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Prolife Forum: sensitive question

by Catherine Frakas 04 Jun 2002

sensitive question QUESTION from Sara on March 22, 2002 Hello, and sorry for the sensitive nature of this question.
In the case of a woman who is unable to reach climax through the normal marital embrace, is it a sin for her and her husband to use a 'position' in which either she or he could aid her in reaching that during,immediatly before or immediatly after the marital embrace?
I am assuming it is not a sin of masturbation becuase it is being done at the same time or immediatly before or after and the marital embrace always ends the natural way in the marrige bed and with both husband and wife present. With those conditions present would it be a sin for the woman? My husband and I practice NFP so we understand the importance of the marital embrace ending in the Way GOD intended it with the posibility of procreation.
If you are uncomfortable answering this in public, email is fine, or feel free to edit it if you like. I understand from a post on Br. John-Paul that other people have this problem, but that situation was a bit different than this one.
Again I apologize for the sensitive nature of the question. I have simply been to embarrassed to bring this up with a Priest. And the one in our parish is not real loyal to the Magistirum.
ANSWER by Mr. Troy Martz on April 9, 2002 Dear Sara:
Thank you for your courage in asking this question. Though it is a very sensitive question that needs to be answered delicately, it does need to be answered none the less.
Thankfully, we are blessed to live in a time when development of the Church's teaching has been greatly enhanced by the work of great theologians like Pope John Paul II. Though this teaching is not within the realm of Papal Infallability since he intended to present his work as a theologian, John Paul II's work on the Theology of the Body is a wealth of wisdom that I believe will have a lasting impact comparable with the works of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.
The complete works of the Theology of the Body are a bit above the heads of most laypeople (like us). Thankfully, the work has begun to apply this wisdom to everyday life. Christopher West, advisor to Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, has written a very helpful, faithful, sensitive, and thorough book titled Good News About Sex & Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions About Catholic Teaching. He is very straightforward in directly answering those questions that you find difficult to ask without forgetting the dignity of the persons involved.
Now to your question. Here is a question and answer taken from Mr. West's book that I believe applies. This comes from a long discourse on the meaning of chastity lived within marriage:
The acts by which spouses lovingly prepare each other for genital intercourse(foreplay) are honorable and good. But stimulation of each other's genitals to the point of climax apart from an act of normal intercourse is nothing other than mutual masturbation. There's no gift of self, no marital communion taking place at all. Nor are such acts open to conception. An important point of clarification is needed. Since it's the male orgasm that's inherently linked with the possibility of new life, the husband must never intentionally ejaculate outside of his wife's vagina (unintentional ejaculation involves no moral fault). Since the female orgasm, however, isn't necessarily linked to the possibility of conception, so long as it takes place within the overall context of an act of intercourse, it need not, morally speaking, be during actual penetration.
Ideally, the wife's orgasm would happen simultaneously with her husband's, but this is easier said than done for many couples. In fact, if the wife's orgasm isn't achieved during the natural course of foreplay and consummation, it would be a loving thing for the husband to stimulate his wife to climax thereafter (if she desired).

As you can see, Mr. West goes to great lengths to ensure that he faithfully applies Church teaching while answering important questions that others may be too embarrased to answer (or even ask). Unfortunately, failing to answer the question does not make it go away, it only leads to confusion and dissent.
I encourage all married couples desiring to faithfully express the fullness of married love (and priests who counsel them) to read this book.
Thank you again for your courage.
Christ's Peace, Troy Martz
PS -- Thank you also for your patience, I hadn't finished the book and wanted to make sure that I fully understood the background behind the answer.
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