Anxiety about sex even during "non-fertile" times


#1

I'm having what I think is anxiety about having sex with my wife because I'm worried about getting pregnant. We have 3 under 3 and it's a lot to handle and I don't think getting pregnant now is a very good idea. We only use NFP, and are well trained and seasoned users, but even with that, I get anxious and worried about it. Due to postpartum changes, breast feeding, etc, the NFP signs have not been clearly infertile, so there's been spans of 6 weeks and even over 2 months when we've abstained just to be 100% sure. For over 5 years we had sex whenever we felt like it and were trying to conceive. In the past 3 years that world has been flipped upside down and it's been a blessing since I've had to struggle very hard and suffer with self control during these abstinence times, but now that we are seeing infertile times, my mind is stuck on worrying and avoiding pregnancy that it's preoccupying my thoughts and i'm not feeling open to sex. It's somewhat of a backwards NFP problem - we've used it so much to avoid, i'm having a hard time switching gears to trust the system and be open to sex. I'm worried that this is negatively affecting my wife and marriage. Any thoughts? Help?


#2

I'm afraid I don't really have much advice, but you are definately not alone in this kind of struggle. My husband and I kind of half-heartedly used NFP (having that "oh a pregnancy won't happen to us" mindset) and conceived in our first year of marriage. Our beautiful son is 11 months now. But I was TERRIFIED getting back into a sexual relationship for fear of another pregnancy. And I know how difficult NFP can be postpartum. There was quite a bit of abstinence. But one day I was looking at our son and thinking, we were hoping to wait a while longer before having children. We're young, and I'm still in school. But I wouldn't trade that child for anything in the whole world. We pray together every night, and we let God know our concerns and reasons for wanting to wait, but that ultimately we want what He wants for us. It is hard to live out NFP, especially in a society that glorifies birth control and casual sex. I just remind myself that God knows our struggles, and He will not punish us for trying to follow Him.


#3

[quote="justme2, post:1, topic:203194"]
I'm having what I think is anxiety about having sex with my wife because I'm worried about getting pregnant. We have 3 under 3 and it's a lot to handle and I don't think getting pregnant now is a very good idea. We only use NFP, and are well trained and seasoned users, but even with that, I get anxious and worried about it. Due to postpartum changes, breast feeding, etc, the NFP signs have not been clearly infertile, so there's been spans of 6 weeks and even over 2 months when we've abstained just to be 100% sure. For over 5 years we had sex whenever we felt like it and were trying to conceive. In the past 3 years that world has been flipped upside down and it's been a blessing since I've had to struggle very hard and suffer with self control during these abstinence times, but now that we are seeing infertile times, my mind is stuck on worrying and avoiding pregnancy that it's preoccupying my thoughts and i'm not feeling open to sex. It's somewhat of a backwards NFP problem - we've used it so much to avoid, i'm having a hard time switching gears to trust the system and be open to sex. I'm worried that this is negatively affecting my wife and marriage. Any thoughts? Help?

[/quote]

Are you past six months with the youngest? Or are you not following LAM? It's extremely, extremely effective; better than any ABC out there actually. If LAM is not an option anymore, then unfortunately you're in a bit of a situation. And it's one I full sympathize and empathize.

After the six months of LAM passed, we waited another seven months until my wife's first PPP following our daughter's birth. There were long periods of abstention and it was tough given that she had that "background mucus" that makes it tougher to tell than just having some dry days. Eventually we got it a bit figured out and used OPK test strips to be doubly sure. Not going to lie, there were days I was so nervous that my wife was pregnant. Any time her temp was up even for a few days I was "sure" that she had gotten pregnant even before her first PPP. Same goes for when she'd be feeling even a little ill. It was nerve-wracking, but what can I say? You have to trust the system, and God, sometimes.

Now that menses returned, we're back to using Day 6 for Phase I and then just wait until four days past peak. Using all the signs too, temp, CM and OPK to confirm ovulation. So yeah, we'll have to be conservative about it; I just figure we'll "make up for it" in Phase III. :D


#4

I'm sorry you're having such a tough time. I know (not from experience, though) that the post-partum period can be incredibly difficult to figure out for NFP purposes.

What method are you and your wife using? Are you able to consult with an instructor who can look at your charts and who can help you both make sense of her signs of fertility? Try getting in touch with an instructor or teaching couple, or even consider talking to someone who teaches a different method.


#5

NFP is for extreme cases. For example, if you and your twelve kids are living in a pit with a piece of scrap metal for a roof and your teeth are falling out due to malnutrition, you could prayerfully consider NFP.

Otherwise, discard it and enjoy the sacrament of matrimony with an easy conscience.


#6

[quote="Paganus, post:5, topic:203194"]
NFP is for extreme cases. For example, if you and your twelve kids are living in a pit with a piece of scrap metal for a roof and your teeth are falling out due to malnutrition, you could prayerfully consider NFP.

Otherwise, discard it and enjoy the sacrament of matrimony with an easy conscience.

[/quote]

Your personal definition of a "serious/grave" case does not necessarily apply to others.

Enjoy your blessings and please don't minimize the struggles of others.


#7

[quote="Rach620, post:4, topic:203194"]
I'm sorry you're having such a tough time. I know (not from experience, though) that the post-partum period can be incredibly difficult to figure out for NFP purposes.

What method are you and your wife using? Are you able to consult with an instructor who can look at your charts and who can help you both make sense of her signs of fertility? Try getting in touch with an instructor or teaching couple, or even consider talking to someone who teaches a different method.

[/quote]

I agree. Contact your teacher for NFP advice and/or discuss your anxieties with your priest.

It is possible to maintain marital union while using NFP, even during those very challenging months... I completely sympathize with the anxiety, though...
My prayers will be with you.


#8

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:6, topic:203194"]
Your personal definition of a "serious/grave" case does not necessarily apply to others.

Enjoy your blessings and please don't minimize the struggles of others.

[/quote]

Fair enough, but it might apply to "justme2." He knows more about his situation than either of us and should be able to discern which piece of free advice applies, and which does not.


#9

Thank you everyone for thew encouragement. Its nice to reach out and see replies from Catholic Bros and Sisters.

Jet and The Bucket, thanks for sharing your worries, anxiety and decision to abstain for a while as well. I just don't like all the mixed feelings and emotions I get these days when I see my wife and am sexually attracted to her. I know that is a good God given gift, but I start to feel anxious and a bit sick in my stomach worrying about the next time we ate together. I think that must be what The Bucket felt too when being worried about pregnency? I hope I learn what God wants me to learn through this and come out of this a better man.

Toi answer some other questions: our baby is 9mo. We use Creighton and know instructors well and have been charting for the 10yrs we've been married. Part of my anxiety is that I know NFP is not 100%. That's the the beauty of NFP and each act being open to life and allowing God to do his part if He so chooses. Well, he chose. One kid was probably a misread of Sfluid, but ony 1 day of masked mucus and wwe got preg. The other kid came to us with no signs, no mucus seen (must have been some in there - or a miracale, which is possible. I had lots of peace knowing God had a hand in it and we wernt "taking risks", but with 3 undeer 3, right now wouldn't be the best time for another. I understand Paganus, but there's a mental and physical state of my wife I'm worried about, not money, space, or anything.

Well, thanks again, I'm still open to hearing any more ideas of how to ovecome my anxiety and be ready for my wife on an infertile day.


#10

justme2,

Did you do a pregnancy eval after each of your previous conceptions with your Creighton instructor? I know those are highly recommended to help understand exactly when/how conception took place (whether it was intended or not) and to help you both use the method according to your intentions in the future. You're right in saying that NFP is not 100%, but it's still pretty effective when used by couples with normal fertility according to their intentions.

I will pray for you and your wife during this stressful/anxiety-filled time.

God bless.


#11

What is the basis for the claim by some that NFP is only properly used in "extreme" cases? To me, that is inconsistent with Humanae Vitae, which states:

"With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time."

and,

"If therefore there are **well-grounded reasons **for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which We have just explained."

I not "serious reason" and "well-grounded reasons," but not "extreme cases."


#12

[quote="RyanBlack, post:11, topic:203194"]
What is the basis for the claim by some that NFP is only properly used in "extreme" cases? To me, that is inconsistent with Humanae Vitae, which states:

"With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time."

and,

"If therefore there are **well-grounded reasons **for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which We have just explained."

I not "serious reason" and "well-grounded reasons," but not "extreme cases."

[/quote]

Thanks for clarifying that. I think Paganus was the only one putting forward the "extreme cases" definition. Em clarified that this "personal definition" is not the Church's and does not apply to all cases, but getting the text in here from HV is perfect.


#13

PErsonally, I havn't had much luck with NFP but I think that has mostly to do with medical situations. But what I will tell you you might want to consider is getting one of the machines- there are a bunch out there - ovacue zetek is the one we're getting and it's supposed to be 97% on the mark - so instead of guessing if we're correct or not about when I'm ovulating or not I also use this every morning - I have friends who have that one or a similar device (most of the good one you won't find at walmart) -that might help to let you know. Just a thought and I'm not endorsing any particular one just telling you the one we decided upon - good luck - we're trying to put God in Control and use NFP but since we got pregnant on it before, we know we needed something to make sure.
Good Luck and God Bless
Rye

[quote="justme2, post:1, topic:203194"]
I'm having what I think is anxiety about having sex with my wife because I'm worried about getting pregnant. We have 3 under 3 and it's a lot to handle and I don't think getting pregnant now is a very good idea. We only use NFP, and are well trained and seasoned users, but even with that, I get anxious and worried about it. Due to postpartum changes, breast feeding, etc, the NFP signs have not been clearly infertile, so there's been spans of 6 weeks and even over 2 months when we've abstained just to be 100% sure. For over 5 years we had sex whenever we felt like it and were trying to conceive. In the past 3 years that world has been flipped upside down and it's been a blessing since I've had to struggle very hard and suffer with self control during these abstinence times, but now that we are seeing infertile times, my mind is stuck on worrying and avoiding pregnancy that it's preoccupying my thoughts and i'm not feeling open to sex. It's somewhat of a backwards NFP problem - we've used it so much to avoid, i'm having a hard time switching gears to trust the system and be open to sex. I'm worried that this is negatively affecting my wife and marriage. Any thoughts? Help?

[/quote]


closed #14

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