Question 132



Even more important than preaching about the damage of contraception is teaching about the immorality of sterilization. Too many folks have sterilizations with way too little thought - even folks who know that the church is against birth control pills seem to think that sterilization is OK - or at most a venial sin, easily confessed and forgiven - not the actual mutilation of both body and soul that it turns out to be.

I see a lot of middle aged women who bemoan that they have no desire for their husbands (or anyone, actually) any more - well over 95% of them had a tubal ligation. I can't prove a connection, but I also see lots of post menopausal women that have very satisfying love lives with their husbands - and I can't help but wonder if there is a connection between the tubal ligation and the decreased desire.... --Alicia Huntley

The reduced libido phenomenon was common (maybe even universal) to the 20 Catholic couples that shared their stories in 'Sterilization Reversal: A Generous Act of Love' published by One More Soul, but no longer in print. Sterilization destroyed intimacy; reversal restored it. Truly amazing!
I suspect that some couples see sterilization as a pro-life thing to do in that there is no longer a risk of abortion from hormonal or IUD birth prevention methods. They need a deeper understanding of God's gift of fertility and the sacredness of the body. Rare is the homily on abortion; rarer on contraception; and absent on sterilization. --Steve Koob

You're right Alicia--check out April 2007 Journal of Reproductive Medicine, Warehime, Bass, Pedulla, "Tubal Ligation among American Women". We proved the correctness of what you're surmising. Previous studies let women color their answers (on sexual functioning after tubal sterilization (TS) by their subjective sense of whether TS helped their sexuality or not. American women are conditioned to look at their TS in such glowingly, unrealistically, optimistic terms that this rosy over-optimism about it overpowers any negatives they might otherwise have had, and the insight to attribute that to the TS. That TS “improves sexual function” seems an automatic, unreflective conclusion flowing from the fiat acceptance of benefit of any and all things that "unencumber" sexuality by detaching it from conception.

And of course the like-minded authors/investigators never critically analyze this false equation, having deeply imbibed "the kool-aid" themselves. A good example was Costello in the NEJM I think, from 1998 or so. They simplistically and rather clumsily asked women whether their TS was a net positive or negative influence on their sexual function, without any independent objective data analysis checking that out.

We took the NHSLS dataset (Laumann, U of Chicago) which had TS and measures of sexual satisfaction/function as independent variables so the women merely reported the incidence rather than conceptually or attributionally connecting the two.

Women after TS were 150 to 200 percent more likely to report "stress interfering with sex" or "go to a doctor for help with sexual function", and this was independent of any pain, physical complaints, or post-TS medical complications. 

Powerful stuff! No doubt the majority would have judged their TS helpful to sexuality, even despite these contrary data, because these falsely rosy views are based on strongly pro-TS prejudice, one powerfully reinforced in our "sterilization society".

So you are indeed right.

--Dominic Pedullah, MD