How Contraception Destroys Relationships

By Vince Sakcsteder

To know how contraception damages relationships call for taking a good look at the way human relationships come about. It all starts with the relationship between a mother and a child. The mother needs a solid, healthy relationship with the father, and the relationship between mother, father, and child becomes the nucleus of a vast array of relationships. It works like this:

Bearing and rearing a child means freely accepting the immense burdens of

• pregnancy

• infant care

• training the child (or children)

• supporting them for many years while they cannot support themselves, and

• providing occasional support and guidance for many years after that.

For this to work well, it requires a strongly bonded couple who will devote a great deal of time, energy, and resources to this process. Needs that they cannot cover will require help from other members of their community, which causes a large network of support persons to grow around them.

How can two free human beings willingly involve themselves in such a challenging process? It seems impossible. But reproduction is so important to our genes that we can say confidently that biology strongly supports this choice. We know a lot about how this happens because we have all seen it happen or experienced it ourselves. It comes in two stages: A) formation of the pair bond, and B) the biological consequences of living as a bonded pair.

A) Pair bonding

We all know bonded pairs. They are pervasive in all societies all over the world. The steps by which the bond forms are very familiar:

1) After puberty we find ourselves attracted to members of the opposite sex

2) One such person begins to have a stronger attraction for us.

3) The attraction strengthens and that person becomes the center of our universe, the most wonderful person we have ever met, the summation of all our hopes and dreams. Lots of songs and poems have been written about this phase. It is intense. This is called “infatuation.” It is driven by a fairly well-known set of hormones that remain in effect for about two years.

4) We spend as much of our time as possible with that one.

5) After much time and much communication, we formalize that bond in a way that involves the wider community.

6) We make a home together and begin having children.

Of course, life is hardly ever this neat and tidy, but these are the basics. We can see the driving force of our genes in every step. For example, people don’t choose to go through puberty, their genes do that for them. Similarly, people don’t choose to fall madly in love with someone, it “just happens.” These are the steps biology decrees for the beginning of the human pair bond, which is the core of the human reproductive strategy.

B) Life as a bonded pair.

After the infatuation, hormones are reduced, and IF the couple has been able to find some common ground, a set of maintenance hormones develops that can keep the bond going indefinitely, but the experience is very different. If, however, they discover that they have nothing in common, the relationship often fails. When they have children, this helps greatly. If they don’t, they still have their freedom. They can find another basis for the relationship, but might not. A significant portion of our married couples divorce after one and a half to two years, and then try to find someone else they can “love.”

Sexual relations, before or after the infatuation period, also produce bonding hormones, but, sooner or later, the effect wears thin. This is a harsh reality, but, like anything real, we can’t ignore it or just wish it away. It forces us to give the relationship a foundation stronger than sensations or emotions or else quit the relationship. We all know people who have gone through this crisis, and we know that some choose one way and some the other.

When children come into an established relationship, another whole set of hormones steps into action. We find child-rearing/family building pleasurable in ways we never would have expected, many of them obviously driven by our biology.

Couples with children will always encounter needs that they cannot meet themselves, so they become the nucleus of a larger community that contributes to the care of the children. Thus clans, tribes, nations, and whole world systems arise.

What can go wrong?

The bonding process can be derailed at almost any point:

In steps 1) or 2) some males find easy pleasure in various experiences of uncommitted sex, and some females may find something satisfying in that also. We all know or have heard of people who, “never grow up.” This forming and breaking of multiple partial bonds becomes unsatisfying, or even miserable, so some wind up looking for something better and may move on.

In steps 3) and 4) the couple find each other intensely attractive and sometimes become sexually involved. When this happens, one of the harsher aspects of biology tends to step in: We are genetically programmed to seek a reproductive partner. For the male, that means finding a mate who will dependably produce only his offspring. An “easy” girl isn’t that. This sort of relationship has no future. Similarly, the female is “programmed” to seek a dependable helper and provider. She really needs an extended period of communication so that she can have confidence in this person. The male also needs to have confidence that this woman is worth sacrificing his freedom and his whole future. Sex at this stage leaves them with unanswered questions and unresolved anxieties which will certainly burden the relationship and may terminate it.

Steps 5 and 6: Once the couple’s relationship is formally and publicly recognized, the beginning of the bonding process is complete. With the arrival of children, the couple’s biology introduces them to many satisfactions they likely never expected. Working together, they acquire a common perspective on many issues. Maturity “happens.” Sexual contact becomes deeply meaningful since they now know by experience that it opens their lives to massive unpredictable changes.

Marriage without children presents different challenges, but if they have done a good job of communicating during the infatuation stages, they still have the strong beginnings of a relationship and can find something that they can share and find mutually fulfilling. They will likely do many small and large things for each other, not based on wanting something in return. They will also find ways to benefit the larger community together “just because”. This is practical, effective love.

Heterosexual contact not dominated by contraception can also have a relationship-building effect. Each member of the pair is risking his or her entire future in every sexual connection. This has a unifying force that defies description. Conversely, sex that seeks only momentary pleasure has a brutally divisive effect, because, in fact, his sensations and emotions can never be her sensations and emotions, and vice-versa.


In all of these phases, the effect of contraception can be, and likely will be, devastating:

The culture of contraception leads people to assume that sex is an intense, but meaningless, pleasure. After puberty, this can lead to many short, painful relationships that make it harder to form meaningful relationships later on.

Contraceptive use during infatuation is likely to lead to premature sexual involvement. The extremely important communication phase is short-circuited, leaving them no way to move forward once the infatuation hormones wear off.

If a married couple uses contraception, they will experience sexual contact devoid of meaning. After repeated sexual encounters with someone who, “just doesn’t care about me,” their relationship becomes more and more abrasive. Sooner or later their reasons for staying together become unconvincing. We see these things happening all around us.

What to do

Humans have an amazing ability to shape their behavior toward satisfying outcomes. Practically speaking, this means that when we know that some behavior will make us happy, we will likely choose that way. The opposite is also true. Note that this is not absolute. We all have experienced making disastrous choices even when we “knew” that trouble would arise. The overall pattern, however, is that we can learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others.

To help ourselves and those we care for, then, means taking three basic steps: 1) know the truth, 2) tell the truth, and 3) live the truth. None of these steps is easy or simple, but if we want satisfying outcomes, we MUST put in the necessary effort. God bless you!!

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