What do men have to say about fertility awareness?
To find out what men think about fertility awareness, I surveyed 23 men on their thoughts. The result is the following information. I have listed their responses after each of the questions below. I have edited for brevity and removed some of the repetitive responses.
If you have a partner who is on the fence about this method, have them read this resource. Fertility awareness works best when partners realize that they are also a part of the equation. Having your partner on board and being able to communicate is vital to succeeding in any of the fertility awareness based methods. I also suggest viewing our intentions scale together. You can find it here: Intentions Scale.
At the end of this article, I have included a list of resources for men to learn more about FABMs.
How long have you been using a FABM?
What type of FABM do you use?
What was the most difficult part of transitioning to a FABM?
“Finding reliable tools and affordable options.”
“Remembering to be diligent with temperature times and logging any inconsistencies.”
“Temping with 2 thermometers (because she has a new one).”
“Slightly more anxiety regarding sex and fearing pregnancy.”
“Seeing my partner suffer from severe period pains.”
“Not being certain of where we were in the cycle after my wife had our 2 children.”
“Establishing and recognizing the patterns reliably enough to trust them.”
“Finding a primary care provider who understands and respects traditional Catholic Christian values.”
“Not being as educated.”
“Believing that it works.”
“Getting to 100% trust the method.”
“As a man, it wasn’t that hard.”
“I was never using another method, so it was pretty easy.”
“Learning the rules and system.”
“Can’t ejaculate in her every day.”
“Not being able to ejaculate in her whenever I want anymore.”
“There were not any difficulties as we transitioned from using a device to using FAM.”
“We weren’t using birth control before so there was no difficulty in transitioning – we also took a class together so it alleviated any issues that might have come up, because I was there for the initial lesson.”
Do you think that men should be taught about FA in school or by their parents?
“Yes. Sadly a man’s opinion over women’s knowledge is relevant. Men can be good allies to promote the exchange of information.”
“Yes, and women too, I feel like I probably know more about it than most women at this point.”
“I don’t think it’s necessary – It’s helpful to learn from your partner how FAM works – It’s fun knowing how that works but I don’t think men need to learn the details necessarily.”
All other answers were “Yes!” “Absolutely” or some other variation.
Has using FA benefited or harmed your relationship in any way?
“It gave me and my partner confidence in our bodies.”
“Greatly benefited in terms of hormonal and physical health, which leads to less frustration. Also being included in the awareness allowed me to feel like I at least could understand the system.”
“Benefited, I suppose. It’s better to know more about my wife and her body.”
“It has benefited greatly due an improvement in mental health due to the lack of hormones.”
“It benefited our sex life a lot and helped us understand each other’s needs more and helps us plan.”
“More communication is always better for marriages!”
“Benefited: my wife was able to use the same techniques to help diagnose some underlying gynecological disease, and our marriage is open to life.”
“It has benefited it.”
“Benefited, with better fertility awareness condom breakage. Less scary. Or more scary if it happens close to ovulation.”
“It’s made us more comfortable where we are at in life since we don’t have to worry about having another kid too soon. It’s also a good way to be supportive of your woman.”
“Benefited. I’m far more aware of my wife’s cycles and health needs than I was before.”
“No. Neither. My partner and I can both live without sex for a week or two every month. But I get to be in control of the pregnancy thing. It’s both good and bad. So it evens out.”
“It had benefited us in many ways. It strengthened our relationship and brought us closer together. My partner stayed healthy and did not add toxins to her body, that’s huge. Also, no stress or pressure about unintended pregnancy. We know exactly how the cycle works.”
“We were both on the same page. I had no issue with my partner using FAM. It definitely benefited our relationship, increasing communication, and helped me understand her cycle – why she feels certain ways during certain times of her cycle.”
What advice would you give to men who are new to FA?
“At first it seems backwards since science has a simple fix for conception: hormonal birth control. Some women are fine on hormonal birth control. Some can be really crazy on it. With some women, it can even kill their sex drive. With mine, she becomes so crazy that it kills both of our sex drives. So we’re doing this weird fertility awareness thing. Here’s my advice if you have a woman like mine. Even though she’s so beautiful and sexy that you just want to risk ejaculating in her to possibly get her off, you can’t do it with this. Yes, it puts more pressure on you to wear a condom and/or pull out, but at least your wife isn’t batshit crazy. And she’s still horny. So it’s worth it. Plus you learn a lot about the female body because I guarantee she’ll keep you up at night telling you about it lol. So don’t complain. We’re still getting laid. Unlike our friends who’s wives are on the pill or IUD. It just puts more pressure on us to prevent a baby. If she gets pregnant again, it’s probably our fault with this. And I’m ok with that. War Eagle!”
“You will wish you had always known this information. Test your pre-cum under a microscope for sperm if you are going to use withdrawal.”
“Knowledge is power and pleasure.”
“To do the research to fully understand the anatomy and physiology which will give you confidence in trusting the fertility awareness method.”
“Good luck m’a friend.”
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions!”
“Be patient and understanding whilst always at least attempting to understand the technicalities surrounding the practice of the method.”
“Read as much information as you can and stay informed.”
“Trust your partner, but do some cursory research as well. You both need to understand it to trust it.”
“Learn the actual science (as in the research literature) behind these technologies. Much of the medical establishment unfortunately has both insufficient and badly-outdated knowledge about FAM. Also, such will only be successful if the couple are both wholly on-board and possess the necessary knowledge, discipline, and self-control to utilize the method(s) correctly, whether trying to conceive or to avoid.”
“Get ya woman on it like yesterday.”
“Talk to your SO and learn from her.”
“Learn about which days are the best to get pregnant; if you want to get pregnant together there is a way to learn the best days with a good degree of certainty. I think other men could benefit from learning this information about their partner.”
“Learn how the world works, and use that knowledge.”
“Listen to your woman and trust what she says about her observations. It’s not like the guy is the one using the method, but it’s good to be aware of it.”
“If you think it’s burdensome, remember the health and relationship benefits far outweigh the daily minor inconveniences. Encourage your SO to do the research to make sure they’re doing it right as well.”
“Shut up, pay attention.”
“If you are concerned about the well being of your partner, you’re more likely to succeed in supporting her and have an involved role in fulfilling both your reproductive goals through fertility awareness.”
“Take a lesson yourself or attend one with your partner, you are only going to trust it if you understand how it works yourself. When you actually see that it makes sense, it’s not some weird alternative thing, you can trust it a lot more.”
Would you like to contribute? If you are a male partner of a woman using fertility awareness, click this link to submit your thoughts on the method. It requires a Google log in, but you will remain anonymous.
Resources for Men
Crash Courses in FAM
“The Rules of the Sympto-Thermal Method of Fertility Awareness” by Jennifer Aldoretta
This resource is a simple overview of the rules with examples. It links to other resources on understanding the female and male reproductive system. This is a good, fairly quick read for men who want to understand the basic rules.
“Natural Contraception: Why I Haven’t Used Birth Control in Over a Year” by Jessie Brebner
Jessie discusses her symptoms that lead her to stop taking hormonal birth control. She then does a brief overview of how the fertility signs change throughout the cycle and how sperm life plays into fertility.
Men and NFP/FAM
“Straight Talk on NFP, Man to Man” by Couple to Couple League
This is a Catholic resource. Religious men may find this resource useful.
“Why Men Resent Natural Family Planning” by Gerard Migeon
This also leans religious but may be useful for men who are having trouble adjusting to avoiding unprotected sex in the fertile window.
“Use of Natural Family Planning (NFP) and Its Effect on Couple Relationships and Sexual Satisfaction: A Multi-Country Survey of NFP Users from US and Europe.” Front Public Health. 2017; 5: 42. Published online 2017 Mar 13. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2017.00042
This is a recent scientific article that studied the effect of NFP on relationships.
“Fertility Charting: What’s a Guy to Do?” by Valerie Pokorny
How can men help with charting? How can they be supportive?