Relationship health: NFP vs Birth Control

fertility awareness method, natural family planning, FAM, NFP, what is a fertility awareness method, what are FAMs, what is NFP, chart, charting, chart FAMs, birth control side effects, birth control alternatives, natural birth control, birth control without hormones, hormone-free birth control, women's health, sexual health, family planning, contraception, birth control, the Pill, infertility, cures for infertility, infertility treatment, natural infertility treatments, improving fertility, understanding fertility

Your ovulation is a healthy and normal process, not a condition to be cured or suppressed with drugs. Blocking ovulation with hormonal birth control produces effects that go far beyond just preventing pregnancy. Studies show how birth control affects your body and your relationships.

Sex and intimacy

Natural birth control options like fertility awareness methods (FAMs) and methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP) are proven to have a positive effect on couples’ relationships. Couples using these methods report having a more fulfilled and intimate sex life, and the rate of divorce among couples using NFP is under 5%.

The positive effects of NFP on couples’ relationships are reported in an article published in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, based on a study with 678 individuals. The key reasons given on how natural methods improved their relationship were:

  • It deepened their relationship: NFP created a stronger bond, including feeling less selfish and more sensitive to their spouse/partner’s needs, feeling greater love and more understanding of one another.
  • It improved their communication: Couples became more open to talking about a variety of topics. Discussing sexual intercourse, fertility, and starting or adding to a family are integral to using Natural Family Planning successfully.
  • It created a shared responsibility: With NFP, it’s not just the woman’s responsibility to avoid pregnancy.
  • It increased mutual respect: Women reported feeling more respected and less used, and feeling greater respect for and pride in their spouse/partner.
  • It increased their appreciation for sexuality: Periodic abstinence enhanced their anticipation of sex, thus increasing their sexual enjoyment.

Other studies show that couples who use Natural Family Planning have intercourse at least as often as couples using contraception, and that their sex life is more fulfilling.

Natural intuition

When looking for a partner, a woman who cycles naturally has a natural intuition for who would make a good genetic match for her. A good genetic match for you is someone who has a different genetic makeup from yours or that of your family members. (In fact, when you’re pregnant, your body produces a hormone that makes you feel closer to people who share your same DNA!) Studies have shown that the Pill can rob you of that natural intuition, messing up the intricacies of mutual attraction, and literally changing your taste in men.

Since hormonal contraception (like the Pill) makes your body think you’re pregnant, it also makes you more attracted to men who have a similar genetic makeup to yours—men who are not actually a good genetic match for you. It’s a bad love potion: the guy you fall for while taking the Pill might not be the guy you fall for when your body is functioning naturally. If you fall for a guy while you’re on the Pill, you might suddenly find him a lot less attractive when you quit taking the Pill. Awkward.

The power of natural pheromones

Women on birth control give up the invisible power of their natural pheromones to attract men. One research study showed that men even find supermodels on hormonal contraceptives less attractive than average women who are naturally ovulating. In fact, a woman’s physical attractiveness actually increases at the time of ovulation. A study from the University of New Mexico’s psychology department showed that women who were ovulating earned much higher tips at their jobs than those who weren’t.

The good news is that blocking ovulation isn’t necessary to avoid pregnancy when you know how to read your body’s clear signs of fertility.

If you’re ready to learn a method of NFP or a FAM, you can now select the method best suited to your needs and find an instructor or online class to learn the method.

  • eating and drinking during labor, what to eat during labor, why can't i eat during labor

    Should you eat and drink during labor? 

    By Madison Ayers • September 22, 2023
    “Can I get another apple juice, please?” I asked my labor and delivery nurse for the fifth time.…
  • lower estrogen dosage in birth control, estrogen dose in birth control could be lowered, gavina et al. birth control study

    Study suggests lower estrogen dose in birth control could still prevent pregnancy

    By Madison Ayers • August 3, 2023
    According to a study (hereafter referred to as Gavina et al.) from the University of the Philippines Diliman,…
  • can you speed up labor, how to speed up labor, speed up labor, positions to speed up labor, maternal positions during labor, cardinal movements of labor, cardinal movements

    Positions to speed up labor, and can you really speed up labor?

    By Madison Ayers • June 28, 2023
    There comes a point in every woman’s pregnancy where she starts to really think about what labor will…
  • natural male infertility treatment options, male infertility treatment, male infertility treatment options, treat male infertility, treat male infertility naturally, improve sperm quality, natural ways to improve sperm quality, natural ways to improve sperm health

    Natural treatment options for male infertility

    By Clare Sharp • February 10, 2023
    In a separate article, I covered the debate on whether worldwide decreasing sperm counts are cause for concern…
  • breastmilk is alive, breastmilk is a living substance, breastmilk living substance, breastmilk boosts immune system, breastmilk adapts to baby's needs

    Why do we call breastmilk a living substance?

    By Cassondra Moriarty • January 27, 2023
    You might have heard that breast milk has superpower properties, can heal wounds faster than neosporin, and is…
  • “Kangaroo care” for babies and…dads?

    By Cassondra Moriarty • December 30, 2022
    Lots of images come to mind when we think of caring for our new babies. But have you…
  • talking with daughter about periods, talking to daughter about periods, mom daughter talk about periods, mom talking to daughter about periods

    Things my friends taught me about periods (that I wish my Mom had talked to me about first)

    By Kristen Curran • December 2, 2022
    “Can I ask you something weird?”“Sure…”“Have you had a period yet?”“Nope. Not yet.”“Me neither!” This was the start…
  • IVF risks, IVF programmed cycle FET, IVF FET, frozen embryo transfer, fresh vs frozen embryo transfer, preeclampsia IVF, preeclampsia risk IVF, preeclampsia risk IVF FET, programmed cycle FET preeclampsia

    All forms of IVF carry risk, but one in particular carries significant risk for preeclampsia. Which one is it, and why?

    By Anne Marie Williams, RN, BSN • November 25, 2022
    Longtime fans of the PBS period drama Downton Abbey assuredly remember the tragic death of young Lady Sybil…
  • female orgasm, female pleasure, g-spot,

    3 essential components of the female orgasm

    By Cassondra Moriarty • November 4, 2022
    Why you need to forget the “G-spot”
  • painful sex treatment, healing from painful sex, vaginismus treatment, pelvic floor physical therapy painful sex

    Healing from painful sex in 4 steps, and how pelvic floor physical therapy can help

    By Mary Bruno • November 4, 2022
    In Part 1 of my story, I explained how I came to discover that my many years of…