Waiting until marriage for sex


Yes. They absolutely should. No sense of pudor or fear of “having impure thoughts” should keep such a conversation from taking place. You are preparing to get married. It’s very important to ensure that “everyone is on the same page” about this, and about everything. If there’s too much of a failure to have a “meeting of the minds” on matters in general, then perhaps this isn’t the person you should marry.

Not sure where you’re getting the first part of this. “Never” and all those “evers” are just part of Catholic sexual morality, and we need to recall the words of St Dominic Savio, “death before sin”. The end never justifies the means.

Ideally, both spouses should be virginal, should have conducted themselves chastely throughout all of their lives, and shouldn’t have a lot of preconceptions about “what sex should be like”. If you’ve developed a “taste” for things being this way, or that way, then perhaps it is part of the temporal punishment for mortal sin, to have to fear being out of sync with your future spouse. This said, people have different libidos and different senses of urgency, for lack of a better way to put it. It’s something that has to be discussed. I speak from my own experience. My wife and I discussed it to some extent, but not the extent we should have, and it made for some pretty considerable problems later on. Anything beyond this would be unchivalrous and entirely TMI, so I’ll leave it at that. Have the talk.

Nature rarely fails to provide the basic “things” that are needed for a couple to have a mutually fulfilling intimate life. Every couple is different. And there is a huge psychological factor.

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Intimacy is not just sexual, it’s also physical and emotional. Just reducing it all to “sexual compatibility” does not even come close to what intimacy is. It’s rather short sided to view it as just sex.


It’s the second part with which I take issue. If sex within marriage is such a wonderful thing, we shouldn’t get so uptight discussing it openly and within the right context. CAF is a “roomful” of Internet strangers and not the right context.

Ideally, both spouses should be virgins. But ideally, both spouses should be non-sinners. What can you do? If they’re not virgins, Confession is available to them - if they make the right choices, so is a bright future and wonderful marriage.


Usual disclosure: I’m not a believer. But I think most Catholics would agree that every one of our ancestors all the way back to the very first of our ancestors who practiced sexual reproduction have managed to be compatible enough to have sex. So the chances of it not working out at least to that level of success are pretty low.


A person’s sexual performance is something that can be worked on. You need to ask your spouse what their do’s and don’ts are; everyone is different. As you make love on a regular basis, you’ll learn what your partner likes and dislikes. You can even spice it up with different sexual fantasies. If a person is not into bondage, for instance, I don’t believe that one should force their partner to participate in that kind of sex.

Sex often produces babies and babies are best raised in a household that has a father and mother who are committed to each other for life. I don’t buy the idea that God’s standards are now irrelevant. If you spend your time defiling yourself, you will not have a deep relationship with God.

I thought that’s probably what you meant. I have no problem at all with discussing such subjects, here or anywhere else. In fact — since the difference between salvation and damnation, for so many people, hinges on their relation to sins of the flesh (and desiring sexual compatibility within marriage absolutely is no sin) — this part of life needs to be discussed, and discussed frankly. Many people have an issue with doing this.

One thing I’ve found in this 45±year journey throughout the Catholic world, is that on one level, the Catholic Faith presupposes ideal behavior. What I mean by this, is that when sin is committed, even if it is repented of, there are sometimes things that just can’t be undone. Let’s say, for instance, that someone is divorced. The estranged spouse is remarried. Reconciliation is impossible. That person seeks to become a Catholic. Their marriage is reviewed for possible invalidity. Bear in mind that non-Catholics are not bound by canonical form, and their marriages are presumed valid unless proven otherwise. The tribunal comes back and says we’re very sorry, but your marriage was valid, we can’t find sufficient proof of invalidity. You cannot remarry in the Church as long as your spouse is alive. You may become a Catholic, that’s fine, in fact, you should, but you are still married to your estranged spouse. The cost of discipleship isn’t always distributed evenly, and according to our human lights, it just doesn’t seem fair. We can only tell this unfortunate person that their reward in heaven will be greater, because their cross is heavier.

And so it is with bringing illicit sexual experience into a marriage. I do not mean this in any lewd sense, but there will always be the tendency to compare past lovers with one’s partner. What happens if sex with one’s spouse isn’t as gratifying as with one’s past lover or lovers? What if, compared with those lovers, your spouse “fails the test” entirely? How do you get past that? I don’t know. Some might say “love hides all faults”? Yes, but what if it doesn’t? I’d be a poor one to ask. I was a male virgin when I married.

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At the time I got married, I was agnostic, and my husband was a lapsed Catholic.About a year or so into marriage, we both felt a yearning to go back to church. He convinced me to try the local cathedral. I went to Mass, enrolled in RCIA, and the rest is history.

I’m all for encouraging abstinence before marriage. But I don’t think the pro-abstinence crowd is doing anyone any favors by hyperbolizing the long-lasting effects of premarital sex as though it’s PTSD. I’m fond of quoting St. Augustine: “There’s no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.” Go to Confession and get on with your life. Dwelling on past transgressions isn’t healthy for any person or their marriage.


Oh, so you’re advocating that we advocate committing mortal sins of sex before marriage or say it’s okay? I don’t think that is allowed on the forum, nor do I think it’s a good thing to advise people to do.

Nobody on this forum came up with the “no sex outside marriage” commandment. My understanding is that it’s the law of God. I’m not going to run around on a Catholic forum telling people to go break God’s law to see if they’re sexually compatible before marriage.

^^This is completely different from what you said in your earlier post.


I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I mean sure you might have had more experiences with different people, but I don’t think it makes you constantly think of that past gf or bf who was better in bed. It may just give you a better sense of what you like or don’t like in the bedroom and what you expect from your spouse in the bedroom. In that sense, it can be easier to determine compatibility. There is nothing wrong with having standards. Satisfaction of both spouses is important in a marriage

I don’t want to speak for him/her, but I think what Blackforest meant based on subsequent posts was not “sex before marriage is cool y’all” but rather “if someone does have sex before marriage, we shouldn’t view it as this uniquely unforgivable sin that makes them irrevocably damaged goods unworthy of love and marriage.”


And it is a “tendency” that some people might be able to get past. I can’t say. I’ve never been in those circumstances. Much better to be a “blank slate” in this regard, for one’s spouse to be likewise a “blank slate”, and only to know each other. That is God’s plan. When we act outside of God’s plan — in this matter or in any other matters — we invite problems into our lives.

(And yes, there are remarried widows and widowers. The loss of a spouse is involuntary, and I have to think that Our Lord can supply grace to get past any issues.)

Yes, that’s what their second post said. The first one made it sound like we were supposed to condone or excuse sex before marriage. Which of course we can’t do.


Being in a similar circumstance I can say it does not apply to me and I do not compare or dwell on past experiences. From a secular perspective it is only an opinion and not everyone will agree that it’s better to be a blank slate.

Allow me to clarify, before anyone snitches to a mod, that I DO NOT advocate sex before marriage.

You truncated my last sentence when you quoted it. I’m going to hope it wasn’t deliberate.

I am saying that if we advocate for abstinence, we cannot insist that sex is something we can never discuss openly and frankly in the post-marital context.

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And if you’ll noted, I hearted this post as in . . . . I agree with it. He probably just has a better way with words than I ever will.

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What I meant, was that it is God’s plan for both spouses, if never before married (i.e., widowed), both to come into the marriage as virgins. Fornication is a mortal sin and can never be “part of God’s plan”, because God does not desire that we ever sin. When one (or both) relinquish their virginity before they marry, they have squandered their ability to come into marriage as a pure, “blank slate”.

The secular world has no use for virginity, aside from conceding that it is a personal choice that some may make, if they wish (or — and I hate to bring this into it — it can be involuntary, in the case of “incels” both male and female who can’t find anybody). That is a far cry from affirming that premarital sex is a mortal sin.

This connects with the entire idea of testing “compatibility”… “Are we compatible? We need to know before committing!” Best response I’ve ever heard: “You’re a man, she’s a woman. You’re not compatible.”

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Isn’t this the story we often observe? A person seeking, ascertaining from experience that there is compatibility, finds no commitment, so repeats the search. Then after a few experiences like that, there may be marriage, but then one or both change and are unsatisfied. Then “its like you’re stuck”.

I’m going to speak to you as a woman who – with her husband – saved herself for marriage. Certainly, there are a lot of false promises people make to encourage couples to wait for marriage. There’s this tendency to idolize virginity, as if virginity were the virtue we are called to rather than to chastity.

What is chastity? It is the simple ability to govern your own sexual choices rather than to be enslaved by your sexual passions.

What we long for is to be desired and loved. But desire and love aren’t the same thing. Desire is being wanted. To be loved, is more rooted in our freedom than desire. To merely be desired can turn you into an object. You become useful in satisfying that desire. To be loved means not just that I desire you, but that I will what is good for you. I don’t make it all about me.

I won’t promise you that expectations of your sexual life won’t be disappointed once you’re married. A lot can complicate things in the marriage bedroom, but I don’t believe for one second that premarital sex saves you from that. There are plenty of people who complain that things changed in the bedroom, that they used to be sexually compatible but now their bedrooms are dead. This is quite common.

Waiting for marriage won’t save you from that, but the virtue of chastity – lived out in its day-by-day experience even in marriage (chastity isn’t abstinence. It is simply the ability to willfully choose the most loving action rather than being dominated by sexual passion) – helps. I won’t even say that being chaste ten years ago will grant you a superman ability to practice the virtue ten years from now.

What I can say is that as exciting and alluring as it may be to have sex during the honeymoon stage of a relationship, the reality is that sex makes babies. Regardless of what the odds are of that happening on a particular occasion, we need to appreciate that and really ensure that we fully appreciate that. It is best to commit first and then surrender to having children than to try to change the nature of the sexual act in order to go after the thrill.

And really, that’s all it is . . . a thrill. It doesn’t tell you a whole lot about compatibility in my opinion. Things change throughout the course of a lifelong marriage. Love is a choice.

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