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October 11, 2019
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October 11, 2019

Does marriage really mean plenty sex?

BOMA-TT created a marriage quiz. In our August 11 column we presented the first seven questions and answers. Six more of the 20 questions and answers were presented in the September 8 issue. These are the final questions (answers edited for length).

  1. The Catholic Church recommends couples have as many children as possible – False: “Large families are a joy for the Church. They are an expression of the fruitfulness of love”8. The Church encourages generosity in having children as our Lord said in the Book of Genesis “be fruitful and multiply”. This however does not mean to be irresponsible. The Catholic Church teaches us to be responsible parents. Responsible parenting means couples are to have children considering the physical, economic, social and psychological conditions of the couple, family and/or society.
  2. Marriage means plenty sex – False: Sex is important in marriage. Although there are times when intimate relations may be frequent; this is not the case all the time. Whilst sex, with all its passion and emotion, is a powerful marital act that is good for the marriage11, marriage is more than sex. Life has its challenges and there are times when very little or no sex would be happening. Married couples should not, however, let being ‘caught-up’ with other things leave sexual intimacy entirely out of their married-lives. Some people think that marriage is all about their spouse being readily available for sex at any time. People are not objects to be used for sexual pleasure. God’s Love is Free, Total, Faithful and Fruitful and He wants that for us in marriage, that it be free, total, faithful and fruitful. Praying as a couple can improve intimacy between a couple, as sex is the physical expression of their wedding vows and can be counted as a prayer when it is not about using another person but truly loving one’s spouse11.
  3. Natural Fertility Regulation (NFR) such as the Billings Ovulation Method is used only to avoid pregnancies – False: NFR is used by couples to achieve pregnancies and is used by women to monitor their reproductive health also.
  4. Couples have better intimacy when using NFR – True: Couples using natural methods have more satisfying and more frequent sex, their divorce rates are very low (0.2 per cent in one study), it’s a real renewal of the wedding vows and couples don’t take their sexual intimacy for granted (it won’t get ‘boring’).
  5. Catholic married couples can overcome infertility with IVF – False: A child deserves to be born out of the love of the father and mother and “not by any other means, for he or she is not something owed to one, but a gift”6. The Church “did not judge the use of technology to overcome infertility as wrong in itself”12. However, when it comes to Reproductive Technology, “some methods are moral” some are “immoral”. “If a given medical intervention helps or assists the marriage act to achieve pregnancy, it may be considered moral; if the intervention replaces the marriage act in order to engender life, it is not moral.” “In IVF, children are engendered through a technical process, subjected to ‘quality control,’ and eliminated if found ‘defective’.” In other words, through an unnatural process (not married lovemaking) of harvesting eggs and sperm they are put together and the newly conceived children are sorted, and the imperfect ones get thrown out. “IVF is also expensive, costing at least $10,000 (US) per attempt. Over 90% of the embryos created perish at some point in the process.”12
  6. There are too many children in T&T, more couples should use birth control – False: According to the World Bank the fertility rate (births per woman) for Trinidad and Tobago has been reduced from 3.5 in 1970 to 1.6 in 2013. A birthrate of 2.1 is needed to replace current population for most industrialised countries13, but ranges from 2.5 to 3.3 are needed in developing countries due to higher mortality rates14.
  7. Contraception is not good for relationships – True: There are times when couples may have serious, grave or just reasons for avoiding pregnancy, be it due to serious mental or physical illness or to space pregnancies so that the couple can physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepare for another child. Sts Popes Paul VI and John Paul II wrote that married couples are called to responsible parenthood. Couples need to work with God in deciding if they can properly raise a child and be able to teach their children values and virtues needed to build a humane society. The Church thus agreed that Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an acceptable way to regulate fertility.

1 University of Toronto’s Assault Program/Counseling & Psychological Services – Healthy Relationship Quiz

2 Amoris Laetitia, 38

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