Salon: The Pill kills libido

Interesting article in Salon today. That which revolutionized wanton sex makes women not want wanton sex - while bringing a host of health plagues (though not mentioned in this article is breast cancer).

But Pandora's Box has been opened. Women and/or their partners have grown accustomed to the freedom of the wanton sex ushered in by the Pill; they've just stopped protecting against pregnancy because the protection is so unpleasant.

the pill cracked mirror.jpgThe other side constantly blames abstinence education for unplanned pregnancies, while clearly that's not the case. (See also this May 3 Los Angeles Times article.)

Following are excerpts from the Salon piece. Many of the comments corroborate her experience:

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the pill's introduction in the United States....

I hate the pill. Hormonal contraception, which covers birth control pills and nearly every other highly effective method on the market, murders my libido....Although a libido-destroying pill does wonders to lower your pregnancy risk, it's also done a number on my relationships, self-esteem and emotional well-being....

Doctors who treat sexual disorders have long recognized the pill's potential for dampening sex drive in some women. And researchers have a good grasp on why it happens: Oral contraceptives lower levels of available testosterone, a key to libido....

There is a widely held misconception that in 2010 women enjoy a plethora of contraceptive choices....

There are essentially 2 categories of contraceptives: the hormonal kind, which includes nearly every pill and device available. And then the non-hormonal kind, including the copper IUD and less reliable barrier methods such as the diaphragm, cervical cap, sponge and male and female condoms....

The failed NuvaRing experiment was my last attempt to use hormonal birth control - I'd spent years living with an impaired libido and wasn't willing to do it anymore....

I may be paying the cervical cap a visit one of these days and also would like to try the Fertility Awareness Method, which involves monitoring morning body temperature and changes in cervical position and mucus to figure out when ovulation is taking place, if only to learn more about my body and cycle....

It turns out that I am not, after all, so freakish.

Millions of women go without birth control at any given time, often because they can't or don't want to use the methods available to them. When the Alan Guttmacher Institute recently asked women how they felt about contraception, 4 in 10 said they were dissatisfied with their current method, citing bad physical side effects, diminished sex drive and difficulty of use, among other complaints....

And those who weren't happy with their method were about 3 times more likely to have unprotected sex for at least 1 month of the year.

In my own life, female friends and acquaintances have abandoned hormonal birth control for a variety of reasons. It made them nauseous, moody or depressed, caused unacceptable weight gain, paralyzing migraines or breakthrough bleeding, put them at risk of blood clots, or drove their blood pressure to dangerous heights. Or they were just damned sick of taking pills every day. "I was a crazy woman on birth control," says Dr. Basinski, who's had her own personal battles with the pill over the years. "Out of control emotional. I used it on and off for 13 years and really struggled with it." In her practice, Basinski sees patient after patient who want off their pills. "Many women just don't feel good on them," she says.///

Our lack of options isn't just annoying or inconvenient. It's a serious public health matter, and 1 that prevents millions of women from truly being in control of their reproductive lives. There are still nearly as many unplanned pregnancies in the U.S. every year as planned ones. Of the 3 million unplanned pregnancies, slightly more than half involve women who were not using any birth control....

If you're like me, you assume that someone, somewhere is figuring all of this out - that there will be a new kind birth control discovered or invented at some point because that's just how human progress rolls on....

Yeah, no. The truth is that the development of innovative birth control methods has virtually come to a standstill. According to a 2008 report by Harper and several colleagues, public and private funds for contraceptive research have dried up in recent years. Most pharmaceutical companies have withdrawn from investing in contraceptive R&D, perhaps due to fears of costly personal injury litigation. And those fears aren't necessarily unfounded. A reported 1,100 lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. against Bayer HealthCare alone, mostly by women claiming health problems such as blood clots, strokes, heart attacks and gall bladder disease after taking the popular pills Yaz and Yasmin....

Indeed. The birth control pill didn't just magically appear in women's medicine chests one day. Its creation was a hard-won victory for women, by women, specifically, Margaret Sanger and Katharine McCormick....

To achieve true reproductive choice and freedom for all women, we need to start having a more realistic discussion about the pill, acknowledging its shortcomings as well as its achievements....


Comments:

Wow. What do you know. Salon corroborating what we've been saying all along: That feminists have sold out women by worshiping at the foot of "THE ALMIGHTY PILL."

NFP is just so much more woman-friendly and relationship-building.

Perhaps it will start catching on...

Posted by: Scott at May 3, 2010 7:23 PM


Yeah, I'm never taking birth control pills. Would rather not be nauseous and depressed with clotted blood.

I do have to say, though, that "just damned sick of taking pills every day" is a dumb reason to quit. Guess what - some of us have to take pills every day for health reasons, and when we're old, probably ALL of us will have to take pills ever day. Cry me a river and build me a bridge, et cetera.

As for "a serious public health matter, and 1 that prevents millions of women from truly being in control of their reproductive lives," the truth of the matter is that the only surefire ways to prevent conception are A) not having vaginal intercourse and B) being sterilized. It's just how the human body works, and you're never going to get around that.

I wonder if and how things would be different if it were easier in modern society to have kids at a younger age and still be economically successful. A lot of women today spend their most fertile years trying not to get pregnant and then have more difficulty conceiving when they want to get pregnant at a slightly older age. Question, because I wasn't here to know: did the term "biological clock" exist before, say, the 1970s or so?

Also, there's the concept of extended adolescence. You've got people in their mid-twenties still living with their parents (and for a chunk of the year I'm one of them, so I'm not trying to criticize) because it's not always financially feasible to be living on your own when you're still trying to get through the amount of schooling society seems to have decided you need in order to get a job that will allow you to live a comfortable life. It used to be pretty unremarkable to see a 22-year-old married couple with a baby, because more people were able to skip college and find jobs that earned them a good living wage. Not that there's anything wrong with college, or higher degrees. But it's gotten almost obligatory in the way that high school is obligatory - what do you MEAN, you're not going to college? Not even for an associate's degree? What are you going to DO?

I'm going to be almost twenty-six before both my boyfriend and I will be in a financial position to get married. We started going out in high school and frankly, I wouldn't have minded getting married when I was twenty-one if that had been feasible. He wouldn't have either. When we finally get married we'll have been together for nearly ten years because we had year after year after year of school to get through. Then we're hoping to get in at least two years (if not more) of marriage before we have a baby, so if that works, I'll be around twenty-eight when I have a baby I wouldn't have minded having at twenty-three if I'd been able to get married when I was twenty-one. Which I would have been able to do a few decades ago.

Posted by: Marauder at May 3, 2010 8:19 PM


Don't forget, Scott, that NFP also comes with NO SIDE EFFECTS such as a risk for cancer, blood clots, etc. And then there's the trouble getting pregnant when a woman goes OFF the pill (and 'wants' to conceive).


And we wonder why the pill is being pushed onto teenagers that aren't ADULTS and then wonder why some of them may have relationship issues later in life?


I wish more women would learn the fertility awareness methods. They would learn a lot about their natural cycle!

Posted by: LizFromNebraska at May 3, 2010 8:36 PM


I'm proud to say that I managed all my reproductive years not on the pill.
I abstained outside of marriage and lived chastely prior to marriage.
I spaced all of my children using Natural Family Planning and breast feeding.
Today I am healthy and don't have to worry about many of the possible risks that my pill-popping sisters have.

What seemed to offer freedom is a big lie.
Women should have stayed true to their feminine nature.

Posted by: angel at May 3, 2010 8:39 PM


The pill never affected me. It never gave me clear skin or feel cranky and unsexy. It never did a darn thing. Including, it did not (THANK GOD) prevent my son from coming into the world.

My sister-in-law went on for one week. Her side affects were so severe she stopped taking the pill after 7 days. With me, I thought I might as well be taking a placebo. But then most medications seem to not affect me in the least.

My really good friend just went off the pill again. She is the one who had a tubal pregnancy a few months ago. She went back on for a little bit and now went off. It crushed her libido. Her husband was on her side to get off the pill because she was constantly refusing his advances.

The pill is not good for women. It works against everything that is natural about a woman's sexuality and fertility.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 3, 2010 9:13 PM


Marauder-
Have you thought about starting you own business? I'm not sure but I think part of the stimulus package was to help businesses that were environmentally minded or maybe it even helps them to get started. I think green jobs are going to be a large part of our national economy in the coming years. Whatever you do decide though a good education will only enhance your job opportunities. Sometimes when I walk through some stores I really wish I could sew, some of that stuff there marketing is just lacking in any visual appeal. Blessings to you and your significant other.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 3, 2010 9:37 PM


One myth about the Pill is that it clears your skin. It actually gave me persistent acne that did not go away til I want off. It hasn't been a problem since. Plan B also made my skin break out.

However, it did NOT make me depressed or kill my libido. I'm an ADD type (although I have my doubts about whether it's a real disorder), and my problems with ADD symptoms have become much worse since I went off. Even my mother noticed the difference. I'm more moody, aggressive, and emotional OFF rather than ON. That's why I'm planning to start again soon.

Also, some women don't want to use NFP because they don't want to skip sex for 10+ days a month (5 days for ovulation, the rest for your period), just because the Catholic church says so.

Posted by: Ashley Herzog at May 3, 2010 9:43 PM


http://www.lifenews.com/state5058.html

Nuh uh. Not in MY neighborhood. I know there are several Minnesota people on here. What can we do to stop this? Who's with me?

Posted by: Scott at May 3, 2010 10:18 PM


Angel-
Thanks for sharing your testimony. After receiving the Baptism of The Holy Spirit abstinence is the route I chose too. It really has saved me a lot of grief. I find instead of limiting me abstinence actually has given me more control of my life not less. God bless you and yours.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 3, 2010 10:30 PM


Scott @ 10:18 PM

Mega Planned Parenthood in St. Paul, MN?
Well that really stinks.

Posted by: Janet at May 3, 2010 10:35 PM


Perhaps this is why the pro-death movement will eventually die out (pun intended).

Posted by: Phil Schembri is HisMan at May 4, 2010 2:05 AM


I'm proud to say that I managed all my reproductive years not on the pill.
I abstained outside of marriage and lived chastely prior to marriage.
I spaced all of my children using Natural Family Planning and breast feeding.
Today I am healthy and don't have to worry about many of the possible risks that my pill-popping sisters have.

What seemed to offer freedom is a big lie.
Women should have stayed true to their feminine nature.
Posted by: angel at May 3, 2010 8:39 PM

Angel - your take on family planning is inspiring. I also used no pre-marital sex and NFP after wedding. Works wonders. Teaches self-control and respect for the gift of sexuality and procreation we have been given by God. Honestly, I couldn't give a single disadvantage of abstinenc when not ready to have a baby or NFP. Sex and pleasure have been made into these semi-gods of our society, "the goal of your life should be successful intercourse without consequences such as pregnancy"... Disgusting. I like Marauder's comment "the only surefire ways to prevent conception are A) not having vaginal intercourse and B) being sterilized." Simple logic - don't want to get pregnant? Don't have sex! For married couples NFP is great though, on the "red" days it allows you to concentrate on other aspects of the relationship, it's not all about sex, you know. And on "green" days, there's nothing to be afraid of. I also used a NFP monitor Persona to help me identify fertile days, easy as peas! Modern technology can really help you out with this one too.

Posted by: Vita at May 4, 2010 5:11 AM


I was on the pill for a year. Knowing what I know now, I wish I could change it. Somewhere between high school and trying to conceive I picked up over a hundred pounds, and I suspect that's where some of it came from. But the fact that it may have killed my children is a whole lot worse, and no one told me that (I think most of those who counseled me to go on it did not know), and no one would give me information on natural methods, even when I asked (and I did). We were actively trying for 3 years before God gave us our first living child (not preventing for 4).

I tried NFP once too. It was an awful month. It's what I'd do if I had to avoid conception, but I don't have to avoid conception. I find comfort in the fact that God is in control and knows better than I. If God never gives me more, then I will know I did not mutilate or poison my body, or deny myself or my spouse, in order to refuse his blessings. And if God sees fit to bless me with many more (I hope he does), I will know that each one was created by the Sovereign Lord of the universe, that He (not me) spaced them and formed them and planned them, and that though I might not understand why He chose a particular spacing or timing, His wisdom and His goodness are infinite and His plan is perfect. God knew that my firstborn would need to be held all the time when she was little; He knew that my second-born would take almost 2 months to figure out breastfeeding; he designed their personalities and needs and abilities. And they have what some people have told me is "perfect spacing." (I give the glory to God). If I could have chosen, I would have conceived immediately. I had thought that might be why God ordained my son's difficulty with breastfeeding, but He chose not to create another masterpiece during that time, even though I may have been fertile and was certainly not "protecting" myself from another blessing.
I wish people used NFP/FAM instead of hormonal birth control, but I wish more Christians were willing to let God handle family planning.

Posted by: ycw at May 4, 2010 6:13 AM


"Simple logic - don't want to get pregnant? Don't have sex!"

Yeah, well some of us, like most of the rest of the world, want to have sex AND not get pregnant. Condoms and pills are a great way to do that.

Posted by: Ashley Herzog at May 4, 2010 6:15 AM


"On green days, there's nothing to be afraid of"

Yup, no contraceptive mindset with NFP. Children are something to be afraid of and avoided, even if it means giving up sex for a week or more.

Posted by: ycw at May 4, 2010 6:30 AM


Ashley: Yes, ADD definitely is a real disorder. I spent the majority of my life having no idea why I couldn't concentrate even when I really wanted to concentrate before getting diagnosed around a year and a half ago. Getting put on medication was like opening another part of my brain.

So go ahead and use birth control if you don't want to get pregnant - but it's never going to be a 100% guarantee. Catholic Church or no Catholic Church, women have fertile days and non-fertile days and that's something it's useful to be aware of if you're trying not to get pregnant. Also, who said anything about skipping sex when you're having your period? That's not a Catholic teaching OR an NFP rule, as far as I know, though I think it might be a rule for Orthodox Jews.

NFP, in the medical/biological sense, doesn't mean you have to spend five days every month without sexual activity if you don't want to get pregnant - it means you need to spend five days every month without having vaginal intercourse.

Myrtle: Thanks, but I wouldn't be interested in starting my own business. I appreciate the suggestion, though. :)

YCW: I plan to use NFP in the future and I'm not afraid of having children. I'd just like to space them out by at least a couple of years and probably not have more than four. If I end up having three sets of twins within four years, well, so be it, but emotionally and financially, I don't think I'm cut out for a huge family.

Angel: Just out of curiousity, how much space did you manage to get between your kids with NFP?

Scott: Now they've decided they need ANOTHER Planned Parenthood in St. Paul? I'm with you if there's some practical course of action to take. Love how they're building it near two colleges and in a neighborhood with a growing ethnic population, by the way...

Posted by: Marauder at May 4, 2010 6:55 AM


Scott and Marauder,
SO WITH YOU!!!

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at May 4, 2010 7:43 AM


I was quoting from Vita's comment. Glad you are using NFP if you want to prevent conception, but I just like to point out that people don't have to prevent conception because that message isn't out there much.

Posted by: ycw at May 4, 2010 7:52 AM


"Yeah, well some of us, like most of the rest of the world, want to have sex AND not get pregnant. Condoms and pills are a great way to do that.
Posted by: Ashley Herzog at May 4, 2010 6:15 AM"

Well, unfortunately for you (and the most of the rest of the world, as you claim) the woman's body is designed to concieve on fertile days and disrupting that only creates problems in health/relationships and future chances of conception. I'm not saying DO NOT have sex, EVER, just stating, that there are rather simple and effective ways of avoiding the pregnancy (if that is your wish) in a natural way. Is a few days of abstinence too much to ask in this sex-obsessed world?

Posted by: Vita at May 4, 2010 8:06 AM


Ashley H., I also am an ADD adult. It IS real. I had no idea I was ADD until I went in for counseling for depression and an ADD diagnostic inventory was part of this counselor's standard initial assessment (he specialized in ADD treatment). Visit brainplace.com if you want to know about the actual physical differences between a "normal" brain and an ADD brain. I was a high-functioning ADD individual in school and wasn't hyperactive, which is why it was never picked up on then, but after my diagnosis I can look back at my life and finally make sense of some of it. After I am done nursing my third (and probably last) infant, I plan on going on medication to control my depression and ADD issues.

Re: hormonal birth control. Before I knew about the possible early-abortion side effect of hormonal birth control, I used it. The NuvaRing was the worst - my libido completely flatlined. I might as well have tattooed "Go away!" on my... well, never mind. Of course, this did not thrill my husband (or myself) any. It certainly was effective birth control in that regard, although in a completely unintentional fashion. Now that we're done having kids, we use barrier methods of contraception. They're not ideal but they're better than abortion/hormonal contraception and I'm not ready for a tubal ligation yet (what if we change our minds and want more children in a few years?).

Posted by: army_wife at May 4, 2010 8:20 AM


Another adult with ADD here... BCP are not a treatment for ADD... there are much more effective treatments out there.

And as for spacing children (and I don't use NFP either... I have hypothyroidism and irregular periods and frankly, just never bothered)... my children are 17, 14, 11, almost 9, almost 6, 4 and 8 months. I don't use birth control. So... it's not like every family is going to be the Duggars just by not using birth control.

Posted by: Elisabeth at May 4, 2010 8:33 AM


@ Marauder, not a new facility, the HP PP will close: http://www.twincities.com/news/ci_15008097?source=rss

The new place will be 'green' - whew! THAT'S a relief. And a "better patient experience" I'm having trouble swallowing.

Posted by: klynn73 at May 4, 2010 9:52 AM


*oops I meant not ANOTHER (as in additional) facility. The child slaughter will be moved to the Midway.

Posted by: klynn73 at May 4, 2010 10:07 AM


Ask a married, faithful couple who DON'T contracept about their sex life, and they'll giggle with glee.

We pro-lifers know who is happier.

Posted by: Cranky Catholic at May 4, 2010 10:14 AM


"Ask a married, faithful couple who DON'T contracept about their sex life, and they'll giggle with glee.

We pro-lifers know who is happier."

That's funny, my parents have been happily married since 1980 and have "contracepted" through the entire marriage. My mom only went off the Pill when she chose to have my sisters and me. No fertility problems whatsoever (besides one miscarriage), and no cancer. Anti-contraception folk like to imply that there's no way my parents could be happy and faithful because they had sex without wanting children--which shows how presumptuous, insulting, and self-important anti-BC people are.

Also, "contracept" is not a word. "Contraception" is a noun, something that stops conception. The closest you could get to a verb would be "contra-concept." It doesn't make you look good, or very smart, to use fake words.

Posted by: Ashley Herzog at May 4, 2010 11:05 AM


And I call BS on parents who don't use birth control being happier. There's some couple at my Catholic church who have 8 kids (most are high school or older now) for religious reasons. The mom always looks warn out, and she's pretty much the nastiest witch you've ever met. I was friends with one of her kids. Not only was their house a mess, but she was constantly haranguing her husband and yelling at the kids. The husband (my friend's dad) also had a horrible temper. Yeah, I'm sure they're happier than my parents with their 3 planned children.

Posted by: Ashley Herzog at May 4, 2010 11:13 AM


I said "contracept." Therefor my opinion is made obsolete.

Please delete my comment. I'm an idiot.

However using the fake term "fertilized egg" does make one look good and very smart.

Thank you.

Posted by: Cranky Catholic at May 4, 2010 11:56 AM


Anti-contraception people constantly saying they're happier and more faithful is just their way of saying "I'm superior to you." It's not a statement of fact, just arrogance. They like to put down "contracepting" couples and imply that they're cheaters, which is a smear.

Posted by: Ashley Herzog at May 4, 2010 12:08 PM


The only couple I know closely who do not use any form of contraception is my aunt and uncle. They are the parents of 8 children. My aunt, who is pretty close to me in age, recently confided in me that not a day goes by that she doesn't think of divorcing her husband and running away. She feels like a prisoner and a slave to her family. They are most definitely NOT happier than other couples I know. Even pro-choice ones. :(

Both her and her husband are Catholic, but she told me that she is considering secretly going on the pill behind her husband's back because she just cannot handle another pregnancy and child.

Posted by: len at May 4, 2010 12:17 PM


"I was a high-functioning ADD individual in school and wasn't hyperactive, which is why it was never picked up on then, but after my diagnosis I can look back at my life and finally make sense of some of it."

Yeah, schools suck at detecting ADD in girls most of the time, because girls tend to not be hyperactive. The boys are like, "Yaaaaah! Let's jump on our desks! Now let's throw pencils at each other! WHEN IS RECESS???" and the girls are more like, "Thirty-two times five - oh, look, there's a bird outside the window. I think it's a sparrow. I had a book about a sparrow in kindergarten, and I really liked that book. Where is that book? Did I put it in the basement? I need to look in the basement for my beading loom. I just bought some new beads last weekend. I wonder if - what? Oh, math."

Ashley - Contraception debates aside, if that family had eight children "for religious reasons," they DID plan to have that many children. Being religious doesn't mean being physically forced into conceiving children. Also, how do you know the mother's unhappiness had to do with having eight kids? Maybe she was always "the nastiest witch," or maybe she'd be happy with eight kids if they didn't leave messes all over the house. Maybe she'd be the same way if she had two kids. Maybe she has mental health issues that are completely unrelated to the size of her family.

Random House dictionary says "contracept" is a word.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/contracept

klynn73: Wow, a GREEN abortion clinic! Do they recycle fetuses?

Posted by: Marauder at May 4, 2010 12:25 PM


I've personally seen couriers carry "biohazard"-marked coolers go in briefly and leave (with the cooler) on more than half a dozen occasions, so sadly, yes, at least some fetuses (or their parts) are being used for something else. I know Carol Everett has said that if the women had insurance, their children went to a pathology lab versus the garbage disposal, but it happens infrequently enough at PP that I've got to wonder if it's not something more nefarious.

Posted by: klynn73 at May 4, 2010 12:54 PM


NFP is hard. Abstinence is hard, too. It's called sacrifice and as a Christian the word means more and more to me each day. This does not mean that I resent NFP or abstinence. I did contracept in the first couple of years of my marriage and while my husband and I engaged in more sex, looking back I would say it was occasionally void of deep intimacy. It was more like a physical workout than an emotional one. I wouldn't trade the relationship we have now (periodic abstinence, included). And let's be honest, each of us could come up with an anecdote to "prove" anything. Just because Ashley knows one miserable women with a large family does not make her assertion a universal truth. I certainly know people who appear very happy on both ends of the continuum. Then again, I don't know them in their private moments.

Ashley, you seem to have a very immature view of sexual relations (I shared this view many years ago). If you are religious, I would encourage you to delve deeper into the purpose of sex. It is not solely to give pleasure, but to more deeply bond us with our spouses. A casual approach is not physically or emotionally healthy.

Posted by: Nerina at May 4, 2010 1:52 PM


"I'm not ready for a tubal ligation yet."

Hey Armywife, I just wanted to make a quick comment about that.

I wouldn't go the tubal ligation path. From what I've read, if the ligation fails and you become pregnant, you have a 50% chance of having an ectopic pregnancy. I would go with vasectomy for your husband. They are equally effective, but if the vasectomy fails you aren't at any greater risk for an ectopic pregnancy.

I know it's a personal decision, but after reading about the ectopic pregnancy risk, I feel like it is definitely something to keep in mind!

Posted by: Lauren at May 4, 2010 2:17 PM


not all families are like that Ashley. I went to school from K - 12 with someone who was one of what became nine children (the youngest is either a junior or senior in high school). A few of the kids (well, they aren't kids anymore) still attend my parish.

I think some people MISUNDERSTAND NFP and automatically assume that the Catholic church *requires* families to be as big as the Duggars (I don't know any family that big, the closest is the older brother of a high school classmate of mine that has......six or seven). No, it just says you're OPEN TO LIFE. Its also a way for BOTH the husband and wife to learn about the natural functions of the wife's fertility. My brother and his wife just had their fourth child. *gasp* They have more than 2.1 children! They are all happy and healthy and well adjusted and my three week old niece is ADORABLE. One of my cousins has 5 kids, the oldest in 8th grade, the youngest is 4.

I love big families and always feel sorry for those who are only children and never got to have a sibling.


Posted by: LizFromNebraska at May 4, 2010 2:23 PM


The NFP pilots I have known seem to have an avid interest in maximizing the number of lucky days.

Over the years of health care experience I have accumulated the impression that the pill has NOT been providing women with increased sexual frequency.

To Ashley: most women don't have a period so severe that it impedes sex for five days. If using hormonal contraception is causing this problem for you, or someone you know, the prescriber should be consulted.

For Yew, if you can have a lot of babies, and afford it, more power to you. I should give you the heads up that NFP system does not really operate reliably in the first month. A few months of data are required to maximize the efficiency of that system.

My opinion is that God allowed people to understand the reproductive cycle so couples could have as many kids as they can afford to have, and not have to entirely give up sex when the economic times are hard, or when pregnancy becomes a significant health risk. The use of NFP does not cause the problem of divorcing sex from reproduction, as it requires the awareness of the connection to operate.

Posted by: Pharmer at May 4, 2010 2:52 PM


We should also mention the other side of NFP, Pharmer, which is that one must have a grave reason to engage in NFP. It is very easy to use NFP with a contraceptive mentality. One must very carefully and prayerfully discern with their spouse whether or not they have sufficient reasons for wanting to postpone children. Too often we like to tell people that "no, Catholics don't have to have as many children as possible- they can use NFP!" which seems to imply that NFP is just a form of "Catholic contraception" (how many times have we heard that phrase?). So while it is true that you don't have to have as many children as possible or try to become pregnant whenever possible, one really must have a serious reasons (such as Pharmer mentioned above) to engage in it.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 4, 2010 3:02 PM


"From what I've read, if the ligation fails and you become pregnant, you have a 50% chance of having an ectopic pregnancy. I would go with vasectomy for your husband. They are equally effective, but if the vasectomy fails you aren't at any greater risk for an ectopic pregnancy."

Yeah, my boyfriend and I are thinking that someday after we've gotten married and had some kids, he'll probably have a vasectomy. Besides, isn't it less physically intrusive for a man to have a vasectomy than it is for a woman to have a tubal ligation?

Liz: Glad you like big families, but you don't have to feel sorry for us. :)

"I've personally seen couriers carry "biohazard"-marked coolers go in briefly and leave (with the cooler) on more than half a dozen occasions, so sadly, yes, at least some fetuses (or their parts) are being used for something else. I know Carol Everett has said that if the women had insurance, their children went to a pathology lab versus the garbage disposal, but it happens infrequently enough at PP that I've got to wonder if it's not something more nefarious."

Oh, grotesque-ness...who'd want to be THAT courier?

As long as we're sharing I-knew-a-family-with-X-many-kids stories, I went to school with a girl who was the fifth (I think it was fifth) of eight children. The entire family was very polite and well-spoken and cared a lot about academics.

Big families can be good things - I'm glad my great-grandparents had one, because my grandfather was something like the ninth or tenth of their twelve children. (Can't remember whether he or his twin brother was born first.) His whole family was raised with a very strong worth ethic.

"NFP is hard. Abstinence is hard, too. It's called sacrifice and as a Christian the word means more and more to me each day."

Yeah, religion or no religion, life involves sacrifices. I'd like to be able to eat ice cream all day, but I wouldn't want the consequeces of that, so I don't eat ice cream all day. Do I eat ice cream sometimes? Yeah, I actually eat a pretty fair amount of ice cream. But I'm not going to complain that it's a violation of my "dietary rights" if I eat too much ice cream and my actions lead to logical consequences that I knew could or would happen.

Posted by: Marauder at May 4, 2010 3:20 PM


I'm another individual here, diagnosed with ADD (primary inattentiveness) with co-morbid major depressive disorder and sensory processing disorder. I was referred by my pediatrician for developmental testing when I was 3, and was determined to have a communication disorder as well a sensory processing disorder and then was also diagnosed with ADD by a neurologist when I was 10 years old.

Ashley H., ADD is a real neurological condition, recognized by the professional medical community and is listed in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 4th (DSM-IV) and the upcoming 5th revision.

Posted by: Rachael C. at May 4, 2010 4:57 PM


"I've personally seen couriers carry "biohazard"-marked coolers go in briefly and leave (with the cooler) on more than half a dozen occasions, so sadly, yes, at least some fetuses (or their parts) are being used for something else. I know Carol Everett has said that if the women had insurance, their children went to a pathology lab versus the garbage disposal, but it happens infrequently enough at PP that I've got to wonder if it's not something more nefarious."

Marauder @ 3:20,
Did Everett give a reason for the pathology lab pick-ups, or didn't she know?

Posted by: Janet at May 4, 2010 5:22 PM


Posted by: Lauren at May 4, 2010 2:17 PM

I'd prefer DH got a vasectomy (it is far less invasive and the recovery time is much less), but he is not willing to have a Dr. cutting on "the jewels". Not that I blame him any, but that leaves it up to me if we are to have "permanent" BC.

Posted by: Marauder at May 4, 2010 12:25 PM

Marauder, LOL - that description of an ADD girl sounds a LOT like my experiences, imagine that. So easy to get sidetracked unless I'm concentrating on something that's extremely interesting to me. But stop telling me about ADD boys, you're SCARING me!!! I have 3 boys and they say that ADD runs in families. Yikes! :-p I love my boys even if they DO end up being hyperactive, though, just for the record and all.

Rachael C., I have depression issues as well. I'm looking forward to the day when I can at least get the ADD controlled a bit (I can't go on meds because I'm nursing a lil' fella right now, but in about 9 months I'll be able to wean him and go on meds). I've tried Wellbutrin before and that might have helped... a little... meh. I was on Prozac before for the depression and hated that stuff.

Posted by: army_wife at May 4, 2010 5:27 PM


Thank you, Bobby at 3:02.

Posted by: ycw at May 4, 2010 6:00 PM


Posted by: Janet at May 4, 2010 5:22 PM

Marauder was pasting my quote. I thought Carol had said that in her Love Matters interview, but my search finds Debra Henry making that distinction here. My mistake.

...That was far more respect than the bodies of the dead receive in most abortion clinics. Debra Henry, who once worked in a Michigan clinic, said that if a woman had insurance coverage for a suction abortion, the fetal remains were sent to a laboratory. But if she had no insurance, the remains were "put down the garbage disposal." As they prepared to open their second Texas clinic, Carol Everett reported to her abortionist business partner that it would have an "industrial-strength disposal-a double-action one that chops forward, reverses itself, and chops again as it reverses." Their first clinic's disposal had proved unable to handle the body of a child aborted at about thirty-two weeks.

As for the reason, I read one other blurb from a former worker that said the state law required it.

Posted by: klynn73 at May 4, 2010 6:26 PM


Ashley, I hear what you're trying to say and I agree with you. I would love to have 8 children but I CANNOT AFFORD IT! If I found out some rich relative died and left me a huge inheritance I would definitely have a lot of kids because I love being a mom so much.

My husband and I have used contraception. We are pro-life and we have an understanding that any children "accidentally" (there are no accidents with God) conceived will be welcomed with much joy.

I do like the idea of NFP because it is so natural. I refuse to use any hormonal birth control anymore because of the dangers it poses to me and also the risk that it could kill one of our newly conceived children.

My husband and I choose to use condoms and I don't feel that it makes our physical love sleazy or diminish our commitment to faithfulness in any way. We just don't have money to pop out child after child as much as I would love to have a huge family.

I do understand and agree that contraception can foster an anti-child mentality. Non-hormonal contraception is a huge gray area for me. As long as it isn't killing a child, who can say what is and isn't right for a particular married couple?

Children are creations of God. They don't always come when wanted. Sometimes they come at inconvenient times (my son did) and sometimes they don't come even when they're yearned for (month 7 of trying to get pregnant. I am two weeks late but haven't tested yet because I'm so dreading to see that I'm not. I heard yearning for pregnancy can make you late also) We have to understand that children are not possessions. That is what is wrong with the contraception mentality.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 4, 2010 6:38 PM


Sydney,
God's provision for you and as many children as He wants you to have would be just enough. :)
We have four. We may not have everything we want, but we have everything we need. We trust Him to provide.

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at May 4, 2010 9:37 PM


In what universe is abstinence only sex ed "clearly" not responsible for unintended pregnancies in young people? From the cited LA Times article:

The result? Seven in 10 pregnancies in the 18-to-29 age group are unintended, and men and women in their 20s have among the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections of any age group, including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

Maybe that's because instead of teaching teenagers how to protect themselves against STDs and unwanted pregnancies, we refused to teach them anything besides the mantra that sex is bad unless you're in a (heterosexual) marriage? Teens in abstinence-only programs have repeatedly been shown to have sex at the same rate as peers in comprehensive sex ed, but they use condoms and contraception less often, leaving them vulnerable to STDs as well as pregnancy. When we don't teach teenagers the real facts about protecting themselves -- not in a "everybody should have sex now" way, but in a "abstinence is best, but just in case, here's how to protect yourself" way -- we leave them with the only information source available, their friends. This is how we get young couples facing unintended pregnancies because they thought you couldn't get pregnant if you have sex standing up.

Posted by: Violet at May 4, 2010 9:49 PM


Throw condoms at every school kid in America, teach them how to use them on truckloads of bananas, tell them it is normal and natural to have sex as much and as often as they want and THEY STILL WONT USE THEM CORRECTLY IF AT ALL!!

How many years of comprehensive sex ed is it going to take to realize that it is not working?? Gee...it's not working LET'S DO MORE OF THE SAME!!
More condoms! More bananas! More normalizing of sexual behavior at younger and younger ages! Oh, and more condoms!

Abstinence.100%.Effective.Every.Single.Time.

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at May 4, 2010 10:15 PM


How many years of abstinence-only sex ed is it going to take to realize that it's not working??

It's convenient to characterize comprehensive sex ed as a not-so-secret plan to teach kids from as young as possible an age that sex is great and if they aren't having it they're broken. But it doesn't reflect the reality of what's actually being taught. Believe it or not, it is possible to tell teens, when it's age-appropriate, how to protect themselves as part of a comprehensive program focused almost entirely on abstinence.

We have to come to terms with the fact that no matter how we teach teenagers when it comes to sex, some teenagers are going to be sexually active. Whether they were taught abstinence or got comprehensive sex ed. Whether they signed a virginity pledge. Whether we want them to or not. When we don't give teens accurate information about sex and how to protect themselves if they have it, they get information from their friends (and anyone else who will talk to them about it) and from TV and the internet. And then armed with bad and wrong information, some of them will have sex anyway, and get sick or pregnant.

When it comes to information that can metaphorically or literally save their lives, we owe it to teenagers to teach them how to protect themselves when they have sex, whether it's now or in five years on their wedding night. Abstinence will always be the only way to be certain you're protected, but not everyone is going to be abstinent. That's not an expectation that turns around and tells teenagers that they have approval to have sex. It's a simple fact.

Posted by: Violet at May 4, 2010 10:49 PM


"And I call BS on parents who don't use birth control being happier. There's some couple at my Catholic church who have 8 kids (most are high school or older now) for religious reasons. The mom always looks warn out, and she's pretty much the nastiest witch you've ever met. I was friends with one of her kids. Not only was their house a mess, but she was constantly haranguing her husband and yelling at the kids. The husband (my friend's dad) also had a horrible temper. Yeah, I'm sure they're happier than my parents with their 3 planned children.

Posted by: Ashley Herzog at May 4, 2010 11:13 AM"

Do you have any idea how utterly arrogant and judgmental this comment is? How do you think God views this couple. I think he feel great compassion for them.

Why don't you offer your services to this family to try to help them? That would very much be what Christ would do and actually commands that you do if of course you believe in Him. This scripture comes to mind after reading your really pitiful comment.

Luke 18:9-14 (New Living Translation)

Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[a]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Posted by: Phil Schembri is HisMan at May 4, 2010 11:33 PM


Possibly Violet's parent wasn't able to give the scoop on 'how to own and operate' a reproductive system. There is the assumption of a need for outside help with these matters.

What has been indicated by existing data is that the availability of contraception is not decreasing the number of unintended pregnancies. Nor is it decreasing the incidence of abortion.

That there will be ill timed reproduction is no indication that the 'authorities' should be usurping the family responsibility of sex education. The authorities have been attempting this for years, and have no success to show for it.

There should be no such surrender of personal responsibility due to the reality of unplanned pregnancy, any more than there should be surrender due to the reality of various crimes, such as rape, murder, stealing, etc.

The government education system is quite inefficient and has much poorer performance than the home school education efforts. This fact adds evidence to the contention that sex ed should also be home schooled.

Posted by: pharmer at May 5, 2010 12:26 AM


BC is high doses of hormones/steroids and taken over extended periods are detrimental to your health. Hormonal BC = Bad idea

Posted by: truthseeker at May 5, 2010 3:20 AM


Whoa!! Triple post.

Posted by: truthseeker at May 5, 2010 3:23 AM


Personally, I don't think it's necessarily fair to blame abstinence-only education for teenage pregnancy rates. No matter what teenagers do or don't get taught in school about contraception, they all know what condoms are. Hopefully they can all read well enough to read the instructions. Condoms aren't hard to find or expensive.

The problem I have with sex education in a lot of schools is that a lot of the time it's more about teaching attitudes towards sex than it is about basic scientific and biological information. Also, considering how many kids graduate from high school without having learned about various periods of history or works of classic literature, I think there's really only a limited amount of time schools should be spending teaching about contraception. Do two days' worth of health class on contraception, give them a quiz, and then make sure they understand female anatomy so we can get past this ridiculous trend of people referring to external female genitalia as "vaginas." THAT'S what really worries me when it comes to sex ed in schools - how many teenagers and adults think that everything between a woman's legs is collectively called a vagina.

Posted by: Marauder at May 5, 2010 7:14 AM


"...we owe it to teenagers to teach them how to protect themselves when they have sex, whether it's now or in five years on their wedding night." Posted by Violet
---------------------------------------

Whether or not she realizes it, Violet explains exactly why contraception is at war with authentic sexual love. Lovemaking is supposed to be a man and a woman giving fully of themselves to the other, without reservations, exceptions, or defenses.

Yet contraceptive sex is a battle or a siege. You are trying to get what you want (gratification, a brief connection with your partner) without getting "hurt" by a disease or pregnancy. I mean, what do people have protections against? Dangers. When you are protecting yourself, you are on guard. You cannot commit fully to a moment because you have to be on alert for any undesired ("dangerous") situation that might arise. Heck, that's also why so many teens and adults "forget" to use condoms or take their pill or what have you. They want to be fully connected with their partner, not at war with them.

My wife and I have no need to be protected from each other. I give myself fully to her, and she to me. How much more peaceful is that than our being protected from each other "on wedding night" and the seven years since?

Posted by: Michael at May 5, 2010 7:22 AM


Well Michael I disagree. My husband and I have used contraception. While I refuse to use hormonal contraception any longer my husband is the sole provider and feels very stressed financially. He is not a Christian and so he doesn't trust God to provide.

It is my job, according to the Bible to be a loving and submissive wife. Before the femi's jump all over that, I am not a doormat. But my husband was not ready for another child for a long time. We used condoms. I wasn't trying to "protect" myself. I prayed all the time that the condom would fail and I would conceive because I wanted more children so badly. Our physical relationship was still loving and satisfying--and I mean emotionally satisfying too.

Not all couples who use contraception are anti-child or trying to "protect" themselves from each other. Whether anyone believes so or not, we can't all have 19 kids like the Duggars. I love the Duggars and respect them, but my husband and I don't have real estate investments to fall back on or tons of money in the bank. We struggle. We are definitely blue-collar folks. God gave us brains too ya know. The Bible talks how the marriage bed is supposed to be gratifying and that its a sin for a spouse to withhold themselves sexually from their spouse. So how exactly does NFP fit in with St. Paul's teachings?

I don't knock anyone who doesn't use contraception or anyone who does. As long as it doesn't destroy human life, it is a personal decision.

Violet.. abstinence does work! I was taught abstinence when I was a teen and I made it through my teen years a virgin. I am proud to say my husband and I gave our virginity to eachother. We have no emotional baggage of previous sexual partners. No worry of disease, no jealousy. You don't put much faith in teens. In a parenting book I read by a psychologist he wrote that if you tell your child "you're bad!" all the time the child will believe it and BE BAD. Same goes with teens. If you tell them they CAN'T be pure, that they are hormonal and have to use condoms then they will believe it and live "up" to the low expectations you have set for them. If you encourage kids to purity they CAN do it. Part of it is not putting themselves in a place where they are alone with another teen where they can even have sex.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 5, 2010 10:11 AM


ADD is a true disorder and its symptoms are not "moody, aggressive, and emotional". That sounds more like a form of bipolar disorder.

Oh, and adult ADD can only be diagnosed if it is clear (either by early diagnosis or reviewing medical records and school records for the "tells") that the individual suffered from ADD as a child.

Posted by: Elisabeth at May 5, 2010 10:16 AM


Not all couples who use contraception are anti-child or trying to "protect" themselves from each other. Whether anyone believes so or not, we can't all have 19 kids like the Duggars. I love the Duggars and respect them, but my husband and I don't have real estate investments to fall back on or tons of money in the bank.
-----------------------------------------

Just wanted to point out (1) Neither did the Duggars when they first started out and (2) They must have amazing fertility because most families wouldn't have that many anyway. Apparently she is one of those women for whom breastfeeding doesn't impair fertility. For many women exclusively breastfeeding would prevent quite the level of fertility that the Duggars have (plus, they have what... two sets of twins I think?)

Posted by: Elisabeth at May 5, 2010 10:27 AM


Elisabeth: Yes, she has two sets of twins.

My sister in law also got pregnant while exclusively breastfeeding. (Not sure how some people get all the luck :)

Posted by: ycw at May 5, 2010 10:56 AM


YCW, I have a good friend who got pregnant with her 2nd while still exclusively breastfeeding her first. In fact, she never had a period after the birth of her first. I guess she got pregnant during her first fertile month!

I got pregnant with my 3rd while still nursing my 2nd, but not exclusively. It was still a bit of a shock since I wasn't having regular cycles and it had taken us 2 years to get preganant with number 2, but a very happy shock!

Posted by: Lauren at May 5, 2010 11:16 AM


Violet.. abstinence does work! I was taught abstinence when I was a teen and I made it through my teen years a virgin. I am proud to say my husband and I gave our virginity to eachother.

Yes, abstinence does work, and works well for a lot of people, like you and your husband. I am just trying to point out that it doesn't work for 100% of people, for whatever reason. To stubbornly insist that abstinence until heterosexual marriage is THE ONLY way to live life leaves some people who choose another path out in the cold without accurate information. Some are lucky enough to get accurate info on condoms and contraception as part of sex ed. Those who choose to have sex but don't get that accurate information are left to their own devices to figure it out, and not everyone gets it right.

Possibly Violet's parent wasn't able to give the scoop on 'how to own and operate' a reproductive system. There is the assumption of a need for outside help with these matters.

Not every family (or guardian) is willing or able to broach these topics with their kids. Should parents be teaching their children what they need to know? Absolutely. (My parents did.) Does every family do it? No. Thus some teens are dependent solely on what we teach them in sex ed.

Personally, I don't think it's necessarily fair to blame abstinence-only education for teenage pregnancy rates. No matter what teenagers do or don't get taught in school about contraception, they all know what condoms are. Hopefully they can all read well enough to read the instructions. Condoms aren't hard to find or expensive.

Abstinence-only education is not the only factor responsible for unwanted teen and young adult pregnancies, or for cases of STDs in that population. But it is A factor, where it's the only curriculum taught. Study after study has shown what a failure abstinence-only education is. The evidence is not ambiguous. It's clear. Teens in abstinence-only sex ed have just as much sex but use condoms and contraceptives significantly less often. That is an unequivocal fact.

In a parenting book I read by a psychologist he wrote that if you tell your child "you're bad!" all the time the child will believe it and BE BAD.

Isn't this exactly what abstinence-only sex ed does? Tell teens that if they've had sex already, they're already bad, and that if they struggle with abstinence, they're bad? Once they've crossed that line, why would they bother trying to go back to abstinence? They're already bad.

Posted by: Violet at May 5, 2010 11:44 AM


In a parenting book I read by a psychologist he wrote that if you tell your child "you're bad!" all the time the child will believe it and BE BAD.

Isn't this exactly what abstinence-only sex ed does? Tell teens that if they've had sex already, they're already bad, and that if they struggle with abstinence, they're bad? Once they've crossed that line, why would they bother trying to go back to abstinence? They're already bad.
--------------------------------------------

Apparently you've never been in an abstinence-only sex ed class. That is not what is taught nor how it is taught.

Rather, the teens are taught that they are inherently valuable and that they are worthy of more of a commitment than "Hey baby, if you really loved me you'd put out".

They are taught that there is no 100% form of birth control other than abstinence (which is true) and they are told that if they have already crossed that line, they are still worthy and valuable and can choose, from this moment on, to reclaim that sense of being worthy and valuable.

A far cry from your scenario.

Posted by: Elisabeth at May 5, 2010 12:02 PM


I learned about abstinence at church and know it works. I think when genuine scientific facts are being presented and teenagers are truthfully told what protection contraceptives give and what protection abstinence provides most teenagers will make the right decision. Presently I don't think they are being giving unbiased information. To assume that teenagers are incapable of abstaining is just that. It's an assumption.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 5, 2010 12:05 PM


Violet,
It is called secondary virginity. Even though one has been sexually active they CAN and DO vow to abstain and wait until marriage.

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at May 5, 2010 12:19 PM


I learned about abstinence at church and know it works. I think when genuine scientific facts are being presented and teenagers are truthfully told what protection contraceptives give and what protection abstinence provides most teenagers will make the right decision.

If that were true, why aren't we seeing that in the many studies that have been done? Why are studies finding no difference in the number of students who have sex when abstinence-only programs are compared with comprehensive ones? If your statement was correct, we would see very few teens in abstinence-only programs having sex, while most teens in comprehensive sex ed programs would be having sex. That's just not what's actually happening.

You don't have to take my word for it. Just a few references, and there are many more if you take a minute to look:
http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/96/6/1098
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/123/1/e110
http://www.openeducation.net/2009/01/05/abstinence-only-sex-education-statistics-final-nail-in-the-coffin/
http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/resources/pdf/pubs/abstinence_only.pdf

If you don't want to read those, here's a few excerpts from that last paper:
"There do not currently exist any abstinence-only programs with strong evidence that they either delay sex or reduce teen pregnancy. ...These conclusions are in contrast to studies of “abstinence-plus” programs that strongly encourage youth to be abstinent because abstinence is the first and best choice for teens, but also encourage youth to use condoms and contraceptives if they do have sex. Many studies with very strong research designs have demonstrated that specific programs, as well as groups of programs with common characteristics, can delay sexual intercourse, reduce its frequency, increase condom use and/or increase contraceptive use. And, of course, these behaviors are linked to reducing adolescent pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases."

It is the "abstinence-plus"-style programs that I personally believe we should be teaching in sex ed classes. And though there hasn't been as much research into how successful such programs are, the data that's out there does suggest they have a positive impact on reducing sexual activity of teens. (One shory piece on them: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/97107.php)

Posted by: Violet at May 5, 2010 12:20 PM


Hi again Violet,
Personally speaking all of the abstinence education in the world means nothing without God and His word on sexuality. My son made a vow to God to remain pure until marriage. It has been a culmination of him being taught how very valuable he is in the eyes of God and that God has a plan for His life that does not include sexual immorality. (1Timothy4:12) He did not sign a pledge with his friends in 6th period Health class.

My son's view of himself are based on what God says about him, not man. He is worth the wait. As all of us are.

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at May 5, 2010 12:28 PM


Sydney, You wrote: "The Bible talks how the marriage bed is supposed to be gratifying and that its a sin for a spouse to withhold themselves sexually from their spouse. So how exactly does NFP fit in with St. Paul's teachings?"

The answer is that you don't withhold from your spouse in NFP. With NFP there is no prohibited time from intercourse with their spouse. NFP simply allows a couple to realize that lovemaking has as a natural end the creation of new life, and at certain times that result is more likely than at other times. If it would be less desirable for a couple to have a child during a particular time, then both of them would be in agreement that they should live chastely for a few days. NFP is not a one party decision. Properly used, it is part of an ongoing conversation between a wife and her husband regarding their lives, their finances, their stresses, etc., that includes whether or not they should be cautious about the potential for a larger family. (BTW, NFP users/Catholics are very rarely called to be Duggars, either.)

I write these next paragraphs in an effort of true love and charity, not an attack on you, your husband, or your faith. Please read it as such.

1st Corinthians Chapter 7 does state that a husband and wife should give each other conjugal rights and access. However, that same chapter also states that abstaining for a short period of mutual agreement is permissible, especially when that time is spent in prayer. (I know couples who use NFP who spend the periodic episodes of abstinence in prayer so that whatever obstacles/causes of NFP may be lifted from their lives.)

In addition, while wives are called to be submissive to their husbands, husbands are also called to imitate Christ's love for His Church in our love for our wives. Periodic abstinence is a small sacrifice compared to the sacrifices we may be called to make for our wives and families. I am called to be considerate of my wife's needs (which include sleep so she can function with the kids the next day), which means that sometimes I have to control my desire for physical intimacy for a few days.

I'm not saying your husband can't or doesn't do that as well; I'm simply trying to point out in general that granting conjugal rights doesn't mean that either spouse has right to intimacy on demand.

I will try to pray for you and your husband, and I ask your prayers, too. I know it is a great blessing for me that my wife and I share a deep faith; I hope that your husband will trust and God and worship with you soon.

Finally, I will close with a question that I don't mean to be sharp or gotcha, but it might seem that way. I would like to understand how condoms worked or didn't work for your relationship. You wrote, "I wasn't trying to "protect" myself. I prayed all the time that the condom would fail and I would conceive because I wanted more children so badly." So how exactly were the condoms not causing friction in the marriage? Were not your prayers were so fervent because you instinctively knew that a part of the mutual self-donation was being held back? Or I am reading a wrong angle?

God bless Sydney.

Posted by: Michael at May 5, 2010 1:11 PM


Rachael C., I have depression issues as well. I'm looking forward to the day when I can at least get the ADD controlled a bit (I can't go on meds because I'm nursing a lil' fella right now, but in about 9 months I'll be able to wean him and go on meds). I've tried Wellbutrin before and that might have helped... a little... meh. I was on Prozac before for the depression and hated that stuff.
Posted by: army_wife at May 4, 2010 5:27 PM

Army wife, I've been prescribed all kinds of ADD medications when I was growing up (pretty much all of the stimulants out there), but couldn't tolerate the side effects and finally tried Wellbutrin in high school and found that it helped for my depression issues and ADD. Yeah, I don't care for the SSRI's either, they left me feeling sedated and numb, "zombified" as I used to call it :) I'm on Cymbalta now and it helps with my depression issues, but not my ADD issues as much :P I've found that while there's a lot of helpful information for children with ADD, I've found there's not a lot for adults, but did find a book I found helpful and think you might too: You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder by Kate Kelly, Peggy Ramundo, and Edward M., M.D. Hallowell (Paperback - April 2006)

Posted by: Rachael C. at May 5, 2010 1:25 PM


Check out Driven to Distraction and Delivered by Distraction. Both are written by the same psychologist (who is also an adult with ADD). My copies are packed or I'd grab the author's name.

GREAT books. And I love my Adderall. I have no side effects from it and it works beautifully. (I'd love the side effect of weight loss, but, alas, I truly have no side effects from it! Which to me is proof that it is the right medication for MY body.)

Posted by: Elisabeth at May 5, 2010 1:28 PM


"The Bible talks how the marriage bed is supposed to be gratifying and that its a sin for a spouse to withhold themselves sexually from their spouse.

In today's world, who says it has to be a marriage "bed"? It could be a marriage couch, a marriage table, a marriage rug... ;-) Just kidding, but I get what you're saying.

Posted by: Rachael C., who is feeling especially ornery today at May 5, 2010 1:32 PM


Elisabeth, I'm glad you haven't experienced any of the side effects of Adderall. Adderall worked for me, but I was a cranky one to be around as I went through withdrawl as the medicine wore off (this was before the extended release version). Moreso, I developed tardive dyskinesia facial grimmaces and tics while on the medication, which fortuantly ceased once the medication was discontinued. But, recently I've noticed an increased in my ADD symptoms and have been considering trying Adderall again, in addition to my anti-depressant, but as always, TD is a concern for me.

Posted by: Rachael C. at May 5, 2010 1:56 PM


Yeah, it's a tricky thing finding the correct medication for each person. There are so many new medications out especially for adult ADD though, so there is definitely hope. I do like the extended release factor and I don't do anything but get "spacier" as it wears off at the end of the day.

I have a theory that some people are addicted to the illegal version of what their bodies naturally crave. As a teen my husband was addicted to crystal meth. He is VERY ADD. In fact, his stepmother bought him the exact book you mentioned above when he was in his 20s. He HATES that I take Adderall, even though he has to admit that it is his hangup, not mine. I haven't had a dose increase since they stabilized me (within a few months of starting) years ago at my current dose. I would guess that he was attempting to self-medicate with meth for his very real needs. He refuses to take anything for it now, we just work around the ADD.

Posted by: Elisabeth at May 5, 2010 2:03 PM


Ashley,

If you read into the history of birth control/contraception, you'll realize that it has always been condemned and considered grave sin. It's only the Catholic Church that universally teaches this truth and cannot change it's teaching. All Protestant denominations were in unity with the Catholic Church until the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church in 1930 (I believe) teaching that contraception is a grave offense against God's law and true purpose for the unitive and procreative aspect of intercourse. The Anglican Church opened the door for this and look where we are today. Trust me, I struggled with this teaching for a long time(as a practicing Catholic), but as a Christian, we have to conform our will to God's. Jesus never said it would be easy. I am so glad that I stopped using b/c years ago and read the beauty of the teaching of our true sexual nature and purpose in marriage. Thanks be to God, He has blessed me with 4 children.

Posted by: doe at May 5, 2010 4:56 PM


I can't remember who asked me but I got pregnant 18 mons after my first baby, 22 mons after the second one and then the third baby I had trouble conceiving because I was 39! 10 years later I went into menopause which is about right according to doctors. That is, women will notice a significant diminishing of their fertility about 10 years prior to menopause.
I never suspected that I would menopause so early since my mother did not until her mid-late 50's. But then again, I take after my dad's side mostly.

Personally I prefer the term living chastely. It's a lifestyle choice. Abstinence to me has a negative connotation.

And parents need to get off the pot and learn about this stuff. The idea that you are too uncomfortable to talk about this with your kids is lame and irresponsible. Learning about your sexuality is one of the most basic things in life.

Posted by: angel at May 5, 2010 5:51 PM


It is the "abstinence-plus"-style programs that I personally believe we should be teaching in sex ed classes.
Posted by: Violet at May 5, 2010 12:20 PM

I think you make a good point. I'm not sure how much good Abstinence education alone is going to do for kids whose parents let them go anywhere with anyone and don't actually care if they have sex as long as they are being 'safe'.
I was taught sex-ed in school, but at home my entire family taught me how valuable I was and that abstinence until marriage was God's way of preventing disease, heartache, and children you aren't prepared to care for.

I did not want to disappoint my mom or family, and that more than anything else helped me to say 'no' when I was being pressured. Looking back, I am so thankful for their influence in my life. When I first met the man who is now my husband and he found out I was a virgin, he said, "I didn't know they still made those!" (ha)
He grew up with parents who had a vastly different mentality about sex and he has such regrets about the choices he made before we met.

My point is simply that information about sex and how to prevent diseases is not going to (necessarily) send kids running out to 'do it' anymore than abstinence education will keep all kids chaste until marriage. The way parents teach sex and value to a child, the friends and environment they are allowed to be involved in, the kind of media/entertainment they watch, all play a part in forming a child/teen's view of sex and intimacy. The main problem we have in society today is parents who have left it to others to raise their children and influence their views.

Posted by: Heather M at May 5, 2010 6:51 PM


Well Michael. You may have a point. I know it has been hard for me in that I want to bring life into our marriage again and my husband is saying NO...for years now. Well, now we are trying, but as I said, non-hormonal (or non-baby killin) is a huge gray area for me.

I do believe that God will provide if He blesses you with a child. I have seen it in other's lives and in my own when I conceived my son unexpectedly (I was on the pill). Maybe my husband has just colored my thinking because he worries and stresses over money constantly and trying to provide for us.

Thank you for your prayers...really! :-)

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 5, 2010 9:07 PM


Violet-
I believe anytime we do anything that adds to an individuals value or maybe just giving back what was taken that it has a ripple effect. I think it says very little for us as a society that we have so little faith in the next generation, in addition to showing a certain propencity towards greed that does not bode well for us as Americans. We sell the next generation out when we convince them they are incapable of self-control. We sale them out again when we convince them that killing their babies is a good solution. In effect what we're doing as a nation is killing our children twice. Unfortunately or fortunately as humans we have souls. And you can lie to the heart and even deceive the mind but the soul knows. I believe this is why we are seeing a rise in crime among teenagers they know that they're being sold a bill of goods. Bless you Violet.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 5, 2010 9:18 PM


Sydney, I hope God will bless you two with another life to love and take care of. I have definitely been blessed by His abundance with our three little ones. (We, too, would like to have more, but apparently my wife's fertility won't come back until the little one weans! After the first her cycle came back ~8 months (w/ ecological breastfeeding), after #2 it was ~14 months (tandem nursing), but now with only #3 nursing solo, it's been 16 months and counting and still no signs of the return of fertility. Oh well, we'll continue to trust God. We certainly have a lot of other things on our plate right now for the next month or two, so maybe He knows we are at our limit already and is waiting until things settle down a little more.)

Also, I want to let you know that I do admire you and your husband for your concerns about providing for your family. That is a valid concern that responsible, loving parents consider when making spacing decisions. I will pray that God answers your prayers for another child with a "Yes", but that if it is a "No" He will give you the grace to be at peace with that answer and the wisdom to know what He plans for you next. Have a good night.

Posted by: Michael at May 5, 2010 10:57 PM



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