What does the church say about this? (nfp)

My wife and I are newlyweds and practicing nfp. To abstain from sex, but still be intimate/affectionate we make out, and sometimes this leads to things like grinding because it feels good. I want to make sure that this is okay. We aren’t trying to reach orgasm, but just have some intimacy/enjoyment in anticipation of a non-fertile period.

I suspect that you will get a wide range of opinions on this subject and I don’t think there is a specific teaching on the exact situation you are describing. In my opinion, if you are not at risk of achieving orgasm outside of the natural marital act and you aren’t objectifying one another, I think it sounds reasonable for a married couple that will presumably complete the act in the near future.

  1. It’s not leading to climax or close at all to climax for either of you, right?

  2. It’s not making either of you terribly uncomfortable or leading to lapses in judgment?

If you can say “yes” to both of those questions, I’d say carry on.

I’d suggest a more kissy, less genitally-focused approach myself, but if what you’re doing works for you, why not?

Watch out. Those little sperm can leak out before orgasm and they can swim up where you don’t want them to be. You could be changing your status to parents before you want to.

Unless you both have some supernatural control and wind back, I don’t think that making a habit of this practice is wise. One lapse of mutual masturbation can lead to a habit that is hard to break. As newlyweds, this is the optimum time to practice good nfp habits. Make the most of the non fertile periods, daily or on alternate days and cultivate the type of affection that makes you close but not ‘turned on’ during the fertile times. ie. Foot rubs or neck rubs away from the bedroom.

Also, sexual pleasure is there to be part of sex. If you are abstaining, then you are not having sex.

This is the text from the Catechism that is usually quoted for this type of question:

2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself,** isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.**

Unless you are having sex, then you are seeking the pleasure isolated from the procreative and unitive purposes.

So, is it OK to give your spouse a biiiiiig kiss during an infertile time? Because I think you’re accidentally making the argument for that.

Individual couples can figure out what they can do or not do. The OP mentioned they were grinding because it felt good, which can be interpreted as sexual pleasure. Affection outside of sex is great of course, but just keep in mind that it is meant to show love, not to seek sexual pleasure. God made sexual pleasure to be part of a whole (married, unitive and procreative) union. Also, there is a difference between getting “turned on” for lack of better words, something that is natural between two people that are attracted to each other and can happen many ways and isn’t bad, and seeking arousal for the sexual pleasure, which was made for sex.

ETA: I know this is a subject where people have a variety of opinions. OP, I would just find a good priest to have as a spiritual director and he can help you figure out what the correct spirit is when abstaining for NFP. Also, it is never a bad idea to have a spiritual director, especially when making decisions such as prayerfully discerning reasons for NFP.

Just wanted to see if there were any more thoughts on this.

Sounds pretty sketchy to me. Anything involving the genitals makes it sexual. And anything sexual not ordered to the marital act is not good. Even if, e.g., masturbation does not result in orgasm, it’s still wrong, right? Not to mention it will make it that much harder to resist going all the way.

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