Condom Use: What if He or She Cheats?


#1

Before I became remotely interested in Catholicism, I was a very adamant condom user. I even resolved that if I were to remarry, I would still use a condom.

Why? Because of the fear of a cheating spouse.

Now, I wasn't burned or anything. I am not aware of my ex-husband ever cheating on me. If he did, I escaped unscathed with three kids.

However, I have heard too many stories of one spouse giving another a disease.

I cannot fathom not using a condom and leaving myself completely open although I know what the Church teaches.

The other scary part is what if I met a Catholic man and we married, and I allowed myself to be completely vulnerable in that way, and he cheated? As a Catholic man, he might not want to compound the sin of cheating with the sin of using contraception.

Does anyone understand what I'm saying? If you've ever felt that way, how have you overcome your fear?


#2

Honestly, if I were that concerned about getting a disease…I wouldn’t be in any kind of sexual relationship at all.

No, one can never guarantee that the spouse won’t cheat, but usually you can make a character judgment based on what the person’s life looks like. If someone cheats, there are usually signs and symptoms that infidelity is part of their approach…I’m saying that it would be a real aberration for a guy who has no adultery anywhere in his past and who is also committed to living for God, to cheat.

Take it one step at a time. If you have someone you are dating, just get to know him first before worrying about possible diseases once you are married and IF he cheats.


#3

[quote="TrueLight, post:1, topic:241871"]
Before I became remotely interested in Catholicism, I was a very adamant condom user. I even resolved that if I were to remarry, I would still use a condom.

Why? Because of the fear of a cheating spouse.

Now, I wasn't burned or anything. I am not aware of my ex-husband ever cheating on me. If he did, I escaped unscathed with three kids.

However, I have heard too many stories of one spouse giving another a disease.

I cannot fathom not using a condom and leaving myself completely open although I know what the Church teaches.

The other scary part is what if I met a Catholic man and we married, and I allowed myself to be completely vulnerable in that way, and he cheated? As a Catholic man, he might not want to compound the sin of cheating with the sin of using contraception.

Does anyone understand what I'm saying? If you've ever felt that way, how have you overcome your fear?

[/quote]

I know what your saying. I don't really agree with it, but I know where your coming from.

The way you overcome many fears is to confront it, but with this particular fear, I don't suggest sleeping around with or without protection. ;)

Maybe you could speak to a shrink or something? Would that help?


#4

A Catholic marriage is a sacrament where each spouse gives themselves to the other totally, fruitfully, and freely-100%! If you used a condom out of fear you would not only be cutting off yourself from being fruitful but you would also be cutting yourself off from trusting your spouse. Fear is the motivation behind your wanting to use a condom which is usually the reason most people use contraception. Don't let fear drive your actions!

"Do not be afraid" Luke Chapter 12

How to overcome fear: Prayer-pray without ceasing


#5

In other words, you are profoundly afraid to deeply, totally and completely give yourself to another. :(

If that's truly what is in your heart, then please do not get married until you are past it and trust him that much.


#6

Some one might want to do the research on chastity.com but it is my understanding that condoms are not fully effective against all STDs.


#7

Here follows what is posted on chastity.com, so condoms don't fully solve the problem.

Won't safe sex protect you from getting an STD?

In 2000 the National Institutes for Health (NIH) published the first thorough review of the scientific research on condom effectiveness.[1] The study examined eight STDs and demonstrated that condoms reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting two of them: HIV and gonorrhea (in men). The studies revealed that, when consistently and correctly used, condoms provide an 85 percent risk reduction for the transmission of HIV in males and females and a 45 to 75 percent risk reduction for the transmission of gonorrhea in males.

While the condom may reduce the likelihood of contracting HIV, yearly cases of this virus are much less than 1 percent of all the yearly STD cases.[2] Gonorrhea is a much more common problem, but there was not sufficient evidence to determine how much protection condom use offered women. This is not good news for women, because they suffer much greater consequences from being infected by this disease. It can lead to ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, and infertility. In regard to the other specific diseases, the report stated that “there was no evidence that condom use reduced the risk of HPV infection.”[3]

Furthermore, the data were unable to determine how effective the condom is in reducing the risk of the other STDs. In spite of all the talk today about condoms and safe sex, they could not say what degree of protection condoms offered for most of the STDs reviewed! This is troubling, considering that these diseases infect millions of people each year and can make them at least two to five times as likely to transmit HIV.[4]

While the NIH study does not prove that the condom is useless in protecting against the STDs mentioned above, it does mean that twenty-eight expert panel members scouring through 138 peer reviewed studies on condom effectiveness were unable to determine its effectiveness. Since the publication of this study, others have determined that the condom use reduces STD risks only by about half.[5]

In the wake of the NIH report, politicians who favor promotion of “safe” sex were livid, arguing that the publication of such information could contribute to a rise in STDs because it undermines public confidence in the condom.[6] What they didn’t want to admit was that the outdated message of “safe sex” causes people to be overconfident in the condom. One scientist noted:

“Some fear that informing the public of how little we know about condom effectiveness would lead to nonuse of condoms. Although it is improbable that any scientific evidence supports this hypothesis, the question remains. Is it ethical for health care professionals, including physicians and pharmacists, to hide the truth from the public? As in every other area of health care, we must give accurate data as we attempt to steer our patients toward the healthiest and safest choices. Ultimately, each individual must decide how much risk he or she is willing to take. But such a decision can be made responsibly only if individuals are accurately informed about the degree of risk they face (or may face) if they choose to be sexually active.”[7]

Determining the effectiveness of condoms in preventing STDs is a complicated matter. For example, some STDs, such as chancroid or gonorrhea, transmit very easily, while others, such as HIV, are not as contagious. Some STDs, such as herpes, change their infectivity over time. One week the person could be shedding the virus, and a week later, not shedding. Factors such as gender, stress, drug interactions, pregnancy, and the presence of another STD also play a role in STD transmission. In fact, each person’s immune system is unique in how well it resists infections. For all of these reasons and more, it is difficult to pinpoint a precise level of condom effectiveness for STDs in general.

When determining the effectiveness of the condom in preventing the spread of STDs, it’s enlightening to examine how well the condom prevents pregnancy. According to the research institute of Planned Parenthood, the failure rate of the condom in preventing pregnancy is 15 percent during the first year of use.[8] Considering that a woman can get pregnant only a few days of the month and STDs can be contracted any day, the condom is by no means adequate protection. No matter what STD we are speaking about, the condom does not guarantee protection even when used consistently and correctly. On the other hand, chastity guarantees 100 percent protection.

But the bottom line is this: There is no condom for the heart or the soul. Whatever we may do to protect our bodies from STDs, if we misuse God’s gift of sexuality, our hearts and souls will not escape the consequences. But if we are faithful with our sexuality, there is no need for protection of any kind, for there is nothing to fear. The very idea of wanting to make sex “safe” is a contradiction in terms. Sex is meant to be a total gift of the self, holding nothing back. Concerns about “safety” should not enter into the equation. You protect yourself from your enemies; you give yourself to your beloved.

For more on condoms and STDs, click here.
For an explanation on why condom labels are inaccurate, click here.


#8

In fairness to the OP, we all are, probably-a little afraid to give ourselves to someone else. Yes, people will say they’re not, but they might not even be aware of it.


#9

[quote="TrueLight, post:1, topic:241871"]

Does anyone understand what I'm saying? If you've ever felt that way, how have you overcome your fear?

[/quote]

I understand what you're saying. I haven't personally ever had this fear, but I think I know how you can get over it.

Consider that everything you do in life involves some risk. You can lose your job, lose your house due to foreclosure, become sick or get injured. You can have deaths in the family, deaths of pets, and losses of friendships. With every single one of these things, there is a good and a bad. A job, a house, health, family, pets and friendships are all good things, but you can lose them all. In an instant.

So, what are your options? You can reject your family, never have a pet, try to have bad health and not pursue friendships because you are so scared of losing all these things. Or you could realize that some things are worth the risk.

This is similar to how you risk yourself when you are with your spouse. You are emotionally and physically intimate with them, vulnerable as you are when you have a great job or a family you enjoy being with (except moreso). The spouse could turn against you and hurt you. The greatest things in life are worth hurting for,

If you want to be consistent, you should either be scared of all the good things I listed above (jobs, health, friendship etc) because you can lose them all. Or, you could realize that all things involve some risk, but we willingly accept the risk of losing these things for the joy they typically bring. The joy should be all the more magnified because marriage is a sacrament, even though the risks are sometimes scary.


#10

[quote="ChiRho, post:9, topic:241871"]
I understand what you're saying. I haven't personally ever had this fear, but I think I know how you can get over it.

Consider that everything you do in life involves some risk. You can lose your job, lose your house due to foreclosure, become sick or get injured. You can have deaths in the family, deaths of pets, and losses of friendships. With every single one of these things, there is a good and a bad. A job, a house, health, family, pets and friendships are all good things, but you can lose them all. In an instant.

So, what are your options? You can reject your family, never have a pet, try to have bad health and not pursue friendships because you are so scared of losing all these things. Or you could realize that some things are worth the risk.

This is similar to how you risk yourself when you are with your spouse. You are emotionally and physically intimate with them, vulnerable as you are when you have a great job or a family you enjoy being with (except moreso). The spouse could turn against you and hurt you. The greatest things in life are worth hurting for,

If you want to be consistent, you should either be scared of all the good things I listed above (jobs, health, friendship etc) because you can lose them all. Or, you could realize that all things involve some risk, but we willingly accept the risk of losing these things for the joy they typically bring. The joy should be all the more magnified because marriage is a sacrament, even though the risks are sometimes scary.

[/quote]

This is very good advice. If you want to be happy, you must learn to trust God as Job did: "the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). If you marry, be thankful for every good moment with your spouce. If, God fobid, he cheats, offer your emotionaly pain, and any physical suffering that may or may not come as a result, to Christ as a participation in His Passion for the sake of the salvation of others. In this, we take joy in suffering: that through our pain, offered freely for the sake of the Cross, the whole Body of Christ is strengthened and built up. But, even if that horrific pain and trouble should come upon you, take joy in the good things you still have! Take joy in your kids! Take joy in the Sacraments! But most of all, take joy in the fact that your faith is being tested!

Listen to the exhortation of our first Holy Father, Pope Peter, the Rock upon whom the Church is founded: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Without having seen Him you love Him; though you do not now see Him you believe in Him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls" (I Peter 1:2-9).

Many Saints have told us that the secret to holiness is humility in absolutely every situation, a humility that says,

"Lord God, giver of every good thing,
I freely and joyfully accept Your Divine Will in every situation.
I submit myself willingly to everything,
good and bad, easy and burdensome,
that You lay before me. Amen."

Remember: "Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of Truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures" (James 1:17-18). Perhaps it would help to meditate on the above verses and to pray that prayer every day, in addition to asking the Saints to intercede for you that you might be granted the gifts of humility and peace.


#11

[quote="Rascalking, post:3, topic:241871"]
I know what your saying. I don't really agree with it, but I know where your coming from.

The way you overcome many fears is to confront it, but with this particular fear, I don't suggest sleeping around with or without protection. ;)

Maybe you could speak to a shrink or something? Would that help?

[/quote]

No, Rascalking, I don't need a shrink. :D

I'll explain more in the other posts.


#12

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:2, topic:241871"]
Honestly, if I were that concerned about getting a disease...I wouldn't be in any kind of sexual relationship at all.

No, one can never guarantee that the spouse won't cheat, but usually you can make a character judgment based on what the person's life looks like. If someone cheats, there are usually signs and symptoms that infidelity is part of their approach...I'm saying that it would be a real aberration for a guy who has no adultery anywhere in his past and who is also committed to living for God, to cheat

[/quote]

This is true. I am usually pretty good at reading pink and red flags too, but anyone can be fooled.

[quote="MommyHacker, post:4, topic:241871"]
A Catholic marriage is a sacrament where each spouse gives themselves to the other totally, fruitfully, and freely-100%! If you used a condom out of fear you would not only be cutting off yourself from being fruitful but you would also be cutting yourself off from trusting your spouse. Fear is the motivation behind your wanting to use a condom which is usually the reason most people use contraception. Don't let fear drive your actions!

"Do not be afraid" Luke Chapter 12

How to overcome fear: Prayer-pray without ceasing

[/quote]

Okay, let me explain a little more.

When I was married, I used condoms sometimes but I mostly used the rhythm method, not even NFP!

Since we were separated so many times, we were hardly together, and I still ended up with three kids.

My condom use was mostly in my dating life and I used it for two reasons: 1) to avoid pregnancy (I didn’t like ingesting chemicals into my body so the pill was off limits); 2) to protect against any type of disease.

I liked my condom use and I resolved to keep using it even while married for the same two reasons.

So I don’t want you all to think that when I entered into a serious relationship I was obsessed with catching disease. We would both get tested before becoming intimate and would use condoms mostly for birth control, but it gave me an assurance that if he stepped out on me, I wouldn’t catch anything. That is not to say that I went around being suspicious, but it was nice to know I had somewhat of an assurance.


#13

[quote="manualman, post:5, topic:241871"]
In other words, you are profoundly afraid to deeply, totally and completely give yourself to another.

If that's truly what is in your heart, then please do not get married until you are past it and trust him that much.

[/quote]

I probably shouldn’t because I definitely am not open to getting pregnant at my age.

And since church says I can’t use contraception, then what?

[quote="redroselover, post:6, topic:241871"]
Some one might want to do the research on chastity.com but it is my understanding that condoms are not fully effective against all STDs.

[/quote]

It certainly isn’t, but it’s better than nothing.

[quote="ChiRho, post:9, topic:241871"]
I understand what you're saying. I haven't personally ever had this fear, but I think I know how you can get over it.

Consider that everything you do in life involves some risk. You can lose your job, lose your house due to foreclosure, become sick or get injured. You can have deaths in the family, deaths of pets, and losses of friendships. With every single one of these things, there is a good and a bad. A job, a house, health, family, pets and friendships are all good things, but you can lose them all. In an instant.

[/quote]

That is a good point. The thing is, I can deal emotionally with a lot; however to catch a permanent disease because of infidelity would be devastating.

But I agree everything involves risk.

[quote="Tiberius1701, post:10, topic:241871"]
. If, God fobid, he cheats, offer your emotionaly pain, and any physical suffering that may or may not come as a result, to Christ as a participation in His Passion for the sake of the salvation of others.

[/quote]

Most likely I would be offering part of his anatomy on some sort of altar, but I get your point.

I’m sorry, but if suffering comes, it comes, but I certainly don’t want to create a painful situation for me.


#14

Hi True Light,
I could be reading you wrong, but it sounds like misplaced trust to me. It sounds like you are saying that you don't feel like you can trust another person, for many reasons, so are putting trust into a device instead.

I often talk to married couples who are trying to overcome contraceptive use. They say very similar things to what you have posted here. It is often a "what if?" scenario. I have a strange cross-section of experience from my own past, so that has given me some ground upon which to stand.

As a rape survivor, I can attest that condoms do not prevent many of the diseases. I started losing faith in condoms pretty early into my own journey back to full union with the Catholic Church. It looks like you already know the reasons not to have faith in the hormonal contraception. (Smart lady!) While my husband was converting to Catholicism, he had to overcome his misplaced faith in contraception, and in so-called "safer-sex" of condoms.

Here is what he discovered: Contraception is immoral because it is bad for us. It sounds like a very simplistic statement, but it was pretty big for him. He discovered that a faith in contraception has a built-in distrust in the spouse. (He was civilly married before, and sought an annulment so we could date.) In his former marriage, contraception ruled their intimacy. Instead of a mutual respect for each other, faith in contraception decided their sex life.

He took the NFP course with me very early in. He wanted to find out more about what the Church taught. The idea of the faithfulness that is required in using NFP was something he had hoped existed, but he had become cynical by the time he met me. He found that he was putting his hope in a device, not a person, and that his ex had done the same. He trusted condoms, because in his circle of friends and family, that is just what one does!

One of the things that he found out is that condom use makes people available for sex, any time, with anyone. Obviously, many people who use condoms stay faithful. But there is always that underlying message that says, "You don't trust me." (In our current culture of hook-ups and break-ups, trust means almost nothing, anyway! No one should be trusting a "hook-up.") He discovered that condom use might have kept him "safe" from the *disease *of a cheating spouse, but it didn't keep his marriage safe from cheating.

Based on his past, our use of NFP has been a true leap of faith for him. He has trust in our marriage. He trusts God, trusts himself, and he trusts me. Thanks for your post! It has reminded me, yet again, to appreciate the person he is.

I hope that helps!!


closed #15

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