People often ask this:
According to the Catholic Church you are only supposed to act out your sexuality in marriage (and then only in certain accepted ways). But people have sexuality before being married. Are people just supposed to be non-sexual before marriage (or just supress all sexuality until being married)?

As I am no specialist on Catholicism I have no good answer. How does the Catholic Church answer this question?


People are supposed to be *chaste *before marriage, as proper to their single state.

Of course, people are also called to be chaste *in *marriage, as proper to their married state.

Chastity is a virtue to be cultivated by all the faithful.


yes, but how does being chaste differ from suppressing ones sexuality? Cause sexuality is there even before marriage.


Interesting little tidbit; the reason that people have so much trouble “suppressing” their sexual urges in our modern society is that everything has been sexualized. You see sexual images when you go shopping for food, or to the mall; you women wear sexualized clothing, and sex is prevalent in pretty much all forms of media. This isn’t even touching on the internet and the easy availability of hardcore pornography that’s almost impossible to avoid nowadays.

If you remove all of this external stimulation, “suppressing” your sexuality doesn’t even seem necessary. You might feel sexual urges, but they are not overwhelming forces that have to be dealt with, it’s just there, in the background, like many other urges we experience throughout our lives.

Sexuality and sexual urges do exist prior to marriage, but experiencing an urge does not give you license to indulge in that urge. I might feel the urge to take a baseball bat to the car of someone who cuts me off in traffic, but if I do it there will be consequences. Similarly, if we give in to our sexual urges, there will also be consequences. We are not base animals, and we are not supposed to let our urges dominate us. That’s certainly become difficult in our world, where hardcore pornography is the normal and the sexual act is treated with such disrespect, and presented so prominently in everyday media; but just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean we have an excuse for not living up to God’s Laws.


It doesn’t differ, in many respects. Off the top of my head, one might say that a person isn’t suppressing his sexuality but is instead redirecting those energies.

Just as one represses gluttony, or greed, avarice, sloth, and the others. We tend to put a special emphasis on lust/sexuality for some reason, as if it’s worse than the others. Which, now that I think of it, it might not be. Masturbation, for example, will hurt you spiritually but not physically. Gluttony, on the other hand, is a sin that could also lead to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and a host of other chronic diseases.

“Joe was a good family man, but he couldn’t resist that one last double bacon ranch cheeseburger. Now he’s dead, committed the sin of gluttony, and hadn’t been to Confession, so he’s on his way to eternal damnation and his wife and kids are without him,” seems worse than “Joe couldn’t maintain a chaste lifestyle.”



The Church does not ask you to be asexual, or to be a euneuch. What the Church asks is that you live human sexuality–in and out of marriage–chastely. Depending on your state in life, chastity will take on different forms. As a married person, I can express my sexuality in the obvious physical ways with my wife. As a single person you cannot. But we are both called to respect God’s law, to see and love others with respect, and follow God even when temptes to sin.


You should suppress what is sinful and carefully and prudently live what is not. Your sexuality is less about who you want to kiss and more about your maleness or femaleness, depending whether you are a man or woman. If you are a man, be a manly man. If you are a woman, be really feminine. Be a woman. That is how you live your sexuality. Reducing your sexuality, if you are male, to intercourse with girls is a hideous reductivism that denies all of the beauty of being male, which is way bigger than just intercourse. Consider growing in the manly human virtues like fortitude and perseverence. Learn chivalry. Appreciate and know how you and I are so different from women. Learn to love feminity, not just carnality (that one is subtle but easy to learn), and look for it in the women you encounter. In other words, learn to be a man.


You use sexuality, and sexual acts, synomously. Avoid doing that and the Catholic teaching may make more sense.


Essentially this question, like so many questions asked about Catholicism, presupposes an entirely secular point of view, and asks the Church to explain Herself in entirely secular terms, in a way that might make sense without conversion and without any knowledge of heavenly things.

If you really want to understand the Church’s teaching on sexuality, morality, faith, salvation, etc. then you must delve into spiritual things, give up your secular presuppositions, and understand from a heavenly point of view, not an earthly one.

To find the answers to your questions, you must walk a path toward Heaven with Christ.


There are ways to express masculinity and femininity outside of sex. Sex is just one small way.

This is 100% correct. Sexual acts are not the only way to live out the authentic masculinity and femininity which God gave us. Authenticity does not mean suppressing anything but being what you were created to be.

St. Pope John Paul II addressed this issue directly in Theology of the Body.



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