Worried about NFP


#1

So me and my fiancée will be married next month. :eek: In preparation for this, my fiancée has been charting and learning her menstrual cycle (the Symptothermal Method). I’ve been trying to get involved in this, and I have to say: OMG, this is a lot of work! I feel like I’m in fantasy land – it’s just absurdly difficult. I’m getting worried about this and it seems like we would have to abstain every other day to be reasonably sure to avoid pregnancy. As a contrast – when we were sexually active and she was on contraceptives – we were having sex more than once a day.

Now she doesn’t want to use contraceptives anymore, so I am thinking condom use for the fertile phase. This is acceptable, but I don’t like using condoms. It limits the experience for me and she doesn’t like it. Anyone here with practical experience who knows any tips to decrease the fertile phase or any good alternatives? We have thought about investing in a fertility monitor, but we’ve heard conflicting accounts, and there doesn’t seem to be much scientific research on it.

This is doing my head in. I didn’t think this would be so much trouble…


#2

[quote="Persuader, post:1, topic:200119"]

This is doing my head in. I didn’t think this would be so much trouble…

[/quote]

It is not supposed to be easy. The norm for married couples is to be having children. If there is some serious reason not to have children then they may use morally licit means (such as NFP) to do so. The difficulty of using NFP is good because it makes people think about just how good a reason they have for avoiding pregnancy. They are encouraged to ask themselves if it is really worth the trouble.


#3

Trouble? And you aren't even married yet?


#4

I understand that it does get easier. My friend told me that she sets an alarm in the morning and takes her temp and goes back to sleep. The thermometer remembers the last temp taken, so she records later. I think that doing something new is difficult for awhile, but then it becomes the norm.

Condom use is not acceptable at all. You are impeding God’s will in your married life when contraceptives are used. Don’t go there.


#5

It is not difficult at all.

Certainly, that is the instruction in the pre-ovulatory phase (called Phase I in STM instruction) then yes that’s true. In the post ovulatory phase (Phase III in STM) then you could have intercourse as often as you please.

You list your religion as “none.” I’m unclear why you are on a Catholic website to discuss natural family planning. edited: Nevermind, I remember you now, you are the Atheist who is determined to marry a very confused Catholic girl.

As you may be aware, Catholic doctrine teaches that all premarital sexual relations are gravely wrong as is contraception within marriage. Natural Family Planning-- abstaining periodically-- can be used to space/avoid for just reasons that conform to the moral law.

Therefore, what you propose-- using condoms-- is gravely wrong. Is your fiancee Catholic? Edited: Yes, she is. It is clear from your writing that you and she have been sexually active and using contraception. What precipitated the change? Has she decided to follow the Catholic faith? If so, you two need to be on the same page before marriage. Edited: Again, I must advise that a marriage between an atheist and a Catholic is a BAD idea.

Also, in NFP instruction any intercourse during the fertile period is considered to be abandoning the method and engaging in achieving, not avoiding, behavior. Intercourse will obscure the fertile signs and make charting accurately difficult to do.

Her cycle is what it is. There is not much you can do to change it. Nutrition and vitamins can impact things. There are some good books on the topic, such as Fertility Cycles and Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon.

The Marquette Model of NFP uses the Creighton Model NFP instructions with a fertility monitor added. Many people use Marquette and like it.

It’s not trouble. Learning to chart requires effort. But, after you understand the charting process, it is not difficult to chart or read the charts.


#6

I think what I said was unclear. What I meant to say was that we seem to have to abstain for about 15 days every month. That’s half of the month where we cannot have sex without some contraceptive.

How does charting get more difficult? I have not heard that intercourse in the fertile period obscures the fertile signs.

Yes, her cycle is what it is. What I meant to ask is whether there is some way of reducing the phase where we have to stay abstinent. The fertile window should only last for 6 days. The problem is that the method doesn’t seem to be able to accurately identify this window, which is why the fertile phase (understood as the phase where we cannot be reasonably sure she is infertile) is increased.

If there is some way to make her signs clearer, that would be interesting information. Are you suggesting that the book by Marylin is about this?


#7

[quote="Persuader, post:6, topic:200119"]
I think what I said was unclear. What I meant to say was that we seem to have to abstain for about 15 days every month. That’s half of the month where we cannot have sex without some contraceptive.

[/quote]

Yep. That could be.

[quote="Persuader, post:6, topic:200119"]
How does charting get more difficult? I have not heard that intercourse in the fertile period obscures the fertile signs.

[/quote]

Cervical mucus cannot be accurately observed when there is seminal fluid present. Using a barrier method will also interfere with the mucus observation, especially when any type of spermicide is used.

[quote="Persuader, post:6, topic:200119"]

Yes, her cycle is what it is. What I meant to ask is whether there is some way of reducing the phase where we have to stay abstinent. The fertile window should only last for 6 days.

[/quote]

The fertile period is determined by the presence of mucus. Some women have more fertile days than others. As I suggested, nutrition and exercise can impact the cycle.

Other than those types of impacts to the cycle, yes some couples as they become experienced can use the more advanced rules of the STM method to increase their days.

I learned Creighton, so it is somewhat different in its instruction.

[quote="Persuader, post:6, topic:200119"]
The problem is that the method doesn’t seem to be able to accurately identify this window, which is why the fertile phase (understood as the phase where we cannot be reasonably sure she is infertile) is increased. If there is some way to make her signs clearer, that would be interesting information.

[/quote]

Well, a fertility monitor or perhaps the Marquette method might be good to look into. For avoiding, I don't know how the fertility monitor works as far as "abstinence days." I've not looked into it.

[quote="Persuader, post:6, topic:200119"]
Are you suggesting that the book by Marylin is about this?

[/quote]

Well, vitamin B6 can assist in the luteal phase, giving more days post ovulation. Nutrition, hydration, exercise, and sleep play a role in the quality of cervical mucus and in reliable temp readings. Weight and nutrition can impact hormones and ovulation.

And, there is also a really interesting study on the impact of light on the female fertility cycle and there's something in Shannon's book about that but I don't remember details (it's been a long time since I read it).

So, yes, in some ways. But, not in the way you are thinking perhaps.


#8

Buy a PS3 if you don't have one already.


#9

[quote="1ke, post:7, topic:200119"]
Cervical mucus cannot be accurately observed when there is seminal fluid present. Using a barrier method will also interfere with the mucus observation, especially when any type of spermicide is used.

[/quote]

I see. So what you are saying is that just using a condom can interfere with the mucus observation. Thanks for the heads up, I’ll keep that in mind.

[quote="1ke, post:7, topic:200119"]
Well, a fertility monitor or perhaps the Marquette method might be good to look into. For avoiding, I don't know how the fertility monitor works as far as "abstinence days." I've not looked into it.

Well, vitamin B6 can assist in the luteal phase, giving more days post ovulation. Nutrition, hydration, exercise, and sleep play a role in the quality of cervical mucus and in reliable temp readings. Weight and nutrition can impact hormones and ovulation.

So, yes, in some ways. But, not in the way you are thinking perhaps.

[/quote]

Well, the way I am thinking should be quite obvious. The goal is to decrease the days where we have to stay abstinent/use contraception. If 15 days is the best we can do with STM, that is not good enough IMO, and we might have to try something else. I will ask my fiancée to look into the Marquette Model, and see if there is anything there to improve what she is currently doing. She is already eating healthy and exercising.

But I have one already, and all the games are boring in comparison ;)


#10

If you and your fiancée are considering using contraception on fertile days why are you using NFP at all if it’s not to accord to Catholic teaching? Unless it’s to avoid side effects from the Pill or minimise the use of barrier methods. Using NFP and contraception on fertile days is probably considered just as much a mortal sin in Catholicism as just using contraception all the time.

Or have I misunderstood, does your fiancée now wish to follow Catholic teaching? If so then you can’t use artificial contraception at all (nor have non-penetrative sex to climax).


#11

Why do you have to abstain for 15 days? Are you abstaining during her menses? Many times unless you are being exceedingly safe you could have sex during menses up until the 5th day. Then you would wait again until there have been 3 days of elevated temps above the coverline and 4 days after peak CM. At least that's the gist I get of STM but someone can correct me if I got the numbers wrong.

If your fiance is wishing to keep in Catholic teachings, condoms are not okay during the fertile period. It goes against the reasoning for using NFP.

Anyways, to me, taking temps and charting is not hard. Especially if you use a program that inputs the data for you. But what is discouraging about your situation is that it seems you guys cannot function normally if you can't have sex. Because you've resorted to sex to show your emotions to one another it seems like you haven't learned ways to show affection outside of sex. Either that or you're using sex as a selfish means of gratification, which is one of the reasons why the Catholic Church teaches to wait for sex and to use NFP in the way it's meant to. It is a sacrifice, but to Catholics, sacrifices are good. You don't have sex only because you want it, it's a mutual decision on God's time. But not being Christian is going to make it hard for you to see it that way.


#12

I dont want to think that a marriage is bound to fail from the beginning but it certainly is not on the right foot to start. The OP had another thread where he complained that his girl was depressed because she wasnt Catholic anymore after your convinced her the faith was wrong then in another thread he got upset at her when she finally did change back because he didnt like the rules of the faith he tried to take away from her ? You cant have it both ways. Accept her for who she is. If you like her religious side, accept everything that goes with it. If you like her as an atheist, accept that she might be depressed. Make up your mind dude. Either accept her for her faith and not mock her faith and her practices or find a girl that doesnt believe. You say that 15 days a month without sex is unacceptable. How the heck are you going to survive with this girl when the sex becomes boring as the marriage progresses and as you get older? If sex is why you love this girl then get rid of her now. There are plenty of agnostic/atheist girls that will be the type of girl that you want and you wont have to deal with a religion. If you are complaining now about using NFP what in the world is going to happen when she insists the kids are raised as Catholics? Do you really want a life of heart ache for yourself because the sex is good? Id say to leave her and find someone that is more compatible with you. Religion doesnt get anymore liberal with age normally. People tend to get more religious as they get older.

As others have said, NFP with condom use is pointless. Why use any non-contraceptive method if you are going to use a condom anyways? You are wasting your time if you are going to use condoms anyways. It is also very disrespectful of you to her to use a condom if as you mention she wants to follow church teachings. I say leave this girl and find a girl that fits you more. Do you really want to be dealing with faith issues for 40-50 years? Decide now so you can save yourself the future trouble of getting a divorce.


#13

[quote="BrokenFortress, post:11, topic:200119"]
Why do you have to abstain for 15 days? Are you abstaining during her menses? Many times unless you are being exceedingly safe you could have sex during menses up until the 5th day. Then you would wait again until there have been 3 days of elevated temps above the coverline and 4 days after peak CM. At least that's the gist I get of STM but someone can correct me if I got the numbers wrong.

If your fiance is wishing to keep in Catholic teachings, condoms are not okay during the fertile period. It goes against the reasoning for using NFP.

Anyways, to me, taking temps and charting is not hard. Especially if you use a program that inputs the data for you. But what is discouraging about your situation is that it seems you guys cannot function normally if you can't have sex. Because you've resorted to sex to show your emotions to one another it seems like you haven't learned ways to show affection outside of sex. Either that or you're using sex as a selfish means of gratification, which is one of the reasons why the Catholic Church teaches to wait for sex and to use NFP in the way it's meant to. It is a sacrifice, but to Catholics, sacrifices are good. You don't have sex only because you want it, it's a mutual decision on God's time. But not being Christian is going to make it hard for you to see it that way.

[/quote]

From what I’ve gathered, her period has been shorter after she took out the Implanon (like 4 days). Based on the nature of her period, she has been advised to stay abstinent after the first 2 days of her period. In her case, that means we have to stay abstinent/use contraception 13-15 days (her periods doesn’t seem to be entirely regular) every month.

I am aware of the teachings on contraceptives, but I am not Catholic. I think you might want to keep your speculations about my relationship to yourself. I want the STM to work as well as possible, so if you have any tips I would be happy to hear it. :thumbsup:


#14

I agree with this, except I really wonder if this guy isn’t a hoax, or a joke or something. I mean, coming to a Catholic forum to discuss having sex 15 times a day or whatever, and he’s atheist and she’s Catholic…give me a break.
I don’t see this “marriage” working out, but the whole thing smells in my opinion. I feel sorry for the poor girlfriend.


#15

I don't remember the name of the priest that told a story once of a woman that complained in confession that her husband doesn't want children and that he wants to use/her to use contraception...or he'll divorce her since he doesn't want kids...his advice was "your marriage is already dead, you should bury it because it's starting to stink" ie a marriage that is anti-child is not a marriage but a lust-filled contract between fornicators it doesn't bring forth life it only brings spiritual death. Why even get married?

Adults have sex and produce children. "Children" (in quotes because mentally they are not physically) enjoying feeling good with no consequences...Kind of like the guy that sleeps with his girlfriend and SHOCKER it creates a baby...(duh what did you think is supposed to happen with sex?) Then he takes her to the abortion clinic because he can't handle being a man but wants to stay a selfish boy.

Sorry but this anti-child stuff ticks me off. :mad:


#16

[quote="Persuader, post:13, topic:200119"]
I am aware of the teachings on contraceptives, but I am not Catholic.

[/quote]

Yes, but if your fiancée is Catholic and is abiding by Catholic teaching on contraception, it doesn't matter if her husband is Catholic.


#17

[quote="defenderoftruth, post:15, topic:200119"]
I don't remember the name of the priest that told a story once of a woman that complained in confession that her husband doesn't want children and that he wants to use/her to use contraception...or he'll divorce her since he doesn't want kids...his advice was "your marriage is already dead, you should bury it because it's starting to stink" ie a marriage that is anti-child is not a marriage but a lust-filled contract between fornicators it doesn't bring forth life it only brings spiritual death. Why even get married?

Adults have sex and produce children. "Children" (in quotes because mentally they are not physically) enjoying feeling good with no consequences...Kind of like the guy that sleeps with his girlfriend and SHOCKER it creates a baby...(duh what did you think is supposed to happen with sex?) Then he takes her to the abortion clinic because he can't handle being a man but wants to stay a selfish boy.

Sorry but this anti-child stuff ticks me off. :mad:

[/quote]

I guess I'm thinking this should all honestly be discussed before marriage. The OP and his girlfriend aren't married yet! There is still time to avert a catastrophe.

The Pill recently turned 50, and I was disgusted by the news coverage. People have, in 50 years, managed to remove love from sex, remove children from sex, remove love from children...you know, made a mess of all of it, and left us feeling like prudes because we think "hooking up" and the stuff this OP is describing in lurid detail is wrong.

Pope Paul VI warned that this would happen, and it has. The Pill didn't "liberate women", it liberated men from responsibility.


#18

[quote="Katrina5, post:17, topic:200119"]
I guess I'm thinking this should all honestly be discussed before marriage. The OP and his girlfriend aren't married yet! There is still time to avert a catastrophe.

The Pill recently turned 50, and I was disgusted by the news coverage. People have, in 50 years, managed to remove love from sex, remove children from sex, remove love from children...you know, made a mess of all of it, and left us feeling like prudes because we think "hooking up" and the stuff this OP is describing in lurid detail is wrong.

Pope Paul VI warned that this would happen, and it has. The Pill didn't "liberate women", it liberated men from responsibility.

[/quote]

AMEN!!!! :thumbsup:


#19

Please stay on topic. Both me and my fiancée want to have children in the future. We are simply delaying until we are finished with university and/or have proper income. I take full responsibility for any contraceptive use, so my fiancée has no responsibility. The priest found this an acceptable compromise.

This thread is not about your opposition to contraception, feminism or whatever (I couldn’t care less) - it’s about NFP-use, and ways to improve its function.


#20

Persuader, contraception use is NOT NFP. The whole thing doesn’t make sense that you are asking because if you’re going to use contraceptives…why worry about when one is fertile? the question cancels itself out. You’re determined to use contraceptives, so you don’t have to avoid sex. What exactly is the question about?

I don’t know why you think the contraceptives will actually work if you are using them while fertile. Their “credit” they are given for “preventing” pregnancy is not a reliable statistic as it is credit for even when one couldn’t get pregnant due to infertile time.

Nfp means one actually doesn’t have sex in order to avoid the natural outcome of sex.


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