Is the Billings method just like contraception?


I have been reading about sex and I see that it must be for creating babies :D Why then do Catholics using the Billings method? You have sex when you are not fertile and can't make babies, so what is the difference between that and contaception? You are having sex knowing that you are not going to become pregnant with both methods :confused:

Should we only have sex to make babies? :confused: Seems kinda stupid to say don't use a condom in marriage but use a method so you cant have babies but have sex, surely they are both the same thing, for bonding but no creation? :)


The use of any Natural Family Planning method still leave the possibility of procreation intact with the sexual act. Whether fertile or infertile, the chance of getting pregnant is still there, with any artificial birth control (ABC) that chance is taken away.

Each act must be #1 Unitive - uniting the husband and wife in love as a renewal of their wedding vows and #2 Procreative - open to new life.

The marital embrace call for us to give of ourselves freely, faithfully, fruitfully and totally. How can this be accomplished with ABC? Sex is not only to create babies, as noted above in #1 it is there to unite a husband and wife while still being open to life. Trust me this is possible as my wife and I have used NFP for over 8 years and have had planned pregnancies throughout this time. We have not had a child each year.

Please read “The Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West and spend some time on a site here at and you can find a wealth of information.


The church teaches that the marital embrace (sex) must be BOTH unitive and procreative. It must always unite the husband and wife and be open to life. Being open to life does not mean it must create life every time. God designed a woman’s body to be fertile only a few days out of the month. Therefore, a couple using no method would be having sex on infertile days more often than not. There is no sin in that. They are not saying “no” to God’s plan of being open to life. That is what Natural Family Planning (which includes the billings method) does. It studies a woman’s fertility, so a couple can prayerfully decide when to have sex based on her fertility. Also, another part of NFP is that it should be used to avoid a pregnancy only for a just reason. NFP should not be used with a “contraceptive mentality”… or then it is sinful.

On the other hand, contraceptives do not work with the design of God’s plan. They say, “We DO NOT want to be open to life, but we want to enjoy sex”. You are outright saying NO, when you use contraceptives. Also, many contraceptives are harmful to the woman and can even cause abortions (such as the pill and IUD). Contraceptives, also say no to being united with your spouse. For example, with a barrier method, you are separating yourself from your spouse. Can you imagine if you wanted to hug someone you love, and they were like… I need to put on a trash bag on first, because I don’t want to actually touch you. How is that unitive? Contraceptives distort both the unitive and procreative aspects of the marital embrace.

I’m sorry if my answer is not very clear. I’m sure others will do a better job. You can also read more about it in numerous catholic books. I would suggest is the Good News about Sex and Marriage or Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West.


There are tons of threads on this subject all over the forums....but I'll give a simple answer.

NFP (billings or any other method) does nothing to alter or interfer with any act of sex--each and every act is done as God intends (meaning that each act is open to the possiblity of procreation, even if the woman is not fertile at the time). All forms of contraception alter the act in various ways to make each act infertile. If total abstinence is licit than choosing to not have sex is NOT immoral.


Here’s the difference

With contraception, you have sex when you ARE fertile and prevent making babies by interfering with that fertility.

No one has sex every hour of every day. Billings and other NFP methods don’t interfere in any way with the marital act on the days you choose to engage. Contraception does.


Originally Posted by crazydyl
I have been reading about sex and I see that it must be for creating babies Why then do Catholics using the Billings method? **You have sex when you are not fertile and can’t make babies, so what is the difference between that and contaception? **You are having sex knowing that you are not going to become pregnant with both methods

It’s similar to the difference between someone dying naturally vs. murder. The end result is the same… but it is entirely different.


It's always obvious when somebody has never actually LIVED NFP tries to criticize it. First off, catholics do NOT believe that sex is just for "making babies." Please read Humanae Vitae (quite short and available online) instead of relying on anti-catholic tripe.

Contraception makes sex available any time, anywhere, no consequences, just pleasure. It's very much like eating massive quantities of rich foods and then puking it all up so it doesn't stick to your waistline.

NFP involves abstaining when you both MOST don't want to (the fertile time) because you've discerned a serious reason not to be pregnant right now. That sacrifice keeps it honest. It keeps the language of the body telling the truth instead of lies. God didn't make women fertile all the time and NFP doesn't change anything about women's fertility.

The easiest way to tell that there is a major difference between the two is to look at how desperately people want to rationalize contraception as being the same as NFP. If they aren't any different, then why not be obedient and use NFP? Answer, because they AREN'T the same and somewhere inside, you know this darn well.


honestly you should just do a search on this topic, there have been a million threads started on this topic.


Thank you very much for this post. Short, sweet, and to the point.:thumbsup:


Just about the best answer on this subject I’ve ever seen. And there have been plenty! :thumbsup:



It is false to say that with NFP you leave every sexual act open to life. If you have sex when you know you are infertile, you are not open to life. You know there is a 100% chance you will not get pregnant because you are infertile at that moment in the month.

Also, if each act has to be unifying and potentially procreative, why can couples have sex during a pregnancy? They became pregnant because of a previous marital act, but any act during pregnancy does nothing to create a new life or add to the current one.



You’re reading the term “procreative” in a far too narrow, limited way. “Procreative” does not mean that conception must result from the marital act, nor does it mean that there must be some certain chance of conception occurring. If that were the case, infertile couples, pregnant couples, and elderly couples would not be able to participate in the fullness of the marital embrace. This also raises serious questions for couples with diminished fertility: What MUST the chance of conception be for an act to be “procreative”? 50%? 20%? What about 5%? And if we use a contraceptive sponge, which is only 75% effective, well, maybe that would be OK?

Rather, “procreative” in the Catholic faith means both that the act is: (1) ordered towards procreation, and (2) that the couple is open to the blessings of life.

(1) “Ordered towards procreation” is a PHYSICAL state. It means that physical penetration is possible and has occurred without artificial physical or chemical barriers.
(2) “Open to life” is a mental state. It means that you are sincerely open to the possibility of having a child, however miraculous or remote the chance might be. Your comment that “if you have sex when you know you are infertile, you are not open to life” reveals that you have not actually practiced Natural Family Planning. Think of Sarah and Abraham: you can be COMPLETELY infertile and still be open mentally to the possibility of welcoming life and desirous or accepting God’s will. You could be COMPLETELY fertile, but unwilling to accept God’s plan for you, hoping that conception will never occur.


Amyjo- There is never "100% chance of not getting pregnant" just because a couple avoids during fertile periods. For that matter, there isn't 100% chance of not getting pregnant if you're using condoms, pills, or whatever. Who here knows someone that got pregnant on the pill? Probably almost everyone, myself included. I'm very glad too, because I love my niece :).


You’re still showing signs of internally defining the moral concepts as “sex is just for making babies.” This is a caricature of catholic teaching, not the actual. As you know, caricatures resemble the actual subject, but twist, exaggerate and distort far beyond reality.

Something actually breaks inside us when we deliberately sterilize ourselves (even temporarily) for the purpose of having sex with no consequences. It is a completely difference mindset than that of deferring the pleasure and unitive benefit of sex until a time in which there is infertility not directly CAUSED by our own actions. Our culture is one that likes to focus on ends and pretend that the means we use to get there are irrelevant. Thing is, it isn’t true. Means matter.


Thank you. That’s probably the best reasoning I’ve heard thus far (and I’ve been thinking about NFP a very long time.) I’m still not convinced that each sex act has to be both unitive and potentially procreative, but I’ll continue to mull it over. Your info helped a lot.


You’re right. I guess I just have an issue with the knowledge of when your naturally infertile. Knowing that you’re having sex when you can’t get pregnant seems to do precisely what the Church says is wrong: sex without both unitive and potentially procreative aspects.

I do agree that means matter. I just think that God gave us science, science developed, and we got things that make it easier to prevent pregnancy.

And of course there is never a 100% chance you cannot get pregnant, but that’s precisely the point. Since that’s true every married couple is “open to life” because, so long as they aren’t sterilized, there’s always some chance they could get pregnant.

For the record, I WANT to use NFP. I just don’t want to be someone who does it reluctantly. I want to be clearly convicted that this is right. That’s why I have these questions, not because I want to justify the pill or anything like that.


The nice thing about NFP is that the value becomes clearer the longer you live it. The longer you use contraceptives, the less you think about them. With NFP, you agonize over the “seriousness” of your reason not to get pregnant for several days each month - guaranteed! That’s not a small issue!

In other words, contraceptives tend to be self-perpetuating. NFP inherently tends to push you back to thinking about babies. Often. :cool:


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