Thursday, April 23, 2015

Why NFP is Great for Men, Too

This month's guest blogger on Natural Family Planning is more forthright and funny about sexuality than I usually am, and this difference in perspective is exactly what makes him such a terrific guest! Meet Daniel Stewart, aka Daniel Bearman, who describes himself as "a Catholic dad from the deep south who loves ultramarathons, okra, books, tattoos, beer, and Jesus." He blogs here and his wife Haley blogs at the well-known Carrots for Michaelmas. Enjoy!

I thought I’d jump in here and list a few things I like about NFP. Obviously, this is all from my experience so I’m not speaking for or to every man ever. But it's a fun list!

1. NFP doesn’t make fertility a “women’s problem.” Obviously, it takes two to tango. And it takes two to have sex and make a baby (See what I did there? You thought I was just going to use a weird euphemism for sex but then I just went ahead and said “sex”). But, more than that, fertility isn’t just something women need to worry about. As a man, I’m like, a good 50% of the equation here. Maybe even more because my fertility is pretty constant. Whatever the percentage, my wife and I are in this together. And NFP is a recognition of that. We abstain together and we work together to understand and plan our sex life.
2. I get to understand what’s going on with my wife’s body. I remember three things from my sex ed class in 10th grade: they passed around a set of rubber testicles (I can’t remember why), they showed us the horrible aftermath of sexually transmitted diseases, and the girls and guys were completely separated the entire time. I’m sure our segregation had something to do with the rubber testicles and was probably a wise decision. But this style of sex ed also set the tone for the way most men approach fertility. “What did the girls learn in the other room? What mysteries were revealed? I have no idea! But I’m certain they did more than pass around rubber organs. WHAT DO THEY KNOW?! There’s no way for us males to find out. We were in THIS room with the pictures of STDs!”  But now I CAN find out. The door has been opened! I can read up on types of NFP or just talk with my wife about what’s going on with her and her cycle. I still avoid the word “ovulating” but I’ll grow up someday.
3. I get to support my wife in this (big) part of our relationship. When my wife was on the pill, I always felt like that was kind of her thing. What could I do? Tell her “good job” for taking a pill? Remind her in a patronizing way? But, with NFP, I feel more connected with my wife because we’re both involved. I mean, I don’t chart for her. But I’m still involved in both understanding our fertility and abstaining when it’s necessary. As for the whole charting thing, my wife applies a lot of effort to that and does a great job. So I get to support and encourage her in this. I’ll admit, that’s something I don’t do enough of. Sorry!
4. Sex without contraceptives is better. I mean this in both a narrow sense and a broader sense. Sex with condoms is… not that great. At least, not compared to sex without them. Any guy who has had sex both with and without condoms knows this. But I don’t think we’re supposed to talk about it because this would somehow support “unsafe sex.” I don’t promote unsafe sex, of course. I actually promote the safest sex of all, the sex that takes place within a monogamous relationship. But if Outkast won’t talk about how much better sex is without condoms, I guess I shouldn’t either. There’s also other practicals like how chemical birth control affects hormones. Surprise! Hormones are important! Other issues impact all of this too. But, without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that our sex life is a lot more awesome now than it was when we used birth control. Now, more broadly, sex without contraceptives involves a complete view of sex that is more satisfying and unifying. I’ve written about this before on this post for my wife’s blog.
So, if you’re a man, don’t be scared of NFP. There are plenty of things in the upside column. And, hey!, no one is going to make you hold rubber testicles.

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