Practicing FAM has benefits for all women, regardless of your relationship status
When we talk about practicing the Fertility Awareness Method to avoid pregnancy, we usually talk about it in terms of committed relationships. This is understandable, because we all know that condoms are necessary in any casual or early stages relationship to avoid contracting an STD. But equating FAM with committed relationships is rooted in the assumption that it’s not an effective method for avoiding pregnancy. It’s also rooted in the assumption that practicing FAM involves no other methods of contraception. Both these assumptions are wrong and have arisen out of misinformation.
The Fertility Awareness Method used within a committed relationship has all kinds of benefits – including increased communication, heightened intimacy, sharing the burden of preventing pregnancy, and being able to go condom-free for most of the month. However, there are also benefits to practicing FAM when you’re single, dating, or in a non-monogamous relationship. Even if your primary method of contraception is condoms or a hormone-free IUD, you can still practice Fertility Awareness and gain from the knowledge.
Some might wonder, why go to all the bother of tracking your fertile signs if you’re single? With technology like Daysy it’s no longer a hassle to practice FAM and the process can be easily accomodated into any woman’s life, from a college student to a mom of three. Practicing FAM is not limited to certain lifestyles or certain kinds of women.
5 benefits of practicing FAM when you’re single
1. If you’re single and dating knowing your fertile window can provide an additional level of caution for avoiding pregnancy. Using condoms and FAM is essentially doubling up on your contraceptive methods, it means you can plan to only have sex (with a condom) when you’re not fertile, making the experience more enjoyable and stress-free, or you can choose to have sex when you’re fertile and use additional natural spermicide for added protection. It also means that if the condom breaks, you’ll know if it’s necessary to use an emergency contraceptive or if it’s not necessary – thereby avoiding the side effects.
2. Hormonal shifts have an impact on how you feel about sex, relationships, and your attraction to others. Being aware of if and when you’re fertile and when you’re not can provide insight into why your Tinder habits change throughout the month. When you’re fertile you tend to have a higher sex drive and might find yourself attracted to different kinds of men. You could see a significant shift between your interaction with potential partners around ovulation in comparison to the week before your period. Knowing this information can add another layer to your dating game – helping you to keep on top of what’s infatuation, simply lust, and those relationships that could become more.
3. When you’re single and not practicing FAM, a late period can cause a whole lot of stress. You think you must be pregnant and can spend days unable to focus on anything else. When you do practice FAM your charts tell you when to expect your period or if it might be late this cycle. Plus, because you know when you’re fertile, if you have a condom mishap you will be well aware from the timing whether there’s any chance that could have led to pregnancy. So instead of waiting anxiously each cycle for a sign of your period arriving, you can just relax and feel confident and in control.
4. Practicing FAM and using condoms (even better condoms and a natural spermicide) is a highly effective way of keeping you safe from unplanned pregnancy. Many single women feel pressured by their partners or by their doctor, or both, to be on hormonal birth control. Yet hormonal birth control can lower your libido, make sex less enjoyable, and skew who you’re attracted to – and that’s just a few of the side effects. Because you don’t ovulate on the pill or most other hormonal birth control methods, you don’t get to experience that heightened sense of attractiveness and attraction to others that comes with the ovulatory phase. The cautionary tales about women who’ve met someone when on the pill and come off later, only to find they’re no longer attracted to that someone, are more than cautionary tales and actually find foundation in research studies.
5. Experiencing a menstrual cycle, unmedicated by hormonal birth control, has many benefits for your health. Tracking your cycle can reveal any issues with your fertility and overall health early on. The information you get from your fertility signs and charts, can help your healthcare provider to diagnose a thyroid problem, infertility issue, endometriosis, PCOS or even provide indicators of food allergies. Early diagnosis can be crucial for getting effective treatment, especially for reproductive health issues. Your charts can even reveal the impact of stress on your body and prompt you to take action. Even if you’re using a hormone-free IUD as your primary method of avoiding pregnancy, you can still enjoy this important benefit of practicing FAM.
Holly Grigg-Spall – Marketing Consultant and Blog Editor
When she came off the birth control pill after 10 years in 2009, Holly decided to write a blog about the experience. That blog became a series of articles, and then book, “Sweetening the Pill,” which then inspired a feature documentary, currently in production and executive produced by Ricki Lake.