Understanding of wife in marital act


** I apologize for any bluntness in this question, but I want to make sure I am understanding the teaching correctly. Some of which is entirely a new discovery to me despite being a cradle Catholic. **

I have been reading various posts on this forum and have had my eyes opened to some things regarding sex and Catholic beliefs that I really did not realize before. I had heard of Christopher West’s book in the past, but am now very interested in reading it since I have realized that there is so much more I can learn from it.

My specific question is in regards to some of the information I’ve seen regarding the wife’s climax. With the caveats that the couple is married, sex is completed as intended with the husband inside his wife, and this is all done within the confines of of an act intended to end that way (i.e. not just something for the pleasure of the other outside of the unitive, procreative marital intercourse) is the following a correct understanding of the Catholic teaching :
*]The woman can climax before (by touch/oral stimulation), during, or after (by touch/oral stimulation) sex although the ideal would be for mutual climax during intercourse
*]Touch/oral stimulation during foreplay is fine as long as the man does not climax (the woman can)
*]Sex is not complete until the man climaxes inside his wife
*]It is not sinful if the act is completed properly and if the woman does not climax at all before/during/after (although it is desirable for her to do so)


Based on what I've heard and read your assessment is correct


I agree. A good reference is Catholic Sexual Ethics by Lawler, Boyle, and May. Also, Living a Christian Life, Vol 2 by Grisez. Lawler in particuar spells out more or less what you said. One can get pretty technical and scrupulous with this line of thinking, which is harmful to the marriage in the end, IMO. Of course we don't want to sin, but over-analyzing every encounter can lead to other problems. Since many women cannot easily achieve orgasm via intercourse alone, it's not only permissible, but good for a husband to do whatever is helpful for his wife share that pleasure in the context of their union. (I think JP II said that in one of his encyclicals; someone else here can probably confirm/identify.) Another way to think of it is that "sexual intercourse" broadly speaking includes any and all foreplay, the "marital act" itself, and any "afterplay". While the husband may only have an orgasm during the marital act, the wife may at any time (even multiple times) throughout the intercourse.

A related question is whether it is permissible for the wife to have an orgasm during physical/sexual affection outside the context of the marital act. If a couple is intending to, or even open to the marital act (i.e. there is no reason they are abstaining) then I think it's o.k. if the wife has an orgasm even if the act is interrupted and not completed (a baby wakes up and needs attention, etc.). However, if the couple is abstaining but wants to express their love physically without a complete act, as I understand it, it's not permissible for the wife (or the husband obviously) to have an orgasm.

My wife and I are trying to find our way in what can be a very difficult challenge. In periods of long abstinence, it's sometimes best to just stay apart - no hugging or kissing or even touching really - in order not to start something we can't finish. Other times, it's just too emotionally harmful to be apart, and we do express physical affection to varying degrees in order to build each other up emotionally. This is harder physically - i.e. it's harder to stop in the middle of what naturally is one continuous act - but easier emotionally. As converts from protestantism, it's weird to be married (for 19 years and with 8 kids) and feel like we're engaged again and we have to be careful not to work each other up too much. But as far as we can tell, that's how it's supposed to be.



I understand it the same way.


This is what I have always understood, and upon reading into the forums I think you are correct.

Try not to read into it too much, though!

Sounds like your heart is in the right place.


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