+ Natural Family Planning (NFP) and Sexual Desire
This was repeatedly claimed by a person I recently dialogued with (“Dialogue on NFP: Anti-Sex and Anti-Pleasure?”). He (pontificating at all of 20 years old) claimed:
It’s no more different from robotic sex, and it’s quite artificial to do it. It’s tragic because sex is supposed to be loving and bonding and sex during infertile periods really don’t qualify as any of those two for most people. Who wants to have sex when your sex drive isn’t that high on that day? That’s rape. Women usually don’t enjoy sex during infertile periods, and it doesn’t matter how hard they try. Women just weren’t designed that way.
I [partially] replied:
There is much silliness in your whole analysis of the supposed gospel truth that “sex during infertility is never pleasurable.” Try to run that line by pregnant women. They aren’t fertile but they will affirm that they have plenty of sexual desire during those nine months.
Today I thought of another reply:
Post-menopausal women, who are never fertile, also are known for having a considerable sexual drive, and we are told that women’s drive increases as they get older (quite the opposite of men, who probably peak at 18). After menopause, all that desire is during infertile times.
“Suburbanbanshee” also made the following delightful comment under my blog post:
If a woman of fertile years is not experiencing some level of sexual desire for her husband most of the time, including infertile days, she is having some kind of serious problem. She might be tired, have hormone imbalances, be angry or unhappy, or she might be taking meds with anti-libido side effects. But she is not going on all cylinders.
We aren’t guys, but we aren’t nonhumans going into season, like mares, and pushing the stallion away the rest of the time. Women don’t read romance novels at certain times of the month, and then read math treatises on infertile days”
LOL I love it!
My friend Carmen Billedeaux commented:
Sex is better for women during time leading up to ovulation. That is true. But that doesn’t mean it is not pleasurable during other times. But I know lots of my friends who are strict NFP and don’t enjoy sex or even pretend to be interested. I think they missed out and don’t know better.
I have been terrible at NFP and mostly open to life so I know what I’m talking about so please don’t get mad at me and attack me here if you are perfect NFP people who think it’s perfect in NFP land for all couples. It’s not perfect anywhere for all couples.
NFP is a challenge and I’m tired of people acting like it’s all fine and easy. I know these couples’ and my own experiences. I’m a faithful practicing Catholic in heavily catholic community of NFP’rs and I am pro-NFP. I’m also pro-marriage but I know that ain’t easy either. We need to tell young people that none of it is easy but why it’s all worth it.
Thanks for your comment. Good points.
I would never say NFP is easy, anymore than I would say that waiting till marriage (26 in my case) was easy. That was the most difficult thing I ever did in my life. But both are well worth it and will produce lasting happiness. That is what I can say, and with personal experience to back it up.
But I know lots of my friends who are strict NFP and don’t enjoy sex or even pretend to be interested.
I highly doubt that NFP is the main culprit for that. There can be many causes for such unhappiness and lack of desire. They happen to be practicing Catholics, so they are doing NFP. NFP can produce a lot of frustration and even agony at times (believe me, I know), but it doesn’t cause sexual unhappiness or unfulfillment. I submit that something else has to do that, in almost all cases.
If I can’t have a great Thanksgiving dinner for some reason, it doesn’t follow that the dinner itself becomes “unfulfilling” or that I lack a desire for the turkey and stuffing. It’s two completely different things. Likewise, not enjoying sex at all or having no interest in it could hardly have been caused by having to cyclically abstain from it. At least that makes little sense to me.
If these people, on the other hand, directly reported that “I lost all interest in sex because of NFP”, then it would be supported with some sort of direct evidence, and I would be interested to hear their reasoning. If someone said something like, “I couldn’t have sex every day, so I lost all interest,” I’d say that NFP wasn’t to blame, but rather, an excessive drive that needed to be brought under control.
I’d love to have french fries, pizza, and a banana split every day, but I know that 1) that wouldn’t be good for me, and 2) it would never realistically happen, anyway. It doesn’t follow from that, that I stop being interested in these foods.
(originally 1-26-17 on Facebook)