No Sex After Marriage

I recently converted to Catholicism and married my husband last year. We had dated for 9 years prior to marriage. He grew up in a Catholic family but only re-joined the church and its beliefs in the past couple of years. Now that we are married he has stated that we can no longer have sex. He says that as a married couple our roles have changed and that sex is only for procreation now. He is unsure about whether he wants to have children, so we have not had sex for over 7-8 months. In fact, he says that according to Catholicism you can ONLY have sex if it is for procreation. I have tried to debate this and have asked if this means that older Catholic couples cannot have sex. We are seeing a therapist, but she doesn’t have background in Catholicism.

Can someone please advise me?

Mindy, Welcome to CAF. It is to be procreative AND unitive. Also he can not postpone sex indefinetly because of children. That is not what is for. If there is a serious reason to avoid children. NFP should be practiced. Older couples may participate in the marital embrace. Also is your marriage convalidated? There are a lot of factors. I myself am in a mixed marriage. If you have any questions, you can send me a message

I recommend reviweing this section of the Catechism with your husband: The Goods and Requirements of Conjugal Love (CCC 1643-1654)

Paragraph 1654 is particularly revealing:“Spouses to whom God has not granted children can nevertheless have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms. Their marriage can radiate a fruitfulness of charity, of hospitality, and of sacrifice.”

I would also suggest looking at John Paul II’s “Love and Responsibility” as well as his “Theology of the Body”. One simply cannot read these books and walk away thinking that the Church teaches that sex is for procreation only.

As the above posts states, this is not, as you seem to have rightly picked up on, Catholic teaching, especially if the desire to be chaste is significantly interfering with the health and well-being of your marriage, one way or another. It is true that some Catholic married couples have pledged chastity despite their vows - traditionally, it’s believed that Mary and Joseph did this, so it is a form of pious imitation, in many ways - but it is certainly not something that all, if not most, couples are called to. The most important thing here, however, is that in order for a married couple to make such a sacrifice, while it is admirable, it certainly has to be mutual. That clearly is not the case within your marriage.

I think there are, that being said, some more serious issues to address here with your spouse regarding communication. It would be helpful for your husband to, perhaps in marriage counseling (with a priest, if necessary, or even a lay Catholic minister, if either of those scenarios make him more comfortable than a secular counselor), express more fully where he’s coming from. It could be that he worries that once he has sex, he will lose his focus on God or something similar - he could, therefore, be harboring some sexual dysfunction that makes him feel like he cannot be a sexual person in a manner that maintains a sense of balance and health for him. You, also, need to make it clear where you stand on the issue, so that perhaps you both can reach a compromise.

You are in my prayers.

In Christ,


Whoa. So NOT Catholic teaching. Just to clarify, chastity in marriage is the desire of the heart not to use your spouse (contracepting, fantasizing about others, etc) while celibacy in marriage for the sake of sanctification is very rare.

Is it possible your husband is using this as an excuse? It seems odd that he would be convinced of the teaching that one must not hinder procreation in the sexual act to the point of choosing celibacy, yet not realize that in order for marriage to be valid, one must desire children.

I know you mentioned seeing a counselor, but I would also find a good priest you both could meet with to sort all of this out.

You are in my prayers,

Hello, Mindy. It sounds as if your husband has been greatly misguided. I believe Carjack 1 is correct. There are two aspects to the marriage embrace and one is to unite the couple. The other is for procreation. OF COURSE married couples are free to have sex whenever they like and at any age for this reason. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and the tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator’s generosity and fecundity: ‘Therefore, a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.’ All human generations proceed from this union.”

That is paragraph 2335. More to your situation, paragragh 2363 says, “The spouses’ union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple’s spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and future of the family.”

Possibly he is afraid of having children. In this case, Carjack 1 is correct again. NFP (Natural Family Planning) can be used for serious reasons or needs of spacing children. It’s not meant to postpone children indefinately.

You also stated that he said your roles have changed now that you are married. Did he believe that is was ok to have sex before marriage and not after? That’s quite backwards. Good luck to you and I’ll pray for you.**

Good clarification. And yes, I definitely think it needs to be re-emphasized that very, very few couples are called to, much less practice, such extreme forms of self-denial (or, I guess, “spousal-denial”?)


Good reading suggestions, Joe 5859. Look these over with your husband in the spirit of learning together.

Sex is meant to be both procreative and unitive. If you have a valid reason to avoid having children, Natural Family Planning is the way to go.

Depending on how healthy his sense of humor is, tell him that he is a Manichean heretic. Then tell him to look it up.

That kind of philosophy suggests that sex is a necessary evil and only to be tolerated because it is needed for the species to survive. This is utterly NOT compatible with catholicism.

Others have suggested some good reading.

You need a priest with a counseling background. Something just isn’t right here. There may be deeper isues that he’s covering up with a catholic veneer of rationalizing.

He is dead wrong. He owes you the “marriage debt”. He has no right to deny you sex.

As others have said, sex is meant to be both pro-creative and unitive.

God Bless

To add, if he married you with the intention never to have children or the intention not to have relations with you, that could well invalidate your marriage, i.e. you could get a decree of nullity.

God Bless

Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI

Observing the Natural Law

  1. The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent Council recalled, "noble and worthy.’’ (11) It does not, moreover, cease to be legitimate even when, for reasons independent of their will, it is foreseen to be infertile. For its natural adaptation to the expression and strengthening of the union of husband and wife is not thereby suppressed. The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse. God has wisely ordered laws of nature and the incidence of fertility in such a way that successive births are already naturally spaced through the inherent operation of these laws. The Church, nevertheless, in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life. (12)

Union and Procreation

  1. This particular doctrine, often expounded by the magisterium of the Church, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.

The reason is that the fundamental nature of the marriage act, while uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy, also renders them capable of generating new life—and this as a result of laws written into the actual nature of man and of woman. And if each of these essential qualities, the unitive and the procreative, is preserved, the use of marriage fully retains its sense of true mutual love and its ordination to the supreme responsibility of parenthood to which man is called. We believe that our contemporaries are particularly capable of seeing that this teaching is in harmony with human reason.

Casti Connubii, Pope Pius XI

  1. By this same love it is necessary that all the other rights and duties of the marriage state be regulated as the words of the Apostle: “Let the husband render the debt to the wife, and the wife also in like manner to the husband,”[28] express not only a law of justice but of charity.

    For in matrimony as well as in the use of the matrimonial rights there are also secondary ends, such as mutual aid, the cultivating of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence which husband and wife are not forbidden to consider so long as they are subordinated to the primary end and so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved.

[1 Corinthians]
{7:3} A husband should fulfill his obligation to his wife, and a wife should also act similarly toward her husband.
{7:4} It is not the wife, but the husband, who has power over her body. But, similarly also, it is not the husband, but the wife, who has power over his body.
{7:5} So, do not fail in your obligations to one another, except perhaps by consent, for a limited time, so that you may empty yourselves for prayer. And then, return together again, lest Satan tempt you by means of your abstinence.

From your post, I get a sense that he is suffering from some sort of religious addiction or compulsion. This can happen when reading the works of some of the fathers of the church.

Don’t quote me on this, but one of the fathers of the middle ages,perhaps it was Augustine who said something like “What a pity it is that one has to experience pleasure while impregnanting his wife”

I would get him to a few different priests to explain your situation and get a consensus opinion. He needs help!

Please, go see a CATHOLIC counselor.

Your Priest would be the first place to seek advice.

Another is

I would like to thank all of you for your replies to my posting. I have purchased “The Theology of the Body” and 'Love and Responsibility" by Pope John Paul II and have printed out other readings that you have suggested. I plan on sharing these readings with my husband this summer, as well as attending an upcoming Catholic marriage encounter weekend. Again, thank you for your help and support and God Blessl

I am sure you have already researched NFP (and undestand the various opinions expressed on this forum). I do not know the underlying reasons causing your husband to not currently want to have children, but it is possible that they are valid reasons for postponing children - and nfp could be considered a church acceptable method.

NFP works for me and its been 10 yrs. It also taught me patience and discipline.

I agree wholeheartedly!:thumbsup:

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