Questions regarding Female Sexuality and the Validity of Marriage

A woman has studied the theology of female impotency and the lack of female orgasm.  She relays her many questions and concerns to NFPI.  Following is John’s response.

JOHN:  With regard to your last sentence, I do not know if I can help you with many of your questions.  I did not read the references you provided because I do not think the various speculations about different types of orgasm are really pertinent to the basic question dealing with the validity of a marriage.  Also, the website references you sent have been removed.

Your primary question concerns the validity of a marriage in which the wife does not experience orgasm during the marriage act.  When two people marry, they have the God-given right to engage in true marriage acts.  These are acts which of themselves are ordained toward the generation of children.

If a man is truly impotent, he cannot physically engage in the marriage act.  He can never consummate the marriage.  So the marriage is null by reason on non-consummation, and it can and ought to be declared null and void.

If a woman has such an abnormality in her genitals that the marriage act cannot take place, then it is my understanding that such a marriage would also be null and void as above.

If a woman does not enjoy the marriage act, or if she enjoys it but does not experience orgasm, that does not affect the validity of the marriage act as by nature ordered toward the generation of children.  In the sacrament of marriage, there is a mutual gift of each to the other.  There is no guarantee of any particular amount of pleasure.  When both spouses focus on being a gift of self to the other, the odds of mutual happiness increase.  When one or both spouses focus on what the other is going to do for ME, the odds of marital happiness are not increased.

Moral theology has to deal first of all with the minimum requirements for the goodness or evil of an action.  After that, it can attend to matters that might be called “for better and for worse.”  For example, it might be that a particular wife’s ability to achieve orgasm is due to a lack of courtship on the part of her husband.  Let us say he is decidedly short on what we might call kitchen courtship, and all too rushed in the bedroom.  It might make for a more pleasant relationship all the way around if he would improve his courtship, but his shortcomings in this respect do not affect the validity of the marriage itself or the validity of individual marriage acts.   And while marital rape would be sinful on his part, even that would not render the marriage itself invalid.

I hope this is at least somewhat helpful.

John F. Kippley
Sex and the Marriage Covenant

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