Birth Control

Recent posts

What’s Your Condom Size?

Scrolling through the web the other day, I came across Condomsizer, which claims to be the “#1 Condom Size Resource on the Web.” Now, I can’t speak to whether or not is is the #1 size resource on the web, but I do think it is an excellent resource for learning about which condoms will fit you like a glove. Playing around on the site, I realized that it is aimed at those in Europe, so I decided to search to see what is available for those in the US. The Condom Size Calculator, located on Condom Monologues, and the Condom Size app are both targeted to US users. Growing up, I heard that if someone says a condom doesn’t fit them, they’re lying. Continue Reading →

Six Things I Learned From Being a Birth Control Counselor

Like many sex educators I know, my very first sex ed gig was taking part in my undergrad university’s peer education program. Getting the training and the opportunity to deliver sex ed was a powerful experience for me and a real boost to my career as a sex educator (penis costume notwithstanding). One of the key responsibilities of being a peer educator was providing one-on-one sexual health counseling for students at the University’s health center – many of them young women wanting to start using birth control. Since the doctors and nurse practitioners at the health center had little time to spend with patients, my role was to educate the “clients” about their options beforehand. I had the time to ask questions about their lifestyle, sexual activities, preferences, and what would be convenient for them. Continue Reading →

When Abstinence-Only Sex Education Is Against Your Religion

This Patheos blog post by Sunweaver discusses an uncommon dilemma: we’re very accustomed to people objecting to sex education because they say it’s against their religion, but what about people who object to abstinence-only sex education citing the same reason? She points out that “to use fear and shame to intimidate children into avoiding sex until marriage is to vilify something I see as sacred.” Further, she cites studies of abstinence-only education demonstrating that it is based upon religious belief, leading to this problem: “Abstinence-only is a religious teaching and it isn’t my religion they’re teaching.” We know it’s impossible to please everyone, but this is yet one more reason to embrace a fact-based approach to sex education. In an ideal world, at least, it’d be harder to alienate people with facts, but especially with sex, it can be (unfortunately) difficult to disentangle fact from belief. Continue Reading →

Why Telling Women To “Just Close Your Legs” Isn’t Good

Every so often, I run across arguments about women in poverty or other difficult situations who should just, like, stop having babies already. The message “just keep your legs closed” is a prevalent one… but I don’t think it works, or that it’s remotely a good idea. First, until we get closer to universally accessible (meaning affordable) contraception, it makes no sense to berate women for their choices. Any “choice” made within an oppressive environment is not really a choice at all, or at least, not a freely-made choice. Continue Reading →

Condoms, Anyone?

Earlier this week, I overheard a rather disappointing conversation as I was sitting in the waiting room of my gynecologist’s office. It went something like this: A young woman—I’d say, early twenties—enters the waiting room to discuss an issue she has with the secretary. The twenty-something is extremely upset because—due to changes in her health insurance—she’s no longer going to be able to receive the NuvaRing (for free, I assume?), and now has to switch to an alternate form of birth control that will now cost her upwards of $50 a month. As the secretary was trying to calm her down, she was mentioning cheaper forms of protection. And when she brought up condoms, the younger woman cut her off and said she’s looking for “protection that will actually work.”

Sigh. Continue Reading →

The Pill Vs. The Pullout

Hormonal birth control is something that works for some women, and not for others, which is okay. Yet as Jill discusses in this Feministe article, the author of a new book called Sweetening the Pill takes her own awful experience on the pill as evidence “that the Pill is terrible for all women.” Generalizing from one person’s experience to everyone’s is, of course, a bad idea. As Jill writes: “And most of my friends who are on the Pill don’t have the same side effects that I had, and are perfectly happy relying on it as their primary means of contraception. Also, one friend feels like she gets in her best shape by running, another by doing Barre classes and Pilates, whereas I prefer yoga. Continue Reading →

Condoms As Crime

I made a post in 2011 condemning laws in New York City and Washington D.C. that allow police to confiscate condoms as “proof” that a person plans to sell sex. According to Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon, this trend is continuing in New York City, with a negative impact not only on sex workers, but also on outreach workers and businesses that would like to freely distribute condoms (in order to encourage safe sex to prevent STI and HIV transmission), yet are also impacted by this policy. The toll on the LGBT community, with transgender respondents who are not sex workers yet get in trouble with the police for loitering, is also problematic. Along similar lines, this Canadian writer’s story about being detained at the U.S. border and having condoms used as “proof” of criminal behavior is harrowing. Continue Reading →

“Free” Birth Control For Women: Not So Fast

While there are many reasons to celebrate the expanded health coverage for American women under the Affordable Care Act, Tiger Beatdown reminds us that the ACA doesn’t promise women “free birth control” in the fullest sense of the phrase, nor does it extend to offer benefits to every American woman (as many are still uninsured, or their policies will not change until the following year). I believe the ACA is still a step in the right direction, but ideally we’ll see benefits such as better reproductive services extending to more and more of the population over time. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

On Rape And Pregnancy

I did not watch, read, or listen to the news for over a week, as I was busy getting married on the beach, going on a mini-honeymoon in Santa Barbara, and then performing dance for 4 days straight at one of the largest gaming conventions in the country. Beyond the chores of unpacking and laundry and scraping glitter off everything, all I wanted to do was sleep and recover. And then I came home to this. “This” being Representative Todd Akin’s comments about how in regard to the possibility of pregnancy after rape, in his understanding, ”if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Far more bloggers than I can count have protested the idiocy behind these remarks, and pointed out the irony that a member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology would be so ill informed. Continue Reading →

Condoms Don’t Ruin Sex

I’m not getting paid by the condom industry to write this, I assure you. But when I see a webpage titled How Condoms Ruin Sex, my first reaction is surprise and my second reaction is outrage. Why on earth would someone attack a form of birth control that’s been shown to reduce the transmission of HIV and other STIs? For women who do not wish to be on hormonal birth control, condoms (when used consistently and properly) are helpful in preventing unwanted pregnancies. Sure, there are valid reasons for people to choose not to use condoms, but as a sex-positive feminist, I really have to say that those should be personal choices, not decisions mandated by a website with a thinly-veiled religious agenda (and let’s keep in mind that many religious women use birth control too). Continue Reading →