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Henrik wrote:

Hi, guys —

I need the official Catholic teaching on this:

We could say that as humans we have four needs.

  1. emotional needs.
  2. sexual needs.
  3. intellectual needs, and
  4. needs for security and safety

I am not trying to separate these four since they may be very related to each other. In Catholic teaching on sexuality, it is said that the sexual need is only to be fulfilled in a marriage. It seems that the other needs can be fulfilled by any person you wish (as long as you have a relationship).

  • So it would be wrong to show my sexual parts to any person while showing my emotional part would be OK?

There is no need for a special bond in order for it to me morally OK to be emotional with someone yet being sexual would be wrong. I am confused about this as relationships are difficult for me.

It seems that being sexual beings we must wait for marriage in order to express sexuality according to the Catholic Church. On the other hand, we don't have to wait in order to be emotional.

I am confused about the Catholic teaching on this. Please explain the official Catholic teaching.

In psychology, it is said that people will experience things in body when we express things sexuality so I see that being sexual and emotional are somewhat different.

Again, please explain the official Catholic teaching.


  { What is wrong with showing this human need if showing these other human needs would be OK? }

Paul replied:


The teaching of the Church is that sex outside of marriage is seriously wrong because the meaning and purpose of sex for permanent union of one-flesh and the potential procreation of children.

These two ends make absolutely no sense outside the bond of marriage and it is objectively selfish (not love) if performed. No liaison or relationship that is not the permanent unconditional commitment of marriage can transfer it from selfishness to love.

Reason can see that if physical intimacy must be saved for the exclusive relationship of marriage, then so too should emotional bonding with one of the opposite sex. Although it is not wrong to display our emotions to family, friends, and others, it is very imprudent to allow to develop a kind of emotional intimacy that naturally seeks physical intimacy. Therefore it is good to always be aware to avoid the kind of emotional intimacy that leads to physical intimacy with one of the opposite sex that you're not married to. A disciplined pacing of both the emotional and physical is necessary to be properly chaste.

It is not easy in today's sex-saturated culture, but Jesus' Cross wasn't easy either. And remember, the two supernatural helps on our journey are always necessary and available — the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist.



Bob replied:


The ideas you have sound like they come from psychology, but I'm afraid they may be the source of confusion. Instead of thinking of sexuality as a need consider it an appetite.

We have appetites for many things and probably one of the strongest appetites is sexual however like our other appetites there is a purpose for them:

  • thirst keeps us hydrated
  • hunger makes sure we have nutrition to sustain our bodies
  • sexual desire is to ensure that children are created to continue the human race and share in Gods plan to be fruitful and multiply. (Genesis 1:28)

Like our other appetites, sex has a context and an objective order. Marriage is the context for reproduction because it ensures the proper care and development of the total human person, who God intended to have a mother and a father; that is why He created them male and female. (Genesis 1:27)

Our society has made things confusing, God didn't. Just follow His plan and you'll be happy and sexually fulfilled. When it's time you will have a loving wife with whom you can share every aspect of your life:

  • emotional
  • physical, and
  • spiritual.


Bob Kirby

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