EWTN Catholic Q&A
Question from Oscar E on 11-18-2017:

My wife just had a histerectomy. The Dr said not to have coitus for 12 weeks. Are other forms of mutual sexual gratification not licit in these cases given that life wouldn’t be possible anyway even if there was penetration? Please explain.

Answer by Judie Brown on 11-26-2017:


Here is the response to your question from Anthony Dardano who is a medical doctor:

As a gynecologist who has performed a large number of hysterectomies over the years, I totally agree with the post op prohibition of intercourse for 3 months. This is essential for proper healing of the surgical sites (abdominal and vaginal) well as infection prevention.

While the church does allow various forms of pre-orgasmic sexual contact between married couples, the act must culminate with vaginal intercourse. Willful deposition of semen outside the vaginal canal violates God's design for the marital act and therefore is not morally permissible. The fact that conception is no longer possible is not relevant because once surgical healing is complete, vaginal sexual intercourse may be resumed even though conception is impossible.

I must add that over the years, my patients have never had an issue with the 12 weeks of abstinence. Your wife has just undergone a major procedure with the emotional component caused by her early entry into menopause. She needs cuddling and understanding over these next few months and I speak from experience, these 12 weeks of abstinence will strengthen your relationship.

May God grant her a speedy recovery. Anthony N Dardano, MD, FACS, FACOG