Is premarital pron just as bad as premarital sex?

Inspired by a topic in Family Life, where many are contending that any man who has masturbated and/or used porn, would be a judgmental hypocrite if he were to have a problem with marrying a woman who wasn’t a virgin. (And, I suppose, vice versa.)

However, it does seem the posters who frequent FL tend to lean towards a more “pastoral” or “liberal” understanding of Church teaching, especially recently – there seemed to be more “conservative” posters there once upon a time.

So, figured I’d bring it up here, for perusal by a different crowd. On one hand, surely, if Jesus said a man who looks at a woman lustfully is guilty of adultery, then surely, such sins are equivalent? But I’m not completely convinced. Just as I’m not convinced that raunchy romance novels are just as bad as porn, though I concede they could lead some to sexual sin.

They are both* mortal sins.*

Looking at pornography with lust and premarital sex are both grave matters. Some grave matters carry more weight than others. So you are right, they are not necessarily equal. And not necessarily mortal either; culpability and knowledge, unless specified in a hypothetical example, preclude anyone from judging the sin as mortal. At any rate, they would certainly need to be confessed as soon as possible; as it is better to be safe than sorry.

They are both grave matter.

How either could impact the marriage depends on a lot of factors. There are some situations where I could see pornography use being much more devastating. But neither is good or going to help.

For a second I thought the title said “Premarital Prom” I’m not sure I’d seen that topic.

Porn use is grave matter. It becomes a mortal sin if there was knowledge of it being grave matter and if it is done with complete consent.

The same is true for masturbation.

It could possibly be that a person was not catechized properly and never had the knowledge that these acts were grave acts.

Well, the point I wanted to discuss, is more the idea that, porn and masturbation is just as bad as actual sex acts with another person. That essentially, one who has indulged in such, isn’t really a virgin, and is being a hypocrite if he (or she) wishes to marry a virginal spouse.

I’ve also heard that only women can become “consecrated virgins” because even chaste men have nocturnal emissions, and that’s enough to make them “non-virgins”.

No, you heard incorrectly.

Firstly boys do not lose there virginity following nocturnal emissions.

Secondly, the term “virgin” in the Church normally tends to refer to women being a form of the Latin “virgo” meaning woman.

So Consecrated Virgin, refers to a woman. Some female saints are also referred to as virgin, usually these women had taken a vow of chastity before their deaths.

Clearly some sins are more serious than others. A sexual sin with another person is clearly more serious than one committed by yourself: for one thing, you are leading someone else into sin.

I’ve heard this before, and I guess as a man I can’t understand this. If my now wife had an emotional affair (but no physical contact at all) with another man while we were dating, I would be absolutely devastated (actually this isn’t a hypothetical - it happened, and we moved on, but I was absolutely crushed for the better part of a year). If she had spent hundreds of hours viewing male porn I would fear for her soul, encourage her to repent, but I wouldn’t feel even an ounce of jealousy. While gravely immoral, the emotional connection with a real person hurts deeply, but I know (unfortunately from personal experience) that porn use is 100% empty- not an ounce of emotion involved…not an ounce of meaning outside of momentary, empty, mindless pleasure. To me, not speaking in terms of morality or objective grave matter, but in terms of impact to a relationship, even a non-physical emotional affair with a REAL person is a THOUSAND times more harmful than the completely impersonal act of viewing pornography.

I may be ignorant, because I have recently returned to the Church after a 35 year R&D sabbatical, but I have never heard of a Catholic who insisted on virginity as a precondition to marriage.

I think that Catholics haven’t thought this way in at least 100 years. I could be wrong, but insisting on spousal virginity is a pretty shallow way to choose a spouse. It would be pretty far down the list for me.

I think it depends on what you’re comparing. I’m sorry you had to go through that experience.

The potential big problem I see is a distortion in how one views others as a result of longtime habitual porn use. If you compare that to, say, a person who made a stupid decision once and had a one night stand, I’d argue that likely the second is bringing less baggage than the first.

I wasn’t speaking of affairs but “history” that one brings to a relationship *prior *to marriage. I think affairs are incredibly damaging any way you slice it.

Women also have involuntary nocturnal emissions.

I think I agree. It would make sense if you are more directly involved with other people, the degree of the sin would increase. I don’t know what or if church teaching says anything about it. Interesting question

First of all, thanks Mary Gail 36 for clarifying why men can’t be consecrated virgins. The nocturnal emission thing really didn’t make sense. Especially since women who are victims of rape, are still allowed to become consecrated virgins. I assume, even if they experienced sexual pleasure from it (unfortunately, that does happen sometimes.)

So far, that’s the only significant difference I’ve seen regarding degree of sinfulness. The “solitary sin” is certainly that.

But I’d think that in the case of porn, one can argue that by buying it, you’re giving money to the porn makers who are going to use it to make even more porn, that obviously requires sexual immorality to produce.

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