Bread From Heaven: “Because the pleasure of the marital embrace was created by God for babies & bonding.”
Q. If the “marital embrace” is only for babies and bonding and and “Anytime the pleasure of the sexual act is obtained while actively, purposely or incidentally excluding either of these goods, it is a grave sin.” Is it a sin to have the “marital embrace” if there is no chance of conception such as after a woman has reached menopause?
A. No. That is natural and a part of God’s created order. It is still open to conception, although highly unlikely. But, don’t forget Sarah and Elizabeth both conceived in their old age by the will of God.
Q. But according to the statement, sexual activity after menopause would be “purposely or incidentally excluding either of these goods” since “incidentally” means not intentionally.
A. That is a very good point. Then, perhaps, incidentally is the wrong word but I used it with homosexual activity in mind. Because they are not engaging in the activity in order to avoid conception but only pursuing pleasure, the act prevents conception b/c it is unnatural. I am open to suggestions. And I will think about how to reword that. Thank you very much.
Q. So, that would cause all sexual intercourse between husband and a wife that does not work towards conception a sin.
A. No, that is not what the Church teaches at all. If it were, then infertile couples, women with necessary hysterectomies, women in menopause, men with no or low sperm count etc. would have to be celibate. This is not the case. The purpose of the marital embrace is for babies and bonding, both. Conception must not be removed from it for selfish reasons.
Q. Family planning or abstaining from sex during the fertile times which is written as ok, contradicts these scriptures because you are not to deny your spouse sex except when both have agreed for prayer.
1 Corinthians 7:3 The husband should not deprive his wife of sexual intimacy, which is her right as a married woman, nor should the wife deprive her husband. 4 The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband also gives authority over his body to his wife. 5 So do not deprive each other of sexual relations.
A. In our culture the right to sex is deemed to be absolute. Self-denial of sexual pleasure is thought to be ridiculous (except perhaps beastiality, incest, and pedophilia -the last taboos) At one time, not too long ago we had many more taboos -pre-marital sex, adultery, homosexuality, masturbation, oral sex, pornography, even contraception in addition to beastiality, incest, and pedophilia. How much longer before these also become normative in our culture?
What translation are you using? Most of the respected translations do not interpret the Greek as “not deprive”. The negative is nowhere in the sentence. Rather it is stated positively.
The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. (NASB)
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. (NIV)
Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. (KJV)
Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. (NKJV)
Husbands and wives should be fair with each other about having sex. (Contemporary Eng. Version)
To the wife, the husband the debt let him pay and likewise also the wife to the husband. (Literal Greek)
The Husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. (RSV)
“should not deprive” should not be interpreted “as all demands for sex should be met lest one feel deprived“
Your interpretation of I Cor. 7:3 is influenced by our culture. Because, the Protestant churches began to accept contraception in the early 1900′s they have lost the Christian perspective of sexual intimacy–Total Self-Giving. When a married couple indulges in the pleasure while practicing contraception they cannot be totally self-giving to their spouse. One or both are saying, with their bodies, while using a contraceptive, “I reject your fertility.” This subtle spiritual reality plays itself out in various subtle ways. For instance, the one with the strongest sex drive is freed to be more demanding of having sexual needs met and the other can begin to feel used. This is not conducive to a long and happy marriage.
For the difference between NFP and Contraception please click HERE