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Category Archives for "Sex & Family Planning"

Green Sex, Anyone?

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

Healthy Sex for a Healthy Planet

When I read an article on Natural Family Planning today in the online edition of Time Magazine, I knew I had to respond with a post here at Engaged Marriage.

First of all, I was delighted to see NFP discussed in a national magazine!  With the creation of this site and the obvious interest I have witnessed about Natural Family Planning, my antenna is probably a bit more in tune to the coverage of the topic online.  However, I see an article like this (however flawed it may be in some respects) as a breakthrough in spreading the message that Natural Family Planning exists as a responsible option.

The article actually does a pretty good job of describing NFP at a high level and letting the Average Joe or Jane know the basic premise behind the method (for more info check out a previous post here at EM).  And I am sure the author’s experience in the Pre-Cana program is a common reaction to an initial introduction to the topic.  My wife and I have heard similar reactions in the marriage preparation courses we have taught.

Green Sex?

I am also very pleased to hear Natural Family Planning discussed as a legitimate means of expressing environmental responsibility.  Hence, my tongue-cheek-title to this post: Green Sex!

Truth be told, NFP is, well, natural.  There is no doubt that the artificial hormones found in birth control pills are excreted and find their way into our environment; hence, the growing stories about three-eyed frogs and deformed fish in our waters.  And the chemicals used in spermicides, condoms, IUD’s and the like are anything but natural and harmless to the ecosystem.  This is not to mention the harmful effects to women’s health, but that’s a topic for another day.

Some “Fuzzy” Assertions

I do take exception with a few assertions made in this article.  Natural Family Planning is 99% effective (the same or better than artificial birth control), so to state that “it” results in larger families is false.  On average, NFP couples probably do have more children, but this is related to their openness to life and love of family.  Plenty of one and two-child NFP couples abound, my wife and I included (at least for the time being).

And the article’s final, and weak, statement that widespread adoption of Natural Family Planning is harmful to our planet because we’ll have a higher population, and therefore more greenhouse gases, is a bit of a stretch.  If the intentions for limited family size are left intact, NFP is not going to result in more babies.  Of course, I do not see more babies as a negative thing.  Following this line of thinking would also suggest that less abortions is a bad thing–after all that would also increase the world population.

Sensationalism about the need for population control has been around for a long time.  If you believed the hype of the population “experts” of the 1970’s, you would think the world would be in state of total chaos at this point due to the lack of food and natural resources.  Our world and our country have their problems, but overpopulation and an oversupply of babies is not one of them.

The Bottom Line

In closing, I would just like to say “hooray” for some national coverage of Natural Family Planning.  I welcome with an open heart those that may practice NFP for the environment, for Mother Nature, for health, or for liberation.  I do not expect everyone to share my moral beliefs, but I do sincerely hope that everyone will become aware that Natural Family Planning exists as a viable option for improving our marriages, our lives and our world.

Photo by woodleywonderworks

Natural Family Planning Informational Video

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

I recently discovered a great six-minute video that highlights the benefits of Natural Family Planning and addresses some of the primary misconceptions about NFP.  This video was produced by the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.  Obviously, it includes some Catholic beliefs and teachings, but I think that you will find it informational even if you do not share the Catholic faith.

I really think there is a lack of this type of information/promotion for Natural Family Planning available in social media circles, so maybe we can do something about that!  In the meantime, please enjoy the video and check out my previous post entitled “What is Natural Family Planning?” for more information.

What is Natural Family Planning?

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

What is Natural Family Planning?

If you read my introductory post on Sex & Family Planning, you already know that my wife and I practice Natural Family Planning.  We are passionate about this topic and actually feel like it is one of the best things that has happened to our marriage.

One of the inspirations behind starting this website was a desire to spread the word about NFP and let other couples know about it.

While I would be happy to actually motivate others to try it in their marriage and ecstatic to hear from even one couple that becomes regular users of this method as a result of this site, my primary goal is simply to inform others about Natural Family Planning so they become aware of it as an option.

So, let’s use this post to just start with the basics.

So, Just What is Natural Family Planning?

Simply put, Natural Family Planning is fertility awareness; the knowledge of when a woman is fertile and when she is infertile.  We will discuss the specifics in later posts, but basically a woman is only fertile for a few days during each menstrual cycle.  If you can reliably identify those days, you can either avoid or achieve pregnancy…naturally.

Let’s use some easy-to-follow bullet points to better define NFP:

– It’s a natural method that uses no forms of artificial birth control.

  • That’s right, no birth control pills, no condoms, no IUDs, no shots, no nothin.’

– The couple uses proven signs to track the woman’s fertility cycle.

– Couples generally use a “Sympto-Thermal” method for tracking.

  • “Thermal” is a fancy way of saying the gal takes her temperature each morning before she gets out of bed (called her basal body temperature).
  • “Sympto” just means that there are obvious signs a woman’s body gives indicating where she is in the fertility cycle.
  • These signs are related primarily to her mucus (yes, down there) and her cervix (though those observations are optional).

– Using well-documented and exhaustively researched guidance, you can accurately determine when a woman is fertile and when she is not.

– If you want to avoid pregnancy during a given month, you simply abstain from sex during the fertile times (this is only a small portion of the cycle, so don’t worry too much).

– If you want to get pregnant, you’ll know the days that you really don’t want to miss!

– NFP is 99% effective.  Really.

    There you have it.  You now have a solid understanding of what it means to practice Natural Family Planning.

    And I’m sure you have many more questions about the specifics of NFP, the benefits, the challenges.  Maybe you are curious how my wife and I discovered NFP and why we are so fired up about it.  And just why haven’t you heard more about Natural Family Planning before?  Is this stuff only for hardcore religious freaks or what?

    For a bit more insight, please check out this cool video about NFP and how it fits into a healthy marriage.

    Stay tuned and I promise you will become well informed!  In the meantime, please post a comment with your own thoughts, questions or experiences with NFP.

    Photo by jonrawlinson

    Marriage, Sex and Family Planning

    By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

    Family Planning and Children

    If there is one subject related to marriage that I love to talk about, it’s sex! 🙂 Don’t worry (or be disappointed depending on how warped your mind may be), I am not referring to anything dirty or inappropriate here.  Instead, I am talking about how healthy sexuality should play a key role in a vibrant and successful marriage.

    Of course, it is difficult to talk about sexuality and marriage without also discussing the issue of family planning and decisions related to bringing children into this world.  Good news!  I also have a passion for this subject and feel like I can offer a great deal of practical and hopefully comforting advice on this topic.

    It just so happens that my wife and I are regular presenters on the topic of Sexuality and Family Planning in the marriage preparation class offered by our church. In fact, it was our involvement in this program, along with our interaction with many engaged and married couples, that inspired the creation of the Engaged Marriage blog and website.

    You will find a lot of valuable resources related to having a healthy sexual relationship and finding the right family planning approach for your marriage in this category.  In particular, I hope to shed some light and spread the word about the family planning method that my wife and I have chosen: Natural Family Planning (NFP).

    Whether for practical, moral, health, religious, financial or other reasons, many couples are not comfortable with their current forms of family planning.  This was an issue that we struggled with for the first four years of our marriage until we were blessed to discover (through a rather interesting journey) the practice of Natural Family Planning. I can hardly wait to share both the benefits and challenges of NFP, especially the fantastic positive effect it was had on our marriage and our overall relationship.  However, I am told that blog posts are best left shorter and sweeter, so I will save that for another day (but soon).

    Before I wrap up this introductory post on Marriage, Sex and Family Planning, I did want to alert you to keep an eye out for what I feel will be a unique review of a product we have decided to use, the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor.  While we have successfully used Natural Family Planning for more than four years now to both quickly conceive and effectively space-out our two children, we feel like adding this monitor to our “toolbox” may help add another level of quality and effectiveness (especially since we are thinking of trying for Baby #3 soon).

    I plan to purchase one of these from Amazon (based on their price and shipping offers) in the next few days, so we can start trying it out so stay tuned for updates.  If you are interested in reading more about this monitor or possibly purchasing one, you can click on the links for the MonitorClearblue Easy Fertility Monitor, the SticksClearblue Easy Fertility Monitor Sticks or the Monitor and Test Sticks Combo Package.

    Photo courtesy of christine [cbszeto]

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