At MARRI we are preparing a major synthesis paper on the effects of contraception, which has caused much discussion and has also led to thinking a lot about natural family planning (NFP). Most folk don’t realize that both methods of birth spacing stem from the same science, the biochemistry of how the body works. But there the similarities end. The differences between the two are multiple but the most telling is the effect they have on the communication patterns between the spouses.
Despite many women thinking that contraception empowers them, in contrast to natural family planning it may disempower them, most powerfully so in the realm of communication with their husbands. NFP couples stay in constant touch on the wife’s fertility cycle and over time the husband learns a lot about his wife and the effect of her femaleness on her personality, her moods, her difficulties with her body or the peculiar burdens her body places on her at times. Most normal men become more knowledgeable and sensitive to their wives as a result.
NFP couples are also always aware of their potency and their capacity to make children, that awesome power they carry within and between them. Couples who use NFP will likely be much more sensitive on matters sexual with their children (after years of practice) when the time comes for introducing their children to these mysteries of life and the fundamentals of their sexual powers and responsibilities. A very big difference exists between parents who use NFP and those who do not as they rate themselves on their success in raising their children (their success in the fullness of their sexuality). Users of NFP far outstrip all others in their sense of success in raising their children. (In the chart below, blue = NFP, red = general population, green = ever married Catholic population. Source GSS plus survey of NFP users.)
The same data looked at differently yields the following depiction of the differences:
Melinda Gates has been to the forefront in pushing UN family planning programs but it seems, is also doing some small funding of NFP research and application as well. However I bet she is totally unaware of the difference in parenting and in the satisfaction between couples with the different methods. If she were I bet her money would be distributed differently. She hopes to empower women but is backing the wrong horse for that race.
It would be very good to have a nationally representative sample survey that measures all the differences between the two methods of birth spacing. The federal government has never done this research despite the billions of dollars it spends on matters sexual. Is it not strange that there is no clamor for such knowledge?