The man's right?


Rather odd title, no? Well, you can imagine my surprise when my mother said it! Lets set the scene…

My mother and I are a a Confirmation class which she leads…sorta. She pretty much just preaches to the kids, and gives them occasional life stories of hers. Anyway, as so often happens, the subject drifted to sex(can’t imagine why those darn kids are so intrested in it!) and this time, condoms.

“T’is a sin! A vile sin! Sexual intercourse is for procreation and procreation alone! Anything that prevents the conception of a child is allowing for deviancy!”

“So…never?” she asks.

“NEVER” I say

My mother then says

“That’s not true, say that if, ‘A woman shouldn’t have a child as it would be hazardous to her health?’”

"Well then I should hope the MAN would care enough about his WIFE to NOT HAVE SEX WITH HER!(I wasn’t shouting, I was just a little indignated)

“You can’t take that away from a man, it’s the mans right.”

Needless to say, I was flabbergasted. The man’s right? What is this, the 14th century? His RIGHT?

Words fail me at that, in my oppinion, blatant disregard for the woman’s feelings!

Now, I’m not married, and have never had sex, but is it THAT important?

Just seemed rather odd to me.


Within a marriage, both the husband and wife give themselves to each other totally… “The two shall become as one flesh” physically, emotionally and spiritually. That being said, if you know that you have a condition where it would be that dangerous to conceive and carry a child, the marital vocation may not be for you. If you don’t know it until after the wedding and consummation… I would find at least a second opinion if not a third or fourth. It would be extremely rare for this kind of condition to exist. But… if it did, the couple would be encouraged to practice NFP so she doesn’t conceive. If that were not possible, then I suppose that if they agreed to live chastely, that would be their option… or they could choose to try and hope for the best.

Marriage is a sacrament and a vocation. It is ordered for the survival of families and toward child rearing. But it is so much more than that… it is a calling to totally share yourself, a glimpse of heaven, and a submission of sorts…probably not the way you are thinking, but to totally die to self and concern yourself with the salvation of your spouse and children. Quite a responsibility! Sexual intercourse in a marriage is not only a man’s right, but a woman’s right too… People forget that all people desire to feel loved and cherished. In that respect your mother is correct. Intercourse is a gift that originated from God and meant to give to each other. The promotion of unity and the possibility of procreation together are very fulfilling and imho necessary in a marriage.


The natural reproductive cycle of a woman allows for both infertile and fertile days within her menstrual cycle. If a woman’s health were at risk, the couple could abstain during the fertile phase and still be able to have sex during the infertile phase.

Conjugal love serves two purposes within marriage… unitive and procreative. BOTH are important and cannot be separated…

Please read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (specifically this section) to learn the details of what the church teaches on this subject…

Here’s some useful quotes from the Catechism…

III. The Love of Husband and Wife

Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.

"Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death."143

    Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, "Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety." So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe. Tobias began by saying, "Blessed are you, O God of our fathers. . . . You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the race of mankind has sprung. You said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.' I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together." And they both said, "Amen, Amen." Then they went to sleep for the night.144

"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."145 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.146

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.


Wow. I’ll bet all the guys wish they were married to your mom!

I think your mom was raised in a different generation that didn’t appreciate that women had some rights too. And a man’s rights didn’t always take precedence.

And I’m not flaming feminist by any means.

No, it’s not that important. Unless your husband is the kind that will insist on it, and you have to convince yourself of it in order to keep the peace.


…and wasn’t there some rule a long time ago that in effect said that abandonment of the “marriage bed” was grounds for annulment…?

Agree with other posters here - they either practice NFP or abstain - but they must agree for the good of the marriage bond what is best for the union.


That all seems so sneaky and wrong!

And creepy…

Pleasure and enjoyment! Bah! Nay! Nay I say! For surely the Pain of Death follows the Pleasure of Life! No! Don’t bloody enjoy it, close you eyes and think of England! What happened to decency! I though surely the Catholic Church, the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH would have something strict and decent and good to say about that; Something FAR stricter than anything I could imagine, but NOOOoooo, there She is, siding with the hedonists!

:mad: I’m crawling back under my rock, call me when Rocky 12 debuts.

A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts, criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart.156

Ha! You can only use it for spacing births, not preventing them altogether! :extrahappy:


I think you might be allowed to use NFP to prevent subsequent births altogether if it has been determined that Mom will most certainly die (due to things like rare heart conditions, and the like). Certainly not contraception or sterilization, though! Those are always evil, for sure.


An annulment, more properly a Declaration of Nullity, is a declaration that there was no sacramental marriage at the time of the ceremony. It must be based on conditions existing at that time. Events after the ceremony are significant only in so far as they go to prove conditions which existed at the time of the ceremony.


Suggestion - your mother needs to be aware of Church teaching and be passing that on to the class. Maybe a copy of Theology of the Body for Teens or West’s “Good News about Sex and Marriage” would be great for your mom.

Are you an adult or still at home - it could be akward to be in your position, but, I would advise suggesting she talk with the Priest or DRE about this.

Prayers for you!


My teen said she thinks it’s a bad idea for any teacher to ever say that in a classroom setting, and it sends the wrong message to kids.


Granted I haven’t exactly been married forever, but I tend to think sex is a sympthom issue. People aren’t unhappy because they aren’t having sex, they are aren’t having sex because something is wrong in the relationship. I don’t think either spouse has a right to demand sex, but again when a relationship is healthy you don’t have to “demand” it. As for health risks, while I would certainly miss being able to express love for my wife physically I would never ask her to risk her life for it. Whether your choice of birth control is NFP or technology there is no sure method.


amen to this! so true.


ahem. discreet interupting cough from the back row here…

There is a 3rd option, one that has been used for most of history.

Be willing to die for children before ever seeing them, even if at their birth, and leave to God.

Sex is not just sex. Or it shouldn’t be. It is also an extention of a higher love. And yes, a husband and a wife have a right to that from each other. If they are both willing to reduce or eliminate how often they exercise that right - that is perfectly fine and allowed by the Church. However, neither are required to do so.

I’m NOT saying a couple is wrong for using NFP or abstaining in such situations. However, it is never wrong to NOT use it. There is zero requirements to use NFP or abstain (outside of fasting days). It is never wrong for a married couple to be open to God using their love for one another to create life.

just another option to throw out there for consideration.

If your mother is telling these teens that NFP is not allowed - then she is wrong.

If either of you are telling these teens they must use NFP in a marriage - then you are both wrong.

If your mother is telling these teens that denying a spouse relations without being in agreement is bad for marriage and maybe truely wrong - then she is correct.


Incorrect. Procreative and unitive purpose is there. For procreation with disregard of the unitive aspect, sex appears to me to be wrong.

“That’s not true, say that if, ‘A woman shouldn’t have a child as it would be hazardous to her health?’”

NFP or abstinence. Artificial contraception is not allowed in such cases. Medical uses of contraception appear to be limited to the use of the to cure illnesses.

"Well then I should hope the MAN would care enough about his WIFE to NOT HAVE SEX WITH HER!(I wasn’t shouting, I was just a little indignated)

Rape is rape even in marriage. Coercion of sexual relations against the will of the other person is a grave sin and a criminal offence.

“You can’t take that away from a man, it’s the mans right.”

You can’t take the right to marital relations from any spouse arbitrarily. This is not a license to rape. This doesn’t mean the right to sex at request. This does mean a spouse cannot withhold it at whim, arbitrarily.

Needless to say, I was flabbergasted. The man’s right? What is this, the 14th century? His RIGHT?

The wife’s also.

Words fail me at that, in my oppinion, blatant disregard for the woman’s feelings!

What about disregard of the man’s feelings?

Now, I’m not married, and have never had sex, but is it THAT important?

Yes, and preclusion of sexual relations invalidates marriage.


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