One of the greatest sexual challenges faced by married couples is how to pick a family planning method that will not disrupt their sex lives or, better still, how to enjoy lovemaking without the fear that it could bring an extra mouth into this world.
Family planning, birth control and contraceptives are methods and media used to control and regulate pregnancy. These methods and media involve the use of drugs and devices to prevent the male sperm from fertilizing a woman’s egg. Family planning also enables couples to have the number of children they can adequately take care of. But it is not always a straight forward affair. In fact, it is one of the most personal decisions that couples make in the nearly four decades that constitutes their childbearing years.
Unfortunately, most couples do not make informed decisions when it comes to family planning and when this happens it gives room to an irrational fear that could hinder sexual pleasure between husband and wife.
Controversies and strong opinions surround the subject of family planning. In Christian circles, some argue that children are gifts from God and avoiding these ‘gifts’ hinders God‘s blessing; thus, they consider it sinful to use any method of contraception. But does the Bible not say in 1 Timothy 5: 8 that any one who would not care for his own relations (your children are your closest relatives), especially those living in his own family, has no right to say he is a Christian? God takes care of every aspect of our lives, there is no area that he has not already made adequate provision for; so also should His children, Christian couples, do the same to every child we bring into this world. It is a sin to bear children we are not prepared to rear.
I would advise that couples should decide how many children they are willing to raise and which contraceptives or methods of birth control would be ideal for their family. Personally, I would not advise any couple to go for total sterilization except on health or medical grounds.
Many marriages are not adequately protected from unwanted pregnancies by the couple’s choice of birth control method alone. According to statistics, 47% of all pregnancies are unplanned. Of these unplanned pregnancies, more than 53% of the couples were using some form of birth control or the other. This is why it is important to be informed before making decisions on family planning.
Despite the effectiveness of some family planning methods, the failure rate is high due to two main reasons. One is inconsistency; for instance, wives forgetting to take their birth control pills or not using a condom every time couples have sex. The other reason is incorrect usage such as not inserting the condom or diaphragm the right way or not using enough spermicidal. The myth or personal concerns about the safety of certain birth control options could also contribute to the effectiveness of a particular method. Some wives use particular methods only occasionally, thinking that infrequent use is safer than continuous use. Worrisome side effects are other reasons why most couples may stop using a method.
Sometimes age-related changes can lead wives to believe they no longer need to use contraception. For instance, wives approaching menopause may mistakenly think they are no longer fertile because their menstrual cycles are no longer regular. However, half of the pregnancy that occurs in women over 40 years old is unintentional. Though menopause does mark the end of every woman’s childbearing years, most women are not considered ‘menopausal’ until they have not menstruated for 12 consecutive months; pregnancy can still occur even with irregular periods. The inherent weakness of the particular method could also be a factor-for instance, the rhythm method, which depends on the accurate determination of the time of ovulation, can never be as reliable as intended.
During some users claim to have used birth control pills correctly but became pregnant anyway. Often times, the use of some other drugs is responsible for this. Reports abound concerning the reduction in the effectiveness of pills caused by antibiotics, such as ampicillin and tetracycline or drugs used for epileptic patients or patients with seizure. Drugs like rifampin and grisofulvin sometimes used on tuberculosis patients could reduce pills’ effectiveness since they modify the effects of some drugs. If you are placed on some drugs and, you are on birth control pills you can use a backup method (such as a condom) or you can use a high dose pill and skip the pill-free interval or consider a different method.
To get the best information about any birth control method you need to see a family planning officer, find out the cost, ask yourself if you can realistically use the particular method; find out how to correctly use it and what to do if you forget to use it occasionally. Know all its side affects, what to do about such side effects, and when the effects are likely to stop. But whatever form of contraceptive adopted should be geared towards helping the couple to enjoy themselves.
Although my plan is to fully explain available family planning methods next week, I would dwell on one method this week. This is the family planning method called the traditional methods. These methods involve customary media, such as total abstinence, withdrawal and so on. Experience has shown that total abstinence is the best type of family planning or birth control because it is very effective and certainly has no physical side effects. But as good as it is, it is not something I would recommend for couples. It is only applicable when either of the married partners is not available for a period. However, there are other traditional methods that are bizarre, horrible, weird and absurd; these methods are not only disadvantageous but also non-effective. One such method requests the woman to hold her breath during the man’s orgasm, hoping that a muscular spasm would be created that prevents sperm from entering the womb. Another involves the woman sneezing and blowing her nose very hard immediately after sex to dislodge the sperm from the mouth of the womb. A widely used method makes the woman mop out the sperm from the vagina, cleaning vigorously to kill the sperm or vigorously moving the body to stop the sperm from travelling to the ovary. Women perform various exercises to either dislodge sperm or prevent its entry through the cervix to meet with the female egg. It can sometimes include women jumping up and down for 21 time’s non-stop! These methods are mere energy exertions – they never work.
Funmi Akingbade (Mrs) is one of the few women in Nigeria bold enough to express themselves and champion the cause(s) they believe in regardless of the contrary opinions of the general public. She is the first female gospel minister in Nigeria to boldly author a bestseller on sex between married couples from an African perspective using the mass media and conferences to broadcast the topic to the world. …Read more
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