Interesting article in Salon today. That which revolutionized wanton sex makes women not want wanton sex – while bringing a host of health plagues (though not mentioned in this article is breast cancer).
But Pandora’s Box has been opened. Women and/or their partners have grown accustomed to the freedom of the wanton sex ushered in by the Pill; they’ve just stopped protecting against pregnancy because the protection is so unpleasant.
The other side constantly blames abstinence education for unplanned pregnancies, while clearly that’s not the case. (See also this May 3 Los Angeles Times article.)
Following are excerpts from the Salon piece. Many of the comments corroborate her experience:
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the pill’s introduction in the United States….
I hate the pill. Hormonal contraception, which covers birth control pills and nearly every other highly effective method on the market, murders my libido….Although a libido-destroying pill does wonders to lower your pregnancy risk, it’s also done a number on my relationships, self-esteem and emotional well-being….
Doctors who treat sexual disorders have long recognized the pill’s potential for dampening sex drive in some women. And researchers have a good grasp on why it happens: Oral contraceptives lower levels of available testosterone, a key to libido….
There is a widely held misconception that in 2010 women enjoy a plethora of contraceptive choices….
There are essentially 2 categories of contraceptives: the hormonal kind, which includes nearly every pill and device available. And then the non-hormonal kind, including the copper IUD and less reliable barrier methods such as the diaphragm, cervical cap, sponge and male and female condoms….
The failed NuvaRing experiment was my last attempt to use hormonal birth control – I’d spent years living with an impaired libido and wasn’t willing to do it anymore….
I may be paying the cervical cap a visit one of these days and also would like to try the Fertility Awareness Method, which involves monitoring morning body temperature and changes in cervical position and mucus to figure out when ovulation is taking place, if only to learn more about my body and cycle….
It turns out that I am not, after all, so freakish.
Millions of women go without birth control at any given time, often because they can’t or don’t want to use the methods available to them. When the Alan Guttmacher Institute recently asked women how they felt about contraception, 4 in 10 said they were dissatisfied with their current method, citing bad physical side effects, diminished sex drive and difficulty of use, among other complaints….
And those who weren’t happy with their method were about 3 times more likely to have unprotected sex for at least 1 month of the year.
In my own life, female friends and acquaintances have abandoned hormonal birth control for a variety of reasons. It made them nauseous, moody or depressed, caused unacceptable weight gain, paralyzing migraines or breakthrough bleeding, put them at risk of blood clots, or drove their blood pressure to dangerous heights. Or they were just damned sick of taking pills every day. “I was a crazy woman on birth control,” says Dr. Basinski, who’s had her own personal battles with the pill over the years. “Out of control emotional. I used it on and off for 13 years and really struggled with it.” In her practice, Basinski sees patient after patient who want off their pills. “Many women just don’t feel good on them,” she says….
Our lack of options isn’t just annoying or inconvenient. It’s a serious public health matter, and 1 that prevents millions of women from truly being in control of their reproductive lives. There are still nearly as many unplanned pregnancies in the U.S. every year as planned ones. Of the 3 million unplanned pregnancies, slightly more than half involve women who were not using any birth control….
If you’re like me, you assume that someone, somewhere is figuring all of this out – that there will be a new kind birth control discovered or invented at some point because that’s just how human progress rolls on….
Yeah, no. The truth is that the development of innovative birth control methods has virtually come to a standstill. According to a 2008 report by Harper and several colleagues, public and private funds for contraceptive research have dried up in recent years. Most pharmaceutical companies have withdrawn from investing in contraceptive R&D, perhaps due to fears of costly personal injury litigation. And those fears aren’t necessarily unfounded. A reported 1,100 lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. against Bayer HealthCare alone, mostly by women claiming health problems such as blood clots, strokes, heart attacks and gall bladder disease after taking the popular pills Yaz and Yasmin….
Indeed. The birth control pill didn’t just magically appear in women’s medicine chests one day. Its creation was a hard-won victory for women, by women, specifically, Margaret Sanger and Katharine McCormick….
To achieve true reproductive choice and freedom for all women, we need to start having a more realistic discussion about the pill, acknowledging its shortcomings as well as its achievements….