a child, they must still retain both aspects of the sexual act while engaged as such. If it were OK for a pregnant couple to engage in illicit sexual acts because no sexual act could practically make them any more pregnant, then couples too old or infirmed would also be permitted as such.

ARGUMENT: When the wife is pregnant, no sexual act can be procreative or non-procreative, practically speaking. Thus, any and all acts could, theoretically, be considered divorced from the procreative aspect of the sexual act. Unlike a sterile couple or couple too old to conceive, the natural transmission of life for this couple is possible, desired, and, in fact, complete as they are already expecting. Unlike the previously mentioned couples who, by performing said illicit sexual acts, would completely avoid procreation, this couple is already pregnant. So, to argue that they are divorcing the procreative aspect from the sexual act seems flimsy as no act they perform will be any more or less open to life as she is already pregnant. While illicit acts (by themselves) are not procreative, do we judge the individual – who in this case is open to life, or do we judge the action – which in this case cannot make the woman any more or less pregnant.

In practice, would a married couple, who is already pregnant, be committing a sinful act if they engaged in what would otherwise be considered illicit activity?


#2

[quote="rioinlet, post:1, topic:185368"]
Married or not, sexual acts such as masturbation and oral/anal intercourse (wherein the sexual act is completed) are clearly wrong and to be rejected. However, if a married couple was already pregnant; would these acts still be seen as immoral?

ARGUMENT: All licit sexual activity must embrace and be open to the unitive and procreative expressions of the sexual act. While the unitive aspect of these acts may be in question, they do not possess any procreative potential, thus they must be rejected. Despite the fact that the wife is already pregnant, the act, in and of itself, must not be divorced from either aspect, practically or theoretically. Much like a couple too old to or incapable of conceiving a child, they must still retain both aspects of the sexual act while engaged as such. If it were OK for a pregnant couple to engage in illicit sexual acts because no sexual act could practically make them any more pregnant, then couples too old or infirmed would also be permitted as such.

ARGUMENT: When the wife is pregnant, no sexual act can be procreative or non-procreative, practically speaking. Thus, any and all acts could, theoretically, be considered divorced from the procreative aspect of the sexual act. Unlike a sterile couple or couple too old to conceive, the natural transmission of life for this couple is possible, desired, and, in fact, complete as they are already expecting. Unlike the previously mentioned couples who, by performing said illicit sexual acts, would completely avoid procreation, this couple is already pregnant. So, to argue that they are divorcing the procreative aspect from the sexual act seems flimsy as no act they perform will be any more or less open to life as she is already pregnant. While illicit acts (by themselves) are not procreative, do we judge the individual – who in this case is open to life, or do we judge the action – which in this case cannot make the woman any more or less pregnant.

In practice, would a married couple, who is already pregnant, be committing a sinful act if they engaged in what would otherwise be considered illicit activity?

[/quote]

Yes. All a sin.

Substitue menopause or infertility in for pregnancy in what what was written above. It would still be immorral.

Using (the reverse of) your logic, a couple could only have relations when the wife was fertile. This simply is not the case.

The Church teaches the act has to be ordered in a certian way, irregardless of any biological/medical impossibilities of creating life.


#3

From Humanae Vitae:

The Church, nevertheless, in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life.

I think if there were any exceptions to the "each and every" part of this teaching, such as already being pregnant or being past menopause, then Paul VI would have mentioned them.


#4

You present two good arguments here, but there are thinner lines between such acts. As a husband and father, I can tell you that not all acts must be directly tied to the procreative aspect to lead to procreation. Sex takes work and practice - and it doesn’t come naturally nor comfortably to all. It should be viewed as a gift, not as a chore or obligation, and it helps keep a marriage healthy if sex is enjoyed.

It is neither unreasonable nor sinful for spouses who are open to procreation to enjoy the other aspects of lovemaking that surround the journey to conception. To put it another way, if we reject the activites you mention because they are not intercourse, should we also reject kissing or massages as being superfluous because they don’t get directly to the point?

So long as we don’t remain in the merely unitive aspects of lovemaking (ie, you don’t keep it at foreplay), it’s not sinful.

Also, speaking from experience as a husband and father, the desire to make love remains even where the ability to make love is hampered by pregnancy or other condition. There also comes a point where lovemaking can be dangerous to pregnancy (and a point after which lovemaking helps to induce labor). If a wife desires to please her husband or a husband his even-more-beatiful pregnant wife, they should not be made to wait for months simply because conception is not possible. Note the difference between a licit and illicit sexual act is that of intent - and an expecting couple is very much open to conception!

Lastly, to complete the corollary, a new mother’s or father’s refusal or lack of desire should not be taken as sinful deprivation - sometimes there are just other (more precious) things on a couple’s minds. If you need proof of this, wait until the first time you leave the house wearing pajama pants, a button-down shirt, and carrying orange juice and cereal in your coffee thermos. Hopefully you’ll discover you’ve forgotten your keys sooner than I did!


#5

No, it’s called sacrifice, laying down your life for the sake of the other. Certainly acts leading to the fulfilment of intercourse are licit (kissing, massage, foreplay), however, some are not licit on their own (foreplay w/no intercourse to the point of climax, masterbation), no matter what state you or your wife are in NOR of your intent. There is a proper order to the marital embrace that makes it procreative (which doesn’t mean you have to procreate for it to be licit, just that the act is properly ordered). As a wife and mother, it means more to me that my husband can actually WAIT if that’s what the situation calls for. Relationship building is more than sex. The need to wait for months won’t kill you or your marriage–esp if the danger is grave AND if the communication and commitment are there.


#6

Thanks for the great responses. The quotations from Church doctrine are very good and helpful as well. Just to clarify, I am looking for some debate rather than marital advice. Thanks again for all the quick responses.


#7

Hey rioinlet, you might get some great responses/ debate if you post your questions in the Moral Theology forum.


#8

Respectfully, I will commend such sacrifice but I will note it is not compulsory. While all the faithful are called to fasting and abstinence during Lent, some may fast more frequently or deeply than is required by Canon Law for the sake of prayer or as a sacrifice for the Kingdom, but it is not incumbent upon all to do so.

I disagree. Intent is central to any discussion of sin because sin requires disordered volition. If my wife and I desire to subvert the natural order by closing ourselves off from procreation, that is sinful by volition. If we desire to share in the unitive aspect of lovemaking while naturally closed off from the procreative aspect, that is not a subversion.

And if we are pregnant, that order has been followed.

I agree that there is much more to a good marriage than sex, and I don’t think you’re suggesting to write out sex altogether. I commend you and your husband for your patience, and it seems that it helped to build you two closer together. During her pregnancy, my wife found it quite supportive and meaningful that I still desired her, and this brought us closer together as well.

As I’ve said, this is a commendable sacrifice but it is not mandatory. With regard to timing of the marital act, Humanae Vitae (P16) allows a married couple the use of “a faculty provided them by nature” but forbids them to “obstruct the natural development of the generative process”. Infertility brought about naturally by pregnancy, nursing, menses, menopause or other natural condition does not preclude lovemaking. This even includes infertility that is artifically rendered as a result lawful therapeutic means provided the intent of the therapy is not to cause an impediment to procreation (P15).

Thanks kindly for your thoughts, and congratulations on five beautiful children.


#9

[quote="losh14, post:8, topic:185368"]
Respectfully, I will commend such sacrifice but I will note it is not compulsory. While all the faithful are called to fasting and abstinence during Lent, some may fast more frequently or deeply than is required by Canon Law for the sake of prayer or as a sacrifice for the Kingdom, but it is not incumbent upon all to do so.

I disagree. Intent is central to any discussion of sin because sin requires disordered volition. If my wife and I desire to subvert the natural order by closing ourselves off from procreation, that is sinful by volition. If we desire to share in the unitive aspect of lovemaking while naturally closed off from the procreative aspect, that is not a subversion.

And if we are pregnant, that order has been followed.

I agree that there is much more to a good marriage than sex, and I don't think you're suggesting to write out sex altogether. I commend you and your husband for your patience, and it seems that it helped to build you two closer together. During her pregnancy, my wife found it quite supportive and meaningful that I still desired her, and this brought us closer together as well.

As I've said, this is a commendable sacrifice but it is not mandatory. With regard to timing of the marital act, Humanae Vitae (P16) allows a married couple the use of "a faculty provided them by nature" but forbids them to "obstruct the natural development of the generative process". Infertility brought about naturally by pregnancy, nursing, menses, menopause or other natural condition does not preclude lovemaking. This even includes infertility that is artifically rendered as a result lawful therapeutic means provided the intent of the therapy is not to cause an impediment to procreation (P15).

Thanks kindly for your thoughts, and congratulations on five beautiful children.

[/quote]

It's 6 children, but thanks....

Any act that renders the act infertile is not licit. Masturbation is such an act. It is illicit. Infertility--natural that is, not caused by drugs or devices- is not an act caused by the person and is not an impediment to the marital embrace. Using infertility as an EXCUSE to participate in acts that are not procreative in nature (properly ordered) is NOT licit. Just saying "well, our INTENT is to be procreative" but not completing the act in the natural way is NOT LICIT (irregardless of natural fertility/infertility). Each act MUST be procreative--properly ordered: part a into part b with the climax w/in the woman. This does not preclude other activities, but this is how the act must end.

Of course abstinence is not mandantory at any time, however if sex, completed in the natural way is not prudent and can result in harm, that doesn't mean you have recourse to masturbation, mutual or otherwise.

So unless I've misread you or you've misread me, I hope that clears up what I meant. I was NOT saying pregnancy means you can't have sex (thankfully!). I was saying, you can't just have non procreative acts because the woman is pregnant.


#10

Thanks for the replies! So far, I think the “No Illcit Sexual Activity During Pregnancy (or otherwise)” crowd has the lead in this discussion.

If the act in question does not follow the natural order, pregnant or not, it is to be rejected… This seems to be the correct answer, yes?


#11

I don't think the issue is so cut and dry. I have asked a priest about it, and he was unsure and needed to speak with a bishop further...

Anyhow...

The best argument against it that I have heard is this:

Even if it is licit whilst preggers, it is clearly not licit when one is NOT pregnant. So, that said, here is where the danger lies...what if you really really like this act? What if during the fertile times, when you know you should not take part in this behavior, you are tempted to? What if that desire lessens the unitive sacramental nature of procreative sex(like you are thinking about the ilicit sex while engaging in the licit sex, bummed out that you cannot be doing the ilicit version). What if that temptation is so great that it leads you into sin by doing this when you shouldn't?

Anyhow, I would love to hear an apologetic or priest weigh in on the matter. I lean towards the 'it is ilicit crowd' too, but I understand that the usual argument against it gets a little hairy when you are dealing with a pregnant wife...


#12

Let's look at it this way, is it okay for a woman to have sex with men who are not her husband when she is pregnant? What about robbing a bank, is that okay for pregnant women? If one immoral act is not given the green light because of pregnancy, why would any other immoral act be okey dokey?


#13

This is really a question of moral relativism. Is a particular sin always a sin, objectively, or is it only a sin sometimes, subjectively?

It is sort of like asking, “If a person is lying dead on the ground, is it wrong to shoot them with a gun?” The person is dead, a person might reason, so is it a sin?

“If a friend of mine steals a stereo, is it okay for me to take it from him?” It is already stolen, a person might reason, so, is it really stealing to take something that a thief has already stolen?

If I have already received Holy Communion, is it okay to go up again and then put the Body of Christ in my pocket? I have already received the gift of God in Holy Communion, so, I might reason, is it really a sin to desecrate the Body by putting Him in my pocket?

I think your question is really very much like these. There is an objective truth involved. You are being tempted to degrade your relationship with your spouse into something that God never intended it to be. You do not “Love your wife as Christ loved the Church” when you submit her to these objectively sinful acts.

Gene


#14

Quote from losh14
Respectfully, I will commend such sacrifice but I will note it is not compulsory. While all the faithful are called to fasting and abstinence during Lent, some may fast more frequently or deeply than is required by Canon Law for the sake of prayer or as a sacrifice for the Kingdom, but it is not incumbent upon all to do so.

The teachings on faith and morals cannot be changed. They are different from traditions that can be changed. Like fasting and abstinence during Lent.

From the catechism of the Catholic Church

2366 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

*When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart.156
*


#15

Great answer!


#16

Losh14.

I think this quote from the catechism explains it better.

"every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:158


#17

ewtn.com/library/MARRIAGE/MORMAR.txt

From the above link:

Before touching on the circumstances surrounding sex intercourse,
the following principles and conclusions of Catholic morals can
be laid down with regard to the action and its motives.

In general, sex intercourse is good and holy when its manner is
natural, when it expresses the marriage love of man and woman,
and when it promotes their bodily and spiritual well-being. That
is the first guiding principle.

With respect to the nature of the act, this is spoilt only when
its character is vitiated by the sin of onanism, which is treated
of in a later chapter. Intercourse is lawful between couples who
are sterile, whether one or both, as is the case with a woman
whose ovaries or womb have been removed by surgical operation: a
child cannot be conceived, but the generative act can be
performed. It is lawful at those periods of the month or at those
times of life when conception is unlikely or even impossible:
thus the incidence of the so-called "safe period" or of old age
does not affect the essential character of the act. It is lawful
during pregnancy, so long as it is not hurtful to the woman or to
the child in her womb.

In a nutshell, sex during pregnancy is okay if it doesn't do harm to the woman or her child. As someone mentioned having sex at the wrong time can induce labor at which point you'd have to refrain from sex. Also remember (if I recall correctly) that doctors advise a woman who has recently delivered to refrain from sex for a short time after birth. And just for safety's sake let me mention that this article has an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat.


#18

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