Sexual theology

Just wondering something. If it’s nonsense or irreverent, or if there’s another thread or book that already tackles the subject, let me know.

On another thread I read something from ProdglArchitect about unification between husband and wife: “This takes places primarily on the wedding night, and is reinforced and reenacted every subsequent time you and your spouse have sex.”

And this directly reminded me of our theology of Christ’s sacrifice and the Eucharist.
He sacrificed himself once, and this act is re-presented every time we celebrate Eucharist.

I realized more symmetry:
The sacrifice of Jesus was initiated by the banquet of the Last Supper, the first Eucharist. Likewise, the ceremony of the wedding is initiated by a banquet. Both contain a very clear promise.

The physical reality of the sacrifice was enacted by the bodily sacrifice of Jesus Christ;
the physical reality of the marriage is enacted by the consummation of the couple.

The Eucharist creates communion within our Church;
the sexual act creates communion between a married couple.

On the cross, the Church was born - so many people say;
the marital act is the only possible event where a soul can be born.

There are reasons to abstain from the Eucharist if man is not worthy to receive;
there are reasons to abstain from sexuality if you are not capable of supporting the fruit.

The Eucharist is a mystery that you can only enter after being properly instructed and initiated;
the sexual act is a mystery that you can only enter after a valid marriage and valid intentions.

The Eucharist is subject to a lot of irreverence and misunderstanding;
the same goes for the sexual act.

I like the physicality of our catholic faith: Word becomes flesh, God chooses earthly vessels to “contain” his Heavenly presence. (The Church, the Sacraments, Bread and Wine, priests) All corporeal things that do not only symbolize something heavenly, but in which the heavenly exists. I really am in awe of how a divinely centered sexual act also vibrates this same meaning. The act, that lots of people call so material, in fact allows God to create a soul from heaven into an earthly body.

I’m just saw in awe of this miracle of creation that I can’t believe and can’t stop at “Oh, it’s just for fun and lust.” There must be a very divine, theological, spiritual base for it. Not just on the ‘we feel like heaven’-level, but in this deep sacramental level.

It would greatly help my own sense of marriage and Eucharist if someone can help me clarify if I’m correct or not in this line of thinking.

You’re too obsessed with sex…but you can take this up with your confessor!

I’m glad, albeit surprised, to see my post invoking so much in you. ^^

I have two words for you friend: Humanae Vitae.

It’s a dense read, there are several books that discuss it “for beginners,” to help people get used to the language and terms used in it. It is probably the greatest single treatment on Human Sexuality that has ever been, or will ever be, written. The Theology of the Body Institute has a lot of information about it. If you are truly interested in understanding the beauty of human sexuality, I highly suggest looking into this work.

TrueToFaith: Seeking to have a complete understanding of human sexuality and the part it should play in our lives isn’t a bad thing, as long as it’s ultimately directed towards God.

Yes, there is a theological (of sorts) basis for sex: It’s needed for procreation, and if it weren’t pleasurable people would not want to indulge in it. I know marriage is a sacrament, however remember to keep sex in its proper place. Jesus did say that to be celibate and chaste and dedicate oneself to God is a higher and more spiritual calling than marriage and sex. And many pastors encourage older adults past childbearing years to refrain from sexual activity if they can. Sex has it’s good points, but like other things, if over-indulged, the good turns to bad. Should lust enter the picture, you know you’ve gone down the wrong path.

Sorry, but I don’t think this is in keeping with Catholic theology. The procreative aspects of sex are important, and should be a primary consideration, but to say that people who can’t conceive anymore should refrain from sex ignores the important unitive aspects of the act. If a priest is telling people not to have sex just because they’re past normal child bearing years, he’s telling them to reject one of the greatest and most unifying gifts of the marital bond.

Agreed. I’ve also never known a priest to hold that viewpoint.

Well, that wasn’t very charitable :tsktsk:

You misunderstand. He’s not telling them to refrain; he’s saying they can better work on their spiritual life IF they refrain. There is nothing wrong with *not *refraining as long as love does not become lust. After all, the purpose of sex is the propagation of the human race, not fun. Couples in their 50s and up cannot have children (almost always).

I know many, many priests who hold that viewpoint, but they are very advanced in their thinking. I know married couples who refrain, or at least say they do, and I have no reason to doubt them. Many of the older couples in our Benedictine Oblate group say they have given up sex to work more fully on their spiritual life, and one can make greater advances spiritually when one refrains from sex and other physical pleasures.


Working on one’s spiritual life and intimacy are not necessarily tied together.
Both can be done independently as well as concurrently.
Marital Union

*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” (Gaudium et Spes 49 § 2). 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 (Pius XII, Discourse, October 29, 1951).

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. The conjugal love of man and woman thus stands under the twofold obligation of fidelity and fecundity.*

I agree, he or she wasn’t being very charitable, but I wasn’t going to chide anyone for it.

Sex is a part of marriage - a good part as long as it doesn’t become lust - and it’s purpose is the propagation of the human race.

I did think the OP went a little far in his analogies, though. In our eternal life, we will have no spouse, so comparisons of sexual union to our union with God are more than a little off-base.

A catechist, of all people, once told me I should not say that we will have no spouse in our eternal life. Good grief, she should not be a catechist! I didn’t just pull it out of thin air. Christ himself said it. It’s recorded in the Gospels.

I see no logical way that properly ordered sexuality would be a hindrance to a person’s spiritual development. Quite the contrary, to deny such an important part of the vocation of marriage would be contrary to the very nature of the sacrament. If a person no longer has the drive, that is one thing; or if they chose, together, to offer their self-denial as penance, then I could see it being beneficial. Outside of that, simply not having sex really does nothing but give you an extra couple of hours to pray that would have otherwise been spent on a perfectly legitimate form of intimacy. That’s certainly not a bad thing, but it’s not really enough of an impact to make a significant difference.

Practicing periods of abstinence teaches the partners to be more selfless.

Quite true, and if that’s what the priest is suggesting that’s one thing; but to suggest complete abstinence for the rest of their marriage is, well honestly it seems very un-Catholic; barring some grave necessity, of course.

No, no, not complete abstinence. I know older couples who do practice complete abstinence, but that is a mutual choice. A priest did not suggest that as far as I know.

My fault for not explaining fully. Apologies.

That makes a lot more sense. Ah the misunderstandings the loss of a one or two words can cause XD

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