Body Language

Pope John Paul II called marital sex a sacred body language, an act that communicated the total self-giving of husband to wife and wife to husband. This sacred meaning of sexual intercourse is built into the act itself and cannot be simply discarded or altered.

The message of sex: “I give myself to you, freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully” is a message that is built into the very structure of our bodies. It is the intrinsic meaning of the act.

This is why sex is so powerful. It not only expresses and communicates a couple’s desire to be ‘one flesh’, it actually causes it to happen.

When a couple have sexual intercourse a spiritual bond is formed between them.

When we were dating, and as we grew closer as a couple, we found that our physical intimacy also deepened. Eventually, we arrived at a point where we were ready to commit our lives to each other. We were ready to marry.

It is natural, once a couple is ready to say. “I give myself to you freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully” to want to also say it with their bodies, to want to be totally and completely given over to each other in sexual union.

Sexual intercourse is a body language that says:

  • I love you and I freely give myself to you.
  • I give you everything I am, and accept you in everything that you are. I hold nothing back.
  • I desire to be one with you and you alone.
  • I want to give you life, and give life to our children

These are incredibly affirming messages when they are true, but they can only be completely true in the context of marriage.

These very same messages are devastating when they are false. We all know that being lied to hurts. Likewise, when we’re saying things to each other with our bodies that are not completely true, whether we realise it or not, it also hurts.

When we use sex outside the context of marriage, we set up a contradiction within ourselves. Our body is saying one thing: “I give myself to you, freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully.” But our spirit is saying something else: “I want to be close to you, but I am not permanently committed to you”. Or “I love you and I am attracted to you, but I do not give you my whole self”.

There is a disconnect: a rupture between our body and our soul. We are saying one thing with our bodies, but meaning something else.

Body language is often more powerful and more trusted than verbal language. If there is a contradiction between what your facial expression and body posture are saying and the words that you are speaking, most people will believe your body.

Your sexual communication is a powerful form of body language. The message of sex, when sincere, is profoundly affirming, but when ‘spoken’ falsely or inaccurately it damages trust. What you do communicates as much, if not more, than what you say. You have a responsibility to be as honest and sincere in what you say with your body as you do in what you say with words.

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About the Author:

Francine & Byron Pirola
Francine & Byron Pirola are the founders and principal authors of the SmartLoving series. They are passionate about living Catholic marriage to the full and helping couples reach their marital potential. They have been married since 1988 and have five children. Their articles may be reproduced for non commercial purposes with appropriate acknowledgement and back links.

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