Sexual Sin in My Marriage


#1

Hi. I apologize for dropping in here with heavy questions straight away, but I really need some advice and truly don’t know where else to turn.

My situation is this: My husband and I have been married for 12 years and have 6 kids. One of those kids has a serious medical condition that requires a lot of us – emotionally, physically, and financially. My husband is a Catholic convert and a great dad. He loves every one of our kids more than life itself.

The difficulty is that, when our daughter’s medical condition was diagnosed about 3 years ago, it was a real shaking of faith for my husband. He wonders why God does these things to little children and families who are trying to be faithful. I gave him all the typical answers I know (I’ve been Catholic all my life and know what people say – God doesn’t give us more than we can handle; God gives us the grace we need for every challenge; He allows evil for our own good in the long run, etc.). But he doesn’t buy it and has grown increasingly bitter and cynical. He still goes to Mass weekly and confession too sometimes, but I don’t think he has much of a spiritual life beyond that.

The real problem began when my husband decided we should not have more children (bc of the medical problems). I was okay with that and was willing to use NFP. But he doesn’t trust NFP (we got pg 4 times “by accident” while using it) and insisted upon using condoms. He knows all of the Church’s teaching on contraception inside and out, but believes it doesn’t apply to us for some reason that he has twisted around in his brain but I am unable to articulate myself. I fought him and we argued all the time for months. It was a devastating time in my marriage. I thought that maybe I would have to stop having sex with him altogether because of his insistence on contraception.

Finally, under the advice of a priest whom I trust (I think), I made clear to my husband that I was not agreeing with his use of condoms but that I would not refuse him sex either. It was his choice. And then, like magic, my marriage was 1000x improved it seemed. But not really, of course. I was reminded of the distance between us every time we were intimate. And I am now afraid that my “consent” to his first sin has led to other skewed ideas about sex.

Lately, my husband has been saying that we need to “spice up” things in the bedroom. He deliberately seeks out movies (not pornography, but R-rated) that he thinks will be “fun” and “sexy” for us to watch. I am not comfortable with this. He also has been asking me and (almost) pressuring me for anal sex. I have no desire for this and can’t understand his. I don’t even know the moral implications of such an act, but I feel sad and confused in our sexual relationship at the very suggestion.

I wish I had a pastor I could talk to about these things, but it’s all horribly embarrassing. On the outside, we look like a beautiful Catholic family. But on the inside, I feel like sin has creeped in, has claimed my husband, and now wants me too. What’s more, my husband has done some work for the diocese and knows many priests (esp the “good” ones) quite well. He would be seriously angry with me if I shared intimate details about our marriage or his behavior with these priests. And I can understand that.

I am at a loss, though, for how to handle what has become an increasingly difficult situation. How culpable am I for going along with any of my husband’s behaviors? Is any of this a mortal sin for me? What should I say in confession? How can I be a good wife and maintain harmony in my marriage but also challenge my husband’s disordered behavior?

Thank you for any advice you can offer.


#2

That first priest was right- it is not your sin that your husband is using condoms, and if it is for the sake of your marriage you may still participate in the marital embrace as long as you did make it clear you don’t consent or agree with his use of condoms.

As far as the other behaviors your husband is becoming attracted to, it should go without saying that you don’t have to participate in these activities if they make you uncomfortable, and if there is pressure on your part to do so, it is not your sin, certainly not mortal. Remember the 3 conditions needed for a sin to be mortal. My suspicion is that your husband may be attracted to these things as a result of his rejecting the Church’s teachings on sexuality, which has opened up the door for other deviant behaviors, if that makes sense. However, I am not your husband’s spiritual director, so I certainly am not trying to make a judgment about his motives or actions over an internet forum.

I would try talking with your husband again about these things, outside the bedroom, and let him know how much it bothers you. And of course, pray pray PRAY for him. Pray to St. Rita of Cascia, and St. Monica, to intercede for you as well.

You and your family are in my prayers.


#3

Finally, under the advice of a priest whom I trust (I think), I made clear to my husband that I was not agreeing with his use of condoms but that I would not refuse him sex either. It was his choice. And then, like magic, my marriage was 1000x improved it seemed. But not really, of course. I was reminded of the distance between us every time we were intimate. And I am now afraid that my “consent” to his first sin has led to other skewed ideas about sex. “quote”

This is where I would start the conversation with him. Men want their wife to be “engaged” during love making. My husband struggled with my “disengagement” when we were contracepting, feeling used is not love. It could be a first step. Prayer is most helpful. God Bless


#4

It’s good to “spice things up” in the bedroom but dirty movies and (or) porn have no place in a christian marriage. Also, he should not be pressuring you into doing anything that you are not comfortable with.

I must me honest here. Oral sex is one thing… But to me, there is something evil (and even unhealthy) about anal sex. It’s odd that the church would ban the use of condoms in disease riddled Africa yet anal sex is permissible as long as the act ends in a manner that is open to new life. This seems like twisted logic to me.

Keep a cool head and speak with him in an honest and open fashion… sort of like you are doing here on these forums. Let him know what’s in your heart on these issues.
:wink:


#5

Ok first of all, whoever said that it’s all the man’s fault for using condoms? If you really believe it is a sin, and you really love your husband, wouldn’t you refuse him sex because otherwise you are agreeing to his sinning? I just really think that priest was wrong on that subject. You have to be able to take a stand on subjects like this, even to your spouse.

As far as everything else, you are definitely right. Your husband has gone way too far. One thing that stood out to me was the “spicing it up” part. I could be completely wrong here, but it sounds to me like perhaps he has a pornography problem. I know you probably think you would know if he did, but those things you mentioned him trying to do and wanting from you really send me red flags as someone who might have a pornography problem. I would consider that.

But as to what to do…frankly I think you have to pretty blunt on this issue. Tell him no more condoms, no more “sexy” movies, and definitely no anal sex, and tell him that he will not get any sex until he agrees to this. I know that’s harsh and perhaps it will damage your marriage, but by simply disagreeing but not refusing his actions, you are just assisting him in sin and helping him damage his soul. I think that is sinful.

Now I realize that perhaps the underlying cause is the shaking of his Faith and that ultimately might be what has to be dealt with, but in the meantime stop allowing him to damage his soul out of fear for your relationship.


#6

One thing, the idea “God never gives us more than we can handle” is from maybe a movie or a hallmark card, it is not in Scripture. We are many times given more than we can handle, in fact, there is nothing in life we can handle - we need to rely on God, to lean on our brothers and sisters both in our homes (our blood family), in heaven (the Saints) and most forgotten in the Church (our huge worldwide Catholic family).

The Scripture that gets twisted into this is 1 Cor 10:13

“13* No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Perhaps going back to this verse (read the entire passage) do some serious study on the Catholic meaning of suffering with your husband?

Back to leaning our our bretheren, is your husband involved beyond Mass? Is he in the K of C or a men’s study group at the Parish? Encourage him to join. If there is an adult study class you can take as a couple, do that. Find a way to become closer to your Catholic community.

Lastly, Retrouvaille.org - schedule the next retreat!


#7

DO NOT consent to anal sex…yuck!!! Go to a Catholic counselor…we have them around us…just google one…maybe you have one around you…they are lay people so it won’t be so embarrassing …You’re husband has lost his faith and when that happens, one turns to immoral things…he needs to get it back…talk to him about the counselor…God bless you.


#8

The priest was accurately relaying the official Catholic teaching on the matter. Whether that teaching is right or wrong is another question altogether.


#9

The priest is right, it’s not sinful in any way for you to have sex with your husband if he uses condoms. It is his choice, you are not the one using contraception.

About talking to a priest, what about going to a different parish where the priests will not know your husband to talk about these issues?

About anal sex, I know the Church teaches that the climax has to happen in the appropriate spot, I don’t know if it would say whether that can be used as foreplay (oral sex for instance can be used as foreplay). But that said, ew. If you find this disgusting, you need to make it clear to your husband that it’s unfair of him to expect you to do something that disgusts you. Presumably he would not want you to do anal sex to him with a fake penis even if you really wanted to.

This is beyond what is moral and what’s not, if one of the partners is really uncomfortable with a particular sexual practice, the other one should respect that and not pressure.

Tell him to think of some things he wants that don’t make you feel so bad.

(Who thought of anal sex anyway, this to me is disgusting beyond belief. I bet it was invented by particularly twisted people and spread to normal people through pornography who now somehow think this is the way things should be.)


#10

You need to set a boundaries within your life and marriage. There needs to be things that are acceptable to you, and things that are not.

If these type of sex acts are outside your boundaries, you need the ability to say No. You can say no in a loving, caring fashion - but you still need the ability to say no.

Your husband seems like an extraordinarily selfish person - both self-centered and arrogant. Lust is at the core of all sexual sin - but pride is the root of all sin.

When you are dealing with a selfish person, you ultimately need the ability to simply say No to them. This is what you need to do with him.

Quite honestly, you should say no to him, if he wants to use condoms, porn, sodomy, or any other illicit sex item or act. Set the boundary, and if he crosses it, say No.

There was a book about Boundaries in Marriage published by two authors, Cloud and Townsend. You may want to pick up a copy. It addresses situations similar to this.

Just. Say. No.


#11

Actually if you read Christopher West and others, anal is ok if used as foreplay… NO I’m not saying I agree, just saying that it’s not a “sin.”

The important thing is that you have to be comfortable with it… if you aren’t then he shouldn’t pressure you into it.

As far as spicing things up, if a movie is sexy and loving that is one thing. I believe your husband is a little confused on what usually, at least from my standpoint, gets moms in “the mood.” My suggestion if he really wants to spice things up, so that you guys have TIME and can explore, would be to do the dishes, a few extra chores around the house so you didn’t have to do them then a nice bottle of wine and a romantic movie. When someone has tons of stuff on their mind and plate (which you do with that many children) raw sex, porno or not, isn’t going to be a turn on IMHO.

Again the time together is what is important, you may find different things you like or don’t…

In regards to the condoms the priest is right, it has been discussed on this board too many times to mention. Do a search on the ask an apologist section as well.

Joe


#12

Not quite. More like “there’s no official catholic teaching that declares it sinful.” That’s different from saying it’s either OK or it positively IS a sin. There just isn’t authoritative teaching yet. Many theologians argue that in the absence of explicit guidance, there is liberty. But that isn’t necessarily so. For centuries we lacked specific guidance on slavery, but hindsight sure makes me wonder what took so long. Same thing here - yuck!

Perhaps the OP should consider trying to discuss with the husband the disconnection she is feeling. Perhaps it would help her if he consented to use NFP and abstain during fertile times if she refrained from objecting to whatever additional measures he takes (presumably condoms) during the unfertile times. She would not be actively participating in his sin, but would also possibly feel less used since he was agreeing to make the sacrifice of “instant availability” for the sake of the marriage. An idea anyways.

Blunt / Crude warning!
And something does seem amiss here. You don’t just suddenly start to desire anal without outside input (porn perhaps?). Silly question, you’ve ruled out misunderstanding right? He’s not just interested in, ahem, alternative natural positions??


#13

Honey, don’t do it. It hurts, it’s messy, and it’s just not supposed to go there!

Your story sounds similar to mine earlier in my marriage. Hubby and I did more than what was morally acceptable: we watched porn together, we experimented with anal play, and uh … having him “finish” in or on places where it’s not supposed to go. That type of experimentation only harmed our relationship. “Openmindedness” in marriage is only a cover for selfish, immoral acts that harm instead of heal.

Don’t cave like I did. He may pull out the old high school excuse of “If you love me you will” or something along those lines. Forcing or coercing or guilt-tripping is not loving either.


#14

I would also imagine that there are health implications here. Also, as far as I know, animals don’t even engage in this.
:shrug:


#15

I am experiencing the exact same thing. My husband has a problem with pornography. He is very honest about it and has not tried to deny it. We go to confession together on a regular basis, but he is struggling with the abstinance part of NFP.

After about 5 days, he starts to get very very grumpy. He begs me for oral and anal sex, or for condoms. I am ashamed to say that I have given in to oral at times. When I told him I wouldn’t refuse sex with him even with a condom, but that I would not be happy about it, he said what he really wants is anal. He said that I am being selfish and he just wants to love every part of me. I told him if he really loved me he wouldn’t ask to do something that A) is a sin and B) is something I don’t want. He says he doesn’t believe it is a sin, and that women who try it love it.

I love the Church and am greatly greived about my sin, and by being unable to receive communion. But I am also in marriage where my husband falls apart and becomes exteemly difficult if his sexual “needs” aren’t met.

I am praying on a regular basis for all couples in this situation, but it is so difficult to deal with because I feel so alone. I can’t talk to anyone about this because I am so ashamed.


#16

The difficulty is that, when our daughter’s medical condition was diagnosed about 3 years ago, it was a real shaking of faith for my husband. He wonders why God does these things to little children and families who are trying to be faithful. I gave him all the typical answers I know (I’ve been Catholic all my life and know what people say – God doesn’t give us more than we can handle; God gives us the grace we need for every challenge; He allows evil for our own good in the long run, etc.). But he doesn’t buy it and has grown increasingly bitter and cynical. He still goes to Mass weekly and confession too sometimes, but I don’t think he has much of a spiritual life beyond that.

There seems to be an emphasis here on the sexual stuff. I think the issue is having a child with a serious medical condition. I think such a thing can have a profound effect on intimacy issues of all kinds, including its expression in the bedroom. This is especially true when the situation is chronic (3 years is chronic). It wears on a person and a marriage. Been there, done that.

Your husband asks: Why do these things happen to little children? There are no answers to those kinds of questions. It is healthy to be angry, doubting, etc as the reality of the situation is worked through. However, if you don’t work through the grief of this situation and problem solve how to meet the needs of [also] the rest of the family cynicism is the result, which is not good for the child or the marriage. I think that pain is where the discussion with a clergy person should start… feelings about that, not sexual particulars. The sexual particulars can be discussed later if needed (try a married deacon).

The trick is to find a clergy member comfortable living with the unanswerable questions of life. Pat answers only indicate the discomfort of the clergy person with real life. Has nothing to do with God. Your husband has a right to be put off by that.

Also re: birth control. It is more complicated than yes or no to the rules. Jesus wasn’t much into rules that yoked people in ways that ultimately were destructive. But it is my opinion that the issues of porn and anal sex wouldn’t have come up if you guys had been able to realistically come to terms with your child’s illness and the impact on your intimacy and the family. Again, been there, done that… married 22 years.
Blessings


#17

I think the most easiest way to talk to you about this is to think of you as one of my girl friends. There are a lot of things you can do to spice up the marriage sexually without going anywhere near anal sex. Different positions, in a room besides your own (that has a lock), or some new lingere are great ways to spice it up. See if you can find someone to take the kids just for the late afternoon and early evening. Recall the days before children were about or how it was on your honeymoon. Just have fun but let your husband know that you are willing to experiment but not anally and without porn.

Above all pray to God for help, pray for your husband to become closer to God again and pray to God to give you strength.


#18

If this is true, I’ve just lost all respect for Christopher West. Please someone, tell me Christopher West doesn’t condone any part of sodomy. YUCK. I’m about to throw up. I cannot believe a man could ask this horrible, unhealthy, unnatural act of his wife. To the OP, I am all for wives submitting to their husbands (if their husbands are moral people), but this request is just evil. Look up the health problems that gay men have because of sodomy, and you will see why this is not a natural act. I also shudder to think of the health problems that would result in using it as “foreplay.” Yikes, you’d get all kinds of infections. Nausea has set in-- must leave this thread now…


#19

Christopher West, any other “theologian” even the pope himself has no business in the marital bedroom. Anal sex is by nature a perverted homosexual counterfeit for the most natural, beautiful, profound and intimate thing a man and woman can experience together. Anal sex comes from the pit of Hell.

Catholic writer Randy Engel’s 2006 book “The Rite of Sodomy Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church” illustrates that sodomy has been part in fabric of the Catholic Church for a very long time. It chronicles the history of homosexual subcultures from ancient times through the 20th century infiltration of church hierarchy by the Lavender Mafia.

False religion can never subdue the desires of the flesh.


#20

While I could believe that throughout History, a number of priests and monks with homosexual tendencies have fallen into sexual sin, I can assure you there is no “Rite.” That is the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever read. Protestant ministers with homosexual tendencies have fallen into this sin also (I watched one explain his sin in detail on Oprah last year)-- I would never try to claim that sodomy is part of their church rites. While I would not call a book that exposed priests’ sexual misconduct throughout the ages evil, I can say (without question) that trying to prove that sodomy is a condoned part of our religion is NUTS and straight from Satan. Our church doesn’t even allow for masturbation-- how could it have sodomy as part of its rites?? That’s truly the craziest thing I have ever read! I challenge you to start posting actual facts from that book… I am open to truth where ever I find it, so if you have some sort of truth, put it on here for us to see. I would never actually buy a book like that myself.

And about Christopher West, I will have to get his book myself before I believe that he condones sodomy (as part of “foreplay” or not). If anyone on here owns West’s books, please let me know if he mentions this type of behavior.


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