British Catholics’ “Prayer Before Making Love”

make love in london sounds film festival

According to an article by Al Webb in USA Today, a Catholic group in the UK believes that couples should pray before making love. As an example, it describes a prayer that asks God “to place within us love that truly gives, tenderness that truly unites, self-offering that tells the truth and does not deceive, forgiveness that truly receives, loving physical union that welcomes.”

That’s not all, either. The prayer continues for a bit longer making space for couples who are taking their time to make love. Though not everyone prays, and certainly not everyone prays before sex (and not everyone wants to take their time), the idea of making sex an “event” – something special and demarcated in one’s life – is not new. This idea has been framed in tantric traditions and was also hinted at in Herman Hesse’s book Siddhartha in a passage where the courtesan Kamala teaches Siddhartha the art of making love.

Taking your time to see sex as something special, out of the ordinary and something to focus one’s attention on can make sex feel more pleasurable. We know from research that mindfulness training – really experiencing sex in the present moment – can be incredibly enhancing. It can help to connect couples and enhance intimacy. I can’t help but wonder, too, how this prayer may be used as part of foreplay, with couples removing their clothes with each line of the prayer and other ways that couples might put their own seductive spin on praying before sex. I think it’s helpful when religious and spiritual groups talk about sex and making love and look for ways to help couples experience their sexuality in more  nuanced, pleasurable ways. I hope this prayer becomes a positive force in couples’ lives and that those who are vulnerable to feelings of religious guilt or shame associated with sex are not negatively impacted by the idea.

To learn more about the Catholic prayer, check out the USA Today link below. To learn more about other ways of highlighting sexual intimacy in your life, whatever your religious or spiritual practices, check out my previous post on The Art of Sex and Being an Attentive Lover or – for far more detail, tips and techniques – my book, Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.

[USA Today]

Image from Sounds Film Festival via Flickr Creative Commons.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at