Another TMI post ... about guilt
(06-05-2017, 01:51 AM)Estevao Wrote: I knew I was onto something with the posts I made on CAF about Engels being the proto-feminist and the dangers of feminism, particularly his brand of the family is patriarchial oppression of women. I mean you can't get more anti-Catholic than tearing down the bedrock of society, but somehow we're supposed to baptize feminism.

Sorry for viewing you as a proof of my pet ideological theories OP. I really can't commiserate otherwise. God bless you and your marriage though.
Just to be clear, I don't subscribe to Engels' perspective on the family but these are just strange thoughts I have in the middle of the night. Feminism is dangerous and very toxic so no arguments with you here.

(06-05-2017, 01:53 AM)In His Love Wrote: I don't have much to offer because I'm unmarried, but have you read Casti Connubii?
Reading this now.  :)

And actually, I'm making headway on the issue. The first solution would have been not to let it stew for so long. At least having talked about it that I have my dander up to raise the issue with someone in a professional manner.
Obviously, you already know rationally that sex within marriage isn't sinful. You seem to be aware of that. Instead, the actual problem is your "feeling" of guilt after the act. Your heart considers sex sinful, even if your reason doesn't.

So what you have to do is to separate (in your mind and hear ) the attribute of sinfulness from the sexual act. How can you achieve that?

The only strategy I can imagine - which could possibly work - is that you (mentally) engage in Unceasing Prayer, never stopping it, even while being intimate with your partner. You see, the essence of sin is separation from God and forgetfulness of him. That's why it feels almost impossible, even hurtful, to sin while one is engaged in unceasing prayer.

Why is lust considered such a grave sin? Because it is more powerful to distract us from God than any other distorted desire. If you will learn to be in communion with God while being with your husband you will experience at first hand, in your heart, that it isn't a sin you are engaged in. God Himself will tell you that, in his own subtle way. So the cross and the icons won't bother you anymore, because you're aware that God and the whole Church Triumphant are always watching over you, rejoicing that you're volunteering to bring forth a new member of His Church into this universe.

If someone should say that it is be correct to pray to God during sexual intercourse, or in the bathroom, or in any other situation that isn't essentially sinful: Are you really implying that there are moments in Christian life in which one should forget or ignore God? I know this proposal sounds preposterous, but let me tell you from experience: it works.
Some more questions...

My husband chases me around the house and just doesn't leave me alone. At what point does this become inordinate desire? How am I to know when this is objectification? And if so, am I to feel guilty for that? I know we're newlyweds but he's not a young guy that just got a wife and can't handle himself.

Secondly, sadism is an obvious disorder. I'm fully aware of that and know this is an inordinate desire. How was I to know of this inclination prior to marriage since we were chaste? How does one rectify this? This is where I know sin is being committed. And no, this did not emerge from pornography as he has minimal interest in that and never did.

It boils down to: does he respect your "no"?

I know there are trad/Catholics out there that say that wives should be at their husband's beck and call, and that we really shouldn't refuse reasonable requests (which is true to a large degree), but it's important in the big picture that if you say "stop chasing me", "stop grabbing me", or just a general "please stop that", that it stops... immediately. Otherwise, there is always a worry about how far they will push it. But if he's doing it, you're enjoying it, and it stops when it ceases to be mutually enjoyable... I otherwise wouldn't worry about it too much at this point I don't think, unless you find it's going hand-in-hand with your second question. The fact that he's NOT a young guy isn't relevant IMO.

As for your second part, I'm thinking he probably was aware of this before he married you, and I'm surprised it wasn't something that was part of the conversations leading up to marriage, unless this is completely new (which I somehow doubt). You could give him the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe he didn't perceive it as a disorder prior to now, but I find that hard to believe too.

I don't know if we really understand the origins of those types of disorders except to say that they're likely formed from experiences. It is likely that this will not be easily overcome without both some good spiritual guidance and a good counsellor/therapist. In the meanwhile, don't put yourself in a position where he can exercise those proclivities - again, a good reason why "no" must mean "no", even within the context of your marriage.

I get the sense that your two questions go hand-in-hand with a larger issue, but I don't really know that for sure. Again, a good director or counsellor can help you tease that out. 
Yes, he’s respectful, and will stop when I say cool it, but it is exhausting. It’s not that I’m being a naive cranky wife but his sex drive is something else. Off the charts. I’m not sure if High T is considered a medical condition like Low T but that’s obviously something to do with it. The GP says it protects his cardiovascular health so not to worry so much right now. This is where I am concerned at what point does it pass marital passion into disordered lust. Obviously, the answer to that is inherent into whether his intentions are self-centred. And as a result, I question whether I am complicit in sin.

And yes, in reference to the second part, he knew he had this disorder BUT it was not considered disordered until his conversion to Orthodoxy. It was then he learned that such actions are not loving expressions but degrading, self-centred and manipulative. There was so much importance placed on the sacramental nature of marriage, its purposes, communication and how to live together that he never brought this up. And further, during our courtship, we just didn’t talk about sex because he gave it up cold turkey. We talked about it in reference to sexual health and having a future together but anything in depth, nope. So, it was indeed surprising on my end. He knew I would consider it disordered since you know, Catholicism. Other (secular) people didn’t.

It’s like when you go to the rodeo and there’s bull-riding. He’s like the bull in the chute. I've arranged for help on my end anyways so I'm sort of taking the bull by the horns.
From what I understood, you are considering finding some kind of professional help to improve the situation with your husband.

Maybe it might help you to know the position of modern psychology about those issues from a (semi-)professional point of view. I hold a degree in psychology, although I'm not a practicing clinician, as I deem psychotherapy irreconcilable with a traditional Christian worldview. Usually every 'professional' counsellor, even if he calls himself a Christian, works with the following framework I am going to present to you.

Note: The following remarks do not represent my own opinion. I will have to 'switch off' my Catholic worldview to present them in an objective manner. Afterwards, in a separate post, I will try to show how Christianity views these same matters very differently.

----- Catholic worldview OFF ---- Modern worldview ON ----


A high level of sexual activity is almost always considered healthy. Since Freud, the human body is viewed as a kind of steam boiler that occasionally has to let off some steam (even if there is no scientific evidence to support this theory).
On the ethical level, the only relevant issue is "consensuality". If your partner doesn't force or rape you, everything is just fine.

Now, in the case of "Sadism", it isn't considered a disorder anymore by most Psychologists (even if it is still a category in the ICD (65.5)). They even say that Sadists can have very healthy and stable relationships, if the partner happens to be a Masochist.

Sadism - in its roots - is part of the "normal" male sexuality, even it is latent in most persons most of the time. Women (or Christians) might ask, how phantasies or acts involving dominance and violence can be sexually arousing. It has to do with the relationship between Sex and Power….as Oscar Wild said: "Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power." That's why victorious armies in all epochs of humanity have tended to rape the women of the conquered tribe/nations, even if (voluntary) sex with their own wives or prostitutes might have been much more sensually pleasurable. If Sadists have these phantasies and act them out with the consent of their partners, it is considered absolutely healthy and normal.


So, most Psychotherapists wouldn't even see the need for therapy. Most likely they would try to 'heal' you from your misconceptions and prejudices about these normal, healthy urges. However, just let's assume that your husband would work with a therapist to reduce his urges. What are the options on the market?

a) Psychoanalysis according to Freud: It's a totally atheistic and materialistic method which basically says that every mental disease is caused by not having had enough sex in one's life.

b) Depth Psychology according to C.G. Jung: Jung once had an (attractive) patient who suffered from sexual phantasies in which she imagined her father spanking her as a little child. Jung deemed it a reasonable therapy to visit the patient in her apartment and give her some spanking on a regular basis – while being a married man. Aside from that, his method of "active imagination" is pure occultism.

c) Humanistic Psychology: Maybe the least harmful of all methods – at the first glance. However, in its roots it is pure New Age philosophy, trying to convince you that you only need more "self-assertiveness", "self-reliance" and "self-fulfilment". The serpent in the Garden Eden was maybe the first humanistic psychologist.

d) Sexual Behavioural Therapy – Version 1: There is one kind of "therapy" for paedophilia that a therapist might use against Sadism (using different pictures). The patient must masturbate daily while looking at pictures of children. The assumption is that he might get bored of it and lose his sexual interest in children. (Yes, this is an actual therapy paid for by German medical insurances)

e) Sexual Behavioural Therapy – Version 2: The person masturbates on a daily basis while looking alternately at the pictures of children and the picture of a naked woman. This way, it is assumed, the attraction gets transferred from the child to the woman. (Yes, this is also an actual therapy.)

Please excuse me, I will have to switch off the modern worldview, lest I get too nauseated by its inherent evil.

----- Catholic worldview ON ---- Modern worldview OFF ----

This is what you can expect when seeing a "professional". Even if you don't recognize it at first, what I just presented you are the underlying assumptions virtually all of them are working with. Maybe somewhere in the world there is a traditional Christian who also offers psychotherapy. I just can't imagine how this would work. If you need professional advice, I suggest you rather look for a good priest or Staretz.

In the next post, I am going to present the traditional Christian view to contrast it with the moral cesspool you just read about.
Now, the Christian position on those matters is diametrically opposed to what I described above. If modern psychology describes some of these disorders as "normal", it is just because it views our fallen state as the norm, as the ideal. Christianity, on the contrary, considers Jesus and the redeemed human nature as the norm.

First of all, the idea that a human being is a "steam boiler" that needs to let off some "sexual steam" from time to time is absolutely wrong, with no basis in science whatsoever. The contrary is true: sex is more like an addiction. The more you have it, the more you want it. The less you think about it, the less you will need it.

So, how would a sinless sexual relationship work, according to Christian teaching?

There are two reasons for engaging in sex during marriage. The first (and primary) one is to procreate. The second (but secondary) one is to support and intensify the intimate, loving relationship between the two partners. 

There is nothing sinful in feeling pleasure during sex, just as it isn't sinful if you enjoy a good meal. But sex should never be pursued exclusively for pleasure, lest you engage in lust.

If a couple already had sex at least once in the actual month and the wife is not in the mood, the sexual act would neither serve to procreate nor to improve the relationship. If the husband then still demands her to have sex with him to gratify his pleasures, this would indeed sinful behaviour from his part (although venial). If he invokes the name of Our Lord to persuade his wife to grant him his wish and make her feel guilty, as some traditionalists seem to do, this would even be blasphemous, in my opinion.

However, if the wife engages in sex to please her husband, out of love for him, this certainly is not sinful behaviour from her part, as it would serve both acceptable reasons for marital sex.

How would it look like if a sexual aroused husband approached his wife, who is not in mood, without committing the sin of lust?

There are two possibilities:

1. When the wife says "No", he continues to be aroused, but says "Ok, no problem" in a kind of annoyed voice, although he tries to give her the impression that he doesn't mind, in order not to make her feel bad.  ---- This behaviour is possible for any guy, only by applying the faculty of his free will, without the help of sanctifying grace.

2. When the wife says "No", within seconds the arousal recedes. He says "Ok, that's fine! Maybe tomorrow!" with a happy voice. He gives his wife a kiss on the cheek and mentally praises the Lord for having him given such a wonderful wife. ---- This behaviour is only possible with the help of sanctifying grace, but it is totally within the reach of any(!) Christian who asks the Lord for it.

So, your husband certainly must work on it. But, to answer your question: are you guilty because of his(!) behaviour? No, not all. You may be suffering because of his behaviour, you may be obliged to support him in his way, but you are not guilty of another persons' sinful attitude or behaviour.

What about Sadism? As you already stated, Sadism is evil and sinful, be it in imagination or in deeds. The fact that secularism views it as normal in any kind is sickening, to say the least. It might be the most sinister perversion of the original purpose of sexuality: instead of procreating new servants of God, sex is used to create/subjugate servants of your own.

So, how to go about it? There are two advices I would give to your husband, if I were to meet him:

1. If he wants these things to change, he must really(!) want it. It is of no use to say (in St. Augustine's words): "God, give me chastity, but not now!". Only if he wants to root out those vices, God and his servants can start to work on it.

2. Sexual disorders can only be healed/tamed if one gets hold on one's thoughts. Only by constant prayer, firmly controlling the thoughts and the imagination, can those inclinations be rooted out. As he his Orthodox, as you mentioned, I would recommend the following book:

"Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica"

I will keep you both in my prayers :-)

Thank you, Josef, for taking the time to type all that out and for your analysis.

What you wrote in reference to modern psychology was on point with my latest experience. I decided to meet a friend (many years experience in the field, far left leaning) to discuss my issue friend-to-friend over tea. It was not a professional meeting but one done casually. In the end, she decided that my Catholic upbringing is the main issue here, made suggestions I cannot actualize and pretty much told me to get up with the times. In other words, quit being a stick in the mud.
I was on a long train ride yesterday and didn't have anything else to do. I should rather apologize to you that I made you read the whole thing.

In the case of your friend, you have been very lucky that it was a private meeting. In a professional setting, she might never have told you directly that your Catholic upbringing is the "problem". Instead, she would have subtly guided you during several months toward this interpretation. That's why psychotherapy is dangerous, especially for Christians. (And like I said, one must be very suspect of so-called "Christian psychotherapists")

Just another (short!) comment how you might go about the guilt you are feeling. If I am in doubt about the sinfulness of an action, I use the following rules of thumb:

1. I should only feel guilty about a certain situation if I can mention it as a sin in confession.  This is the case if two conditions are met:

a) The "sin" can be articulated in a short, truthful statement.

b) The statement will probably be accepted as a sin by the priest.

So, in your case, the statement "I have very frequent sexual relations with my husband" wouldn't meet the criteria b), as this is objectively not a sin. The other statement you made in your text, "Do I encourage my husband to be lustful?" would not meet criteria a), as you certainly seem not to encourage him too often before the actual act and stating it this way would not be truthful.

2. If I am still in doubt, I ask my priest in the confessional: "Should I confess situation XY?". If yes, I ask him how I should act otherwise. If no, I am obliged by obedience not to feel guilty about situation XY, as we must believe in the fact that everything the priest says in the confessional is guided by the Holy Spirit and should always be taken as the will of God for us in the present moment. (Just read the life of any saintly nun. God always prefers obedience to private judgement or even private revelation).
Josef, no need to apologize about the long posts. I'm guilty of the same issue from time to time so really, I can't point fingers. Thank you for offering that "litmus test" of sin. It will come in handy.

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)