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Interview with 1Flesh.org president

How 1Flesh makes NFP cool

1Flesh1Flesh.org was founded in 2012 by a group of college students who felt compelled to introduce more people to natural methods of family planning through dynamic social-media outreach and the tagline “Bring Sexy Back.”

Marie-Claire Reer, 23, a newlywed living in Austin and a graduate of CCL’s home-study course, serves as president of 1Flesh. She took time to brief Family Foundations’ Assistant Editor Christina Ries on the popular site, which generates several thousand views a week.

Describe the general approach 1Flesh takes to promoting NFP.

Because 1Flesh believes natural methods are an exciting idea worth sharing, we actively bring fertility awareness content to digital spaces where young adults are already engaged. We’re active on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and share our materials through graphics, GIFs, memes, tweets, blog posts and videos. Everything we share is backed by academic resources.

1Flesh focuses primarily on the benefits of natural family planning. We strive to present these benefits to the public in a way that transcends the contentious debate that often surrounds women’s health. Often, those who practice natural family planning promote it in the spirit of moral opposition to contraception. This practice has the potential to alienate those seeking non-religiously and non-politically tainted information.

1Flesh wants to provide educational materials for those seeking their best options in family planning. Women should be able to look at their options in a safe, non-judgmental environment. We want to invite people to consider what we and many doctors, couples and women believe to be the best option in family planning.

Do you have a certain target demographic?

In short, we are targeting women, men, and couples who do not use NFP. Most people have not been given the opportunity to understand its benefits and many have not even heard of it. 1Flesh believes that natural family planning can offer benefits for all women across religious and political affiliation.

Have you heard from anyone who tried NFP because of your site?

Yes! We get messages daily from couples and women with questions about NFP who want to know more and also from NFP users sharing their stories. We have even received many emails from women who started taking natural family planning classes after visiting our website!

Tell me about the thought process behind your tagline “Bring Sexy Back.”

We chose the tagline because we believe embracing a woman’s natural fertility cycle is, quite simply, sexy. In fact, natural sex is sexy. Natural family planning has no negative consequences on a person’s sex drive, hormonal levels or sexual pleasure. A woman’s natural sexuality and fertility cycle should not be hindered or altered in order to meet her needs.

If a couple is not in the position to have children, they should not have to compromise their bodies, and therefore the fullness of sex, in order to postpone pregnancy when needed. By promoting effective, natural methods of family planning, 1Flesh wishes to empower women to understand and work with their own fertility in a way that includes their natural, healthy sexuality.

GoslingI love the graphics section! The Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” meme is so great.

Different 1Flesh leaders contribute different graphics, and we’re always open to submissions from our community. Graphics have incredible reach, especially on social media, where we often receive thousands of “likes” and hundreds of “shares” on a single image promoting fertility awareness.

Tell me about your university chapters.

We currently have six university chapters and are hoping for three new chapters in 2014. If any students are interested in starting a 1Flesh chapter at their school, they should feel free to contact us!

We have yet to fully integrate our university chapters with our mission, but already students have printed off 1Flesh material and handed them out at various “Sex Weeks” on campus. Other students have hosted NFP teachers to speak on their campus. We look forward to providing our university chapters with more materials in the near future.

Have you received backlash from any feminist groups? Do you consider any publicity good publicity?

No, I do not believe any publicity is good publicity. Thus far, however, we have not had any backlash from feminist groups. In fact, part of our promotion of 1Flesh is that natural methods are made for women. 1Flesh believes that women have a right to better options in family planning, and most feminists would agree. This has become increasingly true as many feminist circles have recognized the potential dangers of contraceptive devices on women’s health.

If being a feminist means wanting better or more for women, then 1Flesh is a feminist organization. Natural family planning, in our opinion, is by far the most pro-women option in family planning out there. Women should not have to potentially alter their bodies, risk their health or give up the fullness and enjoyment of sex in order to meet their needs. Fertility awareness does not ask her to do this but rather to embrace her power as woman.

I see that the Huffington Post’s Emma Gray wrote a critical, misinformed piece about 1Flesh. Was this frustrating?

Emma Gray’s article was partly misinformed and clearly coming from a defensive position. I cannot say, however, that her article frustrates me. She focused much more on 1Flesh’s disagreement with the use of contraception than on the beautiful option of fertility awareness that 1Flesh wants to present to society.

Additionally, the article was written back in 2012. At the time, 1Flesh was more focused on arguing against the use of contraception than promoting natural family planning as an effective, positive alternative. 1Flesh’s priorities have since changed. Many couples may not be in a position to have children and their concerns and needs should be respected. I cannot blame these couples for acting defensively when they believe their livelihood is under attack. Instead, we should present better options non-judgmentally. Natural family planning addresses a couple’s need for effective family planning and also gives them added benefits.

1Flesh has made a much more conscious effort over the last year to ensure that what we present to the public are solid facts, not mere potential causes from correlation. This makes it harder to get into sidetrack debates on sexual health and would make Emma Gray’s article much harder to write today.

On the flip side, have you received criticism from traditional groups for being too edgy?  

We have not received much criticism for being too edgy. We have, however, received criticism for not focusing on the moral reasons the Catholic Church supports NFP. We do not give much focus on the openness to children as gifts from God. While we do agree that openness to potential life within sex is important, our target demographic is not made up of devout Catholics who already use and support NFP. Nor is our target demographic those who opt to never use any method of family planning. We are trying to reach women, men and couples who need a better option in family planning and we need to address their concerns. These couples are generally concerned about NFP’s effectiveness, their health and economic benefit, their impact on the environment, their relationships and their lifestyle.

Our content generally focuses on these points. We pray that by embracing the power of their fertility, their God-given ability to create life, our audience will develop a deeper openness to God’s will and to children through their own free will.