5 Reasons Contraceptives Suck

…and an alternative to said suckage. 

1. Risk Compensation

Did you know that sunscreen users have a higher incidence of skin cancer than non-users? Crazy, right? It’s because of the general principle called Risk Compensation; that when you feel more secure you engage in riskier behavior. People using sunscreen spend more time in the sun, and thus get skin cancer, because no sunscreen is a guaranteed protection. The same is absolutely true of the use of artificial contraception. You think you can’t get AIDS, herpes or – God forbid – a baby, so you have sex more often, and in riskier situations. And, since no contraception totally prevents S.T.Ds or pregnancies, contraception users have higher rates of pregnancies, abortions, and S.T.Ds. Which is the reason why, when we ship condoms over to third-world countries, the HIV rate gets worse. C’mon guuuuys…

2. Divorce

Simply put, a contracepting couple is more likely to get divorced than a couple using some form of natural family planning. This can be attributed to all sorts of reasons. An openness to creating new life helps bring couples closer together. Women on the pill can’t find a man they are compatible partners with. But whatever the reason, the data is in. Those that use only NFP have a less than 0.2% chance of divorce. Compare that to the national average of 50% and you’ll understand what I’m talking about here.

3. Bad Sex

I mean, really? You’d think this one would have been enough to put an end to it. Not to be too much of a hormonal 18 year old or anything, but it would’ve worked for me. The pill – and any other chemical contraceptive – makes women rather bored with the whole sex thing, and men less attracted to women. Condoms are just embarrassing everyone. Maybe if sex was awesome, our ridiculous divorce rate would be lower.

4. Being a Jerk to Women

You ever noticed that the burden of contraception is entirely on women? Unless a married couple is using condoms every night of their life, then the lady is on a hormonal contraceptive. And thus she gets to risk any one of the long list of side effects – blood clots, strokes, breast cancer, nausea, breast tenderness, fluid retention, weight gain, acne, breakthrough bleeding, missed periods, headaches, depression, anxiety, other mood changes, and lower sexual desire – while the man gets infertile sex. I guess she might be taking one for the team, but what team? And even if she isn’t on the pill, every other birth control device, besides the notoriously ineffective condom, seems to be aimed at women, saying, “it is you who presents a danger, a risk, a problem that needs solving, your fertility that needs to be suppressed, your life and schedule that must change.” Thus we have patches and rings and shots and metals on strings and goodness knows what else, a whole array of weapons that take away a woman’s fertility, and it is women that pay.

5. Abortions

There. My five reasons. I know, I know, bring on the com-box controversy. If I had to give a sixth reason it’d be this: Contraception is the single most divisive issue in the Church today. It threatens the very foundations of Catholicism because it denies the authority of the Church, saying “Yes, Peter is the rock. And yes, the Church is inspired by the Holy Spirit. And yes, Her teachings are therefore true. Except this one.” Except contraception. Because this teaching is simply not practical. We are effectively saying, in our widespread acceptance of contraception, that the Holy Spirit has left the Church, or the Church never had it. Because if our Church can just “get-it-wrong”, what is our Church but a human institution? And if our Church is simply a human institution, then what is the Eucharist? What is Reconciliation? What is Holy Matrimony?

Luckily, there is hope. The teachings the Church gives us would usher in such freedom, if only we would let them. NFP is practical, it’s just that no one realizes it moved beyond its stereotype of the prairie-dress, Catholic woman with nine kids. Creighton – that doesn’t even refer to itself as a method of NFP, as it’s trying to shake that label - is more effective than artificial contraception, with no side-effects. It can be used as effectively as the pill and far more effectively than the condom. It can help women get rid of PMS, completely cure them of infertility, and address a whole range of medical problems that the pill merely covers up. (She’s having heavy periods? Well gosh darn it, are we not scientists? Let’s get rid of her periods! She’s cured!) It is completely researched, peer-reviewed, and scientific.

So that’s that. Let me end by saying that I truly believe the majority of couples using contraception are trying to love each other as best they can. There is no “you are evil, we are good BS”. But I do believe the modern view contraception needs another, more critical, look, from all of us.

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  • Anonymous

    I have heard the whole "NFP = lower divorce rate" argument many times. However, I think this is a problem of causation and corrolation. To problematize your (and many others') claim, those practicing NFP are more likely to be religious (Catholic?), therefore believing in an indisisoluble bond of marriage; thus, they are more likely to work through problems than going through divorce (and the long annulment process!). Bottom line: the lower divorce rate has less to do with NFP, sex, and contraceptives than with practicing a certain belief system.

  • Anonymous

    This just in: eating fast food will not make you sick and fat. It's a false casual assumption when in fact it's a correlation. Being lazy and stupid will. 3 other false cause/effect relationships:1. Working out will help you lose weight. FALSE. We all know that people who work out are healthy people in general and therefore will lose weight because of other things.2. People who come prepared to class will do better in a class. FALSE. These students generally study more and do all kinds of other things besides coming to class prepared. Their grades are a reflection of their study habits.3. Placing plastic on the male genitalia will increase the rate of divorce. FALSE. Everyone knows that every woman loves plastic. It's the wave of the future and a lot better than paper. The divorce rate goes up because these guys are obsessed with porn because they get tired of their partners.

    • Dan

      Get the point an think your right, except the whole “woman loves plastic” thing. But isn’t that implied? as in its quicker to run from A to B when summerising then walk.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17814899666244618561 Brent Stubbs

    First Anonymous,The study we would need to see is the relationship between those Christians who hold a high regard for their faith and contracept versus those who don't. I agree that the data is inconclusive as presented. If we could isolate the variable NFP, we could then determine if it were merely a correlation or if there was any merit to the causal claim.If you consider that the divorce rate amongst Evangelical, fundamentalist Christians, who have a high regard for marriage but do not believe contraception is illicit, is 32%, then a causal picture emerges. Particularly, as we consider the relationship between sex, children, and marriage, it would make sense that how couples sleep with each other would impact their marriage.I agree that it isn't, per se, a straight forward this-for-that analysis, but I don't think Marc's claim is merely grasping for straws. Divorce is always caused by a myriad of factors, but the statistical disparity between those who do and don't contracept cannot be merely brushed aside.

  • Anonymous

    I can think many reasons how contraceptives would harm a marriage. First of all, more kids means more responsibility. A man is not likely going to leave his seven kids. His reputation would be ruined, for one thing. Also, every child should give a man a deeper sense of love, which would likely be reflected on his wife. Secondly, women are more in it for the love rather than the pleasure. Contraceptives make us guys look like shallow, pleasure seeking, selfish jerks. Contraceptives do not enable men to give the self giving, whole love that their wives are entitled to. And i don't know, as i'm just a male teen, but I have a feeling that not all wives deep down, appreciate the contraceptives. Even in a sitiuation where women fully and truly want to use contraceptives , there is no way that the marriage is as deep and loving as it's supposed to be. It belittles the sacrament of matrimony. It says, " I love you, except for this one little problem…" So even if a couple uses contraceptives and think that they are just as happy as a clam, you can never ignore this one, dark fact. And that is that contraceptives are part of the culture of death, and that can never be brushed aside completely. Hope i don't sound like i'm bashing couples that use these methods and calling them evil. It has been forced down are throats that contraceptives are good and healthy so much that we tend to even think about it much. But the Catholic Church, like the rebel it is, ignores what will make them look good. I bet there would be a lot more practicing Catholics if it weren't for this issue. But the Church doesn't compromise with the devil. Man, being Catholic is coolest thing ever!

  • http://onthewatchforit.blogspot.com Special K

    Second anonymous: I was definitely chortling at your "The Onion"-quality tongue-in-cheekness, until I realized that perhaps you were serious about the examples you posted. Please clarify?

  • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com priest’s wife

    male teen anonymous— you have the right attitude! Keep the faith- it is worth it!

  • Anonymous

    Ancient book of primitive fairy tales and its mindless followers handpick select studies to justify their insane obedience of Bronze Age customs — more at 11.So, it's okay to quote science if it justifies your worldview — however, when science shows that Earth is not the center of the universe, and that humans evolved from apes — it's to be thrown out. Nice.You win -200 internets.

    • Dan

      do you actually know what a catholic is?

      Kinda sounds like you have no clue.

  • http://www.google.com anonymous masher

    Modern lemming, marches to the tune of progress, slaughters iPhones at the altar of scientist-shamans to justify his desire to sleep with his neighbors wife–now back to your regularly scheduled programming.So, it's okay to quote science when it means I can sleep with my neighbors wife, but not okay if it means I suck at the most fundamental relationship to a society? Nice.You win the end of western civilization.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent post, Marc. It's true, too many Catholics don't know /disregard the Church's stance on artificial contraception.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03836634127448740415 Matthew

    Slamdunk Anonymous Masher! Besides, "Anonymous" – The Catholic Church has always been more cozy with scientific findings than its given credit for. Many great scientists were Catholic priests, including Copernicus and LeMaitre (father of the big bang theory), and Pope John Paul II said evolution is well-beyond just a "theory." There is no official teaching on evolution – but Catholics are well-advised to go with the best scientific explanations we have for natural phenomena.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08143000702247305571 Mrs. M

    I wish that more men and women understood how marvelous life can be without contraceptives. As a Catholic, I believe that a part of our god-given humanity is our ability to (should God will it) give life. When we try as hard as we can to shut down some aspect of a person's humanity so that we can "enjoy" him or her, this is exceptionally morally problematic. What convinced me to become Catholic – and to look at love, marriage, birth control, lust, etc. differently – was this very unified, beautiful, and extremely powerful position that the Church holds against the usury of one human being for the gratification of another. I was not created to give my husband pleasure. He was not created to do that for me, either. (Love provides a lot of pleasure, but that's not what love is). I wonder if the low rate of divorce among couples who practice NFP is due to that fact that when you practice NFP, you are almost surely not of the mind that your spouse was put there to "make you happy" or "fulfill you" or "share good times" or "be a part of your lifestyle." Those are the attitudes of people who believe that others were created for the purpose of giving pleasure, and that the whole of their humanity can be ignored – very much like the attitudes that support birth control. When gratification ends, as it almost always does, so might easily the marriage if mere gratification was its basis.

  • Manda

    Amen, above. I've done it both ways…I bet most of us have, and is following the Church's teaching easy? Not always. But it's well worth it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09595148905728912326 My Feminine Mind

    I guess I forgot to tell you now much I love this post when I read it the other day. Great job.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04799393593685552159 not a minx, a moron, or a parasite

    Wow, love this post! I don't know how I'm so late to the Bad Catholic fan club, but count me a member!

  • karyn

    I think another huge reason to avoid contraceptives is that many of them are abortive – I don't know if many people realize that an egg can still be fertilized but the pill or IUD won't allow for implantation. Companies can say that these forms are not abortifacient because they consider life to begin at implantation, not conception. With NFP, you learn to trust God and your body – with contraceptives, you have to trust a pharmaceutical company – no thanks.

  • WebPoppy8

    My reason 6 is: more kids are better. Why would you hang icons of God on your walls and refuse to conceive His image alive from your flesh?Seriously, the wonderful thing that happened among our kids when we had #5 was something to be believed.

  • SCG

    How about the World Heath Organization classifying the Pill as a C1 carcinogen that CAUSES Breast Cancer in young women?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04121927281998746424 Carolyn

    Great post! Seeing how wholly 3/4 of the babies I know are born to mommies who were either on the pill, IUD's, or other forms of ABC, I like to think that my children are the result of something I chose to do in love, and not the consequence of my failure. A subtle but important difference in building a culture of life.

  • Goodrifle

    God is a myth.

    • john1513

      Why so interested then?

  • sara

    I wanted to thank you for that last comment. I am an NFP teacher… Marquette Method. But I do think there are so many couples in strong, loving and selfless marriages who do contracept or are sterilized or whatever. I think they would have a better marriage using NFP, but I don’t see them crumbling from contraception- and as a matter of fact the only couple I know in my peer group who is divorced was an NFP using couple- interesting. Every method of child spacing has something negative attached to it… Religion aside- charting and periodic abstinence is the least negative (which isn’t all that negative) thing associated with any of the options out there.