Marital celibacy

It is good to “live in truth”. It is neither good nor healthy to live in simulation

Oxymoron: “A figure of speech that consists of complementing a word with another word that has a contradictory or opposite meaning”. Well, no. In this case, it is not an “oxymoron”, but a sad reality. Although it may seem far-fetched, absurd or contradictory, sadly some couples live this absurd reality. It is not in vain that the time I have had the most joyful audience in class was when I explained the “marital debt” to them. Several female students considered it to be a kind of rape. On the other hand, it is common for some women – it is more common for women – to keep their husbands on a “diet” for more or less extended periods, or indefinitely, and vice versa. Yes, believe it or not, some husbands do not approach their wives except to consume the sacred food.

Far more often than I would have imagined, I have encountered this in my experience of spiritual accompaniment. I remember once when a husband asked me – he knew I was talking to his wife – to please persuade her to change her “Lenten mortification”, as she had decided not to have conjugal intimacy during that time period. It was very hard for the poor husband to wait forty days, until Easter, to be intimate with his wife.

But there have also been experiences in the opposite direction. One woman, in the same context of spiritual counselling, innocently asked if her husband’s sexual attitude was normal: they had not been intimate for decades. Sexual activity had been strictly limited to being “an instrument for procreation”. The husband felt that having already had four children, they could stop being sexually close forever. Was he an anchorite who had entered marriage just to satisfy his parents? Sadly, the answer is no. Rather, this was a person with a homosexual inclination, who had come to marriage for the sake of appearances. In the past – not so long ago – it was frowned upon to be openly homosexual, so, to cover up, some people with this tendency went into marriage to look after social forms, with the poor unfortunate woman who had been instrumentalised by her husband to appear “normal” in a conservative society paying the bill. A good friend, a homosexual activist, confirmed this to me openly: “Before, homosexuals in Catholic countries had two options, to stand up honourably in society: get married or enter the seminary”. This explains how, very late in life, the Catholic Church discovered the percentage of paedophile priests in its midst (80% of abuse victims are boys, not girls). So it was not until 2005 that people with a homosexual inclination were banned from entering the seminary.

In the above case – and it is not the only one – I had no choice but to recommend to the woman – to the victim, I should say – to get her marriage annulled. Such a marriage is a sham, a simulation, it never really existed. But of course, it is not easy to make such a decision, it is not easy to explain to the children that their father is in fact gay, and to make them realise – how hard! – that their existence is simply the result of a strategy to “fulfill the social expectations” of their father or, to put it more crudely, that their life is the result of a Machiavellian plan to keep up appearances; a play that has resulted in their own existence. This is why some women prefer to carry on as usual, in the care of their children, playing their part in the inhuman play in which they have been involuntarily forced to participate. Finally, it must be said, it is easier for them to get used to not being sexually intimate than for their husbands to do so. The unfairness of this situation stands out, because the husband, far from “being on a diet”, is sexually intimate “underwater”, i.e. he maintains an active sexual life, of a homosexual nature, which he cleverly hides from society and from his own wife, until she discovers it (the mobile phone always betrays).

In any case, it is always good to “live in the truth”, or at least to try to. It is neither good nor healthy to live in simulation. One of the “advantages” of our permissive society is that such simulations are no longer necessary. Homosexual people now have all sorts of safe exits – in fact, they are fashionable, they are now privileged – so that they are no longer forced to ruin their spouse’s life respectively or, worse, try their luck at the seminary.