Four Secrets of Sacred Sex

2)  Maintain a responsible openness to life.

For sexuality to be truly spiritual, we must learn to balance the virtues expressed by a responsible openness to life.  On the one hand, openness to life helps us to develop trust, generosity, vulnerability, and selflessness, and to identify with the Fatherhood of God, among other things.  On the other hand, practicing this openness responsibly (as the Church's teaching encourages us to do), gives us an opportunity to develop a different set of virtues: chastity, self-discipline, honesty, temperance, etc.  Both sets of virtues are equally important to our Christian identity, but they can be hard to balance. The best way to strike this balance in marriage is to practice Natural Family Planning (NFP) -- a deeply spiritual, profoundly rewarding, and imminently practical form of family planning.  Experience for yourself the richness it will afford your spiritual and sexual life. 

3)  Approach each other in prayer.

Some people sniff at the notion of joining prayer and lovemaking as if it serves the same function as reciting baseball statistics.  But prayer is absolutely essential to a spiritual sexuality.  Mine goes something like this, "Lord, let me kiss her with your lips, love her with your gentle hands, consume her with your undying passion that I may show her how precious and beautiful she is to us."  Develop your own "lover's prayer" and see if the Lord doesn't help you become a more generous, loving, and attentive partner.

4)  Guard each other's dignity.

The virtues I have mentioned, especially vulnerability, cannot flourish except in a marriage where the couple are fierce guardians of each other's dignity.  Spiritual sexuality cannot exist in the face of cruel humor, blunt criticism, name-calling, neglect, abuse, or other affronts to one's personal dignity.  The most definitive research on marriage tells us that for a couple to be happy there must be five times more affection, generosity, and kindness, than criticism, nagging, arguing, or expressions of contempt.  Moreover, it has been my experience that this 5:1 ratio is only the beginning point of spiritual sexuality.  If a couple exhibits a solid, sacred sexuality, then it is more likely that their positivity to negativity ratio is 7:1, or even 10:1.

If you want to achieve a spiritual sexuality then the only answer is to love. Love more, love better, love every day.  Not necessarily because your spouse deserves it, but because your Christian dignity demands it.


The secret is out. God gave sex to the Godly, and it's time for us to take it back.

Well, what are you waiting for?


Dr. Popcak is the author of many books on marriage and family life including Holy Sex! (Crossroads, 2008) and the director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute, which provides telephone marriage, family, and personal counseling to Catholics and other Christians worldwide.  He can be reached at

4/13/2010 4:00:00 AM
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