Is safe sex still sacred sex?
Challenging the Christian definition of nakedness.
As young university students, my fiancé and I, upon being married, plan to have a responsible, healthy, and active sex life. That is, we have decided not to use birth control. Usually, “responsible, healthy, and active,” are not the first words that come to mind when considering unprotected sex; “naïve, risky, and infrequent,” are the more likely connotations. But more and more couples today are realizing that contraception is not just some neutral tool to be governed by well-intentioned use; all methods of birth control carry with them a weighty series of effects that can significantly impact a marriage, regardless of the couple’s intentions.
Biologically, when a woman is on the Pill, for example, not only is she ingesting ‘Group I’ carcinogens, lowering her libido, and risking infertility, but she also interferes with her natural attraction to a compatible mate by altering her basic bodily processes, including the functions of pheromones. Condoms, on the other hand, devalue sex by reducing the level of physical intimacy and significantly lowering the anti-depressant nature of the act—perhaps unveiling the real reason why guys don’t want to use them.
Spiritually, one of the primary implications perpetuated by contraceptives is that self-control is no longer necessary within marriage. It sends the message that sexual intimacy should always be an available option, whenever the couple so desires. But chastity is not something couples should throw out the window as soon as they pronounce their “I do’s.” Every privilege in life, including the gift of sex, must be treated with due responsibility and moderation. Contraception, however, sends the message that having sex is consequence free, thus impacting the level of commitment and reverence properly owed to the nature of sex.
Contraception also perpetuates the idea that pregnancy is something to be avoided—an obstacle to our enjoyment of sex until it fits with our plans for the future. Yet within marriage, couples enter into a promise with God, as well as each other, that respects His sovereignty to use them to bring new life into the world. With sex, we are called to offer our entire selves to each other. But by using birth control, we’re withholding more than our fertility; we’re holding back the trust that comes with allowing God’s will to reign over our own.
Openness to procreation transforms every sexual experience into a meaningful expression of unconditional commitment, rather than a momentary exchange of satisfaction. So what is a couple to do? Am I suggesting that all couples need to birth their own colony of children by conceiving every time they have sex? Ah, no.
God has created women with an incredible ability to read the signs of her body and accurately know when she is fertile, and when she is not. Scientific research has brought us far beyond the primitive “rhythm method” and has given us the Creighton Method, Billings Ovulation Method and SymptoThermal method—all examples of well-researched systems of fertility awareness. These methods have proven to be just as effective, if not more effective, than any method of contraception. If a couple prayerfully discerns that they must avoid pregnancy for a time, they need only abstain from sex for her 5-7 fertile days a month. This method is so beautiful in that it allows the couple to communicate, learn self-control, and to express their love in other ways, with an equal passion.
As Christians, we are continually challenged to step above the expectations and norms of society. Why not step up to a challenge as enjoyable as this?
For more information on the research mentioned above, visit www.1flesh.org