"Can we have sex" on such-and-such day? This question pops up in follow ups all the time.
Spoiler alert: if you're married and you're both interested in intercourse on a particular day YES you are perfectly capable and you don't have to ask my permission. (Phew!)
Our role as FertilityCare Practitioners is not to tell you when you are or are not "allowed" to have sex with your spouse. Our role is to help you gain a full understanding of your fertility so that you know which days are fertile and infertile and can make decisions about intercourse that are aligned with your goals for your family. Making decisions that are in alignment with your goals applies in every area of your life. If you have a goal of growing spiritually, reading a certain number of books this year or becoming more physically fit, the only way to accomplish those goals is to make daily decisions that align with that goal. Your fertility is no different. If your mutual goal as a couple is to temporarily or permanently avoid pregnancy, then using days or times of fertility for intercourse is out of alignment with that goal.
Our focus in follow up sessions is whether or not you have a good understanding of the system and your fertility. This could be a little confusing because there are "instructions" on the back of your chart that your practitioner gives you. In follow up, your practitioner uses your chart to evaluate your compliance with these instructions and will go over this with you. Some of you (I'm raising my hand high in the air on this one!) are rule followers by nature. So if you and your spouse have used a day for intercourse that is outside of the instructions given to you by your practitioner - great! And completely fine with us! Trust me, I don't want those decisions to be up to me. The thing I will ask you about is if you and your spouse both had an understanding that that particular day was out of alignment with your goals (ie, using a day of fertility for intercourse when you've expressed your desire to avoid pregnancy). The vast majority of the time when I say "did you guys realize that this day/time was a time of fertility?", the answer is some version of "yeah, we just decided we didn't care so much about avoiding pregnancy that day." In that case, fantastic! No further discussion necessary. Other times, the couple really didn't realize that was a day/time of fertility and then in that case we're able to chat about it and it's an opportunity to understand the system better. This is exactly what follow ups are for and one reason why long term follow up is so beneficial for couples.
This conversation tends to be particularly relevant for engaged couples at their last follow up session before their wedding. When a couple is just starting to use the system for intercourse and desires to avoid pregnancy (often the case for newlyweds), the instructions for which days/times are considered infertile are quite limited. The instructions advance and expand in subsequent follow ups but that's usually after the couple has returned from their honeymoon. Not every couple is thrilled about this. They might have envisioned more of a "there's no rules!" honeymoon scenario. This is always an awesome opportunity for a couple to really dive into communication about their goals for their family. Sometimes a couple will decide that avoiding pregnancy at this point in time isn't something they're all that committed to after all. Other times they'll decide that it's worth the effort to only use the infertile days and times for now. Either choice is absolutely valid. As long as you're making the choice with open hearts and good communication with each other, I'm here to fully support you! And one the beautiful things about NFP is that that decision isn't binding until we meet again or for this cycle or even for this week. It's an ongoing to discussion between the two of you that is bound to bring you closer together and help you grow in ways you never thought possible.
I am not the sex police. Nor do I desire to be! So clarify any and all instructions. Ask all the questions to have a solid understanding of the system. Decide with your spouse about your family goals and then enjoy married life!