Question about marital act

Hello everybody! I’m not sure if this thread is in the right place, so moderators, feel free to move this if needed. This is a sensitive and sacred topic and I will do my best to explain it the best way possible.

So through discussions and readings, I have gleaned that a couple can do different acts besides actual intercourse to assist the woman to orgasm if needed, as long as these acts are within the context of sexual intercourse that is both unitive and procreative. It is obvious that the church forbids masturbation, and that it is not in keeping with the self-giving, true meaning and purpose of our sexuality. My question then is, what are we to think of a woman “touching herself” during the marital sexual act itself? Does this fall under the umbrella of masturbation, or is it different because of the marital act it is occurring within/the reasoning behind it? I know that there is not one church document that clearly spells out every little detail about what is permissible, but I was hoping that some others might be able to bring in knowledge of the Church to help me see some different perspectives on this question. Thanks!


I’ll join you… :popcorn:

Count me in! :popcorn:

Well I’m all ears, 61 and still learning,:coffeeread:

As far as I’m Concerned, what you do in the bedroom is your business,
Hopefully as long as it’s legal , not. Inappropriate , and , um,:confused:
Best I leave , and Finnish my coffee,

Elizium23, you are so bad…?:tsktsk:

It’s hard to know if or how to address the question. Delicate area. First post. Can’t look up OP’s previous posts. Read and go on? Smirk? Maybe paste a catechism paragraph. I’m going to weigh in with a ‘It’s OK’. Depending on intent. :slight_smile:

Popcorn eaters, indeed!

Midunbar, I think you are on safe ground, morally speaking. This passage from the Catechism may be helpful:

2362 “The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude.” Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure:
The Creator himself… established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation.

This, I think, allows considerable liberty with regard to the particulars. Whatever you do, may it always support your love for each other.


The important thing is that you are loving each other and not seeking to use each other as objects, but seeing your spouse as a* person.* The Church, despite her reputation to the contrary in secular circles, actually gives spouses a lot of the responsibility of discerning what this looks like in every marriage. So what is okay for one couple may actually not be spiritually healthy for another couple (occasion of sin, flashback history, etc.) But that doesn’t mean that act is banned for every couple out there.

That said, there very well may be posters who post saying that if you touch each other at all besides intercourse, it’s a sin, as well as if you have the lights on or take off any more clothes than strictly necessary. And you better not really like it, or you’re probably lusting. Such is not the teaching of the Church.

Just so everyone knows, this is my first post, and I am a 20, almost 21 year old female practicing catholic. Just thought that might answer some questions!

Welcome to CAF! Not everyone is so jaded…LOL.

I’m pretty much under the impression that anything goes.

As long as it meets certain parameters.

It needs to be within the context of the marital act.

The marital act must be Church approved…as in it is always open to life, unitive and between a husband and wife only.

Whatever it is…it should be okayed by both husband and wife and if whatever it is makes either party uncomfortable…then that should be respected and a boundary should be made.

Otherwise…have at it and enjoy!

Masturbation is intrinsically evil, and therefore always immoral. An intrinsically evil act does not become moral by being done before, during, or after a moral act (such as natural marital relations). So that act is still a grave sin.

I don’t disagree with that, but the question is not whether masturbation is acceptable if done with a spouse. I think we agree that it would not be morally acceptable. The question is whether the act described in the original post is, in fact, masturbation. I think it is not. I will explain later. (Gotta feed the kids right now. :))

Is all touching of the genitals prohibited to spouses?

No. However, touching the genitals of yourself, or of your spouse, in the same or similar manner as would be done in masturbation (i.e. manipulative sexual acts) is immoral. Any type of masturbatory touching is immoral (regardless of whether or when sexual climax occurs) because it is a sexual act that is non-unitive and non-procreative.

Any claim about the morality of an act which “dissociates the moral act from the bodily dimensions of its exercise is contrary to the teaching of Scripture and Tradition.” (Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, n. 49.) In other words, the concrete act (the type of behavior) cannot be separated from its inherent moral meaning. An intrinsically evil act cannot become moral merely because the will directs the act toward a particular purpose. Certain kinds of acts are inherently immoral by the very nature of the act. And so, masturbatory touching of yourself or of your spouse does not become moral by being done within marriage, nor by being done to prepare for the marital act. The bodily act itself cannot be dissociated from its inherent moral meaning. So when an act, such as masturbation, is intrinsically evil, it can never become moral, not with any intention, not in any circumstances, not within marriage, not in association with the marital sexual act.

Which acts of foreplay are moral?

Any act is moral if the intention and the moral object are both good, and if the good consequences of the act outweigh any bad consequences. If the intention and consequences are good, then the morality of an act of foreplay will depend on the moral object. Any sexual act which is non-marital, or non-unitive, or non-procreative is intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral, even if used for the purpose of foreplay, due to the deprivation in the moral object of the marital or unitive or procreative meanings. However, acts such as a husband kissing and caressing his wife’s breasts, or a wife kissing and embracing her husband passionately, are not sexual acts per se, and so these acts are generally moral and do not need to be unitive and procreative.

In order to be moral, each and every sexual act must be unitive and procreative. Non-unitive or non-procreative sexual acts (i.e. unnatural sexual acts) are intrinsically evil, and do not become moral by being used as a type of foreplay, nor by occurring before, during, or after an act of natural marital relations.

what is wrong with the answers in terms of traditional Catholic understanding?

Not getting into the content here at the moment.

I simply will again note that that source is NOT the source to go to for such questions.

Seek out approved sources and known orthodox moral theologians for such matters.

I like Fr.Paul Nicholson’s take on this.

I agree with blackrobe in this post below.

I think learning self controll with regard to emissions is the key to helping your wife achieve orgasm. May not be easy but essential.

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