Monday, July 25, 2016

Catholic Married Sex

The beauty of sex in marriage has been on my mind the past month or so. In the novel I'm writing, the male protagonist, a Catholic, is coming to terms with the fallout of his promiscuous lifestyle. He is struggling with resolve to keep future sexual activity for his wife. Problem is, he doesn't have one, yet. Needless to say, I've been exploring sex and that led me on a rabbit trail to married Catholic sex.

Singles reading this: I want you to know that sex in a sacramental Catholic marriage is phenomenal. It is joyful, truly earth shattering, soul searing, mind blowing. The sexual embrace in marriage is the closest mirror of the Trinity this side of Heaven. It can be challenging, but who doesn't love a challenge? It is worth it to wait. Trust me. Before I married HubbyMan, I had three other men. HubbyMan and I had each other plenty of times before our wedding day, too. Twenty years on, I regret all of it. I do. If I could live my life again, I'd keep my cherry for dessert on my wedding night. {Sigh} So, Singles, move on. Read no further. Come back about six months after the Honeymoon.

So now we will chat about sex, so you've been warned.

In my research -- that sounds so "professional writer" -- in my googling around the interwebs for information on married sex I ran into a website on Christian married sex. It is an interesting site, pretty explicit, and with at least one anti-Catholic post which basically blames the Church for every sexual repression in history. Reading the posts, and especially the comments, I came to realize that there are many misconceptions out there on what the Church actually teaches about married sex.

Married Catholic sex has three primary rules, in my fallible opinion:

Sex is exclusively between husband and wife.

Sex is consensual.

Sex is open to life.

Before we delve, what is sex, sexual activity? I am defining as sexual activity as any contact between husband and wife involving genitalia. Making out on the sofa during the commercials on Monday Night Football is not sex. Unless things progress south of the waist, then it is. That's my definition for what it's worth.

Let's delve, shall we?

Exclusive: Man and woman, husband and wife come together in the sexual embrace. They are never alone, and never accompanied. They are in a sacramental marriage, thus lovemaking -- sex -- is the culmination of their sacrament. It is unitive and procreative, both ends having equal importance. Without one or the other, sex is sinful. Sex must unify a husband and wife. Scripture uses the word "cleave." My husband cleaves to me, and I to him, no more so than when we are making love.

Consensual: Neither spouse must ever be coerced into participating in any sexual activity. That goes for every aspect of marriage. Sex can -- and should -- be adventurous. Daring, spicy, frisky, exotic. All great. All with consent.

Life: Sex is procreative. Along with unity, procreation is the main end of sexual intercourse. For that reason, no matter how adventurous you are in bed, both the husband and wife must enter into sexual activity with the intention of the husband depositing his semen inside the wife. Sometimes that doesn't happen for a variety of reasons. Accidentally ejaculating prematurely, inability to climax, the doorbell rings, the baby wakes up. Not every session of sex will include the husband delivering his seed to the doorstep of his wife's womb, but it should be the goal. Conception must not be blocked by any artificial means. No condoms, pills, or diaphragms. Natural family planning is a useful tool to help husbands and wives keep tabs on monthly fertility cycles. If there is a grave reason to avoid or delay conception, sexual activity can be eliminated during the most fertile time of ovulation and a week beyond.  This also nurtures a dialogue between the spouses, and ongoing awareness on both their parts of where they are, together, in the fertility cycle. I tell my husband when I ovulate, so he knows if I am richly fertile or not. He knows when I have my menses. He is part of that whole rhythm.

So there you have the basic rules in a nutshell from Philothea, who is not a theologian, nor pretends to be one. What I am is a wife and happy participant in awesome sex. I believe the true Catholic vision of sex is supreme to all others.

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