I found very good information on this site where the author logically and according to the Catholic teaching explains certain parts of sexual behavior. I agree and practice what is written, just in case if someone wonders if it's even possible. But I don't want to discuss whether the site or the author is correct on the subject so please avoid any comments on the authenticity of the site.

There is a statement:

Now the emotion of sexual passion is a result of the fallen state, and so neither Jesus nor Mary experienced sexual passion or sexual arousal.

What is the source of this knowledge or where does the author bases this information from?

  • Since the word salad "emotion of sexual passion" by itself makes no sense to me, I suspected it would make sense if I read the whole article. So thanks for the link. At the end of the article, he says this: The mere emotion of sexual passion is not a knowingly chosen immoral act ... it's an interesting article that I think I'll take another look at. some things need two reads. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 19:49
  • @KorvinStarmast Yes, "sexual passion or sexual arousal" are very ambiguous. From the context of that article, it seems the author understands the terms to mean lust or concupiscence, which are incompatible with the virginal state of life of Jesus and Mary.
    – Geremia
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 18:20
  • Are you asking whether virgins like Jesus and Mary can or did have "sexual passion or sexual arousal"?
    – Geremia
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 18:21
  • @Geremia, no, the question is if Jesus and Mary were capable of "sexual passion or sexual arousal"?
    – Grasper
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 19:38

4 Answers 4


The statement given in the O.P. has no foundation in Catholic teaching.

There is nothing wrong with sexual passion per se; however, like all passions, it needs to be regulated by reason. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states,

2341 The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason.

  • Thanks for the answer. But I have an objection to the quote. It actually denies your 2nd sentence. In order for Adam and Even to execute the virtue of chastity they needed to be tempted to do something unpure. But there was nothing unpure in Eden so they didn't need to practice this virtue. Which would mean they didn't need to regulate their passions(because they didn't experience them as we do). We only regulate them if there is a danger of an evil. Even souls in heaven don't grow in their virtues anymore as there is no temptation or anything that could change their will.
    – Grasper
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 13:25
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    @Grasper Exercising the virtue of chastity does not depend on being tempted to do something impure. It merely means that the sexual faculties are exercised correctly (i.e., “regulated in accord with reason”). Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 13:38
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    @Grasper, in other words, even though Adam and Eve had never sinned (before the Fall), they were still capable of sinning, whether that be in the area of sexuality, or in any other area. The fact that they, in fact, behaved properly (before the Fall) shows that they had the virtue of chastity. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 13:40
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    @Grasper, to give an example: the sexual passion that a husband feels toward his wife before an act of conjugal intercourse is perfectly licit; in fact, in that situation, not to experience it would be a defect, and, in fact, refusing the sexual act with one’s spouse can even be a sin. On the other hand, if sexual passion leads one to commit adultery, obviously, it is quite disordered. Thus, the virtue of chastity entails the exercise of the sexual faculties when it is appropriate (i.e., as an act of love between husband and wife that is open to new life); and refraining otherwise. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 13:50
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    "The statement given in the O.P. has no foundation in Catholic teaching." Certainly the concupiscible appetite of man is a good, but concupiscence is evil.
    – Geremia
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 17:29

Passion (from Latin passio or "to suffer") means, in the broad sense, letting something happen to oneself without actively controlling it. So, immoderate "sexual passion" or "sexual arousal" would mean letting sexual desires overtake oneself without moderating or guiding them by reason; failure to do this is lust. Concupiscence is the technical term for, as Fr. Hardon, S.J., defines it, the "Insubordination of man's desires to the dictates of reason".

Within marriage, the evil of concupiscence in the marital act is "excused" or "justified" by its relation to a marriage good such as children or marital fidelity (cf. "Of the Marriage Goods," Summa Theologica suppl. q. 49).

St. Augustine writes:

So let good spouses use the evil of concupiscence well, just as a wise man uses an imprudent servant for good tasks.

"[S]ic utantur coniuges boni malo concupiscentiae, sicut sapiens ad opera utique bona ministro utitur imprudente" (Contra Iulianum 5.60)

I hold that to use lust is not always a sin, because to use evil well is not a sin.

"Ego enim dico, uti libidine non semper esse peccatum; quia malo bene uti non est peccatum" (ibid.)

As for the warfare experienced by chaste persons, whether celibate or married, we assert that there could have been no such thing [as lust] in paradise before sin. Marriage is still the same, but in begetting children nothing evil would then have been used; now the evil of concupiscence is used well.

"bellum quod in se casti sentiunt, sive continentes, sive etiam coniugati, hoc dicimus in paradiso, ante peccatum nullo modo esse potuisse. Ipsae ergo etiam nunc sunt nuptiae, sed in generandis filiis tunc nullo malo uterentur, nunc concupiscentiae malo bene utuntur" (ibid. 3.57)

This evil is used well by faithful spouses.

"hoc enim malo bene utuntur fideles coniugati" (ibid. 3.54)

sources: notes 23-24 of marriage expert's Msgr. Cormac Burke's excellent article "A Postscript to the Remedium Concupiscientiæ [Remedy for Concupiscence]," The Thomist 70 (2006): 481-536; full-texts of St. Augustine can be found here or in St. Augustine on Marriage and Sexuality)

Addressing the question of whether Adam & Eve had carnal intercourse before the Fall, St. Thomas Aquinas gives this objection ([*Summa Theologica* I q. 98 a. 2][10]):

Objection 3: Further, in carnal intercourse, more than at any other time, man becomes like the beasts, on account of the vehement delight which he takes therein; whence continence is praiseworthy, whereby man refrains from such pleasures. But man is compared to beasts by reason of sin, according to Ps. 48:13: "Man, when he was in honor, did not understand; he is compared to senseless beasts, and is become like to them." Therefore, before sin, there would have been no such intercourse of man and woman.

to which he responds:

Reply to Objection 3: Beasts are without reason. In this way man becomes, as it were, like them in coition, because he cannot moderate by reason the delectation of coition and the fervor of concupiscence. In the state of innocence nothing of this kind would have happened that was not regulated by reason, not because delight of sense was less, as some say (rather indeed would sensible delight have been the greater in proportion to the greater purity of nature and the greater sensibility of the body), but because the force of concupiscence would not have so inordinately thrown itself into such pleasure, being curbed by reason, whose place it is not to lessen sensual pleasure, but to prevent the force of concupiscence from cleaving to it immoderately. By "immoderately" I mean going beyond the bounds of reason, as a sober person does not take less pleasure in food taken in moderation than the glutton, but his concupiscence lingers less in such pleasures. This is what Augustine means by the words quoted, which do not exclude intensity of pleasure from the state of innocence, but ardor of desire and restlessness of the mind. Therefore continence would not have been praiseworthy in the state of innocence, whereas it is praiseworthy in our present state, not because it removes fecundity, but because it excludes inordinate desire. In that state fecundity would have been without lust.


St. Albert the Great speculated on the physiognomy of Jesus and Mary. He argued that Mary had a warm temperament, which in woman not full of grace as Mary is would incline them to sin or sexual intercourse. His argument is summarized in:

From ibid. p. 235 (PDF p. 19):

[T]he principle articulated at Mariale 18.10 [is] that the glory of victory is greater in proportion to victory's difficulty ("ubi autem est difficilior victoria, major gloria"), suggesting, then, that her victory over the passions will be made more evident if she possesses by nature a temperately warm complexion (slightly "hot-blooded," if you will, relative to other women).74 Our author does not accept the premise that Mary's chastity stems from a colder complexion; rather, in her chastity is wholly a product of grace. … [D]espite the warmth of her nature Mary, full of grace, never experienced concupiscence or desire; in her even the traces of sin (fomes ["tinder"]) had been extinguished.75 In Mary there was no real conflict between her passions and her complexional nature; she was miraculously without the inclination to sin—to sexual intercourse—often associated with women having a warmer complexion.

74. Mariale 18.7-9.
75. "Quod autem objicitur, quod debuit esse frigidæ complexionis et habere colorem illi attestantem. Dicimus, quod non: cum enim gratia nobilior sit quam natura, castitas quæ est totaliter a gratia, nobilior est quam ea quæ est partim a gratia et partim a natura. Et tanto est major gratia et majorem potentiam demonstrat, quanto fortiorem vincit naturam, quamvis in beata Virgine nulla fuit pugna, quia etiam fomes extinctus fuit in ea" [It is objected that she should have a frigid complexion and have a color attesting to that. We say no: for where grace is nobler than nature, chastity being totally so, it is nobler than what is part grace and part nature. And the greater is the grace and it demonstrates this, the greater it conquers nature, thus in the blessed Virgin there was no combat, because the fomes ["tinder"] was extinct in her.] (ibid. 20.3, …).

Thus, St. Albert would seem to answer "yes" to the question "Were Jesus and Mary were capable of sexual passion or sexual arousal?" but "no" to the question "Did Jesus or Mary experience sexual passion or sexual arousal?", because they lacked the fomes or beginnings of sin.

(For more on what the fomes is, see St. Thomas Aquinas's questions "Whether there was the fomes of sin in Christ?" and "Whether the Blessed Virgin was cleansed from the infection of the fomes?")


According to St. Augustine (Augustine of Hippo), one of the Church Fathers, credited for the known relationship between faith and reason, Adam and Eve could have had sexual intercouse in the Garden of Eden, but with no libido. The sexual organs were moved by will and not by lust (similar to an arm or another voluntarily controlled body member), which would mean that the libido is a sensation acquired after the Fall. Such understanding is from the book The City of God, written by St. Augustine.

'It is worth mentioning in passing that some of the animals can move their skin in a particular spot where something is felt that ought to be removed as when they shake off a fly or, in some cases, even expel a spear from where it is lodged. Merely because men have no such power is no reason why God could not give it to any animals He wanted to. Nor is there any reason why man should not have had control even over those lowly organs which have been so rebellious ever since man's own rebellion against God. As far as God is concerned, there was no difficulty in making men in such a way that organs which are now excited only by lust could have been completely controlled by delibarate choice.' (The City of God, Book XIV, Chapter XXIV)

As a organization in the Earth, the Roman Catholic Church is supposed to give general instructions about how a common Catholic person should behave in the specific time and space of the history. This authority is one of the historical reasons for the Catholic-Protestant Schism.

Nowadays, you see in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as posted by another member on this topic, not a denial of the sexual attraction, but a suggestion of how people should live with it. However, internally the clerical celibacy is still obligatory and otherwise it would probably be recomended.

2341 The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason.

Anyway, if you read the Scriptures using a Catholic/Orthodox view, you may actually find that to conciously and voluntarily seek for sexual pleasures is of sinful nature:

'But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.' (KJV, Matthew 5:28)

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    @rijj What makes you think that the Church teaches that seeking the pleasure itself is sinful? Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:02
  • @AthanasiusOfAlex What a complex and abstract question ! I am not sure of how to answer it, but I suggest you to read about Augustine of Hippo and his influence in the Medieval World.
    – user37524
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:17
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    @rijj, I am respectfully trying to say that the Catholic Church (which is not identical with Augustine of Hippo) does not teach that the pleasure of the sexual act is evil. On the contrary. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:23
  • @AthanasiusOfAlex, yes but you must understand that the Catholic church teaches in respect to a fallen state so it must make a distinction with whatever we have inherited, in this case, libido.
    – Grasper
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:58
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    I think you are conflating the feeling of desire with the disordered behavior of letting that feeling become too important in our lives. The Catechism has a variety of articles discussing the various "disordered behaviors" and letting our libido have too strong of an influence to us is one of them. (Interesting answer, though I am not familiar with the catholic church teaching this in a cut and paste from Augustine.) Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 19:46

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