Dear Father Angelo,
you have provided answers on this matter on several occasions over the years, but I still want to have direct feedback and I am going to ask you a question that arises from my personal experience. So, forgive me if you might have to repeat yourself.
I have been married for 12 years and have… children, one of which will be born in the next few months. In the last 6 years I lived sexuality never using contraceptives, but rather indulging, perhaps without a great sense of responsibility, to my wife’s transport in the days when she is most fertile. In fact, the good Lord has always been generous with us and He arranged to confirm His natural law: making love in the “red” days has almost always corresponded to a predictable pregnancy. We do not complain about this, on the contrary we are grateful for how much the Lord trusts us. Perhaps, only for this latest pregnancy still in progress we are not jumping for joy but, all in all, it’s fine. The point is that my wife fully experiences sexual desire only on her fertile days while her full participation does not occur in the other periods of the cycle. That leaves us with two choices: on non-fertile days, if we desire to engage in an intercourse, my wife needs to be helped through stimulation of the genital organs to get aroused, while on fertile days she does not tend to feel this need, so the relationship takes place almost always without foreplay of that kind. I would not necessarily seek a moral justification for this conduct, however, from what I can understand in my smallness , I believe that a genital stimulation between husband and wife could be positive,within the complete intercourse, in order to guarantee a mutual satisfaction, without the risk of diminishing the complete meaning of the sexual act itself. In fact, I cannot believe that the desire to blend intimately into a sexual relationship between husband and wife cannot contemplate effusions and stimulations ,as means of the gift of self, in order to reach a mutual orgasm. I would like to specify that it is only me who makes the sexual act more pleasant for my wife and not vice versa, since I have no problems with arousal. In fact, I do not think that the healthy mutual enjoyment, not as an end in itself, is secondary, since it is a sign of a perfect union of bodies and spirit. In fact, I stress that we no longer practise the withdrawal method nor we use contraceptives, but we want to live our conjugal acts intensely. However, it is also true that the use of genital stimulation has now become a behavior of all our complete sexual intercourse, with few exceptions. My conscience arguments about this: am I having bigoted problems or, seriously, have I embarked on a path that takes me away from true love? In fact, I confess that sometimes the effort of having to excite my wife, but also her anxiety to be satisfied, are sometimes a burden rather than a pleasant way to peacefully live our union. Even now that my wife is pregnant and would like to give herself to me, without this “help” she would experience the sexual intercourse only as a torture and in any case as a concession she would make to me to see me happy, but still forcing her own nature which, at that moment, little inclines to give me herself physically. Maybe, is it the case to practise continence?
Thanks for your help.
1. First of all, I am pleased with you and with your beautiful family over which the Lord has abundantly poured His blessing .
I am sure that you can tangibly experience this blessing day by day through the smiles of your children, their questions, their liveliness, their commitment and their resourcefulness.
Through them the Lord always renews your own lives as well , both by soliciting the exercise of all the virtues and by arousing amazement in you through their own physical and spiritual life that blossoms and flourishes more and more.
2. Secondly, I would like to say a word on the importance of conjugal intimacy.
Thank God, there is no need to discuss your will to adhere with all your heart to God’s plan.
You are persuaded, more than me, of the Divine Wisdom in keeping the unifying purpose perfectly united with the procreative one, excluding any form of limitation in your mutual giving.
And you are equally persuaded of the Divine Wisdom in ensuring that not every encounter of sexual intimacy is actually followed by the generation of a child. Open to life and therefore excluding any kind of contraception, your gestures serve to corroborate your mutual fusion.
You feel that you are truly one thing, indeed one flesh, according to the beautiful biblical expression.
3. I like to take up some biblical expressions from the Song of Songs, which exalt Christ’s spousal love for the Church and for each of us.
These expressions are taken from the marriage experience.
And therefore, they manifest its beauty, goodness and greatness before the eyes of the Creator.
It is He who wanted the spouses to be like them and feel that way.
4. Here they are:
My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!” (Ct 2,10) and also “O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely” (Ct 2:14). She replies: “My lover belongs to me and I to him” (Ct 2:16).
Going forward, the bridegroom says to the bride: “You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride; you have ravished my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one bead of your necklace.
How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride, how much more delightful is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your ointments than all spices!” (Ct 4,9-10).
The bride replies: “My lover belongs to me and I to him” (Ct 6,3); “I belong to my lover and for me he yearns” (Ct 7.11) and “Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; For stern as death is love” (Ct 8,6).
5. After these premises, I come to your final question.
God wanted conjugal intimacy to be accompanied by great pleasure.
Someone said that the pleasure can be considered as a reward that the Creator pours out on the spouses for the great mutual gift and above all to encourage the generation of offspring .
Pleasure or satisfaction is an integral part of this intimacy. He favors and rewards it.
Now, if it is missing for some reason, it is legitimate to stimulate it.
For this reason, an ancient author, such as the Dominican Father Benedictus Merkelbach, professor at the University of Louvain, wrote: “The wife may, with her own tact or even with that of her husband, stimulate in herself the satiating and perfect satisfaction and thus fulfill the intimacy if the husband has fulfilled or intends to fulfill his part according to nature” (Ref. Quaestiones de castigate et Luxuria, p. 92).
Assuring my prayers for you and your family, I bless each one of you.