For a man, sometimes practicing Natural Family Planning can feel like a no-sex plan.
In July 2018, Natural Womanhood CEO Gerard Migeon published an article called “When Men Resent Natural Family Planning,” which included an anecdote from a male friend who told him “I hate NFP.” I can totally identify with that perspective. At the end of the article discussing other possible factors influencing his friend’s challenging love life outside of NFP, Gerard opened up the floor to hear other men’s experiences with NFP in an anonymous online survey. Here is my experience.
I agree 100% there is a huge need for us men to have a space to talk about difficulties with Natural Family Planning. My wife and I have similar challenges with NFP and I tried talking to my two closest guy friends about it once (who also practice NFP), but they clammed up. Typical men!
Over time, I have come to a perspective that has helped me deal with the challenges of living out Natural Family Planning in a relationship. Ultimately, my take, and my advice, are slightly different.
Like the man Gerard cited in his article last year, I too have a spouse that deals with anxiety, depression, bad upbringing, high fertility, and anger at God issues—all things that drive down the rate of intercourse to zero sometimes, no matter what the chart says. I think many people have spouses that have some kind of issue that drives the intercourse rate down. I’ve been/am there.
The solution I’ve found as a man is primarily spiritual. Men need to be resolved to abstain as long as necessary, and offer that as our sacrifice (and remember it won’t last forever!). It could be 2 weeks, 2 months, or “until further notice.” I believe God has designed women to bear the burden of birthing life, so it makes sense that men should bear the burden of conceiving life. God is fair.
I’ve come to think that one of the greatest gifts I can give to my spouse is to master this perspective of chastity.
Practicing NFP, I’ve found that our sexual intimacy suffers when I expect my wife to desire it like a man. We’ve heard well-meaning advice to engage more often during infertile times to increase desire, but that just makes things worse. The only way I’ve found joyful freedom in NFP is when I’ve stopped expecting sex. When I am in that state of mind, any engagement is a pleasant surprise, and our overall intimacy blossoms.
Of course, it is challenging, but the home life is in such harmony when I lead with this sacrifice. That’s my suggestion to “fix” the problem we men have!
Can we help men understand one of their greatest gifts to their spouse and to the world is for them to master their chastity? To be chaste, according to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, means to abstain from unlawful sexual intercourse, and/or to be pure in intention and conduct. If many men were to aim for this self-mastery, I believe it would be a counter-Sexual Revolution that would solve the many relationship and societal problems that result from men not loving women as they should.
The opinions, representations, and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Natural Womanhood.