Painful Marital Act

Hello everyone. My husband and I were just married last weekend and we have tried to consummate our marriage but we keep running into things that prevent us from fully consummating our marriage.
I most recently “sucked it up” and dealt with the pain of intercourse but my husband was so upset/disturbed that I was in pain he stopped before it was complete. Neither one of us has orgasmed.
What are the church’s guidelines for martial sex and consummation? I am worried that since we have been unsuccessful we might be outside church teaching. Do we just need to drink more wine?

Also, if a couple does foreplay on Monday, is it moral to postpone sex for a few days if things keep happening to prevent the marital act?

Lube is your friend, and I’m not trying to be funny but foreplay doesn’t really carry over to the next day. :wink:

You need to talk to your doctor about this. Don’t be embarrassed, that’s what doctors are for. This kind of problem does not automatically null your marriage. Talk to your priest for reassurance and guidance–again that’s what he’s there for–to help you resolve such issues.

Hmmmm…I certainly agree to seek medical advice, if lube doesn’t help.

But talk it over with a priest? What would he know? Or, to put it another way, it’s not exactly discreet to raise the subject with a priest, particularly if he’s a young man.

:slight_smile: Firstly, I know it’s easier said than done, but try to stop worrying. You’ve just made what is one of the biggest commitments in life and we live in a world where the media tries to convince us all that sex (a) is something we should all allow to rule our lives and (b) is only done ‘properly’ when performed by a couple with perfect bodies who end up snoozing the rest of the night away in an amazingly uncrumpled bed, with not a hair on their heads out of place and entwined in a snoozy embrace that would give any normal mortal being cramp after about 15 minutes!

I’m no theologian, but if you genuinely attempted intercourse and just couldn’t manage it through nerves and lack of experience, I can’t see how the fact that you enjoyed some foreplay beforehand is going to put you in a state of mortal sin if it was done specifically as a pre-cursor to penetration and with the intent of leading to full intercourse.

I know when I fist married, I found it pretty difficult to relax because for so long sex was sinful and then, literally, within 24 hours, it was fundamental to my married life: definitely a case of the spirit being willing, but the brain and flesh lagging a bit behind :blush:

One of the brilliant things about marriage (especially a marriage where you didn’t ‘try before you buy’ ) is that you’ve already built up a wonderful trust and respect for one another. It’s that genuine love and commitment that will eventually lead to a wonderful love life, because you’re working at it from within the sanctity and security of marriage.

It’s worth checking with a doctor in case your hymen is too tough to tear, or you could have a condition called vaginisimus, which is basically where the muscles all contract and is usually caused by stressing about the experience. Don’t be afraid or ashamed of sex though - you’r e a married woman now and you’ve every right to indulge and enjoy :thumbsup:

About the theological questions she raised? :shrug:

As others have suggested, a feminine lubrication might be all you need–besides relaxing and enjoying the experience. Instead of getting a water based lubricant, you may want to try a silicon based one because it won’t dry out your sensitive skin, which may only add to the problem.

What you’re experiencing is normal. My husband and I were married in his homestate and we weren’t able to fully consummate our union for several days until we got home to our own bed and had some time to get to know each other physically and relax. There’s no need to “suck it up” or anything like that. Take your time and get to know one another. Most likely it will come naturally. If, after some time, you are still experiencing pain, you should ask your OBGYN if there’s something going on anatomically. And don’t worry about sinning if foreplay doesn’t lead to a finished act every time. The definition of foreplay is attempting to stimulate one another for the purpose of completing the marital act. If it doesn’t work out, well, that’s not a sin. It’s only a sin if you intentionally stimulate one another with no intention of actually completing the act. In reality, there are any number of things that can interrupt you at any point in your marriage. (ie. toddlers)

Theological implications?

  1. Your marriage is valid. Consummation notwithstanding.
  2. As for anything else, you probably shouldn’t be too concerned at this point. However, if you really want to know, I suggest you go here:

The idea of expecting consummation for everyone right after the wedding seems a little unrealistic. Better to give yourselves a stretch of time to be totally comfortable. Because if you have been chaste for a long time and then suddenly what you restrained yourself from is okay, it doesn’t mean you can make the switch that quick. Any inner tensions can manifest themselves as an obstacle for you because the tension can sit right where you don’t want it to. And what can you do? Say, “Self, stop being tense”? So maybe focus on your comfort and enjoyable de-stressing times together, without pressure to perform in a certain time frame, and things will just happen naturally in their own time, as you find your comfort with each other physically.

As long as you are not sinning willfully, you are not outside Church teaching.

And as a medical professional, let me assure you that this sort of “starting trouble” is pretty much par for the course for many couples. It’s like riding a bicycle; the first few times are painful, but then it becomes almost second nature. Don’t be discouraged, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Moreover, remember that anxiety can make things worse; among other things, it heightens pain sensitivity. Relax! :slight_smile:

We didn’t get ours done the first week either. A combination of being too tired and too much over-thinking the simple.

Try KY Gel. It’s a good starter.



Coconut oil is also very good, and give yourself lots of time. This isn’t uncommon, and more than likely you’ll figure it out. If not, there is medical help available.

It’s hard to link on my phone but the blogger Sheila Wray Gregoire has a whole series of posts on this exact issue. She is Christian (not Catholic), but her posts are delicate and not contrary to the Faith.

Good luck and congratulations on your marriage!

Well, I wouldn’t use coconut oil without consulting a doctor about it because it’s not intended for that purpose and may have side effects because of this. :slight_smile:

Like attracting ants.

It’s pretty neutral (you can eat it and use it as a lotion) but yes, I suppose you could consult a doctor about it, too. Never hurts to be extra careful.

(It really isn’t that weird. Olive oil is another common one.)

That’s a new one on me. It might depend on the ants, of course.

(We’ve had ants in our kitchen, but I’ve had dedicated containers of coconut oil in the bedrooms for years - it’s also very good for diaper rash - and never had an ant in there.)

I’m surprised this is a weird suggestion to some. I can’t use specifically manufactured personal lubricants because they sting (the glycerin, I think). When I took childbirth classes they recommended olive oil or coconut oil for perineal massage. These classes were given by licensed trained nurses. I guess you could have a strange reaction but it’s very neutral stuff.

Yes! There are a lot of stories here:

You might want to go to the doctor, get suggestions, then check with a priest as to which are morally acceptable if you have any concerns.

That’s a bit different from using such oils vaginally, though. I’ve read there can be downsides to using it, especially since it isn’t prepared with vaginal use in mind.

Better to use a silicon based lubricant made for the purpose.

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