Abstinence for how long?


I am totally against birth control. My wife is overwhelmed with feeling like we are not giving our kids enough attention and love. I am wondering how long you all feel is a healthy time period for us to abstain. We have 7 children with the oldest being 11. NFP has never worked for us, our last pregnancy happened after we were very carefull. We abstained for 15 to 20 days before ovulation.

Any input??


Well, this is the problem. Why would you abstain before ovulation and not during? NFP won’t work for you to avoid children if you have relations during ovulation.

I suggest getting a teacher and learning a new method.


I agree, look for a new method of NFP. There are lots of different methods that are designed to work with the habits of the couples, and can be as accurate as you’d like them to. You said you abstained before ovulation, but did you abstain during? It’s also wise to wait for a time after ovulation as well, just because it’s not really an exact science.


I echo what other posters have said. You might also benefit from using a fertility monitor, as in the Marquette Method of natural family planning. It can be useful if your having trouble interpreting the signs, and reaffirm your interpretations until you feel confident.



Thank you all for your posts.

Sorry I didn’t mention the abstinence during ovulation because I thought that would be obvious. We do have an ovulation machine that cost around $300 and seems to be fairly accurate. I can’t remember the machine’s name.

Anyway, I was hoping that we could focus on the prolonged abstinence aspect of my question. Your help is appreciated.

Thanks for your input.


Except that it still doesn’t make sense…number of days you abstain before ovulation…that fluctuates.

Try another method, you may not have to even entertain this question.


I guess I agree with the other posters. learn a new method, so you will/might have to abstain for a month or two, in the mean time why not use a super conservative NFP rules, like only in phase 3. That would at least prevent months on end of abstinence. The general rule is the night of the 4th day (correct me if I am wrong) of drying up after ovulation is considered ‘safe’ you could make that 5 days after peak to be super safe and you should still have at least 7+ days for relations.


If NFP is justified for you, I would suggest the Creighton method. www.popepaulvi.com


OK, I’m going to answer your question about abstinence–from the Bible.

I Corinthians 7: 5–“Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again, lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

So how long can you and your wife pray? That’s how long you should abstain. :slight_smile:

And I would take St. Paul’s warning about temptation very seriously. Many, many Christians believe that they are safe from affairs, and many, many Christians learn, to their sorrow, that they are frail human beings and that sexual desire is very powerful. Don’t mess with Satan. Just do what God says.


Despite St Paul, people have abstained in marriage for long periods of time as long as people have been getting married. Reliable NFP has not been around for long, and it isn’t 100%, and there have always been people for whom having a pregnancy would be a very bad thing. So they abstained. Some people have actually stopped having marital relations permanently after finishing having children, instead devoting themselves to other things. Other people are apart for other reasons - my husband is away for half the year in his job, for example, so abstinence is pretty much enforced.

I have no idea what would be an appropriate amount of time for you. I would suggest is perhaps beginning a program of regular prayer, like the daily offices, and doing them together. And make sure to review regularly how abstinence is working in your relationship.

One place you might look for resources is in writings of the Orthodox Church. They fast about 180 days a year, and that includes sex. So they tend to have good information available on such things (good vegetarian recipes too.)


I wish I had your problem. I only have 3 children 5, 8 and 15.


While I’m unmarried, I have to agree with this poster. I have friends who are married, and the husband took a job in California, and the wife stayed in Ohio to finish her Master’s degree. They were separatd for almost seven months, with only a few weekends here and there. (And she was pregnant.) They’re still married now.

So, it can be done.


Hey Geographer:

I don’t think of it as a problem, merely a challenge. God has blessed you with children, that is more than many people can say for themselves. Thank you for your post!


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