I made a commitment to chastity when I was 13 years old. In my mind, this meant that I had decided to save sex for marriage. Fast-forward a few years, and although I kept this promise, if I am truly honest, there were a few times I was standing right on the line with one-foot hovering in the air.
Remaining abstinent until marriage is a difficult thing to do, and this is one of the reasons my husband and I married so young. At 22 and 23 years old we were some of the first in our peer group to take the plunge, but we were tired of living apart, and wanted to begin our lives together.
After 19 years of wedded bliss, I have learned a thing or two about sex. Here are 3 things I thought were true, that turned out to be big fat lies:
1. After marriage sex will be a non-issue. Married sex is a HUGE issue. I thought that since we could have sex any time, the tension surrounding it would vanish. Not so. Now we had to talk about what we liked, what we didn’t like, who initiated more, did I really want to, or was I just saying yes because he wanted to? The list goes on.
After children the conversation changed again. Sometimes, we went back over old ground I thought we had covered, only to realize we hadn’t fully covered it. In 19 years, sex is still the topic of many conversations. So, the truth is that open dialogue is a necessary and important part of married sex, and it doesn’t mean anything is wrong. On the contrary, we are trying to love one another more perfectly by talking it out.
2. I will never have to say no to him again. This one makes me chuckle because there are lots of times I have had to say no; sickness, during pregnancy, after childbirth, when I was just so tired from keeping three preschoolers all day by myself and singing Bob the Builder and looking a little delirious.
When my children were itty bitty and needed me physically most of the day, because of nursing, boo-boos, snuggle time, lap time, story time, bed time story time, the LAST thing I wanted was someone touching me anymore. I just wanted to go to sleep and have someone else do the heavy lifting for a minute.
So, the truth is that even though my husband is the man of my dreams and I am very physically attracted to him, I have said no because, life.
3. Having sex and having a baby are two completely different things. When I was preparing for marriage the only question, I was ever asked regarding contraception was, ‘which one will you use?’
I never considered for a moment the morality of using artificial contraception. I just knew that as a 22-year-old young woman who needed to finish college, my baby making years were in the distant future. It wasn’t until I found out that the pill could be an abortifacient that I saw the immorality of contraception, and it wasn’t until I read Theology of the Body that I realized the immorality of using barrier methods to prevent pregnancy.
At the ripe old age of 33 God impressed upon my heart that having sex and having a baby cannot be fully separated. The truth is that no matter what a woman puts in her body to prevent ovulation, her ovaries are meant to ovulate and sometimes they override the meds. Babies are the result of hetero-sexual intercourse, NOT failed contraception OR failed Natural Family Planning.
The woman is a fairly infertile creature, and there is nothing wrong with knowing this and using it to plan family size. This is essentially what the farmers do when planting seeds. They know when planting seeds yields the most harvest. When it is not time to plant, they do other things. Welcome to NFP.