On pondering NFP

I read a lot of the threads here that relate to NFP. I don’t find NFP to be enjoyable at all. The temps, the observations, the charts, ugh! It’s so un-sexy! Just the waking up and taking my temp every morning makes me feel so- carnal. I use the word carnal because every time I put that thermometer in my mouth, I am reminded that it’s a “no-sex” day (I only temp until it’s phase 3).

Anyway, my question here is for those here who tout NFP as so much more effective than ABC. It strikes me as odd when this aspect of NFP is used to prop it up against ABC, because NFP is supposed to be used in order to remain open to life even while trying to avoid. When I hear the 99% effective statistic thrown around, it grates on me because I just don’t think that it fits the Catholic perspective on family planning. If the effectiveness was any factor at all, then condoms would be the “Catholic” way to go. They are non-abortifacient, and fail 15% of the time.

Does anyone else here understand my logic? It just sounds wrong when that statistic is used to cast NFP in a positive light. The other one that bugs me is when I hear people talk about how much intimacy NFP ushers into a marriage. For us, it has banished most of the intimacy. We end up avoiding each other during the fertile periods, and during the infertile periods- if we actually find time to be intimate, well, it doesn’t last very long. Plus, I’m not particularly “in the mood” during my infertile times, so for me, although sex is still nice, I miss being with my husband when my desire is high.

Just pondering today…

NFP sucks.

There, I said it.

The only thing is, ABC is not compatible with Christianity (heresies not included).

Life is hard, as adults we have to do things we don’t want to. That’s why we’re adults and not children.

Sorry, but I don’t think there is any other way to say it. I still remember walking down the street after going to the NFP class and thinking, “huh, this thing is gross and it means I’ll only be able to have sex with my wife 10 days a month”.

Yeah but it beats eternal damnation right? It’s about priorities. :shrug:

So, how do you really feel about NFP, mschrank?:smiley:

My husband and I are still trying to figure it all out–and seems to me, that any way we slice it, we will be able to engage in the marital embrace about 8 to 10 days per month.

kittery, like you, I don’t see myself into the temp taking, etc…aspects of NFP. I would like something simpler. I don’t mind charts, etc…but some of the other aspects of it seem a little …ambiguous to me.

In general–is a woman most infertile from about day 10 to day 20, in a 28 day cycle? I am not familiar with ‘stages’ and I have seen others speaking of that one here–can someone explain? Thank you!:slight_smile:

I’m sure you will hear plenty from more up-to-date practitioners of NFP (I am past all that, having, mercifully, had a pretty early - 43- menopause.) If I recall correctly from YEARS of grudgingly practiced NFP, days 10-20 can be pretty dicey (though by day 20 or so you may be into “safe” territory.) This all depends on the particular cycle, and I would be MOST nervous at looking at which days are most likely to be fertile or safe - that harkens back to the days of the old “rhythm” method, AKA “Vatican roulette.” Though temperature taking, observing symptoms, etc., can be a pain, it is far more accurate than guessing which days are typically safe.

Good luck.

For Whatever girl,

I actually learned NFP on my own, I know ideally that you are supposed to take a course, but I didn’t. I do the Billings method and I purchased the book at Amazon.com.

I like it because you don’t take temperature (because i am not good at using a thermometer - the mercury type- and the digital ones seem to vary too much)

With Billings, if you have a longer cycle, you get some more time in the beginning of the month.

But I’m not an expert, and for all I know I’m doing it all wrong:shrug:

I had a very similar reaction to NFP. And we stopped using it. Now, I am due to deliver baby #2 soon, and probably should give some thought to NFP again, but . . . God will provide.

I found NFP very unenjoyable (is that a word?). It was interesting at first, just to see how amazing the human body is, but that wore off and it was another daily chore and another reason we might not have sex. I know not everyone feels this way, and that some couples find an increase in intimacy due to the time off, but that wasn’t my experience. Thankfully, God has blessed us with a physical and financial situation that does not push us to avoid pregnancy at this time.

As for quoting effectiveness statistics - I see both sides of it. On one hand, it is better to do what is right (NFP) for the wrong reasons (it works as well as ABC) than to do what is wrong (ABC). Certainly we should encourage all Christians to use NFP because it is morally right to allow God to be in charge of all aspects of our lives, including our fertility. But that is an ideal not always achieved in our society. I think the other reason effectiveness gets to be so important, especially amongst those who believe strongly in letting God be in charge of their fertility, is the grave reasons they have for avoiding. I know several women on this forum use NFP because another pregnancy could mean their deaths. If I were in a similar situation, I would want the reassurance that if I followed NFP closely, I could reasonable expect to avoid pregnancy as much as if I were using ABC. God wants us to use our intelligence, even in our obedience.

So, yeah, I feel what you’re feeling about NFP. It’s not perfect. Perhaps you and your husband should prayerfully consider if the feelings you have about it are a call to stop using it for a time. Of course, I have no idea what the answer to that is, but I thought I’d throw it out there.


**NFP is certainly a more in depth subject than the “promoters” would have us believe. And that does NFP and sex in marriage in general a grave disservice. NFP is a blessing for couples like my hubby and I because it is either that or complete abstinence. But that doesn’t mean it is something wonderful and is going to make the users happy. It is something that is moral to use when one cannot be completely free to just accept whatever happens…

But I am very tired right now and am doing some pondering of my own. The words I have written may not have come out the way I wanted them too:shrug:


Absolutely hated it:mad: So, we just quit…Now, if we feel like it, we’re intimate and funny enough: it’s been 3 years since our youngest was born (ofcourse, I’m almost 37 and my eggs might be getting ‘old’, like the owner:o )

If you don’t like it, stop using it and put your faith in God, or if you really can’t risk it: abstain. We know that the last 7 days of my cycle or pretty much 100% safe, as are the first couple of days of the new cycle…so, we often just abstain from cd6 to cd 21. I suppose as we were virgins/celebate until the age of 30, abstaining comes easier to us…but either way, don’t stick with something you hate. NFP really started to put a rift between us!

Anna x

NFP is hard to live with.

We only have around ten or eleven days a cycle that are infertile.

We have a just/serious/grave reason to avoid - my wife is on methotrexate for arthritis, and since it causes abortion or birth defects…

So, we are avoiding. How are we open to life? Well, for one, there is the overriding undercurrent (:smiley: ) that, if we do get pregnant, we will welcome the child and do everything we can to keep him/her, throw the meds out and my wife would suffer for nine months.

So, I would say that we have put nothing in the way of the natural act, and if it results in conception, we welcome the child with joy. That’s open to life. That’s NFP.

Thank you so very much for this info!:slight_smile: Really–I will buy this book…it is called The Billings Method? I have short cycles–oh joy–my cycle is around 22 days now:o So, that would be very helpful–has it been reliable for you?

Hi Anna–thank you for your post. I am 39, and wonder how fertile I still am. Hubby and I have been talking that if God gave us another child, despite following NFP to prevent pregnancy, then that is His will, but I sometimes wonder if I’m as fertile as I was back in my early/mid 20’s when my kiddies were born. That’s interesting that you don’t really follow anything now, and you haven’t been pregnant…hmmm. I find it all so fascinating! I’m a little green when it comes to how my own body works.:blush:

I am 54 an still ovulating! Enough already!

Fir those struggling with NFP I leave some contemplation questions:

  1. How is your prayer life? Do you make an effort everyday to pray to Our Lord who is our ultimate spouse… even if it is for 10-20 mintues to talk about how we feel and to gather strength? Do you pray with your spouse on a daily basis? Finally do you have a spiritual director?
  2. Do you practice SPICE, enjoy moments when you can laugh together even when not being intimate? Do you find other things you could do during that time when you cannot be intimate like read scripture or maybe volunteer or maybe family time with kids like read or watch a movie?
  3. What is your love for the eucharist? Do you complain that you cna only be intimate 10 days out of the month, but struggle with the demands of going to weekly mass to recieve our Lord in the eucharist which is more intimate than sex? Do we have a true desire for our Lord that we find time besides Sunday when we go to mass or do we make excuses (ie its too early or only old people go to Mass on days besides Sunday)?
    When we think about it, the crosses God asks us to carry become struggles because we turn inward towards ourselves adn away from Jesus. If you find yourself falling through the water like Peter, reach out to Our Lord; if you trust adn have faith you will be able to do what the world seems impossible (and as another poster in another thread said, that the world sees sex as a right and pleasure as our goal in life; so of course they could never walk on water). It reminds me of a story of Fr. Corapi’s that points to true Sainthood and this is what we are all called to:
    He tells of a story of a fellow Seminarian who during his time developed Cancer. Slowly the cancer ate away at him and he became emaciated going from a almost 200 pound man to one who was barely 100. He was in agonizing pain and morphine stopped working for him. A man who looked forward so much to being a priest having his hopes seemingly dashed. And as Fr. Corapi went to see him the last time, the fellow seminarian rose from his weakened state to say one last message to Fr. Corapi and that is this:
    "You do not know the joy! You do not know the joy of being found worthy to suffer with Our Lord Jesus Christ!"
    A man in pain more than most people on this thread could testify to yet he found joy in where God had lead him. That to me is a true Saint and I am not saying I am one (I am weak too), but if you find it impossible, know that for us of course its impossible, but the closer we draw to Christ esp in the Sacraments of Confession adn Eucharist, anything is possible.
    I leave you with the words of Christ to his disciples after many left him because they could not accept the eucharist "Will you leave as well."
    We will experience that same joy, a joy the world can never give, if we stand like that seminarian did with Christ at His Cross.

:stuck_out_tongue: Oh my gosh!!

Yeah but condoms are a ‘barrier’, the act of lovemaking is not a complete ‘union’ since you have something there between you and your husband, think about it:rolleyes:

Besides, NFP is being OPEN to Life since you never know when God can surprise you, right?

OK, you hate the temps–don’t do them! Take a Creighton class–no temping at all! Nothing extra to do during the day EVER, just pay attention to your mucus when you normally go to the bathroom. Much simpler.

As for effectiveness, if you are concerned that it is ‘too effective’, then just TRUST GOD and leave it up to Him when you have a baby or not. We’ve found that to be by far the easiest way to live our lives, and it brings us much closer to Him as well as each other.

You know, my ‘pondering’ is: why are we as a society so AFRAID to lose control of every aspect of our lives? We say we trust God, but we take this most basic part of our humanity away from Him and want to control it ourselves. What does that say about us spiritually?

Great post. Wonderful words of encouragement and a gentle reminder of why we are here. Nothing new to add, just wanted to say thanks.:thumbsup:

The other thought I had comes from I believe the other NFP post by SILENCEISGOLDEN about people who did not learn NFP before they were married or were practicing pre marital sex it was harder for them to adjust to the sacrifice and this is true if you lived your life previously by not abstaining or thinking you should have sex when you want even after repenting (if they sinned) or practicing it for the first time in the middle of the marriage.
My one thought for you if you find yourself in this place is practice other smaller forms of sacrifice, like say you will go without meat on friday’s even when not lent, or take the stairs instead of the elevator, or skip dessert once a week if you normally have it. Small mortifications help you to practice bigger ones :thumbsup: .

I am engaged, and while we haven’t taken a family planning class yet, I must say, the more I read about it, the less attractive it seems. I’m pretty much ready say,“God’s will, and if we have a baseball team, we’ll play a lot of baseball.” Of course, if we have a honeymoon baby that means I’ll most likely be defending a Master’s thesis and giving birth in the same week.:o

I don’t wanna do the mucus thing either.:o LOL
I just want something simple–isn’t there anything simple to follow? :blush:

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