Sex and Marriage, Part 2: Physical Unity (with Beth Sri)

“My spouse is in the mood for sex, but I’m not. What should we do?” Whether you’re about to be married or if you’ve been married for decades, Dr. Sri and his wife Beth share practical and spiritual insights from Saint John Paul II, encouraging couples to overcome obstacles by focusing on the needs of their beloved.

Snippet from the Show
There are times when sex is awesome, and there are times when it’s not. The pursuit of virtue, holiness, and sanctification happens inside the bedroom as well as on the outside!


Take It Slow

Men are like microwaves, and women are like crockpots.

As St. John Paul II explains, for the woman, the process is generally slower and more gradual than it is for the man, whose sexual arousal tends to be more intense faster. This dynamic makes it difficult for men and women to reach harmonization.

St. John Paul II highlights that sex isn’t just about physical pleasure. We are also called to virtue: whether in foreplay or in the acts themselves, we are called to virtue.

In a particular way, St. John Paul II draws attention to the role of the husband, encouraging him to be patient and to practice self-control in the midst of his eagerness:

Within the context of marital intimacy, the outward expression of tenderness may involve the husband lingering with his wife for long periods of time with kisses and gentle touches and caresses, including in what John Paul II describes as her “erogenous zones,” and paying close attention to her reactions so that he can help her approach climax before moving to the sexual act itself.

As husbands, if we want our wives to be able to fully enter into the act—and what good husband doesn’t?—then we need to respond to Christ’s call to be virtuous, to practice patience and self-control, to generously give that time to help her go at her own pace.

Talk About It

When it comes to your sex life, for both husband and wife, it’s important to create an open dialogue! Even in marriage, it may seem like a taboo topic. But if a wife is wanting to encourage her husband to love her better, and he (being a good husband) wants to love her better, he can’t do it without her guidance and help. The same applies for a husband encouraging his wife!

The Wedding Night

Give yourselves grace. Remember that you have your entire marriage to practice, to talk about it, and to try again! If it feels like it was “less than expected”, you’re not failures. You’re just a couple that is trying to grow in virtue and holiness and sanctification!

The devil wants you to have as much sex as possible before you’re married, and then once you are married he doesn’t want you to have any. Don’t let him win!

There are times when sex is awesome, and there are times when it’s not. The pursuit of virtue, holiness, and sanctification happens outside of the bedroom as well as in the bedroom!

The Ideal in Intimacy

John Paul II teaches that an ideal for married couples to aim for is reaching climax together at the same time. It may not always be possible, but it’s definitely worth striving for.

“It requires much care and loving attention, especially on the part of the man, who must be willing to spend time with his wife—often longer than he at first realizes—respecting her dignity and caring for the different way she experiences the process leading up to the sexual act.”

For more on this, please check out our new book:
The Good, the Messy, and the Beautiful: The Joys and Struggles of Real Married Life!

Make It A Priority

Make it consistent and regular, flexible if need be. Make the time for it!

Have the Conversation: “What needs to happen for intimacy to be possible?”
It can be practical things like finishing dishes or packing school lunches, taking a shower, even needing a nap during the day! But have the conversation, because it could transform an obstacle into an opportunity.

We want to hear your questions about marriage and family life!

Please send your questions to:
(If you want your questions to be anonymous, please just mention that in your email!)


  • Visit Dr. Sri’s website at and to book online events with Dr. Sri email
  • Find more of Dr. Sri’s episodes at 
  • Ascension is pleased to offer our new and improved online bible study programs and sacramental preparation programs digitally to help you minister with flexibility. Go to to view all our offerings

Dr. Edward Sri is a theologian, well-known Catholic speaker, and author of several best-selling books. His work with Ascension includes study programs such as A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk Through Christ’s Passion and Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother. Several of Dr. Sri’s programs were filmed on-site in the Holy Land, and feature immersive video explorations of the sacred sites where Jesus, Mary, and the Apostles lived and died.

Dr. Sri is the host of the acclaimed Ascension podcast All Things Catholic with Dr. Edward Sri.  Together with Curtis Martin, Dr. Sri is a founding leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), of which he serves as senior vice president of Apostolic Outreach.

Dr. Sri lives with his wife Beth and their children in Colorado.

1 Comment

  1. Please dont use the term “sex life”. Such a horrid secular way to describe a husband and wife’s total gift of self to each other.


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