Unable to concentrate on work one day, I went through my blog stats for the umpteenth time that day and stopped to stare at one search engine term: “Will God forgive me after oral sex?”
It’s not the first time I’ve seen it or its kind. I frequently come across similar search engine terms, like: “Will God forgive me for masturbating?” “How to confess pornography?” and so on. Clearly it is a matter that weighs heavily on the minds of a lot of people and it’s something that I’ve not really touched on in my posts.
Pornography, masturbation, and oral sex (outside of marital sexual intercourse), and contraception are all various evils in our world today. “No one gets hurt,” seems to be the cry of those who protest the Catholic Church’s teachings as archaic. But is that true? And if it is, why this guilty feeling that so many have after committing these acts? Why the sense of unfulfilment and dissatisfaction, especially in relationships, that come from living a life centred around one’s own sexual pleasure?
Various forms of reasoning and justification takes place in our minds, providing us with excuses to believe that no one gets hurt when we commit these acts, yet many of us still continue to feel inexplicably guilty and dissatisfied. Deep down, we know we’ve done something wrong and no amount of reasoning removes that guilty feeling, but because our mind can’t or won’t see what’s wrong, we can’t or won’t take steps to remedy it.
The addiction of masturbation and pornography, usually committed alone these days, seems to hurt no one, and therefore there’s nothing wrong with it, we reason. The woman, or man, which is the object of our sexual fantasy, does it willingly and is paid to do it, we reason. There’s no reason why she is harmed by it since she does it consensually.
But we forget one important person in the act that is harmed by it – ourselves… the person who engages in the act.
There are numerous harmful effects of viewing pornography. Firstly, pornography is not real; it’s a fantasy. It allows us to see things that are not real, and while we may think that we can distinguish between the fantasy and the real thing, viewing porn creates a kind of expectation in us that we want our (present or future) spouses to meet. But because porn is a fantasy, those expectations are not real and can therefore not be met to our satisfaction.
This harms our relationship with our spouse, or future spouse. It affects our ability to relate with members of the opposite sex, preventing us from loving another properly and being loved properly.
Secondly, in pornography, the women (and men) become objects, no longer persons, to be used for our own sexual gratification. Over time, our ability to distinguish between humans and objects becomes diminished. We see all people as objects and tools to be used to achieve our own ends.
Now this has serious consequences indeed, because suddenly, anyone who is of no use to us can be gotten rid of… including the elderly, the unborn child, and the physically and mentally handicapped. If we can’t get anything out of them, we get rid of them.
This too is tied in with contraceptives and oral sex which, without the dual nature of bonding and openness to life, becomes another form of masturbation – mutual masturbation. The issue of whether it is consensual or not has nothing to do with it.
One frequent objection that is brought up is that spiritual and emotional bonding can still take place during sex, even though physical bonding is prevented through the use of barriers.
It could happen if humans were purely spiritual beings, but because humans are material beings too, bonding has to take place on a physical level as well.
The fruitfulness of sex is another side of the same coin as bonding. The two of them cannot be separated, because that is the physical, emotional, and spiritual nature of sexual intercourse between husband and wife.
Contraceptives, oral sex, masturbation, all place physical barriers to true sex, which reduces it to a mere act of physical gratification, rather than the original unity meant for man and woman.
They all reduce a loving and total relationship to a utilitarian one. Again, whether the person being used gives his or her consent to being used has no bearing on the issue. The point is that someone is being used as a tool, and not treated as a human should be – with dignity and love. When you use a person, you are not loving that person.
So what can a person do once he realises what he has done wrong? As it is so aptly put by yet another search engine term I found that day: “Will God forgive me if I have oral sex?”, the answer is “Yes!”
As with all sins that separate man from God, the Church offers the remedy of forgiveness of sins through the sacrament of reconciliation.
If you are a Catholic, even if you haven’t been a practising one for years, so long as you desire forgiveness from God, are sorrowful for the sins you know you’ve committed, and desire to change your ways, you can be forgiven by God. Note that these conditions are no different from the normal conditions for the forgiveness of any other sin.
Do not hesitate. Seek out a priest that you are comfortable with, talk to him about it and make a good confession today.
If you’re not a Catholic, well, there’s no reason for you to keep the rules of the Catholic Church, unless you see some sense in what the Catholic Church teaches. Feel free to approach a Catholic priest that you can feel comfortable with. He can advise you what to do.
- Question: Is the usage of sex toys allowed during sexual intercourse?
- Question: What is the purpose of sex?
- Question: Is oral sex allowed in a Catholic marriage?