Frequently asked questions


Be honest. What are the REAL difficulties for couples using NFP?

Short answer: Conflict, tension, heartache... *BUT* please read on!

No rose-coloured glasses here! Here are some scenarios to consider: 1.) One or both of you could have a high libido, which makes abstinence pretty hard. Communication during those times can get rough. Resentment for the one "going without" can set in. 2.) Charting may be harder than you think. Do your eyes go cross-eyed looking at several lines? Observing symptoms is one thing. Charting them is another. And yes, we expect you even to interpret the darn things... together! Charting and interpretation may not come so easy for you. If it gets to be too difficult, remember: that is what we are here for! 3.) Talking about your intimate life with anyone other than your spouse can be awkward and painful; but sometimes challenges are the prerequisite to growth! The investment of time, effort, money, energy, and maybe even a few arguments here and there is worth it if it helps iron out some real kinks in your relationship. We get that talking to us may be awkward, but we promise to treat you (and all that you share with us) with utter respect and reverence. We sincerely believe that your marriage is worth it!

How often will we need to abstain?

Short answer: It's grey, but on average 8-12 days (that is, if your goal is to avoid pregnancy).

If you’re practicing NFP to avoid/delay pregnancy, you will generally need to abstain from sex (including all genital contact) an average of 8-12 days every cycle depending on your cycle length. It also depends on how open or closed you are to getting pregnant. If it would be wiser to avoid pregnancy given your situation (like for medical reasons), perhaps a lengthier time of abstinence would be advisable and healthy. Whatever the case may be, we can help you determine what your fertile window may look like. In general, whether avoiding or achieving, we are fans of abstinence. Life will likely demand of you ample enough times of abstinence, but even if you don't need to abstain we would encourage you to try it occasionally. Abstinence will challenge you to look at your motives for sex, to be considerate of each other, to communicate, to express your love and desire in other ways, to live your intimacy more authentically.

What about spontaneity? Does NFP take the fun out of sex?

Short answer: It can, but it doesn't have to.

Having intercourse only when the wife is in the relatively and/ or definitely infertile phases of her cycles (that is, if your goal is to avoid pregnancy) may take the "fun and spontaneity" out of sex, but it also offers a good opportunity for you to show affection to one another in different ways. Intimacy is not achieved only through sexual intercourse, and NFP helps remind us of that. There are many life events that may require abstinence. For example, food poisoning in Mexico during your honeymoon, lengthy business trips, after having a baby (for physical healing and due to fatigue), etc. Whatever the case may be, using NFP helps couples to flex the abstinence muscle. It may help you to know that that NFP helps to build desire. After a period of waiting, when the woman hits the definitely infertile phase of her cycle, often both husband and wife are on board to resuming intimacy. In this way, you both can still be very "satisfied" and all the more united! If the concern over fun and spontaneity really is just a manifestation of your desire for a good, satisfying life, then we would encourage you to look beyond just the factors commonly attributed to a "fulfilled" sex life. Frequent, spontaneous and fun sex do not necessarily equate to better sex or a better life. To us, a good, meaningful and happy life together is one that speaks of authentic intimacy. Cheesy as this may sound, think of the word "intimacy" as "in-to-me-see". We like to think of authentic intimacy as the seeing into and consideration of each others' hearts. It's the art of learning and honouring who and where each of you are. In the end, it's the journey of becoming less focused on yourself and more focused on your spouse and what you have to give.

Will we have to abstain on our honeymoon?

Short answer: Maybe. The answer depends on whether or not you are open to having a "honeymoon baby".

When you think of your wedding, it's hard not to also think about your wedding night right? With so much emphasis on the wedding night from culture and the media, the idea of having to abstain that night (or any time during the honeymoon) may come as a disappointment. The good news is that the shock and disappointment will not and do not have to last. If it is better for you to abstain during all or a portion of your honeymoon, you will still consummate your marriage; you will just have to wait a little longer than what you may have originally expected. Your duration of abstinence will depend on your cycle length and where you are at that particular cycle. Abstinence will not be an issue at all for the couple whose wedding night and honeymoon happen to be during their definitely infertile phase. For couples wanting to avoid pregnancy and whose honeymoon period coincides with their their relatively infertile or fertile phase, they may need to delay consummating their marriage until the wife hits her definitely infertile phase. We recognize that you may first receive the idea of abstinence with hesitation, but the beauty of NFP is that you have a choice: what is better for you at this point as new husband and wife? Remember: although abstinence may first appear as something in the way of a couple's intimacy, it really isn't. Abstinence will challenge you to look at your motives for sex, to be considerate of each other, to communicate, to express your love and desire in other ways, to live your intimacy more authentically. Abstinence approached together and with the right heart and mind is unifying. Committing to the authentic intimacy that NFP affords, you may just need to flex the abstinence muscle earlier on in your marriage than expected.

What if I find abstinence difficult?

Short answer: Talk about it with your spouse.

Many life events require abstinence, whether it is after a baby, sickness or separation due to work or otherwise. Abstinence certainly can be difficult and although NFP offers a holistic approach to your health and overall well-being as individuals and as a couple, we would not ever want NFP to cause division between you as husband and wife. Talking to your spouse about alternate ways of showing affection during her fertile time, and being purposeful in doing so, (whether abstinence is actually called for or not) will help you get through those times of the month when you do need to abstain. Remember: abstinence makes the heart grow fonder and the honeymoon phase is just around the corner. We don’t want to sugar-coat it: times of abstinence may indeed be challenging, but we encourage you to at least try it. It's a muscle that can be strengthened and ultimately can help you to grow closer together.