Marital Lust

I have read much on the subject of marital lust and love vs. lust on this web site and understand the importance of not treating one’s spouse as a sex object. I still have a question on the subject. If having sex with one’s spouse for the purpose of relieving sexual tension is considered lust what is one to do when this tension is present? Avoid having sex? It would seem that this would just increase the tension and create a Catch 22 situation.

A lot of people don’t like hearing the truth, but men tend to compartmentalize sex from the rest of the love relationship. It’s our nature as men to focus almost exclusively on the physical during sexual intimacy. There’s a lot of people who want to call that “objectifying”, I disagree with that.

As catholics, we tend to overthink this whole sex thing as a reaction to an overpermissive society.

Sexual tension is part of the physiological nature of our hormone driven reproductive systems.

That being said, It is crucial to be as kind, generous and loving to your wife at all times. Intimacy also involves sharing a bowl of popcorn, or pleasant conversation over a candlelit glass of wine. I just don’t buy this whole idea that admiring a wife’s physical attributes and getting aroused by that should be considered “lusting”.


What did you do with that tension before you were married? Hopefully you found non-sinful outlets. That strategy doesn’t change just because you’re married.

No, that is not lust. St. Paul tells us that it is better to be married than burn with passion (1Cor7). The marital embrace is intended to be unitive, procreative, and pleasurable, so as long as you’re open to 1 and 2, 3 is :angel1:

Toyally agree!

TLM08 wrote: I just don’t buy this whole idea that admiring a wife’s physical attributes and getting aroused by that should be considered “lusting”.

Catechism 2341 “The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason.”

Catechism 2362 “The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable;…”

The key word there is chaste.

Consciously increasing our sexual arousal in absence of a mutual and chaste exchange with the spouse, is lustful.

TruthSkr wrote: “…If having sex with one’s spouse for the purpose of relieving sexual tension is considered lust…”

If sexual tension relief is the only purpose then this would be lustful.

Pope John Paul II gave an explaination that gratification of sexuality itself is lust. The following is from one of Pope John Paul II talks:

“Mutual Attraction Differs from Lust” - General Audience, September 17, 1980

… lust is a real part of the human heart. When compared with the original mutual attraction of masculinity and femininity, lust represents a reduction. In stating this, we have in mind an intentional reduction, almost a restriction or closing down of the horizon of mind and heart. It is one thing to be conscious that the value of sex is a part of all the rich storehouse of values with which the female appears to the man. It is another to “reduce” all the personal riches of femininity to that single value, that is, of sex, as a suitable object for the gratification of sexuality itself. The same reasoning can be valid concerning what masculinity is for the woman…

Then continuing with the next portion: “…what is one to do when this tension is present? Avoid having sex? It would seem that this would just increase the tension and create a Catch 22 situation.”

The tension continues, but may abate. There are times when the spouse will not be willing to engage, or it would be harmful or painful to do so. So we have to abstain. Once sexually stimulated, it can be difficult to get the mind off of it, but I have found that it is possible to redirect the sexual energy. There are a few things I have found useful: exercise, creative activities like music or writing, reduction of animal foods (like milk, dairy, and meat), fasting, avoiding visual or tactile sexual stimulation.

I don’t see anything wrong with having sex primarily to release tension, provided that this is not the usual, normal reason you do it. Sexuality has to be just a part of your marriage relationship. If you ever get to a point where you believe you have a right to sex without a responsibility to nurture the other areas of your marriage, then you have a Very Big Problem. Your wife may submit to keep the peace, but it isn’t mutual or loving and is quite destructive.

If you need her to share sex with you, please be very, very sure that you are sharing the rest of life with her and not getting out of kilter.

It does just increase the tension, in my opinion, and make fertile grounds for other (sinful) ways to relieve the tensions; not to mention leave the Catholic, who is desirous of purity, guilt stricken. Also, since the same Catholics are to overcome with shame at pleasuring themselves, they do not confess that. I think that this is logical end of people, who have never had sexual intimacy in their lives, try to tell lay people about sexuality. The physical side of intercourse is just as important as the emotional and psychological (at least to men)!

OMG :eek: Someone who may not even know about arousal is educating people about sex!!! Talk about armchair quaterbacks :smiley:

I assume you are referring to priests as men who have never had sexual intimacy in their lives. That’s a faulty generalization to be sure. I’ve spoken with many a priest who has had girlfriend before getting the call to priesthood…one was even engaged to be married. Priests struggle with chastity and purity the same as every other man. Sometimes they fall, too. There’s way more to this whole sex question than consumerism.

I did not say anything about consumerism. :confused:
My concerns are that the CC teachings as regards marital intimacy are not pragmatic or reasonable. Please see my other posts.

I would suggest that the pragmatic, reasonable approach suggested can only lead to viewing sex as a consumable item. Additionally, pragmatism tends to be a bit of a relative term. I find the Church’s teachings on human sexuality to be quite liberating. Where the Church stubs its toe is in its woeful catechesis at the parish level. If one truly understands the theology behind the teaching, then one soon sees there really is no other pragmatic choice than to follow the Church’s guidance on this element of life.

That passage from the pope that you quote and clearly disparage, is saying that reducing a woman’s femininity to a set of parts you can have sex with, is bad. What is there to disagree with here?

Desire is fantastic. Lust is when your wife (or husband, I suppose) is temporarily nothing but a sexual outlet. As long as you are sharing the rest of life together, there is no reason to be fussy about desiring your wife and doing something about it.

If you have desire, and for whatever reason she cannot participate with you, and you insist, then you are mentally reducing her to that outlet, and that’s where it becomes lust. Objectification is that problem.

Women are pretty sensitive to this. If you have any doubts as to how you are coming across, ask your wife. Does sex communicate love to her, or does she feel used? If she feels used, I bet she would have solutions already in mind.

Its not lust, Its a natural function, sex is an important aspect to marriage, many marriages have failed, because of not having a compatible sex partner, & besides withholding the marriage act within a marriage is grounds for divorce. God gave us our sexuality to enjoy not just to bear children, & sex does relieve tension & is good for a whole lot of reasons, thats why the sex desire is so strong

To women also…or at least some of us!..:wink:

Here is the way I see it.

  1. God created man and women with a biological, physiological, emotional, and physical need for each other.
  2. God made sexuality and intercourse good within the bonds of marriage for the sake of the man and woman, children, and society.
  3. Sexual intimacy fulfills 2 functions.
    A) to strengthen the marital bond
    B) to protect the man and woman from seeking to fulfill these God-given desires in a way that sinful and destructive.
  4. To abort a baby, AFTER CONCEPTION is sinful.
  5. To look at a person of the opposite seek lustfuly is Sinful but natural
  6. To look at a person of the same sex lustfully is Sinful and Unnatural.

If a person with ssa is looking lustfully at a person, it is natural for him or her not unatural, being they cant help the same sex attraction thing they have

Just another reason I am not Catholic! :thumbsup:
So, even though God created Adam and Eve (not Adam & Steve)
even though, procreation can never occur
even though, they harm themselves physically by homosexual activity…u say it is natural for them???
What do you mean by natural? After all God designed our natures. Did He make a mistake?

Boy U blew that one way out of proportion didnt ya. Read again what I wrote

You said,
“If a person with ssa is looking lustfully at a person, it is natural for him or her not unatural, being they cant help the same sex attraction thing they have”

I said lustful, physical attraction to the same sex is UNNATURAL. That is, it is not our nature. More specifically, God did not create us this way. To drive this point home, I asked you if a man looks with a lustful sexual attraction at a dog, would that be natural for him. These so-called homosexuals need to see a psychiatrist; if they can find one that understands the Biblical perspective. It is not proper to say that it is natural for them; yet God did not create us with that nature.

Paul said, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection . . . " (II Timothy 3:1-3). Homosexuality is an unnatural affection, practiced by persons “that defile themselves with mankind” (I Timothy 1:10), translated in the New American Standard Version “homosexuals,” and in the New International Version, “perverts.”

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