Research shows that married people of faith have the most fulfilling sex lives. Here's why ...
Aren’t Catholics repressed when it comes to sex? Don’t religious people have worse sex lives than others?
While many people assume that being religious makes for an inferior sex life, research ranging from the 1990s to today begs to differ. People who report integrating their religious beliefs with daily life also report higher pleasure from sexual intimacy than others. Additionally, highly religious couples report more sexual satisfaction in their relationships and religious women report having higher rates of pleasure than non-religious women.
These studies all show a correlation between being a religious person and having greater levels of sexual satisfaction. I’d like to suggest four reasons why sexual intimacy is better when you’re religious — specifically when you’re a married practicing Catholic.
1It's all natural.
Sexual intimacy for a Catholic couple has no extra steps, costs, or chemicals. You don’t have to set up a doctor’s appointment to insert strange apparatuses into your body, have surgeries, or arm yourself with tiny balloons for protection. Plus, there’s peace of mind knowing you’re not contributing to the damage that estrogen, found in birth control pills, is doing to the lives of fish and who knows what else.
2It's centered on respect.
Sex should be about respect and love. If one or both of you feel used afterwards, then something is wrong. It’s not a tool or a reward to get what you want, it’s supposed to be a mutual experience of self-gift where you come away feeling closer to your spouse.
St. John Paul II explains in Love and Responsibility that “Treating a person as a means to an end, and an end moreover which in this case is pleasure, the maximization of pleasure, will always stand in the way of love.”
You can’t love someone if you are just using them to feel good. If you’re just in it for what you want, you’re left with a hollow experience that’s closer to prostitution or masturbation than it is to an emotionally and physically fulfilling, God-created encounter with the person you’ve pledged your life to.
When you love and respect your spouse, you try to make sexual intimacy better for them. And if they’re similarly striving to make your experience better, because they love and respect you, then move over tabloids—what you’re left with is actual mind-blowing encounters of mutual self-gift.
Sex with one person (your spouse) that is geared towards respecting the other means a lot fewer infections and diseases to worry about. Plus, you don’t have to ride the emotional rollercoaster of “what does our relationship mean and where is it going?” or wonder if he or she is just in it for the sex. And women, if you get pregnant when you are not intending to, you have a built-in support system—the father of your child (and your husband).
4It helps your marriage last.
Sometimes, sex as a married Catholic means NOT being sexually intimate when you want to. If it’s better for the other person or, if you need to avoid getting pregnant, you may have to postpone sex for days or weeks. This helps teach you to put the good of your marriage and your spouse before your own wants. Putting your immediate desires aside to work for the greater good of your relationship is the key to making your marriage last in the long run. And if you can do that in your sex life, then there’s a good chance you can do that in all aspects of your marriage.
All this said, putting your spouse’s needs before your own desires isn’t always easy. And even if you know selflessness is key, it’s challenging to live that every day in a world that claims that your personal pleasure is the end-all-be-all. Building a better intimate life with your spouse requires ongoing communication, forgiveness, and work. In the end, this way is harder. But it’s also more fulfilling and respectful, safer, and much better for your relationship.
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