When DH and I married we were completely sexually inexperienced, and very much in love. DH's education was pretty much a combination of Catholic do's and don't's, combined with whatever pornography he'd watched when he was struggling with that temptation. His understanding that failing to achieve procreative intercourse would constitute a mortal sin made him very anxious and caused a lot of sexual problems when we first married. I should point out that he realizes that UNINTENTIONAL failure wouldn't count as a mortal sin in terms of confession or his soul, but he is bothered by the idea that any such act in itself has the character of mortal sin, and is therefore horrific. We were planning on starting a family when we married, but it hasn't been possible. I feel like DH is trapped in a cycle of anxiety, insecurity, and guilt, and that Confession has made this worse, not better.
My initial approach was to be supportive and keep trying, but eventually I realized that this was becoming a stressful burden for me too. Priests have all been completely unhelpful (it almost seems as though they are worried about getting sued if they respond to questions about sex with anything other than "your sins are forgiven, go in peace"). I am a convert and I've had a hard time adjusting to Catholicism. I have become angry with the Church throughout this experience since I feel that perfectionism in conservative Catholic culture has both contributed to this problem, and made it hard to get help.
When DH saw a therapist, he recommended lots of relaxing non-sexual intimacy (i.e., cuddling) to reduce performance anxiety. But now it seems that DH is afraid to try anything else, and he's confessed that he's more turned on by the idea of non-procreative and kinky sex, even though he still believes these are mortally sinful. He seems really worried that he feels this way because he used to watch porn, so that he's somehow tainted or dirty, and that I'm too normal and well-adjusted for him. I don't think that's true; I think that thinking of procreative intercourse in terms of success and failure has made it a turn-off, whereas other activities don't clearly define failure or success, which makes them seem safe.
It's been years now and I don't really know where to go from here. Therapists don't seem to understand the Catholic dimension, and priests don't want to talk about the sexual dimension. The funny thing is that I don't really disagree with the Church's teachings; I just feel completely abandoned by the Church. I feel that DH would be fine if he had just never worried about any of this in the first place, or if he hadn't been trying so hard to follow all the rules. I've read in psychology journals that it's not uncommon for learning curves to initiate just this kind of vicious cycle in religious traditions that make a big a deal about requiring sex to be exclusively procreative, but I wouldn't know if anyone else I know has gone through this. Has anyone's marriage made it through this? What can I do?