I love sex, but I don’t want to get pregnant. Why is contraception so hard?
Part 1 of a weekly series. We’ve been through nearly every available contraception method in our efforts to find the right solution for us.
Updated (originally posted Jan 31, 2013)
Disclaimer: Information contained in this series is our personal experiences. Please do not consider it medical advice. Make your own contraceptive decisions after consulting your doctor.In the beginning, there were condoms. I suppose it’s the standard, go-to option for virgins everywhere. I was young and stupid, and didn’t know about lube, so sex was much more uncomfortable than it should have been.
Eventually, I went to the student clinic and got on the pill. I imagine that’s the standard second step for recently sexually active girls. I never asked my boyfriend to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. (See also: young and stupid.)
Holy shit, was the pill awesome! After using condoms with no lube, sex without condoms was amazing. I started experiencing my first orgasms. My boobs went up from mouthfuls to decent A cups. I knew exactly when my periods were due. Hot damn! Orgasms, boobies, regularity, and no babies. I swore I was going to be on the pill for the rest of my life. I loved the pill.
Sadly, past tense. I had years of being on the pill with no complications, and then I started getting migraines. The hormones were blamed. Different prescriptions were tried. Finally, I went off the pill and had improvement.
Fuck. Back to condoms.
At least this time, I knew about lube. I also knew that condoms weren’t the most reliable form of birth control. I tried spermicidal lube, and it felt like someone had set my cunt on fire. Obviously, that wasn’t going to be an option.
I stayed off the pill long enough to let my reproductive system reboot itself. For those who don’t know, the pill works by preventing your body from ovulating. So I hadn’t ovulated for years, and now I imagine my ovaries were going into party mode. “Woohoo! Time to do our job! Let’s get some baby making happening!”
At the same time, the sperm were going “Woohoo! Let’s get… wait.. who put this big rubber wall in the way?!”
Using condoms as a long-term form of birth control worried me, so after a while I went on Depo-Provera, which is the shot that gives you three months of protection at a time.
No migraines this time, but I started lactating. Not a lot, just a few drops at a time. Apparently, Depo told my body, “Woohoo! We have a baby on the way! Let’s get some milk production going!”
It wasn’t enough to be a problem. As long as I wore a padded bra, it wouldn’t cause any embarrassing leaks. I thought I could deal with it. And I could, right up until the day my lover (now SilverHubby) licked it off my nipples.
Instant turn off. I mean, like a switch. Whatever had been about to happen that day was over.
That took Depo off the table. I couldn’t even stand to look at my breasts anymore.
I decided hormonal methods weren’t going to work for me, so I rejected the contraceptive implant without trying it.
I considered the diaphragm or the cervical cap, but they just seemed dangerously unreliable. Would they really stay in place during rough sex? Would I really be able to get it in place correctly and leave it there long enough? If we were going to put a barrier in place every time, then we may as well stick with condoms.
The options were narrowing down significantly. All that was left, other than condoms, was abstinence (hahahahahaha… yeah right!), surgical sterilization, or an IUD.
The intrauterine device is a small piece of copper that is inserted through your cervix. Things besides sperm aren’t really meant to go in that way. Holy fuck, it hurt like hell. It hurt so bad I went home and cried. It hurt for days. And I bled, which was expected.
What wasn’t expected was that I would keep bleeding. Not a lot, but it never stopped. I never had a period, I just spotted all month. “Give it time,” the gynecologist said, once she had done a sonogram to be sure that the device hadn’t perforated anything and was sitting where it was supposed to. “Your body just needs to get adjusted to it.”
I gave it six months. The effect of having blood always there murdered my libido. So I had the IUD removed. And strangely enough, it didn’t hurt at all on the way out.
So, back to condoms, since neither of us was ready for surgical sterilization.
And then it happened. The broken condom.
I’m sure it’s happened to everyone. The first few times, I was young and, well, an idiot. I just relied on trying to physically wash out the ejaculate and hope for the best. (Obligatory disclaimer: This is a good example of what not to do in this situation.) Maybe, secretly, I was hoping for “the worst”. I didn’t know what I was doing with my life, and if I ended up pregnant, completely by accident, that could be my sign that I was supposed to be a mother.
This time there was no ambivalence. I knew, quite definitely, that I did not want to be pregnant. I also knew I did not want to have an abortion. If I had to, I would. At least, I thought I could go through with it. Maybe. Actually, I’m not sure, even now, if I could have. At least the option was there.
My boyfriend (now SilverHubby) called the GP’s surgery as soon as they opened to ask about emergency contraception. They said I could come right in and see a nurse – that I didn’t even need an appointment. In we went. A few questions were asked. And we were given a pill.
I took it, and it was like having the worst menstrual period of my life, only without the period. I was moody and irritable and the cramps were dreadful. I didn’t want to be touched for over a week. Worst of all, one of the potential side effects of the emergency contraceptive pill is a delayed period. So while you’re being miserable, you can’t even be sure that it worked. I had gotten the pill in my system in less than a day after the broken condom, but I couldn’t be sure until that period happened.
And so, back around to condoms again. I completely ruled out tubal ligation, unless by some chance I happen to need surgery for something else and can piggyback it on. My boyfriend (now SilverHubby) started looking into vasectomy. Eventually that’s what he decided, but it wasn’t that simple. More about that later.
Knowing that emergency contraception exists made it easier for me to accept using condoms on a regular basis, but I hate that they aren’t more reliable. I hate that hormones fuck me up. I hate that there still isn’t a pill for men out there. I hate that the IUD didn’t work for me.
I just want to have sex without having to worry about it. Is that really too much to ask?
To be continued….