**Before you read on, I should let you know that this article is about SEX. If you find yourself giggling like a middle school student at the mere word, this article is not for you.**
Many times throughout my college career, the topic of contraception would come up in conversations, both faith and secular. I always felt rather uncomfortable talking about it with friends and I was never really concrete on my standing. I knew contraception was wrong, not strictly from the Church’s view, but also from my very being. Christ implanted a desire to freely love my future spouse & I knew that contraception was restricting me from being able to do that.
While being engaged with Kyle, I began thinking about the future & of course SEX. I had been saving myself for my future husband, so it was only natural to think about our future intimacy. Now don’t get me wrong I struggled a great deal with purity, but I wanted to preserve the most sacred gift of my sexuality. Anyways, in thinking about sex, I naturally thought of kids. Although we both come from large families, we knew that we wanted some time together to cultivate a healthy environment before kids arrived.
Throughout college, we had heard various talks on NFP, short for Natural Family Planning. Don’t even go there with the Rhythm method. It’s a lot more complex than that.
Here are a few easy-to-follow bullet points from Dustin (@EngagedMarriage.com) to better define NFP:
– It’s a natural method that uses no forms of artificial birth control.
That’s right, no birth control pills, no condoms, no IUDs, no shots, no nothin.’
– The couple uses proven signs to track the woman’s fertility cycle.
– Couples generally use a “Sympto-Thermal” method for tracking.
• “Thermal” is a fancy way of saying the gal takes her temperature each morning before she gets out of bed (called her basal body temperature).
• “Sympto” just means that there are obvious signs a woman’s body gives indicating where she is in the fertility cycle.
• These signs are related primarily to her mucus (yes, down there) and her cervix (though those observations are optional).
– Using well-documented and exhaustively researched guidance, you can accurately determine when a woman is fertile and when she is not.
– If you want to avoid pregnancy during a given month, you simply abstain from sex during the fertile times (this is only a small portion of the cycle, so don’t worry too much).
– If you want to get pregnant, you’ll know the days that you really don’t want to miss!
– NFP is 99% effective. Really.
The very nature of NFP reflects God’s plan for our sexuality. God created the very act of sex to mimic that of free, fruitful, total and faithful love. With the implementation of Natural Family Planning, we are allowing all four of these components to be present in our sexuality.
Through our chart, we are able to note times of infertility & fertility. The presence of infertility in a women’s cycle indicates and reinforces the fact that God created sex for something other than just babies. Did you read that?!?!??! God’s intention for sexual intimacy was also for bonding. I am sorry I just find that so fascinating. God knew that as a united couple we would need times to bond.
One friend noted, “We chose to practice NFP because it works with, not against, the woman’s body, and encourages both the man and the woman to better understand the woman’s body. It encourages collaboration, vulnerability, and openness between my spouse and I, and allows us to give ourselves to each other fully, without holding any part of ourselves back. It allows us to live out our marriage vows.”
I am able to feel empowered as a women. Not empowered as in feminism or go girl power, but as in WOW our bodies as females are so freakin’ fantastic. Many signs that our bodies give off as females reflect the current stage that we are in. Temperature, bodily secretions (trying to make it sound as cool as possible ladies ), and the cervix all point me to my fertility. Knowing this about my body is what makes me feel empowered!
It’s like a honeymoon each month. I remember the excitement leading up to our first night of intimacy, along with our honeymoon. I couldn’t wait to share myself freely with my spouse. In Natural Family Planning, if you have discerned that you are not prepared nor called to have children at this time, the couples abstains from sex during the fertile days. Throughout these days, the sexual tension becomes intense producing a honeymoon like excitement for your infertile days! While waiting with anticipation for our infertile days, Kyle noted “I feel like I am preparing for a huge sporting event!!” And ladies, sporting events are a pretty big deal.
You get to work on other aspects of your relationship. If looking to avoid pregnancy, the days of fertility serve as an excellent window to work on communication, finances, fitness, prayer and more. Although naturally you may just want to jump on each other, it provides you with an excellent opportunity to practice self-control.
The divorce rate for couples practicing Natural Family Planning is less than 5%. For the general population, it is nearly 50%. ‘Nuff said.
I love the opportunity to grow spiritually and sexually with Kyle through Natural Family Planning. We are able to work with God to create the structure of our future family. The above information just scratches the surface on this amazing form of family planning. Feel free to message me if you have any further questions or comments.
A challenge for all my friends to read & consider:
Ladies (& Gentlemen): When we notice that something is wrong with our bodies, such as a sickness or injury we go to the doctor. We expect that he/she will have something to fix it or something to make us feel better. Birth control is the only drug that works against this principle. Isn’t it odd that we go to the doctor to fix something that is working properly? Isn’t it crazy that birth control is used to make our bodies not function as they should but to work against the very nature that we were blessed with?
“The use of contraception also fosters a level of rejection between spouses. By sterilizing the act of intercourse, the woman is saying that she wants to make love, but will kill any sperm that come her way. The man is saying that he accepts everything about the woman except for fertility. He gives everything to her except his potential fatherhood. The language of sex should be that of complete self-donation, but that is impossible with contraception. Since the body reveals the person, a rejection of the body is a rejection of the spouse.”
“After using artificial birth control for five years, and now practicing natural family planning with my husband, I have seen both sides of this coin. I have come to understand that sex has two inextricably intertwined sides of its nature – one is to bond a couple together through a pleasurable act, and the other is to bring forth new life. The way I understand sex, stripping one of these natures away robs it of its full integrity. Artificial birth control puts a chemical or physical barrier between one’s spouse and oneself while simultaneously defying the life-giving nature of sex. Rather than a selflessly giving act, it becomes a “me-centered” act. On the other hand, having sex without such barriers creates true and complete unity and an awe-inspiring understanding of the power of the act. Even choosing to abstain from sex during a woman’s naturally fertile week of her cycle (if a couple could not support a child at that time) demonstrates due reverence for the power of the act.”
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