Reproduction is about the creation of life. Conception is truly amazing. It’s also a responsibility. To bring a new life into the world, involves a great deal of work and the need for parents to take responsibility for a child’s daily care and development.
Without contraception a woman risks pregnancy every time she engages in intercourse. In prior centuries, without modern science, childbirth was one of the top causes of death for women. The laws and law enforcement that oblige men to pay child maintenance (if they can be identified and apprehended) are also very recent. Previously a woman and her family had to pick up the burden of raising a child without the financial and practical support of a father. Men are not nearly so willing as women tend to be, to take responsibility for the consequences of unprotected intercourse.
Men’s sex drive causes them to view intercourse as an erotic act associated with pleasure. They rarely consider the reproductive consequences that women are more aware of. Marriage is necessary because men do not necessarily assume responsibility for the consequences of intercourse.
Children need to appreciate that family life involves a great deal of work and patience for parents. Boys should be encouraged to participate in family life and allowed to grow up with confidence that their contribution to the family is valued. Girls should be encouraged to give some thought to how they will pay for the costs of family and what they think a man wants from the relationship whether he is the breadwinner or not. The number of single mothers is increasing as governments pay benefits to women who raise children alone and as courts try to enforce (sometimes financially crippling) maintenance payments on the child’s father. Single mothers face many challenges when raising children alone.
Many women want to spend their lives raising their children. So they want the financial security of marriage to ensure that they can raise a family. A woman needs to find a man who cares about her enough to be willing to support a family. A man needs to find a partner who loves him enough to provide him with the sexual outlet he needs by investing in the couple’s sexual relationship. Many men are not prepared for the work involved in family life. They expect their relationship to continue as before the couple had children. This may be a reason for a couple to decide against having children. So that they can focus on their relationship and spend their leisure time on adult pursuits.
Regular intercourse is an implicit assumption within marriage or heterosexual relationship. The religious justification for intercourse was to enable a man and a woman to have children. The intercourse frequencies are never specified. Frequencies are not defined in terms of reproductive necessity but in terms of a man’s sex drive (with no upper limit).
It’s not men’s fault that they have become more easily erotically aroused over time. This is an evolution that has caused our populations to increase and for many men to be sex obsessed. Sadly, women have not had the benefit of the same phenomenon. So it’s also not women’s fault that they do not have a regular need to engage in intercourse. The mismatch between men’s desire for intercourse and a woman’s willingness to provide it, is one of the top causes for marital disagreements around the world.
Even today many wives are dependent on their husband’s earnings during child-raising years. A woman may feel obliged to co-operate with her husband’s desire for intercourse on the basis that he is paying the bills. She may also fear that he will leave her for another woman if she doesn’t fulfil his sexual needs. She may decide to go along with sex as long as the children are at home just to keep the family together.
If a woman falls pregnant a man may blame her for not taking the necessary precautions. Men rarely take sole responsibility for contraception. The (contraceptive) pill is taken by the woman and stops her ovaries producing an egg. A condom is a rubber covering worn by the man over his penis during intercourse that prevents his semen entering the vagina. A woman can also wear a rubber diaphragm over her cervix (end of the uterus). The coil is inserted by a doctor. The coil prevents sperm entering the uterus. There is also a ‘morning after’ pill to be taken the next day after having unprotected intercourse.
Women are also held responsible for abortion. Religious beliefs about conception attribute a soul to a zygote just a few seconds old. In the past, even rape has not been considered sufficient reason for a woman to have an abortion. Some countries (most of Europe) allows a woman to choose an abortion without the agreement of the father within the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. Shame and fear of reprisal cause women to delay getting help when they fall pregnant. Others are ignorant of the symptoms of pregnancy or of the cause.
It is easier to abstain from sin when one is not physically or psychologically endowed with the capacity – or with much capacity – to sin. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)