Question About Sexual Relations


#1

Hello:

I was wondering if someone could answer a question for me. I have come to understand that ejaculating while not in intercourse is considered sinful. This is because the purpose of the act is to possibly create new life.

However, what if the man in question is infertile? Considering that his sperm can’t fertilize anyway, would that person still be committing a sin if ejaculating outside of normal intercourse?


#2

Get a copy of the book “Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West. He explains it better than anyone else on this forum will be able to in the limited space available here.

:God Bless:


#3

The simplest answer is this: Nothing the man is doing or has done is rendering the intercourse infertile. He, by all of his actions, has made that act of intercourse open to life. Unfortunately, it’s horribly unlikely that it will create life, but nothing the man is doing or has done caused that as long as he always ejaculates in normal intercourse. The circumstances are preventing the intercourse from creating life, not any choice the man made to render the act infertile.

However, if he were to ejaculate in a circumstance outside of normal intercourse, what he is doing would be what is closing the act to the creation of life. Primarily the fact that he isn’t having intercourse would be what was sterilizing the sex act. The fact that he is infertile would no longer be what was causing the act to be closed to the creation of life, his actions would So, he would be responsible for contracepting the marital act. An infertile man must still only ejaculate in normal intercourse.

Like NFP vs. contraception, it’s a question of means and causes, not ends and effects. We know that an infertile man having intercourse and an infertile man engaging in a form of sex that doesn’t include intercourse lead to the same end: no babies. But what caused that end? Was it the fact that the man had sex outside of intercourse, or the circumstances outside of his choices? That’s the key question here.


#4

There is only one place that semen can be doposited. If it is deposited anywhere else, you have commited a mortal sin and must go to confession immediately or face the fear of eternal damnation.

Go check out some of the threads on oral sex. They should clear up how sinful it is to even think of such a thing.


#5

Not quite. For one to commit moral sin the 3 conditions (knowledge, consent, willful choice) are necessary to be present and only God in His infinite mercy is capable of judging a person’s soul:

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin. (CCC)

BTW – I find your heavy hammer approach to a sincere query by a fellow Catholic to be unnecessary and inappropriate.


#6

Remember, I can no longer call myself a Catholic because I do not agree with the Church 100%. So, I cannot consider the OP a fellow Catholic, a fellow Christian would be a more accurate statement.

What I have stated is my opinion based on the facts as they have been repeatedly given to me on this forum. It has been repeatedly stated that depositing semen outside of the female vagina is grave matter. If a person becomes educated in this, yet chooses to disregard it then that person has committed a mortal sin and must face the fear of eternal damnation. Have I misunderstood something? Has the church softened it’s teachings on this matter in a few days or am I missing something? I thought there was only one way to interpret the teachings of the church on this matter. Semen can only be deposited in the vagina. End of story.


#7

The OP is posing a question for clarification of Church teaching in a specific situation. He/she has in no way presented open or implied opposition to authoritative Church teach, i.e., he is seeking to know what the Church teaches in matters of sexual morality. This is entirely different from one who openly rejects Church teaching over personal preference in held opinion and/or action.

I find your persistent accusation and presumption directed toward the OP to be highly inconsiderate and inappropriate.

I suggest that you reread the CCC citation regarding what constitutes the conditions for mortal sin to clear up your misunderstanding.


#8

The OP’s question was:

However, what if the man in question is infertile? Considering that his sperm can’t fertilize anyway, would that person still be committing a sin if ejaculating outside of normal intercourse?

My answer is that yes it is still a sin because semen cannot be deposted outside of the vagina.

Am I missing something?


#9

That is why I stay confused if you have Knowledge - the women is not ovulating, you Consent to have sex with this knowledge, and it is a Willful Choice to enjoy this for pleasure, that is NFP a moral act ?? I’ll keep working on it but I still do not “get it”


#10

I am a bit confused myself now because it was presented to me that you can only deposit semen into the vagina and no place else. If it is deposited somewhere else, then you have committed a sin. If you knew it was a sin yet did it anyway, then it qualifies as a mortal sin. If you didn’t know it was a sin and did it, then it only qualifies as a venial sin.

The reason that NFP is okay because the semen is being deposited in the vagina. You are not interfering with the natural course of semen from ejaculation. It is allowed to take its intended course without any barriers or interference. It is okay on the part of the woman because she is not doing anything to alter her fertility or prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. NFP is considered to be working with nature rather than against it.

If you are having relations that are thought to be infertile, you cannot do it for the sake of pleasure alone. It must only be done to unite you and your spouse. All sexual acts must be unitive and procreative. They can only be considered unitive if the sperm is deposited inside the vagina. If it is altered in any way, then you have perverted the natural sex act and have committed a sin. Not knowing that it is a sin doesn’t make it any less of a sin. Your prior knowledge only dictates whether it is mortal or venial. Of course, I could be totally wrong and I am sure that I will be corrected either way.

I am still stuck on this one because you are deliberately taking away the procreative aspects when you choose to have sex outside of fertile times. That is what the church teaches so it is not my place to argue over it lest I be chastised. I am sure others know way more than I do. I must add a disclaimer that this is just my understanding.


#11

Thanks gogogirl
No confusion here with the rules, nor your reply. It is just that “to unite you and your spouse” section which is in standing with the Church teaching. All others must abstain, but married people should used NFP to assure no conception when they ------what----- bond? Interesting is it not that something about a wedding ceremony makes a human need to bond outside of other marriage issues, as children, cohabitation, monogamy(all forms), etc… If the same couple did this before the ceremony they are acting in sin notbonding, but after the ceremony they are bonding. NFP the bonding agent allows bonding while reducing conception rate to 0.03%. And bonding can not have pleasure as an objective, as that would probably be sinful. I thank you for your assistance, and challenge nothing you wrote. I will continue with this on my list of things to working on.


#12

I am still stuck on this one because you are deliberately taking away the procreative aspects when you choose to have sex outside of fertile times.

It’s a reasonable question, and it deserves a serious reply. Here’s how it was explained to me:

With procreation and unity, each and every act of sex must be open to the creation of life, that is, nothing the man or woman does can try to cut sex off from procreation. In having sex on an infertile day, nothing the man or woman does is cutting off that act of sex from the creation of new life. Nothing. The only thing that prevents conception is the way God designed the female body. If God had made women to be fertile every day, would anyone think that having sex on a particular day non-procreative? Certainly not. So, it is nothing that the man or woman did that stopped that particular act of sex from creating new life, it is only God’s design.

Two married people do not need to be “open to the creation of life” every moment of every day. Otherwise, they would have to be having sex every moment of enery day. Now, certainly, at the time of marriage and thereafter they must be completely open to the possibility of concieving, bearing, and raising children. But it is each particular act of sex that must be “procreative” in our sense of the word. There isn’t such a thing as a couple being closed to the creation of life if they have never done anything to render a particular act of sex infertile, and it is God’s design that renders particular, individual acts of sex during infertile times unable to create new life, not the actions of either the man or the woman.

My description is far from perfect, I know; I’ll have to work on it.


#13

The words procreative and unitive are big stumbling blocks for me because I can argue against them. I tend to have difficulty swallowing the notion that sex can only be unitive if the man deposits in one place and one place only. I find it difficult to see how anything else is considered disordered and evil. I have read the documents and seen the arguments but they just do not sit well with me.

To say that everything must be procreative implies to me that you can only have sex if you are trying to conceive/procreate. My understanding is that at one time the church stated that the only reason to have sex was to procreate. At one time, the church didn’t recognize the unitive aspects of sex. As a result of this, I think some of the language tends to be a bit confusing. At least that is the way a nun explained it to me once.

I tend to have a better time understanding the teachings of the church if you just leave those words out. There are some things that I find very unitive but I cannot do because the church has stated that anything other than what is prescribed by them is sinful, ie. semen can only be deposited in the vagina. It does not matter whether you are fertile or not. The big stipulation is that you cannot put anything into your body or on your body that will deliberately interfere with procreation. You must leave your body and all sexual organs in a natural state with regards to fertility. You cannot alter your body so as to deliberately interfere with procreation and render yourself infertile. If you are already infertile (born that way, unknowingly had yourself “fixed”, menopause, etc.) and are unable to conceive, it doesn’t matter. The sex act must be completed with semen being deposited into the vagina and no where else.


#14

Aquinas repeatedly said that the primary end of the conjugal act was the begetting of children. The secondary end of the same was the morally regulated control of the sex urge.

Aquinas writes at *Summa Theologica *II-II, 153, 2, in the response: "

Wherefore just as the use of food can be without sin, if it be taken in due manner and order, as required for the welfare of the body, so also the use of venereal acts can be without sin, provided they be performed in due manner and order, in keeping with the end of human procreation."

Also at *Summa Theologica * II-II 154, ad 6:

Reply to Objection 6. One copulation may result in the begetting of a man, wherefore inordinate copulation, which hinders the good of the future child, is a mortal sin as to the very genus of the act, and not only as to the inordinateness of concupiscence. On the other hand, one meal does not hinder the good of a man’s whole life, wherefore the act of gluttony is not a mortal sin by reason of its genus. It would, however, be a mortal sin, if a man were knowingly to partake of a food which would alter the whole condition of his life, as was the case with Adam.

Nor is it true that fornication is the least of the sins comprised under lust, for the marriage act that is done out of sensuous pleasure is a lesser sin.

Finally, Aquinas sees the marital act as one remedy for concupiscence and can keep men from the sins of fornication and/or pollution when he writes at Summa Theologica

Supplement, 42, 3 ad 4:
Reply to Objection 4: A remedy can be employed against concupiscence in two ways. First, on the part of concupiscence by repressing it in its root, and thus matrimony affords a remedy by the grace given therein. Secondly, on the part of its act, and this in two ways: first, by depriving the act to which concupiscence inclines of its outward shamefulness, and this is done by the marriage blessings which justify carnal concupiscence; secondly, by hindering the shameful act, which is done by the very nature of the act. because concupiscence, being satisfied by the conjugal act, does not incline so much to other wickedness. For this reason the Apostle says (1 Cor. 7:9): “It is better to marry than to burn.” For though the works congenial to concupiscence are in themselves of a nature to increase concupiscence, yet in so far as they are directed according to reason they repress concupiscence, because like acts result in like dispositions and habits.

Exactly. The primary purpose of marriage is the begetting of children. The current teaching incorporates the unitive aspect of the conjugal act. This teaching might be suspect as Ludwig Ott points out in his work Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma:

…many modern theologians, as against the traditional teaching of the purpose of marriage … have submitted that the primary purpose of marriage is the mutual completion and personal perfection of the marriage partners, or their mutual love and unity. The Holy Office, in the year 1944, in answer to an enquiry, reasserted the traditional teaching, according to which the primary purpose of marriage is the generation and bringing-up of children, and according to which the secondary purposes of marriage are essentially subordinate to the primary one. D 2295. (p. 462)

Sounds like a development of doctrine to me, no?


#15

Thanks for some of the replies.


#16

You pose an erroneous implication of a development in doctrine. The Church always proposed and safeguarded “both these apsects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act”. Your wording suggest that the Church has not always recognized (“incorporated”) the unitive aspect of the conjugal act – this is not the case. Fecunity is “an end of marriage”, not the exclusive end. Marriage is also the provided means for individuals to sanctify each other and work out their salvation in the integrity of the marriage covenant.

Admittedly, differerent theologians and Papacy have emphasized one to the apparent subservience to the other; but there is no “development of doctrine” as you incorrectly suggest, only a deeper appreciation of the fullness of the conjugal act.

2369 “By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its orientation toward man’s exalted vocation to parenthood.” (CCC)

2363 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 the future of the family. (CCC)

2366 Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful.

1660 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf. CIC, can. 1055 § 1; cf. GS 48 § 1). (CCC)


#17

This is revisionist history. I never suggested that, I noted that both were mentioned, but that the emphasis was heavily towards the procreative. I don’t have the time to give a lengthy exegesis on the thought of Aquinas at the level needed to make you understand my point, but Aquinas did seem to indicate that the conjugal act engaged in for non-procreative, “recreational/unitive” purposes bordered on being venially sinful. This was the attitude taken in EVERY manual of moral theology used in seminaries prior to the Second Vatican Council. I am aware that you can quote the catechism well, can you quote anyone else in the history of theology, or is that too hard for you?

Admittedly, differerent theologians and Papacy have emphasized one to the apparent subservience to the other; but there is no “development of doctrine” as you incorrectly suggest, only a deeper appreciation of the fullness of the conjugal act.

Yes there is. Do some research on the history of this issue. Talk to a few orthodox theologians with Ph.D.'s and you will find out what I’m right on this.

2369 “By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its orientation toward man’s exalted vocation to parenthood.” (CCC)

2363 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 the future of the family. (CCC)

2366 Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful.

1660 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf. CIC, can. 1055 § 1; cf. GS 48 § 1). (CCC)

I’m glad that you can quote the Catechism published in the 1990’s. Have you read any theology written before the Council? Do you know the history of theology? Do you have a Master’s degree in Catholic Philosophy or Theology, or even an undergraduate degree in the same? Or are you just someone who prides himself in spouting off the catechism and trying to put other people in what you view as their proper place?

There is more to the Church than simply what the Catechism states. We have 2000 years of tradition and we have scripture to back us up as well. Please be more systematic and thorough in your studies.


#18

Thanks
I just do not see how testing the body and planning the actions in time windows specifically design to reduce with hopes of prevention of conception is - doing nothing to inhibit the creation of life. Similarly I to not see the justifications of actions achieved in such scenarios being consistent with other church teaching.

I do not see error in sighting the church teaching by the posters, my opinion is the rules and interpretation as presented by the church are either contradictory or so close as to be practiced as contradictory.


#19

I found a book on moral theology that explains it very concisely and to the point. Handbook of Moral Theology by Dominic Prummer (c. 1957) states:

To make use of the so-called safe period (ie., to refrain from the conjugal act during the period when the woman is fertile) has been declared lawful by the Second Penitentiary, but it is not a certain means of preventing conception, since there is no infallible way of determining the safe period.

Back when this was written, NFP hadn’t been developed to the extent that it has been in present times but I think it still holds true. You can never be 100% certain with any method of child spacing/birth control. Sex equals potential procreation no matter what precautions you take. I think part of the problem is that sex has been separated from its natural end of procreation. The only 100% percent way to prevent conception is abstinance. Even with perfect use, NFP still has a failure rate of around 2%.

The book that I mentioned above is rather telling because it completely emphasizes the procreative aspects and it does imply that to deliberately render the marital act infertile is not a good idea. I think NFP is a loop hole that has been allowed because of the use of the rythm method in the past. (My opinion only of course.)

Here is an interesting quote from the book regarding the circumstances of the conjugal act:

Not only the conjugal act itself but also touches and looks and acts are lawful between the married, provided there is no proximate danger of pollution and the sole intention is not mere sexual pleasure.

In other words, you can do whatever you want as long as the semen is deposited in its proper place. (The sin of pollution is spilling or wasting seed. I had to look that one up.) Also, you cannot engage in sexual activity for pleasure alone. The book does not mention the unitive aspect but refers to conjugal fidelity. In other words, you engage in sex with your spouse to keep you chaste so that you are not tempted by other women or feel the need to masturbate.


#20

…The term “unitive” as a description of the ends to which marriage is ordered is a
relatively recent entry to rich vocabulary of the Church’s tradition, appearing for the first time in
Paul VI’s watershed encyclical Humane Vitae in 1968. This prompted some of those critical of
its reaffirmation of the prohibition of artificial contraception to complain about the novel status
of the document’s terminology in the tradition.4 However, it is fairly clear that this new
language is really just a shorthand for what the previous tradition called the “secondary ends” of
marriage-- refracted through the personalist lens of 20th century…

…The 1917 Code of Canon Law mentioned “secondary ends” such as marriage as a
remedium concupiscentiae and the mutual assistance of man and woman. Interestingly, Vatican
II’s Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et spes (no. 50) consciously avoided this heirarchical
language: …

nccbuscc.org/laity/marriage/Grabowski.pdf


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