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Advice for Newlyweds

Improving your sex life with grace

Congratulations on your new marriage! The newlywed stage can be an exciting time of your life as you begin to build your lives together. This section of the website is designed to help you continue to heal and strengthen your spousal union.


If you feel like you’re struggling to connect, don’t despair. Sex involves two imperfect people trying to be vulnerable in a most unique way. Sex involves our bodies and our minds, which can both be unpredictable. Contrary to the headlines on the magazine covers, the best sex does not come from learning 101 "new" positions or purchasing new products designed for instant success. Good Catholic sex is not going to happen overnight. It requires patience, love, trust, and harmony – both in and outside the bedroom.

If you have not yet done so, start with checking out the self-reflection guide (it is intended for engaged couples but applies to married persons too!). If you aren't using NFP, check out information on the basics here. 

Below are some suggestions for continued growth. 


Recognize you have a lifetime to grow:

  • Remember the quip, “Patience is a virtue?” Patience will become one of the biggest themes of your marriage, as you learn that nothing good in life comes instantly. Change takes time, but God willing, you have a lifetime to grow together as one. As couples learn to practice generosity toward one another – and to the world around them – their love will grow better and greater (GS 49).

Avoid the pressure of placing unrealistic expectations on each sexual union:

  • Sometimes you will feel moments of deep intimacy and other times you may wonder why you aren’t connecting. In a similar way, your spiritual journey likely experiences moments of beauty and moments of confusion. It may help to reflect upon the idea that each sexual encounter is a piece of your experience of God's love. 

Continue to work to heal any past wounds, addictions:

  • Remember that past wounds won’t be magically healed on the wedding day. Don’t ignore them, but be intentional in addressing them.

Be open to God’s gifts:

  • All who enter marriage are in need of growth and healing. God gifts married couples with special graces that will, over time, heal and perfect us.

  • Prayer plays an integral role, as God helps us to work through our weaknesses and learn to truly love our spouse.

  • Participate in the Sacraments – receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a consistent basis, attend Mass together and/or sign up for a Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration together.


  • Communication is often one of the most difficult but necessary parts about marriage.

  • Set regular times to communicate. Share meals together; perhaps schedule a weekly “business meeting” to review your week. (Click here for a marriage meeting guide.)

  • Avoid difficult conversations just before bedtime.

Practice an openness to all life:

  • As your bodies become unified as one, remember that you are also called to be Christ’s Body for the world. We learn to love and serve one person so that we may learn to better love and serve others. The calling to be open to life not only includes children, but also the lives of others around us.

  • Invite friends and neighbors into your home; volunteer together.

Learn to give and receive – outside your spousal union:

As you each learn to give and receive in your daily living, you will find intimacy develop in your relationship.

  • Learn your spouse’s love language. Speak this language through daily acts (gifts) directed toward their love language, i.e. offering to do a chore you dislike, without expecting anything in return.

  • Receive the gestures of love your spouse gives to you with gratitude and humility.

  • Schedule regular date nights.

  • Continue to grow in chastity and remember there are many ways to bond outside of sex. If you are in a phase of your marriage where you are delaying pregnancy, you may find some of these tips for engaged couples help you as well. 

  • Remember that foreplay is not just defined by physical touch. It is based on all intentional actions that occur between two persons leading up to sex. This includes those daily acts of love, but can also be more explicit actions like starting the day wearing something lacy or texting your spouse in the middle of the day about how you look forward to having sex later.

Learn to give and receive – in your spousal union:

  • Your love language will most likely directly translate to the spousal union, e.g. if your love language is quality time, you’ll likely need to have some non-sexual quality time together before moving toward intercourse. A “words of affirmation” person may feel the most aroused if their spouse can give them affirming words as they build up to intercourse.

  • During and after sex, communicate to your spouse how much you appreciate them. When your spouse shows you appreciation, be open to receiving it. (If you’re told “You’re beautiful” avoid thinking “He doesn’t really mean that.”)

  • A woman’s body may appear to respond differently every time. Every week, a woman’s body is going through hormonal changes that directly impact her ability to be aroused. When a woman is fertile, she will likely be more easily aroused, and during non-fertile weeks may need extra attention and lubrication. Women also tend to be more easily distracted by other things happening in their lives and can find it more difficult to focus on the present moment. A husband will need to develop patience and encourage his wife to communicate her needs.

  • Be patient with the woman’s orgasm. Most female orgasms are not reached solely through penetration. A wife may need to teach her husband how to best build her up her arousal point during intercourse. In Love and Responsibility, John Paul II states that if the woman does not climax during sex, the husband may stimulate her to climax after. This may not always feel comfortable to do, nor is it a requirement for a positive sexual experience, so couples should learn to communicate their expectations and desires around this topic.

  • Don’t get frustrated if things feel awkward or uncomfortable. For example, you may have times where you build up to penetration but find the man is unable to climax in the moment. Do not let your expectations prevent you from enjoying and appreciating the intimacy you are able to share. Sometimes you may need to laugh about it, talk about it, or sleep on it. Just don’t be afraid to try again.

  • Invite God into your intimate lives. Perhaps put a crucifix over your bed to remind you that your union is a sign of Christ’s self-giving love. Some couples pray before or after. Instead of thinking about God “watching” you, think about God blessing your marriage and affirming your love for one another.

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