Question: Is oral sex allowed in a Catholic marriage?

This is one of the search engine terms that is quite frequently used to find this blog. I’m don’t think I’ve addressed it directly, but it is definitely one of those things that I’ve discussed in other posts about sex. Since it frequently gets queried, so why not I answer it here? If you want the direct answer, just scroll to the bottom of this post. If you want the explanation to that answer, read on.

First, what is the purpose of sex?

Sex is a sign of love between a man and a woman. A love that is freely given to each other, complete and total, faithful to each other, and is open to life. This sexual act between man and woman is also a sign of God’s love for his church, and also a sign of God’s love as a trinity.

By this I mean the free, total, faithful and fruitful love between the Father and the Son. The Father willingly (read: free) gives himself completely (read: total) to the Son and only to the Son (read: faithful) because there is no one else that he can receive him in this total way, except for one that is like him. This is because only the Son is eternally begotten by the Father, as we recite in the Nicene Creed every Sunday Mass. And the Son too gives himself freely, completely, and faithfully to the Father. This love between them is so perfect that it yields (read: fruitful) the person of the Holy Spirit.

This Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life (as it is in the Nicene Creed as well) must be welcomed in any complete union, particularly the union between man and woman, husband and wife. In other words, any union between a man and a woman, particularly their sexual union, must be open to the Holy Spirit, the giver of life.

A sexual union that is not open to the Holy Spirit, the giver of life, is a union in which the couple says to God, “No, we don’t want you in our union.”

To answer the question on the Catholic teaching on oral sex, and in fact almost any question on sex, it is important to bear in mind these four conditions: FTFF – Free, Total, Faithful, Fruitful.

Is the sexual act in question Free, Total, Faithful, and Fruitful?

Is oral sex open to life? Can life come from oral sex? Is the Holy Spirit able to create life from oral sex?

Answer: No. Oral sex is not allowed in a Catholic marriage.

Last edited on September 20, 2006:

Following a comment in this post, I decided to add an additional link to this post, because yes, there is one exception to this negative answer to oral sex in a Catholic marriage. The post linked will provide what is hopefully an adequate explanation.

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115 Responses

  1. Hi Jane,

    We need to be careful to distinguish between the person and the act here.

    What the priest said is correct. The act of sterilization is immoral, but that is not the same as saying that your parents were immoral persons.

    There are some actions that are always immoral, regardless of the intention of the person. Ligation (tubes tied) is always an immoral act because it is an act of sterilization. When I or a priest says that this is an immoral act, we are not making any judgements on your mother and father. We are commenting only on the act itself.

    The subjective guilt the person has depends on various factors, including the intention of the person, the amount of knowledge that the person has, and the freedom which the person had when he or she committed the act.

    However, what’s done is done already. If your mother, assuming she is Catholic, has confessed this wrongful act and has received forgiveness for it, then she (or you) should not let it bother her (or you) anymore, for God has already forgiven her.

    There is a book I read that encouraged women who have undergone permanent sterilization to practise a period of abstinence in their sexual life, as though she were still fertile and practising Natural Family Planning (NFP), for there is much good that can be derived from this practice.

    For one thing, it shows a person’s wish to be fertile, even if this is not physically possible. For another, it’s been shown that controlled periods of abstience from sexual intercourse is beneficial to marriage.

    For more information on NFP, please visit the NFP International website at http://www.nfpandmore.org/

    Hope this answers your question!

    God bless,
    Catholic Writer

  2. I am 60 years old my wife is 55 and going through a change of life. She is not very much interested in sex and i cant even touch.HER. She touches me in a special way to bring me to organism . What am i to do i dont feel this is wrong, If she is not willing to have sex what else is there to do if she says no. Should i seek sex with another person if i have her permission,

    • Dear Gerry,

      Happy Easter to you and your wife.

      As you mentioned, your wife is undergoing through a change in life, and does not feel like having sex. The good thing to do would be to respect her wishes, and control your sexual desires and present your abstinence from sex as a gift to her. This is a good time to rediscover other means of fun and enjoyment that both of you shared during your courtship years, when sex was absent in your relationship.

      Even with your wife’s permission, it is not a good idea to go and have sex with another person. This is risky sexual behaviour, and breaks your marital vow to be faithful to your wife. Her consent will not make the action right.

      Hope this helps!

      God bless,
      Catholic Writer

  3. My question is this. I heard Father Corpi say oral sex was ok as long as it ended with the man and woman coming together for the actual act for reproduction. I understand it to be wrong if they strictly only have oral sex.

    • Hi J Peterson,

      I think the rule of thumb is that ejaculation has to take place in the woman’s vagina. But otherwise, you’re right.

      God bless,
      Catholic Writer

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