Intimacy question


Is it a sin against the marital union if the man stimulates the woman to climax and she does not return the favor? Happened during a moment of weakness in phase II. The first time was mutual stimulation to climax which of course I took straight to the confessional, but the 2nd time I did not reciprocate - explained to DH from the ‘get go.’

Not looking for absolution by any means, just clarification. Having a feeling of ‘when in doubt, go to confession.’ I realize the first time was a mortal sin b/c it violated the procreative act of the marital union, so would it be a venial sin the 2nd time in violation of the unitive act of marital union?

Thanks in advance for your input.


Well, the man’s orgasm has to be inside his wife.


If it happened outside of intercourse, like as a substitute for it (which is the impression I got), then yes, it is a sin.

I think it falls under masturbation (sexual gratification without the intent of penetration and completion).


Objectively speaking, it’s a mortal sin against the marital union if a man stimulates a woman (or woman stimulates a man) outside of the marital act, regardless of whether she/he climaxes.

However, a husband can stimulate a woman as part of foreplay before the marital act but not up to climax. If the woman has not achieved orgasm within the marital act, the man can stimulate her to climax AFTER his climax within the marital act.

So objectively speaking, what you described would be a mortal sin, so it’s grave matter. However, from what you described, you and your husband didn’t know or weren’t sure that it was a mortal sin, so you did this without full knowledge, making it a venial sin. The three conditions for a mortal sin are 1) grave matter, 2) full knowledge and 3) full consent. You didn’t have full knowledge.

If the two of you know a good priest who is knowledgable of moral theology (and just doesn’t tell you that you can do whatever feels good because God understands), it would be good for you all to meet to get this ironed out so you know what actually constitutes mortal/venial sin within the context of the marital relationship. This is just so you two can better communicate and make decisions during times of temptation. This article might be helpful to you and your husband as well. The section most directly related to your question would be covered under “Other Violations to Chastity.”


Thank you, I think that answers my question.


Please provide your source that within the course of the marital act the woman may not be brought to climax manually before her husband. The link you provided was an interpretation, not a primary source, and does not state that the wife may not climax before intercourse.

Other Violations to Chastity
Acts done with the intention of preventing a complete genital act within intercourse are also gravely wrong, even among married couples. Such examples include mutual masturbation, and similar acts in which orgasm is sought apart from natural intercourse. Pope Paul VI was clear on this truth in “On Human Life.”23
The Church teaches that natural intercourse open to procreation is the only legitimate form of complete sexual expression, even between spouses. However, this does not imply that mutual genital stimulation other than intercourse is forbidden for spouses as part of the preliminaries to marital intercourse. "

To the OP. Questions re the gravity of a sin are best left to your confessor.


Right but if it happens as a precourser to intercourse that is ok. Thus if a husband stimulated his wife to climax just before they had intercourse that would not be a mortal sin. It’s preferable for them to climax together during intercourse but the main rule is that the man much climax during the martial embrace inside his wife.

One thing I will say for the OP first note is that it sounds intentional. However if true “accidents” happen during foreplay I don’t believe that is a mortal sin because it won’t qualify as intentional. Of course you can’t have " accidents" all the time :slight_smile:

At least that is my understanding.



I have been very interested in this question for quite some time. My interest was first peeked here in a discussion about masturbation. I consulted the Church Fathers, and searched (in vain) for teachings of the Magesterium concerning issues concerning non-coital gential expressions between spouses. Of course, the Church has never really been explicit on this matter. The Catechism describes only “the marital act” or coitus as being impacted by the contraception issue.

However, this does not make non-coital gential expression (oral sex, manual stimulation, etc) licit outside of the marital embrace. It simply makes the point that issues of mortal sin on this point are a moot point: the Church has nowhere defined or stated definitively that these acts (done within marriage) are grave or mortal sins.

Using the powers of reason, one can extrapolate that such acts are violations of marital chastity, particularly since they denigrate the sacredness of the marital embrace. This is if orgasm is the intended result. However, Nowhere does the Church say that a husband and wife cannot enjoy each other’s bodies without the intention of orgasm. It is with prudential judgement that a couple will decide to abstain completely from sexual contact (and live as brother and sister) or engage in some kind of sexual contact. The couple must know that any kind of sexual contact can lead to orgasm. If the couple chooses to engage in sexual contact during fertile periods, (Phase II) it could become a habit which can lead to a laxity in moral reasoning and the relaxation of prohibition on no-coital orgasm.

This is not a clear-cut situation.


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