Pre-marriage intimacy



I am new so please be gentle with me.

I am also not catholic so please be doubly gentle with me!

I am a member of the Church of England and I have been dating a catholic guy for just over two years.

To make matters more interesting he’s based in Canada am vased in the UK. However, we do manage to see each other every 6 weeks and I am now looking to move to Canada.

The title of my post could be misleading as my concerns cover more than pre-marriage intimacy, but I am looking for some guidance.

We are both in our mid twenties and whilst my boyfriend is a virgin I am not, having had a long term relationship where I enjoyed sex. This is the only sexual relationship I have had.

My boyfriend and I have moved so slowly, taking our time to know each other thoroughly before we moved our relationship to a sexually intimate one. He talked to his priest and took guidance and I was quite surprised by his response (he did not condone but understood). After much discussions we explored each other without penetration.

For me sexual intimacy is part of a relationship. It’s bound around trust and faith and honesty. Our intimacy has not been lust driven, but love driven by a desire to share ourselves and show each other how serious we are.

We are not promiscuous. We are good people. We are in love.

Marriage has not come easy. It is something we are having to fight for because of the Ocean that separates us. I have absolute faith that we will be married and together, but I need something from him and that need I have scares me.

He takes his vow not to engage in sex before marriage very seriously. I have somehow come to equate him breaking that vow as a demonstration of his commitment to me – this is NOT something he would do if he did not have faith in our relationship and his feelings for me.

He is the only practicing catholic in his peer group and his siblings both engage in pre-marital sex.

On my last visit to Canada I talked to his mom about this – not an easy thing to do! His mom and I are close and I attend church with them each time I visit. This prompted his mom to talk to him and she encouraged him not to feel guilt about his feelings, that he is a good person and will make the right decision.

We are due to be together next week. I will be flying to CA so we can celebrate our Christmas as we didn’t get to spend time together over the festive period, and he has told me he is ready to have sex with me.

I don’t know how I feel about this. I flit between being overjoyed to feeling guilt. I know deep down he believes he will go to hell for this but it feels like in order for us to move our relationship forward and to the point where I can give up my life in England to be with him we need this moment.

If two people are sure and committed to each other enough to have waited and considered, to overcome lust and distance, if God is allowing us this relationship and it feels right and wonderful and close and true. If our having sex is born out of love and trust and faith and commitment is it wrong?

I struggle to believe that God would see our relationship as wrong or as a sin. I really do, and to confess it as such would be a lie.

Please advise.


On a personal level i would say follow your hearts feelings, not those set down for mankind as a whole, however, if i’m being good (which would be a first) then I advise this.

Save yourselves. Everyone else will say the same, thats what Catholics do. Marriage before sex is a huge no no. No if’s, not buts. Sinning.

Which to you religious types I believe is a faux pax, no?

In the end you will both make up your own minds, but My advice, as one person dating a catholic to another, is just…Slow it down.

Half the fun is in the anticipation anyway :wink:

Hope I have been a help, as any other comments you get will most likely be a bit harsher (a few will call you a sinner, a temptress come to lead the good catholic boy astray etc etc…ignore the more extreme answers)


Well, his parents are devout (I don’t like that word much), practicing catholics and they are encouraging him to actually have sex with me (which is really odd to say out loud). It’s not in a Get on that horse kind of way, it’s in a he should not feel guilt or let that guilt prevent him from having a loving and sexual relationship.

His mom even confessed to him that she had used contraceptive during the first few months of her marriage (but still fell pregnant so she believes God’s will be done).

And I agree re: the fun is in the anticipation however, I don’t want sex to be about fun at this stage, I want (and need) it to be more serious than that, a statement if you like, that is equal to marriage.


You have admitted to knowing that sex outside of marriage is a sin… if not for you, then for your boyfriend. Correct?

Love and sin are not compatible. If sin is disobedience to God’s laws (read the most basic catechism written for children… that’s what it says), then HOW can love–REAL, TRUE love–come from sin? To sin, and to sin with full intent and knowlege, means to separate yourself from God WHO IS LOVE.

True love will wait. True love sees no barriers… even waiting for marriage is not a barrier but a time for growth in true love, in getting to know a person’s mind, heart and soul, not just their body. Lust looks at a barrier and tries to justify going around it.

And if your boyfriend truly believes he will go to hell “for this moment” that you believe you need in order to commit to this relationship, then how can you claim to love him if you are willing to help him get there?

Sorry if this isn’t “gentle” enough for you. But this is my advice.



Sexual intimacy is only for marriage, not for those who are unmarried. Christ is quite clear on this, as is St. Paul.

It is wrong of you to ask him to do something that is against his morals-- and should be against yours as well.

Everything that you wrote about being in love and blah blah blah is nothing more than you trying to rationalize doing someething you want to do even though you know it is wrong and trying to convince your boyfriend to do something he knows is wrong.

In a relationship destined for marriage one would NEVER ask the other to violate their most central beliefs. You are demonstrating nothing but selfishness. I would never ask my husband to violate his conscience, ever. And, especially not to “prove” he loves me. Nor would I ever try to manipulate him the way you are trying to do your boyfriend.

You may think I am being harsh, but I am telling you straight. You are fooling ONLY yourself trying to convince yourself premarital sex is “ok” with God. The bible is quite clear on the subject, and sexuality outside marriage is a violation of God’s Law.

Please commit yourself to chastity and visit


Well, that’s about the saddest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

Well, they are incorrect. How sad that they would actually confuse him even more by giving him such an untruth.

And, the point of that was what? I sinned so you can too?

You cannot make it equal to marriage. It is not.


While I agree he shouldn’t feel guilty for those feelings, they are of course normal and all, going through with the act should give guilt to a Catholic.

Would give guilt to me at least.

I do understand your situation and it’s eerie how close to my own it is. As stated in another thread or two, I am Jwlynas’s girlfriend. I’m a Catholic, he isn’t. I live in the States and he’s in England. Wonderful that you could see each other so often by the way.

The fun is in the wait. Agree. Also I understand how it would be almost a marriage statement and how it would be more than fooling around. But here’s the one problem: You’re not married. You’re devoted to each other and in love, I can understand that, but you’re not married.

My vote is also for wait. It’s a great cross to carry when you are so in love and wish only to show it then are told you cannot. But it’ll pay off in the end. I don’t say this as an adult with experience of the world or anything like that, I say this as someone who is in fact younger than you and in basically the same situation as you.

I wish you both the best.


If someone comes to a CATHOLIC forum asking for advice, then they should EXPECT to get CATHOLIC answers. And the OP is obviously asking for advice based on what the Catholic Church REALLY teaches or she would be content with the advice given by her boyfriend’s “Catholic” parents.

Sex outside of marriage is a sin–that’s Catholic Church teaching. One who commits sin is a sinner–that’s basic English grammar.


Let me start by saying - been there, done that. It didn’t work.

I was previously in an 11 year invalid “marriage” to my high school sweetheart. I was sexually active at a young age, we married in our mid and late 20’s. We were sexually active and lived together before the wedding. It was the worst thing we could have ever done for so many reasons.

Fast forward many years. I met my husband - he lived in England, I’m in Michigan. Yes, 3,000 miles is a long way. When we were together on visits we were tempted, of course we were, we were in love. But we knew what was so much more important to us - our Faith, and God’s Commands. We knew we had to wait, and that we would have the rest of our lives to show our love to each other in that most intimate way. And so we waited until our wedding night. And I can tell you that the decision to wait has made all the difference in how I view our intimacy. He loved me enough to wait - I loved him enough to wait. Some things are worth waiting for. And if you two are truly meant to be together, then it will happen. If not, and you go ahead and enter into a sexual relationship with him, you both open yourselves up to the possibility of sadness and regret, not to mention committing grave mortal sin. He is a Catholic - he knows what this means. And frankly, you should too.

It’s not worth it. Stay chaste for the man you say you love - and give each the most wonderful gift on your wedding night that two people can ever give to one another.



Hello imperfect, and welcome to CAF!

Relationships are definitely hard at times - whether you are single or married. :slight_smile: The questions you ask are valid and I hope my response doesn’t come off as harsh, but some things you mentioned raise a red flag to me:

I don’t know how I feel about this. I flit between being overjoyed to feeling guilt. I know deep down he believes he will go to hell for this but it feels like in order for us to move our relationship forward and to the point where I can give up my life in England to be with him we need this moment.

If two people are sure and committed to each other enough to have waited and considered, to overcome lust and distance, if God is allowing us this relationship and it feels right and wonderful and close and true. If our having sex is born out of love and trust and faith and commitment is it wrong?

It sounds like you feel that the only way you can move to the next step is by having relations. But there is so much more to a relationship than sex. It almost sounds as if you are saying that if you are going to make the move to Canada, then he has got to make the decision to have intimacy with you. If you both truly love one another, you must respect his wishes to remain a virgin until you are married. Yes it is the ultimate way a woman and a man can share their love for one another, but it is so much more intamate and fulfilling when it is shared between a husband and a wife. I’m sure you both love one another very much, but having relations before marriage isn’t going to prove it. You mentioned that you were in a long-term relationship prior to meeting your boyfriend - I myself had pre-marital sex before meeting my DH and let me tell you, I SO wish I had waited until my wedding night. Abstaining and remaining chaste is very hard, but won’t the experience of your own wedding night be worth it? Take time to think about everything carefully, and don’t force yourself or your boyfriend into doing something you may regret later.

God Bless you and your boyfriend and your futures together.


I will try to be gentle with you, but take a look at what you just wrote here. You are asking him to give up his faith, basically you want to come before God in his priorities. Doesn’t that kind of scare you that that is what you are asking him to do?

I mean, we are not talking about losing your senses in the heat of passion here…this is completely thought out and calculated, the very definition of a mortal sin.


Dear Imperfect,

Just because you have already had sex, does not mean you need to partake in it again before you are married. If you really love your boyfriend, do what is best for him and his salvation, if not for your own. Instead of having premarital sex (a mortal sin for Catholics which means a turning of ones back on God and his teachings, which can mean choosing hell instead of choosing Gods will), think about what is best for your boyfriend. If he has sex with you, that does not mean he loves you, it means he gave in to temptation. This will cause him a lot of guilt, whether he realizes it now or not.

If you truly love each other, and end up getting married, sex will come after marriage. But if you really love him, and he really loves you, the best way to demonstrate that love is for you to wait. As you know, waiting requires the bigger sacrifice.

For Catholics, premaritial sex can mean hell instead of heaven. It doesn`t matter “what everyone else” is doing. It is a choice between a person and God. If a person has sex before marriage and does not repent before dying, it could mean hell instead of heaven. Only God has the authority to judge and determine that, but He did leave us with the teachings of the Church to guide us.

I know you are not Catholic, and thus, do not believe, and are not subject to the teachings of the Church. But your boyfriend is. So out of love, I hope you will encourage him to stay faithful to our Lord, rather than tempting him to stray. Do this out of respect and love for him,

I encourage you both to read The Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West. You can purchase it at Amazon. It is a wonderful book. It will give you an excellent understanding of Catholic sexuality, what a blessing it is, and why it is important to save sex for marriage. Just because you have already had sex does not mean you need to keep having it. It is never too late to recommit yourself to chastity. And it is in your own spiritual and physical best interests.

As a side note, I am 31 and still single, and I know how hard this can be. But trust me, it is well worth it. You will save yourself a lot of heart ache. Not to mention, it is what is best for your physical health. So many of my friends have gotten STDs from their boyfriends who are no longer in the picture. The boyfriends are long gone, but they still have the STDs. I dont want you to end up in their boat. My friends werent the type that casually “sleep around” and they dated their boyfriends a long time before becoming intimate. But it didnt matter--they still got STDs. (They also used condoms faithfully, but it didnt “protect” them).

I will keep you and your boyfriend in my prayers. You sound like a good person, who is honestly looking for answers. I really recommend the book by Chris West. You and your boyfriend could read it together on your next trip to Canada.




He takes his vow not to engage in sex before marriage very seriously.

You don’t love him that much if you want to help him violate one of his core beliefs.

But, it sounds like his own family is helping him to take the wide, easy path, too, so he’s probably sunk, at least for a while.

Good job, cafeteria Catholics!


My advice: you are not mature enough to be married if you are not willing to take your future husband seriously. Marriage is about being self-sacrificing, not selfish, and you don’t seem to understand that.


I would like to point out this is not a “Catholic” teaching.

Hebrews 13:4 - Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 – fornicators will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

All those who call themselves Christian are called to conform themselves to and be transformed by Christ.


All loving, forgiving understanding catholics…maybe need a little training the loving responses, forgiving (eg, being nice, being gentle with words) and the understanding, but apart from that, very good catholics.

However, well made points, and I have to say I agree. Love goes both ways. Its arguable that his reasons for Not having sex (Eg; not going to hell, core part of his belief system) are better than your reasons for wanting sex (Eg; You really want to, as a sign of love and trust)

You want a sign of love and trust, I recommend asking around this forum to find out what an appropriate gesture would be. I have no idea what a catholic courtship entails, premariatal relations are out, living together is out, tatoos are just a bit tacky…you’ll think of something I’m sure.

If your temptation becomes too much, marry him. Problems solved then.

Best of luck, I hope you both, you and your boyf, find the right way to deal with this that works for you.


I would highly advise you not to. I do not believe that you have the right attitude. You want him to break a vow that is important to him to demonstrate a commitment to you. I understand that you have come from a different place than he has, but true love wants what’s best for the other person, and you need to ask yourself if this is what’s best. I recommend the book Boundaries in Dating by Cloud/Townsend, or the Ten Commandments in Dating. They have some wonderful advice about pre-marital sex and what it can do to a relationship. Both books are written by practicing psychologists. You risk damaging what sounds like a great relationship to the point of ruination. You don’t want your boyfriend to forever regret a decision that you pushed him into, and despise you for it forever.


To add to the already abundant and great replies you have received, I will say that sex doesn’t seal a commitment between two people. It doesn’t make two people more committed. Marriage is the commitment, sex follows in a procreative and unitive display of love. I can understand why you might be feeling these things–you and your bf are in love, and from the sounds of your thread, thinking of marriage.

I would like to leave you with this…would God ask us to do something against His Word? No, He really wouldn’t. So, think of that, and think of God’s best for you. God’s best isn’t for us to go against His Word. I think that if you both continue to wait, you’ll see that was the best thing for you both to do. God’s loving best.

I pray that you and your bf pray on this together. God bless and enjoy your time with each other!:slight_smile:


Love doesn’t equal sex and vice versa.

Sometimes NOT having sex is the loving thing to do, even within a marriage.

By leading him away from his core belief on saving himself for marriage you are coming between him and God which is a horrible offense. That’s not loving a person, it’s actually extremely selfish.

My husband and I were involved in impurity (I guess you could call it mutual maturbation) before marriage and I can’t tell you how free we felt after we committed to stop doing those impure acts.

What you speak of it not sexual freedom, it’s slavery. Sex should always be free, total, faithful and fruitful.


Great post! I have been meaning to congratulate you on your pregnancy by the way. I’m excited for you!:slight_smile:

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