Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Q&A: “Is it Moral for the Wife to climax outside the Natural Marital Act”? “Can Catholic Spouses use Masturbation in the Context of Natural Intercourse”?

Neither the husband, nor the wife, may act, in any way, so as to deliberately climax outside of natural intercourse (such as by mutual masturbation, either in context of the act, or outside the act). This doctrine was taught by Pope Pius XII in his speech to the Address to the Second World Congress on Fertility and Sterility (19 May 1956).
“By the force of this law of nature, the human person does not possess the right and power to the full exercise of the sexual faculty, directly intended, except when he performs the conjugal act [the normal marital act] according to the norms defined and imposed by nature itself. Outside of this natural act, it is not even given within the matrimonial right itself to enjoy this sexual faculty fully. These are the limits to the particular right of which we are speaking, and they circumscribe its use according to nature.” 
What has been said up to this point concerning the intrinsic evil of any full use of the generative power outside the natural conjugal act applies in the same way when the acts are of married persons or of unmarried persons, whether the full exercise of the genital organs is done by the man or the woman, or by both parties acting together; whether it is done by manual touches or by the interruption of the conjugal act; for this is always an act contrary to nature and intrinsically evil.”
It is not true, as many persons claim, that the wife’s climax, being (as they say) unrelated to procreation, can be obtained by any means, outside of the natural marital act. This idea was condemned by the Magisterium in the above words of Pope Pius XII. Such an act is “contrary to nature” and “intrinsically evil”. Even married persons do not have the right to the “full exercise of the sexual faculty”, meaning real sexual acts and acts to climax, other than in natural marital relations.

The Pontiff condemns climax outside the natural act and of other unnatural acts outside the natural act, for the wife, just as for the husband. The wife is not exempt from this rule against unnatural acts or climax outside of natural intercourse (as so many persons claim). It doesn’t matter if the “full exercise of the genital organs” is done by the man, or the woman, or both acting together — it is intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral.

Notice he does not accept the idea that climax for the wife is moral when done about the same time as the natural marital act. This point is absolutely clear, since the Pontiff says that, outside the natural marital act, the husband and the wife are under the same rule as unmarried persons: no completed sexual acts at all. The Pope said: “the natural conjugal act applies in the same way when the acts are of married persons or of unmarried persons”. If completed or unnatural acts for the wife were moral, when they occur just before or just after natural marital relations, then the Pontiff could not compare her situation, morally, to that of the unmarried.

Furthermore, the Pontiff says that this rule applies even when it occurs “by the interruption of the conjugal act.” In other words, the act remains intrinsically evil if it occurs just after the conjugal act is interrupted. It is very clear that an act of masturbation on the wife or the husband is still gravely immoral, when it occurs about the same time as the natural marital act, or whether the act was interrupted or not. For the Pope condemns such an act, even when it is done just after natural marital relations.

Neither does he consider all the sexual acts of the spouses to be “one act” in the marriage bed. If he accepted that idea, then again, he could not compare the spouses, outside the natural act, to be in the same moral situation as the unmarried. Instead, he teaches that any sexual act to completion (or any excessive or unnatural sexual act), for either spouse, other than the “natural conjugal act” and what is inherent therein, is “always an act contrary to nature and intrinsically evil”.

The normal performance of the marital sexual act itself does not justify “all the rest, in whatever way it is done”, such as in acts done “in the preparation” (foreplay). And St. Alphonsus Liguori teaches that sodomy is still sodomy if climax is lacking (Moral Theology, On Matrimony, Book VI, Q. 916); and he also condemns oral sex as a mortal sin (Moral Theology, On Matrimony, Book VI, Q. 491-492).

Pope Pius XII makes it clear that a Christian has “a dignity which restrains the excess of sensuality” even in marriage, and non-procreative sexual acts are precisely “excess of sensuality” as they are not necessary for procreation, and thus are excess of sensual desire.

Unfortunately, unceasing waves of hedonism invade the world and threaten to submerge, in the swelling tide of thoughts, desires, and acts, the whole of marital life, and not without serious dangers and grave prejudice to the primary duty of husband and wife. This anti-Christian hedonism too often is not ashamed to elevate itself to a doctrine, inculcating the ardent desire to make always more intense the pleasure, in the preparation and in the performance of the conjugal union, as if in matrimonial relations the whole moral law were reduced to the normal performance of the act itself, and as if all the rest, in whatever way it is done, were justified by the expression of mutual affection, were sanctified by the Sacrament of Matrimony, and made worthy of praise and reward before God and conscience. There is no thought at all of the dignity of man and of the Christian -- a dignity which restrains the excess of sensuality.” (Pope Pius XII, Address to Midwives on the Nature of Their Profession)
Therefore, the claims of the heretics on this point were rejected by the Church many years ago. The approval that they preach for unnatural and excessive sexual acts and sexual acts to completion on the wife is gravely contrary to the eternal moral law and contrary to Church teaching. Neither the husband, nor the wife, may perform any type of unnatural sexual act, or perform any act on the wife, in order to bring her to climax outside the natural act. Neither may they perform such acts (before, during or after the act in order to climax or “to make always more intense the pleasure, in the preparation and in the performance of the conjugal union” which Pope Pius XII called “anti-Christian hedonism”) during the natural marital act. Such claims represent an approval for a gravely immoral sexual act, already condemned by the Magisterium.

So to the question: Can Catholic Spouses use Masturbation in the Context of Natural Intercourse?

No, they cannot. First, masturbation is intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral. It is always gravely contrary to chastity and the dignity of one’s soul and body.

The Catholic Church defines masturbation as: “the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure.” This sexual act is non-natural, non-marital, non-unitive, and non-procreative. It has several grave deprivations in its moral object, making the act intrinsically evil and certainly always a grave sin.

Does masturbation become moral when used with another purpose or motive, other than “to derive sexual pleasure”? No, for intrinsically evil acts are immoral regardless of the intention that motivates the act.

Masturbation is an intrinsically and seriously disordered act. The main reason is that, whatever the motive for acting this way, the deliberate use of the sexual faculty outside normal conjugal relations essentially contradicts the finality of the faculty.

Although the most common motive for masturbation is sexual pleasure, the Magisterium does condemn this type of sexual act, regardless of the motive for acting this way (that is why one cannot masturbate even for medical purposes). Therefore, the motive of preparing for the natural marital act does not justify masturbation, nor does the motive of helping the wife reach climax after marital relations.

Moreover, the Magisterium has condemned the “exercise of the sexual faculty” outside of natural marital relations, for the wife as well as for the husband. (Pope Pius XII, Address to the Second World Congress on Fertility and Sterility, 1956) Neither the husband, nor the wife, may stimulate her to climax outside of the natural act. Such an act is morally a grave sin, just as is a solitary act of masturbation.

As an intrinsically evil act, masturbation is not justified by any purpose or motive, nor by any circumstance. An intrinsically evil act never becomes justified by being done about the same time as a good act. So it is not true that an act of masturbation on the husband or on the wife, becomes moral by being done before, during or after the natural marital act.

What if the act of masturbation is not completed in climax? Masturbation is correctly defined as a “deliberate, erotic stimulation often to the point of orgasm.” Masturbation is “often to the point of orgasm” because climax is not essential to the definition of masturbation, nor to the definition of a sexual act.

Masturbation is still the same type of grave sin when used without climax, or when used in marriage, or when it occurs about the same time as the natural marital act.

Related article: Q&A: “Can Catholic Married Couples Use Sex Toys, Such As A Vibrator Or Phallic Device”?

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