The previous post on Marital Abstinence caused quite an uproar in the blogosphere. I am only going to say two more things about it before letting this topic simmer for a while, and hopefully clear up any confusion on the matter.
1. I advocated the position that as much as possible, the gift of sex and its natural and God-given by-product (Babies) should not be separated. “What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” The increased accessibility of birth control devices and drugs has only made promiscuity and adultery easier since unmarried people are more capable of avoiding the shame of conceiving out of wedlock. Furthermore, it has allowed married couples to view sex as something to be enjoyed for its own sake, rather than the thing for which it was intended.
2. Couples for whom procreation is not an option because of serious medical circumstances are to be pitied, not ridiculed. This is not a blessing, but a curse, due to the fallen world in which we live. Where Christian couples cannot (for serious moral reasons) accept the blessing of children, abstinence from intercourse is preferrable, and the only 100% sure-fire way of avoiding conception; or at least abstinence during a woman’s fertile period (NFP). Other methods of birth control present various complications for married couples. Barrier methods (such as condoms, etc.) reduce sexual pleasure for obvious reasons. They also reduce the intimacy shared between husband and wife. For some women they even cause illness or bleeding because of an allergic reaction to it. Then there are the oral/hormonal contraceptives such as the pill. For many women, the pill gives horrible side effects such as headaches, increased retention of water, and decreased sexual drive, among others. Besides these side-effects, one of the stated purposes of the pill is to keep any fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus by thinning the mucus layer of the uterine wall. That potential in and of itself is enough frighten me of its use. See this link to read more.
For most of us who are married, it is probably unrealistic to suggest that we practice abstinence for the rest of our lives. We love our spouses, and we love being close to them and intimate with them. And we are humans, not robots who can just turn on and turn off our sexual drive. Since one of the benefits of marriage after the Fall into sin is to help people live sexually pure and decent lives, it is better that husband and wife do not deny each other sexual intimacy lest one or the other “burn with passion” and fall into sin.
The benefits of natural methods of birth-control include increased respect for one’s spouse’s body and sexuality; they are safe; there are no social or physical side-effects; and they have been proven highly effective when used properly. I can see why many couples have gone this route, and if we were ever in a situation that we simply could not accept the blessing of children, then I would strongly consider this. For those who are interested, check out this website for more information.