Why does it feel good if it is wrong?

I am a catechumenate in RCIA and I feel that my faith is strong, though I do have doubts occasionally that I try to answer without giving up my faith. But this is one question I thought of recently that I haven’t been able to effectively answer myself, so I thought I’d get some help.
My question is, if it is wrong to perform sexual massaging of the breasts, clitoris, and/or genitalia, or the sensitive regions of a man, why does it feel pleasurable to do so? If those things are done with love for the other person in mind, even with the exclusive intent of giving the other person pleasure, why is it wrong? And, if God intended it to be wrong, why would he make it feel good?
I hope this question isn’t immature; it’s just something I’ve been contemplating. Thanks for any answers. :slight_smile:

Why do cookies taste have to taste so good if they’re so bad for you?

Who knows. Drugs make you feel good, but they’re certainly not good for you.

I think the thing to keep in mind is there are lots of ways to feel happy and fulfilled, but sometimes it only makes us feel really good for just a few moments, then we need more and more. That’s when things may start to get out of hand.

For what you’re refering to, don’t do anything you’ll regret later. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, but think about what it might lead to, if anything.

God created everything for us, He created all good things for us. That is why sex feels good, why apples are tasty, why warmth feels great, why we laugh at jokes. The corruption or absense of goodness - evil - dose not mean good is any less good, though, it just means that what God has created for a good purpose has been abused by His creatures, whom have decided to use it for an evil purpose. For example: adultery.

What you describe isn’t wrong per se, but only if it’s done in the wrong context, such as between two people who are not married. Marriage provides the proper context for all things sexual, as only in a fully committed marriage are two people prepared to accept their sexual expression for one another in its entirety: love and life (children).

Thank you for your replies. Though God did indeed create everything that is good, there seems to be a distinction between good-based happiness, and pleasure. Extraneous sexual practices, whether married or not, such as oral sex, sexual massaging/foreplay, etc., are based in pleasure and are thus “of the flesh” and sinful. Sex should be done within marriage out of love with the goal of love and children only, with pleasure not in mind. This is what I’ve learned from the catechism and it’s sources. But, I return to my original question: if pleasure is wrong, why do we have it? There are other pleasures in life as one of you mentioned, such as sweet foods and the high caused by drugs, but those give direct negative consequences. But, on the other hand, some sexual pleasure can be done just for mutual pleasure, or self-pleasure in the case of masturbation, with no obvious negative consequences. However, the Church says they are wrong because, as I said above, they come from “flesh”-based pleasure, rather than love necessarily, even when done with your wife.

There just simply wouldn’t be any world at all if there was no sexual pleasure. Sex has to be an enjoyable activity otherwise people might not engage in it.

When I was young, back in the REAL Sixties, we still had Sisters teaching in Parochial School and most of us girls thought nuns knew nothing about such matters. But we had a Health teacher who explained this particular question by rephrasing it. How can it be wrong, when it feels so NATURAL? Many things, she explained, that feel natural are in fact natural but the world would be red in tooth and claw if everything that felt natural was given free rein. For example, it feels natural to hit your brother over the head when he knocks down a house of cards you have patiently and carefully built, or to shake your baby sister when she has been crying with the colic for four hours; it feels natural to deliver a cutting remark that makes the whole class laugh and the target cry; and of course it feels natural to do the things you mention.

But what would the world be like if we did not control these impulses and keep them from controlling us?

God bless you on your journey as you go through RCIA.

You have misunderstood church teaching if you interpreted what you read to say that married couples are not to find pleasure in their sexual union. Sexual union has a twofold purpose-- unity and procreation. Pleasure is not wrong in marriage-- it is for the unity of spouses. It is not a sin. The idea that sex is “of the flesh” and “sinful” between married people when it maintains the two fold elements of being life-giving and love-giving (procreative and unitive) is rooted in the Machinean heresy. You have also misunderstood if you believe foreplay and acts conducted in the context of a completed act of sexual intercourse between spouses are in any way sinful. That is not Church teaching.

Whenever a sex act is devoid of one of the two elements of its proper order-- life-giving or love-giving, then it is indeed disordered and sinful. The act must always be both. Contraception is not life-giving, masterbation is not life-giving, anal intercourse is not life-giving, rape is not love-giving, adultery/fornication are not love-giving (unity of spouses).

The Church does not teach that the acts are wrong based on “consequences” or lack-thereof although there are always consequences, in this case consequences to your soul.

The reason you state, that they are from “flesh” based pleasures, is in fact 100% NOT the reason the Church teaches they are wrong.

The Church teaches that God ordered our sexuality to the twofold end of unity and procreation within the Sacrament of Marriage. The acts you list above-- masterbation (mutual or solo)) are wrong because they violate the procreative (life-giving) element that must be present in every act-- in other words, the only properly ordered use of our sexuality is a completed act of vaginal intercourse. Those acts that lead up to intercourse are fine as prepartion, not as an end in themselves.

If we were in a state of original grace, our will would be one with God’s. Our minds and hearts would be one with God’s. We would have no desire to use God’s gift of sexuality in a disordered way. We would express our sexual love in a properly ordered way and would find the thought of doing anything disordered completely alien.

However, we are not in a state of original justice. We are in a state of original sin. Therefore our will is weakened and our passions are disordered. We must always be on guard at attempts to rationalize those things that God has revealed to us as wrong.

Sex within a marriage does not have the goal of “children only”. That is erroneous. You must be OPEN to children, but children are not the GOAL of every sexual encounter within a marriage. And a couple can MOST CERTAINLY enjoy and find pleasure in the massage of the errogenous zones of each other. Within marriage, there is nothing sinful about this. (In fact, without the stimulation of these errogenous zones, particularly of women, intercourse may be very difficult!)

Herein lies the corruption of the ideas discussed (and heresy if I recall properly):

…based in pleasure and are thus “of the flesh” and sinful.

No. pleasure is not sinful. flesh is not sinful. pleasure of the flesh is not sinful.

They can be sinful, but they are not inherently sinful. They are good because God made them so. The devil takes what is inherently good and twists it out of its natural goodness.

When scripture talks about flesh as a problem, it is inherently implied that the flesh is “in charge” of our actions, motivations, and goals. Ergo, God is not in charge, the good of the other person is not our goal or motivation and sin is a possible result.

Good post, 1ke.

I also welcome Scameter on the journey through RCIA into the Catholic Church.

It is good to be on guard not to misuse the beautiful gift of sexuality, but there is a danger of going to the opposite extreme. We can appreciate what God has given us in human sexuality. Sexual pleasures within marriage are certainly allowed as long as they remain within the proper context of the marital act as God designed it.

On a small scale, marriage represents the relationship between God and His people–between Christ and His Church. The New Testament refers to Christ as the Bridegroom. The Psalm of Psalms, found in the Old Testament, is a beautiful, (slightly erotic) poem that demostrates the love God has for us. God loves us. We can take pleasure in His love while allowing Him to fill us with new life. (I hope I didn’t scandalize anyone by writing that.:o)

Pleasure is not good or bad by itself. it is the antecedent action that makes it good or bad. In regard to the misuse of sexual powers I would say that the illicit thrill we get from sinning is part of the punishment. The more we enjoy the pleasure form such illicit actions the further we go from God, the more we want to keep doing them. It is a terrible cycle.


Sorry, just had to get that out. Human sexuality is a beautiful gift from God, but like all beautiful gifts from God it can be misused. Foreplay between married couples is perfectly acceptable as long as it leads to intercourse and as long as the male climax is achieved only inside the wife’s vagina, uncontracepted.

This link is for a Busted Halo article on oral sex, but it can be applied to all forms of foreplay


They are wrong outside of marriage. And masturbation is wrong in any case.

These things are not inherently wrong. They can be used in a wrong way, but are not wrong in and of themselves. And, to my understanding, what was being discussed was not masturbation, but foreplay.

I do believe the OP was discussing the activities INSIDE marriage and was discussing foreplay. These things are NOT wrong inside marriage or as foreplay.

What brings pleasure to the husband and wife and ultimately ends up as the male climaxing inside his wife is OK. All systems are a GO! :thumbsup:

Great question… Answer: It’s not wrong. It’s among the nicest things you can do for your husband or wife when done with love.

Thanks again to everyone for responding to my questions. I would like to particularly thank Ike for his deep and concise response; not that everyone else’s weren’t good of course. :slight_smile:

I am sorry if I fell into heresy here. During my time in RCIA I am often tempted to doubt and as someone said “rationalize” what God teaches, but ironically in so doing I take it beyond reason into error. And unfortunately I know that I am led to do that because of an affection for sin, as St. Francis de Sales taught, tempted to do so by the devil, and because of my desire to sin I try to rationalize God’s teachings to fit me, and I am truly ashamed for that. I always look back on my errors with regret and guilt after I do them, but I must try to avoid them in the first place. It is difficult, and I’m sure no one does that perfectly, but I can try my best, with the prayerful aid of God, the saints, and others. If everyone here would, please pray for me and my father, as both of us are going through RCIA. I feel that I have deep faith in God and His Church, and I can’t wait to be truly apart of Christ’s family. Thanks again to everyone for the help and God bless. :slight_smile:

You’re welcome.

However, I’m a girl. :thumbsup:

You didn’t fall into heresy. First, heresy is the obstinant, post-baptismal denial of an article of the faith that must be believed. You are not obstinant, you are not denying an article of faith, and you aren’t baptized yet. :slight_smile:

We were merely explaining that the idea about “of the flesh” being sinful has its roots in the Machinean heresy. It has appeared many times through the centuries, in many forms. It’s easy for people to grasp onto these ideas and come to wrong conclusions.

So, bottom line-- you are studying and learning, and that is a good thing.

Hey, you’re in good company with all the rest of us sinners who are also tempted to rationalize what we want to do. It’s a consequence of Original Sin. The Sacraments give us grace to develop in virtue and diminish in vice, but it’s a life long process.

This is truly wonderful! God bless you on your journey and through your desire to be faithful to Him.

It’s already been said but it is not wrong to show intimate affection to your husband or wife but it is wrong to masturbate as then I’m making love to myself rather than my spouse. The Church’s teaching is very often misconstrued as saying sex is wrong or bad. The Church teaches that sex outside marriage is wrong. But if I get married I have a sexual partner for my whole life so my love life should be better. If I’m divorced or in and out of relationships then there will be periods of my life where I will have no partner at all. A married couple has a sexual partner for their whole life long but they are asked to remain faithful to that person.
If you want to write to me you can.

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