- Give Me a Hug, Broby Aaron Milavec
This work has reached the exceptional level
Two brothers, two views of God and sex
Give Me a Hug, Bro by Aaron Milavec
Romance Writing Contest contest entry

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of sexual content.

My father had two sons.  The first he named “Aaron.”  The second he named “Kevin.”

They loved each other fiercely.  They distrusted each other entirely when it came to God and sex.   They had two opposing views of love and romance as well.

Kevin always had a certain insecurity because he was always #2.  Hence, he was prone to compete with his older brother in almost everything.  When it came to climbing trees, using a sling shot, hitting a home run, Aaron always exceeded Kevin.  Aaron tried to encourage Kevin, “Don’t take it so hard, Kevin.  In three years, you will be doing all the things I do and more.  Just wait and see.”

But Kevin was not consoled.  He urgently needed to be #1, and it grieved him that he was not able to do so.  But, then, God heard his prayer, and Kevin, just after his marriage, finally found an arena wherein he could excel over his brother.  Kevin became a “Providentialist.”

“A Providentialist,” he was proud to remind me just about every time we met, “is someone who does not practice any form of birth control—not even Natural Family Planning (NFP) that is permitted by the Catholic Church. This person simply trusts God to give him and his wife as many children as God wants for them—no more, and no less.”

It made me sad to see my brother swallowing the doctrine of the Catholic bishops hook, line, and sinker.  His position would fit well in the 12th century, but it was patently absurd today.  So the next time that Kevin boasted of being a Providentialist, I said to my brother in a very quiet voice, “What kind of father would say, ‘My first child was born with a cleft lip.[i]  God must have known what he was doing; hence, as a Providentialist, I will accept this as God’s will and not interfere’”? 

On the second occasion of his boasting, I said this: “What kind of father would say, ‘My second child was born with myopic vision.  God must have known what he was doing; hence, as a Providentialist, I will accept this as God’s will and not interfere’”? 

On the third occasion, I said this: “What kind of father would say, ‘My third child was born with chickenpox.[ii]  God must have known what he was doing; hence, as a Providentialist, I will accept this as God’s will and not interfere’”? 

My brother was visible shaken every time I said these things. I was raining on his parade.  On one of these occasions, he grew furious and blurted out bitterly, “You are always winning.  You can’t even let me win an argument from time to time.  I hate you!” 

There, he finally said it. His rage had boiled over. I stayed absolutely silent. I calmly looked straight into his eyes, gave him a big smile, and said in a whisper, "Even when you're wrong, I still love you."  Then, I hugged him and held him in my embrace.  This disarming gesture caught him completely off guard.  As I held him, I could feel his pent-up rage dissipating like the end of a thunderstorm.  Hot tears spilled out of his eyes and fell upon my neck. 

We never talked about this.  Neither of us had the right words to say about such an unprecedented event.  If fact, looking back, I would say that something powerfully changed between us.  Words would have only banalized the power of that unique event.

After that event, I realized that I had no interest in upsetting Kevin’s core beliefs.  He had a right to his beliefs, just as I had a right to mine.  Every man puts his life and his future on the line when he confesses his beliefs about God and love.  That's the way things are.  No two men handle this in the same way.

I clearly saw the flaws in my brother’s beliefs; but, upon reflection, I realized that I was blind to the flaws in my own beliefs.  Kevin claimed that he saw the flaws in my beliefs, but, at the same time, he was afraid to listen to me for fear that I might sow some doubt in his mind.  As Michael Polanyi taught me, “Every belief works in the eyes of the believer”  

Even when it comes to deciding when to have sex with his wife, how could Kevin decide whether God wanted them to have sex every day of the week or just on certain days (e.g., on Sundays or on birthdays).  Does this matter?  It sure does!  If Kevin insists that God is totally in change, then God must be seen as exerting his control over the process (how often to have sex) in order for him to better control the outcomes (how many children are conceived).  If God had no rules regarding the frequency of sex, therefore, it must be supposed that even God wanted each set of parents to come to their own decisions as to when and how often they had sex.   

The same thing holds for the position of the partners during ejaculation.  Since God has no rules regarding the advantageous and disadvantageous position of the partners during the time of ejaculation, it must be supposed that even God wants each set of parents to come to their own decisions in this matter. What decisions they implement, however, necessarily has the effect of either increasing or decreasing the probability of conception.  Thus God cannot be said to be the sole determiner of when a conception takes place.

Kevin maintains that he wants to place his family planning entirely in the hands of God.  To maintain this illusion, he has to abandon all attempts to keep track of his wife’s fertility cycle. Furthermore, he and his wife need to have intercourse at random times using random positions so as to convince themselves that they are not trying to influence the outcome.   

But what if God is not in the business of doing family planning for those who fail to take the time and effort to do it for themselves?  Then my brother’s family is cooked!  He is like a man who takes his hands off the steering wheel because he believes that God will take over the driving of his car.  This would invite unwanted accidents to happen. God, after all, does not have a driver’s license, and he has no record of being a safe driver.  So one cannot count on God to do something that he is not prepared to do.  Because of this, I am afraid for Kevin’s future.  This is a reckless way to live.  This invites unwanted accidents.

Even Pope Francis would agree with me.  In 2015, he visited the Philippines and met with the bishops there.  The bishops were taking a tough stand against the government’s new Protective Health Law of 2012 that permits clinics and hospitals to make contraceptives available for the first time.  Prior to this, only NFP was allowed.  The bishops tried to invalidate this Law, but the Supreme Court upheld its legality. At the time of the Pope’s visit, the bishops were busy conducting seminars that were designed to prepare Catholic health care workers to defy the government on the grounds that “on the basis of conscience . . . a health worker is not obliged [to make contraceptive available] and may refuse to refer a patient to anyone else from where the contraceptives may be obtained.”   

Pope Francis was not happy with the initiatives of these bishops.  On the plane trip back to the Vatican, Pope Francis held his usual press conference.  “Catholics,” the pope said, “should be speaking of responsible parenthood.”  “How do we do this?” Francis asked. “With dialogue,” he said.  “Each person with his pastor seeks [for him/herself] how to do that responsible parenthood.” 

“God gives you [Catholics] methods to be responsible,” he continued. “Some think that — excuse the word — that in order to be good Catholics we have to be [breeding] like rabbits. No [way].” (  

I just love it when Pope Francis breaks free of all the stuffy papal etiquette that surrounds his office.  I broke out laughing when I read that he was associating “good Catholics” and “breeding like rabbits.”  He was right on target, to be sure.  Most Catholics in my generation routinely associate the “holiness of parents” with “the size of their family.” 

I was tempted to tell my brother of this papal interview.  In discussing this with my wife, she cautioned me saying, “Don’t you think that Kevin is suffering enough with the realization that he is a dying breed and that even his own children will someday be laughing at him behind his back whenever he begins one of his rants about being a ‘Providentialist’?”  I agreed with her entirely.

Some years later, Kevin was in a stable marriage, and his wife had just birthed his second daughter.  I, meanwhile, had discovered the love of my life and, our daughter, Jessica, was thriving in kindergarten.  In this period, I decided to write out my philosophy of living and loving.  This was so satisfying that I decided to write a letter to my brother in the hope that we might be able to discover some common understanding of God and love.  Here is my very first letter to my brother:


Dear Kevin,

When my wife and I together decided to go off contraceptives, we checked her vaginal mucus each night and, when it got slippery, we knew this was the beginning of the fertile segment of her menstrual cycle.  That night, we had a very long and very delightful sexual exchange  because together we imagined that we were creating (with God's help) our future daughter.

The next three nights were the same.  The great sex that was our constant gift to each other was there, but now it was infused with a special urgency because we were anticipating our future daughter. . . .  We fucked like rabbits throughout the night.  We laughed and played and kissed for hours. This was like the unrestrained sexual ecstasies that we had for the first two weeks after our wedding. . . .  It was glorious.

But we were mistaken.  A conception did not take place. And don’t you dare ever trying to tell me that God was punishing us because we had used contraceptives for four years in order to allow Linda to finish her studies and to get a firm foothold in her profession. 

So, when our daughter was not conceived, we were not in the least bit discouraged. In discussing this with our friends, they told us that “this was not unusual.”  So when the sign of the slippery mucus came again on the following month, we rushed into our marital orgy just as we did in the first month.  It came upon us with the naturalness of dew falling off of the morning leaves.  Again, we felt our future daughter was palpably there with us, and we loved her along with loving each other nonstop.  

But again no conception took place.  After six months, we suspected that something was not quite right, so we consulted a specialist in fertility studies. We didn’t do a novena or have Masses said for our intention because we were fully aware that God was on our side and that he wanted us to have a daughter as much as we did.

The medical expert told us that we both were "marginally fertile."  Hence, we continued our monthly orgies of sex for two full years.  Near the end of the second year, the vision of our daughter had grown dim.  In its place, our love making now was drenched in tears of pain and loss.  Good sex, believe it or not, can mix with tears that heal memories and mend wounds that life imposes on those who love God.  I wonder whether you have ever known good sex mixed with bitter tears.  If so, I’d enjoy hearing your story.

Then it happened.  We did not get pregnant.  No.  But the love that we had so faithfully generated for our future daughter had mysteriously moved a complete stranger from Guatemala who had crossed the Rio Grande and was being detained by the INS awaiting deportation to beg my friend Margaret a special favor: "I'm pregnant.  I need to find a couple in the USA who would take me in and love my baby."  

And so Margaret called me in the middle of the night and told me her “good news.”  She was like the angel who said, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10). And so we gave Zoila the residency rights that she needed, and she gave us the beloved daughter, Jessica, that we were ready to love even more than a child conceived within our own flesh. Who could have anticipated such an amazing story that left all of us blessed.


Your beloved brother, Aaron


When Kevin had digested my letter, he responded in only twenty-five words: 

You took the short route, Aaron.  If you had faithfully entrusted your future to God as I did, he would have performed an even greater miracle for you.


I wanted to shout back,  

Hey, bro.  You don’t get it.  God did perform the “greater miracle” when Zoila came to live with us. . . .  In any case, despite all our differences, I still love you.  Give me a hug, bro!



Only in a family can brothers fight each other so fiercely and love each other so recklessly.  ~Rabbi Jacob Neusner


[i] “Cleft lip and cleft palate happen in about 1 or 2 of every 1,000 babies born in the United States each year, making it one of the most common birth defects. Both cleft lip and cleft palate are treatable. Most kids can have surgery to repair them within the first year or two of life” (

[ii] “A pregnant woman with chickenpox can pass it on to her unborn baby before birth. Mothers with chickenpox can also give it to their newborn baby after birth” (

Author Notes
Here are some personal reflections:

#1 Would our sex have been more committed or more sacred or more loving if we had not used contraceptives during the first four years of our marriage? To this I answer without hesitation, "Hell, No!"

#2 Would we have been happier, fuller, more ecstatic, more trusting in God had we used NFP? "Hell, No!"

In fact, the peak of my wife's friskiness was exactly when her mucus was slippery. It's the same for most other women as well. NFP enforces "abstinence" just at the time when the sex drive of the woman is highest. What a loss this is, for both partners!

#3 Does it become "natural" for my wife to want sex, to love sex, to enjoy sex especially during her fertile period [when the NFP people are abstaining]? Assuredly. We're "trusting in God" that s/he designed us as "very good" and that heeding her sexual hunger is a nudge to harmonize herself with God's way of designing good sex. He gives us hunger to know when we need to eat. He peaks my wife's sex drive to let us know when to harmonize our lovemaking with the female sexual rhythms.

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