"Sex Ed" and Natural Family Planning


As someone not too far removed from years of public education, I wanted to bring up this topic. Truth be told, I don’t remember much about high school “Sex Ed” We might have covered condoms, the pill, IUD’s, and various sexually transmitted diseases, and maybe a nod to being in a “mature, ‘committed’ relationship”. But as none of this applied to me :D, I spaced out for most it (as did most of the other students who might unfortunately put this knowledge to use). College was saturated with the “safer” sex message, and I basically had to go out of my way to ignore it, even sometimes having to throw out condoms taped to my door. Ugg.

Now, though all of this, I don’t remember anything about natural family planning. At best they handed out “abstinence kits”, whatever those were - I kind of thought the idea was too icky to investigate.

But it comes down to, if marriage is my destiny, I’d be totally clueless as to how to go about natural family planning. Please PLEASE don’t explain it here, lol! That’s not my intention, rather I’d like to here your thoughts about whether the “rhythm method” (as it would likely to be called in secular education), should be taught in public school sex education classes, or if not there, where and when it would be appropriate to learn about it.

I personally tend to think, if sex ed must be taught, then it should be included so as to give us Catholic’s some idea of what we’d be getting into, so we’re not going through the dating process totally clueless about handling certain detail of the marriage act.

Your thoughts?


There are courses offered in Fertility Awareness or sometimes called Fertility Appreciation in various diocese that teach teens how to observe their body's natural fertility signs and understand their body's changes.

It is not 'natural family planning' because that belongs in the context of marriage.


Yes, contact your diocese.

There are also other routes of finding classes:


For a girl becoming a woman, to learn about her body and fertility is a great tool that would eventually be used for NFP. Aside from that aspect, charting your body's symptoms allows insight to your body, what's your norm. And that can taken to a doctor if something is off or eventually, when married and wanting to conceive and having difficulty, it could point to a problem.

I personally will show/teach my daughter (perhaps daughters?) her body's signs and how to chart them and keep track of them when she first gets her period. It's very useful in knowing where you are in your cycle as you'll know when you'll start your period, you'll know when you are going to be the moodiest, crave foods, have a migraine or whatever. And of course, eventually, I pray, take that into marriage and NFP.


Keep teaching them about the holiness of marital intimacy and the purpose being to bring life into the world, not just for bodily pleasure.

I do not believe any kind of sex ed should be taught in public schools. I do not even want a private school teaching my child about sex without my explicit permission - yes, even a Catholic school. I am big on keeping family responsibilities OUT of schools. It should be the mom’s job to teach the girls about their bodies and the dad’s job to teach the boys. If the relationship is close, the kids are not going to feel freaked out about asking simple questions. I like the idea of a Puberty Weekend away, where the same-sex parent plans some activities and also some educational DVDs, so they can watch it together and discuss it while doing other stuff, so it’s not just sit down and look at each other and turn 3 shades of red at the questions that are asked.


Nothing wrong with mom teaching the boys, either.

I taught my 3 sons, cuz dad was too uncomfortable. I was not uncomfortable.

The car is the absolute best place for these discussions -no eye contact.:thumbsup:


In my opinion, everybody should know about NFP. I honestly think there would be fewer unwanted pregnancies and people would have greater respect for their bodies or their partner's bodies.


[quote="Catholic90, post:6, topic:217266"]
Nothing wrong with mom teaching the boys, either.

I taught my 3 sons, cuz dad was too uncomfortable. I was not uncomfortable.

The car is the absolute best place for these discussions -no eye contact.:thumbsup:


Same here, and it's cost our sons a lot of good male to male talking time. I still think if dad can overcome his fear or discomfort, it's better for the 2 males to talk about stuff like nocturnal emissions, porn, etc. He is initiating his sons into the society of men, we as moms can't do that, although we can give them the basic data, we can't relate on the male-to-male stuff. How to keep his thoughts pure. How to resist the temptation of aggressive young women (very common these days). How can we answer questions about their appendage, when we haven't got one? I don't mean the anatomical information but the "What happens when x takes place?" kinds of questions. "How did you deal with porn, Dad? 'Cause it's everywhere now, and all the guys have it on their phones..." that kind of thing.

Would you like a father to be trying to teach you what to do about your period? I lost my mother when I was 10, and my dad had to take me to buy my 1st bra. I thought I would die of embarrassment. My older sister told me what to do when I got my period. Daddy wouldn't have known or if he had, he couldn't tell me how to stop my cramps, how to pin a pad correctly, etc. etc. I wish he'd taught me how to look for a man who would cherish and adore me...would have saved me tons of sin and heartbreak. But he did the best he could with what life handed him.


It could be taught on some level in an anatomy and physiology course. It could be a simple explanation of how the female reproductive system works.


I have very mixed thoughts on the subject of NFP being taught in public schools as part of sex ed. I agree with TheRealJuliane that schools should not teach sex ed. If schools do teach sex ed, (which they do) it should be on the level of anatomy and physiology, as HouseArrest suggested. Teaching about the reproductive system as part of a science class on how the human body works removes much of the controversy.

That's how I'd like it, but we already have sex ed in public schools and it's not simply a physiology class. With that said, I'd like to share my experience on this topic.

I have seen "NFP" type material in one public school district's suposedly comprehensive sex ed program. The people who wrote that program do not know anything about NFP! Honestly, it discussed NFP as a method of pregnancy prevention, but the information given out had the timing **wrong. Setting all issues of morality aside, the material was wrong on the physiology involved in post-poning pregnancy through careful monitoring and timing of intercourse around a woman's cycle. I used NFP and I'm familiar with it--and the information that school district gave high school students was closer to the NFP for trying to concieve, not trying to avoid. Honestly, the timing they suggested would likely result in pregnancy!

Asking the public schools to teach NFP might be like requesting an illiterate person to instruct a class on literature. The public school teachers who teach sex education usually have little or no personal experience with NFP. Since they are largely ignorant of it, I doubt that they have the expertise needed to effectively teach NFP. Misinforming students on this topic is worse than saying nothing at all. That's one reason why I don't think public schools should teach sex ed. People who don't understand the meaning and purpose of sexuality should not teach their ignorance to other people.


[quote="HouseArrest, post:9, topic:217266"]
It could be taught on some level in an anatomy and physiology course. It could be a simple explanation of how the female reproductive system works.


I wouldn't mind seeing it in this setting. I remember when I first got married and started learning NFP. I had no idea that my own fertility would be so fascinating! Really, the way that a woman's body works was just incredible to me, and I had no idea about it before.

It was very empowering to me when I first learned. I always knew exactly where in my monthly cycle I was. I had a good idea of when my period would be coming around again, which made planning for out of town trips SO much easier, for example. It's my opinion that all women should be able to learn this understanding of their own bodies. I definitely plan on teaching my daughter about her fertility once she starts her period.


NFP is not the rhythm method (that is a common misunderstanding), and it is more effective than the rhythm method. And it is taught in marriage preparation classes. There are also booklets available on websites. I don't know if young kids/teens need to know about it. They need to learn about abstinence, and most importantly, self-control. All questions should be answered though. Lots of rumors go around (can't get pregnant the first time, withdrawal works, etc.) and kids end up pregnant or get false information if they don't get educated.


I just had this conversation with my mother. My husband and I practice NFP. You could set a clock by my monthly cycle, and I have been learning a lot more about female fertility over the past year. It's FASCINATING. I am ANGRY at my high school for avoiding sex ed entirely (that was their way of doing "abstinence only" sex ed). If I had known in high school how AMAZING the reproductive system is, I would have gone to med school to be a fertility specialist, instead of law school to be who-knows-what.

In my opinion, Sex Ed MUST be taught and it must START with "how your body works" not "how to make your body stop working correctly with pills and potions." :thumbsup:


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