Is this normal?

mls0520July 17, 2007

So, for religious reasons, my husband and I do not use any form of contraception. I knew this was what we were planning, but I had no idea how hard it would be. We conceived our 1st the second month we were married. We conceived our 2nd when the 1st was only 7 months old. I hadn't adjusted to being married yet, let alone motherhood. (We've been married a little over 3 years now)So now, I am so cautious about getting pregnant, that I think too much about the possible ramifications and I don't enjoy sex like I used to. On top of that, I keep a 3 week window every month that we don't have intercourse in order to ensure pregnancy prevention.

The reason I ask if this is normal is because, my husband doesn't seem to struggle with "going without". Yes, we have two toddlers and he works 40 hours, but is that enough to kill his sex drive? When he does want it, he'll come up behind me and bump up against me, or grab me when I hit the sheets. This irritates/annoys me so much because I don't get any physical affection otherwise. It's all or nothing, and I hate that. Frankly, I'm not attracted to him anymore, and I think that it's because I feel like I'm just "take it or leave it" for him.

The irony of it is that I believed that abstaining every month for a week or so would make our sex life more exciting. But it seems like it's driving us apart. He grew up very conservative and though I share many of his beliefs, I'm not opposed to using condoms. But I don't know how to bring this up to him- I don't know if I even have the right to.

So, is it normal for him to not want it more, on the basis that he knows he's not getting it anyway? And what do you all think this practice would do for your marriage? Would throwing birth control out the window make you or break you? Anyone's opinions or experiences- I will be so grateful for.

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Of course you have the right to bring it up, you are half of the marriage. Yes, that would make or break me. I would NEVER live a life without birth control, married or not. You can only physically/mentally handle so many children. Does he understand that your fear of pregnancy is why he is rarely getting sex? If his sex drive is that high, maybe he be willing to consider birth control because you will be willing to have sex more often. If he hates condoms, there is always bc pills, that he doesn't have to worry about at all.

You are in a very tough position. I feel for you.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 2:25PM
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With all due respect to your religious beliefs, this is just not practical or responsible in the beginning of the 21st century, when the planet is seriously overpopulated and people expect some level of quality in their marriages and in their relationships with both their spouses and their children. You and your husband have EVERY RIGHT to set up your sexual life and your marriage in a way that benefits both of you (and your children) and makes your life liveable. Talk to him.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 2:57PM
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It sounds like your husband's sex drive is low, right? Increasing your sex drive (more or less) by allowing contraception is probably just going to make matters worse for you, right? Am I missing something? You're just gonna want it even more and he may just be the same old, same old.... like once or twice a month coming at you as he does.

I think a long talk is in order between you two. Your form of conception (or not) is really a personal thing between you and your husband and is especially hard for others to give advice on if they don't share your religious values. Obviously it's your faith so maybe talking to someone at your church or getting more info from them about it would be an idea. I do have a relative that I know practices the same as you do and it doesn't appear to be a big issue to them. I would bet there may be things that you may be able to use (fertility kits, etc) to help you out. Still, though, the route of your problem seems like a lack of desire and real intimacy for each other. I am just not sure using condoms or going on the pill would help that. Maybe some counseling would be in order. And, just off the top of my head, you know there are a lot of intimate things that a couple can do that won't make a baby...maybe you could explore that kind of stuff on your off days.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 4:41PM
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Your husband's sex drive could be affected by his fear of having too many children, more than he can afford. After a period of abstainence, the sex drive overcomes him in a fit of relaspe, and afterward, he is scared that you are pregnant again. Secretly, he may not trust your keeping a good enough calendar to avoid pregnancy. After all, two children came on the scene before you two were well aquainted with each other.

I'd say its time to open discussion about methods of birth control, including vascetomy.

As to the problem of him treating you as an object of "instant gratification" without a moment's notice; A dialogue should be opened between you and him about this. Maybe a counselor could help. He needs to know how you feel and why - don't hide it expecting him to read your mind. If he does not respond to this need, a seminar in sensitivity training might in order. Men and women have different responses and speeds, futhermore, there is much varation within each sex, male and female. It gets too complicate for me. The important thing is to begin a frank discussion.

Disclaimer: I am not a therapist nor claim to have any special knowledge of this subject. I believe that it is important for a couple to set aside a time for each to calmly express their thoughts and feelings, a time to clear the air.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 1:02AM
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Scarlett- I know it's hard sometimes not to be judgemental, but seriously? "Not practical or responsible in the 21st century"? How is the planet overpopulated? Says who? With the abortion rate as it is, I don't think there's even a remote chance of that happening-- Don't believe everything you hear in the media- they want us to think their way. Think for yourself. And who says that the quality of a marriage automatically goes up because you use artificial birth control? For me, this has more to do with the frequency of sex and what factors affect that. I was wondering if a guy knows he's not getting any anway, if it's normal not to want it more.

Carla- I found your advice very helpful. You're right- this is an intimacy issue and right now, it's missing. I'm blaming it on lack of sex, but I see it's probably the other way around. Also, it's difficult for me to decipher whether or not his sex drive is normal or low, because I've never been with anyone else. But 3 years into our marriage, it's less than I thought it would be. So his low libido could be a physiological factor as well. I thank you for your advice.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 3:08PM
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"So now, I am so cautious about getting pregnant, that I think too much about the possible ramifications and I don't enjoy sex like I used to. On top of that, I keep a 3 week window every month that we don't have intercourse in order to ensure pregnancy prevention. "

Well - Your marriage is certainly hurting because you're not using "artificial birth control."
Oh wait -- It's because you're afraid of getting pregnant that you can't enjoy sex.
But then, the part you don't seem to be admitting is that you're so afraid of getting pregnant because you're not using reliable "artificial birth control."
You say you're willing to use condoms -- Yet you're not willing to talk to your husband about using them.
You said your libido is low. Yet you're also complaining because your husband's libido is low. You seem to want him to want more sex, but you're reluctant to give it to him when he does!

MLS -- The way you've structured your arguments, you've put yourself in a box with all sorts of obstacles and no way out.
Let me reiterrate the key part of that sentence: "you've put yourself"

Try to rephrase what it is you DO want without any 'buts'. I think it's probably as simple as this:

- Being able to enjoy a satisfying intimate sexual relationship with your husband without undue fear of pregnancy.

There are more choices in birth control than ever before. Have you carefully and thoughtfully considered every one of them? Because your current form of birth control just isn't working...

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 10:26AM
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My mother ended up having 9 kids trying to do it your way, mls0520. She didn't want 9 kids. She and her husband tried and tried to avoid having them, but some people are just very fertile, no matter how carefully they stick to NFP. Do you want to keep churning out child after child? Would you prefer to have a healthy sex life with your husband without the fear of pregnancy every time you and your husband make love?

If there is a God, he gave us minds and the ability to solve our own problems. I don't see how having sex with NFP is any different than using contraception. You're still having sex hoping that you won't have a kid. If you're willing to go down that slippery slope, then you might as well start using birth control. Otherwise, if you're truly doing it for religious reasons, then you should be having sex any old time, and damn the consequences; anything else is hypocritical.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 11:49AM
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I can understand a young mom with two small kids not having time or interest in world news, so I have got you a little information from the World Health Organization, a well-respected international group with no Republican or Democratic ties.

"The population that the Earth can sustain is about 6.5 billion. We are now at 4 to 5 billion and climbing by 91 billion every year." Yes, we have famine, AIDS, wars and natural deaths but we also have improved water, medicine and a much longer life span every generation. "Anericans are about 5% of the Earth's population and we use up 25% of its resources." That is why I say it is not responsible to breed as if we were back in the 19th century. You have a computer, look up overpopulation for yourself if you think this is not true.

You told me to think for myself, I would point out that no organization is telling me when or how to have sex with my husband.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 2:26PM
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I don't know what religion you are, I am Catholic. As a Catholic, I have been told that birth control is against God's will, is condemed by the church and will end up with me in Hell. But, there are methods, such as rythemn and mucas (that was taught as part of my pre cana class). Also, some priest do feel that the intimacy of sex in marriage is something that builds the relationship and therefore will sort of on a hush hush basis say birth control is not the great evil it is made out to be.

I will not and cannot condem anyone for following a religious belief, but there are loopholes~ ! If you marriage fails, will that be a greater "sin" according to your beliefs? Does your religion supply counseling for this type of discussion? Marriage encounter, or even someone you could talk frankly to in a totaly private and non-judgemental manner?

By the way, condoms are ok, but to be effective they do need to be used with a spermicide.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 5:42PM
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Two conceptions within the short period of time you described would give most folks a clue their chosen birth control method was bogus. It is incredible to me that anyone in 2007 would voluntarily submit to such an absurd, intrusive, proscription.

But, who am I to impugn anyone's religion? Can't mess with the sacred, you know. Only be aware that those who promulgate the rules you've chosen to live by won't be sending you checks to help raise the children you'll be having many more of.

Sexual sharing has countless variations that do not involve coitus/pregnancy-risk. If, hopefully, your religion does not have restrictions on learning about those, I suggest you explore them.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 1:38AM
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Rhythm Method, is worth checking out for a non-contraceptive form of birth control.

Some religions neglect to adapt for the modern era.

I totally agree with Asolo, again !


    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 3:41AM
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popi, as I mentioned in my post, that's no guarantee. My mother had 9 children under the Rhythm Method.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 12:50AM
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Oh heck, rivkadr, that's nothing my 'Catholic' friend just had a baby and her husband had a vasectomy a couple years back...not sure what's going on there--Maybe God's way of getting back at them for the vasectomy --LOL

And, haven't you heard, I think the Rhythm Method has been perfected--LOL-- Well, at least updated with some other inclusions. Here's a link I found for the OP. Not sure if these methods are approved by her Church but I would bet she could track that down and I bet there's more info. like this out there or that her Church could give her.

Here is a link that might be useful: Natural Birth Control

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 1:14AM
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Updated, sure, but it's still not great. Have you read the stats on it, in that page you linked to:

# Perfect use: If used exactly according to the directions, between 2 and 10 women out of 100 might become pregnant in one year (depending on the FAB method used).
# Typical use: For typical users, between 12 and 25 women out of 100 might become pregnant when using FAB methods for one year.

So...the failure rate for typical users is somewhere between 12 and 25% (and let's be realistic -- most people are going to fall into the typical user crowd). That's a pretty crappy birth control method, if you ask me.

As I stated earlier, I just don't get it. If the reason someone doesn't use contraception is for religious reasons, then shouldn't they never be trying to prevent conception? How is using Natural Family Planning any different than using a condom or the birth control pill? You're still interceding YOUR will before God's by trying to keep from having children. If your answer is, well, if we use NFP, then there's still the possibility that we may have children, we're not really trying to prevent God from giving us kids, just making it a little more difficult -- guess what. No birth control method is foolproof. Any one of them can fail. If there is a God, and he really wants YOU to have children, don't you think he can get around a little latex sheath, or some hormone pills?

I just don't see any difference between using NFP or some more scientific method form of contraception -- once you've made the decision to not have anymore kids, it's you now over-riding God. The method is incidental.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 1:45AM
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Well said, Rivkadr --
But you can't expect a logical argument to prevail over an illogical belief.
Apples and oranges...

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 12:42PM
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And, sadly, you can't expect someone who doesn't understand everything about a religion to know or respect it enough to to not call its teachings illogical. I love it when people make assumptions about religions they know "NOTHING" about. Logic should tell them not to --LOL

So, sweeby, what completely logical religion do you believe in; that truly logical one without a god?

Apples, and oranges, and bananas (All religions and even lack of them are illogical to many trains of thoughts especially those that don't believe in the specific religion - go figure)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 6:16PM
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Well, carla35, explain it to us, then, rather than attacking in return.

It's easy to say "You just don't understand," but if you can't actually explain it, then people like sweeby and I are going to persist in thinking that those who follow such dictates as "illogical". Where I stand from, it certainly doesn't make any sense.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 6:25PM
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Faith is believing in something that does not rely on material proof. I am Catholic. I haven't seen or touched God, but I believe in Him. As my heavenly father, he has boundaries for me that help me be a better person. The catholic faith is rich with guidance and wisdom that helps me be in touch with what God wants of me. One of those boundaries is to not use artificial birth control.

Popi- I believe that the Catholic church is the only church that has not "adapted to the modern era" by not allowing birth control. The reasoning behind that is that with the use of A.B.C., morals can begin to degrade, women end up bearing most of the responsibility for the couple's fertility, and abortion rates skyrocket among those using ABC.

Rivkadr- I have not "churned out" any babies. I have given birth to two breathtakingly beautiful souls. I don't know what "number" you are in your family, but could you honestly look at sibling 3-9 and imagine life without them. Honestly.

And to be clear, the fundamental difference between ABC and NFP is that in ABC, you are DOING something (CONTRA-cepting) in order to avoid pregnancy. In NFP you are ABSTAINING in order to avoid pregnancy. With NFP, fertility is cooperated with. With ABC, fertility is effectively shunned.

There have been some very callous remarks made about my beliefs on this thread. It's alright if you don't understand. Normally, though it seems that people who are not "religious" consider themselves "open-minded". Why can't open-mindedness then, include room for those who believe differently than you?

Carla35 and susan_in_nc, thank you for your input. :)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 7:04PM
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I'm no expert and I'm sure you could find your answer out there if you were really interested. Which I gotta add, I'm not. Although below I did try to explain it to you just to be a good sport. I have to admit I didn't even read your post; It looked too boring to me. I was just refering to sweeby's comment to you.

This post wasn't suppose to be about calling the teaching of a religion illogical. I just respect religions enough to know I'm not going tell anyone they are illogical for not eating pork, not dancing, not drinking alchohol, not eating meat on Fridays, or even not believing in a any kind of god. The teaching and followings of people's religions, no matter how seemingly illogical, are their business, not mine. I'll help them work within their value structure, not around it, make fun of it, or call it illogical. I have studied enough religions to know they (and lack of them) are ALL illogical...that's why they are based on faith and hope, not logic, so to attack one, especially one you know nothing about, is just idiotic, IMHO.

I believe the Catholic birth control thing may see a difference between "doing something unnatural" and "not doing something" to prevent pregnancy, and also having to still remain open to the "possiblity of pregnancy" at all times. Although, I'm sure I can't explain their entire teachings on sex and birth control here. Look it up yourself if you're so interested. I found a site but don't feel comfortable posting the link since religion isn't supposed to be discussed. But info. is out there although I would bet you would find even the most logical explanation illogical if it doesn't correlate to your personal beliefs so why really bother anyway.

You're not really interested in being enlightened or you would have already looked it up yourself; you just want to put me on the spot and I'm not a poster child for the Catholic Church. I just like to see common respect for all religions on these boards if topics veer that way.

By the way, when looking it up I found an article that said that those Catholics that practice NFP have a lower divorce rates than those that don't -- funny, maybe even illogical to some -- but maybe that tid bit does mean something, at least to the original OP.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 7:17PM
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rivkadr you haven't read my post. So you can't even directly respond to my questions. Your response is basically pointless, then, because it doesn't answer any of my questions.

I don't particularly care about the "teachings" of a religion. I want to hear from someone who is actually religious, who can explain to me how they personally justify the reasoning (as explained in my own post...if you'd actually read it) in their own head. I fully understand if someone doesn't want to do that; looks to me like you're not the right person to be doing it anyway.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 7:21PM
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As MLS stated: "Faith is believing in something that does not rely on material proof."

Believing in something in the absence of scientific proof is 'faith' -- not 'logic'. I'm not saying religion is foolish, invalid, or even incorrect -- just that it's illogical, that it's not scientific.

It's not SCIENCE, it's FAITH.

It's an apple, not an orange.

I don't mean to devalue anyone's religious beliefs -- only to clarify that religion and science are different, and that the two don't mix well.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 9:38PM
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Just trying to lighten the mood up a bit here - rivkadr, obviousy your mom had no rhythm! (Okay, feeble joke.)

I have seen these little gadgets for people who are trying to conceive that tell you when you are ovulating - would one of those work?

And if all the good people who practice "artificial" birth control and have an understanding confessor are going to Hell - they had better add some extensions onto that area of Eternity.

My husband's mom (who was a practicing RC) asked her doctor for some help after she had four boys. (This was in the late 1950's.) He said she didn't have the right to ask for sterilization. She went on to have 5 more. My own mom also asked her doctor to stop the pregnancies after 3 children - she got the same answer. She barred her husband from her bed and ruined the marriage. Women had no choice up to very recent times. Today we have more choices than women at any prior time in history - and it can be very confusing sometimes.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 3:30AM
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Are there people within your church you could trust to advise you about these matters? In this diverse cyber-forum I think its only to be expected that your personal prohibitions would be challenged. I'm thinking if you're seeking advice consistent with your religion's teachings, seeking it within that body may be more comfortable. The Catholic church has been around an awfully long time. They've certainly dealth with issues like yours before. If these are the people you've entrusted the conduct of your life to, surely they would be best able to help you with this concern while supporting your belief-system.

I wish you well, but there's nothing I can offer that wouldn't challenge you in an objectionable way. From reading various other posts, I think I'm not alone.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 11:22PM
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The good old condom, an ABC, goes a long way to prevent the transmission of AIDS.

I would question a religion that prevents the use of condoms in these circumstances.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 3:57AM
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Yo, Popi....don't believe AIDS is concern of this married, religious OP.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 10:55AM
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To mls0520,
I am concerned that you have to ask if you "have a right to" bring up issues of family planning to your husband. What would make you think that you don't have that right?

You have the right, and the obligation, to discuss with your husband anything that is harming your marriage, especially something so fundamentally important as family planning. You absolutely must be on the same page regarding family planning. He must know that you are afraid of becoming pregnant again and that it is hurting your feelings towards him. He must know that you need physical attention even when you are not having sex. He cannot help the situation or change anything if he doesn't know there is a problem. That's not fair to him or to you. You must plan a time that you can discuss these issues with him, and sooner rather than later.

I can't answer your question about whether or not your husband's sex drive is normal.

As far as birth control, if there was any risk of me getting pregnant, I would not have sex. Period. I am on depo-provera for birth control and will be until such a time I can no longer become pregnant. Both DH and I agreed long before we got married that we did not want children. Neither one of us have any religious reasons not to use contraception (I'm atheist, he's agnostic at best). If we did not agree on these fundamental issues, there would not be a marriage.

This is a serious issue and when religious beliefs enter into the discussion it makes for less willingness to compromise. I hope you and your husband are able to work things out.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 5:56PM
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Wow! I am non-denominational, because denomination is man's doing, not Gods. However, there is no place in the Bible that states, it is a sin to use birth control. Catholicism promotes letting nature take it's course, we have all witnessed how that theory works in Africa.

Yes, the population is growing too fast, the effects on our eco system have been profound. Take for example the rain forests, because of population growth, the need for fuel (wood), grazing land, and crops, are rain forests are being destroyed. Keep in mind the rain forests provide our earth with 60% of it's oxygen. So, at the rate we're going, with hundreds of acres being destroyed daily, what difference does it make to have a pack of kids, we're killing ourselves slowly but surely.

Let's be realistic, without being disrespectful. Any number of different faiths may suggest or strictly promote the non-use of birth control. I do not believe anyone or any institution has a right to dictate what a husband and wife should do regarding children or birth control. Why in the world would anyone think a kind and loving God would punish you because you didn't want to have more children. This is not God's suggestion, it is the churches, guidelines that were written centuries ago.

Any church or religion should respect a couples right to determine how many children they are willing to conceive, it is afterall, the parents responsibility to feed, clothe, and educate these children. I doubt that any particular religious institution will be willing to step in and suplement incomes!

In reality, it sounds as if MLS is possibly involved in a religious faith that stresses "submission" to the husbands. All to often "submission" is taken out of context, it does not translate to "slavery."
The fear of pregnancy can zap the life out of any sexual desire. For many reasons, having two babies before you even had the chance to get comfortable in your marriage only made it that much more difficult. Not to mention 2 little ones within such a short period of time, no doubt sent waves of terror through your husband.
For you having two toddlers put's a lot of stress and responsibility on your shoulders, not to mention the work involved. You must be exhausted at the end of the day. Sex quite possibly being the last thing on your mind.

I don't know what faith you are affiliated with, but for the sake of your marriage and to re-ignite a little passion, without fear, I would consider the use of some form of BC. Using a ovulation detector is probably not the best idea, sperm can live for some time, putting you at risk for an unwanted pregnancy.

Talk with your husband, tell him how you feel, and find out how he feels. He may very well be afraid of impregnating you once again, which is why his sex drive is low. (reluctance rather than lack of drive)

If I were in your position, I would turn to the word of God, the Bible, you will not find any verse that suggests it is a sin to use b.c. It does say "be fruitful and multiply," and you've done that.

All of your posts are obviously heart felt, and sincere, it is touching to see how women really care for one another, and want to support and help as much as they can.
(the men too) love the opinions from the male point of view.
I think as long as we keep in mind that we are all here to offer that support, even if we disagree with one another, that the words that we share are all meant to be helpful. It's okay to disagree, we all come from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, etc. I respect everyone's opinions, and I am grateful to all of you for your care and concern. Even if I do not happen to agree, I fully realize that it comes from the heart. What a beautiful gift, offered to one another. Afterall, it is what God wants from us, to love one another, to be compassionate, forgiving, it is evident here.

Good luck MLS, talk openly to your husband.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2007 at 12:41AM
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