Friday, June 08, 2007

NFP not for the faint of heart?

In a recent Scientific American article, the difference in effectiveness between natural family planning and the old rhythm method were discussed. Rather quickly the piece digressed into the impracticality of being continent for as long as two weeks:

"[I]t is not right for everyone. requires a strong commitment on the part of both partners."

No kidding? Who would have expected to have to make a strong commitment in a serious relationship, let alone a marriage?

"Naive readers see these results [of low unwanted pregnancy rates], and they think [NFP] is the greatest thing since laptop computers....It's difficult to abstain from sex for two out of four weeks...That's very difficult for young couples."

Naive? Naive to expect a couple to be diligent about something difficult that requires keeping a leash on their appetites? Maybe, but only because they never knew how. They're constantly stimulated through the media and encouraged to do whatever feels good (which is another subject). Remember the "soft bigotry of low expectations?" What do you call it when we don't just expect but approve of animalistic behavior? If you think I'm overreacting, I even heard someone assert that it's biologically impossible for a person (he later retreated to "young man" when some women challenged him; I don't know if any young men did) to abstain from masturbation for any length of time if sex with another person weren't available. I don't think the opposite of his position is naive. I wouldn't even say his position is naive; the word doesn't have a cynical enough connotation.

I sure wouldn't say it's a remotely adult attitude. An adult would recognize there's more to showing love than coitus--heh, okay, an adult would technically recognize that the physical act is one way love can be shown, but I'll be the one to split hairs and be disingenuous around here, if you don't mind. To make the child/adult dichotomy more distinct, permit me to use a different metaphor.

The adult knows that a balanced meal is essential for one's health. An adult can enjoy a healthful main course and well prepared vegetables. The child only wants dessert. He may tolerate the spinach, and will enjoy a hot dog and fries with ketchup if presented to him, but all he wants is the ice cream afterwards. The "child" who doesn't want to put up with the chicken parmesan and carrots of a well-ordered relationship insists that artificial methods be developed and provided so he doesn't suffer from malnutrition, weight gain, and tooth decay. A salad, exercise, and brushing your teeth? "Aw man, all that drudgery will take two weeks! Just gimme some cake now!"

I don't know what's more childish and sad. That attitude, or the attitude that we should cater to such immaturity.

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