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The Problems With Natural Family Planning March 13, 2012

Posted by frrobins in Uncategorized.
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Self-control. Self-restraint. Keep your legs closed. Abstinence. Those are things I hear from people who want women to shut up about getting easy, cheap access to birth control. As if every woman who wants to use birth control is some sort of nymphomaniac who simply cannot control herself.

I’ve seen Catholics advocate natural family planning, saying that abstaining for a week is good for the marriage and we should just exercise self control.

One of the many problems I have with this is that for most married couples, there is a problem with sexual activity, but it’s not too much. It’s too little.

Life is busy and stressful. Jobs, kids, housework, juggling friend and family. For a lot of married couples, sex becomes another chore. I’ve seen many married couples complain to me about the lack of sexual activity going on in their life and non who are complaining (or bragging) that they get too much. I’m sure one or two exists somewhere, but they are the exception to the rule.

So, suppose tired, overworked couples using Natural Family Planning and, in the mist of all of the day to day stress and hassles, becomes surprised to find that they are both in the mood at the same time. Until they realize it is during the wife’s fertile period. The next time they get around to fooling around could very well be next month. For couples who desperately need to reconnect or who are trying to work on improving their intimacy, this becomes a huge obstacle.

If hypothetical family wants to use NFP, that’s fine. The thing is, it is not a good solution for the majority of families. For one thing, it’s not something that only one partner can commit to. Both partners have to sign on. If the wife wants to use NFP but the husband doesn’t and neither want a pregnancy, well, hello strain to the relationship. It also ignores the reality that we still live in a culture where some people believe a wife does not have the right to refuse the sexual advances of her husband.

A lot of work also goes into NFP. When it was originally conceived, advocates believed that women were consistently fertile for only one week of the month. The problem is that this fertile period varies greatly. To track when the fertile period occurs requires daily monitoring of the bodies’ vitals. A lot of people don’t have the time. A lot of people don’t want to think about their fertility every day. And ask any couple going through infertility what constantly having to monitor their fertility does to their relationship. It causes a lot of strain.

I’m tired of the assumption that engaging in consensual sexual activity is somehow irresponsible or shows a lack of self control. I’m tired of people who are against birth control forgetting that married couples use birth control. And I’m tired of the idea that somehow taking steps to ensure that an unwanted pregnancy does not occur means that a woman is irresponsible.

Women who use birth control are not nymphomaniacs who need to reign in their lusts. They’re the women you and I know, struggling to juggle intimacy with everything else on their plates. For some, the cost of birth control is prohibitive. It won’t fix everything, but it will take another worry off her shoulders.


How Do I Love Thee? September 28, 2009

Posted by Bill in health, Personal.
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Would I be okay if my husband had an affair with someone else? Most definitely not! That’s the quick, easy answer, however, it appears that things are not always that easy.

In the movie Away from Her, Julie Christie plays an Alzheimers patient who falls in love with another patient. Her grief stricken husband tries to reunite them after her new beau is taken away.

To be honest, I don’t know how well I would be able to deal with it if Bill were to become ill with Alzheimers or dementia and were then to find comfort with another woman. Rationally, I understand that it would be part of the disease process and that it would not be a rejection of me or of the love we’ve shared for almost thirty years. Emotionally, however, I don’t know how I would be able to deal with it.

Sandra Day O’Connor left the Supreme Court in 2006 to care for her husband after he was diagnosed with Alzheimers, and she eventually had to give her blessing to his love affair with another resident in the nursing home.

I’ve never really felt comfortable with the idea of another woman loving my husband; I thought that if something were to happen to me, I would not be one of those selfless wives who tells her husband it’s okay to find someone else. I’d be more like Lazar Wolf’s wife in Fiddler on the Roof, you know, the crazed ghost who comes back from the dead in a made-up dream to keep Tevye’s daughter from marrying her husband.

I never thought of how I would deal with such an issue if I were still alive. With Alzheimers diagnoses on the rise, more people will be dealing with this issue in the years to come. Do I love Bill enough to let him find pleasure with someone else? Hopefully I’ll never have to find out.