I know a lot more than the average Jane about birth control. I even know things about now all but defunct methods like vaginal foam and diaphragms. I also know rates of perfect vs. average use, how often you can take plan B (as often as you want) vs. ella (no more than once per month) as emergency contraception. I spend a sizable percentage of my working hours talking about birth control, learning more about birth control, and explaining birth control. I can put condoms on wooden penises REALLY fast, while explaining to you how to also do so correctly.
On the other hand, I’m pretty gay. My personal experience with contraceptives is limited to a short stint at 19 when I was occasionally having sex with a guy friend, use of condoms for the other handful of times I slept with dudes, and most notably, during my IVF cycle, where I had to use OCPs (that’s oral contraceptive pills, for those of you less down with the jargon) twice and the nuva.ring once throughout the process. So I only know about the lived experience of birth control pills and the ring.
Basically, my experience is mostly highly academic and data driven. Which means that, when pushed, I will always recommend an IUD or an implant, because those methods are almost perfect at preventing pregnancy thanks to a lack of opportunity for user error. After all, you go in once and a doctor sets you up with almost fail safe pregnancy prevention for between 3-10 years. You don’t have to remember to take it everyday at the same time, you don’t have to get it refilled once a month, and also, it doesn’t turn you into a raging harpy.
Listen, everyone has different needs and wants in birth control. That’s why, as a health educator, I don’t make recommendations – just share the knowledge I have. There are all kinds of cultural and personal reasons for the decisions we make. I have known doctors who say things like, ‘when girls get to 15, we should just stick an IUD in ’em’ not even realizing the extensive history of coercion and forced sterilization and other fucked up things that have happened to poor people and people of color when it comes to having babies or not. So I’m never going to make a blanket statement about what kind of birth control everyone should use.
I just REALLY don’t understand why anyone would choose birth control pills.
And after the last week – a week of living with my beautiful, amazing, wonderful wife on OCPs – I stand by my question. Listen, I love my wife, its just easier to like her when she’s not on birth control pills. At least I intensely remember my personal experience well enough to give her a little extra space and grace and keep my head down until next week when, pleasepleaseplease, she’ll be done with the pills.
This morning she apologized for being so short with me and I said, it’s ok, I understand. Then I said, this is just proof that we should be gay. Because if God had wanted us to be straight, he would not have made us such miserable wenches on birth control.