Impure thoughts during the marital act?

For the last 40 years our mainstream culture has been implanting clearly provocative ideas, images and messages in our brains regarding the marital act. Undoubtedly this pollution can and often does creep into the brain during intimacy. Our brains can “run wild” with images and memories of past experiences that are less than appropriate. What would constitute the idea of having “impure thoughts” during the marital act?

From time to time, I would suspect that all of us have wondered: “Should I have been thinking about THAT” ??? :eek:

I once heard a well respected Catholic commentator on a radio show advise that couples should pray beforehand. To me and maybe even to the best of Catholics this might seem like very strange advice. For now, I think my prayer time will remain during the morning and before meals!

Human sexuality and spirituality are undeniably linked as designed by God himself. Prayer should have the number one place in ALL of our lives, but somehow the two can seem like opposite ends of the spectrum of the human experience! Thoughts anyone? :slight_smile:

The marital act is not all that different than going to mass. Okay, let me explain. In mass, you have a choice to focus on the incredible event that is about to take place or not. How many of us have allowed our minds to drift when we should be placing all of our attention on this blessed encounter with Our Lord that culminates in the most intimate reception of His very body, soul, blood, and divinity.

So in that context, is not distraction of thought during the marital act a similar issue? We should have our mind directed towards this most beautiful union with our spouse, but the mind often wanders.

In both cases…a lot has to do with one’s disposition entering into the act.

I’ll keep embarrasing myself with the hope that someone might find my sins helpful as a cautonary tale:

To me, if my mind is not at the present time, in the present place, and with only the two people actually involved present, I’m having impure thoughts. I cannot say that fantasies are evil (I haven’t got to that chapter of the Catechism), but at least you want to make sure that both parties are aware of and participate in them.

Sex is not a sacrament, though.

This is what St. Ignatius says about thought in his Spiritual Exercises:


There are two ways of meriting in the bad thought which comes from without, namely:
First Way. A thought of committing a mortal sin, which thought I resist immediately and it remains conquered.
Second Way. The second way of meriting is: When that same bad thought comes to me and I resist it, and it returns to me again and again, and I always resist, until it is conquered.
This second way is more meritorious than the first.
A venial sin is committed when the same thought comes of sinning mortally and one gives ear to it, making some little delay, or receiving some sensual pleasure, or when there is some negligence in rejecting such thought.
There are two ways of sinning mortally:
First Way. The first is, when one gives consent to the bad thought, to act afterwards as he has consented, or to put it in act if he could.
Second Way. The second way of sinning mortally is when that sin is put in act.
This is a greater sin for three reasons: first, because of the greater time;
second, because of the greater intensity; third, because of the greater harm to the two persons.

No, but it is a covenant. Like the covenant that God makes to His people in the Old Testament and the New Covenant that He fulfils in Christ, we know that we are to give ourselves fully to God as He is fully present to us. So, I can definitely see the link between the intimacy that a married couple has with each other and the intimacy that God has with us in the Eucharist. Sex, in and of itself, may not be a sacrament but the covental love between the spouses is very sacred and alluded to throughout Scripture when Christ refers to Himself as the groom and His Church as the Bride…teachccd :slight_smile:


Holy Matrimony is a sacrament. The couple begins this sacrament with their vows and they live in it all their lives together. Their intimacy is part of this sacrament. Sex is definitely part of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The couple participates with God in the creation of a being with an immortal soul, the husband, the wife and God, in the sacrament.

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