Part 3 of a series on great married sex
- Billings/Creighton. Purists will probably get on me for conflating these two, but since Creighton bills itself as a “standardization of the Billings method” on its own website, I’m not sweating it. This method is not for the squeamish, as it requires users to examine their cervical mucus each time they use the restroom. But it’s much less restrictive than sympto-thermal, and totally portable, since all you really need is a bathroom and your eyes.
- Marquette. This is the 21st-century lazy girl’s high-tech method of NFP, with both the benefits and drawbacks of any tech-based solution. On the plus side, you don’t have to touch or analyze any bodily fluids yourself – for that, you use an electronic fertility monitor, normally the ClearBlue Easy. If you clicked that link, you already know the downside – at roughly $250, the monitor isn’t cheap, and it requires a constant resupply of test sticks that cost about $1 per use.
There are other tools and methods of NFP, as well, all well worth researching. (I used the LadyComp for years with 100 percent success, for example.) But for those looking for a way out of the pill-induced rut of a lackluster married sex life, these are a few of the “top dogs” when it comes to regulating your fertility in a natural, sex-positive way.
The best thing about NFP is that it is totally natural. There are literally no side effects from its use, aside from potentially better sex. Women who quit using hormonal contraceptives and switch to NFP may experience not only heightened sexual desire and enhanced sexual pleasure, but weight loss, a greater sense of well-being and a decreased risk of serious health problems.
The drawback, of course, is that proper use of NFP requires an education and some self-control. NFP practitioners must learn to read their body’s signs, and – here’s the tough part – actually abstain – during the fertile window (usually a period of 3-7 days in the middle of the cycle*). This can be hard, because a woman whose body hasn’t been reprogrammed by hormones to think it’s already pregnant will often be downright randy during the fertile period.
Abstaining under those circumstances can be, not to put too fine a point on it, no fun at all. But some successful NFP couples simply treat that week as a time of delicious mental foreplay – and reap the benefits when their time apart is over.
In the end, it comes down to which problem would you rather have? A sex life so good that it hurts to give it up for a week each month … or sex-on-demand when one spouse is perpetually moody, bloated, and ultimately just not that into it?
(*NOTE: In some cases, a woman’s cycle may indicate fertility outside of this 3-7 day window. This is almost always a sign of an underlying medical problem, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. A good NFP instructor – regardless of method – should be able to help you interpret your charts and discern whether medical intervention may be needed … which calls to mind another benefit of getting off the pill: it can no longer mask the symptoms of illness, allowing women to seek real treatment.)
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