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Let Me Explain It More Slowly

Athol Kay is dead wrong.

Now hold on just a minute before getting too upset. Anybody who’s read this blog for any length of time knows that I have the utmost respect for Athol Kay, and I consider him personally to have done a world of good for my marriage, and I’m really glad that he’s finally able to support himself doing it. However, when it comes to Catholics and birth control he’s wrong: wrong on his advice, wrong in his approach, wrong in diagnosing the problem, and even wrong on the facts.

First, the situation:

If you write to me and say you’re a Catholic in a sexless marriage, primarily because your wife is terrified of having more children, that’s when I start experiencing a pain in my right temple that travels behind my right eye and makes it twitch a little.

The advice:

Then I’m going to say something like “Ahhh… have you considered birth control?”

Not only is this wrong, it’s exactly opposite of the correct advice for this situation.

The approach:

When I suggest birth control, please then don’t explain-to-me-more-slowly-that-you-are-Catholic-and-cannot-use-birth-control-and-need-a-different-answer-that-you-can-actually-use. I know that, I was purposely suggesting that you stop being miserable and start sinning a little.

Sinning a little is the wrong approach entirely.

Look being completely objective about this…

Athol is not being completely objective. He is giving advice from the perspective of an Atheist. It is logically incorrect to call that objective, as it is a perspective that very much has its own biases. Truly objective advice would consider that the couple in question is Catholic and adapt their situation, not try and push an Atheist and, frankly, Protestant-inspired answer on them. I love you Athol, but it’s true: Atheists are exactly 0% more objective than anybody else. That’s a big, fat, whopping zero. Also, while I won’t Athol of hating Catholics, for anybody to call his own perspective objective is insulting. Athol is better than that, usually, so I give him the benefit of the doubt of just slipping here.

The diagnosis:

if you have a religiously based cockblock stopping your sex life from being happy, then that’s the cause of the problem.

No, it isn’t. Athol’s commenters have diagnosed the problem more accurately. We’ll quote the earliest one on the list, Jason:

Athol, from the “red-pill” perspective, isn’t the wife’s refusal to use birth control/fear of pregnancy her “body agenda/rationalization hamster” saying to her husband “you don’t attract me enough to either want to have your babies or to otherwise lay you”? Wouldn’t the solution to the problem be less liberalization of religious practices and more “MAP”?

This is an excellent start.

The wrong facts:

Your options are either to do some fancy bible study to find a way to approve what you want to do sexually, dump that particular aspect of religious belief (which is exactly what 98% of Catholics in America do on the birth control issue), or dump the religion completely.

The 98% statistic is wrong. It’s been debunked in so many places that I’m not even going to bother to dredge up a link (commenters feel free to jump in). Google it. Please either stop quoting it in your arguments or stop expecting me to take you seriously.

Jason has hit the nail on the head here. If the unnamed man’s wife was into him, she wouldn’t mind the possibility of having more of his babies – at least not this the level of irrationality that swears off sex altogether. In fact, if she was really into him, she’d want it.

Let’s take the woman at her word for a moment and assume that she truly is afraid of getting pregnant, and hence he gets no sex. This is  an irrational fear – there’s a reason I used that word before. Some actual facts:

  • A woman can only get pregnant during a particular window of her menstrual cycle. Assuming worst case scenarios, this window is about one week out of four. The other three weeks of the cycle, her chances of becoming pregnant are statistically insignificant. Yes, it happens. But not to anybody you know [if you think it happened to somebody you know, it's almost certain that in reality there's some reason why it actually was during her ovulation window and they just didn't know it].
  • Natural Family Planning is based upon using actual body symptoms to know when this window is, and it works. When used correctly it’s 99.86% effective.
  • Natural Family Planning is approved by the Catholic Church.

The first response of many non-Catholics is going to be to deny that NFP is effective. This is neither objective nor evidence based nor correct.

Furthermore, Athol’s advice is exactly opposite of what this man should be doing. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that in the situation he’s in, if he follows Athol’s advice, his marriage is doomed. He might as well file divorce papers and give it up. Note: his marriage is already in pretty bad shape, and it may not be salvageable; but following this advice guarantees that it’s done.

Being the religious head of the household is an alpha trait.

Wait, let me repeat that again – it’s important.

Being the religious head of the household is an alpha trait.

It’s a very alpha trait. Athol lives this in his own way, though it may not be obvious. His atheism gives direction to his household. They may not be atheists themselves (I recall reading on his blog some time ago that Jennifer was still quite Christian), but I guarantee you that his atheism tempers their religion and keeps it from boiling over. I guarantee you that they respect his atheism for its honesty, and for the fact that he won’t cave on what he believes just to make them happy.

Why should his unknown e-mailer cave on his religion to make his wife happy? Especially since if she’s honestly not using birth control, it’s because she’s tacitly accepted Catholic dogma as well. Face it: if she wanted to get it, she could – with our without his knowledge or permission. Birth control is cheap, it’s readily available, and it’s easy to get privately. Planned Parenthood will discretely mail it to you for $25 a month, or you can drop by and pick it up in person – no insurance required, no paperwork for anybody else to ever see.

Disagreeing with the church as an outsider is fine. This is America, it’s your right. Disagreeing with the church honestly as an insider is… well, I won’t say “fine,” but it won’t kill your credibility with your spouse. But doing it when you honestly believe church doctrine just so that you can get laid? You’ve just destroyed your religious cred, and failed a major shit test at the same time. No, birth control is not always a shit test – but if the man in question caved for the reasons Athol’s giving him, it would be failing a shit test even if the birth control situation wasn’t originally a shit test at all.

Pick up artists can get away with encouraging women to be sinful. The man in question could probably have gotten away with it if he’d done it very early in their relationship. But now that he’s established himself as honestly against birth control, he can’t do this and get away with it. If he does, he concedes all of his status as religious head of the family. After all, what good is the religious head of the family if he’s caving on questions of morality. It’s not worth arguing about whether it is or isn’t a question of morality: they believe that it is, so caving on it will have this effect.

Yes, I know – it’s fair for people (men and women both) to not want more kids. But to be frank, children happen even when birth control is involved. Birth control is seldom perfectly used - actual use failure rates on The Pill are around 15-20%. 40% of all abortions are performed on women who were using birth control at the time they conceived. I personally know a woman who got pregnant while using The Pill and condoms.

What should the man in question do? He doesn’t have very many good options. If things have reached this point, his marriage is already in trouble. Even at the most sexless point in my marriage, Hermione still wanted to have my kids. Indeed, our first son was conceived at the tail end of the most sexless point in our marriage. Furthermore, the fact that things ever got to this point implies that he made a poor choice in partner to begin with. If she’s an honest believer and is really that upset about having more of his children, it’s seriously time to wonder if the existing kids are his. If I were him, I would be discretely getting paternity tests done.

First, he needs to work even harder at the MAP. Second, he needs to make a re-dedication to his religion (let’s assume that he honestly believes it; if he didn’t, he’d have already taken the easy path and gone with birth control) and make a show of it. After those steps are done – and only after those steps are done, he needs to double down on the no-birth control rule. If she continues to deny him sex, rather than getting upset he needs to treat her with contempt – more than a true neg, he needs to make it clear that he actually believes that she is taking advantage of his religious beliefs in order to deny her own husband sex. It’s a contemptible, despicable thing to do, and he should treat her appropriately. This will be far more effective if he can believably flirt (and no more) with women who are more attractive than her while in her presence.

If, at that point, the situation persists he needs to prepare himself for the fact that she is likely to initiate divorce on her own in the near future. Being Catholic, I don’t recommend that he initiates one or threatens her with one. But he should probably make initial contact with a lawyer, hide away a bit of money so that she can’t empty it from his bank accounts, and otherwise prepare for the coming storm. In 21st century America he can’t stop her if she decides to unilaterally divorce him, so he has to be prepared for it, Catholic or no.

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Categories: Alpha, Religion, Society
  1. Kiwi the Geek
    April 20, 2012 at 11:38 pm | #1

    You. Are. So. Right. About religious belief and birth control and what will happen if this guy caves.

    And BTW, there are lots of Protestants who agree with Catholics about birth control. If you look into the history of the issue, it used to be illegal, until just a few denominations started sliding down that slippery slope … and everything that’s happened since was exactly what the birth control opponents predicted.

    It’s too bad no Protestant denominations have the spine to stand with the Catholics on this issue.

    • Φ
      April 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm | #2

      Kiwi called it. It’s true that Protestant attitudes on birth control run the gamut, but the notion that observant Protestants are subtly or not-subtly trying to foist birth control on Catholics is at least a couple of generations out of date, and even then was probably a progressive infection.

  2. atholkaymarriedmansexlife
    April 21, 2012 at 7:54 am | #3

    Hiya, thank you for a pleasant disagreement, much appreciated.

    Essentially the trouble is that a Catholic with a Catholic problem asked an Atheist for a solution. I gave him an Atheist solution, he wrote back explaining it to me more slowly, with even more NFP advice and discussion than you have in this post and asked me to give what amounts to a proper Catholic response. I don’t have one.

    If there is a positive religious solution to his problem, isn’t it up to the religion to provide those answers? I’m non-religious, thus my non-religious answer.

    • April 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm | #4

      Athol – that’s a disingenuous answer given that you’re happy to help non-Catholic religious people with their problems quite a bit of the time. Saying you don’t have an answer is fine. Saying that he should just drop his religious beliefs and adopt a non-religious solution is not helpful… and kind of unprofessional (which, happily, is a real concern for you now).

      • April 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm | #5

        To expand a little on that in a hopefully constructive way:

        Your post is a rant. Frankly, it’s a rant that I understand completely even though I am (now) a Catholic who is wrestling with this very issue. It’s also, however, a rant that should have been kept quiet, or shared with your wife and family. Posting it on your blog just alienated a decent share of your potential customers. You’ve committed yourself to a career of helping people with marital (primarily sexual) issues. You’re a pro now. It’s your job, literally, to help him find an answer, not to rant at him publicly (even if anonymously).

        You’ve helped many other men in the past try to fit the Game concepts you write about in with their own religious beliefs. Sometimes it isn’t easy. But now that you’ve gone pro, if you don’t have an answer for him then you have a professional obligation to tell him that honestly and try to help him find someone who can – or to try to find the answer. I respectfully submit that you’ll be a lot more successful (ie, sell a lot more books and make a lot more money) in the long run if you take it as a personal challenge and try to find an answer.

      • April 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm | #6

        Ha! Athol, the professional married game author and blogger, should now say, “Hey, I don’t have an answer for you because I simply don’t share your religious objections, but my professional obligations require me to find someone who does. Hey, I seem to remember some Catholic married game bloggers who have their shit together… why don’t you ask them? Here’s their number.”

        I think it could work. It’s win-win-win.

      • April 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm | #7

        Well, I was more thinking that he should get to know a good local priest, but if he want’s to send business my way, I’ll be happy to charge the low, low rate of $150 an hour. :D

    • April 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm | #8

      BTW, I deleted your duplicate post. You’ve commented here before, so I don’t know why your posts have gone to moderation. Probably because I’ve been inactive for so long.

  3. April 21, 2012 at 8:12 am | #9

    I thought it revealing when he said:

    I don’t team up with atheist buddies and go knocking door to door asking people if they would be interested in visiting the planetarium.

    It is nice to see our atheist friends admitting that, unlike the Church, which designed cathedrals to act as astronomical observatories and did the original research into genetics and the big bang theory (plus much more), atheists have neither any particular reason to see any inherent order and reason in the cosmos nor any passion to share such wonders with those around them. Or maybe he had some other, completely misguided, point to go along with the rest of his ill thought through article.

    The OFloinn covers some of this ground at his most wonderful blog.

  4. April 21, 2012 at 10:32 am | #10

    Thank you for this Leonidas. I left some comments over there but there was so much wrong with Athol’s position (and the many asinine comments) I could hardly tell where to begin. I like Athol. Even MY WIFE likes reading him… the only manosphere blogger she can (thus far) stand. Ironically, given his atheism, he is arguably the most “nice evangelical Christian” of the bunch… funny that.

    Anyway, he posits far too simple a model: You need sex, you’d better get it to stay healthy. If you miss sex to avoid pregnancy, that could make you miserable… So you’d better use contraception (or engage in some other sodomitic acts), so you don’t get miserable. In large numbers, looking at averages that is no doubt true… but it doesn’t account for the quality of the sex, and tends to isolate the sex from the overall relationship. (On nearly every other topic, Athol almost never makes this sort of mistake.) Your woman needs the sex to be good… and I mean that theologically… she needs the sex to follow its telos. She wants (and benefits from) that hot creamy load deep insider her. She needs to know you hold nothing back… and she needs to hold nothing (e.g., her fertility) back from you.

    Conciously refraining from coitus for a few days each lunar cycle can be a huge turn on. It certainly has been in our lives. We have at least 5 times more sex, and of significantly better quality, now that we obey the Church on this matter, than we ever had as contracepting Protestants. NFP has literally saved my marriage.

    There are no doubt difficult cases, where a woman has great difficulty reading fertility signs, or has fertility signs that are very far from median… But the vast majority of the complaints about fertility awareness are coming from people who are either too ignorant, lazy, or mendacious to geniunely give it a try.

    And yes, your point is a critical one: There’s nothing more beta (gamma really) than a husband compromising on his principles to make her haaaapy or comfortable. He needs to be the man, and give her such a good boning that the (largely irrational) fears of a child utterly fade into the background.

    • Cecil Harvey
      April 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm | #11

      Nick,

      Your case is far from the average. NFP, frankly, sucks. My wife and I used it for a year after our daughter was born because she had a C-section, and we wanted it to heal. We were necessarily strict with it, where we’d abstain on days that it was less than clear, because we didn’t want to risk harm to her or a miscarriage. After that, when we no longer had to use it, but my wife still kept track, and on the “white baby” days and unclear days, she always wound herself up into a fit wondering whether it was a good time to have another child, etc. The net effect was a virtually sexless 18 months that didn’t have to be. I since forbade her from tracking her fertility, and things improved.

      I know many, many people that after the wife gets her 2-3 kids, they turn completely sexless due to abuse of NFP. I’ve heard women berate other women for not getting in the habit of tracking all the time, because “then how can you justify turning him down for sex when you don’t feel like it?”

      NFP being the norm is evil, not as much as contraception, but it can and does destroy marriage. If most men Catholic men knew that this was what 99% of their prospective wives planned to do, they’d become priests or monks. Seriously, why bother going through marriage if you’re not going to get any sex after the first 2-4 years.

      Yes, they could all use to be more alpha, as could I, but there’s really an upper ceiling most people have. I’m really passive and nerdy by nature; with game I can use my natural aloofness and stoicism to be a greater beta rather than a lesser beta, but never beyond that. Many people I know can’t even get that high.

      • April 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm | #12

        Well, one’s mileage varies of course. And it is positively evil of a wife use tracking fertility to deny sex. There’s bible verses for that. I don’t doubt that this happens, but it is then an indictment upon wives (or husbands or both) much more than it is an indictment on NFP.

        We struggled with NFP until we checked out “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”. The CCL book (I can’t remember the name) we originally looked at was hopelessly complex. Our last two children were caused (remotely materially at any rate) by Too MUCH Information of the CCL materials. Taking Charge was not written from a Catholic perspective, but it simplifies it down quite a bit. We’re down to a 3 to 5 day window of coitus avoidance, and it is working well. And the remaining 22-24 days are quite sex filled. We center everything on detecting ovulation. Prior to ovulation we consider mucus and cervical attitude ONLY. After ovulation we consider (at most) basal temperature. If we feel good about the ovulation day call, we don’t even wait for temperature. Just 24 hours and bang! (More danger lies on the before side of ovulation than on the after. It depends on longevity of the guy’s sperm, and pre-ovulatory conditions in the girl.)

        Perhaps one measure that NFP husbands can take to avoid or work around the “I might be fertile” excuse is to take a deeply active interest in the day-to-day data. A woman cannot might be fertile for very long. Sure there can be ambiguities for 2 to 4 days prior to ovulation. But they can’t last the entire lunar cycle. Those 2 to 4 days might vary across women and in any given woman. But as an excuse it’s going to start wearing thin. If a non-lactating woman has regular periods, then that blackout period has got to be somewhere. If the woman isn’t willing to figure out when it is, then let her husband do it. If she’s saying she “might be” fertile on days 6 thru 18, then she simply doesn’t understand fertility awareness or is using it as an (evil) excuse. Either way, she probably needs a good boning.

      • April 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm | #13

        NFP being the norm is evil, not as much as contraception, but it can and does destroy marriage.

        I agree that NFP as a default situation forever could be a source of evil. I knew a protestant couple who used to remain childless for many years. They finally gave in to a literal reading of Gen 1:28… It my mind it only sucks for a few days… i.e., when your not getting sex. But then at the end of those few days, hubba, hubba. Your wife’ll be all over you like a cheap suit! (Or at least she should be…) The “marriage debt” will be yours to pay… grin-n-bear it old man.

        I am alarmed to hear that NFP is used as wedge to drive husbands away. I guess I could’ve guessed that that was the case, but I’ve never encountered it myself. I DO think husbands suffering this way will benefit from more game… There’s a lot of affection that can be shared especially during the “Desert periods”. Girls love that stuff… it’s like you’re dating again and can’t “do it”–her ‘gina tingles.

        Sex starvation should actually (ceteris paribus) promote a man’s game as well. He’s gotta woo her. He’s gotta adopt a frame that positively dominant and unflappable… even if he has to act a bit. The wife will reward you for it… you just have to pass the fitness tests. You may feel like an asshole once in a while, but it will soon be forgiven and forgotten… as she finds an inexplicable new appreciation for your “manhood”–she will see it as her reward.

  5. Doe
    April 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm | #14

    Please don’t complain about someone else’s incorrect statistics if you’re going to use incorrect ones yourself. The study cited in the Wikipedia entry that found a 99.86% effectiveness for the symptothermal method excluded women over 45 or women who had cycles outside the 22-35 day range more than 20% of the time. That’s also with perfect use of the method. Also, 9% of participants in the study quit partway through because of dissatisfaction with the method.
    Actual use failure rates for estrogen/progestin and progestin only pills are around 9%; perfect use is 0.3%. http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm It’s disingenuous to compare perfect use of NFP to imperfect use of the Pill–if you can’t remember to take your pill at the same time every day, how are you going to remember to take your temperature and measure your cervical mucus at the same time every day.
    That said, I don’t think anyone should use a method they don’t agree with. NFP is effective enough that its use alone shouldn’t be what stops people from having sex. Fear of pregnancy can be a pretty effective mental block, especially if the woman had a difficult time with her last pregnancy or there are other reasons not to get pregnant at this time (mainly financial issues).

    • April 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm | #15

      I didn’t compare perfect use of NFP to actual use of the pill. The statistics were quoted separately in separate parts of the argument and for separate reasons. Actual use of NFP compares relatively favorably to actual use of the pill, as the very page that you link to shows:

      “The pill is 91–99% effective at preventing pregnancy.”

      “These fertility awareness-based methods are 75–96% effective at preventing pregnancy.”

      NFP has a larger range for error, yes, because it’s more complicated and can often be taught poorly. Most of all, however, its failure rates are due to choice – people choosing to have unprotected sex during a known fertile time. We can call this a “moment of weakness” if we like, but it’s still a choice. That’s reflected in the 75-96% effectiveness rating. Couples with a higher degree of self control have higher success rates with NFP than couples without it.

      In the particular case Athol is quoting, we already know that the wife is quite adept at denying sex because she doesn’t want to get pregnant, and we know that the husband respects this. This is pretty much definitionally a “higher degree of self control” couple.

  6. Cecil Harvey
    April 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm | #16

    Totally right! The husband would absolutely lose alpha cred, AND can give the wife rationalization-hampster justification for divorce, and in the modern American church, grounds for annulment, so she can attempt to trade up to someone who is sufficiently Catholic and gives her tingles.

    As an aside, the “new”, anti-traditional attitude towards NFP that we have today (i.e., basically Catholic Birth Control) Is in part to blame for this. It’s a big, big problem among modern well-meaning Catholics. I know a number of couples that basically live sexless marriages because the wife uses NFP as an excuse not to have sex.

    The traditional teaching which includes the concept of the marriage debt has never been heard by the vast majority of people. If you’ve not heard it yourself, one of the functions of marriage is a remedy to concupiscence (i.e., man’s desire for sexual release). As such, upon marriage, both spouses owe their bodies to each other; any reasonable demand for sex must be fulfilled by either spouse. As such, whether to use NFP (qua abstinence from sex) has to be agreed upon by both spouses. Though the marriage debt works both ways, in common practice, it’s really meant to service the husband’s needs so as to keep him from being tempted by adultery and Onanism. But any teaching that could possibly imply that a wife has duty to do anything for her husband is of course “Old Pre-Vatican II Medieval Theology®”, and thus no longer is relevant.

  7. Cecil Harvey
    April 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm | #17

    Perhaps one measure that NFP husbands can take to avoid or work around the “I might be fertile” excuse is to take a deeply active interest in the day-to-day data. A woman cannot might be fertile for very long. Sure there can be ambiguities for 2 to 4 days prior to ovulation.

    That depends woman to woman, and can be effected by many, many things. The husband isn’t likely actually doing the testing, and it’s honestly up to the woman’s interpretation.

    • April 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm | #18

      So the man has to make his wife declare ovulation. I mean not everyone understands calculus, but people intuitively understand a local maximum. And that’s what ovulation is, the signs go more fertile and more fertile until a local max is hit, and then the trend of the signs turns around. The derivative goes negative. That’s the ovulation. And a day after that, it’s horizontal mambo again. Two days if you’re being extra cautious. And if you’re wrong… well you’re open to life… so what’s the big deal?

      And truth be told, a man can do the testing of mucus and cervical signs if he wants… He’s sticking his johnson in there, so why not a couple fingers every now-n-then?

  8. Matthew Walker
    April 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm | #19

    He should make his needs known, then silent treatment – or close to it – until she cracks. Never threaten a woman, they always assume it’s a bluff. Dread works infinitely better than bluster. Don’t give her a fight or a bluff to call. Just treat her like an unwelcome guest for a few days until she cracks.

    I assume that’s what you meant about contempt, but it needed to be spelled out for the novices.

    “I’m not sure this is working out” isn’t a threat, by the way. “Change or I’ll leave” is a threat. The latter implies that you’re still invested enough to be manipulated. The former is what you say when you aren’t.

  9. Matthew Walker
    April 23, 2012 at 9:05 pm | #20

    …and when you aren’t invested, DHV, hand.

    And you are so utterly right about it being a shit test. I can’t believe Athol didn’t get it.

  10. Over It
    April 30, 2012 at 10:46 am | #21

    @LEONIDAS

    THANK YOU for writing this. I have been a long time reader of Athol’s, but am so tired of his jaded and cynical take on religion. Yes, some of us have strong religious beliefs and that means we can’t always do things the way non-religious people do them. The way Athol suggests that we stop believing so devoutly is almost like telling us we’re doing it wrong! Not cool nor helpful.

    I HAVE USED NFP FOR YEARS WITHOUT GETTING PREGNANT.
    That’s right, even with my irregular cycle. We have great sex on all the “safe” days of the month, no problem. I got the FertilityFriend.com app for my phone and a $10 BBT thermometer. Every morning, I take my temp and plug it into the app. Over time, it learns from my data and predicts the “risky” days. How easy is that? My husband and I both have access to the data, so he can check whenever he wants to see if tonight is a “good” night.

    DO NOT USE THE CERVICAL MUCOUS (CM) METHOD
    If you ever have sex with your wife, your semen is in there with her fluids. The combination of these two fluids makes it look like her CM is fertile when it’s not. Use the BBT method, since it’s much more accurate and easier to do.

    THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ALSO TEACHES NFP CLASSES.
    So if you’re confused, look up a class or two in your area. Some parishes make it part of the pre-marriage counseling, so check there as well. Then go, learn, and do it. You might need 6 months or so before she gets a good feel for her rhythms. In the meantime, use the calendar method (with much caution!) so you can still have some sex.

    IF YOU’VE ALREADY HAD 4+ CHILDREN…GIVE HER A BREAK!
    Really, do you already have a herd of children running around your house? Are they pretty close together in age? Then give the poor woman a break! Yes, children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord, but they are also a ton of work. She might actually be terrified of having more.

    • Master Po
      June 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm | #22

      BBT is a trailing indicator of ovulation only. It gives no advance insight. In other words, it will reliably tell you when “safe” days begin but not when they end. I’m thrilled to hear that Over It is using NFP successfully, but cervical mucous (and softness and height) are the only leading indicators of ovulation. I.e., other than the calendar, which if you are irregular is not going to be helpful. Sure sperm can trick things a bit, but only with a bias to the “safe” side, but coitus shouldn’t affect cervical softness and height. BBT alone cannot generally work as a method of fertility awareness. If it works in some cases, then those would be the exception that proves the rule.

    • Master Po
      June 1, 2012 at 4:51 pm | #23

      Honest question, Over It: Have you use NFP to successfully get pregnant? If not, then you may not be really using NFP to avoid it.

  11. June 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm | #24

    From a medical perspective, the Creighton Model of NFP is more accurate and has a scientific method to track cycles. The Creighton Model is also good for PCOS tracking so you can get pregnant, if that’s what you want to do.

    I agree NFP can be used as a wedge between couples because there is a fine line between fertility awareness/planning, and contraception. According to the church, NFP should be used when there is “grave matter” for delaying or preventing conception. Having a wife heal after a surgery is one of those situations, among others. Really, what a couple should be doing during this time is praying for a wife’s health and recovery and for strength to keep up with the kids.

    Athol’s assertion that a wife us making a cuckold of her husband if they use NFP doesn’t make any sense because if a wife was cheating, she’d eventually get pregnant without ABC. Using NFP wouldn’t make sense any longer because every month isn’t regular, and NFP is meant to treat every month as separate. Imagine how odd it would be for month after month to be like clockwork. Natural hormones don’t work like that.

  12. June 21, 2012 at 10:36 am | #25

    Scenario: Guy wants more sex, but wife doesn’t want more children.

    Objective, common sense answer, that tackles the problem and in which everybody involved wins: Get birth control. Guy gets more sex, wife doesn’t get pregnant. Woohoo!!!

    Now if you want something that plays along with Hebrew mythology, then you don’y want an objective answer.

  13. Some Non-Prophet
    June 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm | #26

    Crimony.
    Am I really reading this?
    I’m all the way here and no mention of, you know, SCRIPTURE???
    (Hey, I’m alright – no one said this was a Christian Science Reading Room, right?)

    OK…
    This is my first time here and I’m floored. I don’t have all the answers, but the most obvious ones have been totally missed here — the ones in the Bible (and a few outside of it as well).

    Me: Mid-40s, lifelong Christian (raised in a non-denominational church, then committed to Christ at at 14), conservative views, married about 20 years, three kids. Wife comes from the same background. We had no trouble using the pill when we were first married (well, SHE used it — not I). After our last kid was born I had my lines disconnected.

    Let me say this: God created sex, including boners, firm nipples, and orgasms. There are 66 books in the Bible, one of which is dedicated to sex in a very positive way (and if you’re a sucker for colorful language and antiquated innuendo, you’ll eat it up. I’d love to see an atheist man or couple read it together, especially from the original King James language of 1611 BC). That book is Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs. It includes just about everything, including cunalingus and felattio. There are other writings, including the Christian scriptures, that make it clear: Celebrate sex and DO NOT DEPRIVE YOUR SPOUSE OF IT.

    In my understanding of scripture and religion, I can say two things: One, there is no clear prohibition of birth control in the Bible. At its core, NFP is no different than using a condom. Regardless of the methods, the intent — what is in the heart — is the same. (Jesus said that even if you look lustfully upon another woman you’ve committed adultery, so forget about gaming God on these matters. I still can’t find the rhythm method in the Bible.) Second, Catholics and protestants differ on authority (generally): For catholics, the church (namely Rome, specifically the Pope) is the voice of God on earth, and the Bible is more or less an encyclopedia. For protestants, the Bible is God’s final word on earth and Rome is full of crap. (And not just on birth control.) And I summarize for the sake of space.

    I don’t want to start a theological debate, let alone a war (after all, no one ever expects an inquisition, Spanish or otherwise). Instead, do a search for christian blogs that deal specifically with sex (e.g. http://christiannymphos.org) and even search “does bible prohibit birth control?” — and yes, you’ll see both sides argued, but at least you’ll get a more informed perspective than a well-meaning atheist.

    The bottom line is that in a Christian marriage, God’s word says depriving your spouse of sex is a sin. And if *you’ve been taught* using contraception is a sin, then you’re kind of stuck, aren’t you? Maybe some beliefs need to be rethought through the lens of God’s own word instead of the traditions of men wearing ornate hats and pleasant robes.

    So here we go:

    “Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time IF YOU BOTH AGREE TO IT (emph. mine, not Paul’s), and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them. Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others.”

    – 1 Corinthians 7:1-7 (from The Message translation)

  14. Some Non-Prophet
    June 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm | #27

    CLARIFICATION:
    I said, “Jesus said that even if you look lustfully upon another woman you’ve committed adultery”

    Specifically, Jesus said the adultery is committed *in the heart* as well.

  15. E
    July 14, 2012 at 11:54 am | #28

    I don’t team up with atheist buddies and go knocking door to door asking people if they would be interested in visiting the planetarium

    Because science is the religion of atheist.Right.

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