Toni Weschler, author of a book about natural family planning for adults, decided to bring this information to teenagers. Her new book, “Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen’s Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body,” is designed to teach young women about the hormonal changes and physical indicia of ovulation. Women have used natural family planning to conceive and to avoid conception; it is highly effective at doing both.
Of course, such a book will trigger culture wars. Many parents – quite understandably – worry that teens lack the discipline to effectually use natural family planning as birth control (in order to be successful, a woman needs to chart several pieces of data every day). Other believe that this will help women to know their bodies, and, of course, NFP can be used when a woman wants to conceive.
Both camps miss an essential problem with teen sexuality and pregnancy. Often, teenagers (and adults) have sex shortly after deciding to do so. In order for NFP to work, a couple must abstain from sex during the few days that a woman is ovulating. A woman must also track her cycles for several months prior to having unprotected sex.
While some young women may have the superb discipline to track her fertility, she would need a partner willing to not have sex while she establishes a baseline for her body, and, of course, one willing to abstain when she is ovulating. After having apparent unprotected sex, few teenage boys would really be willing to abstain or use a condom when asked to do so, based on nothing more than a few fractions of a degree difference in their girlfriend’s’ core body temperature.
Edit: Ideally, teens (of both genders) would know about NFP and understand that while all sex need not be procreative, it is inherently exclusive to committed relationships. In a long-term monogamous relationships, a couple need not jump through hoops to avoid pregnancy and STDs: our bodies are simply not designed for the lifestyle promoted by modern progressives.