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Modern Rhythm

Finding 'Safe' Sex Days

Not for Everyone continued...

Some also may find it difficult to cope with the seven- to 10-day abstinence period when the woman is fertile. "Sexual spontaneity in this country is a big deal," says Pasos. "Many people don't want to think about birth control all the time."

And because this method offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases (unlike, for example, condoms), it is not an acceptable choice for those with multiple sexual partners.

Still, many proponents of natural family planning find it easy to follow the routine once they get used to it. "The measurements you take every day are really easy," says Beth, a doctoral student at the University of California at Berkeley. She and her husband, Peter, who asked that their last name be withheld, started using natural family planning a year ago. "The temperature part is a piece of cake."

Best of all, she says, she has gained more control of her health and has become her body's best expert. "I'm actually proud of how much I know about my body now," says Beth. "I notice changes I'm going through every month. I know my fertility cycle. I feel more in touch with my body."

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