A book published by a prominent Church group invites those setting out on married life to recite the specially-composed Prayer Before Making Love.
It is aimed at 'purifying their intentions' so that the act is not about selfishness or hedonism.
Message: The Roman Catholic church encourages couples to pray before sex to remind themselves that intercourse is a selfless act, not driven by hedonism
The prayer, which appears in the Prayer Book for Spouses, implores 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'.
It adds: 'Open our hearts to you, to each other and to the goodness of your will.
'Cover our poverty in the richness of your mercy and forgiveness. Clothe us in true dignity and take to yourself our shared aspirations, for your glory, for ever and ever.'
The 64-page book has been published by the London-based Catholic Truth Society.
The group has close links to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
The Rt Rev Paul Hendricks, who is the Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark and sits on the charity's board, said he thought the prayer's inclusion was 'brave but good'.
'I suppose it is a bit idealistic but it is recognising that God is at the heart of the marriage relationship between husband and wife,' he said.
'It is important for the Church to affirm the value of marriage and family life and I suppose this is a particular way of doing that.'
'Perhaps it is something that has not been tried, certainly for a while - I can't remember seeing something like that before.'
The book contains prayers for every stage of marriage and family life, including engagement, planning for parenthood, pregnancy and caring for children and elderly parents.
The prayers, written by a variety of authors, are interspersed with Catholic teaching on the meaning of marriage and family.
The book pushes the message that marriage should be exclusive and life-long and condemns abortion.
It criticises 'those who, in our times, consider it too difficult, or indeed impossible, to be bound to one person for the whole of life, and those caught up in a culture that rejects the indissolubility of marriage and openly mocks the commitment of spouses to fidelity'.
It adds: 'It is a fundamental duty of the Church to reaffirm strongly the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage.'