Monday, August 3, 2009

Straight Talk: Contraception, Condoms, and NFP

It's not uncommon to hear criticism directed at one particular aspect of the Church's teachings on human sexuality: contraception, whether that be in form of a birth control pill or a condom. What's wrong with contraception? Why can't I wear a condom? are a couple of questions that pop up pretty frequently in our presentations among high school students.

  • Contraception? Sex is the most personal, the most intimate, the most opening/revealing act there can possibly be. It requires complete vulnerability, and thus it's sign of complete giving and receiving. Fertility is inherently tied in with the sexual act, and one can't give himself/herself completely while he/she is denying the fertility aspect of sex. Having sex with birth control or a condom, knowingly or unknowingly, says "I give my entire self to you....almost." What if we smiled at someone and said "Nice to meet you" and then slapped that person on the face? What's going on here? We would be lying with the body. Contraception is a lie with the body. It's saying "I give myself to you completely" while withholding or rejecting a part of the self.

  • Condoms? When you really think about it, condoms (or birth control pills) were not created to prevent pregnancy. There's already a 100% effective method of doing that: abstinence. They were created so that men and women could indulge in one's sexual desire. No self-control required. Ever. No responsibility. If we use a condom we don't ever have to say no, and we train ourselves not to. The less self-control we have the more enslaved we are to our own sexual desires. It will just become easier and easier to slip into pornography, infidelity etc...
  • Furthermore, just FYI: Condoms have a 15% failure rate if used correctly (and less than 50% of teenage males actually use them correctly) AND they provide no protection against many STDs like Chlamydia, herpes etc. Also, birth control has serious side effects for women: weight gain, moodiness, increased blood pressure, risk of gall bladder disease and liver tumors, heart attacks and strokes, depression etc.
  • So what's with NFP? It stands for Natural Family Planning. In a nutshell, NFP trains couples to recognize the signs that a woman is during the fertile period in her cycle (this only happens about 3-5 days per month) and so the couple is able to abstain from sex during this time. It's extremely reliable. In fact, NFP has a 99% accuracy rating. This the difference between NFP and contraception: NFP doesn't in any way impede the procreative course of sex. It doesn't block anything. It's like the difference between an abortion or a miscarriage, or the difference between suicide and natural death. Another interesting fact about NFP: couples who practice NFP only have a 2% divorce rating. Using NFP encourages couples to work together and use other ways to express affection besides sex, encouraging more communication etc. Giving up something mutually for the good of their family strengthens marriage.

More questions? This is a great resource:


Anonymous said...

Great article! what a wonderful way to explain the reasons why couples should not hold back anything from each other, especially during the most intimate of moments.

Alicia Baehr said...

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. A lot of those ideas came from Christopher West or Jason Evert - great presenters!

Maggie said...

very succinct, very nicely put! I struggle with articulating the Church's teachings in short, easy to understand soundbites, and these are great!