Married and going without intercourse

My wife and I are practicing Catholics. We have 4 children and are in our mid 30s. She was baptised in 2008 so is still relatively new to the faith. After our 4th child who is now 2 we both feel that we are at our limits both financially and energy wise. Unfortunately my wife will not have intercourse unless we use contraception and I am completely against that. She is from a communist country and I feel this has been engrained in the culture there along with abortion. I can see her point of view and have tried to discuss natural family planning but she’s having none of it. We tried it before and I broke the rules so I guess this situation is my fault and I shouldn’t be complaining.

So its been over 2 years since we last had intercourse and I find that rather difficult. I often ask her for oral sex which I know myself is wrong as I am only using her as an object plus it is against Catholic Church teaching (when it doesn’t end in the marital act). I have spoken to several priests and some say contraception is ok to use given we have 4 kids but I know this is wrong. Others say to offer it up which I find difficult particularly when I keep resorting to oral sex. Any advice from anyone in a similar situation perhaps?

Tell your wife to refuse oral sex. This way, if your judgement fails, you have a backup. It’ll be difficult, but you have to do it if NFP/more kids isn’t an option. I’ll pray for you.


What if you ask you wife to use both natural familyplanning and barrier contracept. and agree with her not to have oral sex any more. Maybe later you can convince her to only use the nfp.

Contraception is a sin. Full stop. No “barrier” methods are magically unsinful.

I would suggest that this couple do some research into the various methods of Fertility Awareness, many women do not know how the female body works or have been only exposed to “The Rhythm Method/Standard Days Method” which is notoriously ineffective at spacing pregnancies.

Just a few methods:


The Standard Days Method is at least easy to use. The husband could do most of the work calculating the days. He just needs a little information from his wife on her cycle.

Standard days method is based on averages. It Lacks the precision of the scientific observation methods. I would not recommend standard days method to anyone.


I’m confused. Why is asking your wife for oral sex okay for you but using a condom and a diaphragm for intercourse is not?


You ask for oral sex but you object to contraception? How is that? Think about how that makes your wife feel. You are OK getting it through oral sex, but don’t care if she has to put herself through another pregnancy, not to mention raising the child once it gets here?

I believe your wife can take care of the contraception and you won’t be sinning if you have sex with her as long as you let her know you object to the contraceptive use. Check with a priest though. You will hear all kinds of things here.


How about you ask your wife to start temping and doing observations (you’ll need to remind her) and you do charting. Do that for 3-4 months and then review the charts with your wife.

I think you’ll probably find that there were a lot of days available to you that you didn’t use. If that doesn’t work, keep temping and charting until you have enough data that your wife feels comfortable resuming conjugal relations with NFP.

Also, encourage your wife to look at the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility,” which is a secular book explaining FAM.

I think you should specifically do research on conservative NFP, which might be what you need in your situation. Phase 3 only NFP can be very effective. I’m 42 with 3 living children and we do Phase 3 + one day of Phase 1–if my cycles shorten more, we’ll be cutting days off of that, too. It currently amounts to about 10 days a cycle of availability, even being very conservative. I have had a couple of “NFP learning experience” pregnancies, but have only been pregnant 4 times in almost 20 years.

Aside from that, I would encourage two things:

–Show more self-control, be more morally consistent, and think about how you’re scandalizing your wife.
–If she’s unwilling to cooperate and insists on using contraception but is aware of your preference to not use contraception, it is licit for your to have marital relations with her, as long as you personally are not involved in the contraception. There have been instructions to confessors to that effect. I’m a bit surprised that you haven’t run into a priest who is better informed on this.

Best wishes!


Here’s what happened with my two “NFP learning experience” pregnancies:

–Intercourse on Day 7 led to conception on Day 14. (Some NFP advice will say the limit is 6 days. Not so, apparently.)
–I had a phantom temperature rise that was actually illness, and the actual temperature rise came later.

That said, those two were my only two surprise pregnancies over almost 20 years and I have had no surprise pregnancies in over 6 years.


I practiced NFP and planned all 3 of my sons.
A good friend of mine spaced hers exactly 2 years apart- all but 2 of her kids have October birthdays. She also alternated their sexes: boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl, boy. Not even kidding.

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If that is what your conscience is telling you with certainty then you must follow it for it is, for you, the voice of God and must be followed (even if you are objectively mistaken).

If that is not the case then you may follow your Confessor’s advice without sin.

I don’t understand why you continue to “litigate” the issue publicly here?
We are anonymous amateurs and you will only get contradictory advice which will be of no help whatsoever from an objective point of view.

Are you simply emotionally venting?
If so I would advise you that from my experience that is also not constructive on an anonymous forum as it only reinforces prejudices. The correct place to vent is with your Confessor…or make a decision between the two adult choices suggested above.
Good luck.

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As my husband points out, conscience is most reliable when it tells us what not to do.

Because he lacks certainty.



You may as well be talking on your own authority if you cannot cite his works.
Either way a certain conscience is a certain conscience regardless whether it commands us to do or not to do. The issue is not objective reliability but practical certainty.

Try couple to couple league using Natural Family Planning or abstain.

Natural Family Planning

Given the day that’s in it let all the glory go to God. I’ll respond tomorrow. God bless you all and thank you for your comments. I really appreciate them.

His wife isn’t the one with the issue. She is in her mid thirties and has 4 kids. She is done having kids, and has made it clear to her husband. Quite reasonable. He is the one who can’t accept that, for whatever reason. Marriage counselling is a good suggestion, but let’s not say his wife is the one whose issue roots need to be “gotten to”. Sounds like they are already fully exposed.

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Are you saying Andrea Yates was right to follow her belief she needed to drown her five children to save their souls?

You see what I mean about conscience being more reliable when it tells us NOT to do things?

There has got to be some fine print in the conscience rule with regard to, “if you are in your right mind” as well as other restrictions.


Not talking about murdering 5 children, here. Talking about preventing more children. Not the same, at all. Perfectly reasonable to use conscience to decide how to limit family size.

If one decides to use their conscience to guide them to do harm to others, it would be a good time to get input from others.

Not to mention in the the case you brought up, severe mental illness was at hand. Conscience wasn’t a piece of that mother murdering her kids.

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I was just pointing out to Black Friar the inadequacy of using pure conscience–which he seemed to be recommending.

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