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Please Answer: Sex and Marriage | Catholic Life

Please Answer: Sex and Marriage

“Sex is marriage and marriage is sex.”

I will post on this after Easter, but for now I would love to have your view.

Do you agree or disagree?

Do you identify as a member of any religion?

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19 Responses to “Please Answer: Sex and Marriage”

  1. Genavee 16. Mar, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    I’m not Catholic, but my initial answer is no.

    I’ve been really surprised at how important a healthy sex life is to a healthy marriage, so I do think there is a strong relationship between the two. But boiling marriage down to sex (which that statement seems to do) makes me uncomfortable. Sex is part of marriage, but not the only, or even the most important part.

    On the flip side of the statement, I don’t think sex equals marriage, mostly for the same reasoning that marriage needs more than sex.

    • Rae 16. Mar, 2010 at 9:59 am #

      Oh, sorry to be unclear. I want answers from everyone! I only mentioned Catholics in the last question because I think that West (who is Catholic) has influenced a certain group of people to think that Catholic teaching equates sex and marriage. I will remove that question to eliminate confusion.

      I really appreciate your comment.

  2. Tiphaine 16. Mar, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    I am catholic, familiar with the theology of the body, NFP and all, but not Christopher West… I don’t think I can agree with the statement “sex is marriage and marriage is sex” because I think it’s just too short to resume marriage or sex.. 😉

    I am trying to understand the position of the Church regarding homosexuality and “gay marriage” and I am not through with reflections about it.
    One thing I understand, about sex and marriage,is this : the intimate relation between a man and a woman (literally “to become one”) has the capacity of bringing a new life, and should be protected and approached with respect.
    I guess you could say “marriage is sex and sex is marriage” as both are the intimate union of two totally different beings, who unite in a new entity and this union of contrasts is bringing more life (a baby, a couple, a project…) Is this what Christopher West means?
    I don’t know that seem a little short to me to explain one or the other…

  3. Christy 16. Mar, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    No no no no. Sex does not equal marriage in any shape, way or form. Too many people just use it to satisfy their lust – it doesn’t mean anything on a deeper level.
    Marriage does not necessarily equal sex. Yes, it is important when it comes to consummating (excuse me if it’s spelled wrong, major headache in progress!) the marriage, but beyond that…. nope. It is a great expression of love, devotion, and respect, but there does not HAVE to be sex present for a couple to be happily married.
    Interesting quote, I can’t wait to see the different reactions!

  4. Kathleen 16. Mar, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    I think sex is one part of marriage, but marriage is far bigger than sex. It encompasses life and living, friendship and economic partnership, mutual growth and interests. Sex is fleeting. You can’t be in that state all the time.

    (Yes, I’m Catholic too. 😉 But you already knew that of course.)

  5. Sarah 16. Mar, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    Hmmm. Let me take a crack at this. :) I am familiar with Chris West. I think the statement could have many layers of meaning. I don’t think sex is “merely” a physical or recreational or an “add on” to marriage… it is an integral part of marriage. Marriage is not just a spiritual union. It is a Sacrament – one of the seven – and therefore it is physical. Sex being the most intimate, complete physical union a man and a woman can experience expresses the spiritual reality of marriage (and brings forth life). When two people are united physically, they are saying with their bodies, “I give my entire self to you.” On the flip side, this is why sex outside marriage is so problematic. You are speaking one language with your body (complete, forever) and another with your heart/spirit.

    However, while I can see how “sex is marriage,” I don’t know if you can really say “marriage is sex?” It’s definitely sexual… but *is sex*? It seems to me like there’s a lot more going on in married life than sex.

    In the Catholic Church, a marriage that is not consummated can be declared null. So again, from a Catholic perspective, I don’t think sex is just a benefit of marriage, but something deeper that is interwoven into the Sacrament itself.

  6. Katie 16. Mar, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    I am a Catholic and first learned of T.O.B. through Christopher West…but don’t know much about it – although I have read 3 or 4 books that graced over it.

    So, “Sex is marriage and marriage is sex,”?? Hmm. It’s an interesting point of view. I could imagine that penguins think that sex is marriage and marriage is sex. After all, they find one mate for life, and the sole purpose of that union is procreation. But unlike penguins, humans have been given the advantage of having a conscience and a soul, and those gifts infuse every facet of life. So when I think of an ideal marriage, Galatians 5:22-23 comes to mind, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” A healthy marriage, to me, would seek to bring about all of the fruits of spirit, not just one fruitful act.

    So, I think I have to disagree with the statement.

    • Blessing 30. Jul, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

      That’s really thnkniig at a high level

  7. Simster 16. Mar, 2010 at 2:59 pm #


    Sex outside of marriage is still sex while the notion of a marriage without sex not being a real marriage is just a metric used by the courts as grounds for divorce much like not bearing children, burning food, are keeping an unclean house were also grounds for divorce in the past.

    I could be married without sex just as I could be married to somebody who doesn’t have a left arm, cooks terribly, and smells like a dead armadillo on a hot August afternoon.

    To say this means I am adhering to the notion that one can have a marriage without sex. If one can have a marriage without sex, than marriage is no longer necessarily centered on procreation. A marriage that is not based on the ability or tendency to procreate is a marriage that could possibly take place between individuals of the same gender.

    If marriage isn’t sex and sex isn’t marriage, then I’m forced to rethink my oversimplified view of what makes a society capable of bringing up healthy individuals. It gets more complex but I think that might be the more healthy way to approach it. Certainly more holistic.

  8. Jenelle Ponkowski 16. Mar, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    I disagree because the comment is too simplistic but I look forward to reading the upcoming post.

  9. Christine 16. Mar, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    I believe sex is for marriage but marriage isn’t just sex. It’s an important part of it, but there also needs to more than sex – love, emotional and physical intimacy, trust, respect, friendship and forgiveness (and a whole bunch of other things.)

    I’m interested in seeing what you have to say on this issue!

  10. CM 16. Mar, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    Hmm, I guess I disagree. I think that sex is a necessary part of marriage, but it is only one part. I do think that sex outside of marriage misses a lot of the true point of sex (total, faithful commitment; also usually the life-giving aspect.) Of course, TOB really influences my thoughts on this. Can’t wait to see where you’re going with this!

  11. Erin 16. Mar, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    I do not identify with any religion (culturally Christian, would choose to be jewish).

    I disagree with that statement. Maybe it is because I have never equated the two. My husband and I both had sex with other people before we met, and with each other before marriage. Neither of us have any regrets regarding our sexual experiences. Sex was never on a pedestal for us (as I think it is for ppl who wait until they are married before having sex). I think it psychologically elevates sex to an unhealthy level – to the level in which sex is marriage and marriage is sex.

    Sex is an important ingredient in a relationship – but I would say many more things are essential to a strong marriage including friendship, empathy, and teamwork. Our marriage could survive without sex, but I think friendship, empathy, and teamwork are vital.

  12. Mama Kalila 16. Mar, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    Nope… it has its place of course lol, but that shouldn’t be all that a marriage is about. And I’m Maronite Catholic :-)

  13. Sarah 17. Mar, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    I am Catholic. I do not essentially agree with that statement, because it is an oversimplification of TOB truths. Sex is to be a physical manifestation of the marriage vows, so in that sense, “sex is marriage” is accurate, but in a crude sort of understanding. I guess I might agree with the first half of the statement, that “sex is marriage”, because the only appropriate context for sex is marriage. However, marriage is not sex. Sex is, as nearly everyone above me has said, is only one part of marriage.

    I agree with the first half (in a yes, but…kind of way) and disagree with the second. :)

  14. Elisa 17. Mar, 2010 at 4:58 pm #


    I’m Catholic. Can’t explain why I disagree, it just doesn’t sound right. There is a lot more to marriage than just sex.

  15. Kacie 19. Mar, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    Say you’re in an accident or get really sick and end up being phsyically unable to have sex? Does this mean you’re not married? NO. So no, sex does not equal marriage and marriage does not equal sex.

    However, it is a part of marriage.

  16. Cassandra 02. Jun, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    I’ve read that people who have sex have a deeper union with that person and when they breakup are more grieved, in most cases, almost like a divorce. My father says he got married to have sex, although he also loved my mother, but he’s saying that “now a days” young people live together and have sex before marriage, and he doesn’t like it. I was in the in-between generation, when the sexual revolution started, boys in my high school and college were told by parents not to have sex and they usually didn’t push me. I learned to not have sex before marriage from the nuns, parents, … , so I didn’t. Now, saying all that, after 32 years of marriage I find myself in a “hard to have sex” situation because of husband’s high blood pressure,…., weight. I tried to say we didn’t need it for 7 years and we really ended up fighting alot about it. I left twice for a month at a time and even though he’s a nicer person to me and we’re trying an injection in his, well, private area, it’s still not good. Alot of resentment can happen on my part, because I say that I would do my best to make him happy, even if I had to lose 50, or 100 pounds.
    “Sex is marriage and marriage is sex”, yes.

  17. Howdy 30. Jul, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    Keep it coming, wrretis, this is good stuff.

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