Sexual ethics


#1

My wife and I have 6 kids. She is 49 and has been told that another pregnancy would be a "death sentence." She recently was pregnant and then miscarried. She is in pre-menopause as well. She was told by a deacon that we could be active sexually without me climaxing, but stopping beforehand. Not to be lewd, but we were engaged in foreplay, which led to her climaxing, but we stopped there. What exactly is Church teaching on this. Are we in the state of mortal sin now?

Thanks brothers and sisters


#2

The teaching of the church is that you should limit yourselves if you are not intending to bring the marital act to its natural conclusion. My wife and are in the same boat and spent a year or so coming to grips with what was considered too far. We went from an ‘anything goes as long as we don’t starting making love and stopping before we completed the act’ to ‘lets respect these boundaries’. When she is fertile, we make out like two teenagers in the back of a car (lots of kissing, waist up touching). When she is not fertile, we make up for lost time, so to speak. Our love life has never been better, praise be to God. Our dedication to the church by using NFP has its rewards.

You are not in the state of mortal sin because you didn’t know what you was doing was wrong. You would still benefit from going to confession. Now you know it is wrong, so I would sit down with your wife and do some game planning.

I’ll keep you in my prayers!


#3

Your deacon is off his rocker and has given your wife some terribly bad advice.

If you weren’t purposely seeking to bring your wife to climax-- i.e. if you had an “accident” before stopping-- then you didn’t commit a mortal sin. But, honestly, if you repeat this type of “foreplay” again, you might be since you now know that you are going too far without intending intercourse. Foreplay, after all, means “before” intercourse-- as in, preparation for it, not in place of it.

While it is certainly possible for a married couple to enjoy each other without going towards intercourse, directly stimulating the genitals is a bad idea if you are wanting to avoid a pregnancy. You will simply be tempting yourselves to go beyond what you intended.

I hope you have already learned a method of natural family planning, please focus on the non-genital ways to be intimate during the fertile time. You can be fully intimate during the infertile time. If you haven’t learned natural family planning, find a teacher ASAP.


#4

We were actually using NFP but we've had a problem with her cycles. Over the last 25 years she's been predictable. Now that she is pre-menopause, sometimes its 19 days, sometimes its 33.


#5

This is the problem with NFP. If the woman has a cycle that isn’t normal I guess you just have to be celibate or have to risk having kids. It just doesn’t make sense to me. There are obvious options here, but other than celibacy or risking your wife’s life, technically nothing is in line with church teaching. Unfortunately that is the reality of the situation.


#6

[quote="Scott_D, post:4, topic:211507"]
We were actually using NFP but we've had a problem with her cycles. Over the last 25 years she's been predictable. Now that she is pre-menopause, sometimes its 19 days, sometimes its 33.

[/quote]

Are you seeing an instructor? NFP is designed to handle this kind of inconsistency if it is applied correctly.


#7

Which method of natural family planning do you use? Sympto-Thermal? Creighton? Billings?

What you are describing sounds a lot like calendar rhythm if you are basing it on “predicting” the cycle.

Modern methods of Natural Family Planning use the observation of actual fertility each day, there isn’t any “predicting” and it doesn’t matter how short or long the cycle is.

In 25 years, NFP has come a long way. I suggest you get with an instructor regarding instruction on dealing with menopause.


#8

[quote="bingbang, post:5, topic:211507"]
This is the problem with NFP. If the woman has a cycle that isn't normal I guess you just have to be celibate or have to risk having kids.

[/quote]

The term celibate refers to a person who does not marry.

I believe you are looking for the term abstinent.

And, no a cycle that "isn't normal" isn't a problem with NFP at all. No woman has a "normal' cycle as there isn't any such thing.


#9

the experts:

popepaulvi.com/

ncbcenter.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=183


#10

[quote="Scott_D, post:1, topic:211507"]
My wife and I have 6 kids. She is 49 and has been told that another pregnancy would be a "death sentence." She recently was pregnant and then miscarried. She is in pre-menopause as well. She was told by a deacon that we could be active sexually without me climaxing, but stopping beforehand. Not to be lewd, but we were engaged in foreplay, which led to her climaxing, but we stopped there. What exactly is Church teaching on this. Are we in the state of mortal sin now?

Thanks brothers and sisters

[/quote]

...what you are speaking about is a grave matter for mortal sin...


#11

My NFP instructors told us that in addition to the regular NFP series of classes, there is also one for premenopausal couples and for postpartum return of fertility. Those periods of a woman's life are notoriously unpredictable, but the Sympto-Thermal method of observing the fertility are supposed to tell you when your wife is not fertile. So you could look into taking that class at your parish.
About the contact between the two of you during her fertile times when you must abstain, so you can avoid a potential dangerous pregnancy...I think cuddling, kissing, caressing is all not only acceptable, but encouraged. But seeking sexual gratification outside of the marital act is not licit, whether for the husband or the wife. Now, of course, if you are intending to have intercourse but get interrupted, so that the act cannot be completed, that is not sinful, that is just life! :)

This is what I was informed, when I started to inquire about these things. My priest gave me a book by Christopher West and I also learned a lot from my NFP instructors and my new Catholic friends who were willing to be open about these matters.

By the way, I think it is sweet that you are willing to find ways to better love your wife even while she is going through the change of life. This is a challenging time, but focusing upon how to enjoy each other in a way that is pleasing to God is a surefire way to keep the romance alive. ;)


#12

[quote="fermat, post:2, topic:211507"]
The teaching of the church is that you should limit yourselves if you are not intending to bring the marital act to its natural conclusion. My wife and are in the same boat and spent a year or so coming to grips with what was considered too far. We went from an 'anything goes as long as we don't starting making love and stopping before we completed the act' to 'lets respect these boundaries'. When she is fertile, we make out like two teenagers in the back of a car (lots of kissing, waist up touching). When she is not fertile, we make up for lost time, so to speak. Our love life has never been better, praise be to God. Our dedication to the church by using NFP has its rewards.

You are not in the state of mortal sin because you didn't know what you was doing was wrong. You would still benefit from going to confession. Now you know it is wrong, so I would sit down with your wife and do some game planning.

I'll keep you in my prayers!

[/quote]

Wait, why does he have to go to confession? What in his post is considered sinful? I honestly did not see anything.


#13

[quote="Scott_D, post:1, topic:211507"]
She was told by a deacon that we could be active sexually without me climaxing, but stopping beforehand.

[/quote]

The deacon wasn't talking about coitus interruptus? Even if you neglect moral permissibility considerations, coitus interruptus has a 18-19% failure rate as a method of birth control, under typical conditions. Even if this deacon was talking about heavy petting without any climax...oh, for crying out loud, how long have you been married? He has to be out of his mind. It would be less frustrating to live as brother and sister.

According to physicians I have talked to, pre-menopause can go on for ten years, sometimes more, before true menopause occurs. I don't think that any man, and particularly not one who's been married long enough to the same woman to be the father of her six children, is going to do very well with the frustration of having foreplay without climax for that length of time. Forget whether it's allowed or not: That is not going to work!

I think you'd be better off talking to an NFP instructor who has kept up with their training. You need the best information available.


#14

[quote="1ke, post:7, topic:211507"]
Which method of natural family planning do you use? Sympto-Thermal? Creighton? Billings?

What you are describing sounds a lot like calendar rhythm if you are basing it on "predicting" the cycle.

Modern methods of Natural Family Planning use the observation of actual fertility each day, there isn't any "predicting" and it doesn't matter how short or long the cycle is.

In 25 years, NFP has come a long way. I suggest you get with an instructor regarding instruction on dealing with menopause.

[/quote]

We took an NFP class a few years ago. Before that we just threw caution to the wind. I guess that's why we have 6 kids between the ages of 4 and 14. Honestly though, I had an extremely hard time understanding the entire process. I don't remember which method we used. I must ask the queen...


#15

The Kippleys have a good article on married sexual ethics.

marysremnant.org/News/Archives/MaritalSexuality.html


#16

[quote="BlueShadow123, post:12, topic:211507"]
Wait, why does he have to go to confession? What in his post is considered sinful? I honestly did not see anything.

[/quote]

Going to confession is always a good idea when someone runs into this situation. The OP knew enough to know that what was going on wasn't quite right, enough so to seek out opinions. Just because it wasn't a moral sin doesn't mean it wasn't a sin at all. Strictly speaking, this would not require confession, but it is never a bad idea.


#17

[quote="Scott_D, post:1, topic:211507"]
My wife and I have 6 kids. She is 49 and has been told that another pregnancy would be a "death sentence." She recently was pregnant and then miscarried. She is in pre-menopause as well. She was told by a deacon that we could be active sexually without me climaxing, but stopping beforehand. Not to be lewd, but we were engaged in foreplay, which led to her climaxing, but we stopped there. What exactly is Church teaching on this. Are we in the state of mortal sin now?

Thanks brothers and sisters

[/quote]

I'll ask for your pardon for making this sound well, crude but I think it's the best way to illustrate the point....

Why not just pull out before you finish the deed?

Gen 38:8 Juda, therefore, said to Onan his son: Go in to thy brother's wife and marry her, that thou mayst raise seed to thy brother.
Gen 38:9 He knowing that the children should not be his, when he went in to his brother's wife, he spilled his seed upon the ground, lest children should be born in his brother's name.
Gen 38:10 And therefore the Lord slew him, because he did a detestable thing:

I'm not sure this Deacon's advice sounds any better than Onan's idea off hand. Maybe somehow he knoows something I don't, that's certainly possible. But to me, I'm seeing this more in light of being a contraceptive act.


#18

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