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Why on earth do Catholics believe *that*???
and since I'm promoting lately, I may as well pose a question... 
5th-Mar-2007 09:23 pm
schneckerock
this came up in one of the recent catholicism discussions, but was never really addressed.

what forms of affection are allowed, and what not allowed, during the abstaining period of NFP? I'm thinking a lot of people have the idea that anything goes, as long as it isn't intercourse (that could get you pregnant), and doesn't involve something artificial...
Comments 
(Deleted comment)
6th-Mar-2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
thank you for responding, you have a very beautiful understanding of natural law :) however, remember NFP is taught, for catholics, as the ONLY acceptable means of child spacing allowed. thus many catholics are tying to practice it not because they undertand the meaning behind it, but simply because they want to be licit and follow the rules. the letter of the law, I should say, without understanding the spirit.

I can't assume you've read the discussions over in catholicism as of late, and I certainly won't try to summarize them all for you (there were many) but one point that came up was "In my opinion, avoiding intercourse (but still sharing pleasure) during fertile times is just as "bad" and interfering [as contraception, withdrawl, etc]." I basically had to address that "but still sharing pleasure" comment because no one else did. which is why I posed the question over here as I did, rather than as a more broad understanding of natural law.

btw, you're more than welcome to post posing a new question more suitable to your tastes :) *hopes for more acitivity around here*
6th-Mar-2007 04:44 am (UTC)
I think it's a tough question. Definately tough to answer non crudely. I think it's a good time for a couple to connect in non sexual ways.
6th-Mar-2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
Definately tough to answer non crudely.

I think you just did...

I think it's a good time for a couple to connect in non sexual ways.

:)
6th-Mar-2007 07:55 am (UTC)
There are plenty of affectionate and sexual acts that have no chance of leading to conception.
6th-Mar-2007 11:51 am (UTC)
I think the question was more of a moral/theological question, not a practical one. =)
(Deleted comment)
6th-Mar-2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
I think you miss the point of the question. it's not "how to avoid pregnancy" but why abstaining is OK as far as catholics go, where as condoms, withdrawl, etc. are not. if you're performing "sexual acts that have no chance of leading to conception" it's basically the same as having contracepted sex. (remember, this comm is all about catholic morality here)

NFP teaches that the fertile period is a sacred time during which it's up to God to deciede whether a couple conceives or not if sexual acts take place. if the couple wishes to avoid conception, the couple is to avoid sexual acts all together--even ones that can in no way cause pregnancy. because the idea is not to get the pleasure of the act without the "consequence".
6th-Mar-2007 11:46 am (UTC)
I guess it depends a lot on whether you see what you're doing during the abstaining period as an act/end in itself; or if you see it as part of a longer buildup until the fertile phase has passed.

To my mind, there's a difference, anyway.
6th-Mar-2007 03:52 pm (UTC)
or if you see it as part of a longer buildup until the fertile phase has passed.

this one seems rather.. difficult. I mean, normally when you're building up form something, it's for an act that's what, 15 minutes away? maybe 45 at the most? I can't imagine trying to build up for something that's still days away without getting plain old frustrated. but that might be more of a practical answer than a moral one :P
6th-Mar-2007 11:53 pm (UTC)
I guess it's a matter of mindset, though there are obviously practicalities involved. But we do spend that time actively looking forward to "rabbit season" (as we call my luteal phase! *grin*), so when we're affectionate during a time where we're abstaining, we are looking forward to the time when we can join together again in that particular physical sense. So there's never really a sense of 'completion' during that time, if that makes sense to you. I don't mean 'completion' in the sense of physical satisfaction, I just mean that in our minds, it's definitely a leadup to something more, which we anticipate eagerly.
6th-Mar-2007 11:46 pm (UTC)
It really comes down to the question, then, what does theology of the body say? Theology of the body states (to simplify) that sex is for the purpose of unity, and procreation. therefore, sexual acts outside of this purpose are against God's will. The question then becomes "define a sexual act". Many people consider kissing to be sexual, and therefore abstain from it before marriage. I do not. Where do we draw the line between God's purpose and our own? I have trouble with this, even outside of the context of NFP, just as a person in a relationship.
7th-Mar-2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
it also depends whose theology of the body you're reading, the pope's or christopher west's? I've heard the latter is a rather crude and somewhat innaccurate interpretation.

kissing in itself is one of those things that ranges everywhere from short and merely affectionate, to longer and more passionate. it's hard to lump all kinds into one category.

my husabnd and I refrained from kissing before marriage not because we considered it a sin and wrong, but because we knew the temptation to take it from one kind to the other would be great, and didn't want to see where it would go from there...
8th-Mar-2007 03:13 am (UTC)
Anything goes? No. But I would say it's unrealistic, on a practical level, to expect nothing to happen.

This is an issue with which I have a lot of problems. Why must each and every sexual act be oriented toward procreation as well as unity? That pretty much cuts out any sexual act except for vaginal intercourse. For people like me at least (and I expect I'm pretty normal), limiting sexual acts to vaginal intercourse is detrimental to the unitive aspect of a relationship.

Taken to the extreme, I can see how that argument leads to artificial birth control. My point here is that there surely is a path of moderation.

For me the line gets drawn not so much with specific acts but with the intent behind the act. If it's pure lust, it's not okay. But if it's a buildup like catdraco mentions, or otherwise an expression of love, I don't have a problem with it.
9th-Mar-2007 02:07 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure I read that other acts are ok as long as they're in the same context as a full act of vaginal intercourse so as not to use them to avoid pregnancy. since no vaginal intercourse is taking place during the abstaining times, that makes others off limits too, at that time. it's the pleasure vs. pregnancy thing.
26th-Apr-2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
This is an excerpt from the book Holy Sex! by Gregory Popcak (definitely worth a read - he bases his book on Humane Vitae and the Catechism):

"Done properly and with the right understanding, NFP can be a kind of master class in sexuality, a real education... because it employs a concept known as SPICE. SPICE (an acronym for Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Creative, and Emotional) is best understood as the conscious effort a couple makes to enflame their desire for one another and enhance their intimacy by taking short breaks from genital intercourse while at the same time intensifying the amount of nongenital physical contact (kissing, cuddling, "making out" without going all the way, etc.) and other expressions of affection (such as praying together, making daily time to talk, challenging each other to learn something new together, playing together, making time to share their hopes and dreams)."
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