A quick look at a few articles and books from unlikely places is confirming what the Church has known for many decades. Want better sex? And stronger marriage? Hope to avoid breast cancer? Want fewer social problems? Don’t contracept.
The first surprising article, which received a lot of attention when it came out a few months ago, discussed a new study in U.S. News and World Report that asked which demographic has the best sex life. It seem that weekly-Mass-attending Catholics “have the most enjoyable and frequent sex.”
The study, done by the Family Research Council, generally pointed to weekly church-going, monogamous married couples as the happiest. What is interesting is that many religious denominations could fit under that model, but the FRC report specifically speaks about Catholics. And what is it that Catholics don’t do [or shouldn’t do] that most of their Protestant counterparts do? Contracept.
The study did say that knowing one partner was a significant factor in the couples’ evaluations. One can speculate that better sex, as a result of increased communication and self-giving that comes to a couple when they don’t use contraception, also translates into stronger marriages.
Those involved with infidelity and porn, the study reported, not only did not rate high among those satisfied with their sexual activity, but was also linked to such negative effects as “poverty, domestic abuse, crime, drug addiction and loss of job.”
Among non-contracepting couples, the divorce rate is under 5%, which is appealing enough, but it appears that there are other dividends. A recent story in the Los Angeles Times shows that not only parents who are open to life are less likely to get divorced, but so are their children. “Children with a lot of siblings are more likely to marry – and stay married – than are only children or those who grew up with one or two siblings,” the article explains.
While the article didn’t speculate as to the cause, other than that perhaps children need to “suppress the urge to strangle a bullying older in his sleep,” it seems the explanation is common sense. Growing up with more brothers and sisters comes with all sorts of advantages – a better understanding of the opposite sex, growth in essential virtues like patience, and less time being taught that life is “all about you.” There is only so much room on mamma’s lap.
Lower Health Risks
The next selection appears to the be first of its kind: a book by a feminist who truly looks at the harm done to women by the birth-control pill. With the rise in natural and organic foods, and general concern about what we put into our bodies, somehow the carcinogenic feature of the pill, or its other miserable side effects, have been overlooked by the 14 million American women who are currently taking it (as well as left unmentioned by those prescribing it).
In her edgy book, Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control (Zero Books, 2013), due out in the States next month, but already available in Kindle format, Holly Grigg-Spall discusses how the pill can wreak havoc on every system and organ in a woman’s body, leading to things like rage, depression, anxiety, breast cancer, blood clots, and more, with risks increasing the longer the Pill is taken.
Grigg-Spall chronicles how the one-size-fits-all approach to women’s fertility health is difficult to criticize because of the societal and economic pressures pushing it upon more unsuspecting women, starting largely during the teenage years when girls are not autonomous enough to make decisions about their health.
While the author isn’t quite informed as to the real reasons why Catholics reject the pill—at one point she pins it upon misogyny—her courageous take on this taboo topic is much needed, helping to inform women about the truth of that little pill they pop daily.
NBC News reported that September 12th was the “day of conception” in the Volga River Region of Russia, which allows everyone to take the day off for procreating, to help bolster plummeting birthrates in the region. Russia is not alone in its concern about dramatically declining populations.
After decades of hearing about over population—with no discernible explosion—the pendulum of concern has swung in the other direction. In What to Expect When No One is Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster (Encounter Books, 2013) Jonathan Last joins the voices of others (inclduing David Goldman, Mark Steyn, and George Weigel) and asserts that America faces a demographic crisis because women are having too few children. Such a shift in population puts tremendous pressure upon the young to carry the burdens of the aging, particularly straining resources for pensions and health care.
Released in February of this year, the book explains that as a nation, our birth rate is currently 1.94. In the 1960’s the average birthrate was 3.4. Replacement level is 2.1. This shrinking of the younger generations can have dramatic effects on any society as the older members need greater assistance. Japan, Italy and China are among the front-runners in this demographic disaster. In Japan, more adult size diapers are sold now than infant diapers.
Pet ownership, however, is on the rise, Last reports that dogs are outpacing babies 4 to 1 among Americans (the rate is also very high in Japan and Italy). Without something changing in this calculus, one can only hope that these aging pet owners are teaching Fido how to feed them jello, since there won’t be any children to do it for them in their twilight years.
As ever, Janet Smith and Contraception? Why Not. is a great resource on this topic, as is Mary Eberdstadt’s recent book, Adam and Eve After the Pill (Ignatius Press, 2012; see her CWR interview, “The Party’s Over”).