Questions about the church's teachings on 'sex'


#1

Hi, I’ve been wondering from some time now what exactly the church teaches about sex. I’m not just talking about a lecture from JPII or a saint, I’m talking about an infallibe teaching from the church. I’ve been getting mixed messages from all kinds of people and it’s caused me alot of anxiety because I want to get married someday. I have a few questions, hopefully I won’t sound stupid. All the below questions relate to married couples.

  1. What exactly is Natural Family Planning? does that mean couples can have sex without the intent of having a child as long as there’s a good reason to not have a child?

  2. Is it a sin for the couple to enjoy the bodily sexual pleasures that come with intercourse?

  3. is the missionary position the only acceptable sexual position?

  4. what is the church teachings on foreplay and making out/etc. within marriage?


#2

Hi there.

Try reading “The Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West.

It explains the Cathecism and JPII’s teachings.

My understanding is the NFP is not that you do not intend to have a child, but that you are using a method that is 99% effective. You are still allowing for the Grace of God to Bless you with a child.

Couples should DEFINITELY enjoy the pleasures of intercourse. It is a glimpse, albeit a very tiny one, of what pleasure we will ahve in Heaven.

Missionary is not an “acceptable” position. According what I have read, not a lot at this point, is that as long as the congress of the husband and wife end in a mmaner that is open to possibility of chirdren, any position is acceptable.

Foreplay is fine. Sex is not limited to the act of simple intercourse. Making lvoe is part of the process. Again, as long as the climax occurs in such a manner that there is the openess or possibility of conception it is fine with the Church.

Please read more on this. I am NOT an expert. I am just telling you what I have read thus far.

JPII didn’t really have a lecture. He alone has written 2/3 of what the Church has written about sex and marriage. Christopher West would be a great place to start.

“Holy Sex!” is another Catholic book you can look at, but I don’t know who wrote it.

God Bless!


#3

:confused: Contradiction? :shrug:


#4
  1. A child is a gift from God. You can’t “plan” a family,You will get the children God wants to give You.
  2. Of course not. God has created us,and has also give us ways to enjoy intercourse whithin a marriage.
  3. Not as far as I know,off course,some things are not “proper” but I would not worrie about that,but talk to Your priest.
  4. Non,as far as I know.
    I wish You both many happy years together.

#5

I meant that the Church, to my knowledge, does not have an opinion on what positions are acceptable. I should have been clearer on that point. As long as the couple remains open to the possibility of children any position that may result, by the Grace of God, should be just fine.

Sorry about the confusion.


#6

[quote="Ben_Sinner, post:1, topic:218343"]
Hi, I've been wondering from some time now what exactly the church teaches about sex. I'm not just talking about a lecture from JPII or a saint, I'm talking about an infallibe teaching from the church. I've been getting mixed messages from all kinds of people and it's caused me alot of anxiety because I want to get married someday. I have a few questions, hopefully I won't sound stupid. All the below questions relate to married couples.

1) What exactly is Natural Family Planning? does that mean couples can have sex without the intent of having a child as long as there's a good reason to not have a child?
Being open to children is part of the vocation of marriage. NFP is an alternative to complete abstinence (not an alternative to artificial birth control) that a couple can use if they are in a type of circumstance in which having a baby would be unwise for the time being. It is a means of understanding and observing the female reproductive system, and knowing when a woman is most likely and least likely to conceive.

2) Is it a sin for the couple to enjoy the bodily sexual pleasures that come with intercourse?
Of course not. God created it the way it is. In it's proper place (marriage) it is the physical statement of the marriage vows. Sexual desire for one's spouse is not a sin. But lust, however, is a sin, married or not. There's an important difference between good sexual desire, and lust (use). West clarifies it very well.

3) is the missionary position the only acceptable sexual position?
Believe it or not, West talks about that too.

4) what is the church teachings on foreplay and making out/etc. within marriage? You'd get a better understand by doing some reading for yourself.

[/quote]

The Church's teachings on sex go hand-in-hand with the teachings on marriage. If you haven't yet, read the relevant sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is available on the Vatican website (free), if you can't buy a copy.

As someone has also pointed out, John Paul II produced about 75% of the Church's definitive writings on marriage and sex. (That doesn't mean that the teachings did not exist before him, but he explicated them most clearly, and put the most effort into doing so, if that makes sense). You should definitely read up on Theology of the Body (the name for his body of teaching on sex and marriage). The Pope's own speeches are in a large volume called "Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body."

Christopher West has written very good books on Theology of the Body, such as "Theology of the Body for Beginners" and "The Good News about Sex and Marriage." My fiance and I have read both, I recommend them from experience.

Trust me, get Christopher West's books. You can get them pretty inexpensively online. They are totally worth the read!


#7
  1. nfp is an awareness of when your fertile times are and discerning through prayer and thought whether you have a valid reason to avoid the possibility of procreation or not and if you have a valid reason to avoid conception then you avoid intimacy during that fertile tile – this is a monthly discerning needing noticing the signs of fertility and praying and communicating – it brings the couple closer to each other and to God.

  2. sex is to be enjoyed – but not selfishly – you don’t have sex to ‘get yours’ but to express your love for each other and to deepen your love and commitment and connection

  3. sex is good, few rules apply, except for the husband’s ejaculation needing to occur in the wife’s vagina, and all acts needing to be respectful and loving, not disrespectful and greedy

  4. you should not engage in foreplay without the intent to end with intercourse – foreplay can be a long emotional loving leading up to eventual intercourse, but just making out without consummation is not ok in that it separates the sexual pleasure from its creation function


#8

The Kippleys have a good article on married sexual ethics.

marysremnant.org/News/Archives/MaritalSexuality.html


#9

I just read this article that you posted and I think there might be some contradictions with what JPII and other things that the Church teaches. Also, I see no citations from actual Church documents in the article. I would be cautious about using it as evidence for what the Church teaches.


#10

Nihil obstat: Rev. Christopher R. Armstrong Imprimatur: Most Rev. James H. Garland, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 16, 1988

I posted it because of the Imprimatur, and also the Kippleys of Couple to Couple League had written it. I wouldn’t have posted it if it hadn’t been approved.


#11

If you prefer video this is a good video on NFP and ABC:

Catholic Answers Live: Contraception: Jason Everett


#12

I have heard of him, he is supposedly a very good speaker. Thanks for posting that.


#13

[quote="Totterman, post:4, topic:218343"]
1) A child is a gift from God. You can't "plan" a family,You will get the children God wants to give You.

[/quote]

Yes, a child is a gift from God. However, many couples - even those using NFP - do in fact "plan" their family.


#14

Most of your questions are either explicitly or implicitly answered in the papal encyclical “Humanae Vitae” Available in English at the Vatican web site. Read it, it will only take you an evening the first time through. There’s lots in there to unpack, but it is mostly written in plain, direct language.

As a papal encyclical that reiterates and summarizes the consistant teaching of the catholic church through the ages, HV enjoys the infallible protection of the “ordinary magisterium.”

The bottom line is that sex and babies quite simply are not merely accidentally linked together in a sort of ‘goof’ that God made that we humans are free to correct by severing this ‘accidental’ link by our own efforts. As usual, we make fools of ourselves when we attempt to improve God’s design for humanity.


#15

manualman -- you again say it simply and best.


#16

#17

So you are saying that making out with your spouse is sinful if it doesn’t lead to intercourse?


#18

yep, pretty much – making out is sexually arousing each other – why start something if you aren’t willing/planning on completing it properly? inordinate desire for sexual pleasure outside of the proper marital embrace is lust – finish what you start or don’t start.


#19

Maybe it's a form of affection when the embrace cannot be done. So if I get arroused when I hug my wife, have I sinned because we cannot finish the job?


#20

[quote="RachelKH, post:18, topic:218343"]
yep, pretty much -- making out is sexually arousing each other -- why start something if you aren't willing/planning on completing it properly? inordinate desire for sexual pleasure outside of the proper marital embrace is lust -- finish what you start or don't start.

[/quote]

Not necessarily.

The link I posted speaks of this. It has an Imprimatur as well.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.