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oral sex is contrary to natural law
Question from anonymous on 4/26/2007:

Dear NFP Outreach:

Regarding the question on the NFP Forum and oral sex: There certainly is much confusion regarding certain behaviors in marriage, as there are certain theologians claiming certain behaviours are O.K.. , such as this particular one. This behaviour is contrary to natural law (even as foreplay) and here is why:

The natural law is rooted in design. God, the Supreme Designer, has imprinted a design on all created things--including the human person, both in his spiritual and physical being--a purpose for which each has been created. Thus, with regard to the human person, the Creator has designed the digestive system for nourishing the person, speech for communicating the truth, the mouth to swallow food for nourishment etc. Likewise, the Creator has designed the sexual organs for something, namely, for procreating children and for expressing the personal communion of the spouses.

Further, the procreative and unitive dimensions of sexual activity are inseparable; any action of the sexual organisms lacking in these dimensions is wrong. However, an action of the sexual faculties outside of the marital act would be lacking in any procreative dimension and consequently in any unitive dimension; it would be "sexual pleasure...sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2351), i.e. lust. The fact that the spouses may engage in the marital act immediately after they have engaged in this other kind of act does not make these two acts the same action, just as the fact that I make take another footstep immediately after I have taken a previous footstep does make the two footsteps the same action. Therefore, this kind of sexual action in question cannot be justified by saying that it leads to the marital act; it is by nature a separate actionwhose object is gravely immoral.

Further, the consequences of this behaviour (consequences are a witness as well to the natural law), is disease. There is research that shows women's risk of fungal infection increases 10 fold with this type of behaviour. There are other risks as well,some mouth cancers, which research is beginning to show may be a result of the sexually transmitted disease HPV (BMJ 2006;333:516 (9 September), doi: 10.1136/bmj.333.7567.516-a ).The research was on homosexual men, but this virus is the common cold sore and can be contracted from eating utensils and kissing. So, even married couples can contract this virus, and as the abstract says the epidemiology of this virus is changing.

All those who are stating that as long as there is marital intercourse that oral sex is O.K. should tell couples of the physical risks, and the spiritual risks to their marriage. The Church teaches respect for health and condoning this behaviour does not do that, because the other person's health is in jeopardy. The Church may not state explicitly that this behaviour is wrong, but the Church does so implicitly. The Church teaches that we have right to the truth, and this matter is no exception.

Thank you to Fr. Habiger for stating the Truth on this matter.

Answer by Fr. Matthew Habiger - NFP Outreach on 4/30/2007:

Dear Anon,

Thank you for your explanation of how the natural law applies to oral sex.

Cordially yours,

Fr. Matthew Habiger OSB

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