Intentional Intercourse

All natural fertility methods require the couple to abstain from sexual intercourse during the time of combined fertility if they wish to avoid pregnancy. While this period of abstinence (typically 8-12 days) will at times be difficult, fertility is only one of many reasons for abstinence in a couple’s life. Stress, tiredness, separation due to work commitments and sickness are just some aspects of modern living that infringe on our availability for sexual intercourse.

All couples need to find creative ways of dealing with the inevitable periods of abstinence. Some couples use times of planned abstinence for non-genital ways of expressing their love and passion for each other, focussing on emotional and verbal intimacy.

A strong emotional connection is an essential part of a satisfying and meaningful love life, and can greatly enhance a couple’s physical intimacy.

Moreover, it is not uncommon for couples to find short periods of abstinence helpful in keeping their sexual expectations of each other balanced. Many couples experience disappointment and frustration in their sexual intimacy when their relationship becomes dominated by unrealistic expectations of sexual intercourse.

In such situations, ‘performance pressure’ can make both partners feel that they are failing sexually. The regular period of short-term abstinence required by natural fertility methods can provide a ’circuit breaker’ from the pressure to perform sexually, giving couples time to build their relational intimacy and develop their passion for each other.

How couples handle periods of abstinence

“Abstinence does have an upside! You really know what it is to hunger for someone when you have to wait.”John

“Regular exercise, limiting the junk food… these are just some of the things that take effort and self-discipline that we try to do because it’s good for us. The same can be said for natural fertility methods. Abstinence can be a real nuisance, but overall the positives far outweigh the negatives. And in fact, we’ve found that some of our most memorable and sexually satisfying times have been our reunion at the end of a period of abstinence; by waiting during the fertile phase, we find our longing and passion for each other develops.”David

“While I never especially enjoy abstinence when we’re in it, I have to admit that it has its benefits; it provides me with a regular opportunity to remember that it is not only sex, but also love and intimacy that bonds me to my wife.”Charles

Posts in this series

  • Natural Fertility methods: here
  • Avoiding Pregnancy – Confidently: here
  • Achieving Pregnancy – Naturally: here
  • Intentional Intercourse: here
  • A Vision for Life and Love: here
  • The Language of Love: here
  • Natural Method Effectiveness: here
  • Learning Natural Fertility – Links: here
  • Buy the Series here

Manage your fertility - naturally

Francine & Byron Pirola

Francine & Byron Pirola are the founders and principal authors of the SmartLoving series. They are passionate about living Catholic marriage to the full and helping couples reach their marital potential. They have been married since 1988 and have five children. Their articles may be reproduced for non commercial purposes with appropriate acknowledgement and back links. For Media Enquiries Please Contact us here

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